A month back I felt like I was dying. Sure, I can be prone to exagerration, but I honestly thought if I didn't quit work I was going to have a heart attack. Sweaty palms, heart palpitations, sleepless nights, out of breath - I felt really, really ill. I had completely hit the wall and thought I was totally almost in menopause - my bleeding was sporadic, I was short tempered (I had told my hair dresser to stop lecturing me and just cut my hair - gulp, what a biatch) and my legs were aching - from my feet to knees to hips, I felt in constant pain. I felt so unfit - but the thing is, I walk 5 km nearly ever day, go to yoga, and go surfing when I can, and eat so well - you can't fault my diet. And I rarely drink, less often now I'm older too. I know how to look after myself. The one thing that was really making me ill was work - high levels of cortisol and patterns of panic that started 5 years ago with a stress breakdown was making me barely keep afloat. Oh, I'd have my good days, of course - it's not all doom and gloom - but in the back of my mind I was thinking, if I don't quit work soon, I'm going to die.
Me, a year ago, feeling pretty relaxed fooling around on a road trip.
We're lucky enough to be in a situation where we can take a year's leave. We'll do some travelling and take stock, and see how we feel about going back when we return. Two more years of work should see us right, but if we didn't take this break, I'm not even sure our marriage would survive, and we have one of the lovliest marriages ever. This year was our big mental health goal - we need it to repair our hearts and minds, to just be. As far as our new year's resolution goes, we started it already on December 13th when we left work, not to return til Jan 28, 2021. How blessed we are.
Like many, we've set, and are living out, health goals that always get made around December and January. For us it's because it's the height of summer and we have holidays to be healthy. Yet it's also the lack of stress that makes it so much easy to feel good. My legs have stopped hurting and I no longer have heart flutters. Jamie says I am like a new person already - and I feel it, too. I don't feel the despair that I felt as little as two weeks ago, and feel fit again, just from feeling more relaxed. My bleeding has returned to normal and I'm sleeping like a baby every night.
However, I do want to be in peak fitness before we head overseas in March. I want to be able to hike and endure the long travel days of driving or flying without feeling exhausted, so I have two months to prepare. @artemislives wants me to run, but I ain't running - a fact she finds constantly amusing. I love that she cares about me, but I'll run only when zombies are chasing me. I'm not a large woman by any means but I do have big breasts and I just find it darn uncomfortable to run. Besides, it's hot and dry in Victoria and I don't want to be constantly swallowing flies and applying sunblock.
Health Goals also include the yoga pose supine couchasana
We signed up for Bikram yoga at a new studio in town, as it's only 50 bucks for unlimited classes for 30 days before having to pay the higher price. I have lots to say about this practice, and have written about it before, swearing I'd never go back, but after 10 classes there, I feel better. My knee no longer hurts. I have tendonitis in my elbow and Achilles heel still, but it's getting better. I have no idea why this yoga in particular works the way it does but the two years I did do it was the fittest I'd ever been. A month ago I went out for a surf and my legs could barely muster the strength I needed to throw the board around and to balance - two weeks of Bikram, and I'm strong and supple again. My hip flexors are less tight and my hips are far more flexible and I'm in less pain. The last two mornings I've surfed for over three hours each session. Sure, I come in with my legs like jelly, but I felt strong and good out there rather than an old woman. As I said, I feel younger. 90 minutes of yoga in a room heated to 40 odd degress celsius is extremely hard work (my heart pumps like crazy in there during the standing postures) and I sweat buckets, and there's part of me that agrees that maybe it's not good for me - but when I get out of the room, I feel fantastic. The other thing about this yoga is that you don't drink much - we go at night, which cuts into drinking hours, and when you have dripped your body weight in sweat, the last thing you'll do is dehydrate yourself further with a beer.
There's a girl in there, maybe late 20's, early 30's - she's super thin, almost anorexic in her appearance. She suffers rheumatoid arthritis, and in the change rooms was saying that she could barely eat any carbs or any foods that triggered pain for her. Her whole life was being dictated by pain. Since starting Bikram, the pain's gone. By day 5, she was eating walnuts. Day 6, she introduced tofu. She's gained 4 kilograms (most of us lose weight in that environment, but she's finally able to eat again) and is so, so grateful for this practice that has absolutely transformed her life. That's the kind of amazing stories one hears about this style of yoga.
Thus, as far as health goals go this year, it's pretty simple. Keep eating well. Keep up a yoga practice, preferably Bikram, but do yoga classes when we're travelling, surf as much as I can, walk every day - just keep doing what I love. As my Dad says,
just keep moving. I'm also making sure I meditate every day - @plantstoplanks is starting the Abundance Challenge in the @naturalmedicine Discord server on Jan 10th and I'm going to start again with that as last time I got a little sidetracked with Christmas. It's good to keep a daily practice up and being in a group helps you be a little accountable. I might not run, but these practices keep me fit and healthy - both mentally and physically. There's no discernible way to measure this except with how I feel, and right now I'm feeling pretty darn awesome.
What are your health goals for the year? @naturalmedicine is running a challenge that asks you to write about them for a chance to win 100 Steem plus tokens. Please join in - I'd love to hear about your resolutions for the new year!