At the start of 2015, the staff at Create Development were asked to consider an exciting, personal challenge and to explore what personal and professional learning they might gain from the experience. It had to be something that they really wanted to do, may have already planned to do and it had to be outside our traditional skill set or really difficult for us to achieve. We’re sharing a selection of blogs documenting some of our successful and still progressing challenges, as we watch our team redefine what’s possible for themselves.
So far, we’ve already heard from Jan Parker about her incredible challenge to complete the Manchester to Blackpool bike ride – if you missed it, click here to read Part 1 of her blog. This week, we’ll be checking in with Lesley Doughty, Client Manager and Lead Tutor, as she challenges herself to improve both her mental and physical wellbeing through a few simple lifestyle changes.
Overall, my personal challenge was to lead a more healthy life both mentally and physically, and I set about doing it two-fold:
After a bit of self-reflection and comments from my children and friends about not cutting off from work, I decided to take the following steps to re-address this issue:
1. As soon as I set foot in my house after a day’s work (or, if I’m working from home, when the children get home from school), I do not make or answer work calls or look/send/reply to emails.
2. If I have business that needs attending to that I can’t manage throughout a normal working day, I instead get up an hour earlier the following morning to manage (before the children wake up).
3. I do not send or receive calls or emails during weekends or holidays.
The one thing I still found myself doing was upon waking up in the morning, I’d check my emails on my phone straight away. After discovering that Pam (Create’s Director of Delivery) did exactly the same we made a pact to stop doing it, which I’ve stuck to. Luckily, this came just before the summer, so initially this hasn’t been too difficult to adjust to!
There have been, of course, occasions when I have been unable to stick to the above but in general, I’ve been successful. Once I was in the habit of following the rules, they became easier to stick to. I found explaining this to other people the biggest challenge, but in fact most people have called it a great idea and totally accepted it.
The end result? I feel more refreshed each morning and as I’m spending proper time with the kids, they are happier and I feel less guilty!
Over the last 6 years due to personal issues, I’ve gradually put on weight and become less active. I knew (and still know) that this is something I must address, as not only is it contributing to health issues, but also a decline in my self-esteem.
The intention was to calorie count and start going to the gym or a class and I applied to run the Great Northern Run. Along the way, I’ve encountered obstacles of stress, childcare, injury and work.
However, these have become an excuse rather than obstacles to overcome and at points, I’ve failed. I’ve had bouts of being ‘good’ but have always lapsed.
So, what is it that goes through my head? I’m tired, I haven’t enough time, wine is the only way I can relax (followed by snacking of course!), I’ve got nobody to look after the kids and so on. I know these are just excuses and actually mentally I feel sooooo much better when I get out running, cycling, going to bootcamp, sticking to my daily calories.
What’s stopping me then? I think most of it is that it seems such a big mountain to climb and basically I want it now!
So how am I managing it? Well, I’ve now found a bootcamp in my village that runs three times a week and takes place in the park. Ben joins in the bootcamp while Hannah plays on the playpark with a friend – childcare sorted! As I’ve paid up front and we have a group messenger account, I find I make myself go so as not to appear lazy and to make sure I’m not wasting money – tiredness sorted! As I’m sticking to the ‘no work on evenings’ rule, work is also sorted!
I feel, therefore, that over the last three weeks I’ve got the exercise back in check.
The calories counting I’m still finding a challenge. I like cooking (normally with a glass a wine in my hand), my children are very active so need a high calorific diet and as my last year’s challenge was to improve my social life, I’m now going out a lot more which normally involves food and/or alcohol!
I’m now starting to keep a food diary and am intending to look at the calorie challenge one day at a time, saving up calories when I know I have a night out coming up.
The main lessons that I’d take away so far from my challenge would be:
1. Trust in others to support me
2. Break things down into smaller steps feels more achievable
3. Change excuses into obstacles to overcome and look for manageable solutions
4. Success feels good!
5. Change takes time