MY THOUGHTS ON.....
These blog posts are more of a personal journaling as opposed to offering health & nutrition tips and advice, but I like to think that sharing my personal experiences and lessons I've learned can offer insights into how we can develop personal growth and live a more wholesome life, both physically and emotionally.
Today's blog describes the struggles I had last year with depression, self doubt and lack of self love and why the start of a new year is encouraging me to turn the tables on that negativity.
I wanted to write a little something about new years and making resolutions and making a change like most people do. I typically say that I don’t make new years resolutions. At least not short term ones anyway. Typically if people ask me about what I want for my future I usually say that I don’t make plans and that I prefer to live in the present and live by each day. But that’s not the whole truth. The truth behind why I don’t plan my future is that I don’t have enough belief in myself to follow anything through. I have so much self doubt in my abilities, motivation and mindset, that I don’t have much faith in myself to accomplish what I set out. That sounds really sad. And honestly it is. My self doubt is something that holds me back from so many things in life and though I’m working to overcome it, it seems deeply ingrained. But I digress. The purpose of writing today is to say that typically I discourage people from making resolutions just because it’s the start of a new year, but that we should endeavour to make changes as and when we are ready to commit to those changes, new year or not. (I wrote all about that readiness for change in a blog post last year which you can read here) But this new year I get it. I finally understand the significance of a new year and a new beginning.
The last few months of 2017 I was desperate for the year to end. Desperate for the Christmas holidays where I could finally take a break from work and from life so that I could rest and reset. I felt that only once I had had that rest, could I then be able to take some affirmative actions to get my life back on track.
2017 was a weird year for me. I cant say that anything majorly bad happened to me. In fact I found love, adopted a cat, made new friends, and strengthened relations with family. But I can honestly say that for three quarters of 2017 I was suffering from depression of varying levels. At some points it was highly acute, but for the remaining time it has been low level and under the surface. I could still operate and get through my days, but everyday I had to drag myself out of bed, dreading the day ahead, and couldn’t wait to get back to the safe haven that was my home. My social life deteriorated as I had such little energy to give people who weren’t paying for my time. My relationship eventually suffered and my cat was showing signs of depression as I didn’t have the energy to tend to him either. With my nutrition I was operating on autopilot and feeding myself sufficiently with as minimal effort as possible and my training was always on the back burner. In all my years as a personal trainer and as a fitness enthusiast, I had trained the least amount during 2017. It was an accomplishment even to get 1 or 2 sessions in a week, and if I did they were only half-hearted and probably not even worth the time and effort. So then not only was I depressed I also had to deal with my loss of identity and pride in myself as a personal trainer. A PT who doesn’t train can’t feel particularly proud of themselves. And then needless to say this caused a knock on effect to my confidence in my abilities to do my job. Queue snowball effect on my worries about the success of my business and therefore my finances and the ability to pay my mortgage. Stress stress stress.
I found myself in this negative cycle of my life that I had created and couldn’t see a way out. I needed a break. Not just a holiday to sunny climes, but an actual break from life. And without consequence. Being self employed, any time I am not working means I am not earning, and at the same time my commitment to my clients means I don’t like to take holiday if it means disrupting their training schedule. So for the first time in all my career as a PT I took the whole of the Christmas holiday off. I didn’t leave my flat for the most of it, and didn’t leave my sofa. I had 5 days straight of pure laziness and self-indulgence and didn’t once feel guilty about it. I hardly spoke to anyone else in that time, nothing and no one else was demanding me of my time and energy, except for my cat. But the cat cuddles and massive hit of oxytocin I get from his love was well worth fussing over him. It was pure bliss. Though I’m reluctant to go back to work after such a long break I do feel more revived and more prepared to take on the world again and am ready to commit to the efforts in getting my life back on track again. I’m not saying that I‘m going to jump straight to committing to being more focused and training 5 days a week, or go on a diet or whatever. Within the cycle of change I know that I’m not yet at the stage to actually make tangible changes. But I am ready to start changing my outlook and perspective by focusing on taking better care of my emotional wellbeing and breaking my negative cycle of self doubt.
The journey towards self love and happiness is a long one. And it is probably far more healthy to see them as journeys in themselves as opposed to final destinations. Love and happiness are constants not finalities. They are not things that we achieve or acquire but things that we tap into and connect with if we allow ourselves to be open to them. We wont always be though as life likes to throw us off course. But now I have recognised where I've been thrown off course and have given myself time to rest and take stock, I feel l can now get back onto that path again and open myself to positivity once more. And with that will come the positive tangible changes I feel my life needs. It just so happens to be the start of a new year. So for me this year will be a new year and a fresh start, one small step at a time.