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Time for Change

Finding your way out of Lockdown

I think we’re at a very confusing point in our now transitioning lives! I’m a middle-aged peri menopausal woman, so I am very uncertain about what feelings relate to what! The brain fog normally attributed to the peri menopause is also likely to be part of a transition anxiety that I seem to have developed!

I reflect upon 2019, a year packed full of adventure, when I felt at the peak of health & fitness and had a sense of being able to accomplish anything. I climbed Snowdon, trekked the Sahara Desert, had ski lessons, wake board lessons and much more! I had a clear path of what I could achieve and how empowering that was & that I was in the control seat of life for probably the first time, for me. I had discovered the My Time for Change programme, lost weight, improved fitness, mental strength and overall greater wellbeing.

A year later and the sense of adventure has been replaced by confusion. I still feel great, my fitness regime has continued thanks to Emma Wilson Fitness pivoting her business so all classes have been available on line. I have remained part of the My Time for Change programme so continued to thrive on the health giving foods and positive community. Although, I have definitely swelled a little around the middle, due to less daily movement and a few extra calories consumed, mainly in the weekend wine-fuelled lockdown routine that has emerged! I’m comfortable though that my health is still happy and that the My Time for Change lifestyle can help me make tiny tweaks to reduce the thickening if that becomes important to me.

The most confusion for me though comes from the muddle of emotion and thoughts! One minute I’m in control and have a clear path toward a ‘new normal’, the next I am dazed & confused with no sense of direction. Oh and as a serial hugger, I am yet to overcome the loss of warmth, love and oxytocin generated by hugging friends. Sadly, I am not womanly enough to delete this need from my psyche! (Although Phil & the children are gorgeous huggers I must add!)

Having read several articles about people’s lockdown experiences, there does seem to be a pattern of post traumatic stress. We have all been forced into heightened states of fight & flight by a pandemic that none of us were programmed to deal with. For months we have thrived on Adrenalin and as a seeker of positivity, I have enjoyed most of what lockdown has brought to my world and the company I have kept. However we are now depleted, exhausted and ready for a break. But then there is the mental confusion of understanding what a break now means to us all? Sun seekers no longer have as many choices, whether that be through fear of travel or the lack of available destinations. UK travellers, unless organised, are left with very few options. And if you are like me, you don’t even know whether you want to go away or stay cocooned in the lockdown shell.

Decisions have become so difficult to make, emotions have become so hard to rationalise and everything is just a bit too uncertain. We’ve all approached the pandemic in different ways and our own journeys are reflected in how we have prioritised as rules have loosened. I am sure that soon the fog will clear a little!

I & others on the programme are so glad to have had Emma and the My Time for Change programme as a constant throughout lockdown; offering some control, a strong community, motivation & lots of health giving benefits during such a surreal time for us all.  Emma creates daily vlogs that equip us with the knowledge, inspiration and motivation to make tweaks to our lifestyle to help us reach our goals, or often get us through some of the daily fog!

There are some exciting times ahead for Emma & I as we develop the My Time for Change programme; a path that is brightly lit in the mist! There will be brightly lit paths for us all, we may just have to be patient and not judge ourselves as we work our way through our thoughts & emotions in such uncertain times.

Lockdown has given opportunities for reflection and I hope we can all find our clear pathways full of health & wellbeing as we find our way out of Lockdown.

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The morning after the night before!

In 3 months our brains have been overwhelmed by information, change management panic and an emotional rollercoaster now coined the corona coaster!  8 weeks of 24-7 mummy tags takes its toll, my mind awash 

Weeks into a pandemic and generally survival mode has been quite efficient. Balancing home schooling, an increased workload and a collapse in social & tactile experiences has, on the whole, been achievable. 

I didn’t set my expectations high, so this has helped. The children do the bare minimum schoolwork and then self manage their amusement in the afternoon, away from my dining room office. I refused to make packed lunches the whole time they were in school, but now merrily create them each day to guarantee grab and go food is available so I can continue to work!  My attitude to levels of schooling has definitely rubbed off as they  are living lockdown life with gay abandon, and in my opinion so they should. Although the pandemic is a marathon and not a sprint, it will become a snapshot in history and a small moment in our lives.

At first zoom saved my life! Dramatic I know, but I have always thrived on human connection, doused myself in oxytocin by hugging as much as possible and loved looking into people’s eyes to reach their souls. So zoom rooms have become the alternative connection, in which I initially thrived. However as the weeks move along, they began to leave a little hollowness. I am hedonistic, give me fun, fizz and laughter and I want more & more. So when the 40 minutes of zoom comes to an abrupt end, the warmth of the party mode goes straight away; a weird feeling. 

In addition, the whole of my work-life became online screen time; recording more videos, joining videos and ‘live’ this and ‘live’ that on social media platforms. Your brain is overloaded with data and noise; exhausted!

