The Silent Bitch

14th August, 2016. It was one of those epic ski days, those days where I actually wanted to pinch myself. I was skiing with a group of great friends and my kids were off in their lessons. I was officially living the Treble Cone ski dream for the next hour. 

I stood, looking out at the breathtaking view and deciding on my next ski line to take down the hill. I was waiting on my friends to catch up. The sun was belting down and there wasn't a cloud in the sky. Then, suddenly from behind my right shoulder I heard a wee squeal of excitement, then the haunting noise of my friends worried scream, then ... well, I don't remember.

At some point I then opened my eyes and I was on my side. I felt like I was being chocked to death, I needed my helmet OFF, but I couldn't get my words together to ask for it. Everyone was saying my name and asking if I was okay, but I still couldn't respond. I wanted to, but I couldn't. All I could see was the view I had been looking at, but sideways.

I was waiting for my body to tell me what was broken or hurt, but I was numb, and I was confused. So confused. I couldn't seem to make my brain work the way it used to! Someone finally took my helmet off and I mustered a smile and asked my friend if she was okay (she was lying on the other side of me, underneath one of my legs. I couldn't understand how she had ended up there with no sliced face from my ski, but thankfully she was okay!)

By now a wee posse of friends skiing the same route had arrived and everyone was asking me random questions, that I really couldn't answer! After convincing them I didn't need ski patrol and that nothing was broken I stayed sitting in the snow for 15 minutes, still body scanning myself and trying to work out what had happened. 

I skied down to the base (as I felt reasonably okay...apart from a 'weird' headache, a dazed state, a very sore collar bone, sore back and an aching shoulder) I do believe, I thought I was invincible.

So after a couple more runs (!!!!) and a trip back down the hill (thank goodness I did not drive) I decided I would take some Panadol (this is big for me as I am not a painkiller taker, boy was that about to change!) The head pain and eye sight was becoming worse, and I was desperate to watch my friend who had been on TV 'The Block NZ' for weeks, as she took her house to auction...but I couldn't even watch the screen for 1 minute without agonising pain in my eyes.

I was scared, so confused and in disbelief that anything serious was wrong. I also didn't let on to my husband how bad things were, as I didn't want to frighten him or the kids. I trotted off to bed and spent the night in sweats having nightmares.

Next morning I popped some more pain relief, headed to my usual 6.15am gym class, in a severe dazed state with a bad headache. I was playing 'fake it till you make it' apparently! Friends said I was' not on the planet' at the gym and very out of it. Still I drove home, then drove my children to school, then took my 'Girls on the Run' running group. This beautiful bunch of mothers and carers told me to get myself straight to the doctor...as I was losing balance a lot, and I think I was finally accepting that things weren't right.

The doctor told me I should be right in 3 days and that I had a mild concussion, a bruised collar bone and my shoulder would need physio. I had severe whiplash (due to the extreme speed of the accident) and I had been winded. No more driving, and to go home and rest with pain killers. No screens, no noise, no light, no exercise...just sleep...SERIOUSLY...did this woman know me at all?!!

I did however do that, I couldn't actually physically manage anything else. The adrenalin had clearly worn off, and I felt like I had literally been hit by a bus.

I slept for 2 weeks.

The silent bitch that was concussion, was about to take over my life.

I couldn't do a thing. Just getting to the bathroom was enough for one day. I had nightmares (the neuropsychologist I was to see down the line explained why this was happening...a friend had hit me from behind! I was now in a state of constant stress and fear of anything or anyone taking me out unaware at any given moment) I couldn't spend time with my friends, I couldn't even walk with them, as my subconscious was frightened that they would hit me! (that and the fact I was good for about a 5 minute walk only)

I couldn't look after my children, only 5 minutes a day after school and 5 minutes before they went to bed, I couldn't run, jump..let alone walk! I couldn't make myself food, let alone my family. I was bed ridden and useless. There was no Netflix and social media scrolling as it caused agonising pain just to look at the screen. I also couldn't talk to anyone for longer than 4 minutes as the act of having to watch their facial expressions, gave me nausea and a headache, and made me unbelievably tired...let alone listening to, and remembering, and responding to their actual story!

