Last weekend was a huge turning point for me. 3 years ago I held my first retreat at #Trigonos in #Snowdonia where I was walking nearby last weekend. I had not long got back from my 8 years in Dubai, after leading a big team back in corporate land, arriving in the summer back to the UK. We had a terrible trauma in the family to work through together with the sudden loss of my brother-in-law who took his own life in the January.
It was of course a very stressful time and on top of everything there were so many life changes for me. When I got back I set up a business in that summer and by the following year I was running my first #retreat. I did a recce with my partner in advance and we went on a walk in the area. I had to lay down many times in the middle of muddy fields due to the extreme fatigue that lasted for more than two years. I was very ill and not just in my body – I had to work through a lot of stuff that was triggering extreme anxiety, insomnia, intense mood swings and more – not dissimilar to a break down.
I was experiencing something called #Adrenal Fatigue which conventional medicine doesn’t acknowledge. I knew that it would be a long recovery and so a big part of my healing was to communicate this over to my family, and explain that I was exhausted to friends. Through their understanding and working with a mix of professionals in mind or body, I was able to build my confidence and peace in saying no and spending quality time alone. The empowerment of choice allowed myself time to look after me and through this I quickly discovered that this self-nurturing is not a selfish thing, I slowly came back to myself.
Now I am so lucky to say that I have Ayla and I still have Dan, unbelievably 🙂 we I recovered well after some dark days when my mind and body was quite ill, followed by a tricky pregnancy and trickier birth. Amazingly I recovered very well and was able to manage any birth trauma due to the ‘work’ I had already done with Hypnotherapy, mindfulness and other therapies. But also through my experience using Hypnobirthing.
So it was down to a mixture of mindset and modern science mixed with ancient techniques to remain calm.
So that weekend I walked two hours with Ayla on my back and she’s big! This was mainly on the flat but I also took her a little way up the hill on this photo and I plan to get stronger still. But in my own way, and time and without compromising anything. This was a big deal for me in comparison to those days when even ordering from Tesco online would drain me.
I’ve always been an action orientated person but it has it’s downs with its ups and only through knowing yourself can you manage yourself. I know anxiety presents itself from a variety of sources. I categorise these into 5 main areas which you can read on one of my blogs tips for relieving anxiety (there’s also others on how to nurture yourself part 1 and part 2 and get back into things you love, as well as toxic friendships/ relationships) but I definitely think overactive go-getters are prone to burnout yet they don’t always see it at the time, living in a version of what they feel is a normal level of anxiety. This adrenaline can be addictive and mask other things in the process of being ‘busy’ so when our bodies force us to stop it can be huge transition with a feeling of identify crisis and loss. This can happen with any illness, or life change – including when recovering from child birth and being a new mum.
I feel I will never be as active as I was. Not because it’s not possible but because I don’t want to be. I know what humans are physically and mentally capable of and I pushed myself to my version of that maximum. But I want to smell the roses, and I do. It doesn’t mean I don’t experience fatigue or anxiety now, we all do. The difference is now I can listen to the niggles and underplaying subtle messages before they become big and with this self awareness I can make a choice. This is where empowerment lies. In empowerment lies lightness, joy and energy.
I still miss the red flags now and then or choose to ignore them and have to stop or cancel something in order to recover. It’s not that I’m feeling exhausted at that moment but in knowing myself -if I don’t cancel, I will be. With my little one now it’s a little harder and yet easier in some respects. Harder because I don’t know what mood she will be in and how much energy I will need to manage her, or if she may be ill. But easier in that I book even less things into my once hectic diary in to ensure I can flow with the process.
It took almost 3 years to slow down and actually start to enjoy a slower pace of life. I do try to add more things into my life but I do it mindfully. People who know me now might think I still look busy, and maybe there even more room to slow down, but in comparison I’ve come a long way.
These days there are so many things to do and distractions which also gives us a big fear of missing out or that dreaded ‘should ‘ word or things can also light our fire with excitement. I am a curious and passionate person and so I want to do it all, but as my Korean Mr Kiwan Kim, LG MEA CEO (at the time) from my corporate job told us: strategy is choice. We have to be aware that the technology that is around us 24/7 is also a distraction – it’s the same as watching a show or meeting someone for a chat in terms of energy – we spend it.
I didn’t know you could burn out. I thought you could be knackered and tired for a few days etc. but I didn’t know that the straw that broke the camels back really does exist. And that it can knock you out for years. The issue is that for this to happen there must be many straws that have been piling up for a long time for this last one to do the trick. And we often don’t know the warning signs until it’s happened to us. These becomes your red flags and show you that you’re coming off track. We have to try and become more aware of your own red flags.
So what gets you through this complex multitude of this kind of break down!? The naturopathic functional medicine mixed with mind work with gentle exercise was the key for me, with working on the ability to say ‘no’. Carving out time for YOU and working on letting go of guilt surrounding that because to nurture yourself, you nurture others. Above all, trust in your own intuition to know what’s the right choice for you in any situation. Trust yourself 🙏🏼
Find out about our retreats
Monthly mindfulness workshops on tips and techniques for working with anxiety
And also corporate escapes and workshops under ‘training and development’ and 1:1’s menus