Have you ever found that instead of feeling inspired after reading a health-related blog you actually feel worse off? That those ‘healthy’ people can actually be really annoying? Nauseating in fact?
All the earth mothers with a delicate rain of chia seeds falling all around them, their kids pleading for more broccoli – agitating?
Sometimes the only illumination has been that in comparison to health-officiando you are a bit of a health-failure, low on self-discipline and you still don’t know what the hell a spiralizer is anyway?
To top it all off, on facebook there is always someone posting about how they ran 15kms in 20mins or just completed a 300-day juice detox. Does a tiny bit of you just groan inside?
Well don’t let your blatant inadequacies put you off your quest for good health and self-improvement!
The message is still clear - good health = energy and clarity of mind to live an awesome life. But we don’t want it to become another unobtainable item on our to-do list to feel guilty about (like how I still haven’t sorted out my photos from my trip to Africa in 1997, or sewn the tassel back on the cushion in the living room). My to-do list is already as long as my arm and it stresses me out!
Forget all that. There is no need to be an overachiever (and just for the record I’m not sure that overachievers are actually more healthy or happy than the rest of us).
Don’t let your desire to do-it-all backfire into a stressful pit of despair that has you knocking back a pack of chocolate biscuits and bottle of wine in a oh-why-bother-rebellion.
Health, much like life, is a journey. Way over there in the distance with all the vegans, where the cakes are made of dandelions and kumquats, and everyone leaves a trail of pumpkin seeds in their wake - that’s where we are headed.
But right now, most of us aren’t in that place. Most of us are still trying to eat a few more vegetables each day. Most of us are struggling to pay the bills, get on with the important people in their lives, and squeeze in one exercise session a week on a regular basis.
Wherever you are now is totally okay. Instead of berating yourself for not making your own pasta out of courgettes I want you to join me on the One-A-Day-Healthy-Haworth-Challenge!
Each day, starting today - I want you to ask yourself "What is one, tiny – hell, even enjoyable - thing I could do for myself, my health, my body today?"
Now for some tips – the biggest of which is that being healthy is not actually that complicated. Here are some basic guidelines:
That, my friends, is it! If you do one thing from that list everyday then super high-fives, you have taken one step down that path to the big V-land!
Now I know you still have the entire social media world of health fanatics to contend with. So, if you are willing to take on the One-A-Day-Healthy-Haworth-Challenge (or OA-DH-HC as I like to call it), instead of posting it for the world to see (and making other people feel bad about your achievements in comparison), email me what you did, I will reply with a personalised email bursting with positive reinforcement and adoration.
If you actually manage to do this 7 days in a row, I will send you a personalised video of celebration at how amazing you are – and you definitely will want to put that on facebook.
By all means continue to search for healthy inspiration and ideas (many of which you can find right here!). But if it feels too much for you - don’t be put off, don’t compare yourself, take a deep breath, eat that apple and give yourself a pat on the back and think – yup, that was pretty cool.
(Of course you may notice that after continually following the OA-DH-HC, over time your choices become more and more healthy as you build on what has come before, so this time next year, you may look back and be surprised at how far you’ve come – but shhh, that is just between me and your subconscious!).
Last night, whilst babysitting for a friend, I got locked in their bathroom. For 1hr and 25mins. It didn't really fit into my plans for the evening, but I did have some surprising insights and I thought I would share my findings.
Phase 1 (on realisation of 'locked in' status) was denial, followed by mild panic. I.e., WTF, you must be kidding me, I cannot believe this is happening.... you know that kind of thing. Phase 2, or 'Operation MacGyver' involved about 20mins of various MacGyver moves, including removing a picture hook from the wall to try and unscrew the door handle, ripping up a child's hair tie to attempt to thread around the gap, and a lot of door handle shaking and mild cursing - but all to no avail. Eventually in Phase 3, I resigned myself to my solitary confinement of undetermined length, and hoped that my friends were having a terrible time and would be home soon.
Eventually Phase 4 kicked in and I relaxed and went with it. And I noticed lots of things that I hadn't noticed all during that day. I noticed that I was really thirsty. I noticed that I had eaten something that made me feel a bit gassy (sorry for sharing), and I noticed that I was extremely tired. And I just sat there noticing things, and my thoughts drifting this way and that until my friends were back.
They felt awful, but weirdly I felt kinda great and refreshed. We don't very often give ourselves time to just sit and do nothing. Even when we intend to sit down for a break, quite often we check our email, look on our favourite social media, call a friend, or start planning our next activity. Always some distraction. When was the last time you intentionally just stared out the window. Or at a wall for that matter. For no other reason that just to do nothing? Guilt free. When did you last take some down time to check in with yourself, notice how you are feeling, what you are craving?
I meditate a lot, but I was still panicked about being forced to do nothing when I really wanted to be doing a whole lot of something. Attacking that never-ending always-growing to-do list. So it struck me that some solitary confinement could be just what we need every now and then. It can be amazingly rejuvenating.
So my friend is grateful that I am philosophical about being locked in a bathroom for so long, but I figure perhaps sometimes life is sending me a message, so this week I'm gonna try and switch off, do less, sit around more - and maintain an open-door bathroom policy when appropriate!