Back to another doctor, after 2 weeks (so much for 3 days and she'll be right) and this doctor was unbelievably helpful, she tested me on a few things and explained I had a severe concussion and said rest was my only option and that this would take a lot of TIME. She sent me to a concussion clinic...and my new world became appointments with Physios, an Osteopath, a Chiropractor, a Neuro-psychologist, a Neurologist, Doctors, an Optometrist and an Occupational Therapists, IT WAS ACTUALLY INSANE!.

My poor husband had to do everything for all of us. That guy deserves the worlds biggest medal, he's a champion.

I WAS LIVING IN MY OWN WEE HELL. 

NO WORK (YOU ALL KNOW HOW MUCH I LOVE MY CLIENTS, AND BUSINESS!) 

NO SOCIAL LIFE (I MISSED SO MANY DEAR FRIENDS SPECIAL EVENTS) 

NO BEING A MUM OR A WIFE OR AN ANYTHING! 

I LITERALLY WENT INTO A WORLD OF DEPRESSION AND ANXIETY. 

IT WAS COMPLETELY HORRIFIC.

I hid the extent of my world to most people, I was just in a lonely hell. I looked normal on the outside (it's not like you can wear a cast on your broken brain) I would appear normal, however, on the inside my head was filled with fog, I was using all of my energy just to create words and sentences, to stand up straight and to do things like smile. I would see someone I knew on the street as I headed to an appointment, I would talk to them, get back to my car and have to sleep before driving home. The brain is AMAZING...it fuels EVERYTHING! When it is broken, it can't do jack!

My poor Mum had Phone calls of despair from me, I'd do things like phone her up from the supermarket car park (when I wasn't even going to the supermarket) and just cry to her because it felt like my whole life was gone. (Sorry Mum!!) I would try to see a friend, or go to a school event and have to leave early, go home, crawl into bed and cry.

It was hard, as my friend who had crashed into me felt horrific, it was so hard for her, I tried to hide my symptoms, but as she is such a good friend, I often crumbled and moaned I use this platform to remind her that not once have I EVER blamed her, it was a complete freak accident. She has been amazing throughout my entire recovery.

I learned to walk with my dog again, my complete best furry friend, I couldn't have done it without his motivating expressions to get out and chase the bunnies. Prior to the accident, I was running a good 40km minimum a week, and the rest of it (gym, dance class, yoga, coaching girls on the run, trampoline action with kids, handstand practice...I was active!) So to simply whittle down to managing 2 x 10 minute dog walks a day...things were dull.

I then managed to get myself back to my gym and find a small amount of happiness from being able to hit some form of a routine again. Sure I was doing what felt like the worlds lamest exercises, but I was still surrounded by that familiar setting, at a familiar early bird time of day. I wasn't sleeping at night, I was sleeping a lot during the day, so it didn't really matter what time I did things. I was in my own world of recovery. Hubby was sole charge of the children. It was a weird machine, but we did it.

I was left with lingering debilitating fatigue, it's like a brick wall that slams you in the face, when your 'life bucket' is full. It doesn't take much to fill that bucket, and when it's full, it bursts, and the fatigue is scary and humiliating. I suffered anxiety attacks before the simplest of events like going to the supermarket, going to a child's pantomime, heading to an appointment. The anxiety would set in as I feared if I could make it through the 'mission', before the fatigue cloud came in at rapid speed and I had to lye down and close my eyes instantly.

I learned a lot about myself, and about my relationships with people. My support crew were unbelievable. Constant phone calls, even though they knew I was too tired to talk, they would just leave chirpy, cheerful voice messages for me to hear when I was up to it. They would message me, and offer help to the hubby. They never gave up on me, which was heart breaking, as many times I gave up on myself....I couldn't even check my fucking emails, it hurt so much. It hurt my head, my eyes and it exhausted me beyond belief.

