Over here in Ireland it rains just about every single day. My niece, who lived here several years while studying, recently shared with me that there are hundreds of words to describe the rain. She recommended listening to the weather channel to get some ideas. Another person shared, “In Ireland we have showers in between our showers.” And someone else explained, “Talking about the weather in Ireland akin to asking ‘How are you doing’ in the United States.” The weather, especially the wet variety, is on everyone’s mind.
During a recent hike the weather went from spitting at us to dumping buckets on our heads. We all agreed we needed a breather to see if the rain would let up, which is pretty typical. So we found a tree with an expansive leaf canopy, and decided to wait out the deluge. In less than 20 minutes it did abate, reverting to just mere droplets.
Standing under that tree, waiting for the darkest clouds to pass, I realized how often strong, independent women try to just “push on through” the chaos and confusion of change, rather than taking shelter during life’s downpours. I consider “taking shelter” as the metaphor for slowing down, relying on others, letting go of all that is on your plate, and spending extra time focused on your personal needs.
Most of the women I know have the tendency to believe they are super-women; able to leap tall buildings in a single bound. While men, on the other hand, have this innate ability to only focus on one or two issues, letting everything else go. As I’ve heard more than one woman remark, “Why is it when life gets crazy, I’m expected to balance everything, and my husband gets to focus only on what’s he’s capable of?” It’s because we tell ourselves we’re strong women, good at multi-tasking, and able to juggle everything that comes our way. The reality is that maybe we can, but the toll it takes on our physical, mental and emotional well-being can be very high.
So when you’re in the midst of a major change or life transition, don’t forget to take shelter. Here are a few recommendations:
- Set aside “me” time to do something that helps you to zone out; a bubble bath (with or without a good book), walks in nature, a spa day, etc. You be the judge of what this time looks like for you.
- Ask for support from friends. Now is the time to reach out to others and ask for their help. Share what it is they could do to make your life much easier. Just before we left on our global gap year, I will always be grateful to my friends who scheduled time to come over and help me pack up our house.
- Schedule mini-breaks in your calendar with nothing planned. Even if it’s only a half hour nap time in the middle of the day, take it!
- Reduce your expectations of how much you need to accomplish. Yes, it would be great if everything you have on your “to do” list got completed, but not very realistic. Let go of outdated expectations that you can do everything. You can’t, so let it go!
- Change the timelines in your calendar. By changing your calendar timelines, you re-program unrealistic expectations that everything has to be done NOW!
ACTION: What can you do to take shelter during life’s downpours or significant times of change and transition in your life?
Kathy Hart, Ed.D. has a driving passion for human change and transformation. Her goal is to provide professional women with the support and resources needed to re-imagine and lead even more abundant, joy-filled and purpose-driven lives. If you are a woman wanting to reclaim your voice, realize a long-held dream, or just live your life to the fullest, take concrete action by contacting Kathy at firstname.lastname@example.org. The choice is yours!
Services that Kathy offers:
- 1:1 coaching to support the journey into your next life transition, whether work or personal
- Trusted advisor for leaders navigating work changes and requiring an expert guide
- Speaking and workshops on human change and transformation
- Small group work and team development to boost the group’s performance