I run fabulous Health Retreats in the South West of France and when the week is over, clients are always so positive with remarks like ‘oh I wish I could stay another week’, having lived a week of being in a space just for them, only they mattered, each and every one felt special and nurtured, and I guess just escaping the usual fast paced life is of course fabulous.  My response is always, ‘but this is more like real life than the lives we lead on a regular basis, we just don’t know it’. Eating organic mindful nutritious food, sleeping lots, walking daily, exercising and having a couple of massages whilst on a week’s stay is actually not that difficult to replicate, but we just need to make the time to do it!

We have become a nation (well, an entire world really!) where we actually feel terribly guilty if we are not working, we even feel guilty if we are too sick to work (check out Talcott Parsons ‘Sick Role Theory’ 1951). We feel that if we are not doing more than our fair share we may lose pace with the rest of the herd and lag so far behind that we won’t get noticed, never get promoted, will always be second in line, etc.  These feelings are totally undeserved and we need to take a step back and find a new positive perspective on life.  For example, take stock of all the effort that we do put into our work, remind ourselves how our efforts have raised the profile of the people we work for, look at our children’s attainment at school and know that we contributed to that, see how good we are at family life and making wonderful things happen within the family unit, and start rewarding ourselves with fabulous things that make us happy, that make us feel acknowledged, that give us a feeling of greatness and encouragement to find the energy to do even greater work.

Gone are the days of the 1980’s burnout where we were all in competition with each other (although some might say it’s still the same, and it is in some circles), but we can change that, there is room for some let up here, let’s really start to be mindful and nurturing of each other, let’s try and spread some love amongst our peers instead of doing battle every day, and starting with YOU.

Write down all the things that you would absolutely love to do. Be powerful here and don’t be shy. Just say it! For example, ‘I would love to learn to sing, or to play the piano, or to have tea at The Ritz with a beautiful friend’. It doesn’t really matter what it is, but it should be for you and no one else.

I recently put myself through a 4-hour Upswing Bungee workshop which I’d always fancied doing but was a little scared of signing up with lots of young dancers/gymnasts, but to my utter surprise it was one of my proudest moments so far in 2017. I loved it, I hated it, I was aching, I sweated buckets, I felt inspired, I felt silly, I tried my hardest, and I went home walking like a robot as I was drenched and aching, but OH MY, the next day I felt elated and brilliant and thought I was 16 again!

So, what I am saying here is that we must take those chances, indulge in things that we never usually do, practice mindfulness each day and change our perspective on life by equalising our life story into doing lots of clever work, but also lots of great play.  We often hear the old adage that life is not a rehearsal, we get one shot at it, and living half a life would not be our greatest achievement. So be brave, be purposeful and live with intention every day.

So, have you started writing your list yet? Remember, all the things you’d love to do, that you can afford to do (if you work as hard as you do, then you deserve to treat yourself, surely!). Tick them off as you go and add more as you think of them. Pin the list up on the fridge, or somewhere visible so that you have the consent reminder that you matter, that you are acknowledged, that you are looking out for you too.  Go for it!

Yvonne Wake Bsc Msc RNutr
Wellbeing and Lifestyle Consultant

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