Life lessons in 2023
What areas of your life are you not taking ownership of? What changes would you like to see?
Last year was not a good year for me. The long-term health condition I thought I had sorted suddenly flared back up and I spent the whole summer going back and forth to the doctor, calling up the NHS, doing a string of tests in the hope of feeling better. If I am honest, I was seriously frustrated with the whole system. Why was everything moving so slowly? Why was I constantly having to chase after results and treatment plans?
Then, around June 2022, my mental health took a big nosedive. I just didn’t feel like myself any more; definitely not that sparkly, ‘sunshine’ Rachael my friends and colleagues refer to. I felt like I was under a dark cloud that just wouldn’t go away. This went on for three months — and I was left wondering, when was the medication going to work? When would things start looking up? It felt like it would never end.
Then, in September, it hit me: there was no one coming to rescue me. My health was my responsibility. I could either keep asking questions and expecting solutions from other people, or I could take action myself. This seemingly simple epiphany marked a pivotal moment in my life.
I was forced to take a cold, hard look at my life; my daily habits, my diet, how much I was moving, even where I was living. And let me tell you, some of it was not good. These reflections have led to some pretty major life changes for me in 2023.
My partner, Ed, and I made the big decision to permanently relocate from our sixth-floor flat in London to a seaside town on the Wirral, not only to be closer to our families, but also to embrace a more balanced way of life. Our change of location means I am out walking my dog, Bonnie three times a day, not out of obligation, but out of genuine love for my surroundings and this place I now call home. A daily dose of sea air has turned out to be better than any other prescription.
I have also become much more mindful of what I consume, and most days now start with a homemade green smoothie instead of a flat white and Greggs pastry (though admittedly, my love for wine and chocolate remains unwavering). I’ve even ventured into wild swimming and meditation; habits my former self would have laughed at.
And you know what? These choices have fundamentally changed my life. I feel not just physically better, but the happiest I’ve ever been.
Taking 100% ownership for your health means accepting the way you are living may be contributing to health problems, and it means making changes. Eating the right food, moving regularly, taking steps to minimise stress, and listening to your body. No one else can take responsibility for you, your behaviour and the life you create. And in the ebb and flow of life, no one is coming to rescue you. But that’s not a declaration of defeat. It’s a call to action. An invitation to take charge, to be the hero of your own story.
We created a book of life lessons, a collection of honest shares from the Ivy House team’s learning 2023. It gives you an insight into some of the incredible people that make this business and your programmes possible, and hopefully give you some food for thought as we head into 2024.
So grab a cuppa, enjoy, and — if you’re willing — we’d love you to share some of your reflections and learnings from this year too. This amazing, courageous community really matters to us, as does creating a space to learn and grow, together.