I either run and do yoga daily for months on end or I do absolutely nothing. Nada.
The last few months has seen me fully commit to exercise though, and I feel flipping stronger than ever. Dealing with an unwell relative (who is slowly recovering now, thankfully) saw me regularly reaching for empty carbs (hi there Digestives) and food I knew wouldn’t nourish me, with sport being put on the back burner because I was ironically too stressed for it. What a dingbat!
I made a decision three months ago that self-care meant exactly that. To care for oneself. I took intolerance tests and eliminated gluten, yeast, soya and eggs according to their advice, and I got my heart rate up several times a week.
I’ve always know the benefits of great food and exercise but when you’re overwhelmed, it can be easy to put yourself last. To feel there’s no time to work out when you need it most.
Unsurprisingly, gloriously healthy food, makes you feel gloriously healthy and in order to thrive day-to-day juggling family and work, means I need to make myself and my wellbeing a priority. I can only be strong for my family if I look after myself. Plus exercise feels amazing. That buzz is euphoric and if you do it enough, you start to become addicted.
Getting on the Mat
Yoga has been a game-changer too.
I often suffer from nightmares during periods of stress, and along with vitamin B, zinc and magnesium (ask your pharmacist), yoga has nipped the bad dreams in the bud, helping me to nod off quicker and actually stay asleep.
I find the optimum time for me to get on the mat is one hour. Any less doesn’t give me the same quality of restful sleep.
I also do 10 minute bouts of yoga throughout the day from my desk, inhaling deeply so my stomach expands and breathing out slowly too. I’ve also found this is the best thing to do before reacting to stressful situations. It allows you to take a moment (literally) returning to the stress with greater clarity and composure.
Look, I’m a passionate person and I don’t want to crush that, it’s who I am and why those who love me, do, but I always want to communicate and behave in a calm and considered way.
I know it’s not always easy on broken sleep and the mother hustling juggle that is life, but yoga has made me realise it’s completely possible, even when dealing with great sadness and pain. It’s also about crying when you feel the urge and not suppressing sadness. I spent most of yesterday in tears at the tragic events in Manchester. Yoga helped me curb the panic I felt, the fear, and crying released the anger and trauma.
Yoga really is such a tonic for the soul.
If you missed my interview with the oldest yoga master in the world Tao Porchon-Lynch, go be inspired and I love journalist Elle Tucker’s wisdom on experiencing the spectrum of emotions rather than a relentless and unrealistic pursuit of happiness.
Why you should run?
I love a good run and find that sprinting either in my local park or in the garden energises me like no other sport can, and along with yoga, offers me the perfect balance of cardio meets toning and recovery.
My PT is close mate Caroline Asquith founder of ShapeShifters who I’ve known since I was 16 and working alongside her this year has truly transformed my body and mind. Seeing her early on in the week gives me the kick start I need to work-out throughout the week too.
We are busy people, of course we are, but we need to stop making excuses and start doing. Power walk, cycle, run on the school-run, do whatever you need to break a sweat!
I just need to keep on with this happy-making routine I’ve got going on. I need to remind myself of how happy regular exercise makes me feel. It’s armour, basically. The more I work out, the more I’m able to deal with the nights when sleep eludes me or I have a late deadline, and the less stressed I am when times might be tougher than usual or PMT strikes.
I’m going to stick with this. This blog post is making me accountable. Good gym gear and the lure of more helps, too. This look above features Puma leggings, Superdry jogging top and rucksack and new Asics my husband hates but will ensure I’ll never get run over, right!
So, will you join me on my health kick?
Come on, let’s inspire one another.