I can honestly say 2021 was one of the most challenging years for me and my family. I decided that I needed some much needed self care and prioritised my physical and mental health above all else, including the project. Are you someone who just pushes through at all costs? I have done that before only to be far worse off for it.
I truly believe in the power of shared lived experiences. Here's what I did to get myself back on track - healthier than ever both physically, mentally and emotionally. I hope this helps you too.
- I found a practitioner that LISTENED to what I was saying about my health. I kept getting told that there was nothing wrong with me. I persevered until I found Gille, a nurse practitioner who listened, intervened and treated all my physical ailments. I credit Gille for turning my life around.
- Breathwork. I discovered breathwork last year after a close friend recommended it. I know you must be thinking what is it? It is a literally that - learning how to breathe properly. I can tell how sick a patient has by looking at their breathing pattern. When we are sick or stressed you breathe fast because your body wants to get in as much oxygen as possible to fuel our cells for healing. In a world of constant stress most people are in Fight or Flight mode, activating the sympathetic nervous system which tells our body we are in danger. In this mode our breathing is often shallow and fast. Deep, long breaths activate your parasympathetic nervous system which is our 'rest and digest' healing system. I practice breathwork every day and am now becoming a certified Breathwork teacher. It is nothing woo woo - just a powerful method to release emotions, calm your body and mind down and let your body know you are safe. I challenge you to try it! It is truly life changing.
- Prioritised my mental health. This included lots of walking, meditation, gentle yoga, listening to podcasts and surrounding myself with positive friends only and let go of those that drained me.
- Practiced Gratitude. Everyday I would write down at least 3 things I was grateful for.
- Found joy. This is a big one. I spent most of the year feeling that I lost my mojo or joy in my life. After getting to the root of my physical problems it was a like a light bulb moment. I forgot the correlation between hormones and gut health. Feeling sick all the time was no fun. It was only when my body healed that I felt JOY for the longest time.
- Let go. Let go of the past and how you think things should be. Trying to control an outcome doesn't work, it only creates worry and anxiety. Let go and watch your life bloom.
- Talked to someone I trusted. I can't stress this enough. Even if you feel alone, you aren't!
- Quit the gym. This one hurt. I LOVE the gym. The day I couldn't even lift a 2kg dumbell was it for me. I cried. I went home and decided that I needed to step away from my strength training workouts to let my body heal. I focussed on walking, yoga, meditating, sleep and rest. I have just rejoined the gym and feel happy that I can lift weights again.
- Read more. I love to read and invested in books to help my recovery. When I didn't feel like reading, podcasts were my go to therapy.
- Reduced my commitments. While I still worked in schools, I purposely cut down my hours on the project. I couldn't teach kids in the state I was in. I felt like an imposter and stepping away was a necessary step to healing.
- Spent time in nature. I hiked, explored trails, spent time at the beach and soaked up the sunshine.
- Travel. I took some time out, booked a chalet for my bestie and my dog and off we went to Margaret River for 4 nights.
As Mel Robbins says 'no one is coming, no one'. Make yourself your priority and take action to make it happen. Small steps are key. Everything else can wait. I promise it will be worth it.