Just before I moved back to the UK in 2017, I went to a 3 day retreat in a remote location about 1.5 hours outside of the city of Toronto. It was a stunning wooden cabin surrounded by snow covered woodland that I shared for the long weekend with 11 other women. It was an absolutely beautiful setting and so very peaceful.
After the first day, we had started to share stories and bond with one another, when one of the women turned to me and said “I just have to give you a massive hug. You are just like a love machine.” Although I was slightly taken aback at the time by her comments, we hugged it out and that soon became my role for the weekend. I was the group hugger.
This week, I’ve had a lot of people share with me the struggles they are experiencing outside of their physical health and fitness. I think a lot of it stems from lockdown, and the uncertainty of when it will actually all be over. These struggles that we are going through are very real stress factors that are impacting our mood, our motivation and even our ability to perform some basic daily tasks. So today, although I wish I could do it in person, I wanted to just take this time to give each of you a virtual hug, from the group hugger, and tell you:
It’s okay to not feel like you have your shit together all the time! You have to take it slowly, day by day, breathe deeply and be kind to yourself throughout.
My best advice right now is to minimise the life noise: take some time off social media, take some time off work, go for a walk, have a bath, read a book, go to the park, watch a Netflix marathon, take a nap. Take some time to relax and reset a little. I once said to my therapist: “Sometimes it’s just so tiring. It feels like I’m trudging through muddy water in life” and she replied “Welcome to real life. The power lies on the other side of that mud. So however slowly you move, you just have to breathe and keep going.” So now, even in those times when I feel I am barely keeping my head above water, and I am struggling to see any glimmer of hope, I focus on keep moving even if it’s only one day at a time. Life brings real stress to us all, and it can sometimes stop us in our tracks. While I am obviously a huge advocate for staying active and having fitness as part of your daily routine to help boost your health and mood, just make sure you are not adding more stress unnecessarily. I promise, if you take a couple of days off, you will not lose all the progress you have made! But you might feel revived and ready to return with a new enthusiasm or fresh perspective. Keep being kind to yourself. Remember you have made it this far, so you can keep going. I am sending you a massive hug, and I am here to chat if you need support 💕