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Are you living your ideal life? (plus a fantastic eCourse to help you ensure you do).

 

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These days my life is a constant recalibration, a regular ‘check in’ of an adrenal system at risk of overdrive, the consequence of a Type A personality battling to find the STOP button. Only a couple of short years ago, there was little, if any, ‘self assessment’. On and on I charged, pushing as hard as I could to reach those targets, surpass expectations, to succeed. It wasn’t long before the universe had other plans for me, landing me flat on my back, incapable of writing a ‘to do’ list, let alone conquering one. It was at that point I knew I needed to find (and properly manage) said STOP button, before I blew another gasket and drove myself to an early grave.

So here I am, 3 years on from a CFS diagnosis. I’m as healthy as can be, establishing a new business and career that incorporates all that I am most passionate about – whole foods, clean living and boundless energy. Nearly 18 (very intensive) months in, I’m pinching myself that my career has transformed in such a way (from a corporate office to a highly diverse home based business), yet I’m deeply aware of a marked neglect in other areas of my life, of values that I hold dear. It was this awareness that lead me to the door of Melbourne Meditation Teacher and creative business coach , Kate James of Total Balance.

Kate James, of Total Balance.

Kate James, of Total Balance.

Over 2.5 hours, Kate helped clarify those values that are most important to me, the combination of which will enable me to live my ideal life – one of balance, freedom, connection and authenticity. Kate encouraged me to dream, think big and to pursue the things I love in a balanced and authentic way. During this session we put a number of action steps and goals in place that would ensure I don’t get lost in the ‘noise’ of a busy career, rather fostering a life that is true to all those values held dear. As simple as these steps may seem, they include a 15 meditation in the middle of every day to help calm my adrenals and enforce rest and stillness; an exercise regime that must never come second to work demands; restricted social media activity (i.e. switching off a night) and most importantly, blocking out time in the diary for connection – with friends and family and other interests outside of work.

During the birth and growth of my business, I have found it easy to get lost in the noise, hurling along from one task to another. Now however, I am armed with a bunch of commitments and a sense of accountability to Kate, with a checklist in black and white serving to remind me of my digressions. It’s now about recalibrating, again and again.

I wonder, do you feel the need to stop, to re-evaluate your direction? Are you living your ideal life? Have you taken the time to consider what your ideal life even looks like? Perhaps like me, you need guidance – to help map your values and ensure you are in fact living the life of your dreams.

I’m very excited to share Kate with you today, along with her fantastic eCourse entitled Dream, Discover. Do. This highly comprehensive 8 week eCourse will help you discover your strengths and values, it’ll help you identify any limiting beliefs holding you back from following your dreams, and it’ll help you create change in your life to ensure you are living your version of an authentic, meaningful life. For all the information you need, including a little video snap shot of the wonderful Kate, jump on over here. The course commences 14th February.

Don’t wait until the universe slaps you on the back – be your truth, now.

The Gwinganna Lifestyle Retreat (that has me hooked) + a beautiful GIVEAWAY!

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So there I was, a few days into my 5 night stay at the Gwinganna Lifestyle Retreat, mindfully enjoying my delicious organic salad, when a guest to my left pipes up and says “Amy, when you get home, perhaps you’d better edit an old post you wrote about never spending big bucks on health retreats.” My reaction? “Noooo…I wouldn’t have said that!”. Out came someone’s phone, up came the blog post I wrote earlier in the year, and low and behold…I swallowed both my words AND my lunch!

My words exactly:“….my life is usually one big detoxification process these days. I own a Far Infra-Red Sauna (you can read about that here), I eat organic foods, I drink detoxifying green juices every day, as far as humanly possible I avoid toxic chemicals on my skin, in my hair, in my home. It’s not likely you’ll see me paying big bucks to go to a health retreat.”

Seriously, words swallowed (and all apologies to Gwinganna). I am a new woman and I’ll tell you why in a sec.

