– And Other Lessons from an Old Boiler!
As some of you may know, it’s been a bit of a chilly start to 2020 for us at home. For 5 days and nights, we were back to basics without heating or hot water at home, after the fan on the boiler decided it didn’t have the energy for even one more spin. (To be fair, I felt like that a few times myself over the past year, so I can’t really judge!).
Luckily, I’ve got an insurance policy on the central heating, so was able to get an engineer out fairly promptly. However, despite numerous attempts to get the fan spinning again, it appeared it had spun its last spin and could spin no more. So, an order for a new fan was placed and we were left to the logistics of borrowing portable heaters from family and sourcing warm beds and hot showers. At first, it felt like a bit of an adventure, huddled under blankets around a 2-bar table-top heater, watching films we’d saved for rainy days. Packing up bags to go and stay at my parents’ house. Or to go to the gym and have hot showers afterwards (funny how it seemed to take much longer than usual to get clean!). Then stay in the warmth of the club lounge to have a coffee…which turned into lunch and doing some work.
The Shine Was Wearing Off!
However, after 5 days of this, the shine seemed to wear off a bit! Filling and boiling the kettle a number of times to get some warm water to wash in. Do the washing up with (yes, we’re still old-school here, no dishwasher for me!). Or to rinse the stray hairs from my son’s head after a much-needed trip to the barber’s. All stopped feeling like fun novelties. Luckily we were still on holiday for the majority of the time, as on the nights we did brave it at home, it was so hard to drag ourselves out from under the extra-thick duvets. Just poking a foot out the side seemed to take a lot of willpower and risk frost-bite! And I’m normally a ‘hot bod’ that doesn’t easily feel the cold!
On what turned out to be the last morning in this state, it was the first day back to school and work and I have to admit, I think it was the fastest we’ve ever got ready! We did everything at lightning speed, just to ensure we were in the chilly air for the least amount of time possible and to warm up our bodies through exercise!
I’d Won the Lottery!
And when the engineer finally came back at 9pm with the replacement part and got our radiators and hot water pipes running again, it felt like we’d won the lottery!
It was such a humbling experience too. In fact, just the night before the boiler broke down, I’d been speaking with a neighbour about donating some old duvets to a homeless charity she has links to. After going through this experience for just 5 days and let’s face it, still with a roof over our heads and options for getting into warmth elsewhere, I simply can’t imagine what it must be like to try to survive on the streets, with just a sleeping bag for shelter from the elements.
There was also an unexpected positive that came from this experience. It seemed particularly stark in contrast to the excesses of the festive season we were just coming out of. I noticed that I started to focus purely on the basics; just the things we needed to ensure that we had warm clothes, a heat source, somewhere to sleep and food to eat. I didn’t rush around trying to fit in unnecessary trips. Rather than being spread out across various rooms, my son and I tended to stay together in one room, in front of the 1 heater we had. We played games together, watched films or simply chatted. I didn’t pull out my laptop and sit at my desk to do some guilt-fuelled work on my holiday (which I had been tempted to do). Instead, I had an early night and read one of the many books in the pile next to my bed, snuggled up under my duvet, feeding my hunger for knowledge and nourishing my soul.
Even though I’m an advocate for mind-body-soul connection, practising meditation and self-care as much as possible AND work with clients helping them to do the same whilst improving their life/business, I’m far from perfect myself and can get caught up with doing rather than simply being more often than I would like.
Lessons Learned for 2020
So, what are the lessons I can take from this experience into 2020?
- Slow down – less really is more! I’ll remind myself of this experience, any time I find myself rushing around or trying to cram in as many things from my To Do list as possible. And perhaps just take an early night and grab that book again, to relax and recharge!
- Gratitude – I love noting what I’m grateful for each day and will definitely commit to journal these regularly.
- Is this really necessary? – Whether it’s about a task I’m considering committing to, an event or a potential purchase, I’m going to ask this to determine whether it will enrich my life/business, or that of those close to me? Will it create unnecessary waste? Will it negatively impact my time or energy? And use the answer to these to decide whether to continue or find another tack.
If you’re the kind of person who dives head-first into things, fills your diary with tasks/social engagements/household chores and tends to forget about self-care, you may find my 30 Days to De-Stress for Success self-study course very helpful! Packed with information, exercises and guided meditations to help you relax your mind and body and be more effective with less stress, it could be just what you need to have a calm yet successful 2020!
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