Wow, July already! First of all, my apologies for missing out on writing last month; it’s been a bit busy around here recently and I’ve been away on business for a few weeks as well. Next thing I knew, a month had flown by. Here’s a 2-for-1 special to cover both June and July.
With the all the travelling I do, I have recently gained weight. Aeroplane and restaurant food are not always the healthiest, and I lost a fair amount of my fitness and strength. I am in no way obsessed with my weight and like to feel that my body and I have a good relationship. But when you are starting to notice your clothes are straining a bit to keep you in them, it’s time to tune in. I am an active person and have always used exercise as a form of stress relief in a busy lifestyle. As a teenager and young adult, I was a very competitive kayaker and spent a lot of my day training. Once I moved into the working world full time, I still maintained my fitness with running, gym and swimming, so I have always been fit. But nowadays, with running my own business and being contracted to other companies, it’s easy to find excuses not to exercise. Being a mom also adds to that, as time spent away from your child is already weighing on your conscience; when you’re asked to play instead of heading out for exercise, playtime often wins. I began to notice recently that I have been very tired, my back started to hurt on a daily basis and on a mental level I felt quite anxious and sometimes overwhelmed with the demands of my work and family. I quickly realised that it was directly related to the fact that I had stopped exercising regularly and my diet wasn’t great. I know we constantly hear this and every second social media page is dedicated to fitness and health, but it is so TRUE!
While I was working at sea and in private service, I made it a regular part of my day to get at least 30 minutes of exercise in, no matter where I was. This often involved being creative and using my bodyweight; I found quite a few helpful YouTube channels that were great to follow too. As often as I could, I would get out for a run or a swim, which also helped me get away from work and clear my head. The endorphins would help me feel more calm, confident and capable to deal with whatever else came my way. My husband often jokes with me, saying “I think you need a run” – usually a sign that I’m getting a bit stressed and maybe grumpy. He still maintains that when I arrive back from exercise I am a calmer, happier version of myself. And he is (dare I say it) right! Whenever I am battling with a problem or feeling overwhelmed, I get out and do some exercise, or even spend 20 minutes on my yoga mat with a YouTube led yoga video. The difference afterwards is always noticeable, and I have usually been able to come up with a solution – or at least a plan to get to that solution. There is a small trick though, you have to switch your mind off and let your thoughts just spill over in your mind. Don’t think too much!
Now, I hear some of you protest that you really hate exercise or that there is no way you can fit it in. Exercise does not necessarily mean pulling on your running shoes, there are other ways to change your mind set: yoga, meditation, a walk, a soak in the bath, or reading your book. Anything, really, that allows you to disconnect from the world and be within your own mind. We are so wired into the world with technology these days that we are never truly alone with our own minds. I truly believe that you need to disconnect yourself for at least 10 – 15 minutes per day, minimum. Aim for 30 and do something for you. I realised after becoming a mother that you have to look after yourself physically and mentally before you can look after someone else. How can you be the best person to someone else if you aren’t the best person to yourself? You can fake it for a while, but soon the cracks show; believe me, I have tested the boundaries and – I don’t mind admitting – failed to maintain it for a prolonged time.
This month, and as we head into the 2nd half of the year, I am promising myself more time to exercise and eat well so that I can be a better me. It involves me giving myself a kick in the rear end and being more organised, but I started yesterday, and I am already feeling better. Sometimes we need the break, but other times we need to know when to get back on the horse.
I would love to hear from you all out there what you will be doing and any tips on how to keep fit and healthy in your busy life. What do you do on a daily basis and what challenges do you face? You can either post them on my FB or Instagram page or email me on firstname.lastname@example.org. I look forward to hearing from you and sharing your experience.