Lifestyle and Wellbeing

Lifestyle & Wellbeing

Today’s society is one that demands the impossible of us, we work 40-60 hours a week, we are parents/guardians, friends, taxi’s, cleaners, house keepers, sometimes all as a one man band, and yet we read and hear in the news that stress is the biggest factor in causing heart attacks and that we should exercise and eat healthy!!!  Exercise “with what time I hear you shout”, eat healthy “I barely get time to stop for lunch and I’m always in too much of a hurry to eat breakfast”.  This is the 21st Century how can we manage it all and reamin sane?

I’m here as a fellow busy, “I have no time” person to give you a few bits of practical yet essential advice…

Breakfast 

Make time for breakfast and make it a good one – this meal IS without a doubt THE MOST important of the day. Try wholegrain cereals like Weetabix, Shreddies or possibly the best breakfast out there – porridge oats.  AVOID muesli, sugary cornflakes, or other fakes masquerading as healthy fruit clusters – it looks healthy but mainly consists of sugar.  All you need is an extra 10 minutes to force some well needed breakfast down you before you rush out of the door.  DO NOT leave the house saying “I’ll grab something at the shops on the way” because that something will inevitably turn out to be a pastry of sorts, packet of crisps, or if you’re lucky a token apple or banana, none of which have the energy required to kick start and fuel your body for the mad day ahead.  So EAT BREAKFAST – fuel your machine in the mornings – you will feel better for it.

Make Time

If you spend your day rushing around like a mad person from place to place and get the feeling that you never get chance to stop and breathe – factor a mere 10 minutes in to your day where you leave the office and walk outside and breathe in fresh air, if you’re a mum, put a DVD and baby monitor on and walk out in to the garden with a cuppa and sit and listen to the birds and look at the sky – breathe, if you’re a teacher, manager, administrator – find 10 minutes in your lunch/mid morning break to stop, tell people not to disturb you and breathe, you ARE entitled to that break.  Read that magazine article you’ve been looking at for ages, or call your friend in Australia that you’ve been meaning to call. Take time for you!

The idea is to make just 10 minutes for yourself, just 10 tiny minutes where you stop the action, step out of the madness and in to your world of tranquillity (whatever tranquillity looks like for you).  I would encourage where possible that you use nature or people as your source of relaxation.  Try and just sit quietly outside and breathe, notice how much you have going on in your mind, notice how your mind will try and convince you to go back inside “you have too much to do”, notice how rarely you are really aware of what’s going on around you.

This stress and noise in your head prevents you from appreciating the smaller things in life.  STOP look around, fall in love with the smaller things again.  We are only here once and no-one knows when their time is up – we all kid ourselves that we will be around forever, well if you like I have experienced the death of a loved one before their time was up, you will understand that life is short, shorter than you know.  So the next time you don’t have a lunch break, or miss your kids sports day because you couldn’t get out of work, remember… You only have one life – live it for now, every moment is precious.

I finally have Free Time – What do i do?

Some of us are lucky enough to have created a life that gives us some rest and relaxation time, now if like the rest of the human race you are confused as what to do when you actually have some time to yourself, here’s some ideas:  Don’t sit and read gossip mags and don’t watch daytime TV, these things are short term entertainment at someone else’s expense, but more importantly this doesn’t give you true relaxation.  To relax and unwind, to get centered and back you, to re-charge those weary batteries you need to shut off to everything and reach a state of deep relaxation.  I find this incredibly hard and tell you this only from my own turbulent experiences.  I used to think that relaxing was coming home at 10pm putting the TV on sleep timer and falling asleep to whatever was on.  I also used to think unwinding was going out every friday night after work and getting drunk and dancing, to ‘let off steam’.  Now, neither of these are wrong and we all need a healthy balance, but in my opinion are not to be mistaken with relaxation.

Distractions are NOT Relaxation – don’t kid yourself

TV and partying are what I would call entertainment and the definition of entertainment has absolutely nothing to do with relaxation, quite the opposite in fact, so what is relaxing?  Playing a computer game, having a glass of wine and something nice to eat – nope all entertainment – by definition something to amuse people, something to occupy them.  This would suggest that these activities are designed to occupy the mind, the exact thing we are trying to escape.  We want tranquillity, shut off, relaxation.  Or do we???? As society evolves we have shaped it to provide us with 24hour entertainment – as if we are scared to stop and listen to our mind, like we are distracting ourselves from… well ourselves.

The Body WILL find a way – Look for the Silver Lining

I stopped, well was forced to stop because I burnt out – in 2010 I sustained a major knee injury that ended my professional Taekwondo Career, it stopped exercise full stop in fact.  Even walking was an impossibility for 6 months – I still maintain that although it closed many doors at the time, without it I would never have been forced to stop and see what I was doing to myself.  I was working and training myself in to the ground.  My obsession to fill my day up so that I didn’t have to deal with my mind had finally taken it’s toll.  Every day I am grateful to the scar on my left knee because it gave me perspective, it forced me to step out of the box and see that there was more to life.  I now MAKE time to relax and unwind, here are some of the things I love to do that get me centered and back to me.

Relaxation for MInd and Body – Treat yourself

Sauna and Steam Room sessions where I just sit breathe, stretch and think.

Walk my dog through muddy fields.

Find a particularly scenic and inspiring view and sit in my car with my feet up and the windows open admiring the view while taking in the fresh air.

Sit outside with a big coat on and a blanket wrapped around me and read a book just enjoying the sound of the birds and hearing the bushes sway in the wind.

Bodyboard at my favourite local beach.

I  borrow my friends camper van and pitch up somewhere beautiful, open the side door and have a cup of redbush tea while watching the people walk past.

My favourite would have to be sitting on Gwithian Towans with my dog watching the sunset – there’s nothing like it.

Some of you might say that some of the things I’ve mentioned are activities and possibly class as entertainment but the difference is – I have learnt to use these activities to get me back to me. To re-charge my mojo if you like.  You’ll find your own too.

So try some, make up your own, but try and find some that actually allow you to be present to you, your mind and present to what’s going on around you.

Vicky, you are amazing. After six weeks of moping around on crutches and trying to 'rest', I have a one hour (pretty painful!) massage with you and I'm feeling rather hopeful of running at bootcamp. Thank you! :)
Vickie Hugh-Jones - Vfit Bootcamper