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Healthy Changes – Part 4: Get Inspired. Get Active.

Healthy isn’t all about food, nor is it all about how we treat our skin, face or hair. Nope.. a large part of us feeling good comes from how inspired and stimulated we are.

This little post forms part of my Healthy Changes series which aims to provide you with small, manageable tips on how to become a healthier version of beautiful you. 

A busy social life at 5 years old…

Before we went off to uni, both my sister and I were incredibly active and extremely busy with various hobbies and activities. Our parents were the obligatory chauffeurs during the week and weekend, ferrying us to various clubs… groups or friends houses (sound familiar?!).

I was so incredibly lucky with the opportunities that my parents gave me in terms of extra curricula activities. From the age of just a little bit older than 2, I went to ballet classes and continued these until I was 14 – I also danced a lot at school, taking it up as a GCSE and AS Level but unfortunately, took it no further.

I also learned the violin, for which I had lessons and took part in a music school where I climbed the orchestra ladder…again, I did this from an early age until I sat my A’levels. Then there was the whole Girl Guide scene…being a Rainbow, Brownie, Guide and then Ranger…once a week we’d meet and work towards our badges or learning songs or doing some random thing! That stopped when I went to uni.

Sailing is probably the one outdoor activity which I’ve kept up since I was 4 or 5. Sailing with Dad, then learning myself and then having the amazing opportunity to become a sailing instructor…teaching throughout the summers between GCSEs until I went to uni…but never stopping sailing with Dad.

There’s a pattern. If we’re lucky, our parents throw us into as many things as possible to stimulate us, get us active, get us socialising and to challenge us. But, assuming we’ve kept up with these things through to our teens, the sad likelihood is that we’ll suddenly stop them when we move away from home. Be it for uni, a new job or travelling. And then by not doing them for awhile, we become complacent…perhaps enjoying the new found freedom, or just forgetting the fun we had, and so starting the new norm, not doing them.

5 years later, we’ve graduated and forgot we ever owned ballet shoes or played cricket. 5 years later, we might have more friends, we may be able to sink a few more pints, but we’re most likely not quite as content or as happy as we were when we were run off our feet, where Sunday was the only free night we had.

Lost. Unstimulated. Graduated.

Why? Because we need to be active. It’s important for us to be stimulated. To enjoy something and to be part of something wider than TV, work or hanging around at home.

After I graduated, I moved away from my friends and my hobbies, although I kept up sailing. I realised that although I had a passion for geography, I didn’t really have anything else. It didn’t take me too long after completing my MSc to find a job and so I commuted an hour or so from my parent’s house to work. The journey was fine, and I still do it to this day, but while working at my first company I did fairly long hours which meant I had no enthusiasm to do anything in the evening apart from chilling. When I did muster up the energy, I joined a local ballet and contemporary dance class but unfortunately was unable to keep it up due to unpredictable trains.

I gave up trying to occupy myself.

It wasn’t until I moved in with Peter three years ago, that I realised quite how active he is. He literally didn’t and still doesn’t stop. At first I’d get annoyed when I was happy to chill and he would be getting restless, not wanting to stop. But then it hit me. I shouldn’t be angry or annoyed at him. I needed to find what I liked to do.

I’d completely forgotten what it was that I enjoyed in life. I was lost. It took long evenings talking to Peter, making lists as to what I might be interested in doing by myself and with him. But I still didn’t have any ‘go’ in me, I’d put aside the lists and just wondered whether I’d find a passion. Staring aimlessly out of train windows, not even having the drive to read or write something.

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And then one day, I just decided to pick up my violin again.

After a couple of months of playing, I decided to take up lessons again. I loved it. And it sort of spiralled from there really… I began to find new passions just from my brain being active and inspired again.

At the end of last year I started to really get into cooking, and so I took that passion a step further and developed Oh Beans. Purely on the basis that I love writing and it’s a fun outlet for me to do that on (I wanted to be journalist when I was younger!!). As a result of that, I’ve made new friends and have so much more to talk about. Getting into the whole healthy food side of things, Peter and I then realised that there were other aspects of our life we could improve together…. that’s where going to a Strength and Conditioning gym comes in! Going to three classes a week together is just amazing. Not only is it a brilliant way to bond together, it’s great to de-stress, meet new people and get fit!!

I can’t tell you how much happier I am since I re-gained my inspiration and drive. I am literally off the scale and I feel a lot healthier for it!

Ok, ok. It is still a little difficult to juggle things what with work and so on, but it’s so important to get that balance. Take your full lunch hour to go for a run or swim or read a book, leave at 5.30 after you’ve done your hours. Ok, maybe it’s not possible every week / every day, but at least two or three times a week it must be!

You’re not born to just work. You’re born to live. To get active. To get inspired. Go find your passions and stretch your mind to places you hadn’t realised it could go. It’ll be hard work at first, but once you find what makes you excited and passionate about life, you won’t be able to stop!

What makes you happy and feeling healthy?

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