Should We Be More Extreme?

adventure athlete athletic daylight
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A recent Times Magazine article ‘Have You Joined The Cult of Wellness?‘ brought me up short when I read it (and this is not easy since I am already 5ft not much). It profiled four people who detailed their daily routines in pursuit of wellness. My first reaction was: ‘They must be joking!’ And just reading how much they got done before 9am exhausted me.

Essentially, they had all developed a routine that made them feel energetic, clear-headed and effective in their daily lives. They might have used a ‘human charger’ which apparently shines light into your ear to give you energy (who knew?), meditated, downward-dogged, smoothied, supplemented, skin-brushed, recorded their sleep hours on a spreadsheet, journalled, sun-stared, swum in the the Serpentine and many other things besides – and that’s before they’ve started work.

Apparently, the article went viral and many, many people felt moved to make critical and quite nasty comments about how stupid and self-indulgent these people were. It was all very funny, apparently. You can see how hurt one of the people in the article was here.

Anyway, I finished the piece and moved on. But it stayed with me.

The very next day, I was reading an interview with an extreme athlete. It was about Jonathan Albon, an obstacle-racer taking part in some of the toughest races on the planet. It was in the Times Magazine again – what can I say, I have it delivered on a Saturday? Again, the article showed the extremes he was prepared to go to to get what he wanted to achieve.

Over the next few days, I thought about those two articles and I began to feel a bit humbled actually. I thought, too, that we are not so far apart from such people, are we? If we have a chronic illness, we develop all manner of routines and such to keep us well, routines that others may find ridiculous or over the top. But we do them not for wellness, but to actually keep functioning. Then I thought many of us (certainly me included) could take a leaf out of their book and could maybe be doing an awful lot more. Our stakes are a lot higher and we should be more motivated to do stuff towards getting better. If people living busy lives can put a schedule together that keeps them feeling in tip-top condition, so should we be. If athletes can push themselves to such extremes to achieve a goal, what better goal could there be than to get well – shouldn’t we be channelling more of their attitude?

As I say: it brought me up short a bit. If they can do those for less important goals (in my view!), then I should be doing a lot more to get well. Truth is over the past year or so, I’ve been coasting with it and not really pushed my health any further on. I did a HUGE amount during the Healing Plan – somewhat akin to several of the ‘daft’ people profiled in the Times wellness piece – but latterly I’ve become a passive healer rather than an active one, if you know what I mean? I’m not being hard on myself – or you – because sometimes we need just to rest and regroup, but I do think we should periodically consider how much effort we actually put in to the basics of getting well.

I know it feels a drag sometimes. I know we think it’s not fair and why should we have to when others seemingly get by quite nicely, thank you, on a rubbish diet and lifestyle? Trust me, I get it. That said, I’d rather feel better, wouldn’t you?

Anyway, it’s inspired me to get my active healing processes going again and to develop my own ‘achiever’ mindset and daily programme to push myself forward to the next level of health if I can. I need to get the basics of better low GL food going (I have PCOS and am at high risk of diabetes), more exercise (I am so stiff and unfit after doing lying down yoga nidra and a bit of walking for so long!), better sleep (I’m often hungry at night and wake as my blood sugar drops, see above!) and more meditation/active healing again (as per the brain training and active meditation in the Healing Plan).

I’m moving back to the Midlands again soon and am taking it as an opportunity to make some of those changes. I plan to walk more, possibly join my old spa and weight train again – gently and slowly, but I used to love it, do some Qi Gong and dance classes, get juicing again and lots of things besides. In essence, I need an anti-inflammatory, health-promoting lifestyle. I’ve got many things right, but I could do better. I won’t always feel like it, or have the energy or health for it, I’m sure, but that shouldn’t stop me doing more on my, thankfully, more frequent well days.

photo of a woman lifting a barbell
Less like this….
active adult biceps body
More like this! The size of the weights anyway…

I don’t think those people interviewed are mad at all. I think they’ve given me the kick up the bum I needed to get going again! OK, some of them might be a tad over the top – who am I to judge? – and I may be seeing such Type A personality, driven people in my adrenal fatigue clinic in a few years! We don’t have to go so far, but we can take the hint and put a little more effort in probably. I plan to take the hint.

You don’t have to go whole-hog

If you find it all a bit overwhelming and don’t fancy organising a whole new routine, a good bit of advice is to choose what you think is your main ‘weakness’ area. Is it your diet, exercise level, sleep pattern, stress, relationships, environment? Pick one and work on that to start with. Incremental changes can really add up. When I’m not feeling that great or motivated, it does somehow please me that I try at least to do one thing every day that supports my goals. That might be a 15 minute meditation, listening to my body when it needs more rest, foregoing the honey in my smoothie or messaging a friend to say hello.

So, how about you – do you need to rethink your routines and become a bit more like an extreme athlete, or are you in the place where choosing to work on one thing might help?! Wherever you are on the scale, start doing something; it will pay dividends and motivate you for more 🙂

Good luck!




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