I have found that one of the most difficult things about living a consistently happy and healthy life is not getting into the groove but staying in the groove. Kicking me out of my groove seems to be the easiest thing in the world to do! Going on holiday, moving house, a new relationship, breaking up, unseasonably busy period at work – anything can upset my apple cart. So as luck would have it, in the past 6 months I have gone through every one of these things.
I have been in recovery from my eating disorder for 8 years and (mostly) free from sugar for 3. I consider myself to be fairly athletic, training 6 – 8 times a week, and pretty healthy in terms of my diet and lifestyle. And I have been this way consistently for about 4 years. Until this year, that is. For the first time in 4 years I stopped going to the gym, I stopped eating 3-4 healthy meals a day, I stopped running, and I started eating sugar and carbs again. And every time I tried to start over and get back on the horse, something else knocked me down.
The first learning for me was that once my foundation was a little shaky, it became increasingly easy for me to have the resolve knocked out of me, and increasingly more difficult to make the right choices for myself. Which is why a solid foundation is so important. The second learning, which came a little later and was a little harder to accept, was that it’s ok. It was ok to be a little less demanding of myself, it was ok to go through a bad patch (it lasted a little longer than should have truthfully) and it was ok not to know which way was up for a while. Honestly, it is easy to preach all this insight now – while I was in my “rut” I was considerably less serene or optimistic about finding my balance again. I was a complete mess.
Then I learnt about the Quality of Life Index. Possibly one of the simplest introspective exercises I have ever done, but one of the most impactful (especially given the space I have been in). If you don’t know about it or have never done it, do yourself a favour. It is basically just rating the level of importance of your day-to-day activities and goals from a pre-determined list, and then rating how much time you spend on each activity, and then cross-referencing the ratings to see where you are falling short. Unsurprisingly for me, the areas I was falling short in were “Physical Health” and “Hobbies and Activities”. All my time was being spent on work, personal development and building a happy home (which are all areas of great importance to me) but there was a massive deficit in two other areas that are equally important, and their absence was taking its toll.
Since then, it has been little efforts that have started to make the most difference. One run a week instead of none, two or three long dog walks a week instead of none, and a cold-turkey approach to sugar and carbs once again. I am still not back in the gym but I know I will get there very soon. So if there is anything I have learnt in the past 6/7 months it’s that it is ok to have a bad patch, it is ok to not have the answers or not know how to fix yourself, and it will come right when the time is right (and only when then time is right!). Until then, ride it out 🙂
— Jemima-Faye x