What We Can Learn from Times of Difficulty – Guest Blog from Flourish Health & Wellbeing

by Jun 17, 2020Guest Blogs, Personal Development

I am thrilled to introduce you to Lorraine Checklin of Flourish Health & Wellbeing. I met Lorraine a year or so ago and we connected instantly. She is a delightful lady!  If you are feeling a little off balance before you’re in the same room as Lorraine, you can be sure you won’t feel that way when you leave! Lorraine quite simply oozes kindness, a passion for her work, and supporting people. She is a Wellbeing Coach who works with clients on a 1:1 basis, as well as teaching an eight-week Mindfulness programme, called ‘Mindfulness Now’; which was written by the UK College for Mindfulness Meditation. This programme combines elements of stress reduction and considerations about the way in which our thinking affects the way we feel. Kindness and self-compassion are just two of the themes covered in the programme.

Here Lorraine shares with us her experience, through the work that she does, of how we can all learn from times of difficulty…

The impact of challenging times

This week I have been speaking to many people about their personal experience of lockdown. Many are really starting to feel the effects of the past few weeks. Some are feeling very tired. Some are low in energy and motivation. Others feel that they have reached their tolerance threshold.

Without a doubt, there have been many significant and cumulative causes of stress during this time. These have included feelings of separation and isolation resulting from social distancing; huge implications for many aspects of work – work volumes, work arrangements and earnings; additional pressures and responsibilities, such as home-schooling or other practical support for relatives; anxiety caused by news updates and constantly changing ‘rules’; and, not least of all, the enormous impact of loss and bereavement and all of the associated restrictions – such as tightly controlled hospital visits and funeral arrangements.

Times have been incredibly tough, and many may feel as though they are on a pendulum, swinging from a place of high alert to one of exhaustion, and back again.

Focus on being kind to yourself

During my work as a Mindfulness teacher, I have learned the great impact of kindness and self-compassion; which has become even more critical at this time. It is very important to bring our attention to what we have achieved and to be kind to ourselves.

Our minds have a natural negativity bias, so it is common to focus on the things that haven’t gone very well or on the particularly ‘bad’ or difficult days. However, by reflecting on the last few weeks in their entirety and considering both the tremendous amount of different pressures that we have faced and the extent to which we have needed to adapt, it may be a surprise to acknowledge just how much we have learned and accomplished!

Don’t overlook your greatness!

When we feel scared or overwhelmed by something, the act of getting out of bed and facing whatever lies ahead is very brave.

We don’t know exactly what we are doing or what to expect, yet still do our best to guide and support others, at work or at home, then this is an act of tremendous courage.

If we are having a really bad day, but commit to simply doing the best we can, this shows grit and pragmatism.

When we recognise that our energy is depleted and that, first and foremost, we need to rest, this shows honesty and self-awareness.

If we don’t feel as though we have coped at all well or haven’t been able to face the world most days, then maybe what was needed was an opportunity to withdraw and reflect?  Especially as what we have faced is unprecedented in the majority of our lifetimes.  With this is mind, how could we expect ourselves not to feel scared or to know exactly how to react?

If we are still functioning as best we can and choosing to reflect on our experiences, this alone shows strength and determination!

It is likely that most us will have been tested to the limit and there may be personal skills, strengths and achievements that we are simply overlooking.  Similarly, whatever has or hasn’t happened, it can lighten the load significantly if we stop judging ourselves harshly and move to a place of acceptance.

The process of learning and growing

As much as we may prefer for our lives to remain smooth and predictable, we can learn so much from the challenges that we encounter along the way. As well as finding out more about ourselves, testing experiences help to build our resilience – the inner strength that comes from a heightened sense of self-awareness combined with an acknowledgment of the resources we have drawn upon and the actions we have taken to cope with much more than we might previously have thought possible!

Our recent challenges have been enormous, and we continue to face yet more change and the knock-on effects of everything that has already happened. By taking our attention to what we have achieved, however, this can reinforce our self-belief, our personal growth, our acceptance and our ability to keep on going!

Learn more and connect with Lorraine:

Website URL: waystoflourish.com

LinkedIn URL: linkedin.com/in/lorraine-checklin/

Facebook URL: facebook.com/flourishmeriden

Thank you Lorraine for sharing with us!