It's been a while since I've written a blog. I used to do it every week and send it out in a newsletter. Or, I would write it here. It's like therapy for me. Writing helps me to put everything out and see what makes sense or just be able to let it go once I have sent it. If my blogs help someone else then that's great but that isn't why I do them. This one is a result of the restless energy I've felt over the last week after a rather chaotic 12 months.
Let me give you a little background so it makes sense. I've recently made a massive move from Australia, my home since birth, to Wales in the UK where I have relatives and where my grandfather was born. One of the relatives here has been an important person in my life since I was a teenager. He visited Australia several times and I've been here and in many ways he was more of a father to me than my own father. I had a call from that relative in the middle of last year asking for me to come over and help them. We have always had the agreement that when he needed me to I would come and help him when things became unmanageable. I couldn't get here for several months and eventually arrived in November. What I walked into was worse than I could have imagined.
During Covid my relative and his partner had been isolated from everyone and everything. Both my relative and his partner are in their 80's and have multiple health conditions which also impacted on what they are able to do. I stayed for 7 weeks to engage social services and extra support and then travelled back to Australia. The idea at that time was I would apply for a visa to move here to support them and leave behind my life in Australia.
What actually happened was that I was back 9 days after I left at the end of December. Almost as soon as I left they both became very unwell and I had to return. The day after I returned it was a medical appointment and the day after that a dental appointment. Over the course of the next few months things got better for a while and then worse again and by the end of February both my relative and his partner were admitted into hospital. My relative ended up being in hospital for 108 days and I visited him every day. I also kept working with his care team while holding down full time work in Australia and keeping in touch with my family and my inner circle who were an amazing support during that time.
Fast forward to July and I was finally in a position to fly back to Australia again but only to pack up and return with a visa that allowed me to live and work here. In a whirlwind 4 weeks I sold stuff, gave things away, had a few dinners with friends to say goodbye, quit my job, sold my car and sorted out the visa.
After returning at the end of July I have now been able to take a moment to breathe after the chaos of the last several months. It is almost one year now since I first arrived and now I need to work out what this stage of my life looks like. Queue that restless feeling after a massive change and you feel like you still have landed properly.
I'm sure that you too have had times in life where you go through a period of chaos and when the dust settles you wonder how you got through it. And then you get a restless feeling because now you aren't in that state of running from one thing to the next and dealing with constant chaotic events on a daily basis, sometimes several times a day.
I'm dealing with the restlessness now of 'where to from here'? Now that I'm here what do I do? I actually have heaps to do looking after my relative. But what about me? What do I do in the quiet of night when my friends in Australia are all asleep and I'm left alone with my thoughts and fears? What do I do when I haven't yet found 'my people' here in the UK? What do I do to rebuild my professional career that I had in Australia?
What I've discovered is that in that restlessness I can either distract myself with other things that don't propel me forward towards my goals or I can sit, reflect, plan, execute and keep moving towards where I want to be. While I have different obligations here than I did in Australia and they take up a lot of time, I still have time in my day to do things that improve my life and mental health. Things like scheduling my day to ensure that when I am working I won't be disturbed. Making sure that I walk in nature everyday. Listening to music. Continuing to learn new skills and listen to new ideas related to my work. Sharing those ideas and learning with others. When I do these things I feel a little less restless.
I'm a long way from settled yet but I'm well on my way. I've got some solid plans now. I've made some local contacts. I'm building my professional profile here and I'm, mostly, looking after my health. And on the days when it feels too hard I remember why I'm here. I'm here because of an agreement with a relative that I love and because this decision, no matter how difficult, is easier than living with the pain and regret of turning my back on something my heart needed to do.
Is there something that you feel restless about? What helps you move from that restlessness?
Sherry is the principal coach and blogger at Inner Rhythm.