6 Months – Moving On & Self Discovery

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6 months. That’s how long it’s been since I started a brand new chapter of my life.

They say that you shouldn’t let your professional life affect your personal life. That work shouldn’t be as important as your relationships/friendships/family. But when you’re suddenly left without a job, you quickly realize just how important having a professional life can be and how it can affect you as a person.

6 months ago, I was made redundant from my job that I had held for the past 5 years. It was always something I was proud of for my age – securing a job which I not only enjoyed doing, but one that I had been able to stay at for 5 years. So many people in my generation seemed content with switching and changing, picking and choosing and trying a bit of everything before finally settling into what they wanted to do. I felt so lucky to have found something I enjoyed doing, doing it well and continuing to do it well for 5 years.

I learned that a lot can change in 5 years for a person. You learn so much about yourself both professionally and personally. But I’ve also learned how much one can learn about themselves in as little as 6 months. How much I can impress myself, looking back on what I have achieved since leaving my job in May, 2016 and how far I have come personally.

You would think that being made redundant would have broken my self-confidence and shattered my belief in myself that I could find another job that I loved just as much as the one I had. 6 months ago, I would have let my anxiety get the better of me and probably would have made myself sick through fear of the unknown.

The truth is, I do fear the unknown. I worry about not only my future, but the future of everyone I love. The difference between who I am now and who I was 6 months ago is that I realize that some things just aren’t up to us to decide. We have to be open to change, to possibility and bend when the wind tries to break us.

I’ve been working in a new job for a wonderful company for the past 4 months. Something I never saw coming, yet when it happened, it just felt right. I knew it was because I kept myself calm and positive, even though the second month of unemployment (which definitely tested my strength).

This whole post isn’t about me. It’s not about overcoming a hard time or my pride in myself for riding through the roller-coaster of change and being left relatively unscathed (although I do reflect on both regularly). I want whoever is reading this post and is dealing with hardship to know this: nobody knows what is going to happen in their lives. We have no idea what we will be doing a week or a month or 6 months from now.

I say to you, do not be afraid of change. Do not let others’ worries for you become your own. Take care of yourself, of your anxieties and your fears and do not close yourself off to change in whatever area of your life you are hoping for some kind of miracle.

6 months ago, I started a new chapter and I feel as though I am a different woman because of it on so many levels. Learning to roll with the punches that life throws at us can be tough, but once you can duck before you’re hit, things start to become a whole lot clearer and the challenge of life becomes so much more.

Try your best, take care of yourself, love yourself and never stop creating positivity within yourself.

6 months has gone and I’ll never look back.

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5 Things I Have Learned About Myself During My First Week Of Unemployment

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It’s amazing how much more attentive I have become of myself and my actions over the past week.

After officially becomming redundant from my job of 5 years last week, I made the conscious decision to use the time I have between work as a positive experience. I have been adamant that I will not let this change get me down, although I will not ignore my feelings all together because, let’s face it, losing your job is no fun. Especially when I enjoyed mine so very much.

Here are 5 things I have learned about myself during my first week of unemployment/redundancy:

  • Sleep: Here I was thinking I would get to sleep in now I don’t have a job to go to. What I forgot to think about was the fact that I have been waking up at the same time for the past 5 years straight. So, my alarm might not be set anymore, but my internal alarm is still very much on!
  • Netflix: There really is no limit to how many episodes of Jane The Virgin one can watch in one sitting. I know this because I have experienced countless moments where I have missed sunsets because I was too busy watching yet another episode (season 1 is amazing). Do you ever look up from your screen and not know what time it is because the last time you looked up, it was light out? That’s been me pretty regularly this week.
  • Job Interviews: You can do as much research about the company you are interviewing for and you can do your makeup/hair at wedding-level preciseness, but if you don’t have the ability to talk to strangers and sell yourself as a worker and person, you probably won’t be successful in your job. Remember to take a breath, smile and think about your best qualities that make you, YOU!
  • Force Of Habit: The other day I was out and about, getting a few jobs done in town. Before I knew it, I had parked in the carpark of my former workplace and was about to walk in when I realised I was in the wrong company block! I suppose taking the same route and parking in the same spot for 5 years does make a lasting impression on my memory.
  • Emotions Are Interesting: Remember what I said about not ignoring my feelings? I have definitely dealt with a range of emotions this week with regards to leaving my job and currently not knowing what is next. Uncertainty is scary thing and I have to keep reminding myself that things will get better. However, you couldn’t tell that to me when I was crying on my couch Tuesday morning in my pyjamas with a huge mug of coffee in my hands while watching TV. Don’t ask me what specific thing set me off – it just happened!

Trying to stay positive about this entire situation is helped by my willingness to get back out there into the employment world and start a new chapter. Life can be tough sometimes, but it’s during these down times that we hopefully find out so much more about ourselves than we could ever imagine.

Life Advice – starting over

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If you had told me this time last year that I would be accepting redundancy from my job next week, I would have slapped you in the face and called you a liar.

It’s amazing not only how much things around us can change in the space of a year or a month or even a week; but how our reactions can change as well. Our confidence levels can increase or drop and our ability to make somewhat difficult decisions can be relatively easy.

Looking forward at the coming months, I know that I will find another job. When or where is yet to be seen, but I am looking at things in a positive way. This is my chance to start fresh and start over. Sometimes all it takes is 1 thing in our lives to be out of whack for us to decide to take a new path. Whether that path is still being paved or whether we know exactly what is coming next, starting over can be daunting. But it can also be incredibly empowering.

