In case you hadn’t heard me screaming about it on every social media platform I own… I’m going on a Yoga retreat! I’m still absolutely buzzing and I cannot wait – this is something I’ve never done before and something I’d never even considered doing. I’ve been really into my Yoga for about 2 years now; I practice daily, I work on different areas of Yoga and I’m always trying to expand my practice and work on my body. Not just to get fitter and trimmer – although that’s a bonus – but just learning about my own body, what feels good, what doesn’t and unlocking different areas and poses that I didn’t really know existed. Yoga has changed my life but I’ve never considered taking it further than the comfort of my living room before now.
If I have a chance to talk about Yoga, I will. People I know who don’t care about Yoga are probably sick to death of me talking about it but hey, guess what? I’m not going to stop. In fact, I’m one click away from booking myself into a Yoga retreat in November so that’ll give me another excuse to talk about it even more! Wheyy! Anyway, Yoga is a big part of my life. I practice it every single day (unless I really can’t like being ill or on holiday) and over the last year or so, it really has changed my life.
In a society where self-care has become such a huge focus in the recent years and months, we’re often told that “these are the things we need to do when we’re feeling down / ill / depressed, in order to improve ourselves” and well, make ourselves feel that little bit better. And whilst that’s great; we all need these coping mechanisms for our down days – we often think only about self care in times of “need”. Boyfriend break up with you? Self care day. Rough day at work? Self care evening. Having a bad time with your mental health? Self bloody care. And again, this is brilliant and we totally should focus on our self care when we’re having a rough time but what about all the other time? You know, all the other days of the year when we’re not having a bad day, our boyfriends haven’t just broken up with us and our mental health is on a pretty good keel. What then?
I’ve always suffered with headaches. They started when I was in my teens and have differed in frequency but all in all, I’m just a headachey person. It’s mostly stress or tension and now, having anxiety, you can imagine I stress and tense quite a bit. Headaches are a strange thing because they can stem from almost anything; mental or physical stress. DID YOU KNOW that once I had a boyfriend that gave me headaches. No… Literally. I had a headache almost every single day that I was with him and I bet you can guess what happened after we broke up? That’s right, bye bye headaches! So if knowing the fact that boys can literally give you headaches is the only thing you take from this post then I’m happy.
Self care is something I’ve really tried to embrace and focus on more in 2017. I truly believe that we need to look after ourselves and treat ourselves with the same level of love, care and respect as you would your partner, parents, pet, house plant – whoever. Of course that’s easier said than done and I’m certainly not the only one who repeatedly punishes themselves when they feel shit or have had a bad day by not eating, sleeping too much, not washing or speaking to anyone. These behaviours are damaging – there’s no two ways about it and we need to try harder to embrace positive actions when we feel bad, rather than negative ones.
This time of year can be magical and joyous and sparkly and happy but for a lot of people, including myself in the past, it can also be miserable and depressing and sad. Literally SAD. I’m talking about Seasonal Affective Disorder which is a very real condition which can affect anyone in the Winter months, when daylight is shorter, darkness creeps in at 4 p.m and ultimately can leave people feeling, well, miserable.
If you follow my blog or follow me on Twitter, you will be aware that quite suddenly, over the course of the last 2 months, I’ve quickly become a bit of a smear test advocate. I had my very first test at the beginning of September, just 3 days before my 25th birthday and since then, I’ve been pushing an pushing for more open dialogue and awareness about the importance of having your cervical screenings done. Unfortunately for me, my smear experience didn’t stop after my first test because I got called back to the hospital for a colposcopy because my smear results were abnormal.And that’s what I want to talk about today because I was terrified but I really didn’t need to be and I think if we spoke more openly about these things, women wouldn’t be afraid to get their smears done nor would they be as worried if their smears come back abnormal.
I am an avid Yoga-doer. I might not be the most flexible person and able to do elaborate poses and stretches and I may not have the most stamina and be able to partake in lengthy workouts but… I massively enjoy yoga and try and do at least a small bit every day. I find it benefits my mental and physical health all in one and for someone with anxiety, thats the perfect type of exercise for me.