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 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.
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 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 words of wisdom, what thoughts and hopes and dreams, what would you want your loved ones to know if you died suddenly? What would your handover document for life be? Here’s mine.
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. 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.
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. 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?