Firstly, let me introduce you to this incredible destination. Gwinganna is Australia’s only Eco Tourism health retreat, located in the Hinterland of the Gold Coast. Perched on top of a plateau, it is surrounded by stunning ocean and valley views that leave you feeling like you’re a million miles away from anywhere. Amongst a multitude of other things, you are blessed with beautiful mountain air, a distinct lack of (any) traffic and a feeling of utter serenity and stillness (unless of course you’re engaged in a ‘yang’ physical activity that has your sides hurting from laughter and your lungs screaming from exertion). Gwinganna offers a variety of programs to suit the needs of the ‘freshers’ like me and the multitudes of returning guests who know a good thing when they find it.

Having recently completed a 30 day cleanse, I chose not to attend a detox program (that’d be just cruel), but instead to join their 5 night Optimum Wellbeing program: “This retreat will help you to cleanse your body and to empower yourself by first assessing and then discovering solutions to improve your quality of life. Using integrative health techniques, this journey provides the opportunity to balance essential areas of your lifestyle.” 

So you may ask why I decided to go to a health retreat, when let’s be honest, from the outside looking in, my lifestyle does look pretty healthy (as per my now word-swallowing quote above). Well the fact is, it hasn’t been as healthy as it may actually appear. Up until last week (because as I said, I am now a changed woman), there was a distinct lack of balance in my life. The food I get pretty right, same goes for clean living. The bit I battle with is balance, more specifically rest, play and stillness. My wonderful new career has me racing around battling ever expanding ‘to do’ lists; social media demands that could have me up all night; an inbox that flows to abundance 24/7..and an addiction to technology that has me wired and engaged all day every day. So you can imagine my delight when I read that laptops and mobiles were considered ‘contraband’ – how’s that for cold turkey!

I’ve decided to share with you a typical day in the life of a Gwinganna guest, to give you a feel for the level of activity you can choose to be involved in (or not, as the case may be). I must stress, none of this is mandatory. It is entirely up to you how much or how little you would like to participate.

5.30am: the suns up and with a knock on your door there’s a cheery voice prompting you to hop out of bed (it is broad daylight, please do not be scared off by the ungodly (for some) hour!

There we are, on the hill overlooking the most glorious view, practising Qigong.

There we are, on the hill overlooking the most glorious view, practising Qigong. Photo credit, my new friend and fellow guest, Jackie 🙂

6.00am: Overlooking the incredible valley and coastal views we learn and practise the ancient art of Qigong, a moving meditation.

7-8.00am: The guests select a Yin walk (gentle paced) or a Yang walk (heart pumping, lung busting – serious hills!).

8-9.00am: Breakfast, in all of its organic, caffeine free, whole food, as-nature-intended-it glory.

9-11.00am: Thirty minutes of light stretching to be followed by your choice of Yin or Yang activities. These may include yoga, palates or creative dance (Yin) or boxing, spin or fit ball classes (Yang) – there is always a fabulous selection.

11-11.30am: Morning tea. SO yum. Think tahini balls, smoothies or fresh young coconuts.

11.30-1.00pm: A hugely educational seminar with topics covering anything from nutrition, mind mechanics, colonic health…you name it. These totally surpassed my expectations. All the speakers are highly qualified and fantastic speakers to boot.

1-2.00pm: Wohoooo it’s lunch time! Oh so good. Raw salads fresh from the garden, beautiful soups, fish off the barbie..I was kept very happy!

2-6.00pm: The much loved ‘dreamtime’. Time for you to do whatever your body and mind needs most – to rest in your room, to lie by the pool (my choice), to while away hours in their amazing day spa (with a spa menu bigger than your phone book, assuming you don’t live in Sydney), having acupuncture, massages, manicures, body scrubs, hot stone massages, kinesiology, you name it!

Gwinganna Lifestyle Resort - Gwinganna Gym , March 2008.

4.00pm: Afternoon tea. Again, always yum. Think crunchy crudités, raw crackers and yummo dips.

6-7.00pm: Meditation class anyone? Perhaps a functional movement class…whatever the case it’s a gentle hour.

7-8.00pm: Dinner with your fellow guests. There’s always a vegetarian option and for the meat eaters amongst two night with red meat on offer.

The food. OH THE FOOD!

The food. OH THE FOOD!

