April has come and gone in the blink of an eye. It was March…and now it is May; how the hell did that happen? I was mega busy. My sister-in-law was away for much of the month which meant juggling three children between two homes and three different schools. Then Grace and I (with family) went to Disney Land Paris for five days, which as you can imagine, was no walk in the park. Ha ha, OK, so literally we did walk in the park, but it was a short break with no break AT ALL.
I surprised myself though. I have been to Disney Land Paris before, with my sister ten of more years ago, and my over riding memory from the trip was STRESS. This time around, I knew that the weather wouldn’t be “Florida”, I knew there would be lots of “I want” from Grace, I knew there would be queues and I thought it would be a watered down version of the real thing so I was concerned that I wouldn’t enjoy it. Instead of engaging with that, I decided to go with an open mind, without expectation and just see how it went. Plus, the main reason we were going was to support my nephew and niece who were performing there with their drama group so that was more important than anything else.
In short, we had a great time; we all loved it. Although it was pretty cold, it was dry and bright; there were plenty of queues and some tantrums (some of which came from the kids) but the Disney magic was very much evident and we had so much fun. Plus we found an amazing restaurant (after having a shockingly bad and even more shockingly priced meal the first night) which served the best fresh food and (even better) really good wine (the parent’s treat at the end of the long days). If you get the chance to try Vapiano, trust me, go; we ended up eating there every day.
The trip was a good opportunity for me to monitor my progress. Ten years ago I was stressed, complaining, controlling, probably shouty. This time around, for the most part (I won’t mention swimminggate), I was laid back, uncomplaining and went with the flow.
That said, April was also a tough month for me. I think juggling a busy period at work with the school holidays, sometimes three (heck sometimes five) kids and my early morning Insanity work out sessions left me burnt out and resulted in me flying to Paris with a really bad cough and cold. I felt awful and really frustrated as this was my third period of illness in as many month after probably a couple of years illness free. I haven’t taken any form of medication (other than for my thyroid) in years but just to get me through the busy Paris days, I was continually dosed up on cold and flu tablets. I was coughing so much that I had to sleep (I use that word loosely) propped up on three pillows and my neck and back were agony as a result of the frequent, violent coughing episodes. And to top it all off, when I woke up to fly home from Paris, I had not one, not two but three cold sores. Now cold sores blighted my childhood and early adulthood but I rarely get them these days (maybe every couple of years) as I manage them through lifestyle and other methods. To have three at once was a massive indicator to me at just how run down I actually was and that I needed to reassess my lifestyle (again).
Also, on my return, during a regular massage session, my masseur pointed out that my neck was out of alignment and referred me to a chiropractor. After my consultation, I was advised that I need to give my body more structure in terms of movement; no more chopping and changing my exercise routine continually without an adequate build up period first (he also said that high impact training such as Insanity isn’t the best for the skeleton). My whole back was pretty messed up and I’m currently undergoing a course of treatment, during which the only forms of exercise I can do is walking or yoga.
My body is giving me pretty big signals that I seem insistent on continually ignoring; I know that I need to re-think my approach to my health long term. I’ve realised that whilst my body seems to crave yoga and walking and the odd run, my ego keeps trying to re-divert me back to what I know best and what worked for me in the past. So I go back, I do the high intensity stuff, after three to four weeks I get ill or injured and so the cycle begins again. I need to stick with what my body needs right now, which doesn’t mean I can never do high impact again. I also think I need to master my diet so that I don’t need to rely on the training as a tool of weight maintenance as sometimes I’m aware I’m training not because my body is feeling it but because I’ve eaten too much.
So back to the walking and yoga, building up to some running and low impact weight training whilst working on maintaining a healthy, moderate diet. I hope to build up to eating a vegan diet in the future but I’m not completely there yet; one step at a time. I also need to admit to myself that I’m not superwoman and as much as I want to say yes to everyone and be everywhere and do everything, I need to slow down and think about my health as a priority. Everything I do I do willingly but I can plan and prioritise better.
As always, I’m learning as I go. I feel like I’m on the verge of getting this right and then I will have more time to concentrate on working on other areas in my life. I’m reading some amazing books and watching great TV and films which are written by and star really strong women (check out Martha Beck for books and watch Girl Boss if you get a chance) which is really inspiring me. I feel like they are influencing how and what I write, pushing me to be braver with my words.
There are exciting times ahead, hell, these are exciting times. I never forget what a blessed life I lead and am super grateful for it and for the people around me, supporting me. As always, life is great.