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.
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?