Did I love it? With every ounce of my being! And this is what I loved:

  • Meeting and befriending other amazing guests, all with a story and something interesting to share. It was the most beautifully positive group of people and I was particularly glad I had attended the retreat on my own.
  • The hugely talented staff, all of which were totally authentic and passionate about their work (it seriously shows)
  • The opportunity to totally disconnect from the world – I switched off as I arrived and back on as I left. I was blissfully unaware of the outside world.
  • The day spa…oh the day spa! It is incredible and don’t get me started on the treatments. Actually you can. If you go…try the Sound and Stone treatment – oh my goodness – a hot stone massage timed and choreographed with music by an amazing therapist, it was out of this world.
  • The food – just amazing. Gluten free, sugar free (bar fruit) and organic. Most of it comes fresh out of the ground in their own beautiful veggie patch, tended lovingly by a hugely talented chef turned gardener, Shelley.
  • The pools (yep, there are two infinity pools). It’s hard to describe the feeling in the water. They feels as fresh and clean as spring water. Glorious.
  • My bed. I was out like a light by 9pm and wide awake at 5am, every day. Slept like a baby and woke up feeling incredible.
  • The quality of the information shared in the seminars. This program looks into all facets of your life style, there is SO much to learn.

There are so many reasons why I loved this experience but the proof in the pudding (don’t get excited, there WAS no pudding) was the way I felt as I hopped back onto the bus on departure. I had this amazing sense of vitality and calm; I felt totally balanced with energy I had not felt for some time; there was a feeling of absolute nourishment reflected in the whites of my eyes, the glow on my skin and a smile on my face that I couldn’t wipe off. I honestly cannot wait to go back (soon).

IT’S GIVEAWAY TIME! 

One very lucky THI follower is going to secure a copy of this absolutely gorgeous recipe book, A Taste of Gwinganna…from garden to gourmet. Here’s a little excerpt from Gwinganna:

“The very first book from the team at Gwinganna Lifestyle Retreat in the Gold Coast hinterland, ‘…from garden to gourmet’, is a celebration of delicious and healthy organic cuisine for every meal of the day. Over 140 pages, it uses organic ingredients to create simple options that can be created at home.The recipes are all directly from the menus at Gwinganna and have been developed in conjunction with Gwinganna’s nutritionists. The book also features information to help you live healthier and nutritional tips for each dish. Beautifully photographed, the book is a valuable guide toward optimal wellness. If you want to eat healthier and have more energy, then this book is for you.”

Valued at $59.95, this is a must have addition to your recipe book collection. To win this book, simply tell us in 20 words or less why you’d love it. The winner will be chosen post 4pm on Monday 28th October.

Conditions: you must be a THI follower and reside in Australia. 

Recipe Ebook Cover

Goodbye! (advising of a brief hiatus from the world).

Gwingannas Relaxation Pool

 

Just in case you’re wondering, that’s not me. But it will be in about 48 hours. In fact I am going to strike that pose and see if I can get a photo in exactly that spot, looking just as ‘still’ and peaceful as this young lass. Actually it won’t be a matter of ‘looking’ as still, I’ll be feeling it too. Much more important.

Tomorrow I am flying north to the warmer climes of Queensland. On Sunday I am checking into the Gwinganna Lifestyle Retreat, for their 5 night Optimum Wellbeing package, where laptop computers, caffeine, newspapers and radios are just a few of the items listed as ‘contraband’. Apparently mobile phones are not permitted outside of your room. I can’t even begin to imagine the withdrawals whilst being presented with an array of amazing food (which I hear is incredible) and not being able to take a photo – that alone is reason enough to take this break don’t you think? An Instagram addict I have become indeed.

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This represents the first time I will have totally disconnected from the world in years (most significantly, technology) and after a huge ten months building a new life and career I know it’s time. I need a break. A totally uninterrupted rest where I can restore my batteries, reflect on my year and ponder the future.

That being said, on Sunday I’ll be switching everything off and will have no access to emails, Facebook, Instagram, my website, Twitter, text messages, voicemail message…you name it. My very able assistant Sarah will be about to answer queries in my absence, but something tells me the world (and my business) will go on without me for 6 days.