If you are reading this and you are suffering from a Concussion or those who have hit Post Concussion Syndrome please realise what you are going through is normal and you are not alone! For those with a loved one suffering...

Just be there for them, never stop letting them know...it is so lonely on 'planet concussion' and just knowing there are people still there for you when you come out of the hideous fog literally makes a world of difference.

If you are concuss, or were and are still in the 'fog of hell', be patient (trust me, I am the most impatient person ever...well, I was!) REST, REST, REST...it;'s your best friend. No alcohol, no stimulants, no caffeine, fresh real food, some sort of a routine around meal times, or just tiny things like a shower each day. Keep presenting to your doctor if you don't feel like yourself, and accept the help you are offered. That was another massive thing for me - letting go of trying to control everything. ACCEPT that you have this 'traumatic brain injury' and put yourself first. Focus on getting better.

I was determined to dance again. It was the highlight of my week. I had to take 8 weeks off, but then I made it back to class, and sure, it meant sleeping all day just to make it to a one hour dance class, then having to sit and watch half of the routines...but being surrounded by my tribe was pure heaven, and I am certain it aided my mind and mood in recovery.

I also learned how to meditate, YUP...I slowed down so much that I meditated up to 3 times a day. Only for a simple 10-15 minutes at a time, but I believe it changed my world. I still meditate as often as I can each day. I personally use the app 'headspace', however there are many other options out there. I will never stop this practice. It slows me down entirely. I am refreshed, grateful, calm, and so insanely less 'highly strung' than ever before. I am now able to cope with the drama on such a different playing field.

Meditation helped me connect with the present moment by finding wellbeing in the NOW before anything happened. I became happy and satisfied by simply the sensation of breathing. We are always 'butting in' to our 'now' with more thoughts, more of 'what's next' or 'what else do I need to do right now' or of course our cell phones 'bing' at us with the next notification. It's so nice to just stop, and appreciate what is right in front of you right then and there! Cortisol levels dropped when I started meditating, stress levels dissipated as the constant high frequency happening all around me dissolved through me focussing on only one thing (meditation).

I am a firm believer of the idea that things happen for a reason. As much as it was horrible to think about, yes, maybe it was true. Prior to the accident I was running around like a blue-ass fly, helping and training my clients, and doing that thing that Mums do ;-) then this happened and I completely re-prioritised my life. I now hear the birdsong (I even just told my children to open the window as a bird was singing really loudly in the garden! I was writing this as I heard it...in the past I wouldn't have heard it)

I re-connected with the people and things who matter. Work does not need to consume me. I also learned to let other help me, to ask for help, and to let my children deal with the fact that someone else was going to help them, other than me, and that they would be just fine!! 

I also learned that exercise is 100% an aid for depression. I know I have posted about this before, but I feel even more strongly about this now. It took the hideous pressure headaches out of my head, it made me appreciate that I could still move (sure I wasn't moving like I used to) but I was moving! and that was awesome! I have always been an exercise addict, but this is a new level of appreciation. Get moving team, get the kids moving, the Grant parents moving, soothe your brain, re-build your brain with fresh blood and oxygen. It is a fact. MOVE.

So, from the girl who couldn't put her head down to vacuum, wipe a bench, do her shoe laces up, make a school lunch. Couldn't co-ordinate her eyes and mouth to read her son a bedtime story, Couldn't catch up on the school newsletter, or read emails from her children's teachers. Couldn't go to the school gate because it was too busy for her broken brain. Couldn't be a Mother (horrifically heart breaking), Couldn't be a wife, cried to her parents most days down the phone line, couldn't be there for her friends if they were struggling, couldn't remember things, concentrate, read, watch, participate or laugh. I am so excited to say that I am nearly there! 

Those who are also suffering, you will be too! I can now run again without needing to sleep all day, I dance again, I made it to a Coldplay concert (with ear plugs and no alcohol), I can be an actual Mum, Wife, Friend and Human being again. I can offer hope, promise and motivation to anyone out there who is also suffering from post concussion syndrome and living in the 'concussion fog of life'.

