Sunday, 13 November 2016

The balancing act

St James's Park, London

What a week it's been. On several occasions I've either been told to cheer up or asked why I'm looking so down. Sure, I've felt a little tired and have been attempting to beat the post-holiday blues, but waking up to yet another divisive election result on Wednesday morning was a bitter pill to swallow. I live in the UK where we are currently in a state of limbo following the decision to Brexit. I also have friends in the US and have visited America a few times in recent years. Putting policies and personal opinions on the two candidates to one side, the division between US voters was clear and I can't help be saddened by America's decision not to elect its first female president.

It's easy to feel powerless and disillusioned when witnessing such big changes you did not want. Whilst I have neither the power nor the means to influence big change, I can continue to make choices to better my mindset. On a personal level, 2016 has been a positive year. I wanted to stop procrastinating and make better use of my time, strive for a healthier work-life balance and improve my fitness. I also wanted to reclaim 'me time' through blogging and yoga, making the most of what wonderful London has to offer and travelling as much as possible.

So how did I fare up? On the travel front, I visited Bruges, Copenhagen (including a day trip to Malmo which totally counts), Wilmington in North Carolina for a friend's wedding and Ocho Rios and Negril in Jamaica to soak up some sunshine and top up on Vitamin Sea. The escape from routine when travelling, even if just a few days at a time is such a luxury and at the risk of sounding like a new age hippie, I believe breathing in the sea air at least once a year is good for the body and soul.

In 2016 I also started to blog again and whilst I'm a teeny tiny fish in a huge sea of amazing talent,  I find the process of writing and creating content to be so rewarding, especially when somebody takes the time out of their day to write a lovely comment and encourage you to keep doing your thing.

My discipline can waiver but for the most part I'm working out 3 times a week, whether it's yoga, HIIT or running. I ran my first 10k in September, not a race and very much at my own pace, but being fit enough to run such a distance was a personal fitness milestone. If I've had a difficult day, I've realised it's so much healthier to work out and work through any negative thoughts and feelings, rather than comfort eating or drinking alcohol to take the edge off. Now reading that last line back makes me feel old! 

Yoga has also proved to be such an effective tool to de-stress and unwind, making evenings more relaxing and calm. I'm sure I'm not the first to praise Yoga with Adrienne or Madeleine Shaw's YouTube yoga videos. Both are calm, patient teachers and have a mix of routines for beginners and the more experienced.

Although small changes, I honestly believe my mindset has shifted in a positive way. Focusing on the positives and making better use of my time are two changes I want to take into the new year. And looking at the bigger picture, I do hope 2017 brings unity, resolution and clarity following this year's defining decisions.

Have a good week ahead x