That Friday feeling

Well haven’t I been quite the slacker this week? I do apologise but, while I know it isn’t time for Sunday thoughts yet, let me tell you what has been going on this week: Monday was a strange day of uncertainty, desperately wanting to go into the gym but knowing that with a 2500 word translation (on airports and airlines, not quite my subject of expertise) and a two-hour one-way journey due to engineering works, it was just not a wise idea. I toiled away, struggling with brain fog and lack of motivation, and just managed to get it done in time for Tuesday which was a day spent at the gym – training myself, teaching classes, training clients. Wednesday was spent running errands around London, made even more stressful than necessary by forgetting all my PIN numbers and by not taking enough snacks out with me. Thursday was mainly spent travelling to France, where I hope to have a little more time to put finger to keyboard (doesn’t quite have the same ring as putting pen to paper, does it?) and, even more excitingly, to catch up on all the beautiful and interesting blog posts that have appeared in my reader and in my inbox.

It’s strange because I feel like I will forever be stuck wobbling my way along a tightrope, somewhere between being too busy and chasing to-do lists, and having gotten everything done and feeling guilty for not doing more.

So I wanted to talk through some of the things that have been going through my mind lately – for several reasons. 1) I haven’t really cooked anything interesting or taken photos of any beautiful food to share with you, 2) My training has been a little erratic and so I don’t have any exciting new fitness tips to share, and 3) I have been shifting my view back to a more holistic mind-body-and-soul perspective, which I seem to cycle in and out of every few months.

In this early stage of self-employment, I am dealing with the inability to put the work out of my mind and the difficulty of measuring achievement, which I knew would happen and yet haven’t been able to combat. I don’t have the equivalent feeling of walking out of work at 5pm (well, 5.30 or 6pm, more realistically), having done all my work and full of excitement for the weekend. Although I don’t work over the weekend, and I make sure I do nothing “work related” especially on a Sunday which is Ben’s only full day off, I don’t get that sense of relief at the shift in routine, as I can pretty much do what I want when I want. No real problem there, except that I am craving that sense of relief, rather than appreciating the fact that actually I enjoy every moment of every day (most of the time). Isn’t it weird what your mind can do to you?

Realising what was happening, I have signed myself up for a 10-day-long silent meditation retreat later in the year. I have heard so much about it from people who aren’t overly spiritual, certainly aren’t into cults, and have never meditated before, and I have seen first-hand the difference it has made to their demeanor. At the moment I am on a waiting list as they get booked up so much in advance, but knowing that I will have some time to switch off from everything (no computer, no phone, no music, no books, no writing paper – nothing but your own thoughts) is an exciting and intriguing prospect.

But I know I will need to put in the work myself to make the changes happen. So I am starting now – I have signed up to Lumosity and play “brain training” games daily: the science around regular mind activity is overwhelmingly positive, but even if it did turn out to be just a gimmick (after all, are our brains getting sharper or are we just getting better at the games – and how can we tell for sure that we are slowly cognitive decline?) it is a nice excuse to switch off for 10 minutes a day and do something fun and that I can at least feel is beneficial.

I also got Ben to teach me how to play chess the other night – thanks to beginner’s luck (or the tips Ben was giving me throughout) I won, and as I like winning things I am hooked (at least for now – until I start losing)!

While I am on holiday for a few days, I will be trying to get into a regular yoga and stretching routine – nothing too intense, but just keeping my body switched on whilst trying to remedy all the weird imbalances I have created through grappling, and reminding myself that there is more to life than copious amounts of sweating.

The biggest thing for me at the moment is going to be my eating habits. As much as I try to practice what I preach, when I struggle with workload, I inevitably try to counter it by controlling my eating. Although I am too aware of it now to be able to do myself any real damage or go too far down the track, the thoughts are there – I catch myself delaying my morning meal later and later in order to “make up for” an “inevitable” evening overindulgence (thank goodness I am past the binging days), denying myself the one treat I really want during the day and trying to replace it with something “healthier”. The last few days I have been trying to loosen up on this a little, but I think it is now, while I am in France with new foods around me, new routines, and other people cooking for me, that I will make the biggest breakthrough.

So basically, I am just trying to take good care of my body and soul in many other ways: stretching, some abs, and casual walks; playing with new foods (handmade fresh bread from the local bakery is always going to be better than a packaged snack bar, no matter how healthy!) and eating what I want when I want (chocolate spread on bread at breakfast is going to be better than a chocolate bar at midnight!); writing letters to family and friends; playing “brain training” games and practicing chess; reading a lot and hopefully catching up on movies (if only my LoveFilm account would work in France!) or even just the news!

So that is all for today, friends – I apologise for the slightly mushy airy-fairy post, but I do like to keep things honest on here. And of course if anyone has any suggestions please do share! In the meantime, have a wonderful weekend and I will catch up with you in a couple of days!

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