As always I would love to hear what you think. What do you do to switch off, and do you notice that sometimes its really hard to give yourself that time?
NB: No kids were harmed during this event! They were all tucked up safely in their beds. Also these pictures have been recreated for your enjoyment and dramatic effect and were not taken at the scene!
Okay, so the truth is, this week I freaked out a little bit. Okay a lot. I got a little bit overwhelmed and then slightly panicked about my larger than expected newsletter subscribers (yes, that's you!)! After high-fiving myself and feeling pretty pleased, it didn't take long to get to..."Oh, but now I have to write something really amazing...but what if I pick the wrong topic?...what if people don't like what I write?...what if people think this...or that...or blah blah blah blah". You get the point. Suddenly something I was really excited about became something overwhelming and like the worst idea I ever had! Does this sound familiar to you?
If not, howabout.... 'why did I say that?....why did I /didn't I do that?...why can't I be more like (fill in the blank)?' Okay by now you are probably wondering if I have mistaken this blog for my diary. And if not, then what the bejeezus has any of this got to do with good health?
And I see your point, this might seem a slightly odd place to begin our health journey. You're probably expecting my favourite immune-building-earth-shattering-green-smoothie recipe and 50-fun-ways-to-cook kale (don't worry there are plenty of those on their way) - but I wanted to start at the very, very, very beginning. And for me, this is it. I turn 40 at the end of this year, and I feel pretty darn good. It's true a lot of that is because I do a lot of 'healthy stuff' in a cancer avoidance type way - but one of the biggest changes is in the way I think about myself....because I learnt to notice and be kind to myself.
So that's why I'm sharing. Sometimes its easy to look at others and think they have got it all sorted out and its just you, plugging away, going around in circles. But its not just you, its all of us! We all have our huge measuring sticks reserved only for ourselves. But if you are serious about good health and getting the most out of your life, its time to put that puppy down. Just asking the question 'am I being kind to myself here?' (or if thats a bit lame and hippy for you 'can I cut myself some slack here?' ) can make all the difference. The truth is, you aren't perfect and you most likely won't ever be, and to top it off you are going to make some monumental f**k ups in life, so you might as well accept that now! There, doesn't that feel better?
'Well, not really' you say? What I mean is, that in order to make good healthy choices you have to meet yourself where you are. Accept yourself where you are. And you'll find it much easier to take a step forward from there. You might wish you were thinner, healthier, less ill, better at writing blog posts, but you're not (at least not right now). You are, where you are. So notice it, accept it, be kind to yourself about it, treat yourself like you would your best friend....and then take a step forward from there. So what are you giving yourself a hard time about right now? And could you cut yourself some slack?
As always I would love to hear what you think, so please comment below with your best self kindness tips, self-acceptance speech, or any other strange voices in your head!
Hello! Welcome to my new blog! Intros are always a bit awkward, so I thought I would start off with the question 'Why?'......Why am I writing a blog on good health?..... Why are you going to read a blog on good health?.......
Well the answer is, I would love for you to come to my 110th birthday party! Okay there is a bit more to it than that, but it seemed a good way to start.
I want to explore what life could be like if we took better care of ourselves and our bodies. I think we sometimes forget that we are in our body. What would life be like if we actually noticed this amazing bit of kit that we happen to be sitting in right now (I don't mean your new BMW SUV by the way), and actually gave it a bit of TLC? What pleasures could be had from living in a body that is operating at its most vital, energetic level, and that continued to do so for as long as possible? Why is this even important? Well, from experience I can tell you it ain't fun when your vehicle breaks down. Breast cancer, age 36, is quite a big break down! I learnt pretty quick that owning a vehicle means you have to spend some time looking after it. I've had to pick up some tips on maintenance, and as I continue to experiment and learn, I want to share it with you.
So now, I'm aiming for 110 years, to finish my morning yoga class, pop out for lunch with my BFFs and then that evening drop dead, face down in my bingo card (possibly due to finally winning the jackpot of $10,000). That is what I'm aiming for, and I tell you what, I don't want to be the oldest person at my own 110th birthday party, I want you to be there with me. I know there is no guarantee of a long life, but even if we don't get to 110, how much better could our lives be if we put a bit more love, kindness and care into our body?
Learning to look after this amazing body of ours, to reconnect with it, and to experience all the many pleasures there are to be had in it - it's a journey. And I want you to come with me, I want us to do this together, me and you, on a journey to good health.
So come and join me......and step one is to move your mouse across to the right hand side of this page and sign up for my weekly newsletter. Let the fun begin!
I'd love to hear what you think about the idea of our bodies as vehicles, and what you do for 'maintenance', or even just to say 'Yes, you would like to attend my 110th party' - please comment below!
Want help to move forward after cancer treatment? Then sign up to Life 2.0 and get back to living life!
Ready for change, but don't know how:
Health coach, Mindfulness teacher, Mother, Bee Pollen consumer. "You want health? Well, health costs, and right here is where you start paying in sweat" (tee hee - actually its really rather pleasurable and fun!)