You will get through it, you will be yourself again. Sure, it's apparently going to take me a complete year to two years to be right back to myself again (able to work a full days work/look at a screen without a special eye protector/ avoid neon lighting/ not take naps/ not suffer headaches/ not crumble into pieces when I get home from a small social gathering or simple coffee with a friend/ and the rest of it!) but I don't mind! I am so freaking excited to be alive, be able to walk/run/jump and bounce.  I have managed to loose the anxiety and compulsion to be always doing something. I appreciate the most tiny things in life. We are so lucky to be alive!

I did it! Have THE BEST TIME on stage with my dancing tribe. Loud music, bright lights, nerves and memory required!

I did it! Have THE BEST TIME on stage with my dancing tribe. Loud music, bright lights, nerves and memory required!

If anyone needs to talk about their concussion, or someone else who has a head injury, I come to the table with first hand experience and a mass amount of research and ideas on holistic recovery. It was my only project for 5 months! Please reach out, and please remember, you WILL get better, you will 'dance' again!

Most importantly, I am back and ready to tackle your struggles head on. My coaching programs are tweaked and even better than ever and I am excited to work with you again! It's time to pull all of that endless chatter out of your mind and make some healthy real life choices, so you can be your best selves too.

Last but not least, thank you all to my faithful followers and square one supporters, you have been out of this world. 

I am motivated and ready to rock..after I have a wee nap ;-)

2017 has a plethora of new ideas, products and goodness coming your way. WATCH THIS SPACE. 

BREATHE AND SMILE.

 

 

Written by Jess Eastwood

 

The uphill battle!

So…recently I kind of threw the towel in on Square One. I was getting a bit exhausted helping everyone else, and not really looking after myself. Don’t get me wrong - I absolutely loved working with all of my clients and watching the change in them made everything worth it. However, at the same time I was battling with juggling the kids over school holidays, christmas, house rentals, other work commitments, general family life, friends, dogs blah blah and then my Dad was diagnosed with stage 3 Throat Cancer.

What a slap in the face that was.

Most people I know have been touched by the biatch that is cancer, some have been lucky and made awesome escapes, some have made narrow ones. Then there have been many who haven’t won the stupid fight, and their memories are with us all every day, as well as the heart ache and longing to see them again.

As I came to terms with what was going on with my Dad, and expected the worst (which was really unlike me, but I was just so used to all the bad news) I decided to put my Health Coaching on hold and focus on healing my Papa. They were the longest, most emotional months of my life!  

Long story short (without undermining his battle) after 7 weeks of radiation every day, chemotherapy and a barrage of doctors, nurses, specialists, dieticians and the mind blowing people he met on the way, he was one of the luckier ones who has managed to come out the other side and received the result of:

And I still had my Dad.

And I still had my Dad.

"No nodules present on the throat and no visible tumour!!!!"

(Yep, even the doctor used exclamation marks!)

HOLY SHIT. 

He did it.

There is no rhyme or reason as to what ‘cures’ those cancer cells. I must say Dad had the most positive attitude I have ever witnessed, causing all of those around him to adopt the same attitude. He also made a heap of life changes for the best that also managed to salvage some relationships.

Also between my Aunty and myself we had him filled to the brim with holistic remedies and potions! I was waiting for customs to turn up on one of our doorsteps suggesting we were doing something illegal. (So backward the system is, when these remedies have healing proof. Anyway, I am sidetracking)  

ANYWAY! Once this nightmare crossed the line, and we had some positive results I decided it was time to go back to work. I was still not in the right frame of mind for my clients, and knew I needed to be the best of myself to help them be their best.

