Handover documents for life

I’m due to have a big surgery on 30th April and I’ve been told I will need 2-3months off work. Obviously this is pretty stressful and I’ve been spending time creating my handover document. Advice to give to my manager and colleagues so my work will still go on whilst I’m off.

Writing all this down has actually reduced my stress levels, I’d been feeling pretty upset as I love my job and a big part of it is managing volunteers. The thought of my volunteers not getting support was getting to me but writing all the tasks down on paper made me realise that it will be fine and other people will be there to do the jobs I can’t.

And so I started to write a handover document for home! Not that my husband is stupid and can’t do all the household chores but I thought it would reduce my worries of how life is going to continue with me in hospital for two weeks and then laid up in bed  recovering.

Sam and Timm Cleasby Sheffield blogger advice

Its nothing mind blowing, but the jobs I do that Timm and the kids don’t. Cleaning the condenser on the tumble dryer, cleaning the oven, things in the allotment. Also things like advice on doctors and dentist appointments, kids plans with friends, house and family tasks.

But it got me thinking about what advice and guidance we leave behind when we die. (Sorry, that got morbid quickly!!!)

What advice would you give?

What words of wisdom, what thoughts and hopes and dreams, what would you want your loved ones to know if you died suddenly? How would your handover document for life look? Is there advice would you give? Here’s my advice.

Success is not how much money you have in the bank; success is living a happy and fulfilled life surrounded by people you love and who love you.

Time is so valuable, so spend your time with the people who make you happy, doing the things that bring you joy. It’s so easy to lose hours, days, weeks on things that aren’t joyful, some things we just have to suck up and get through, I don’t find joy in cleaning the loo but I am happier in a clean home. But the time you do have, use it wisely.

Make the time for the things that make you happy, this is about those day to day events that make you relaxed and happy, for me it’s dinner with friends, reading, gardening, sewing, my kids, my husband, watching a movie with someone I love.  I know work is important but it’s not more important than friends and family.

Be kind

Be kind. Kindness is the most powerful thing in the world. Give love, kindness and care to those around you. Not just people you know but to strangers. Try and think the best of others rather than falling into negative assumptions. Think about other people, their needs, their struggles and if you can help, help.

If something or someone makes you smile, tell them. Tell your colleague how great you think they are, tell that stranger on the train that you love their boots, tell your kids they are awesome, tell your partner you appreciate  them, tell your friend how special they are to you.

Travel as much as you can. Going to new places broadens your mind, opens you up to new opportunities and teaches you more than you can ever know. This doesn’t have to be far flung destinations (though I do love visiting new countries!) but it could be your own country, even your own city!

When you get into an argument with your partner, remember that you have the same goal, to resolve it and be happy. Even if you have totally opposing views, even when you both feel hurt, what you both want is for the argument to end and for things to be sorted. It’s easy to fall into negativity and wanting to be right, to “win”, even if this means you say something hurtful. Stop, breathe and think before you speak. Words hurt and are hard to take back.

What do you stand for?

If you stand for nothing, what’ll you fall for? Stand up for things that are important to you and for people who need your support. If you have privilege then use it to stand alongside those who don’t. Stand up against racism, sexism, hate and oppression.

Tell the people you love that you love them. You may think that they know you love them and they probably do! But give it a voice, tell your kids you love them every day. Don’t forget about your friends! Think about how nice it feels to be told you are loved and give that gift to someone else.

Make sure your partner knows that they are the most important and brilliant person in your life. It’s easy to take the people closest to you for granted, but let them know how much you love them.

Listen to music, read books, go to the theatre, go see some art. Creativity is what sets us apart from animals and it brings so much joy.

Follow your heart, is there something you’ve always wanted to do? Maybe you think it’s daft, beyond your reach or even have been told you’ll never be able to do it. Give it a go! I was told by my English teacher that I’d never be a writer, that people like me can’t write, yet here I am with a blog that’s been read over 3 million times! Ok, I’ve never written a book yet, but I’m going to keep trying!

Get outdoors

Get outdoors. Nature, fresh air and being outdoors is so beneficial for your physical and mental health. Get outside whenever you can.

Be silly. Don’t be so serious, enjoy the ridiculous things in life. Laugh, giggle, sing, dance, do whatever makes you smile.

If you are struggling, reach out and ask for help. When times are hard don’t be afraid to ask for support, whether that’s friends and family or a doctor, support service or charity. Don’t suffer alone.

