January comes with it a chance to start again. To create new beginnings.
This can be seen as exciting and challenging and inspiring.
Or fear inducing.
Every Expat has had a new beginning and we have all taken to them with varying degrees of success. It is hard to start over, but start over we must.
What do you focus on when you move to a new place? Where are your priorities? I am guessing they go in this approximate order:
school (if school age children involved)
paperwork requirements, bills, visas etc
house organisation and decoration
where to buy the essentials
children's activities, playdates etc
partner requests (maybe higher up?!)
Yes, that is right we all have a very bad tendency of putting ourselves at the bottom of the list. Only once we feel that all the other aspects in life are in place, can we then think about ourselves and what we need. But this may be a little late in the day.
One of the difficulties is often having gone through all the other points is that you now feel overwhelmed and worn out. Adrenalin has left your body and you are left with no energy. Then illness hits. Hard. Trying to get through every day is a struggle. Stepping out the front door is a momentous effort in itself. You are left alone trying to just survive. making a plan for your own life is farthest from your mind - as who else will be making sure the essentials keep on taking over? It is far easier sorting out others problems than dealing with your own.
If this sounds familiar, I empathise with you. I have been there.
Which is why I now see January as the chance to start again, with a fresher step in my walk and time to focus on my happiness and wellbeing. A great place to start is by visualising what would be a perfect day for me. Not for my family, but for me. A perfect day that is not location specific. A place where I have no language barriers. No cultural barriers, no visa barriers. What makes me smile? What makes me feel energised and puts the bounce in my step?
Try this yourself as well. Let’s see if we can re-centre ourselves and start the new year with a new beginning. It is so important for our children to see that we are happy and fulfilled in our lives as then it will rub off on them too. Our partners too will appreciate and love to see the happiness that will roll off. So what if the house is not so clean... it really is not so important. And if that is to you, then take time to assign the tasks to others - either to other members of your family or pay for a cleaner to visit your home to help out.
What is your perfect day?
Having worked out what it is, take a close look and see what elements you can change tomorrow and start working towards that.
If part of your perfect day involves being around nature - get outside for a walk - schedule it in the day and do it. Everyone can find 30 minutes to do something they love and fit it into their day. Love music? Turn off all other distractions and focus and listen to favourite pieces for 30 minutes.
"If I have a white room in front of me, ready to be painted - what colour should I choose? What colours help project my mood into a positive space? It may be white is right. But maybe a splash of colour and fun needs to be introduced."
One of the things I love, is being around colour and fabrics. So part of my perfect day would involve being around colour.
Today was a fun day, I took time out to attend a textile collage workshop that made me stop and just create for 5 hours. I haven't done this for a very long time. It was a great feeling and left me feeling energised.
I am realising more an dmore that I need to be around colour and pattern and well designed objects to be inspired and inspire others. My first degree is in textile design and returning to this aspect of myself is helping me rediscover who I am. Now my children are not so needing my attention I can create without interruption again. It has been a 12 year pause, but every day of that journey i have never stopped observing life around me and storing images within my brain for the future.
And I have a feeling that the future is now. 2016 will be a creative year I hope.