Lessons I’ve learned from being ill

AKA my recent Happiness wake-up calls

Lessons I’ve learned from being ill
Image by silviarita from Pixabay

I’ve had a cold for over two weeks, and I’d like to share the lessons I’ve learned from being ill. To give you some background, my healthy eating plan has slipped over the past few months. I repeated my pattern of starting the year strong, then slowly eating more and more chocolate and cakes and ended up ill with Candida. I had to go on a complete detox of all sugars including alcohol, fruit and sugar substitutes. I was feeling pretty rough due to Candida and subsequent die off symptoms. I started to feel better and then I came down with a flipping cold! On top of all that I’ve had a stressful few weeks at work.

In hindsight, I probably should have taken time off when I first got ill but I wasn’t that bad, and I was busy at work, so I kept pushing through. This week I’ve had headaches all week, which I think was partly due to congestion but mainly due to stress. I also felt exhausted.

It all came to a head on Thursday. My brain couldn’t take anymore and so it went on strike. I sat at my desk in tears. I knew I had to give in and go home. I took the rest of the day and the following day off work.

Although the cold wasn’t that bad, it was getting me down and I was in a really negative mindset. I started catastrophising. I lamented that I would have to give up my radio show and who was I kidding that I could have a Happiness Club business? I wasn’t exactly a shining example of Happiness.

Just over a week ago I listened to Kate Northrup and Mike Watt’s podcast The Opportunity in Illness. I reminded myself that there’s always a lesson to be learned from being ill. I asked my guides and my higher self what I needed to learn but I didn’t take the time and make the space to listen. It wasn’t until I took a day off and had a restful, relaxing day of self-care that I found the answers I was looking for. By the end of the day I felt a million times better both emotionally and physically.

These are the lessons I learned from being ill aka my Happiness Wake-Up calls.

  1. Self-care and spiritual rituals always come first.

Yesterday morning, the day I took off work, I woke up with a headache as I had done everyday last week. I felt low emotionally.

“Why don’t you use some of your Happiness techniques?” said Mr Sexy Pants wisely. I told him to fuck off, but he was right of course. Later in the day when I’d taken time to rest, I realised that I’d neglected my self-care and spiritual practices. I usually get up early every day so I can meditate or do my Buddhist chanting but because I was tired, I was having a lie-in instead. I’ve noticed that when I regularly maintain my spiritual practices, I have more energy, clarity and peace of mind. I kept telling myself I would start meditating again when I felt better but I had it the wrong way around.

  1. Take time to rest

I considered taking a day-off work when I first got ill but because I wasn’t that bad, and I was busy I pushed though as I already mentioned. If I had taken a day off when I first got ill, I may well have recovered quicker. I might also have been able to hear the answers to my questions. I probably would have been working more productively. The longer the illness dragged on, the more I felt as though I was wading through treacle!

  1. Eat a healthy diet

As a foodie and recovering sugar addict, I’m reluctant to admit that what we eat affects both our physical and emotional wellbeing. I noticed a considerable improvement in my energy levels and my mood when I started following the Happy People Solutions eating plan earlier this year. When I let that slip, I became tired and moody and muscle-testing with my kinesiologist friend Val Chater confirmed I had Candida. Being a Taurus I do however love my indulgences and therefore I would recommend everything in moderation.

  1. Focus on what you want

As I mentioned in my previous blog post, How to Get What You Want – Focus on What You Want, it’s important to focus on what you want instead of what you don’t want, because what you focus on is what you get. I realised that I’d been thinking about and talking about how busy I was – working full-time, presenting the Happiness Show and setting up Happiness Club. I kept telling people that my head was about to explode. I was wearing my busyness like a badge of honour. To a certain extent I was creating my own stress.

  1. Avoid all or nothing thinking

I’ve also noticed that I’ve been “all or nothing” thinking. I recently joined Toastmasters and immediately I wanted to wade in, take part in contests and win prizes for inviting the most guests. When I realised that this was actually quite over-whelming I considered leaving and joining again when I had more time. Then a thought occurred to me that I could join Toastmasters, treat like a hobby, take it less seriously and enjoy it. It doesn’t have to be a choice between winning the International Toastmasters Contest or quitting. There is a happy medium to be had. This is a lesson that seems to be cropping up a lot for me lately.

  1. The only person you need to be better than is the person you were yesterday

Following on that theme, another thing that’s come to light is my competitive and ambitious nature. I always want to be the best. I always want to win. Taking time to reflect has reminded me that the only person I need to be better than is the person I was yesterday.

  1. Stop beating yourself up

I can also see that I’ve been beating myself up for not achieving as much as I’d like both at work and with Happiness Club. It’s a good reminder to focus on what I have achieved, rather than what I haven’t. It’s also good to remember to be kind and gentle with ourselves. It’s not the end of the world if we don’t achieve what we set out to achieve. No-ones going to die! There’s plenty of time. It doesn’t all have to be done now.

As I spent yesterday in rest, relaxation and reflection, I began forming this blog post in my mind’s eye. Today I received an invitation from Thrive Global for posts about Happiness wake-up calls. I realised that I am regularly experiencing Happiness Wake-up calls. Often the same ones. I keep getting the same Happiness wake-up calls until I learn the lesson and then the Universe sends the same wake-up call a few more times, just to really drum it in.

What have you learned from being ill? Have you experienced a Happiness wake-up call? Let me know in the comments.

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This blog post was originally published on Happiness-Club.co.uk.

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