Whether it’s physical health or mental health, when you’re facing challenges it can be so tough. Over the past 6 years I have dealt with so many surgeries, so much pain, depression, anxiety and feeling totally overwhelmed and that it was all too much. I understand how hard it can be. But I also know that going through life challenges has also changed me in so many good ways and has made me a kinder, tougher, more empathetic person. Whatever life throws at you, learn from it and use it.

Be the best person you can be, life is short and we never know what is around the corner, so make your life the best it can be, do the things that make you happy, be kind, show love, try your hardest and find the joy no matter how difficult.

If you had a handover document for life, what would it be, what advice would you give?

✌?& ❤️

Sam xx

3 replies
  1. Ami Tricker
    Ami Tricker says:

    Sam, you are not just a senior community Officer for Scope, but you are a leader, a friend to us all. You’re bloody amazing at what you do and I’m crying while writing this. You will get through this – recovery will be bloody hard but you’re a fighter! Don’t ever worry if you were to fall, you have your family, friends, Scope, and supporters to help you get back on your feet. We love you Sam, for who you are and what you do. You can do this, we know you can ❤

  2. Laura
    Laura says:

    The handover doc is a great idea.
    When I’m worried about getting through something I don’t want to do, I made up a “thought- ritual” that I adapted to various conditions. I made this up as a teenager because I don’t like to fly. So before a flight, I would picture myself getting on the plane, getting seated, reading, getting off the plane after a safe landing. I put myself into the future.
    Once on an Air Canada flight, the “cowboy”pilot landed so hard he blew a tire or two during a stop. That meant a few hours wait so I had to start the process again. This was the only way I could “get” any belief, however false, that I had a little control over my destiny flying somewhere!

    Another belief I have is a sense that I had a guardian angel, assigned my God, to help me when things got tough or dangerous. Old now, I can think of numerous events when things went from bad to better rather suddenly and they seemed like mini-miracles. Other people have shared some amazing stories with me that were “not just luck” too.

    Then there is the spiritual idea that we all have unique jobs to do in this life and will be around until we finished our special job(s). Until then, as a lady in her late nineties told me, you need to stay involved with people, be active, help people, etc…She went to a church, ran an exercise group twice a week, and was realistic and positive at the same time. Oh, and knee replacements didn’t stop her either!
    So that’s all I can think of at the moment other than getting medication for anxiety if needed; even having an open-minded ecumenical chat with a hospital chaplain can be calming too. Like military chaplains, they are usually good at listening and talking things over with people who are hurting regardless of faith differences that might exist.
    So we’ll all be thinking good things for you, and for the personal and professional outcomes you desire most. Will look for updates on your blog; we can all learn from each other.
    Best regards to you and your readers,

  3. Kerami Roberts
    Kerami Roberts says:

    When you said handover documents it reminded me of my maternity cover which I found incredibly stressful. I was a new teacher but was head of department I had organised from scratch. I wish I could tell you it was all fine but my gosh it was frustrating. He was a retired teacher and very stuck in his ways… Which was fine I guess but I wish I’d know he wasn’t going to read the file I made before I spent ages working on it…. Sigh… There were serious problems like him thinking a peice of coursework had to be UNDER 3 minutes when actually it was a MINIMUM of 3 minutes…. Sigh… And the worst bit was when I was quietly, blissfully feeding my 2 month old and he rang… To tell me he had thrown out “all that stuff we didn’t need” as it wasn’t relevant to this year’s spec (the stuff I had ready for the next 5 years….) He was more experienced and more respected in some ways than me despite my work being scrutinise and evaluated as very good and outstanding..

    However. I learnt a lot from that. Because for all the work frustrations and worry I had…. When I had my C section, my hemorrhage, my infection as well as my chronic disabling condition… and of course new baby… It helped me put that in a box for the months I was off. I could focus on me and my baby… And even though stuff wasn’t getting done my way it was being done and it might even be OK when I go back.

    And it was aaaaaaall there for me when I got back. Even when we have complicated responsible lives… We’re not indispensable. When I was in the thick of preparing for maternity leave it I didn’t want to me indispensable but in the thick of recovery etc it was reassuring.

    I know it’s not the same but it’s a period of surgery and change and being away. They’ll cope with out you… And be so happy when you are back.

    Lots of love xx


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