So several weeks into lockdown on the corona coaster of emotion I reached the pinnacle of the ride and dropped at high speed into a vat of overwhelm, anxiety and emotion. The drop came without warning.  From nowhere I lost control and couldn’t put the breaks on, or get into reverse.  Any therapist will tell me there is actually no such thing as control anyway, but I think that humans function in a belief system of control to manage their every day, despite the fact that any of that can be altered by anything at any time!

The day arrived of loss of all reasoning, emotional control and the ability to find a positive place. Fortunately for me this lasted 36 hours. I have so much respect for those that have to battle with the extremes of their mental health day in day out. A glimpse was exhausting!  

I can attribute the relative flash in the pan of a mini breakdown to the people I am very fortunate to have in my life.  My husband just listened, let every tear roll, every word float, whether it made sense or not and tried to help me rationalise. Aware that he had had hours of this, I slipped off to bed and let him sleep and leave for work whilst I quietly continued to sob.  I couldn’t get out of bed that morning, so unlike me, I felt like I wanted to give up, I didn’t understand this overwhelm and I had not been able to reach the happy places that I normally seek warmth in.

I always hope that people have ‘their people’. You know the people that you trust implicitly, can show the rawest of emotion to and be laughing with 5 minutes later! I am truly blessed that I have THAT friend amongst ‘my people’. The friend that immediately recognises something is wrong, who then (additionally & importantly) stops to listen and I mean really listen. On this occasion, I bared my soul, my inner most thoughts, my feelings, with so much honesty that if she was in any doubt about how much love and trust I had in our friendship, there would be no more doubt! Such friends are rare and very precious, look after them!

So 36 hours later I awoke and it felt like the morning after the night before.  I’d been intoxicated in emotion and loss of control, shown vulnerabilities and exposed my inner most thoughts. 

I question whether this is actually freedom; there are theories that exposure of vulnerability leads to more experiences of joy contributing to the whole self existence.

Or have I relinquished my strength and control of self? 

I’d got that awkwardness & shame (like when you’ve drunk too much and said too much!). Standing back within 48 hours, I recognised that with that comes the restoration of mind & emotion, ability to move on, a return to positivity, the ability to feel like I’m taking back some control.  More than anything, appreciation and gratitude for the special people in my life, for the life I have been given and the life I am yet to lead.

  It is how I feel this morning, I’ve got that awkwardness & shame (like when you’ve drunk too much and said too much!), although with that comes the restoration, moving on, return to positivity, taking back some control. 

True to the default me, I comforted myself with 2 tea cakes and some cheese & crackers, which well and truly negated the calorie deficit built with the 3 exercise classes completed  just before! The food demons are never far away, feeding emotion & fuelling cortisol with more sugar.  The difference is that as My Time for Change has become my life style, I know having awoken that morning that it would be natural for me to go back to the foods that look after my health, protect my gut, my mind and essentially my wellbeing.   I could dwell, I could self sabotage and delve back into the past of repeated cycles of eat, beat and repeat! Hating myself for eating too much, but eating too much to mask the emotion.  But no, not now! Additionally My Time For Change feeds you with motivation, inspiration and a community that ensures you never feel isolated; a health hub that keeps your wellbeing topped up.

In conclusion, don’t be afraid of feeling vulnerable.  Be kind to yourself, we are experiencing so many intangible things, on top of the anxieties & emotional shifts we were feeling prior to the pandemic! Allow emotion to flow, reach out and find your community.  My Time for Change can offer that place of wellbeing, of positivity, community and health advice.  It has proven in the last few weeks to be the lifeline for many women, including me!

My Time for Change programmes are available every month. Join the community of like minded women and be motivated & inspired every day to help you work on the best version of you and your wellbeing.

Contact Emma; [email protected] or 07971 596529

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Life in Lockdown

Stop, stand back and observe, life is just about to become more wholesome!  

Our brains are processing information at a hundred miles an hour; its constant.  Social media, television, news streams and everyone around us are talking about coronavirus.  You are desperately trying to filter and make it all make sense; why has a beer suddenly become a virus?  What do you mean millions of people worldwide are being asked to stay at home?  People are starting to stockpile; how can we manage without pasta and toilet roll?  Sorry, did I hear you right, the schools might be closing?  And so, it went on, weeks before we embraced our new normal, we were processing and anxiously trying to make sense of it all.  We were all trying to prepare in some way and in fact we continue to do so.  

It is no doubt an emotional rollercoaster, day to day the emotion changes.  We are saddened by death across the world, fearful as it nears our own doors, protective of our loved ones, saddened by changes to our freedoms, confused by the conflicting data and at times grieving for a life we once knew.  However, we are also warmed by the stoical way in which the NHS workers are bravely doing all they can to save lives, the frontline team in food retail who are giving their all to make sure supplies continue to be available to customers, the key-workers who despite their own health fears and those for their families, still go to work to support the nation in whatever capacity that needs to be.  You recognise the value in every single one of these people, humans who may have been taken for granted in the past.  

