I remember the exact moment I swapped alcohol and cigarettes for CrossFit and H2O. To ensure that I stuck to my guns I took all the money that I had formerly spent on these two items and purchased a CrossFit membership, yoga studio membership and bought a new fitness wardrobe full of Lycra and Nike Free runners. It worked a dream because my 'bad health' piggy bank no longer existed.
However... Like everyone (I hope) I often find that staying on the wellness wagon is fine but once I topple off and life's celebrations get in the way I struggle to get back on it. Here's what I do when I suddenly realise that I haven't worked out in six weeks, have feasted a bit too much on holiday or enjoyed my mum's cooking and Irish alcohol for far too long.
1- Book it in
Find your favourite fitness class and book it in first thing in the morning. This sets your intention which is the first step to getting back on track. It will most probably hurt and you will want to find the nearest emergency exit about five minutes in and make a run for it. But don't. Remember how good you feel after a class and let that power you through. I just did my first boot camp after taking a two-month sport sabbatical and felt like the apocalypse had just hit Hong Kong half way through. But I lived to tell the tale and tomorrow's class should be easier...fingers crossed.
2- Go back to basics
Self-enforced rules and habits tend to make people happy. They certainly help to simplify my life and find my balance when I'm a bit off kilter. When my body is sick and tired from sugar-filled food, carbs, alcohol and the occasional cigarette I revert back to my basic diet of whole foods. I keep things simple and a regular day includes vegetables, water and protein of some kind for both lunch and dinner. I also try to get to bed early and make it to a morning fitness class or go for a run. Finding your own guidelines that help you get on track is a lifelong process that I'm still figuring out but at the moment this works for me.
3- Give yourself 20 minutes… or 3
Whether it's first thing in the morning or last thing at night you need to give yourself a few minutes to just be. 20-minutes is ideal, but if you're like me and find it hard to sit still and meditate with one eye open then 3-minutes will suffice. I usually do this at night when I remember and I find taking a bath forces me to unplug because the prospect of being electrocuted is enough to keep my iPhone and laptop at bay.
4- Do something every day that makes you happy
Before embarking on this step read the Holstee Manifesto. When it comes down to my main priorities in life the first one is to be happy and the second one is to be healthy. Both of these go hand in hand and I believe you can’t have one without the other. Being healthy (eating well, moving in some way every day for at least 20 minutes, engaging my brain, spending time with loved ones and taking a few minutes for myself) keeps me happy. If you’re not happy about something in your life, change it. It might take a year or even five years to change something but that’s not a long time in the grand scheme of life. If I ever want to do something I love and think ‘I don’t have enough time’ my brain automatically pops up the quote, ‘You have the same 24-hours in your day as Beyoncé.’ Random I know but true!
5- Spark Joy
Yes, this one is unconventional but if my home feels cluttered my life feels cluttered and I get a little bit anxious. Being organised both at home and at work keeps me very calm and this book on decluttering and organisation by Marie Kondo has kind of changed my life. Order her book 'Spark Joy' from Amazon here. There's a reason it's a worldwide sensation.
Image Credits: Photographer - Michelle J Procter; Styling - Christie Simpson; Hair - Danielle Abbotts at The Strand, Make-up - Smudge Make-Up Artistry: Location - Upper House Hotel; Top and Leggings - lululemon; trainers - Nike