Finding time for my health

Every time I try to get fit and healthy, I break myself. Sounds a bit mad, but it happens every time. I have learned over the years that I need to go slowly and build myself up, and that I need to make sure I wear proper footwear. Somehow though every time I start to try to get fit, I fall apart. My shins, my knees, my sciatica and my hips and lower back. At different stages, different parts of me seem to fall apart!

Last year I got a fitbit and increased my steps, and made sure to wear my good running shoes on the treadmill – but because I was doing most of my steps off the treadmill, I got shin splints.

Another time I made sure not to increase my exercise amounts too fast (think you should only increase steps/distance by 10% a week or something like that), and I was being very careful about it – but was trying to build up to jogging and went to the local hilly woods and got shin splints. Seemingly the additional bending on the ankles/shins on inclines and hills aggrevates the shin splints.

I tried to use the exercise bike, and my knees stopped working. I started getting shooting pain through my knees when walking.

Thought maybe the cross-trainer would be a good option because there was no pounding the shin down like on the treadmill. I ended up damaging my Achilles tendon and my plantar fascis (the muscle running under your foot). I could barely walk for weeks, that was severely painful.

So I’m very conscious starting off exercising, because I want to be able to exercise consistently and make it a habit. So during the summer, I started on the treadmill. Before I started, I made sure that I got proper runners, and also got proper insoles fitted and molded for me. I was stretching a bit before and afterwards. I started very slowly, not pushing myself, and barely even going the speed of a fast walk. More a leisurely paced walk. I was enjoying the time out in the shed, with my music on, on my own. I built it up slowly, taking rest days even though I didn’t feel I needed them at the pace I was going. I was at the stage where I was going out for about a 30 minute walk on the treadmill, at least four or five times a week. I was loving it and really happy that I was actually making a habit of it, and that it was really good for my head as well. If I went out there in a bad mood, by the time I was coming in, I was happier again.

And then I went to the Electric Picnic festival with my eldest daughter. I wore wellies. I did put my proper insoles into the wellies, but they’re still flat rubber boots. I walked over 25,000 steps on the Saturday and over 18,000 steps on the Sunday. On the Tuesday I walked up to the playschool to collect Biz, and I wasn’t 5 minutes into the walk when I couldn’t actually put weight on my legs. Luckily I was able to use the buggy to put my weight on to help me, but it was so painful. So I knew I was going to have to take a break from walking. Annoying but I didn’t want them to get worse, and rest is the most important thing for them to heal.

I was back with the physio about my stomach and core muscle exercises that she’s working on with me, and asked about the shin splints. She gave me exercises for them and told me to stay off them for the two weeks until she saw me next. I did that, but wasn’t great at actually doing the physio exercises. I was back with her last week and she’s given me more, and again told me no treadmill.

But it’s almost a week since I was with her and I have probably done the exercises on two days. That’s not ok. This is important, and this is for me. I can’t start to walk for exercise again until I sort them out. The exercises aren’t particularly difficult, but it is just the fact of trying to find the time to do them. But I need to. I need to find time to prioritise my health, and sort my body out once and for all so that I can be fit and healthy.

So I have just done the full set of exercises tonight, and will make it a priority every day now going forward. Hopefully next week I’ll be able to say that she has noticed a difference and that I really have done them every day. (Fingers crossed!!)

Get happy, or make a change

One of my motto’s in life is that if you’re not happy with things as they are, either make a change or find a way to be happy with it as is.

Don’t live your life complaining about how things are, and make no changes to your life. That’s pointless, and annoying to others around you.

I realised it years ago when myself and one of my friends were complaining about our situations, and I realised we were still complaining about the same things as the year before. I decided what was the point. I thought about it, and decided that I wasn’t going to make any changes (ie move town or change relationship etc), so therefore to make myself happy with things the way they were. So I did.

I’ve started reading a book this week (Jodi Picoult, Nineteen Minutes) and at the start of it, the woman speaking says that she’s married to a professor of happiness (a job I’d love!!) and that basically our levels of happiness are down to our Expections divided by our Reality. And to change our level of happiness, either change your expectations or your reality. Which is basically the realisation I had a decade ago.

It is not neccessarily that you need to lower your expectations, but just change them. If something is realistically not going to happen in your current situation, and there is no way you can change it, change when you want it to happen or how it will happen. On a really superficial level, if you want to go on a ski holiday, but you’re a SAHM (Stay At Home Mom!), not enough spare finances and a 5.5month old baby, then the reality is that you’re not going to be going on a ski holiday this year or next year. So instead of wishing constantly you could go, then plan to go in five years, and look at how you can financially plan for it (ie if holiday is going to cost 5,000 in five years, then it’ll be only 20e a week for the next five years). Now your expectations have been managed, and you actually have a plan of how you can turn the plan into a reality.

On the more difficult side of it, if you hate the town you live in or your family members, they’re not as easy to make a plan to change even down the line. But you can think of different ways to change your expectations and reality, so instead look at the positives of the town you live in and only focus on them. Make a plan as to how to either distance yourself from your family members or find more positive ways to interact with them. Do something about it though is the point, don’t just continue on as you are. If you continue doing the same thing, you will end up with the same result. If you want to be happier with your life, you need to manage your expectations vs. your realities.