I hope you’re well and are enjoying the madness of the Christmas period.
If you’ve completely lost your mojo with your exercise and nutrition, you’re not alone. Loads of people experience this at this time of year so please don’t beat yourself up. It will return when it’s ready :-))
So today’s message to you is really to just be totally honest with you. I want to share my story with you of losing my confidence this year. In it, I will share how a series events led me to hitting breaking point recently and how I am working on getting stronger again.
I’ve been putting this email off thinking ‘They don’t need to know.Nobody will be interested anyway’ but I’ve reached a point where I feel that honesty is the only way. Plus, I know that my sharing my own struggle always helps somebody in some way.
If nobody ever took their mask off, it would be a very lonely world.
It’s also good to reflect on your year.
So here goes….it might be a long one. Grab a cuppa 😉
You may have noticed I haven’t been around much this year in the physical sense. Yes I’ve been active on FB but I haven’t been present a lot at classes. Some of you I haven’t even met yet. This makes me absolutely curl my toes as I HATE not knowing my members. Even though it’s the job of my instructors to look after our members, I still like to meet you all, even thought theres a lot of you.
However, the last 18 months have seen a lot of life changes for me personally.
It started when I found out I was pregnant last July. This was AMAZING news for Jamie and I and we were beyond over the moon. However, the week after I found out, I was struck with hyperemisis….severe sickness. I had no choice but to step back from all the things I loved….teaching Glow Fit, being present at our different Bootcamp locations, sharing blogs/posts/emails to help women realise their potential and just generally being that person who inspires people on their journey. Although it got better throughout pregnancy, I was sick every day and had to take a real step back. Looking back, I probably had a bit of depression whilst pregnant. In one sense I was beyond grateful to be pregnant but I felt I totally lost me because of the sickness.
I soon realised that I would have to relish some control of running my business (my baby) when my actual baby arrived. I signed off work on Friday 27th Jan to give myself a month to ensure everything would run smoothly without me. However, my little Max arrived the following morning by emergency c-section….4 weeks and 2 days early. No rest for the wicked, hey?!! Although this was amazing, I probably didn’t realise the effect it had on me mentally as I didn’t have that switch off time to hand everything over fully or the mental time to prepare for his arrival.
I remember being in the office when he was just 5 days old working on spreadsheets. My brain was foggy with lack of sleep and the shock of him arriving, never mind struggling to even get around after having a c-section. Then I was straight back to our weekly team meetings and after a few weeks I was back in the office at least one day per week. Then this slowly built up. Even though I wasn’t at classes, I was still in full control of the running of the business.
I just didn’t give myself that permission to take the time off. It’s really bloody hard to give up control when you’ve put your heart and soul into building something that you’re so protective over. Looking back now, this has been a huge contribution to me totally losing myself. Being a new mum (which is 100% a full-time job in itself) and trying to still be in full control of running a business this size….let’s be realistic, it was never going to last long without me crumbling at some point.
After 12 weeks, I started to get back into my own exercise having 2 personal training sessions per week and getting back to Glow Fit. Luckily, I healed really well from the c-section. I felt a bit of the old me returning and felt pretty confident that I had got this!! I was LOVING being a mum. It came to me like the most natural thing in the world. Plus I felt fantastic compared to when I was pregnant. Being able to eat again was like….heaven! Lol! I felt I had quite a good balance of work and being a mummy, even though I would have liked to have taken a bit more time off.
Then when Max was just 5 months old, I got appendicitis out of the blue and had my appendix removed. Surprisingly, I took this with a pinch of salt and was back teaching bootcamp just 10 days later. Very silly decision!
I soon realised that my mind was willing but my body wasn’t. It was only after talking to a midwife (one of our members) that I even realised that my muscles had been cut open twice in the same area so I was back to square one with my recovery and was going to be out physically for at least another 12 weeks.
It was at this point that something kind of happened in my brain. It was like everything that I had experienced just got too much…..a tough pregnancy, Max arriving early, a C-section, going straight back to work and controlling everything, having my appendix out and then being out of action again.
Me being me and trying to always be positive and grateful, I realise that I never gave myself any credit for what I had been through over the previous year. Plus the best thing that had ever happened to me came along….Max being born. So I felt i had no right to complain. I kept thinking that people go through so much worse and that I was a bad person for even admitting that actually it was quite a lot to go through.
