Wednesday, 13 January 2016

On Gentleness vs Toughness

The last few weeks have been tough - Christmas was probably one of the most overwhelming I've ever had. A lethal combination of too much work, then illness, a lack of enough sleep and then more work. I definitely had a great time, but I also entered the new year a little burned out.

So I wrote off the first week of the year - a 60hr work week, a stinking cold and thoroughly missing my boyfriend was not the time to start adding extra things to my to-do list.

This week though, felt like the right time to focus on myself.

The 'self-care' that is discussed online is often far too gentle for my tastes. While I am a big believer in hot baths, gentle yoga and indulgent massages, that's not all self-care is for me. I gave up my gym membership at the beginning of December - overtime, time away and a plan to move in the new year meant I wasn't going to get there very often - and ever since I have missed my hardcore sweaty classes. So for me, self-care is about finding a balance between being gentle on myself and pushing myself really hard.

On Monday, I had my very first acupuncture session (I'll probably write more about this when I've had a couple more sessions) and came home and fell into a two-hour nap. I spent the rest of the day feeling half-asleep and was in bed and fast asleep by 10pm - something that hasn't happened in a really long time! I woke up at about 10am on the Tuesday and felt fully rested for the first time in a long time.

Sleep is currently high on my self-care radar. My sleep patterns are all over the place at the moment as sometimes I'm sleeping alone in London and sometimes Rich is here, or I'm in Portsmouth. So I'm focusing on helping my body to sleep - burning lavender essential oil before bed, a milky drink and a hot bath are the tricks I've got up my sleeve.

But the other thing that's very high on my self-care checklist is movement. I started a Way of Gray programme on Tuesday, which is a combination of HIIT and yoga. I'm not following the diet side of things exactly, as I loathe cooking (!!) so instead I'm cutting right back on sugar and making simple lunches (homemade veggie-packed pot noodles, more often than not) and dinners (jacket sweet potatoes or veggie pastas).

I enjoy pushing myself hard. I like the feeling of my body getting harder and stronger. It feels good n my body and it also feels great in my mind. I'm planning to take weekly pictures of my progress and do a weekly fitness test to see how I'm improving. It's a 12 week programme, so I may well share the results at the halfway and/or end point. I'm already hoping to pick up a yoga class and an Aikido class when I move to Portsmouth.

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