Like everyone I have been on that eternal quest to find the best self-care solutions for me.
I looked high and I looked low, and I tried everything to alleviate the stress in my life and to bring about balance.
I indulged in weekly massage, reflexology, acupuncture, osteopathy, herbalism, aromatherapy - everything to patch my gaping wounds of exhaustion.
I shopped and I shopped, buying clothes and shoes, make up and candles, oils and lotions, flowers, cakes, chocolates and treats. I deserved them I worked hard. I needed self-care, this is what we do.
I binged on food, on alcohol, on books, on films. I tried the gym but it was so hard, how could anyone find this fun, I spent more and more money on more and more things and "experiences" to help me find myself.
Eventually I broke. I'd broken a few times before but this time I knew it was a serious break and I needed to stop.
After leaving my corporate job I felt lost, for about 12 months I stumbled around trying to find my way, I managed, I found I didn't need money the same or the stuff or the experiences. I needed time. After 16 months of floundering I had a week on my own in a cottage in Wales, I found myself, I reconnected with my true self, my inner wise woman, my inner witch, I felt like me. But how did I make this new world work for me? What was missing?
In answer I went down with vertigo for 6 weeks. My body reflecting the dizziness and nausea in my mind. I had to stop. I had to turn down work, I cried. I couldn't walk, I could barely get to the bathroom without falling over. I had to hand over to everyone else and in my world everyone else was ill too.
As my world steadied I realised I couldn't continue living like this and I had to stop chasing the elusive dreams and start focusing on me, in the here and now.
It started with walking 2,000 steps a day before Christmas, over time I built up my steps getting to 10,000 steps a day. I walked in torrential rain, in blazing sun, in snow, wind, ice and thunderstorms. I started with walks on the flat and then started walking further, adding in hills and inclines. Walking around the village, across the fields, through the woods.
I watched the natural seasons evolve around me, saw the change in the light, watched the birds flying in leafless trees and then in trees full of leaves.
I sat on bridges watching the water rush through after the rain, or trickle along when it was dry.
My walks meant I felt stronger and healthier and with it I started to crave healthy foods. I lost over 2 stone in weight (and its still going, though more slowly). As my body got more toned I found the gym easier and with it extended my workout and now go twice a week.
Swimming is suddenly easy, 30 lengths (0.5km) feels a doddle.
My body is more toned and more supple than at any other time of my life.
My mind is clear, my spirit happy contented and still.
I now walk 12,000 steps (5 miles) every day come rain or shine. I aim to do 24,000 steps (10 miles) 2 to 3 times a week. It's a not up for negotiation, if I do not do my steps I will be walking around the block in the dark before I go to bed.
This is my obsession now, this is what I binge on.
If I look back to my childhood and teenage years I was always happiest walking the dog (cat, and duck and sometimes a chicken as well) around the fields of my parents small holding. I would do this as soon as I got home from school. And it was always where I was happiest.
It's funny how we can forget what truly makes us happy and what self-care is right for us.
Walking in nature is mine and it has brought many other added benefits. It makes me get out and mingle with my neighbours. I've made lots of friends around the village and many car drivers and van drivers wave at me, or stop and chat. I know the names of all the dogs, but not their owners, I've become friends with home owners who live on the routes I walk. I get invited to events and to be part of the community. And I can give back to that community too.
I've made some good friends on my walks with people who genuinely make me smile and laugh. Yet they also understand some days I do not want to do small talk, and just say hello.
After all this time and all those years I now know this is the most important thing for me. It's my self-care, it won't suit everyone but it does suit me. Sometimes its hard to consider going for the walk when I have lots of work on, but every time I do go for my walk, I always come back to some small breakthrough on my business.
It's like the days when I take a whole day off, to go and meet a friend for lunch or have my hair cut. Every time self-care is put first I get more enquires on my businesses.
If you take care of yourself, people will naturally be drawn to you and also want to support you, people will want to work with you, in whatever role you do.
Spend a bit of time today thinking about your ideal self-care. You many need to go on a journey of self-discovery first to reconnect with you, but when you do. Your self-care will be come evident. Not some "self-care" fad to spend money on, but something that is right for you.
aka The Magical Mojo Coach