I look forward to sharing my thoughts around this ‘great disconnect’ upon my return. See you all on the other side people and have a wonderful, restful and nourishing weekend.

Amy x

 

 

 

Are you waiting to get happy? (and a photo gallery from a novice).

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It took me many, many years to learn to find happiness within; to have no reliance on external sources to pick me up, pull me along, make me believe that I was enough. I now know that I AM enough, that I don’t ‘need’ anything external to me to make me truly happy. To know that YOU are the power, that YOU are enough is a huge and incredibly empowering feeling.

Have you gone through life waiting, waiting for happiness to hit you in the face, to burst into your heart? Waiting for that gorgeous man (or woman) to come along (because then you’ll be happy); waiting to lose 5 kilos (because then you’ll be really happy); waiting to earn more money (because surely, when you are earning $10,000 more, you’ll be happy).

You know what? Don’t wait. Give up the wait and look within. Find happiness in your every day, show gratitude for what you have in your life right now, give to others, live consciously – raise your vibration and invite  happiness in.  There is absolutely no point in waiting because whatever it is you are yearning for may never come – and what a waste of time and energy that will have been.

I wanted to show you a place that I go to often, a place that I go to to rest, to allow my mind and body to find stillness. This is Freycinet Peninsula on the East Coast of Tasmania. For many years my family have had a holiday house here and it is without doubt my favourite place  – it also played a huge part in my recovery from CFS. I grew up in Tasmania and moved away over 20 years ago. For many years since I have visited often, not only because I yearned to see my family but because I believed I needed a ‘Tassie fix’, a fix that would re-balance me, nourish me and bring me happiness again. When life hurled it’s challenges, I’d book a flight and flee. Inevitably I would return home feeling better in many ways, that’s true. Yet, should you need to book a flight and then wait to reach your favourite destination in order to find happiness?

My recent holiday in Freycinet Peninsula was just what I needed. I needed to stop for a while, immerse myself in big open spaces, take long walks, read books, remove myself from what has become an intensive working life. I work from home so there is little respite – it is only healthy that I remove myself from home once in a while. During this stay however, I was struck with the realisation that I didn’t ‘need’ Tasmania anymore. I am certainly fortunate to have a reason to go there (because I love it dearly and I love my family), but my ‘happy place’ is in my heart, it’s not waiting on the beach or on that mountain.  It’s within me right now and it’s entirely up to me how I choose to feel, every single moment of my day.

Give up the wait, be happy now.

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The love of my life, Wilson. The King of the Castle.

The love of my life, Wilson. The King of the Castle.

8 steps for creating technology boundaries in your life.

No matter the weather, there needs to be more time for this. Wide open spaces, freedom, stillness and some quality one on one time with Wilson.

No matter the weather, there needs to be more time for this. Wide open spaces, freedom, stillness and some quality one on one time with Wilson.

You may have read my post last week about my obligatory 48 hour technology detox – the result of a flagging immune system and a particularly unhappy body that has been pushed to the brim (and beyond) for way too many months. This is unfortunately the ‘fall out’. I have finally found a career that has me feeling so incredibly excited and passionate about what I do that the boundaries between ‘work’ and ‘play’ have disappeared and technology has encroached into the majority of  waking hours – the consequence of living much of my life online. So the detox has come and gone and there is no question that it left me feeling rejuvenated. Yet that was momentary. There is without question a real need for some structure around my working week that allows for far less ‘blurring’. As much as I love what I do, my rest time has become more pertinent than ever as I feel myself slipping into ‘million mile an hour’ Type A habits.

Today I would like  to share  with you some steps that have been recommended by my dear followers, who have had many a wise word to impart (and I am ever so grateful). I intend on incorporating these into my life and hope that this list will benefit others trying to find a happier technology/technology free ‘medium’.

The first five come from the delightful Buffy-Ellen Gill of Be Good Organics in New Zealand.

