This week has been MANIC, mostly in a completely wonderful way. I moved house, went to see my bf perform as part of the choir at the BBC Proms, spent the day at Glyndebourne and every spare second I have been unpacking/sorting the new place whilst trying to keep ahead of work! It has been a bit of an emotional rollercoaster and I cannot believe only 1 week has gone by, but I have truly enjoyed it and I adore my new place. In the midst of the madness, a few bits and bobs of self-help inspiration have stood out to me…
Favourite YouTube Channel
I have been a MAJOR fan of Shona Vertue since I first saw her at Balance Festival in London, two years ago where she led a warm-up for the ‘Urban Triathlon’ (HIIT workout + 6km run + yoga – I’ve been told many times that it doesn’t count as a triathlon but I have a medal so I’m counting it….!!) I checked out her work afterward, started following her Instagram account and very quickly bought her book the Vertue Method. She has a truly excellent philosophy behind training that I have fully taken on board, and it has become central to shaping how I see the role of exercise in my life. For those of us who are not athletes or fitness professionals, it is worth considering the purpose of exercise for you. For me, it is about two key elements: physical and mental health (note: health NOT fitness).
Physical health is about having more energy, living longer through long-term care, keeping a range of mobility and functioning better in daily life – being able to get in and out of the car, carry shopping home, walk around new cities when I travel.
Mental health is about using exercise to de-stress, get out of my head for a while and release built up tension. It is also a preventative tool to keep back the tide of depression which I believe will naturally roll in and out throughout my life through cycles. With a regular exercise routine, that wave of blue does not set in so quickly or easily, and often lifts very quickly if that foundation is there.
When you start to prioritise long-term health over short-term aesthetic goals, using exercise to serve both physical and mental health, you reprioritise your exercise routine. Now, instead of focusing on loosing weight and getting a six pack (although I would welcome those two changes if they happened to land on my lap), I focus on a balance of building strength, cardiovascular health, and mobility – so, weight training, HIIT once/week (more than that increases my stress too high), LISS several times a week at the moment as I’m running a lot, and mobility through yoga. Shona Vertue’s YouTube channel covers all of the above and offers easier through to more difficult workouts. Just two weeks of her morning stretch routine improved my flexibility more than it had going to yoga once a week for a year.
The above video is about your ‘daily meds’ aka your daily meditation practice. It is an easy introduction and I often find doing a guided meditation is a little easier and less taxing when you wake up and don’t really feel like meditating.
So big thank you Shona Vertue for being such a positive inspiration!
I have been working on emotional regulation over the past several months as so often I feel like I am out of control, and that my emotions overwhelm me at the slightest trigger. Part of the issue is often I do not know how I’m feeling. Think about it: how often do you actually know what you’re feeling and can name it precisely? Most often, we can talk on and on about what is upsetting us – he did this, she did that, fate hates me today – but we rarely say “I feel vulnerable because I fear XYZ”. This article suggests focusing on expanding your emotional vocabulary across the full spectrum of emotions. The evidence outlined in this article suggests that doing so enables you to be more resilient to turbulent events, better able to reframe your emotions such as turning fear into excitement, and even better able to overcome phobias.
Acceptance is the answer to all my problems today. When I am disturbed, it is because I find some person, place, thing, or situation “some fact of my life” unacceptable to me, and I can find no serenity until I accept that person, place, thing, or situation as being exactly the way it is supposed to be at this moment.
― Alcoholics Anonymous