What a super, underrated question that is. For us all in the UK it’s the approach of Autumn, with its cooler breezes and inevitable transitions.
For many of us, September feels more like new year than when Big Ben actually chimes on 31st December! Whether we’ve got children or not, memories of our own school days often linger. This season brings first days, travelling away, and pulling on your jeans again.
From hand holding to heart rending, alarms will begin ringing again, literally and figuratively, as we wake from another summer slumber and adjust our routines.
So, what’s new for you right now? What transitions are upon you? And most importantly, how do you feel and respond to them?
I recently described myself to a trusted pal as a ‘hot mess’, in a veiled attempt to keep it light. I failed, continuing with “I’m bereft”. No prizes for guessing that copious amounts of Kleenex were soon involved. It was cathartic and did me good. What isn’t healthy is to get stuck here. For context, like many, I’ve had significant bereavements in lockdown, but this wasn’t about that. On that day, the extended separation from my daughter in Australia felt overwhelming.
· Be clear about what you’re feeling
For me it was dread. September hails autumn, and then my third winter without my daughter. While facing this is tough, it’s the first phase of feeling better.
Acknowledging what is happening is important. Be kind. And always speak to yourself with the utmost respect.
· What stories you are telling yourself? What else is also true? What are the facts?
I can feel bereft, I am not bereft. I was also just tearful that day. It was temporary, and normal!
By separating the emotion from the story, we can create a new enabling and inspiring narrative for ourselves.
Fact: I’ve handled it well for two years.
That means I can do this!
Using positive statements like this help us to feel more capable. They move us out of an unhealthy and unhappy victim mindset.
· Practice acceptance
Creating an affirming mantra can be helpful e.g. “I am exactly where I’m supposed to be right now. What can I learn?”
Why sweat what we can’t change? Recognise what you can influence, do what you can, and let go of what you can’t. Try a meditation, free apps help with this.
All things pass!
· Identify what strengths you can bring to this
Strengths are not skills. A strength is something innate which can also be developed like courage or curiosity and love of learning. We can leverage these to develop skills e.g., salsa dancing or car driving. If you don’t know them, you can:
· Build a strategy around difficult days:
Save up for a massage after 1st day drop at school. Walk with a pal. Make time to do things that you love. Don’t deprive yourself on these days.
· Mindfully list everything that you’re grateful for and still have
Practising gratitude is a well-researched positive psychology tool that has been shown to make an enormous difference to physical and psychological wellbeing.
We’re here at SEED too. You’re not alone.
And btw I am no longer a hot mess. And actually, never was 😃
Find out more about Jo Bishop Coaching and how she could help you to move forward with positivity and purpose.
Find out more about Coaching at Seed.