Thomas Dekker’s quote made me reflect on the last year, a year full of changes that had a massive, positive impact on my energy, mental clarity, ability to focus and switch off.
Like a lot of us (especially those self-employed folks) , I worked crazy hours 60-80 hours per week, ate (healthy) but very irregular – sometimes I just forgot to eat, was stressed out chasing my tail trying to earn sufficient money, to pay the studio lease, council rates, bills and then there is the mortgage of our house as we well.
Running a fitness, Pilates and Kettlebell studio in Churchtown, South Dublin, Ireland with up to 25 Fitness, Pilates and Kettebell classes per week, 5 part-time instructors (that wanted to get paid on time “of course”), anything from 100-170 class participants per week, coordinating two-three therapists that rented a consultation and treatment room – managing all with my amazing part-time office wonder-women and having issues with my landlord just got to much for one person, me.
I closed the Fitnecise Studio “my baby” on Friday 3rd July 2015, after nearly six years of effort, long hours and dreams of being a studio owner, trainer as my health just suffered too much (I had stress related stomach cramps, digestive issues, absolutely no mental or physical energy left – something I nether experienced in the last 45 years), my stress levels were sky-rocketing.
Everything changed from there onward, it was end July 2016, the studio was closed. I signed up for a one year long Nutrition & Health Coaching Course with the IINH (Irish Institute for Nutrition & Health) in Bray. Just south of Dublin, with an inspiring, amazing, endlessly enthusiastic and unbelievably knowledgeable Nutritionist and teacher Richard Burton (contact me if you are thinking of doing that course and you want to pick my brain). I started to organize local fitness classes in community centres, parish and other halls (closer to where I live in South Dublin, Dublin 18), as I did up to 2009 before opening the studio. Beside that I took on my first personal training clients since years, this work is so much more rewarding – seeing clients getting fitter, trimmer and slimmer, seeing them progressing and succeeding.
I began to catch up with sleep, slept regularly eight to nine hours (something I rarely did in the last ten years) and have occasionally a 10-15min nap in the afternoon (the benefits of being self-employed or if you are working for Google 😉 . I take lots of time to eat properly and enjoy food (no TV, no phone, no laptop, no digital device around). I didn’t really change what I eat. My digestive issues disappeared.
My energy levels are the highest since many many years. It is so much easier to focus and concentrate, I feel mentally much sharper and more alert.
What are the learnings from the last year July 2015 – July 2016?
(1) It’s absolutely crucial to look after your health, as the saying goes “Your health is your wealth !”, without it nothing else matters. Being sick or unwell puts everything else in perspective.
(2) “Less is more” less classes, no commercial rent to pay, more time for my own health, fitness, friends and family.
(3) ( for fitness, health professionals and therapists ) Stay local, save yourself commuting time and stress getting stuck in traffic, plus you get your name out locally.
(4) Focus on the 10-20% of activities and actions that get 80-90% of the results, look up “Pareto Law” or “Pareto Principle” or ask yourself “What are the two or three things, I do thought the day, week, month, that get the majority of the results?”.
In terms of health and well-being I can think of
(4.1) prioritizing sufficient rest/sleep (the majority of us (in western societies) go sleep deprived through life, without even being aware of it and it’s serious health effects).
(4.2) taking and make time to eat (your digestion & energy will improve lots, promise ! )
(4.3) be physically active without stress (some people put themselves under to much stress re exercising, which can negate it’s positive effects).
(4.4) take digital breaks, for a few hours, a day, a weekend or even a week (switch your mobile, laptop, computer, tablet off every now and then … this might allow you to reconnect to those who are around you, these devices have a “off” button for a reason! ).
(4.5) Enjoy what you are doing. Ask yourself “How can I make this easier and more enjoyable now?” for tasks that you normally don’t like doing.
(4.6) Relax, Switch-off, Re-Energize regularly. Relaxing might mean different things for different people. Watching TV or browsing the web is not relaxing for me. I can switch off completely if I write diary with non-vocal music in the background or when going for a run after the important jobs are done or when having a chat with my partner or friends. Find out what works for you.
Let me know what you think, send me a e-mail or leave a message.