A while ago I found myself exhausted and stressed out to the max; I’d burned out. That’s a whole other blog, but suffice to say I had to take extended leave from work and found myself with a lot of time on my hands. ‘Do whatever makes you happy’ the GP had said, so after I’d finally watched everything at the cinema, I sat on the sofa and began to work my way through Netflix.
I love films. I can happily spend a day, a week even, watching films back-to-back. I don’t know why but at some point in the past Julia Roberts completely fell out of favour with me. I watched Wonder as it’s a brilliant book and my faith in that glowing smile and sparkling eyes was restored. After many years thinking that it probably wasn’t for me (it’s just going to be preachy right?) I gave Eat Pray Love a try…and what a ride.
We talked last time about resilience and I don’t know if it was just a timely message or if it was the gentle way it was delivered but the film really helped me. Here’s what I learned:
Robert’s character is taught to eat for pleasure and take pleasure in the act of eating; coming together with friends and sharing mouth-watering meals. What I gained from adding to my diet more of the food I enjoy was a better understanding of how my body reacts to food and eating. Eating until I’m full at each meal stops me snacking – my energy levels are right, I don’t get hunger pangs or brain fog, I don’t pick at chocolate (ok I do a bit, shush). Plus, and as I suffer with IBS this was a bonus, my digestive system was back on track. Turned out the food that I enjoy is good for me.
In the film, this element saw Robert’s character learning to meditate and be ‘at one’ with herself. It wasn’t something she was used to, didn’t come naturally to her and I guess that’s true for all of us. But, it helped me to persevere with some of the more meditative styles of yoga. I spent a lot of time practising yin, restorative and nidra to help calm my mind and just slow down.
If you have a mind like mine (and I often have to tell myself to “shut up”) then you need all the help you can get. Yoga helps to focus me and gives me a fighting chance to get through the day without driving myself insane with the constant narration in my head. Funnily enough, blogging helps too – give it a try.
The calm yoga brings helps me to stop fidgeting too. Having a clearer head helped me re-introduce more of the things I enjoy: knitting, sewing, making things by hand. Anything that helps to extend the calm and focus that yoga brings.
The final piece was to learn to love yourself. We’ve all read this a billion times in self-help books, magazines and ‘agony aunt’ columns: if you don’t love yourself then no one else will. That’s the advice but they never actually explain what on earth that means and how to achieve it. Well, here’s my take on it:
- If I’m tired, I make time to sleep: some days I don’t leave the house and that’s okay. I had a busy life, so now I’ve pared it right down to a speed that’s comfortable and sustainable
- Change priorities: my favourite body lotion costs £25. It smells amazing and makes my skin feel nice. I use it sparingly and at that price it’s a massive treat but whenever I use it, I feel like I’m spoiling myself
- Getting healthy isn’t a chore: I have an exercise bike at home and can go for miles accompanied by a good book. Re-discovering time to read has also become a treat and I try to read for at least half an hour in bed each night
- Care less: after a burn out and spending time unwinding and resetting, you get to understand that nothing matters but taking care of you. It’s a tough lesson to learn and maybe it does come with age or after a fall, but it’s a good lesson and one that we all deserve to experience. Put yourself first, care less about what other people could be saying (if I want to look like I got dressed in the dark, then I will) and focus on what you have to do instead of what anyone might think of what you’re doing.
What’s next for me? I’m going to read the book. It’s ever so easy to forget good habits, so it’s time for a reminder! What about you? Can you take anything from what I learned to help it increase your day-to-day resilience? I’d love to hear how you get on.