It’s safe to say 2019 has been a rollercoaster – one which kick-started with a near-death experience, emergency surgery and a massive reality check. It was a year full of incredible highs and challenging lows, but one which I am so grateful I experienced. It taught me a whole host of lessons, nine of which I want to share with you.
Don’t Take Your Health For Granted.
In January 2019 my bowel spontaneously twisted itself while I was in the Maldives. This lead to an emergency surgery, a large abdominal wound and a 3-month recovery. Up until this point I had never experienced a serious health scare in my life, and it really grounded me in my body. Undergoing a slow recovery over the course of the first few months of the year allowed me to harvest gratitude for simple abilities – being able to walk, being able to stand up unassisted, being able to get out of bed. Honestly, I am grateful that I had this experience, as it taught me so much about myself and gave me a newfound respect for my body and its resilience.
I Am Resilient.
When I experienced my health challenges in early 2019 one of the first questions people asked was “how are you coping with this mentally?” The truth is that I coped just fine. I wasn’t scared in the run-up to my surgery and I wasn’t scared in the aftermath. I didn’t feel sorry for myself. I didn’t panic. I hardly cried. I just got on with it. Quite honestly, I surprised myself with how positive, proactive and resilient I was. I focused on recovery, I made getting back to full health my goal and I worked hard towards getting stronger every single day. I just got on with it and I have faith that if the same thing happened again, I would handle it in the same way.
Airplane Mode In The Morning Is A Game Changer.
In 2019 I developed a new habit, turning my phone on airplane mode at night and leaving it on for the first hour or two of the following day. This allows me to wake up in the morning and start my day on the right foot. It avoids me rolling over and scrolling social media and instead gets me out of bed and jumping into my morning routine without any distractions. It also gives me a moment of calm and presence before the stress of the working day kicks in. It is honestly a game-changing habit and I plan on continuing it into 2020.
You Don’t Need To Label Yourself.
At the start of the year, I labelled and defined myself as a vegan. However, after my bowel surgery, I had to deviate from this diet for a short period under the guidance of a dietician. This was a massive headf*ck and as a result I made the decision to make the step away from the vegan label, as I felt that I couldn’t classify myself as one anymore. And you know what? It has been the biggest relief. I found that putting the vegan label on myself made me place excessive amounts of pressure on the food I consumed and feel overwhelming guilt if I ever slipped up. Now, as someone who is label free (or “plant-based/plant-focused” when I am pushed for a label) I find myself feeling much more relaxed around food. In reality, I still eat a 95% vegan diet but now I am free from pressure and guilt, and it feels awesome.
Take Control Of Your Finances.
2019 was the year I finally took control of my finances. I started a pension, I moved banks, I invested my money, I worked towards financial goals, I started to secure my future. Speaking to an advisor made me realise how much I was missing out on and how much I could make my money work for me. Rather than having my cash sat in a savings account doing nothing for me, I now have it invested in ethical funds which are slowly and steadily making me money. It has been an absolute game-changer.
Haters Gonna Hate.
2019 was the year that I started to receive online hate. At first, it really got to me and I tried to change myself and my message to seek approval. However, this was a huge waste of time as I soon realised that they will hate me no matter what I say or do. I came to realise that I am not responsible for what other people think of me, that is their own issue. Ultimately, happy people don’t try and bring others down. All I can do is implement techniques to protect my energy, such as using the block button when necessary.
Support Other Women & Celebrate Their Success.
There is a lot of talk online of women empowering women, but so few women are walking the walk and actually supporting others. In 2019 I made a conscious effort to celebrate and support women in my life and women in my industry. If someone I know brings out a new product I will buy it. If someone in my industry launches a new company I will order from them. As a small business owner I know how much this means. Ultimately, lighting somebody else’s candle doesn’t make yours burn any less bright, so find the joy in supporting and bringing other people up.
I Am The Organised One.
In 2019 I trialled an experiment. What would happen if I didn’t try and organise days out and trips with my friends? Would they take the lead and organise them? I gave it a few months and soon realised that the answer is no, most of the time they won’t. It solidified the fact that I am the organised one, I am the one who has to take the lead. I have come to accept this is my role in my friendships and I’m pretty happy about it, I am a control freak and enjoy organisation so it works well with my nature.
I Love London.
As a young Yorkshire lass I always said I would never move to London. I thought it was dirty, busy and full of unfriendly people. Fast forward to now, I have been living in the capital for almost 5 years and I absolutely love it. London is the land of opportunity, my friends live here, my business is based here, and there is always something new and exciting to see or do. In 2019 I was offered multiple opportunities to leave London, whether that was to move to another country or just to the countryside. On each of these occasions I found myself saying no – London feels like home now and I am not quite ready to leave. Yes the city isn’t perfect, but it’s my city and I love it.
Bring on 2020!