And so, we find ourselves in lockdown.  Obviously, this means so many different things to everyone; I cannot imagine the circumstances that some are now having to endure, and my heart goes out to them.  From my privileged position this is how it all unfolded.  The previous week I had placed my parents in lockdown recognising that their underlying health issues meant they needed protecting; food delivered to their doorstep and a wave through the window was how it needs to be for now.  The precursor to day 1 in our own lockdown was an anxious explosion.  It built and built… How do I work from home, fulfilling my job role, whilst educating a 10 & 7 year old, clean the house, support my husband in his role in food retail, make sure my parents are safe and find enough oxytocin in close proximity without access to my favourite people outside my fellow quarantine gang?  A scrambled brain overloaded with unanswered questions, something had to give…. oh and it did!  A cacophony of words poured and poured from my mouth in a random order to a bewildered audience of my little family.  Following the explosion, we sat together and tried to fathom, as a collective, how to move forward in our quarantine capsule.  It surely couldn’t be that hard, after all, we have all only been asked to stay at home on our sofas!

Our first priority was to establish some structure; 7-year-old Ella devised a timetable for their home-schooling.  Mornings were to cover the minimum requirements from school (and I mean the bare minimum!) and the afternoons were described as ‘FREE’!  Within the first 2 weeks of our new circumstances the children had a beautiful routine which made them happy, secure and willing to explore new things.  They have bagged potatoes & satsumas in the store room, learnt skills in housekeeping duties at home, used oodles of imagination as they created new games, eaten (what feels like) hundreds of picnics and have taken pride in their ability to take control of their own school workload so they can seek some freedom in every day.  From the initial panic of becoming a full-time parent, never mind teaching assistant, I now glow as I hear their chatter & laughter in the background of my working day.

So that was the children, it was now important for the adults in our household to be grown up too!  It is vital for your mental wellbeing to give yourself some structure, to get dressed, brush your teeth, set goals and find a pathway that is purposeful.  I have created a routine for myself, which includes a daily workout with Emma Wilson Fitness live online, a daily dose of fresh air and have continued to plan my meals for the week (to consume as many nutrients as possible). We are fighting with complex emotions all the time; guilt, fight & flight, resentment, dislike for change, sadness, anger, confusion, love, warmth, appreciation and gratitude.  Mourning for a life you once knew and hope for the life that is to come, therefore our health and wellbeing is critical at this time.

If there is ever a time to be part of a community of positive people and to be looking at how best to look after your health, it is now.  It would be so easy to fall into a rabbit hole; to stop taking care of yourself, spend more time at the fridge, stop moving and increase the self-sabotage.  My Time for Change is a community-wellbeing-health-hub. A positive group and place focussing on health, wellness and emotional support. Food will ALWAYS be a part of the programme but worrying about fat loss at this time is secondary to keeping your mental health in the best possible state.  Until such time that we can crack on with getting the shape and body we are chasing, we can focus on holding it all together. Keeping dozens of plates turning, whilst maintaining a smile, a manicure and not letting our jeans get too tight….  My Time for Change has become my lifestyle; Emma supported me through a fantastic journey of change with her knowledge, support and inspiration.  I know that now is the time that Emma & the My Time for Change programme can really offer the focus and stability during an emotional and confusing period for us all; through the daily motivational vlogs, 10-minute workouts of the day, life hacks, community and recipes to nourish.

We need to steady ourselves and breathe.  I’ve taken a moment; sat in the sunshine, taken everything in, been in the moment if you like, listened to the singing birds, had warmth of the sun on my face and looked up to the blue skies. There is less noise pollution as there are fewer cars, no flights, no digging quarries, no race days in full throttle in the distance. It’s literally nature in its glory twittering, squawking, rustling, creaking, swaying; nature is noisy!  Despite this there is peace & stillness; a sense of calm.  I find excitement in the next hug I will embrace with those closest to me, knowing that hug will have the most meaning that it will ever have; human connection is so precious.  Life is at times challenging but it is equally beautiful.  I look forward to appreciating getting into my car and freely driving to work, to boarding a plane again for a family holiday, to dining with friends, to taking the children to the cinema, to so many things, but most of all I am so grateful to be given an opportunity to stop, stand back and value life & the amazing humans within it.

What is the new normal in lockdown? Taking a laptop to every house party is paramount!  We have already had so much fun with friends in virtual house parties, gin nights, coffee mornings and general catch ups.  Exercising with your fitness pals in virtual classrooms and valuing food and its nutritional benefits.  Working remotely with FaceTime as your lifeline!  It is to take time with your family to walk together,  to value friendship more than ever before, recognise the people that are vital to your wellbeing, to find laughter in the obscure, to listen to stillness, to appreciate your health, to be present, to endure yet be grateful.  

Be happy, be healthy and stay at home!

If it’s YOUR time to take some control in a world has become a litre more overwhelming, then choose My Time for Change by Emma Wilson Fitness.

www.mytimeforchange.co.uk | Email Emma [email protected] | 07971 596529