Over the last week I have been contemplating how I was going to put this post together when I have so much to share and no idea where to start. I came to the conclusion that like most stories you can’t go wrong by starting at the beginning. So here goes..
A bit over 2 months ago in a complete exhausted, overwhelmed and not so clear state, a friend blatantly exclaimed that I needed a holiday. I am naturally not a very spontaneous person and the thought of going away overseas while I was already so stressed with the amount of work that I needed to get through seemed completely unrealistic. Over the next week it became obvious that my state of wellbeing was effecting all areas of my life from work performance, reduced short term memory, energy levels, sleep quality, self awareness and love, and returning symptoms of the CFS. While I had so many exciting things already coming up over the next few weeks, the idea kept creeping back into my mind regarding how wonderful it would be to leave everything behind for a week and re-energise and re-centre myself. The decision was made when I reminded myself of my # 1 rule I encourage my clients to follow- Your health & wellbeing are first priority. You can not give to those around you effectively unless you have positive stores of health and happiness available to share.
Happy, healthy me = happy, healthy clients!!
and so the adventure began…
My first few days of purely the company of me, myself and I was just what my internal doctor ordered! This time allowed me to slow down and listen to what my body was telling me and where my mind was misdirecting me. My accommodation felt instantly like home as I was greeted with warm, smiling faces and directed to a serene room overlooking rice paddy fields.
Waking at sunrise to the sound of birds chirping. Walking through the final morning hour of stillness before the hustle and bustle appeared. Spending 90 minutes of yoga (a practice I love, yet find mentally very challenging) in a room over flowing with positive energy and beautiful hearts. Nourishing my body with cleansing organic green juices and superfood bowls. Diarising my morning thoughts and objectives for the day…. and there was day 1 up to 9.30am.
So here is a summary of what I brought back from Bali:
Recently I started competing in long distance running again (something that has not been possible for the past 5 years) which as my altermate passion and love has been so fulfilling yet an experiemental process of figuring out my limits and making sure I maintain balance. Slightly pushing this limit in an event just before my trip, I needed a solid month of restoring the balance- meaning no physical stress on my body. Bali provided a wonderful opportunity of distraction free time to start week 1 of ‘working in’ practicing yoga, leisurely walks exploring my surroundings and using zone exercises (energy building) to assist the healing of my adrenal system. Returning home I have done my best to continue these practises. Catching a cold has set me back a bit, however I have now adapted immune building zone exercises to assist recovery and implemented lots of rest time.
As a personal trainer and long distance runner my attitude towards exercise is that unless I have the built up stores of ‘work in’ energy, I will not train or ‘work out’. My clients probably get sick of me saying it but listening to your body and providing it with what it needs at this present time will be your number 1 key to success in your health, fitness &/or weight loss goals.
2. Nutritional nourishment:
Oh my goodness, health foodie heaven!! I was blown away by the menu options available at the Bali health food cafes. The variety and inclusion of superfoods and food preparation for optimal nutritional absorption was like nothing I had seen in health food cafes before. The Balinese understand the essence of healthy eating and can provide us with much to learn . The use of local, organic produce, prepared and served with simplicity and love.
Breakfasts of omelettes, raw superfood porridges, gluten free superfood pancakes, and lots of teas, fresh juices and fruits. Lunches were usually more fresh juices, whole food salads, raw macrobiotic dishes, grilled chicken satay sticks (my fav), nourishing soups and/or mixed whole food platers. Dinner was always a selection of multiple dishes to share and enjoy. Fresh seafood, more chicken satay sticks, veggies, curries, stir-frys… Desserts, snacks and treats were superfood smoothies, raw superfood chocolate mouses, cupcakes, tarts, slices, biscuits and local seasonal fruit and organic chocolate. Coconut water became a daily staple to stay hydrated and replenish minerals.
I fell in love with Earth Cafe’s (a health cafe chain in Bali) freshly made cashew milk, hot ‘Herbal Maca Java Chai’ and their ‘Nutrient Nourisher’ smoothie of cashew milk, banana, carob, cashew butter & honey.