It was around September, 2 months after my appendix surgery, that I noticed a change in myself. I was constantly crying. I felt that I was no use to anybody within my work because I couldn’t physically be there, I resented doing the jobs that running a business requires because it wasn’t the stuff I enjoyed, I completely let myself go with my nutrition and I basically stopped doing anything that was for me. I cut myself off from people.
I got depressed.
Everything that I have preached to other ladies and have practised myself for the last 6 years, I just stopped doing. I felt lost.
I started to focus on the pressure of running a business which I had previously taken in my stride. I started to think that all my members thinks I don’t care because I couldn’t be at classes and couldn’t give anything of myself to them. I worried that they would be judging me thinking I’m just interested in running a business and not what we actually do…change lives. That couldn’t be more wrong. Changing lives is in my heart and soul and it hurts me to not be out there making a difference. However, I felt no use to anybody.
I didn’t have the mental space to even consider getting some light exercise and a healthy diet for myself.
I felt that I didn’t even know who I was any more. If I wasn’t ‘posiitve, happy, active, healthy lifestyle Ellen’ then who was I?
I lost all confidence in me.
Then I felt like a huge hypocrite….how can I preach about prioritising you, eating well and exercising when I wasn’t able to do anything myself?
The negative, irrational self talk has been crazy. Some days, I would think I was losing my mind.
Then I would feel guilty because I have my gorgeous boy Max who brings so much joy into our lives.
When people say becoming a parent totally turns your life on it’s head, they’re not wrong. For me it’s brought so much fulfilment to my life but has made me really reassess what’s important to me.
I knew I had to do something about it when Jamie said to me ‘I don’t want anything for Christmas, just want my wife to be happy again.’ It was said in a loving way but that really hit home that I HAD to change.
Having previously suffered OCD and depression through my teens and into my early twenties, I have been really reluctant to go down the anti-depressant route. I’ve been trying homeopathy, a more herbal remedy.
Over the last 2 months I’ve been doing some real soul searching and work on my mind. I’ve invested in a life coach to help me work on who I am again, what I want and learn to love me again.
In the last few weeks, clarity has suddenly arrived.
I’ve realised that I’ve ended up like this because I forgot to look after myself first.
As women, it’s built in to us to look after everything and everybody else first. We do it why even realising. We consider other’s needs before we make a decision on what will serve us.
I find myself agreeing to things sometimes without even thinking if I know it will help somebody else. It’s like word vomit spilling out of my mouth. Lol!!
Being a mum now, I ALWAYS consider Max’s needs first and I doubt that will ever change. I don’t want it to change.
However, I have learnt that I need certain ingredients in each week to make my happy ‘recipe.’
For me these include:
Quality time with Max and Jamie
Being in the outdoors
Connection to others
Music and dance
A healthy diet
Enough sleep- this can be a challenging one at the minute 😉
If I don’t get these, I know that I’m not going to lose the connection to myself and I won’t have enough to give to others.
I’ve also been working on realising that I’m enough just as a mummy right now. I don’t have to be more. When I’m ready to give to others I will but in the meantime, I need to stop putting the pressure on myself.
If you stop and think, what areas are you putting pressure on yourself at the minute that aren’t really serving you?
I’m a real believer in the universe working and I think this experience has been sent to me 1. to help me truly appreciate what I’ve got and 2. To help be able to help others on a deeper level in the future. In fact, it’s prompted me to complete my Life Coaching certification next year. By February, I will be fully qualified Life Coach. I’m unsure exactly how I will use this yet but I know that even doing the course is going to help me personally in so many ways. It’s all part of the healing process.
In today’s society, so many people try to portray that everything is amazing, especially with their social media lives, when in fact so many of us are paddling so fast under the water trying to keep our heads above water.
I really want to help women to realise that it’s ok not to be ok. It doesn’t mean you’re a failure if you admit to struggling. It’s probably just that you’ve lost connection with yourself and have stopped doing your ‘recipe’ that makes you happy or the circumstances around you are having an impact on the way you think.
We must practise kindness to ourselves.
A huge thank you for reading this. You wouldn’t believe that it’s taken me about 3 weeks to actually write this and send it out. The intention of this email was for two things really:
To let you now that I’m still here, I still care but I’m just struggling a little at the moment
To let you know that we all struggle at times in our lives and it’s ok not to be ok all of the time
Have a wonderful Christmas and PLEASE do not stress about kicking back and relaxing with your family and indulging in a few mince pies and some Baileys. If you can’t do it at Christmas when can you do it? Just relax and be present with your loved ones. Yes, that means keeping off your phones sometimes….honestly it’s fantastic when you give yourself the permission to!!
Lots of love,