Updated: Jan 28
While right now, I am living my best life. It wasn’t always this way…
Back in 2006 I was so stressed out my hair was coming out in clumps, I was working night shifts on rotation never seeing my partner and making silly mistakes at work, which as veterinary nurse could have resulted in some terrible accidents.
Like you, I wanted the ‘Disney princess life where I was supported by Prince charming’, but conflicted as deep down, I wanted to have a career and provide for myself and my family… To the outside world I had all these things. On the inside though… something wasn’t quite right…
At that time, even though I’d spent years and thousands of pounds working up the ladder in my field to become the Head Nurse, it was a double-edged sword. Every day I’d return home stressed out, resenting the job and then feeling guilty because of everything I’d put myself through and my partner through to get there…
I remember this one Vet, who always the last say in everything, even if what he was saying would cause friction, put extra pressure on the team and even go against things which worked he seemed to truly enjoy the power he held. I got to the point where I genuinely just couldn’t take it. For months I’d come home in tears because of frustration, feeling helpless and realising I had the rest of my life with this to look forward too. I decided to make it stop.
Then one day, I came home and told my partner that we needed a long holiday. After a little persuasion, we booked a 7-month backpacking trip and left our lives behind to find some semblance of happiness.
Those months were truly amazing. The first three months we visited; South Africa and China which gave me the opportunity to go on safari, camp out under the stars and I remember in just the first couple of days looking up at the sky in the middle of the night during a storm and a sense of peace washing over me.
As though all the stress had completely lifted from my shoulders. The best thing, my partner felt it too. For the first time in nearly a year I felt close to him, even though I hadn’t realised I was falling apart.
Then we ended up in Thailand. To this day, it is by far the most chilled out place that I have ever visited. Everyone is friendly, they’re all happy and the thing that struck me was they have in Western terms quite a poor lifestyle. Here I was with the job, the money, a fabulous home and I was resenting my life. They didn’t have any of these things and they were truly happy.
Midway through our stint in Thailand I was relaxing on Ko Phangan beach in a hammock. The sun was shining, I was reading Fast Food nation, which let me tell you, has stopped me going anywhere near any fast-food restaurants even all these years later… Then as I took a little break from the horrors of the book something caught my eye to left of me. There was this group of 5 Thai people, doing really weird things on the sand all in unison. I woke up my partner and said, look at them, and intrigued, we both just lay there watching what they were doing.
Completely mesmerised. The thing that struck me the most was just how happy, relaxed and calm they all were after this hour. I’d seen things about yoga before, my nan used to do it and loved it but I’d always dismissed it instead opting for running, swimming and cycling to get exercise. This hour of watching those five people on the beach made me realise that yoga isn’t about exercise, it’s about finding inner peace through movement.
As soon as I got back to the UK I made a plan.
That moment on the beach and the realisation seemed to stay in my mind, like a bad smell, it just wouldn’t go away. Then roughly two weeks later, when I landed in Malaysia I had enough of being hounded by the beach image and purposely hunted down a bookshop and purchased ‘An Idiot’s Guide To Yoga’.
After reading the book, even with no equipment, I was determined to get the same feeling as those 5 on the beach. I remember doing all kinds of crazy moves, which had me falling over more times than not, my partner thinking I’d lost the plot and having bruises over my arms and legs from smacking into the bunk beds in the hostel.
After just a few weeks I was starting to feel lighter, more uplifted and a lot less stressed. I knew that it was because of the yoga and to make myself keep it up, when we ended up in New Zealand, I bought my first yoga mat, which over 13 years later I still have.
Through the trip I continued to invest my time in yoga and made a plan for getting back to the UK and keeping it up.