1. Upon waking, do NOT check your iPhone. I don’t even have it in the room. We have a “screen free bedroom” rule now (trust me, this has other positive flow ons). I use a traditional alarm to wake, and in the morning the first hour or two is completely mine. I have a hot lemon water, go to yoga or for a walk, have a coffee and breakfast out (my daily ritual treat), shower and prepare for the day. THEN I check my phone, emails, IG, FB etc. Trust me, the emails and comments do wait til then (~9am for me).

2. I try to switch the work day off at 6pm. That’s what normal people do! Let’s just say I’m not very good at this one, it often creeps to 7/8, BUT the intention is there, every day, and I’m slowly getting better at it. I allow myself to check IG once after dinner ~730pm (although i’m working towards removing this also), then phone gets switched OFF. That’s right, off. Switched back on the next morning at 9am. Honestly it’s the most generous and giving thing you can do for yourself (and your clients).

3. Weekend’s to be as tech-free as possible. You can actually schedule FB posts ahead of time, so my goal is to do that on the Friday if I want to post over the weekend (not required though), and therefore leave FB all weekend. IG is a little tougher, but intention will eventually be for it to be a Mon-Fri show only.

4. In general during the work day I’m aiming towards a twice a day checking/posting schedule. That’s emails/FB/IG once in the morning (all posts and reponses), and once in the late afternoon. You actually become so much more productive during the day and can focus on particular tasks. When you’re present, not only are you more productive, you also enjoy what you’re doing so much more – try it! Check this link out, it’s a cute wee footer you can add to your email signature block to remind people of that intention (or just hold the intention in your heart): http://www.calmbox.me

5. My partner and I are in the process of booking a 3 week trip to Italy in September. Is my business crazy busy and i don’t think i can afford to take the time off? Of course. Am I not sure how i’m going to cover things while i’m gone? Yes absolutely. But we’re booking it anyway, those things will figure themselves out. How could you say no to Puglia?!!

The lovely Kate James from Total Balance, recommends this:

6. I make sure every Sunday is my own now and often spend the afternoon lying on the couch with a book and we have a mini-break every couple of months where we get out of town and disconnect from technology. These small things make such a difference. I’m always more creative and more focused afterwards.

Sundays need to look and feel just like this. Say hello to Wilson. Clearly there isn't care in the world (or an iPhone in sight).

Sundays need to look and feel just like this. Say hello to Wilson. Clearly there isn’t a care in the world (or an iPhone in sight).

Julie Green of juliegreenart.com  makes this pertinent comment about why it’s important to create space:

7. What is more important for me and my life is to live it outside of the screen and to CREATE more writing and photography instead of reading everyone’s blogs and spending too much time at the screen (although I still am). And even if I don’t get posts or pictures out as quickly or as in-depth or as regularly as I want to, there are other things on my plate, and balance and acceptance are key, I think

Erin from bookgirloz  shares:

8. I completely agree … in that technology (and tweeting/blogging/etc) sometimes becomes such as big part of our lives that we forget to live the life that we want to blog about. My family made a pact to put away all of our phones/ipads/computers each Sunday.

Do you think you could adopt some (or all) of these practises?

 

A 48 hour technology detox – has life seriously got to this?

IMG_4837Many people (my parents included) may scoff at the idea of a technology detox. That is unless of course they were living with me and could see how many hours I feed into technology every single day, from the very moment I wake to the very moment I go to sleep (and there are hours in between). Many of you would know that I announced a tech detox last Friday that would last for 48 hours. I dare say some of you are wondering why I didn’t commit for longer. The fact is this was a very last minute decision and I wasn’t organised enough to do so. Technology now forms a huge part of my life and to enable things to tick over in my absence a little prior planning is definitely required.

To cut a long story short I had no choice but to do this – for too many weeks (actually lets say months) I have been pushing, pushing, pushing – filled to the brim with adrenalin and the excitement of putting together my first recipe book and finding a career that ticks all of my boxes and makes me feel like I don’t do a day of work in my life. Nothing has been able to stop me. I have never felt such passion and it feels truly amazing. However, as many would understand such passion can come with its challenges and those I now understand. Fundamentally it doesn’t matter how much you love your ‘job’ every single one of us needs down time. Stillness. Rest. Every single one of us (if I could be honest, I often find that fact a little disappointing, sometimes I very much wish I was that one person who didn’t). The outfall was the return of the virus I had been battling with for twenty years pre CFS. All the proof I needed that I had to STOP (again).

