Another 5 Things I’ve Learned About Life Through Mountain Biking

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When you open your mind to learning and growing, you discover opportunities everywhere around you. Over the past ten years, mountain biking has become a parallel universe for me to learn about myself and the world around me. As my enthusiasm for this style of learning has developed, so too has my love of mountain biking. I wanted to share my excitement with everyone around me and so I began my blog, Daisy Spoke. And my very first post in Daisy Spoke was “5 Things I’ve Learned About Life Through Mountain Biking”.

So ….. now here at last are another five ways that mountain biking has helped me to keep learning and growing as an individual!

1. Look up

Look upI instinctively look straight down in front of me when I ride my bike. This means I wobble a lot and react to every little lump and bump in the terrain. Having a one way staring competition with the trail right in front of me does me no favours. My imagination fixates on small details that don’t really matter. I didn’t even realise this was happening until I learnt at a coaching session the importance of looking up, to keep my eyes focused further along the track. This gets me into flow and enjoying a smoother, more connected ride. I’m still learning to trust myself, to have confidence that my brain has registered the terrain directly in front of me and that my body will know how to handle it. Every ride is a reminder to keep my sights focused ahead in all areas of my life – my work, my personal life, and my riding!

2. Absorb the bumps

Absorbing the bumps while mountain biking
Photo from Chicks in the Sticks 2017

The bumps and jumps are all part of the fun of mountain biking – in fact a very large part of it! But it’s taken me a long time to see it that way. Fear of falling and lack of confidence creates tension which in turn leads to a rigid framework, sore muscles and stiff joints at the end of a ride. Learning to relax my stance and go with the bumps instead of resisting them is an ongoing process. Mountain biking gives me the opportunity to experience a sense of lightness instead of a sense of lack of control. I can visualise my legs as natural built-in shock absorbers. With improved inner resilience, or bounce-ability, I’m also able to relax a bit more in life in general, to see past the hiccups, and rise above the challenges.

3. Move around

Move moreHaving ridden mostly on smooth paved surfaces like roads and bicycle paths for most of my life, it’s been a huge learning curve getting onto mountain bike trails. You need to move your weight around constantly adjusting for the ever-changing terrain. Forward and back, side to side, up and down, as well as every possible combination of these movements. The hard lesson is that if you don’t shift your weight around you can’t get up that hill, or down that steep slope, or round that tight corner. Riding can quickly turn into hike-a-bike (which isn’t much fun) or hitting the ground (which also isn’t much fun). So when I ride I try to be conscious of how I move my body – above and around my bike frame. As in life, the more you move around, the more fun you’ll have and the healthier you’ll be.

4. Be present in the moment

Mindful concentration while mountain biking
Photo from Chicks in the Sticks 2016

A distracted mind is on a road to mishap. At least, that’s my experience on my mountain bike and life in general. On my bike, the terrain is constantly changing and I need to keep my wits about me at all times. When I tune my sensory antennae into the environment around me, I’m fully present in the here and now. At least that’s the theory! The reality is that sometimes when I’m riding my mind wanders off and suddenly, oops, there it is, a rut the size of the Grand Canyon about to swallow me and my bike. It’s an ongoing learning process of training my brain to come back to the present, Not only does this make me safer on my bike, the ride is heaps more fun too. The same technique applied to other areas of life can lead to more satisfying relationships, more efficient and effective business decisions, and reduced anxiety.

5. Keep trying!

Patiently persist!Throughout life I’ve tended to focus my energy and attention on things that come most easily to me. If I couldn’t do something perfectly the first time, I’d usually move on to the next thing fairly quickly. As far as mountain biking goes, I’d had a few short rides on unpaved paths and paddocks over the years but didn’t develop much interest in “that kind of riding”. I’d fallen off a few times so there wasn’t a lot of incentive to keep going, so my bike tended to stay in the garage most of the time. A few years ago I decided to give it another go. Maybe there was an inner knowing that it would open up a whole new world to me, that there was much more to be gained from riding than simply mountain biking skills. With the support of my Courage Coach, I learned to develop persistence and this has had a profound impact on me. I’ve discovered how valuable persistence can be when life gets tough and I feel like giving up. Persistence speaks to that fiercely determined part of my soul and keeps me trying, practising, modifying, trying again, and finding ways to bring my hopes and dreams into reality. I’ve learned that I can work really hard at things that don’t come naturally to me and to experience immense satisfaction from that!

