Up until a few years ago, I was a clear cut Type A personality. Some would even say borderline autistic. Being the eldest of four to immigrant parents, I grew up fiercely independent being my parents go-to and often ‘second mum’ to my siblings. I did everything on my own, because simply put, I had no one to turn to.
In my early teens, I realised there were not too many kids in my same position, so as any insecure teen would do, I hid my struggles (Oh lordy, I was introverted) and never dared asked for help.
This created a monster in some sense – a fire in my belly that made me strive; I wanted to break boundaries, whilst making everything look effortlessly easy/perfect, at any cost.
It eventually came…. at the cost of my health. My corporate career had me sitting behind a desk for 65-70 hours a week, I would exercise vigorously to de-stress, which was counter productive as it only released more cortisol (stress hormone) in my system. I was studying my Masters in Commerce and Image Consultancy, I was a newly-wed wanting to prove myself as the ‘good-wife’/home-keeper, I was still the go-to for family and friends for everything and anything (and because I knew all-too-well, how hard doing things on your own was – I would never say no) and this was all before other personal commitments and curveballs thrown at you by life.
I was finding myself getting sick and heading to the doctors on a fortnightly basis… at one point, weekly. But it wasn’t until I went on holidays to the US that things really started to unravel… It started with not being able to eat and drink, then move, a horrendous fever, pain like I’ve never felt before, hallucinations, organ failure and eventually – life threatening Septicemia.
It’s safe to safe the husband and I had never been more scared in our lives…
Eventually after returning to Australia, and a number of surgeries… the culprit was discovered… my body was shutting down from stress.
This all-to-close wake up call changed me … You’re probably wondering ‘where is she going with all of this’?
Well as every year passes I count my lucky stars. I look to do those things that make me happy, fulfilled and stress free. The ‘signs of my success’ are no longer important (although I still do enjoy a bit of a luxury every now and then), but for me the biggest changes has been learning to ask for assistance, saying no occasionally and taking time for myself – a breather (or meditation as many people would call it). For someone that has always had an overactive mind that talks to itself… this was no easy feat.
- Find a spot you know you will not be interrupted.
- Either sit with a strong spine but relaxed shoulders and head, or lay down.
- Listen to soothing sounds – YouTube has some amazing hour long tracks, this one is my fave, others you might like can be found here, here, or here. This will help settle your breathing and have you focus on your current surrounds and sounds versus planning the week ahead.
- Close your eyes and focus on slowing your breathing and heart rate. Feel the inhale and exhale of each breath…how it feels, your ribcage as it expands and contracts.
- If you find yourself starting to think about something or someone, bring it back to your breathing and your body. Focus on the present…
- When you find yourself calm… your breathing steady and slow – enjoy!
- And when your ready open your eyes slowly . Do some gently stretches…
- Practice! It took me a couple of months to achieve a quiet mind but it can and will happen.
My sessions last anywhere between 15 – 30 minutes…but on average I find myself naturally starting to open my eyes around the 20 minute mark. I meditate every other day or when I’m highly stressed or have something on my mind. I find not thinking actually helps me think clearer… xA