Oh, 2020. The year that brought the world to a standstill. The year that plunged us all into a global pandemic. The year that brought so many people to breaking point.
As the global pandemic hit and Australia went into lockdown, I was anticipating my return to work after being on maternity leave with my second son. I had spent the previous 12 months stuck at home with my two boys, who were both under the age of three. It felt like I hadn’t left the house in 12 months, so you can imagine my excitement around returning to work full time.
You can imagine my disappointment, too, when it became increasingly clear that I wasn’t going to be able to leave the house for another few months. All I wanted was to drink my coffee while still hot, eat my lunch in peace, and have an adult conversation!
Alas, my worst fears came true when I was told that I would be working from home for the first 6-8 weeks of my post-maternity-leave return to work. Back to pyjamas for another eight weeks!
When it comes to returning to work after maternity leave, mums have it a bit rough. It is a complete nightmare when you have to do it while working from home. Between trying to concentrate, attend Zoom conference meetings without my kids interfering and manipulating excel spreadsheets, and generally keeping one eye on the computer and one on the kids, I was pulling my hair out.
Being in lockdown not only caused pressure on the work front but it also pushed so many other buttons in me. My personal time and space evaporated once again. Instead of a more balanced routine, I had to stay put with no adult interaction, daily reminders of all the things I wasn’t doing around the house, and the constant struggle of entertaining two small boys without leaving the house.
I got to breaking point about mid-way through the year. Melt down mode. I was frustrated, angry and the ‘yelly’ mum I never wanted to be. I had no idea who I was anymore, what I stood for or even what I was passionate about. I was a shell of a human being, just going about my day looking after everyone else. There was nothing in my day or week that was just for me. I only identified as being a mum, partner and employee.
But who was I away from all of that?
This sparked a self-discovery, ahem, ‘journey’ for me. A journey that introduced me to range of practises that helped me turn my baby/COVID-induced crisis around, and got me out of the deep hole I had somehow created for myself. So what were the life-changing practises?
Sounds very simple but it was oh so effective. I had played with meditation on and off for a few years but had never committed to a daily practice and stuck to it.
This time I knew I had to commit. So I started meditating once a day. It wasn’t for long. Sometimes it was for five minutes and other times 20. But it was daily. I found that the key to committing to a daily meditation practice was to not get hung up on what it looks like or for how long I could do it for. After all, to meditate you don’t have to be seated, cross legged and still. You can lay down, sit in a chair or lay on your back grass. You can have eyes open or eyes closed.
Once you’ve found your position, then focus on one thing. By focusing on one thing, you begin to still the monkey mind—the busy thoughts that come at us all day long. I like to close my eyes and focus on the black of the back of my eyes. This works for me. But you may find you like to keep your eyes open.
Our mindset affects everything in our lives. What we focus on and what we think becomes what we attract into our life and what we ourselves become. I believe that because I saw it happen when I hit my breaking point during the time of COVID. My mindset was anything but positive. I found myself fixating on anything and everything that would frustrate or annoy me. Soon, I became quite frustrated and annoyed with myself.
So I decided to reframe how I saw the day—my thinking from the very moment I woke up. Instead of thinking about how I I HAD to get up at 5am because that’s when my kids decided to wake up, I started to think, How lucky am I? I GET to wake up early to see the sunrise.
This was a very simple reframe, but by starting the day with a positive mindset I began to think and attract more positive experiences into my day. My thoughts and actions naturally became more positive, too.
Follow what lights you up
My breaking point also revealed that I had no idea what it was that I was passionate about, what I enjoyed or what lit me up! So I decided to write a list of anything and everything that I liked or enjoyed. There was no right or wrong.
The original list included things such as:
- Buying a good coffee (I am a self-confessed coffee snob)
- Oracle cards
- Anything considered new age or woo woo
- Being in the sun
- Walking by the beach
Each day I committed to doing one thing from the list. It didn’t matter how big or how small. As I committed to doing one small thing that lit me up, it seemed to lead to another thing that lit me up. The key for me was to continue to add to the list as more things were uncovered. I kept doing this and I was amazed how one thing led to another and another. It seemed that as I followed what lit me up, more and more opportunities opened up for me to continue to do what I love.
From breaking point to new perspective and growth
These three small practices literally saved my life. They helped me turn around from a life of boredom and frustration to a life of passion and purpose. Since implementing these three simple practices, I have gone on to complete a qualification as a NLP Master Coach and Reiki 2 Practitioner, quit my job of 14 years, and start my own business as a Women’s Confidence Coach. I now love what I do and help other women turn themselves around from their own breaking points. And I continue to do these three simple practices daily.