Read PART 1 of this article (my very first ever blog post!) “5 Things I’ve Learned About Life Through Mountain Biking” including:

  • Look where you want to go
  • Lean into what you most fear
  • Going slow is ok
  • Take a break when you need it
  • Practice, practice, practice

Discovering mountain biking as life’s ultimate parallel universe in her middle age, Daisy Spoke aka Kathryn Walton logoKathryn Walton shares information and reflections in Daisy Spoke that connect, inspire and self-empower women to make healthy choices for themselves. She integrates her love of physical exercise, family, nature, gardening and creative arts with her professional background in mental health social work to facilitate change with individuals, groups and communities of women who are committed to living life to the full.

Frights, Flights, and Fears: Look back to see how far you’ve come

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Life can hand us plenty of frights, flights and fears but it’s good to look back occasionally to see how far you’ve come. I’ve been reflecting on this over the weekend when I noticed some old fears resurfacing, and rather than get caught up in the stories they told me, I chose to look at how far I’ve progressed.

I was eager to get back on my mountain bike after a couple of weeks away road tripping, bushwalking and trail running which I absolutely loved, but I also love riding my bike and Kathryn on MTB riding through a gullywas missing it. When I started riding on the weekend, I noticed some of those old worries pop up that only surface when I’ve been off my bike for a while. They used to hang around me a lot. Well actually, most of the time! But I’ve worked really hard at keeping them in their place in recent years. Deciding to blog about them has been one of the most empowering actions I’ve taken. They could no longer lurk away in the dark depths of my mind, stewing and multiplying and expanding by the minute. Many of them simply lost their power when I brought them out into the light of day. Have you read my blog about how I worked through a step-by-step process to manage my fear of “the scary corner”!

So here I was on Sunday morning with an incessant barrage of inner talk going on in my head:

“That’s too slippery.”

“I can’t ride down that gully.”

I’m going to hit that tree.”

I’m hopeless at riding on ‘technical’ terrain.”

My back tyre keeps slipping out. I can’t ride up here.”

There are too many rocks.”

There are too many low hanging branches.”

I have to go slowly round this corner so I don’t fall off.”

I’d better walk this bit.”

That’s where I fell before.”

That’s another place I fell off.”

That’s where I nearly fell on the snake when I stopped too quickly and went over the handlebars.”

..and so on and so on. It was very loud in my head!

NOW I want to say that the most powerful step YOU can take if you find yourself in a similar situation is simply this: NOTICE what’s going on in your head. Simply NOTICE. The situation doesn’t’ have to be about riding a bike. It might be the thoughts you have associated with speaking to an audience, introducing yourself to someone, going out in the dark, driving in the city traffic, swimming with sharks, flying on a plane, or absolutely anything at all! Simply NOTICE what your mind says. And with the power of noticing what’s going on in your head, you can then choose what to do next.

Kathryn looking calm and happy on her rideI’ve been practising and teaching this technique for a lot of years, and yet still I sometimes forget to do it when the moment arises. The thing is that on Sunday morning I DID NOTICE those fearful thoughts bouncing round my head. And guess what? I didn’t care about them. I didn’t let them bother me. Instead of giving them the power of my attention and allowing them to expand and bully me into playing it too safe, I chose to dig up another thought from my mind vault:

This is a confidence cycle. I only worry about these things when I’ve been off my bike for a couple of weeks and out of practice. Just ride. Focus on how far you’ve come over the past few years. Don’t let those worries bully you or keep you small, or limit the fun you’ll have today. You’re sensible. You won’t do any crazy dangerous stuff. You’re safe. Just ride.”

