Wow! The past year has gone in a flash and today I'm another year older. So much has happened, from book deals, to a new house, to overseas travel, to my baby learning to walk and talk and so much more.
It's been a wonderful year but it's also been so very hard. People say to me all the time "I just don't know how you do it." And quite frankly I'm not so sure either. This past year has thrown me some of the biggest challenges I've faced yet and as this next year begins I've decided to really start to take care of myself.
I already take care of myself in lots of ways. I eat well, I exercise regularly, I stretch, I meditate...but you know what I'm totally rubbish at? Saying "no", saying "stop" and saying "not right now." This leaves me taking on far too much. It leaves me burnt-out. It can also lead to stress and leave me feeling angry, sad and taken for granted.
Whenever I have a birthday I like to think about the year ahead. What I want to achieve, want I want to change and how I want to feel. In preparation for being 38 today I've really listened to my body and mind this week, and I've taken care of myself by taking two big decisions to not do things. I feel so grown-up and wise for making these decisions and very proud of myself (even if I'm also a bit down in the dumps about missing out on seeing friends in Amsterdam this weekend.)
I'm such a "yes" person and I always want to do all the things, all the time. But as we all know that kind of thing can lead to burnout and exhaustion. I have four young children, who just on their own are pretty exhausting, so I think my burnout levels are a bit lower than they were! I need to remind myself that most people I know don't have four children, especially ones so close in age.
This is the first year for a long time that I haven't been pregnant or breastfeeding. I thought that would mean that my body would be full of energy but instead I think it's telling me to take life just a little bit easier.
So, 38...forty is not so far away. It's definitely time to take care of myself, so I can feel fabulous at forty! I want to get a grip on my work/life balance this year. My work and life are very much part of one another and that can be a beautiful thing...or an all consuming trap. The balance I want is to feel happy with the things that I am doing. To feel balanced...even if that means I'm doing lots of work at certain times. The balance tips for me when lots of work becomes too much work and when there are physically not enough hours in the day to get everything done. Or, when I can sense that my children aren't getting enough time with me. My eldest is my little 'thermometer' for this one and I love her for it. I love the close emotional connection we have and she keeps my work/motherhood balance in check.
My balance also tips when I do things because I feel I should do them but not necessarily because I want to do them. Some of these things are important...like doing squats! But some of these things need to stop. Running my own business and having four young children means I need to keep a close check on this one! Saying yes to the wrong type of work, or feeling I should write what I know are the wrong type of blog posts for me or saying yes to helping out with things at school when I know I just don't have the time.
My birthday present to myself has been to get more of a balance over the past couple of days. It feels amazing. It feels empowering and my mind feels so much calmer and my body feels like it can breathe again....well apart from the nasty chest infection I have!
Here's to being 38 and feeling way more in control of life and all that I squeeze into it. Wish me luck! x