So before I go into what I am going to do this year during lent, let’s not forget the history of why we undergo a period of 40 days of reflection .. it's not all about Pancake Day and Easter Eggs, which is what I used to see it as when I was little (always focusing on food!)
Lent is the period of 40 days which comes before Easter in the Christian calendar. Beginning on Ash Wednesday, Lent is a season of reflection and preparation before the celebrations of Easter. By observing the 40 days of Lent, Christians replicate Jesus Christ's sacrifice and withdrawal into the desert for 40 days. Lent is marked by fasting, both from food and festivities.
So, Lent is usually a time where people decide to give up sugary snacks, alcohol, smoking or anything they feel they have fallen into a bad habit with. My big sister, who I think is amazing, every year used to give up everything from sweets, chocolate and biscuits to caffeine and alcohol. Incredible right? Especially as living with me who needs to eat as many calories as possible - when I was younger a usual after school snack (before you go on, bear in mind this is a snack..! Bloody love snacks!) would be 3 bags of crisps, 2 chocolate bars, a glass of Ribena (containing mainly Ribena!!) and a tin of tuna (this obviously counteracted the rest..!) oh, and all before dinner! Not even kidding. And I would have dessert! Of course I now live a much healthier lifestyle after a lot of education and reading especially for someone who doesn't produce digestive enzymes so I have to take these each time I eat. It's essential for me to look after my tummy. I keep everything in balance as this benefits my health physically and mentally.
As much as we think by completely giving up the things we all love dearly but aren't so good for you, we can really transform our lifestyle to a much a healthier one for mind and body. Especially if you keep it up post Lent and after feasting on as many Easter eggs as you can, you really will reap all the benefits. There is no better feeling than fit, strong, happy and healthy.
For me, living a balanced healthy lifestyle already I look upon this time of year another way. Why not think about improving something? Or being more consistent or being more grateful for the things or people you have in your life.
I have been reflecting a lot on a few things year already as my life and lifestyle has changed a lot for the better and potentially worse which have caused an impact on my health, one I have kept stable for the last 6/7 years. Without going into a massive essay as to why, I'll explain in a couple of short paragraphs.
7 months ago I lost the biggest part of my life, my horse. He certainly kept me on my toes which I loved but much more than that, he was my sanity, my time out of a busy life, my passion but most of all he kept me well mentally and physically. The 8 years I was lucky to spend enjoying him, I was at my healthiest- being outside in the fresh sea air riding 6 days a week (and strength training 4/5 days a week).
My career has headed into London which I am enjoying, thriving and loving the buzz but this has also led to a few things, I will admit I am not training as much due to time, (poor excuse!) energy, due to more working hours, travel etc and also I am no longer in the fresh air but inhaling the smoke of the city most days, which has adversely affected my health.
With this in consideration, for Lent this year I am going to be more consistent and focussed.
- Training needs to become more of a priority (always putting clients and others first!) I haven't lost fitness or much strength, as for me there is no better feeling than, fit, strong and healthy. Trust me. You will feel happy, positive and have so much energy and with spring in the air this is what we all want. Also to clarify, I am not going to obsess over this just simply be efficient with my time while also training smart in order to optimise my health.
- Medication... I will also admit there are days I miss certain ones due to time restraints (extremely poor excuse!) but I want to be honest and we are all human. So I am making it my mission to not skip a single inhaler, tablet or session to improve my health. Enough is enough!!
- Work life balance. Mine, has gone totally one way which isn't okay by any means. So I am reorganising my work so I have more time to do the things I love without causing too much impact. You have to get to that point where you put your foot down or you'll get stuck in the madness and realise you haven't taken a single day off (other than bank holidays or a couple of days at Christmas) for 6 months (guilty!) and life is for living not working all the time. Remember that as you will miss out on the things that matter.
Although I truly believe you shouldn't have to tie a time of year down to turn your life around, it does help and it does give you a massive reason and purpose to get down to business.
I am going to leave you with my favourite quotes:
You were only given a little spark of madness, you mustn't lose it..... Robin Williams.
Why am I leaving you with this during Lent? It's important to focus on you, be you - don't lose that, doing what you love, achieve what you want, self development and do not worry or obsess over anything too much as everything does work out the way we want in the end. I live by the rule; “If it won't matter in 5 years don't worry for more than 5 minutes.” So this year do something your future self will thank you for by creating new positive habits or following a passion, being grateful or more consistent.