Twelve months ago, I had an amazing life where I chose the hours I worked, the places I traveled to and basically, did the things that I wanted to do.

For the last 20 years, this was my life – I lived it how I wanted to live it. I also did this while running two business, studying at a doctorate level and working full time.

 

Fast forward 12 months… and chaos kicked in

 

So what changed? I had a baby and I had unreal expectations of what that would mean for me and what it would do to my world!

Having a new baby basically turned my very well planned highly organised life into absolute chaos.

For those that can relate, you would appreciate how difficult it would be to alter the mindset of a person who runs their life pretty much like a gantt chart on a large scale multi million dollar project.

 

I started to feel like a failure.

 

I started to feel unorganised. I was so accustomed to being a superb time manager of everything – home, work, study, fitness, meal preparation, social activities, step kids, husband, time out for myself, time out for my relationship, time out for my family and friends.

It all turned upside down when Danae came along. She took control of my daily agenda and changed it on a hourly basis.

Some new parents embrace this. Some new parents lose their minds over it.

 

Here’s what I realised through this:

 

1. My highly organised life was no longer organised

2. The expectations I had on myself were unrealistic

3. The expectations I had of my baby were unrealistic

4. I started to feel like a failure, a mess, that my life was chaotic

5. I started to get overwhelmed through a sense of loss of control

At the end of the day, I was not coping with losing control when I had so much control over my own life, my own agenda, my own expectations. How can a person who can run on little sleep now be so tired that feelings of “walking around like a zombie” started to be the norm?

So what came of it? I needed to get real with myself, and create a new story for myself.

 

How I created a new story that worked for me

 

We all struggle with unknowns, uncertainties, pain, and life’s ambiguities and we each bear our struggles alone. No one else walks in our shoes, and no one else can ever really know how we feel – it’s just so unique to each of us. However, I learned to take comfort from knowing that I have friends, family or support networks that helped guide me through each of the struggles that I felt daily.

Ultimately, when we acknowledge and manage our struggles we develop a deeper character within ourselves. Our struggles help us realise that we are alive, they help us find ourselves, develop new philosophies on how to live better and ultimately, each struggle that we face tests us to help us develop a better life for ourselves.

I could very easily let the chaos in my life get on top of me right now, make me feel anxious and depressed. However, I choose not to. I have chosen to adapt and shift my priorities temporarily each day and be aware that the baby’s agenda comes first at this point in time. I have therefore, altered the expectations that I have on myself. I also invested in help, requested the support and assistance of my family and friends.

 

These are simple tips that helped me to get real with myself after having a baby:

 

1. Create a sense of awareness for yourself

Awareness is the first step – acknowledge it and know that whatever you are struggling with is only temporary. It will pass and how you choose to perceive it will determine how you cope with it.

2. Breathe

Stop momentarily for a minute at a time and just take deep breaths. Do this in the outdoors or somewhere that feels good in your home. Slow down your breathing and allow yourself to relax.

3. Use essential oils

My favourites are Doterra’s Whisper, Balance and Elevation. I diffuse these daily, I wear these. The peace that I feel when I take in the aroma is second to none.

4. Workout and move your body

If you only have 5 minutes, then use that time to move around, stretch, do a high intensity five minute workout. It releases the happy in our brains and makes us feel good.

5. Meditate

I use the Insight App that’s free and put this on several times throughout the day and use a sleep meditation for the evening.

6. Express gratitude

I’m grateful that no matter what, I have a wonderful baby and how I choose to show myself to her will set up her views on how she chooses to live her life.

7. Rewrite your story

We all tell ourselves stories about who we are, about what is going on, how the world works and what people are like. More often than not, as a result of the negativity bias at play in our brains, those stories are disempowering. So choose to rewrite your story.

8. Find reasons to appreciate everything around you

Focus on what is positive and right about your current struggle… it could be to build character, to find meaning, to give you a new direction.

9. Find your inner peace

Look internally and work out what is really important to you in life right now. Be at peace with your choices.

I would love to hear your thoughts on how you overcame unrealistic expectations that you placed on yourself at a point in time in your life.

Helen Reed

Helen Reed

Coach, consultant, entrepreneur and best selling author at Kappatalize Fitness
I have authored as part of the best selling series, “She Made it Happen,” and featured in Construction Management Conference Proceedings for my theoretical work on culture. I have 15 years experience working in the corporate and consulting worlds focusing on how people shift their mindsets when faced with challenging work environments. More recently I have shifted focus and interest towards working with women who aspire to be the best self, and helps them focus on growing their mindset and finding a healthy balance between work aspirations and personal life. When Im not working in the corporate and coaching space, I focus and works with individuals on building a healthy lifestyle through exercise, nutrition and wellness programs, and spend time with my young daughter.
Helen Reed

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