The birth of a technology addiction.
I should say that the ‘beast’ that created my technology addiction is most certainly my 18 year recruitment career and a real desire to provide personalised, exceptional service. It’s always been about surpassing expectations. I had rules that were instilled in me – every phone call was responded to same day, every email within 24 hours, there were no exceptions. I’d reply to an email in the bath at night if I had to. I was service driven and still am. The problem however is when you try to take those same rules to an online community (including many thousands of people), many of whom are not expecting same day replies. It becomes totally unrealistic, as I have found out only too well. These rules most definitely require a softening. I am human and I have the same number of hours in my day as the next person.

A new ‘online’ career.
My ‘world’ is now hugely online. I have a blog where I share my life and my thoughts and the services I provide. Said posts generate interest in the form of blog commentary or daily emails direct to my inbox. I receive daily emails about the services I provide;  I have an instagram feed. I nourish and nurture this feed on a daily basis and whilst I no longer have the time to invest in it that I once did, I truly love the engaged nature of this community. Without instagram I would not have my eBook, A Nourishing Kitchen, nor would I have the engaged following that I do;  I have a Facebook page that I also nurture on a daily basis and this too creates further online communication via news feed comments or direct emails to my inbox; I have a Twitter account that I am trying to nurture (though can’t quite get my head around Twitter!); I have a (previously mentioned) recipe eBook that is online and therefore requires marketing via online activity. This eBook in turn generates a whole host of emails on a daily basis – tech support questions that I had not previously envisaged, questions about future books, hard cover books…you name it…my inbox is typically bulging (and don’t get me wrong, I am full of gratitude for it).

A day in the life of technology.
This online engagement has been starting as soon I wake in the morning. I was checking and responding to instagram as soon as I woke – if I leave it too long commentary runs off the bottom of my feed and I have found real discomfort in not being able to acknowledge someone who has replicated one of my recipes. It would continue through breakfast (as I photograph my food for instagram). It continues across all mediums all day, in between my therapy business with a real emphasis around meal times (and food styling!). My inbox screams at me if it has too many unread messages so I work at it all day to keep it to a minimum. My respite is the therapy I provide that is typically 2.5 hours with each client and without a computer in sight. The worst offending technology habit that formed was the bed time habit and with that the demise of my love of reading. For as long as I can remember I have gone to bed to read before lights out…until about 6 months ago when my iPhone and instagram account took place of the book.

The outfall
Exhaustion and a marked lack of boundaries in my new working life. That’s about the extent of it. I have become so constantly engaged within this space that I have left little room for stillness and rest – not physical rest so much, but rest for my mind. For a few months now I have been getting little signs from the universe that I need to slow down, take a day off (just one!), do a little (or a lot) less. I have been getting those niggling feelings that a cold is coming on so I chug down an extra green juice and go to bed a little earlier. That was doing the trick until the big V (virus) stepped back into my life. Me all of all people should have known better.

So how did it feel to be on a 48 hour tech detox? photo (31)
Amazing. Instantly calming. I felt like a different person. All of this pressure to be engaged, to be communicating, to have to ‘check in’ totally dissipated. I had this absolute sense of freedom and space in front of me to fill my hours doing whatever I chose (and I had so many more left in my day). I felt so much more mindful and engaged with every activity I undertook – I wasn’t trying to comment on instagram whilst watching my favourite TV show and checking my FB feed. Just sitting at my local cafe and drinking coffee was an entirely different experience – I sat and simply watched people (on their phones) and the world go by. I noticed stuff. I found time to read and get truly excited about going to bed to read (To Kill a Mockingbird – how wonderful is that book?!). I even lay on the couch in the sun on a chilly afternoon and read my book – how on earth could I have let that beautiful habit slip? What became evident most of all was the total control technology now had over my life. It had slowly infiltrated every part of my day.

