May 12, 2016 | life

On London Fatigue & Self Care

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I love London. I really do. I sometimes still wander around in complete awe that I actually live here. But much as I love it, my GAWD, is it exhausting. I feel incredibly lucky that I can escape up to Leeds every now and then to chill with my family and decompress. Sometimes I’m good at recognising the signs that I need to do that and sometimes, not so much. Either way, my few days up North last weekend were a welcome respite for my soul.

It would seem that before my trips up North, my body goes into some sort of meltdown, just to remind me that I need to take a frikkin’ break. At Christmas, I got the mother of all colds a week before I went home. This past week? A lovely bout of viral gastroenteritis. And let me tell you this: in case you were wondering, teaching 7 spin classes in a week with either of those conditions, is not a fun time. Having to teach through it because if you don’t ride, you don’t get paid and your rent is frikkin’ high, kinda crushes your soul a bit.

Last week, when everything in my body was literally telling me to STAHP! I plowed through. I taught back-to-back spin classes, despite seeing stars and feeling like I was going to puke every 30 seconds. Knowing I was heading up to Leeds was the light at the end of the tunnel. I had acupuncture to try quell my sickness and get me through those few days, but whatever demon was in my body seemed to be immune to needle magic.

I was sick, tired, stressed and on the verge of tears for pretty much the whole week. I’d just had enough.

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Getting on the train bound for Leeds felt like a giant weight had been lifted off my shoulders. I always take Stringer Bell with me up North. He loves to hang with my parents. Judge me all you like, but when I’m with le pup, I travel first class. There’s just way more room for him, it’s less hectic and takes the stress out of it. Admittedly, it’s a pretty nice journey for me too. Virgin Trains staff are always great with Stringer and totally take the stress out of the journey.

I got up to Leeds, greeted by endless cups of tea from Mama, big bear hugs from Papa and a doctor’s appointment all lined up for me. Family dinners, early bedtimes, walks in the country, big belly laughs, a babyshower for one of my childhood friends, a Prince tribute night at a local community centre and somewhere along the way, equilibrium was restored.

It made me realise that I’m just not taking care of myself. We’re all guilty of it; just plowing through our day-to-day, ticking things off a checklist, paying bills, cramming everything in. But it’s dawned on me recently that my own wellbeing has slipped way down the list. My job as a spin instructor means I give all my energy to other people, day in, day out – there often isn’t a whole lot left for me. And I can’t always wait til I run myself into the ground, freak out and take a long overdue trip up to Leeds for some parental hugs.

So, now it’s about knuckling down and figuring out a better self care routine. One thing’s for sure, I can’t carry on the way I have been. My Leeds haven is there when I need it (I highly advise you to get yourself a haven of some sort, if you don’t have one already), but I need to carve a little bit of peace into each day. I’ve gotta take care of myself so I can better serve those around me. I need to be able to contribute more to the world than being a big ball of stress and exhaustion.

Operation Self Care begins NOW! What things are on your self care ‘Must Do’ list?

(*Virgin Trains paid for my travel on this trip – but I regularly travel home with them first class and highly recommend them)

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2 Comments

Amy

I feel like I always feel a bit burnt out at this time of year. I don’t tend to take holidays in the first half of the year (I’m not sure why that is? Maybe the whole ‘summer holiday’ thing is ingrained from school!) so it’s been a while since I’ve had a break and then as summer starts, everyone wants to do loads of social activities which I find really difficult to say no to! My main form of self care is just blocking out time where I will not be going out, and making sure that I use that to tidy/clean/do food shopping and just generally prepare myself for whatever busy-ness is coming up – it’s not as glamorous as lighting a scented candle or taking a bath, but it’s the most practical thing I can do to make sure I’m prepared for my life!

Jen

Having fairly recently moved from Zone 1 to *just* outside the M25 I can 100% vouch for the stress of London that builds and you don’t even really realise it until you get sick/randomly cry/genuinely consider kicking someone on the tube… Definitely having a haven to escape to and a breather is needed. I know my stress levels have plummeted since I moved and as much as there are moments I miss the London buzz (and things like Deliveroo) overall, having that breathing space is so worth it for me, and London is only 45mins away so I’m still basically there. Definitely take care of yourself and give yourself those daily breather moments!

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