And so I focused on how strong I felt and that all the recent running has made a positive difference to my strength and aerobic fitness. I enjoyed the feeling of sprinting up a couple "Tough Girl" socksof short hills engaging my quads in an exertion that a couple of years ago would have been painful (if not impossible)! I pedalled in a higher gear than normal and found it easier than expected. I noticed what I did well and trusted wholeheartedly that my confidence will be back real soon. I glanced down at my fabulous new “tough girl” socks reminding myself of my strengths and the stories I can tell myself about what I CAN do. And as I looked back over the past few years, I could see how far I’ve progressed in managing my fears on the bike. I’ve developed resilience and practised some of life’s most valuable skills that I’ve transferred into other areas of my life.

Yes, frights, flights and fears will always be there, but you can choose how to handle them. Practise. Persist. And occasionally look back to see how far you’ve come.

Discovering mountain biking as life’s ultimate parallel universe in her middle age, Daisy Spoke aka Kathryn Walton logoKathryn Walton shares information and reflections in Daisy Spoke that connect, inspire and self-empower women to make healthy choices for themselves. She integrates her love of physical exercise, family, nature, gardening and creative arts with her professional background in mental health social work to facilitate change with individuals, groups and communities of women who are committed to living life to the full. 

Ode to a Headwind

Ode to a Headwind

HEADWIND, how you frustrate me. You visit without warning in all seasons.

You turn a fun time into suffering. You change direction without warning. Swirling, confusing.

In SUMMER, you bring the hot dry desert to greet me as I walk out the door to ride.

Thirst and weariness always by my side. Dust and dirt worn with pride.

In WINTER, you sneakily invite the Antarctic spirits along for the ride.

Icicles and frostbite ripping at me, destroying my soul. In winter you take a toll.

In SPRING, you howl and whistle all around me, invading every space, disturbing every peace.

Your gale force beckons fears and nightmares. Felling trees. You have no cares.

In AUTUMN, the chill is in your breath. Pushing me. Compelling me. Exerting force.

You face me on the open hill. A reminder that change is inevitable.

HEADWIND – you are a force. Meet me face to face or back and forth.

Strength training is all I need. Ensuring power is matched with speed.

But, OH HEADWIND, honoured be your cause. The summer flies are no match for thee.

Gladly I face you as I ride east. Goddam flies! Pesky beasts!

Discovering mountain biking as life’s ultimate parallel universe in her middle age, Kathryn Walton shares information and reflections in Daisy Spoke that connect, inspire and self-empower women to make healthy choices for themselves.

Measuring Progress

Well, this time last week I was feeling quite nervous and under-prepared for Chicks in the Sticks at “Karingal” in Mt Cotton. This was my second foray into Chicks in the Sticks, a women’s specific mountain bike event hosted by RATS Cycling Club south of Brisbane. Last year I put a reasonable degree of effort into my physical and mental preparation for this event. It was my first ever attempt at racing, and when I crossed the finishing line I was pleased I’d had a go. Only I knew what internal obstacles I’d had to overcome to actually register and show up on the day. So the fact that I was there, and finished the event, was very satisfying.

The thing that left me somewhat disappointed was how AWFUL I felt nearly the whole race. On the physical side there were the cramps and nausea right from the start, and mentally I was hypervigilant about the other riders around me and fearful that I’d mess up on the technical features. When I finished I only felt relief, and no great desire to repeat the experience. After some time to reflect I became determined not to give in, not to let this beat me, and I had a strong sense that I needed to go back to Chicks in the Sticks this year with a new goal of finding enjoyment in the process of racing.

Getting ready!

Feeling grossly underprepared this year through a lengthy series of “life events” (you can read about it here), I had little confidence in being able to ride long enough, hard enough and well enough. On arrival last Sunday I could feel my stomach churning and my inner voice telling me all the reasons why I couldn’t, shouldn’t, oughtn’t to be doing this.

