Saturday, September 12, 2015

Finding Balance and Joy

So, lately has been quite stressful. All sorts of things to deal with - finishing off a masters, a decline in health, moving away from friends. As a result of this I've been trying to find some balance and trying to make the most out of everything and there have been several things I've found really help.

No, no! Don't run away just yet! Now, I am certainly not a natural athlete type, being 5 foot 1 (5ft2 at a push) and just generally quite soft and curvy, but I've found so far that *breathes in* exercise has actually been pretty helpful.
I've been swimming and that was just so fun. I've been put off for ages because I'm not a very strong swimmer, need to wear contact lenses and you know, there's generally all the pretty-much-nakedness and fungal infections and if you stop swimming you could drown...
But besides that! It was really so fun. I bought myself a cheap cossie from Tesco, pulled myself together and we went to the local leisure pool. It was surprisingly liberating.
First off - I think it is so good for my body-confidence. I was feeling a bit nervous about parading around with pretty much all of me on display but after about a minute, I realised 'No-one is looking at me. No-one cares if I have a couple of stretch marks or if I have a few jiggly bits.... and I don't care what anyone else looks like either, they're just all regular humans having fun and exercising... OH YEAH'. Then swimming... I'm a bit bigger than I was last time (I'm still a decent healthy size but I was a child when I went swimming before) and all those soft bits, well they certainly helped with floating! It was so pleasant and peaceful just floating on my back looking up at everything.
All in all, it was great. I will shortly be the owner of some prescription goggles! (Swimming's just about to get even more attractive ;) )

Also, jogging. I've been doing that. I'm loving Autumn. Good job seasons! And I don't want to speak too soon *touches wood* (don't make up your own jokes here, you naughty person!) but I think I am slowly but surely trugging along a bit faster (almost) every time!

Now, *sighs* I love theatre. I really really do. But after having been studying for a Masters in Practising Performance and having my last essay hanging over my head and being ill, the thought of watching theatre has been a bit threatening and intimidating rather than enjoyable for me lately.
However, today I put myself on a bus by myself, got into town, listened to some fancy jazz music as I tucked into my quiche and salad (Why thank you, it was very good of indeed) and then went and watched a performance. I went to see 'River's Up' by Alex Jones and performed by The Reactor Factory and it was just wonderful. It was a really touching tragi-comedy which was performed so well - it really made me think, made me emotional and just reminded me why I do what I do. Definitely read or see it if you get a chance.
But more than that, it was so good to be doing something just me. Something I've always loved, by myself, spending time with that happiness. If you, like me, reader, have been going through a bit of a tough time (as we all do now and then) then I really recommend going out and trying to engage with something you normally enjoy. If you go and end up feeling a bit flat, well you just treat yourself to a nice pudding on me! (And if you go and you enjoy it you can have a lovely pudding too, you deserve it either way, you self-care wonderperson, you!)

Other Helpful Things
Well, I am a naturally artistic with my geography of returning things in my room (that's me trying to pretend I'm something more acceptable than just plain old 'messy') BUT a book I've really been enjoying lately is 'The Life Changing Magic of Tidying' by Marie Kondo. This book seems to deal with more than just tidying, it seems to be a wonderful tool for stepping back, looking at what's around you and re-evaluating it so you can surround yourself with things that bring you joy and making peace and letting go of things that are holding you back. I have yet to finish the book completely and my tidying, but I am certainly making steps. If this sounds like something that might be helpful to you, I at least recommend having a quick skim through at a bookstore or something to see whether this could be up your street.

Plants. I don't know why but having flowers in my room just brings me happiness. I love the colours, the natural smell and when I look at them it just reminds me to breathe. I sometimes feel a bit bad spending money on buying myself flowers, but the way I look at it I would buy a bottle of wine or chocolate for more without thinking twice about it.

Meditation. I've fallen off the meditation bandwagon a bit recently. But I am determined to get back into the swing of it! Every time I meditate I feel a bit better, so meditation I shall do!

So there we have it, a surprisingly lengthy blog. Congratulations to you for making this far! I would love to hear back from you and find out what you do to find balance and joy. Any recommendations for me to try out?
I'll write again soon. Take good care of yourself!

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