Take matters into your own hands and make the decision to try and be positive. I say try because we all have days where we just don’t understand why certain things had to happen to us. I have questioned “Why?” so many times over the past month and have cried over the choices I have had to make more than a few times. But there is only so much moping than you can do before you realise you are achieving nothing by focusing on negativity. Stand tall, look forward and know that things will be alright in the long run.

Sometimes it can take a major lifestyle change in order for us to really start over. Whether it’s changing jobs, moving to a new city, dealing with the passing of a loved one or going through the breakdown of a relationship, these things can help us decide to begin a new path.

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Personally, I have been setting goals for myself now that I know I will most probably be without a job next month. I want to focus more on health/fitness, get outside in the sunshine more, write more and spend more time improving myself for nobody’s benefit but my own. Setting goals for yourself during times of change can be incredibly beneficial for your wellbeing. It is so easy to fall into a slump and not want to do anything, but picking yourself up and writing a simple list of what you want to achieve – whether they be daily, weekly or long-term goals – can be so helpful on getting yourself back on that path that’s being paved.

Another awesome thing about starting over is making the decision to change something about yourself. Whether you decide to dye your hair a different colour, or cut it off, sometimes the best way to start over is to make that change in your appearance. We all know of people who have cut their hair after a major life event has occured – how liberated do they always look? Do something different – wear a different shade of lipstick, wear different shoes, swap skirts for pants…change it up!

This is OUR TIME to feel liberated and motivated for our next chapter. There is nobody standing in your way of achieving your goals but you! Push past those times where starting over can feel like you’re stuck in a car without gas and get yourself to that service station for a tune-up!

If you are currently starting a new chapter in life, just know that you are not alone. Things will be okay – keep paving that path and eventually you will arrive at your next destination.

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Life Advice – how change can be positive

I have always called myself the Pollyanna of my workplace.

With a positive, optimistic outlook on life, I have always managed to take a negative situation and spin it into a somewhat positive situation. It’s something I take pride in – the ability to see the bigger picture over the here and now.

However, in recent weeks after deciding to take a voluntary redundancy from my job – which currently will leave me unemployed within a month – trying to remain positive and optimistic has been hard.

Change can be a wonderful thing if you are able to look at it as a good thing. Most endings bring new beginnings, and while I couldn’t see it for a while, I know my job ending leaves me open to a new chapter. Not just a new professional chapter, but a new chapter in life if that is what I want.

It can be so easy to fall into a negative slump. Trust me when I say that I have been there many times and it is hard to hold my head high and look further down the road to where things may get better.

Important things I try to ask myself during times of important life changes are:

  • “How do you feel now the decision has been made?” 

I was once told that the feeling of relief after making a very difficult decision is a sign that it was the right one. My recent decision to take redundancy was a hard one, but once things were finalized and the weight was lifted off my shoulders, I felt a huge wave of relief. Trust those feelings.

  • “Think of life this time 6 months ago – how much has changed in such a short amount of time? How can life change again in another 6 months or even a year?”

Looking into the future is something I try not to do too often as it can cause stress and worrying about things that probably will never happen. However, in times of change I like to think of how much positive change can occur in such a short space of time. It happens every day and sometimes we do not take enough time to appreciate just how far we have come and what barriers we have broken in order to get to the place we are right now. Keep your thoughts positive and perspective optimistic.

  • “Am I open to the world and whatever positive changes are about to come my way or am I shutting myself off, blocking any possible change that may be trying to make its way through to me?”

I am a big believer in being in-tune with the world around us. If we shut ourselves away and let negativity take over our minds and bodies, how do we expect those around us to help us? Not just friends and family, but everybody. We are all connected by energy and we all are drawn to certain people because of the energy they radiate. If we want good things to happen, we need to be open to it. Sometimes things we think are too far out of our reach just need to know you truly want them before they make themselves known.

  • “Who in my life can help me through times of negativity?”

Staying positive through times of change can get hard. Some days are harder than others. It is important to have people surrounding us who we can count on for support and confiding. Whether that is a parent, friend, work college or counselor, it is important to offload and receive validation that our thoughts and feelings are understood. There are even telephone hotlines you may wish to call who offer free counselling support 24/7 if things get to be too much.

  • “How can I help guide myself through times of negativity affected by change?”

Because we have to live with ourselves all day, every day. And if we can recognise that things aren’t so great at the moment, it is important for us to also recognise ways that we may be able to make things better. Whether it is treating yourself to a pedicure, or watching your favourite movie, or going for a walk in the sunshine while your favourite song plays on your ipod…there are endless things you can do to make yourself feel better.

Take a moment to focus on your breathing techniques. There are some amazing apps which assist in regulating breathing during times of stress. Sometimes 5 minutes a day of focused breathing can make a world of difference.

Wise words from my favourite lady, Miss Swift.

Change can be incredibly scary but you never have to go through it alone. Try to see the bigger picture and remain as positive as possible. If things get too much, it is also OK to let things out and if you need to cry or get angry or eat a pint of ice cream to feel somewhat better – I recommend it!

Lastly, if you are experiencing some kind of uncertain change at the moment, I hope things go well for you soon. Life is interesting in the way good things happen to people and sometimes you need to experience low moments before you can soar back into those incredible heights.

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