This year I had a couple of friends doing Chicks in the Sticks with me and as we

Race face caught by surprise!

walked around the event village and chatted, I could feel myself relaxing and finally looking forward to the race. And then we were off! I found the start of the race less congested than last year which helped me settle into a rhythm much quicker. I monitored my heart rate and slowed down whenever I noticed it getting too high. I sipped water at regular intervals. I was aware of myself in my surroundings and had confidence in my ability to pull to the side and let the faster riders go by without having to stop completely and then take off again. I also had confidence in passing slower riders when it seemed safe, and I chatted with other riders and marshals as we passed each other and joked with the photographers as they randomly appeared out of nowhere to capture that ever-so-flattering race face photo! I chose several B lines even though I knew I could ride the A lines. And I didn’t pay out on myself for my choices.

The Killer Hill!

At the 2 hour mark I was ready to finish the race. The legs were burning and the saddle was making its presence felt. But I kept going for the full 3 hours and made a concerted effort to smile and chat even more. I sang to myself as I climbed the hills, and told myself how awesome I am as I floated over the technical features. I could feel myself riding strongly and confidently. I knew I could do it and it felt good to stay relaxed.

On my second last lap I had a quick stop for more water and felt a bit disturbed when another rider had a nasty fall. It could have been me. It could have been any of us. I rode more mindfully after that, knowing that I was getting tired and this is when accidents are more likely to occur. On my last lap I wriggled my right toes which had been feeling numb through the race and then the cramp struck me! Repeatedly! But I kept going and was able to laugh it off without falling off! Hmmm…. I thought ….. maybe I didn’t get my nutrition and hydration quite right! But I didn’t care. I hadn’t felt nauseous at all so I knew I’d done better than last year!

I breezed past the timer as I finished the race, feeling really good. In fact, elated! Wow that was so much fun! I’d ridden way better than I expected, not freaked out about the logs of death, the stairs, the steep gully, the log rollovers or the other riders. I knew I’d ridden smoothly, was aware of my limits, and had adjusted my riding to keep on keeping on. And best of all, I still had a smile on my face. Not a fake smile – it was a genuine smile from my heart. I’d actually had fun in a race! Who would believe it?

It’s all good!

Progress can be measured in so many different ways. Stats can gauge our outcomes over time, but let’s remember that not everything shows up in the numbers. I’ve made a huge mental shift from 12 months ago even though I hadn’t prepared for this event. Yes, I improved my time over the same distance. But I also rode smoother. I could feel it. There was a sense of flow with my improved skill level which contributed to my confidence as well. And the fact that the element of FUN played a major role on the day says it all for me. If I can have fun at this thing called mountain biking, then I’m definitely dealing with those demons that hold me back in life. That’s what I call progress!

 

Against all Odds: Preparing for “Chicks in the Sticks”

Cool winter days with bright blue skies and a gentle breeze remind me that spring will make its arrival soon. There is excitement in the air as the MTB season continues its wave of races and events across the country.

“Chicks in the Sticks” is an all-female event designed to encourage participation in a friendly and festive atmosphere. I BRAVELY participated last year – it was my first ever MTB event and I surprised lots of people around me by actually having a go! I’m pretty much a scaredy cat on my bike and so this was a really big deal for me – I actually voluntarily registered, paid for and participated in an event with nearly a couple of hundred other people riding repeats of a 6.5 km loop for 3 hours. I actually did it! And although I didn’t get bitten by the “race bug”, I also didn’t want it to stop there. I wanted to learn from my experience by having another go this year and hopefully feel more at ease with the whole scenario.

You can read last year’s blog about my intention to overcome some of my fears about mountain bike events Having a Crack at Chicks in the Sticks

And my reflections on the preparation phase of entering an event Be Prepared to Learn Anything

So earlier this year I enthusiastically registered shortly after bookings opened up for Chicks in the Sticks. I had every intention of training even better than last year. However ….. life happened! In fact, a lot of life has happened over the past few months and I find myself now only 5 days away from the actual event with basically no preparation, less riding than normal, and still fighting off influenza. Cough, cough.