What’s next?
Well, I know what I need to do. I need to set some boundaries. I haven’t yet decided exactly how this will look but there are a couple that are glaringly obvious:
1. No social media within half an hour of bed time and NO social media in bed. I am typically a good sleeper but my wired brain has been finding it much harder to wind down.
2. No social media as soon as I wake up! My daily ritual is to get up and walk Wilson, after I have checked my phone. No more. It can wait. If I lose commentary off the bottom of my feed the world will go on.
3. AT LEAST one technology free day per fortnight. I would like to move this to 2 but with the recent launch of my eBook I will commit to 1.
4. Stop filling my ‘down time’ (eg morning coffee at the cafe, time on the couch after lunch, during my favourite TV show) with social media. Down time is to be exactly that, down time. Disengaged, rest time for my brain.
5. Give away with the need to respond same day, I am not savings lives here (well, I hope that in some instances I do..but you get my drift). My own life will not be at risk if I don’t (will it?).

This is just the beginning, it’s a step in the right, mindful direction. I am sure I could do more and I would dearly love your input. Please…if you have any advice (from experience) I would dearly love to hear it.

How do you manage your online world?

Learning to let go (because ironing pillow cases really isn’t that important..is it?).

The ironing. Which won't get done today.

The ironing. Which won’t get done today.

One of the most significant lessons you learn with the onset of CFS is that once you expend your energy you don’t get it back. The difference between this and a healthy person is that a healthy person who feels a little weary might choose to go for a run and then enjoy a post exercise high. Or organise a catch up with an energy inducing friend. That’s not how it works with CFS. When/if you get up in the morning you have to decide what you NEED to do that day (rarely is it about what you WANT to do). So as an example, you really might need to get your dog out of the house, or to eat, or to pay one online bill. At my worst I could choose just one of those activities in my day – knowing that carrying out that one activity would deplete me of my prescious energy stores for the remainder of the day.

Let me set the scene. In my healthy state I am that highly organised and efficient (if not fastidious) person. Everything is in it’s place. I’m perfectly timely (to the frustration I am sure of my friends). I have work related ‘rules’ around response times to emails and phone calls. I am a committed, communicative and loyal friend. I have high expectations of myself and (I am sure to the frustration of those in my life) of those around me. I don’t need anyone to tell me where I have neglected any of my duties because you can be rest assured I’ve beaten myself up about it enough

So what happens to house work you may well ask?! Well that’s a good question, because here in lay the challenge. How do you think an ordinarily highly efficient person copes lying around on her bed or couch all day looking at the floor desperate for a vacuum, thinking about the bathroom that hadn’t been cleaned for a fortnight, the sheets that hadn’t been changed, those friends you hadn’t contacted in weeks, that dog who had been stuck inside all morning.  Initially she doesn’t cope well and it comes back to accepting your illness, recognising your now limited capabilities and making peace with that. If I hadn’t learnt to let things like this go it would have truly negated anything positive I was doing for my recovery. Guilt, worry and anxiety (oh how they bubbled up!) became my arch enemies so it was vital that I got to a place where I recognised that these insignificant things simply didn’t matter.

As many of you would know I had a minor relapse a few weeks ago and am yet to recover to the good health I was enjoying pre relapse. My energy stores are depleted so once again, each morning I make decisions about what NEEDS to be done. And all the stuff that  I don’t have the capacity to do? I just Let. It. Go. As an example, I change sheets on Sundays. On Sunday afternoon I had to remake my bed but I had nothing in me to iron my sheets and I’ll be honest, that kind of niggled at me. Until I stopped and asked myself why it really mattered? Who really cared (bar me)? Same goes for the rest of my house work and everything else I have neglected in my life (including exercise) over the last few weeks.

As long as you are not hurting yourself of anyone around you learning to let go in many facets of our lives saves us so much precious energy, chronic illness or otherwise. Guilt, anxiety, unnecessary worry – all of these negative feelings do little but drain us of our positivity and exuberance and have huge implications on our health long term. Next time you feel one of these negative emotions ask yourself just how significant this situation is in the broader scheme of things. And when you realise how ridiculously pedantic you are no doubt being (directed straight at me FYI) give yourself some big deep breaths and congratulate yourself for letting go.