It’s been a pretty crazy few months, which is why I haven’t written for a while. Last time I wrote about Spring and slow rejuvenation, and I expected that by now, well into Summer I would have found my mojo and be firing on all cylinders. However, in April I found out I was pregnant! As I write this I am 21 weeks pregnant and it’s been a little challenging so far with morning sickness, along with the heatwave. I found myself retreating indoors to relax in the shade as much as possible, and taking regular naps. My lack of exercise (I stopped going for walks because of the heat) has left me feeling tired and lethargic. Of course, my husband and I feel blessed and I’m just taking each day as it comes. I think the morning sickness is slowly easing.
Despite this, we have had some lovely camping trips in Dorset and a week in Cornwall, which was great. I couldn’t wait to swim in the sea and that we did! Even being on the coast and feeling the sea breeze really helped. The sea was pretty chilly but once we had made a big enough fuss about how cold it was and got our shoulders in…it was bliss. I’ve always loved the feeling of swimming outside – it feels freeing and expansive.
When the weather was at its hottest I was searching for lidos near us in Wiltshire. But, the nearest turned out to be 40 minutes away and whilst I vowed to go a few times a week, I didn’t actually get there. I used to be a member of Bristol lido when I lived there and it was the perfect place to escape for a few hours. I even swam in the rain one day, which was heavenly. No matter the weather, I could swim outside in a heated lido any day (if it was close enough!). I have done a little wild swimming in the past too, and, again once I’m in and have braved the initial chill it’s wonderful. If you fancy trying it out near you, check out the Wild Swimming website here.
We went to Interlaken in Switzerland last Summer and I loved a dip in the lakes there – that is what Summer is all about for me – getting out there and enjoying what nature has to offer. Even though it was incredibly hot there, having water nearby to cool off is the ideal!
I do wish that we had something similar to the Hampstead Heath swimming ponds in London near us – as for me to exercise regularly I need it to be as convenient and as close as possible. We do have a new leisure centre opening in a few weeks, about a 2 minute walk from our house, and I have my maternity swimming costume at the ready.
I am struggling to find my way, however, with exercise. I imagine my ideal way of exercising – in the fresh air and not in a sweaty gym – and I have been through stages where I walk regularly, enjoying each season, and observing it’s changes whilst at the same time moving my body and keeping fit. However, I’ve got into such bad habits recently whereby I will get up in the morning, have breakfast and then pretty much get straight onto my laptop for the day. This is where I’ll stay for hours without a break. I’ve been self-employed for 10 years now, and I know setting good routines is so important for our mental and physical wellbeing – and yet, I have got stuck in a really unhealthy rut.
I don’t believe in the whole ‘bikini body’ or ‘beach ready body’ that is touted in many of the women’s magazines. I think that is damaging and unhealthy, and puts so much pressure on women to look a certain way. I will never be a size 8, and that’s OK, as I’m tall and would look unwell! What I think we need to remember as one of my inspiring clients, Leanne Spencer, Founder of Bodyshot Performance discusses in her TEDx talk is that fitness is more important than weight.
I want to feel stronger, fitter, more energetic, and especially at a time when my body needs to be as healthy as it can be through pregnancy and into motherhood. I think exercise contributes hugely to mental wellbeing and resilience too, but I’m not sure I’ve ever really felt it’s benefits fully as I’ve never stuck at it long enough. I’m starting ante-natal yoga classes in September, and when the new leisure centre opens I have no excuse and plan to go for a swim at least twice a week. I think I need to commit to a class rather than a DVD at home…and get myself out the house.
I am passionate about making the most out of each season as best I can, and this year I don’t feel I have as it’s been too hot for me. My favourite season is Autumn. But, rather than wish the time away, now that the weather has cooled down, just a 20 minute dose of fresh air a day would be a good start. I have to start somewhere. Even having a cup of herbal tea in the garden to break up my screen time would be beneficial I’m sure. We have lots of birds in the garden, and I find it relaxing watching them flit about, and feel the breeze on my face. I need to set myself small goals because I will usually find every excuse under the sun to not exercise…it’s totally habitual, but draining. I battle with myself regularly throughout the day and want to get to a place of peace where movement of some kind becomes enjoyable and effortless, and doesn’t fill my head. I think it’s a matter of doing what we fancy, movement wise, day by day and not being too hard on ourselves.
When I do go walking, I find the Strava app a motivating way to record the miles I’ve covered. If I could clock up the recommended 10,000 steps a day that would be such an achievement given where I am with my fitness at the moment. The above photo was taken around 4 years ago when I was at a healthy weight, and in time, I’d like to get back to this…just to be healthy for my height and build.
So, whether it’s a dip in the sea, or a lido, a walk in nature, cycling along country lanes or attending a yoga class…movement is important. For me, I need to shake things up a bit – find some different walking routes near home and make exercise less of a chore, and more about the Vitamin D, fresh air, and the benefits its bringing me and my new babe. Small acts of self-love.
I’d love to hear the ways in which you all keep fit, particularly in nature and especially if, like me, you’re a reluctant exerciser! One book I recently bought to inspire me is Bryony Gordon’s ‘Eat, Drink, Run: How I Got Fit Without Going Mad’. Running is not something I want to get into, I’ve never enjoyed it…but it’s time for me to find my ‘thing’. I can read all the books in the world, but this is my journey and I have to find my own way with this.
Thanks as always for reading and I hope you enjoy the rest of the Summer.