How to keep on track when the unexpected happens
I was in a little car accident yesterday. Thankfully it was nothing serious, and all is well. I have felt flustered today and I have had to tend to myself in order to be able to be productive.
And it worked! It worked so well in fact that I’ve completed a piece of work I’d been putting off for almost 7 days and found a creative solution to a design problem I was having difficulty solving. Not only that but I’ve achieved it all with an hour to spare.
Here’s what I did – not every practice is for every person, but the I’d urge you to find your equivalent:
I listened to myself. Really listened.
I’ve spent a long time learning to do this. But now, my practice paid off.
This was the first thing I did when I woke up today: I spent a few moments in mindfulness and asked myself how I felt. Drained? Tick. Anxious? Tick. Guilty? Tick. I then did a little yoga and settled in for 20 minutes of meditation.
This practice helped me find clarity and make some decisions about how I needed to carry myself through the day to make it a good day rather than a day full of anxiety and nerves.
I found balance.
I decided to enjoy my day. This would take an effort and require me to stay present to the small joys of everyday life.
I reminded myself that I have learned new habits and behaviours that steer me away from anxious thoughts and behaviours and chose to embody those.
I decided that I should not dismiss my feelings. I should be kind to myself and go slowly through the day so as to still have energy after the working day was over.
I found my conviction.
I thought about how important a sense of achievement is to me when I feel worried about something.
I thought about the day as a series of small wins and went about executing them one after the other.
I got active.
Being honest with myself allowed me to recognise that I was not sufficiently resilient to cope with a lot of pressure.
I knew that getting on with the job in hand would prevent me from feeling pressure late into the day and tomorrow and would give me the best chance of feeling better quicker.
This self-knowledge allowed me to work today with conviction and purpose.
I helped myself.
I made sure I stuck to routines that are really important to me and have nothing to do with work, such as walking and training my dogs, eating healthily and taking my lunch break.
I listened to binaural beats throughout the afternoon to help me relax so that I could focus on the task at hand.
I played. I kept up a comedy exchange of cute and ridiculous animal-antic giffs with my close family.
What’s the takeaway?
To be able to lead others you really need to be able to lead yourself. Leading yourself means learning to live a life according to your values, beliefs and integrity. Without these things you can’t really have a vision that matters to others, or give people confidence that you can lead them out of the storm.
Leading yourself requires knowing yourself. Knowing yourself is something that takes work. For me this takes solitude. I’ve been prioritising the work of self-knowledge every day for two and a half years. A go-to practice of self-care in a time of need rescued me today.