A few weeks ago I shared about one of the darkest and hardest seasons of my grief (catch up here), and how it was such a low I feared I’d never come back the same.
The truth is, I didn’t come back the same. I came back different and better. Here are some of the steps I took that helped bring me back to a place of positivity and forward momentum.
During this period of grief, my questionable health and ever-growing expenses due to doctor bills and not booking enough speaking opportunities lead to a massive amount of uncertainty.
All of this uncertainty created so much stress and fear, I panicked. I thought, I have to get a job job with a steady paycheck and health benefits. I knew a job would also provide some much-needed stability and structure, so I got serious and started putting myself out there.
After a half a dozen or more interviews trying to find an opportunity that offered the steady paycheck and benefits, I knew in my heart that none of the places I had been to was the right fit.
Not long after I decided to close the door on these options, a new opportunity fell in my lap: a business coaching position. It wasn’t a steady paycheck and it didn’t have benefits, BUT it did have two important things: a good source of income and some flexibility, which for me as a single mom is a very big deal, so I took it. Which brings me to my first step:
- STEP 1 – Find a consistent activity that will allow you to interact with and be of service to people: whether it’s volunteering or a job.
Taking the coaching job was one of the best decisions I’d made during my recovery process because it got me out of my house and in front of people. Doing so helped with my depression and made me feel helpful and useful, because I was using my coaching skills and the feedback was positive.
Over time, working with so many different people and having success helped me to regain some confidence I’d lost over the past year. It also provided structure for our family, which my daughter thrived in. Most importantly, it gave me the time and space to rebuild my life without the added stress of finances.
After picking up a little momentum from having the consistency and income from work, I realized in order to keep it up, I was going to need help, which brought me to:
- STEP 2: Delegate on some of your weaknesses and don’t be afraid to ask for help.
For example: cooking. I’m not the best at it.
So I started bartering with one of my very best friends, Megan, who is a mama of three kiddos under age 5 and is a fabulously creative healthy cook. We worked out a plan where I would watch her kids for a few hours once a week, and in return she’d cook my family three healthy meals.
What a blessing! Ellie loves getting to play big sister to Megan’s three kids and, of course, Megan’s food is so delicious and healthy it gave me more energy and a craving for healthier foods.
We had gotten back on track nutritionally. I knew the next step for me was to commit to a consistent form of exercise. It’s no surprise that my next step was:
- STEP 3: Start exercising consistently. Start small if need be, but stick to it.
For me, this meant Orange Theory workout classes. I’ve always been an athlete and I’ve gotten away from my roots over the years. Every time I jump back into a fitness routine I’m reminded how much I need exercise for my body, yes, but even more so for my mind.
I have so much pent up energy inside of me and it needs an outlet. At first I thought I was going to throw up at every class because it was so hard and I was really out of shape, but slowly I got stronger and more fit every time I showed up.
Grief has taught me the importance of taking care of myself and making my health a priority.
I’ve learned how to make small, bite-sized adjustments over time that are transformative.
We tend to think the small changes we make won’t make a big difference, but when we can make those small changes and stay consistent with them, it is amazing how exponential the growth can be.
For example, taking the business coaching position opened me back up to using my real estate license, which I’ve had since 2009. I’ve started doing referral deals and past clients have reached out to me to help their family members find homes.
This isn’t exactly what I saw myself doing, but being open to new opportunities has stretched me, giving me new skills and new experiences. At the same time, my speaking schedule has picked back up and I’m now feeling refreshed and reenergized to get back out there.
I’d love to know…
What are some steps you’ve taken that really helped you recover and come back stronger from a difficult season in your life?
The past year and a half has been a refining process for me. I believe these rough times are invitations to make important changes in our lives, to reinvent and re-evaluate ourselves and our priorities.
When we do the work and take those small consistent steps forward, we get through those difficult seasons to better versions of ourselves.
Thank you so much for reading and I hope it blessed you. Love and Blessings my friend.
PS — If you’re looking to inspire and encourage a group you are a part of email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’d love to come to your gathering to share my inspiring message with y’all!