In 2019, I packed up my desk and waved goodbye to my friends in Communicorp. I was taking 7 weeks parental leave, but I had a feeling it would become more permanent than that. My gut was right and 5 weeks later I handed in my notice. I had to dig deep to get the courage to walk away from that job. It was all I knew. But, the universe was taking me in a different direction, and it was time for me to walk a new path.
The people I had worked with for over 12 years were more than colleagues. To put it into context, Jamie and I had FOUR work tables at our wedding, that’s over 40 people! Not only were they our friends, they were our tribe.
These were the people who I belly laughed with, cried with, and loved with all my heart. They were my comfort blanket.
Cancer had arrived with no warning, and my work friends joined my army of support. I felt them standing with me as I wondered what the future held. They sent me care packages with slippers and face-creams, books and flowers! Claire Solan arrived at my door from London one day and my work bestie Brendan O’Loughlin even came to a chemotherapy session with me.
MY NEW NORMAL
I could write a book about returning to work after cancer. I’ve listened to other survivors speak about the feelings it brings up. I listen carefully, but most seem as confused about it as I was.
One day, after returning to work, I thought I felt a lump on my shoulder and I jumped. Susan Keogh, who was sitting beside me at the time, thought I fell off my chair. We locked ourselves in a studio (with Brendan), I whipped off my shirt, and they checked me for lumps. I cried on the floor as they tried to calm me down and assure me it was my shoulder blade (it was).
This was the level of support I had, and I cherished it. But I couldn’t help feeling like a burden. That I was dragging them down and perhaps not emotionally stable enough to be there.
A NEW PATH
In the meantime, The Good Glow had arrived into my life. It was one of the greatest gifts of my life. I would daydream about what it could become and where it could take me. That summer of 2019, I had arrived at a crossroads. This was it. I could give this a real shot and put all of my energy into this business I had created. It was now or never. Did I want to take the leap? Yes I did.
So that summer, I walked out of that building and into my new life. It has only brought wonderful things. But I miss my friends, I miss the uncontrollable laughter, I MISS THE MADNESS. But, I have precious memories that I will cherish forever. We all do.
I feel so lucky now that I am invited into work places each week to present my corporate talk (online now, of course), but I love that I get to see how other people connect with their colleagues, how they care about each other and want the best for each other. It fills me up, and I love to do it.
Which brings me back to why I started writing this blog. I get asked the same question, in every single corporate talk that I do. ‘How do I look after myself, when I don’t have the time, when my life is hectic? I feel guilty looking after myself when there are so many other things I could be doing with my time, for my kids, my husband?’
This question is all of us. I can relate to every part of it.
This week, I was watching an online lecture about self-care by Latham Thomas. She said something that stopped me in my tracks. I thought, this is it, this is the answer to the question and I need to tell people! So here I am writing it all down so that you too can read these words and hopefully get something from it.
She said: ‘Learn how to mother yourself first, so you can be a powerful sense of love, healing and learning for those that you serve.’
This is why I look after myself every single day. Yes, for myself. But also for my family. When I am nourished and grounded, I have more to give, more to teach my child about self-love and self-worth! What a gift for our children and those around us.
So next time you push yourself down to the bottom of your ‘to do’ list, think ‘I must mother myself first, so I can be a powerful sense of love, healing and learning for those around me’.
Thank you universe for yet another ah-ha moment. How wonderful to know that the universe is always teaching us, always guiding us.
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