The pride in the locals as they shared their food with you and absorbed your complements with praise was so special. The Balinese & Buddhist traditions regarding eating embed so many crucial elements of wellbeing to be taken. Firstly there are no set meal times. People eat only when their body tells them they are hungry. They therefore are more in tune with their bodies natural nutritional needs and food is eaten only until the body is satisfied. Often traditionally the preparation of dinner starts with the blessing then slaughtering of an animal and picking and gathering of other fresh produce. This deep connection to the beauty and energy provided by mother nature for our survival and life cycle, allows us to form a strong appreciation and connection to life’s energy we are consuming and then utilising for our own health and wellness. Sitting on the ground and eating with their hand is another form of connection to their food and where is came from.
Try this today! Hold a peice of organic fruit or a vegetable with 2 hands. Take time to look at it and appreciate it. Now close your eyes and hold it and try and feel the energy produced from this living gift. Take a bite, savouring the taste and chewing until it is liquid. It is then that you swallow this concentrated, easily digested, nutritious energy form and feel vitality being absorbed into the blood stream.
Shutting off for the week was bliss! Daily meditation or just mindfulness practices. Stress free time to focus purely on me. Rebuilding strength and re-centring my mind. Opening myself up to future possibilities and recognising areas that required change.
The most prominant realisation was my need to return home and simplify again. My goals had become overwhelming and my workload unnecessarily was ever increasing. Taking a step back and re-evaluating my priorities is now something I have taken back home and I am currently practicing every couple of days. Having your goals, dreams, positive affiliations, little reminders in areas visable is a great way to stay centred. Ideas include; in your diary, on your mirror, as the background of your laptop or phone, make a board or poster- get creative & find something that will work for you.
4. Self love & nurturing:
Yes another area I feel very strongly about- self love and nurturing!! This is an element of my wellbeing that needs regular focus. Ending a relationship where another person wore down my own self worth and wellbeing, I have journeyed to heal, love and strengthen me. When I use ‘me’ time this is about reaching inside and giving yourself what is needed, whether that be stillness, creativity, spoiling, clarity, exercise etc..
Spoiling our self is often something we feel guilty about (I know I do), however it should be used as a way to express your worth & love to yourself. My rule while I was in Bali was I needed to put aside time for a massage a day. Also allowing myself to purchase an item I did not need but instantly fell in love with- remember its ok to give gifts to ourself sometimes.
I also treated myself to a day spa of a hot stone massage (a first), face masks, body scrubs, and a rose petal bath to thank my body for doing everything it does. We can also care for our bodies by minimising the toxic load absorbed through it’s biggest organ, our skin. Use all natural skin care, beauty and hair products that instead nourish the body with wholesome ingredients. On my trip I came across a number of boutique natural aromatherapy shops. While I enjoy making my own basic face scrubs, combining face oils and creating different moisturisers, my limited knowledge on aromatherapy & essential oils has prevented me from playing around with many other wonderous ingredients and combinations. My pocket size Bali find ‘Apracticle Guide To Aromatherapy & Essential Oils’ is now my newest companion to going 90% chemical free (currently about 70%).
5. Mother nature reconnection
With my mind consumed by all the unnecessary stresses I had started to lose touch with what was around me. Bali brought me back there in no time at all. My eyes and heart were instantly opened to my wondrous surroundings. Rainforest’s, oceans, waterfalls, strong tall trees, sun rises and sunsets, bright stars and glowing moons. Each day I made it a priority to connect and feel gratitude for mother nature in one way or another. Weather this was by walking barefoot through the soil of rice paddy fields, digging my toes in the sand, swimming in the ocean, mediating in rock pools, absorbing the energy of standing under waterfalls or staring into the night sky and watching the rotation of colours in the sunsets.
When we learn to connect with mother nature we can learn to utilise her gifts of energy, happiness and vitality.
The local community work as one. They cherish the company of each other and share a deep love and loyalty towards their families. I took in their way of life being based around the simplicity of the necessities with admiration- family, religion/spiritual connections, food & wellness.
I felt such warmth and welcomeness from nearly all the beautiful people I came across on my holiday.
I have returned from my trip with a re-centred approach to my life. Re-prioritising my happiness and health as first priority and then I can share with others and support them through their journeys of creating and maintaining vitality.
We don’t need to go to Bali to re-energise and re-centre however we all do need to regularly take a step back and check in with how we are going and where areas of improvement are needed towards our health and happiness.