Sorry to rub it in, but I’ve just returned from an island holiday with my hubby and am proud to say I actually relaxed. As in totally switched off. Went to Zen Town. While that might not seem like unusual behaviour for someone surrounded by clear water, palm trees and never-ending coconuts, for me it was a huge achievement.
For the past decade “relaxation” didn’t really exist in my vocabulary. I was a highly stressed, insanely caffeinated reporter running myself to complete burnout. Life was a blur of crazy wakeup calls, high pressure deadlines, huge hours and eating whatever dirty crap I could find to fuel myself. I’d sleep with my phone under my pillow, check emails constantly on days off and even holidays, take phone calls at all sorts of awful times and be in a constant state of anxiety because I may need to jump at any moment to cover a story anywhere in the world.
While I loved my career and truly felt like I had the best job in the world, it came to the point where deep down I knew my health was really suffering. I was exhausted, no make that completely fried, mentally and physically. A doctor even warned me I was struggling with adrenal burnout, but at that point I was too busy and ambitious to listen, because in TV-La-La-Land the more successful you get, the harder you must keep working.
With a passion for health and nutrition, a career change had been something I pondered for a good couple of years before finally making the plunge. It takes a huge leap of faith to change careers when you’ve worked incredibly hard in your certain field but I’m so glad I didn’t leave it too late to take back control of my life.
Of course, hindsight is marvellous, but the most important lesson I’ve learned since stepping away from the corporate rat race is that health and wellbeing truly is the most important asset we have. Sounds totally obvious, but how many of us put everything else first and treat eating well, exercise and mental health as some sort of luxury, instead of a necessity?
Making new year resolutions or going on a well intentioned health kick is one thing, but I’m talking about day-to-day wellbeing. Some people obviously don’t have the luxury of a complete career overhaul, but everyone can incorporate simple habits into their daily routine and be healthier and happier for it.
To throw out a few ideas, that means things such as pausing for 10 deep breaths during the day, eating lunch without distractions outside in the fresh air instead of scoffing it down at your desk, turning the phone off when you come home from work to have some “you-time” and be in the present moment, or walking with friends before sitting down for coffee. Every little bit counts and will lead to a greater sense of overall wellbeing.
A year and a half into my career and lifestyle transformation into an holistic health and wellness coach, I must admit I am still working with natural therapists to calm those overworked adrenals of mine and retrain my mind to switch off. I wish I implemented more manageable wellness methods into my life instead of operating in extremes. So from someone who totally understands what it’s like to have “no time”, please slow down and start being more conscious. As the old saying goes, run the day or let the day run you. It’s the best investment you will make.