How did losing my dogs teach me 3 life lessons for a healthier life?
This past weekend my two dogs became escapees after shimmying the gate open in our backyard. They were gone for approximately 36 hours and I was a wreck.
I had no idea where they were or how to get them back. I went through the various stages of grief: shock, denial (kept checking the backyard), anger (at them and myself), bargaining (What can I do different if I get them back? What is my strategy to find them?), depression (intense sadness), testing (how long and how will I spend my resources on finding them), and acceptance. I mostly stayed in between shock and depression.
Through my intense hunting and searching for my sweet puppies, I came to some powerful lessons that I am certain I may not have come to without the experience of this temporary loss.
Side note: the dogs were reunited with us!! An amazing neighbor who was literally down the street had cared for them while I was looking for them!
So, what on earth did losing my two dogs teach me about leading a healthier life (on all levels)?
Lesson #1: Reprioritizing IS possible
While my dogs were missing, all of a sudden, my very busy schedule cleared right up. I made finding them my priority. I shifted my work and other obligations in order to focus on searching for them. It occurred to me that the urgency I applied to this mission could be applied to my health.
All those days of me saying that I had zero time to work out or plan my meals so that I wasn’t eating the first unhealthy thing I saw came to a screeching halt. I realized that I made the necessary an immediate priority. It was, in fact, possible.
My dogs weren’t going to find themselves. It was up to me. I had to put in the work to talk to neighbors, post on social media, visit the animal centers to see if they had been turned in, create and hang posters in the neighborhood.
The only way my dogs would find their way back to me was if I made it a priority to find them. I put the same effort to find them that I put into my business.
Or, as I like to present to women in my Revitalized Wellness group coaching program, “we don’t find the time, we make time”.
The same goes for health. It doesn’t just happen on its own. I have to put in the work each day and make it a priority now so that I don’t have to double-down on my efforts when sickness comes later.
Lesson #2: Stress is exhausting…a new mindset becomes necessary
Through this stressful time, I experienced severe exhaustion. I couldn’t sleep. I wasn’t eating much. I slipped into a depressive state. I realized that this whole situation required a new mindset and outlook if I was to make it through this time in one piece.
I was focusing on them being gone. I wasn’t focusing on how my efforts would pay off. I was looking at what was missing and how terrible the situation was.
That effort took energy. Actually, it drained every ounce of energy. I had to change the way I was thinking about the situation in order to preserve energy and not end up flat on my face.
With every sign I hung in the neighborhood, I said a prayer that that particular sign would be the sign that brought my dogs back home. I knew that I had a plan and I was executing on it and I needed to BELIEVE that my efforts would pay off.
I had to change my REACTION to the stress. The dogs were still missing but I had to focus on their return rather than them being gone.
So often, we get stuck being overwhelmed with our current situations in life and we focus on the negative. We can’t see how our situation would be or can be different.
Because of the way we focus our mindset, it causes fatigue. Our stress response is on and it’s consuming our energy. The exhaustion increases with prolonged stress. A new mindset is necessary.
You know what, I felt lighter as I walked in my front door after hanging my signs all over the neighborhood. I had HOPE. I had created a plan and BELIEVED it would work. Within 10 minutes of getting home, I had two phone calls with information about where my dogs were and one lovely message from a neighbor saying she was praying they returned home soon!!
Mindset is the foundation to managing stress.
Lesson #3: Support Is Critical
During this time, I was completely taken back by the love, support, and encouragement I received from my community. I was getting texts and messages from people saying how sorry they were, and they let me know they were praying that the dogs would be found.
I posted on social media and the posts were shared well over 1,000 times!! Complete strangers were reaching out and giving suggestions and tips to help the search be successful! I’m still getting supportive messages. It has been truly incredible.
Knowing that so many people were supporting the search and that I was CARED FOR made all the difference in the world. Receiving an encouraging text and a helpful message from someone that had gone through losing a pet was pivotal in me remaining hopeful.
The best support was the support I didn’t even know I needed-the person who had found my dogs! She cared for them like I would have and maybe even a little better! ;) Without her, this story could have been so different. A person who was a stranger became a friend because of the role she played in this journey!
The same is said in life and wellness. Having guidance and support is crucial while on a health journey. We simply can’t make changes without having support from others who care about us.
Those who are going through the same struggle or who know the struggle you are going through can become an incredible support system.
Studies have shown that those who go through a weight loss program with a partner have increased success than those who go it alone and the results tend to be more sustainable. In the same vein, those who receive business coaching to improve performance show significant improvement in business performance because they have received guidance from a mentor who can identify blind spots and understands the journey they are traveling.
Finding a coach that has been in your shoes is a helpful first step. Asking friends and family to support you, or even better, join you is a great way to have accountability and support. You may even meet new people who have the same goal as you and that creates a common goal.
These principles can change you: you can go from merely surviving to THRIVING in your life. Taking these three simple steps will help you achieve results that you have been searching for. Results don’t come from wishing and hoping; results come from ACTION.
Ready to feel amazing and regain your energy? Ready to increase your success in life and manage your stress in a better way?
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