My family, work and community life over the past months has resembled a chaotic mix of medical diagnoses, surgeries, recoveries, visitors (these were the good bits!), sickness, more sickness, drought, broken bikes, short days, frosty mornings, unexpected work commitments, additional family commitments and now influenza! You name it, it seems to have happened in my family in the past few months and limited my capacity to train.

As this event has loomed closer and closer, I’ve definitely had those “couldn’t be bothered” and “I’m not good enough” thoughts that only serve to make me feel bad. They don’t change the reality, the things I don’t have control over. Giving in to those thoughts doesn’t change my sense of commitment or my intention.

The world hasn’t had a conspiracy against me giving my best shot at Chicks in the Sticks. At times I’ve believed it! But no, there is more to it than that. I’m not actually the centre of the universe. No body has pressured me to do this. The rules about training and preparation and participation are all my own invisible creations that only fit in the world of my inner thoughts, not in the real world where family, friends and health are the priority.

So I will bravely make my way round as many laps as I can on Sunday. Every pedal stroke will be a testament to living as true to my values as I’ve been able to in recent times – in the same way that my messy house reflects my attention has been directed towards my family members instead of the material side of life.

Against all odds, I’ll be at Chicks in the Sticks this weekend. My support team, including my own inner-compassionate-self, will be there too, reminding me of my intention to foster an element of fun and playfulness as I ride with up to a couple of hundred other chicks! What a blast!

Technology and MTB: how DO you use that infernal gadget!?

 

 

technophobe: someone who dislikes new technology, especially computers, and is not able to use it with confidence

(Cambridge Dictionary)

Ummm….. yep …. sounds like me, although I would not normally label myself “technophobe”. I might say I’m not very knowledgeable when it comes to technology, or that I’m more of a ‘people person’ and find technology less interesting. I definitely have shown a preference for other people to sort out my tech issues with computers, gadgets and other devices, and this mostly works fine because some people seem to really enjoy it. Or at least have a bit of an idea of what they are doing and can get the job done quickly.

Technology and MTB have a pretty interesting relationship. Technology has enabled the development and production of amazing equipment – lightweight and strong bike frames, hydration packs, sweat-wicking kit, chamois and knicks that enable all-day riding, exercise nutrition, pocket-sized phone cameras, and GPS devices.

Without thinking about the work that has gone into developing this and more, we tend to jump on our bikes every weekend or more often if we’re lucky, and hit the forest trails for our fix of nature and exercise. BUT … with all this technology are we really escaping modern life? So far, I’ve been content to let hubby navigate via his GPS because this enables me to focus on the environment (and staying upright on my bike).

 

But recently I acquired a Garmin Edge 520, and hmmmm….. I have to learn how to use it. The first step being to find the on / off button, and decipher the teeny tiny icons that decorate the screen. Setting it up with my personal profile (“what …. why does it need to know how tall I am?”) and then being able to consistently turn it on, get to the application I want to use, save the ride, download it to an even bigger device and analyse the stats.

Hmmmm …. well, the first time I rode alone, I managed to successfully attach it to my bike, turn it on and select my training program. It only took half an hour(!) Yes, that’s half my ride time gone already. I heard that inner voice tell me I’m stupid, it’s stupid, whoever invented this was stupid, why don’t they make things with logical users in mind. I even had a thought about throwing it away!

But I also heard ANOTHER voice tell me I just need to practise, get to know it, step into the space of being a learner rather than a technophobe, give myself time, take my own path to learning rather than expecting myself to follow someone else’s learning path.

And what do you know?! This little infernal gadget was actually pretty fun to have on board! I got to challenge myself to work harder based on heart rate, distance, time and cadence. I got to save it, view my ride map and can compare my improvements over time. I can pre-set rides or follow maps as I go. I’ll be more confident to go on rides alone or with others who don’t have GPS devices (just in case getting lost comes into the picture!).

Technophobe or not, it really doesn’t matter. If you have the desire to take something on board, you can, with persistence and practice; and create that extra bit of fun you didn’t know you could have!

