Something I’ve struggled with this year is the reality that a full time office job (although I’m lucky to work one day a week from home) is a bit of a sedentary life.
I’ve worked in an office set up for years now. Almost 10 years in TV, 2.5 years at a record label (amazing amazingness) and before I went to uni another couple of years as a P.A at a startup.
Yes there’s walking to the train and walking to grab lunch and walking to meetings but by and large, I’m on my arse for a large proportion of the day. Arse bound on the train, arse bound at the desk, in meetings…
I know this is standard and normal for work but is it normal and healthy…for life life?
Some senior folk around the office have fancy standing desks. Some teams get up once an hour and take to the floor to do a couple of minutes of exercise before cracking on with the to-do list (the Creative dept naturally…I dig their vibe). Others enjoy lunchtime runs.
But as this is the weekend i’ve noticed more than ever how active I am on a non office based day which makes me really question the ratio and what I do about it.
As a lady with fertility troubles and endometriosis, sitting down for the majority of the day is just no good at all for my insides. It reduces the flow of fresh nourishing blood to the uterus. If you’re not moving, things stagnate.
I woke up yesterday (Saturday) with the body aches. Now this could’ve been due to a reiki appointment a few days before. Perhaps ones flow of energy was up to something. But I knew I had to move and take care. Had that been a working day I think my body would’ve been in all sorts of extra bother.
What transpired yesterday was a full day of looking after myself. I (I mean, of course) wrote a list of what I wanted to achieve…
I achieved the list (also added a vegan chocolate tiffin bite – ok, 2 – and some lentil chips to the dietary intake…plus chores like washing, dishwasher duties) but it really did take time.
The contrast in a working day and a non working day is mighty.
Before work during the week I will 100% meditate after I’ve showered. Rupert the sausage dog will take his seat on the sofa next to me (sometimes on my cross legged lap) and swiftly fall asleep as the lady from the Calm app guides me. If there’s time I’ll do a few yoga stretches. I’ll always have a good breakfast and the above morning warm water concoction. Work then happens. And if it’s a nice day I will walk from the station to the office, on occasion head to the park for a walk at lunch and then walk back to the station at the end of the day. So I am moving, but I’m not as present with or able to fulfil my healthy living intentions as I’d like.
Since April and the thing, I’ve started to put my health right back at the top of the pile. It’s the most important thing, physical and mental. Very little room for compromise there just now I’m afraid. And perhaps forevermore.
Being out in nature with the dog, stretching my body out with gentle yoga every day and taking at least 15 mins to meditate are where I now feel like I am truly looking after myself. Investing in my health.
My mid-twenty-something self would be reading these words like ‘errr who the hell are you please?’ but if I could tell her anything it would be this:
LOOK AFTER YOUR FUCKING SELF;
– Make (ok, one step at a time), consider healthier choices as you never know when your body will get really out of sync when it matters most
– Read and learn and read and learn. Don’t stop learning about things that truly interest you.
– Don’t worry as much about everything. You waste so much time worrying about what might happen. Focus on right now.
– Do things you genuinely enjoy, doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks – that’s on them
I’m implying that my twenty something self was a bit wayward. She really wasn’t. Alcohol was the hardest drug I’d done and still is. Even though I was surrounded by coke working in music, it wasn’t for me thanks. Not tempted in the slightest. But I loved a night out, drinking loads, dancing, silly shit. Little sleep, poor diet. Did things to be cool. And I wouldn’t necessarily change that but I’d make sure I was more informed to balance it all out a little. Especially if I was twenty something now, when information is at our fingertips more than ever. I’d make sure I was more me, less of a sheep.
I used to look at this one girl at secondary school who continued her ballet lessons into her late teens and I used to think wow. She loved it, performing at school arts nights, just her and the stage in front of a heady mix of hormonal teens; the cool bitchy ones who wouldn’t dare ‘perform’ because that was lame, the studious ‘sad’ ones (what? You know what I mean…but I think maybe they had it right…), the horny boys battling it out to get the girls. There she was in a floaty ballet slip, confidently dancing.
I hope she still does.
Looking after yourself needn’t be boring, it’s all about how confident you are. It could be picking up an old hobby that you loved as a kid. Could be giving up a vice to just see what that’s like, even though it might be going against the grain and raise some eyebrows.
I feel more empowered now to say no (or yes!) to a glass of wine or to say yes to an early night than ever before. Because I get it now.
So before my mid-life crisis kicks in when I’ve got my babies and I fucking lose it (I hope, in spectacular fashion) I choose the power of the word no, I trust my inner voice and curiosity and do only what serves me, my nearest and dearest.
Yesterday was just lovely, with the focus all on wellbeing. But it was a full day.
Imagine the health benefits if that was achieved even half of the working week?