Well hello. I've just had half term week with my little treasures and it occurred to me that we 'grown ups' have a lot to learn from these little people.
Or is it that we need to remember what we already knew and life made us forget?
HHHMMMMMM? Interesting question Michala. I hear you ponder.
So, here are 5 top tips that when applied will bring you moments of happiness or calm, that a new pair of shoes or a glass or two of gin can only wish to provide! (In my experience anyway)
1. Just be
In this crazy, manic world we live in you can find yourself running around like a headless chicken on acid. Not sure which way you're going, but know that there is something else to be done and you need to do it.
Watching the girls this week I noticed that whatever they were doing, they were in that moment. At the top of a slide, riding a bike, reading a book, tidying their bedrooms (ok, they wanted to be out of that moment quickly, but they were present).
In all of these cases they were thoroughly enjoying the experience. Now life isn't one long bike ride or a play on the swings but what I have learnt over the last few years, and through the work I do with clients, is that the more you focus on one thing at a time the more enjoyment and satisfaction you get out of it.
It goes against all the multi tasking marvel of woman beliefs that we are spoon fed from birth. It goes against our natural need to get the never ending to do list done now.
However, is it doing us any good roaring around doing multiple things at the same time, often half arsed and with no pleasure in it?
Is it actually adding to the feeling of overwhelm? Of guilt? Is it why a lot of men seem to be calmer in their approach to things than a lot of us? Just a thought......
So, just be like the kids.
Each day I take the top 3 big things I need to get done and I try to have them done by 12noon (or 1pm if I exercise that day) and then it's a Brucie bonus if I do anymore. I have a load of techniques to combat the questions I can hear you shouting at me, "What about all the other jobs I have? Don't you have much going on in your life then? I can't do that. There are simply too many things to do. How will I cope if I don't do them all?"
All I ask is you just try it. What have you got to lose?
If you have a massive report to write/website to build/room to decorate. Switch off the phone, email and clear your desk/work space. Just concentrate on what you are doing. If someone tries to interrupt you, be polite but firm that you will come back to them, but you have something you must finish. Better right? Calmer? Feel more in control?
It can be applied to anything. Give it a go.
2. Embrace your inner child and use your imagination
Maybe I'm very immature, (don't answer that) but I am a big believer in this. As we get older life gets more serious. Money management, keeping a home, work pressures, possibly child care or elderly parent care. There's a lot going on and not all of it fun.
It's time to embrace your inner child. During the two hour 'Build a Bear' fashion show I was involved in (!!!) we danced, we sang, we changed bear outfits many times (on the bears, not me in a bear outfit, although next time....) The 'televised' commentary from my youngest was exceptional it has to be said and the choregraphy from them both a real sight to behold. I nearly broke my back from all the 'lifts' and split my sides from all the laughing.
What I am saying is if we actually embrace our silly side once in a while, or our creative, imaginative side, it can feed a part of us that gets buried under the washing pile and the admin tasks.
A client of mine hasn't painted or sketched for years and recently got out her pencils for the first time in years. She said it felt amazing. She'd forgotten how much she loved it.
Each week I go to a singing lesson. I'm no Beyonce, but I love it. For over 20 years I stopped doing something that has given me true, unadulterated pleasure since I was 3 years old. Why? What stopped me all that time? Me! That's who stopped me.
Whatever you are doing and however busy you are, find time to find that inner child and do what they love it will pay you back in everything else you do I promise.
3. Plan, but be flexible.
Love of my life taking two days off. Tick. Family decided on fun day out at Spaceport and a day visiting friends, who live down south, holidaying in Derbyshire. Tick.
Eldest daughter gets serious water infection and all plans are off. BOOO HOOO!
Having children in your life can be a really tricky thing for someone who likes to plan and control what is coming next. It doesn't always go the way you want it. I struggled with this at first.
When they are babies and you decide to go to the supermarket, the dreaded leaky nappy on the way throws that idea out of the window. As they are older, a massive tantrum in the middle of soft play, resulting in their immediate removal, scuppers that coffee with a friend and their kids.
Now, it's generally only if they are poorly or 'not in the mood' that can throw a plan off course. But of course it does happen.
What I love about what that taught me in their early years was that it is really important not to be so rigid and plan for every eventuality. It's important to have direction but to be flexible enough to 'go with the flow' and not to get stressed if things don't go to plan. All you can do is work with what you have today. Yesterday is gone and it's great to learn from and we have no idea what tomorrow will bring, so no point worrying about it too much.
I love plans. I love goals. I love having a vision to work towards for my life and my business, but I absolutely accept that it might not go as planned; that something may happen tomorrow which makes me re-evaluate all my priorities; that other opportunities might present themselves.
My children love to know what is coming next but they will not flinch if I suddenly decide to change where we are having tea or veer off on the school run to go to the park instead of straight home. In fact they will see it as an adventure, exciting, out of the ordinary.
So yes plan, have goals and a mission but above all be flexible on how you get there. It'll make the journey a lot more exciting and happier.
4. Show your love and appreciation
Many times over the holiday I witnessed random acts of kindness and affection from my children. (I also witnessed wrestle mania and the use of the words 'fat gob' (a new one!) and 'shut it' but that's another blog!)
My eldest and I had a lovely couple of hours, despite her fevered brow and painful kidneys, just cuddling and being cosy. (Silver lining of UTI.)
My youngest came back from Spaceport with a lovely little notebook I'd not let my eldest have the previous visit (because she'd gone over her budget already. What?!).
My eldest ran to the door to greet her dad with a massive hug one night when he came home looking weary. You should have seen the smile on his gorgeous face. The list goes on.
Giving someone else affection and watching others receive it, is one of the most beautiful things to see and receive. It doesn't take much to offer someone a smile or a hug. Think of all the time you give your love and affection to your friends and family.
It's hard if you come from a family where there wasn't much hugging and kissing. In fact it can feel uncomfortable, so choose whatever signs of love and affection you are comfortable with. Notes, texts, little thoughtful actions can be as powerful. See how much pleasure you get from watching them receive your love no matter how it's given.
How can you show people you love them more?
5. Hakuna Matata
Having watched Lion King for the gazillionth time with the girls, it dawned on me that I had spent half my life worrying about things that never happened. Half my life! That never happened. I'm not exaggerating. (Sad I know!) I used to be the 'What if' Queen.
Worrying simply adds to feelings of overwhelm and anxiety. It feeds it and nurtures it, until at it's worst, it becomes panic. You know that worrying about the what ifs isn't going to make it any better, but you feel like you have no control over it.
Well I'm here to tell you, "Hakuna Matata".
No worries, just actions.
Tony Robbins talks about "Action Signals" in his book "Awaken the Giant Within" and I'm a big advocate of this technique. It's important not to repress that worry. Don't ignore it. Listen to it. What is it telling you? What do you need to act on? What action can you take? What is in your control?
If it's out of your control then you have to let it go until such time as whatever it is you fear may happen does happen. However, as I said at the beginning I spent half my life worrying about things that NEVER happened. I refuse to do the same with the next half and so should you.
So, no worries, just act or let it go!
(Too much Frozen soundtrack on this holiday too.)
OOH a bonus one just came to me - get outside more. Running in the dunes with my girls it's obvious you feel freer, calmer and happier in fresh air. So, if you live in the city find a park, if you live in the country, but haven't taken a walk lately go and do it, if you are lucky like me and live near the sea go to the beach. (Bossy aren't I? LOL.) Have fun.
Have you learnt anything from children that can improve your life as an adult?
Please comment below. I'd love to hear from you. x