Monday, 27 January 2014

Stillness and Illness

Recently I've been making a conscious effort to practise 'stillness'. Not merely the act of being physically still, but more taking a step back; giving yourself a chance to stop and reflect. It might sound very simple but in the hectic and busy lives we lead we very rarely give ourselves the opportunity to be still. I read an interesting quote the other day from someone that quite rightly suggested we should call ourselves 'human doings' rather than human beings, because we tend to define ourselves by what we do, rather than who we are.

I was recommended an app for meditation called 'Headspace', which started as a free ten day program called 'Take 10'. It was a really basic introduction to mediation which only took ten minutes. At first I wondered where I would fit a ten minute activity into my daily schedule, but once I started I realised how ironic this was. Every day is a complex timetable of activities, eating, work, phone calls and socialising, but how many of us take just ten minutes to stop and check-in with ourselves?! It's been a bit of an enlightening experience for me; it isn't about finding a happy place or clearing your mind or shutting everything out, it's very simply just a bit of time out of your day to realise how you're feeling, and literally get some head space.

So that has all been very good, but I've been forced to be especially still for the last week as I've been struck down by a killer virus which - over the last two days - has stolen my voice entirely. It's always the way, just as you're feeling on it training-wise something gets in the way. I note too, that this mystery virus clawed it's way in after I made it through my first proper swim session in month.. if that isn't another reason to go back to avoiding the pool, I don't know what is. I weirdly enjoyed it too, shame!
Lemon tea with honey and cinnamon, staple
sick food!

It's been quite a while since I have had to take a proper break from exercise. 'Training' during the last year has been haphazard at best but even if I haven't been training specifically I have always found a way to lift up something heavy or sit on the indoor bike or go for a walk or something. This however, has been a real lay in bed and sleep, sleep, sleep jobby.

With my new reflective outlook though, I'm not worried. A week off, even two, in the grand scheme of things is not cause for a major drama. Actually this is a good opportunity for a proper, really decent rest and conveniently (for the first time I think, ever) my appetite hasn't been up to much with the illness so I've been very content with lemon teas and vegetable broths. I'll take a sore throat and a bit of struggling to breathe for a sugar and caffeine detox, plus all the coughing is probably a decent core workout too.

The other bonus is that when I'm back to health and fully rested, I'll be super keen to get going again. Nothing like a sick break to give you fresh motivation!

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