Well the last twelve months have just flown, all too quickly it seems, and as I plan for the next twelve months I’ve been reflecting on what I’ve learnt about myself during the past year.
As with all other years, change was a big feature this past year. I devoted some time to further study, supported clients to improve their health and had a wonderful time teaching yoga to lots of lovely people in our yoga studio here at LaVida Health.
On a personal note, having a toddler also ensures there’s a lot of change happening. My son took his first steps, began talking in sentences and also started to assert himself as all toddlers do. One of the biggest changes for me however, was learning I was pregnant, and experiencing all of those pregnancy symptoms again, although this time around they are more intense and longer lasting!
When I reflect on the past year and the changes that have occurred both professionally and personally, 5 prominent themes come up, which will no doubt continue into the future.
1. Stress management is essential and I’m getting better at it!
Yes, I am always telling others that stress management is an essential component of a healthy lifestyle but I also get stressed. Being busy doesn’t always allow for the quiet time needed to relax and de-stress, however this year I have been much more focused on practising relaxation techniques daily to keep my stress levels low. The result – less irritability, better sleep, more energy, better productivity and joy.
My favourite way to de-stress is to sit quietly outdoors (if possible) and just close my eyes and breathe. Nothing fancy, just listening to the sounds around me and keeping my breath nice and slow.
Everyone likes to relax in their own way so make sure you find what works for you and practise, practise, practise. Like anything, relaxation and stress management techniques are a skill that need to be learnt.
2. The world will not end if I say ‘no’
I am a helper by nature. I like to help others (obviously I wouldn’t be a naturopath and yoga teacher if I didn’t) and will often put other peoples’ needs before my own. I’m of course not including the needs of my son as his will always come first with that overriding maternal drive that is much harder to ignore! But I’ve always made sure other people feel good, feel loved, feel secured, are supported etc. And whilst I also believe this is one of my qualities it can also be one of my flaws as I don’t often say no, leaving me feeling drained of energy.
So this year, I’ve been practising saying no in order to give myself the time and space to recharge so I can go on helping others, and it’s been working.
Would your health and wellbeing benefit from saying “NO” occasionally?
3. The way I practise yoga and naturopathy has changed….for the better
One of the things I love about my work is the endless opportunity to learn new things. This year I spent some more time getting up to date with the latest research with regard to herbal, nutritional and lifestyle medicine, as well as undertaking further training and developing new skills within the prenatal yoga space.
With more knowledge, I am better able to support my clients and yoga students reach their health goals and I certainly have more confidence to apply my new found skills. The way I practise naturopathy has inevitably changed as a result of my ongoing learning and the way I practise now compared to the way I practised 12 months ago has evolved. Likewise, I’m sure the way I practise now will be different to the way I practise in another year’s time because a Naturopath never stops learning.
What will you do differently in the future, compared to what you have done in the past?
4. Growing a human is hard work
I know this from my experience working with women during pregnancy of course, however I seem to have forgotten just how back breaking (literally) it can actually be. My first pregnancy was a dream and I’m still having a pretty easy pregnancy compared to other women I know, but this second pregnancy is much harder.
My energy is zapped, my back aches more often than not, my belly is already big, my skin is breaking out and my sleep is disrupted. Despite being 19 weeks pregnant, I still need to eat every 2 hours otherwise I’ll get nauseous and this time I’m craving strange foods. Let’s just say I’m getting a good insight into what some of my clients, family and friends go through, and no doubt my experience will help me support my pregnant clients better in the future as well.
Growing a human however is also very rewarding. I have given myself permission this time around to take a break and not overwork. This has allowed me more opportunity to experience the joy of pregnancy. Being my second pregnancy I have already felt the baby move and taking time out to feel those little kicks and rolls are the best bits of pregnancy for me.
If you’re pregnant, I hope you’re taking the time you need to look after yourself. You’re body is working overtime to support you and your growing baby so take a load off and relax.
5. I’m very lucky
It’s been a good year for me. I am surrounded by supportive, loving and caring family and friends. I get to work in a job I love and have the pleasure of meeting and working with so many interesting and kind people. I am blessed with a healthy son, and so far a healthy pregnancy.
I always take the time to remember how lucky I am, especially in those times when life seems hard as it can be easy to lose perspective. I’m very grateful for the opportunities I’ve had and for all the people in my life who have made this a great year.
There are always things to be grateful for. What are you grateful for?