Mountain Biking is my Parallel Universe! (Part 2)

Life is unpredictable, and so is mountain biking!

This is another life lesson that I’ve been reflecting on over the past few months as I’ve challenged myself in “My MTB Experiment”. My hypothesis was that I’d reconnect with the fun side of mountain biking by getting out on my bike more often, and so far it’s been proving itself correct!

One of my discoveries has been that those things that freak me out on the trails (you know those things …. normal everyday features of nature like stones, sticks, tree roots, mud, sand and dust) really aren’t so bad after all. Sure they’ll always be there and I can’t do much about that, but I can change the way I react.

It happens that these trail features have led me to feeling like I lack control of my bike, and I’ve actually fallen off a few times over the past few months and hurt myself. A few bruises and scratches and scrapes here and there is all part of the fun, like collecting souvenirs on a holiday. But then there was a chest injury from a heavy impact fall when I fell on a rotting tree stump, and a suspected broken toe from another tree stump. I don’t like falling off and I don’t like hurting myself. It’s scary, and ….. well, hurt-y! And it stops me getting back out exercising at my preferred intensity for WAY TOO LONG afterwards!

Recently, as I’ve focused my attention on my body position whilst riding, I’ve become more mindful of my whole self. I’ve become more aware of my self in space, my thoughts, body feedback, and internal reactions when encountering unpredictable elements on trail rides. I’ve found that I’ve had time and space to take a breath in between noticing what’s going on and responding. With this time and space, I’ve been better able to choose my response rather than simply reacting in an instinctive way. So, for example, as my back wheel slips sideways because a stone has kicked out from underneath, I’ve been able to breathe and stay calm, keep my weight low and centred and focus on steering myself in the direction I want to go, and I know that my back wheel will follow me.

Dealing with unpredictable trail features has also helped me to deal better with the unpredictable nature of life in general. I’ve noticed that when various unexpected things have happened in life recently, I’ve been able to keep going calmly in the direction I choose, holding onto my power and control, refusing to be thrown by situations that I can’t control.

BUT ….. I CAN control MY own responses. And that’s where the real power is!

Happy Mountain Biking!

 

Uncovering ‘FUN’ in the midst of the seriousness of life

whitedaisies

Last year I participated in ‘Uplift Women’s Wellness Day 2015’ in Warwick. It was the culmination of months of hard work by the Community Network of Warwick team, its many co-opted members, and dozens of supporters. All the planning, negotiating, advocating, collaborating, promoting and presenting saw 80 women actively engaged in seminars and mini-workshops that promoted health and wellness. I presented a seminar near the tail end of the day titled “Navigating the Next Stage of Your Journey”. This article is based on my presentation.

upliftheader

The smiling faces I was surrounded by were having a contagious effect on everyone in the room, including me. Life can be SO serious, and for me, the women around me were providing that incredibly important reminder to have fun.

Earlier in the day I had participated in a workshop session on personality. As the facilitator posed a series of questions, we were required to navigate to various parts of the room which indicated our responses. Lo and behold I found myself sharing space with like-minded “conscientious” women. One of the things we discovered we had in common was the deep and serious attitude we bring to many aspects of our lives: parenting, relationships, work and study, health and sickness, paying the bills, the state of the world – it’s all serious business! And in our serious attitude to life, we also recognised we had an appreciation for organisation and planning.

mauvedaisiesx2

As the wellness day continued, I heard and saw so many other inspiring ideas about women’s health and wellness that I found myself seriously [over]thinking what it is that I needed to do to take better care of me. And there is a certain pressure in this that can be counter-productive – there is a tendency to try to fit yet another activity into our already hectic lives.

On reflection, the real souvenir I picked up at the wellness day was the plain simple idea of making space for fun. Fun is not something that I HAVE to schedule in, just ANOTHER thing I have to fit into my day. Fun is an attitude that I can choose, and I can allow it to permeate the seriousness of life, bringing an experience of joy and relaxation to many things I do.

