Nearly 6 weeks ago i badly sprained my ankle & broke a bone in my foot by missing the bottom step on our stairs when going to bed (we have an upside down house). I was walking in pitch black - which I often do - but this time I was distracted looking at my phone. I misjudged, fell hard on my ankle and was in huge amount of pain.
The pain lasted an hour and then it felt fine but I needed to rest it for a few days and then wear a boot when walking. Because It was my right foot, I couldn’t drive.
I’m now about to drive again and be back out in the world again, but the past 5ish weeks have been fantastic and I want to take the lessons I acquired from this experience with me back into my normal life.
1. Slow Down
I’m a rusher. I often like to cram as much in my day as possible. And I often do a lot in a very short amount of time (after distracting myself with other things - see #2). I dash out in the car here, there & everywhere. Pop to the shops, run my kids somewhere because they’ve just asked to go there, go & do something now rather than wait.
Enforced bed rest for 4 days was heaven. After 1 day of watching TV I wanted to work, to do the online courses I’ve bought & never finished. To create.
So why not slow down and enjoy working from my bed one day a week? I’ll be calmer, happier & waaaay more productive.
2. Be Present - stop distracting yourself on your phone
I fell because I wasn’t present in my life. Put my phone down more and BE with my family more. Be with myself & my thoughts more. Stop numbing myself out with constant distractions.
Stop getting sucked into other people’s lives on Facebook or TV - we have our own lives to fully live!
3. Enjoy the inter-dependence with your partner (if you have one)
My fall has brought us closer as a couple. For the first few days Evan did all the cooking, child care and driving, whilst working from home. After that he did a lot of school pick ups & drop offs and driving me to physio appointments.
As a result, I think he gained a greater appreciation for what I do as a mum & wife. He’s been more caring & considerate towards me. He’s been more engaged in our family - doing 1 school pick up a week. It’s been lovely having him at home more.
I have gained a greater appreciation for him too. I’m very independent and if I want something done I usually just go & do it. To not be able to physically do that has meant I've needed to rely on Evan more, to engage him in the decision-making process, to relinquish my need to control everything. We’ve done more together and I appreciate & love him so much more.
As a culture we’re obsessed about being independent & getting our children to be independent as early as possible. And yet interdependence is what brings us the most joy and ’success’ - as a family, as a team, as a community.
So I want to continue to work together more as a team now that I’m physically independent again.
4. Plan your family’s weekly food and don’t buy anything else
I usually plan our meals for the week before doing my weekly shop and felt I was organised in that regard. But I’m also a great one for popping to the shops when I’ve forgotten something or don’t have the exact ingredients. Not being able to drive or walk to the shops has meant I’ve had to be super organised with the food and, crucially, make do with what I’ve got.
As a result, we’ve saved so much money! I never realised how many of those little, seemingly inconsequential purchases I made. Our food bill is what the one weekly shop is which actually makes things super simple.
I need to stick to that and make do with what I’ve got. Which is a great approach for many of us in these days of increasing unease about our society’s excessive consumerism.
5. Enjoy hanging out with your family
My kids haven’t had as many play dates as usual simply because I couldn’t get them there. As a result, we’ve had much more time hanging out as a family. My children have played more together. I’ve been more organised and been able to play with them more. Evan has been at home more during the week to have family dinners, card games, and just hang out together.
We’ve become more cohesive as a family unit these past 6 weeks.
When my children have lots of play dates they are more distracted, less willing to accommodate each other’s wishes and it feels like we’re just rushing through the day jumping from one thing to another.
Whilst obviously friendships are important, so too is family life and I’d like to continue to place more emphasis on it whilst my children are still young. My 10 year old will become increasingly peer-focused so, for now, I want to enjoy our time together as much as possible.
I realise I’m incredibly fortunate to be able to experience the rest, care & lessons of the past 6 weeks
I have a loving partner who is able to juggle his work to school hours some days, work from home other days and to generally help me in the way he has. I’m also very fortunate that I work from home so I don’t have that pressure to physically get to work. And I’m incredibly fortunate to have a loving community around me who has been willing to take & collect my kids from school, lend me crutches and a boot, cook some meals the early days and pop in to say hi.
It’s made me appreciate what I do have even more and I’ve since told my close single mum friends that they can come & stay with us if they are ever incapacitated in such a way. Plus I’ll be doing lots more driving in the short term to say thank you for those who’ve gone out of their way to drive for us.
But I think there are lessons in there that are not unique to me:
- slowing down
- using what we have
- being present in the moment
- stop distracting ourselves
- really connecting with our family and those important to us
- building a community around us that are willing & able to support us in times of need and whom we are happy to support when they need it too.
I feel rather nostalgic already for my 6 weeks ‘break’ (literally!) as I re-enter the busy world. But I hope to keep a hold onto the benefits I’ve enjoyed and the lessons I’ve learned from my time at home with my broken foot.
My next focus will be on strengthening my injured foot and also my whole body. I haven’t given it the attention it deserves and it’s amazing how much we take it for granted - until one part of it stops working….
I’d love to hear what experiences you’ve had from a similarly unexpected injury or event, and what lessons you’ve taken away from it.
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