I’m not entirely comfortable with the word ‘wellbeing’. It sounds a bit faddy and unobtainable, like ‘paleo’ or ‘no carbs’. I don’t think I’ve ever referred to my own ‘wellbeing’ out loud – it’s the kind of word used only at your yoga class or in an online forum for vegetable juicing. But I’m trying to put my sneering judgement aside and embrace elements of a lifestyle that would, at one point, have me snorting into my Diet Coke and reaching for a frozen pizza.
I mentioned in my 2015 goals post that I wanted to take my health more seriously. I’m not really an unhealthy person – I don’t binge eat burgers or sink a bottle of wine a night, but nor do I eat leafy greens and exercise daily. Or like, ever. I’ve never paid much attention to what I’m putting into my body – additives, sugars, trans-fats, whatever. I don’t read ingredients lists. The McDonald’s Double Cheeseburger is in my top 3 foods of all time. I drink a lot of gin.
Aside from food, I’m also very poor at ‘switching off’. Both literally and figuratively – my iPhone is a constant companion. I think about – and carry out – work tasks all day every day, including weekends. I haven’t had a proper, no-work-to-be-done holiday since my honeymoon in 2013. The symptoms of burn out are very familiar to me.
At the beginning of the year I decided to make some changes. I’m quite good at dealing with stress – in fact, I think I thrive on it – so realising something wasn’t right took me longer. I’m the person who says ‘I can do it. No worries. Leave it with me. I’ll have it to you in an hour’. But I needed to be the person who says ‘not today. Maybe next week. I can’t take this on right now’ and closes her laptop.
So, changes were made.
In the pursuit of ‘wellbeing’, I gave up fizzy drinks. I’ve had two glasses in 2015 so far – a vast improvement on my one-can-a-day habit. I don’t drink tea or coffee (aside from the odd Earl Grey when I’m somewhere fancy) and I’ve also cut out squash, so now only really drink water with lemon… and gin and tonics. Obviously.
I also no longer buy ‘diet’ versions of anything. No ‘Lighter than Light’ mayonnaise. No reduced fat butter. No ‘healthy’ ready meals. I read an article that explained what goes into diet food to make it look and taste like normal food and it seriously turned me off for life. I’d rather have less of the real deal than lots of an artificial hybrid.
Food is an area I find difficult, because processed stuff is literally amazing. I love pizza and burgers and Pepperamis and crisps. But I am trying. Vegetable crisps with homemade guacamole, for example. Bananas with natural yoghurt and honey made by my mum. Wholewheat pasta. Dark chocolate. I’m making subtle changes where I can, because life is still for living and dieting is seriously boring.
I don’t want to be thin, I want to be well.
On the lifestyle front, I’m pleased with the small changes I’ve made. I’ve started going to yoga once a week which I find amazingly relaxing – a whole hour away from my phone, no screens in sight and 10 minutes with a lavender eye bag at the end. I went on a spa day and had the most brilliant full body massage (at Eastthorpe Hall, which I thoroughly recommend), which made me realise regular massages should absolutely be ~a thing~ in my life. I’m trying to be better at scheduling client content over the weekend, so I can leave it to post automatically. Little things like closing the laptop to properly watch a film or leaving the office for an afternoon walk are making a big difference to how I feel.
This is definitely an ongoing thing – a journey, if you will. I’ll always get a Diet Coke refill in Nando’s (it’s just common sense) and I’ll still Instagram my way through a ‘relaxing’ weekend away. But I’m hoping there will be more balance, and I’ll manage to find some ‘wellbeing’ in among a busy life.
I might even say the word out loud.