Following this moment of insight, I’ve been focusing on allowing a sense of fun to permeate my day. You could say I’ve been on a pursuit to discover more about fun!

dklhelmetsA few years ago I began mountain biking, so obviously I already know a bit about fun! But even mountain biking risks crossing the line into the territory of ‘serious business’ for those of us with the conscientious and perfectionist personality types!

Some days I need to work really hard at focusing my attitude of ‘fun’ on my inner compass. Fun can look different on different days.

Some days the best fun is simply rolling along wherever we happen to go and soaking up as much of nature as I possibly can; having a picnic in the middle of nowhere and lying back staring up into the tall trees to the blue sky and clouds that seem infinitely far away.

Some days fun can be found in the competitiveness of a spontaneous sprint up a hill to dlrockrestsee who can make it to the top first, puffing and laughing so hard that talking just isn’t going to happen!

Other days the riding is the sort that absolutely scares the pants off me and I’m holding on for dear life, storm clouds going through my mind “What the heck am I doing here? Exercise is supposed to make happy hormones, right? Then why am I so terrified!” And then when it’s all over, there’s that electric feeling of elation, knowing I conquered a fear, knowing that I’m out there having a go and living life as fully as I can while I can. And that’s fun!

Logo 2 shorter hair

So seriously people, point your attitude towards fun. Let it take you an a journey that will colour your life with joy and contentment, friendship and fellowship, lightness and balance. There is always time and space for an attitude of fun.

Holiday Attitude Everyday!

YellowDaisy

What good is that holiday if you have to wait 50 weeks, or maybe even longer, before giving yourself permission to relax and have fun? Sure, life requires us to put in a fair bit of hard work from time to time, especially if we’re parenting whilst earning a living, managing a household, actively contributing to local clubs, supporting extended family and volunteering with community projects.

Add to this the sheer organisation of being able to get away for that much-needed break including sorting out the who, how, when and where details of the holiday, the final push to get certain tasks finished in the days leading up to your holiday (“I really have to get this done before I go away”), not to mention the anticipation of the backlog of emails and tasks that we’re sure will pile up and greet us on our return.

BookPile

We can invest a lot of time and energy and money into preparing our annual holiday. Many of us place a lot of value on it and we have high expectations that we will feel refreshed and revived at the end of it, ready to slog it out for another 50 weeks or so until we can do it all over again. Yet how many of us have experienced that sense of dread as our holiday comes to an end, the thought of returning to reality, to the ‘normal’ routine of work, school, study?

So I ask again “What good is that holiday if you have to wait 50 weeks, or maybe even longer, before giving yourself permission to relax and have fun?” How much wear and tear do you place on your mind and body in order to reach that annual goal of a holiday?

Oceanscape

What do you say to the idea of creating the kind of life that you don’t desperately feel the need to have a holiday from? By choosing your reality here and now, you can choose to integrate some aspects of your holiday mode into your everyday routines. What is it about holidays that you simply long for? Maybe it’s a break from packing lunches, sleep-ins, less housework, flexible routines, site-seeing, family time …….. .

Whatever it is that you crave about your holiday, choose to adopt a new way of doing things or a new way of being so that this can become your everyday reality rather than your once a year investment. It doesn’t need to be a big dramatic change in your life, but it could be if it’s very important to you. Very often it’s the little changes that make the big difference to our health and wellness and happiness – maybe arranging to take turns to sleep in on weekends, setting aside time for a family picnic once a month, creating fun routines such as “Monday Milkshakes” or “Fun Fridays”, teach the kids to make their own lunches, cook double sized meals and freeze half for another night. The sky is the the limit – be creative and work out a plan that suits you and helps you to live the lifestyle you desire.
Milkshakes     MenuPlanner

And because there is unseen power in writing things down and sharing with another person I invite you to write down or share your commitment with someone else. It’s when we are wholeheartedly committed to change that we are most likely to implement and sustain the necessary actions and attitudes that create the reality we desire!