So I decided it was time to work for someone else. No late night invoicing and research, no juggling kids and emails at the exact same time, being able to focus 100% at work, and then 100% on the kids. When I was at home, I would be present, and when I was at work I would be present. (Didn't think about the rest of it, had my blinkers on)

I started working for an amazing New Zealand travel company, who were warm and wonderful and running a really successful business. It was great to be a part of it, and to walk into work and out each night and get paid for all then hours I did!  However, flexibility was missing. Having worked for myself for over 8 years now, I really struggled with this. It wasn’t the fault of anyone that there was no flexibility, it was just the nature of the job. I really battled with this, and as Murphys law would have it, my kids were sick a whole heap of days and I was really sick too (I really had dropped my game!).

One day I was listening to a podcast that confirmed what I was battling with. Their research confirmed that the most important thing for a working mother is flexibility in her role. I spoke to my employers and we all agreed we had tried to make it work, but that organisation wasn’t the right place for flexibility.  So I am finishing up there this week, sadly, I will miss the team, but in the interest of all of us, the right call has been made.  I know there are many of you out there working your asses off, juggling motherhood, family life, illness who don't have the option to switch to the business you created. I take my hat off to you and promise to offer support and life hacks to help you along your journey. Keep it up, You are seriously amazing.

The last week for me has been filled with sleepless nights and a bazillion ideas racing through my mind!  Maybe I got lost, we all do sometimes. "You don't know what you have got till it's gone" rings loud and true in my ears. Maybe I needed my own "Health strategist" to figure this all out.

These bags represent all the ideas running through my head! Each one made to support you and your requirements.

These bags represent all the ideas running through my head! Each one made to support you and your requirements.

I seriously love each and everyone of our you! Our amazing followers, and clients. It is you that keep us going! It is your successes, your triumphs and your real life that reminds me we are all human and that we all need each other. I love that people don’t feel alone after they spend time with me. That they feel like they’ve made a friend in business and life (and I do too!) And that they don’t need to sign up for something that lasts months, years and beyond. I’m there to help them at the stage they’re at. I’m keen on empowering, not enabling. I’m there to offer my opinion, offer shared wisdom and advice based on things I know work.  Your comments when both Arna and I are out and about are so heart warming and fulfilling, it's just so awesome to be a part of such an amazing community of like minded people who are all trying their hardest, and in all reality, are doing a really good job!

So, with excitement I write this blog entry to let you all know that I am back on board, firing with all cylinders and ready to rock your worlds again. Watch this space, I have some amazing ideas and plans in the pipeline. Square One Health will have your motor oiled the way its supposed to be, and all the confusion simplified, the noise gone and the support you need available.

I am 100% committed to helping you fight your own uphill battles.  Turns out I am made for this job!  As a health coach my clients all require completely different results and support. I promise I am there with your best interest at heart.

Thanks for supporting us throughout the last few months. You are all amazing and I am humbled by the kind words and care that came from many of you. Onwards and Upwards team!  We’ve got this, let’s go live our lives the best way we can!

Written by Jess Eastwood

The Guide to Travelling with Essential Oils

It's been a really tough week for me...Deciding if I should snorkel, kayak, paddle board or read my book in the sun? A trip to the islands in Fiji brings that kind of stress on.

Shall I have poached eggs? scrambled eggs or an omelette from this ‘egg chef’ at the Breakfast buffet? Mango or watermelon? Oh what the heck, I'll take it all!

Yes, my family and I took a well deserved, beautiful, relaxing break in the tropics to celebrate my dear Mums 60th. It was glorious, however, no trip with children (or myself) would ever be complete without a few hiccups.

After landing in Fiji we were put on a ferry to a remote Island that has very intermittent interent, no TV’s, no shops and no Doctors. It was pure beauty and lots of fun, however, there were a few issues that arose. First up, My son’s eczema popped up as he indulged in ice cream (as you do on holiday) and the heat didn't help his situation either. I became really excited about the sun and possibly fried myself a little too long, which lead to a light bout of sun stroke, my brother indulged a little to much in the cocktails and suffered a gnarly headache the next day, I did a workout in the sand which resulted in a huge blister on the bottom of my toe from walking too far in the sand and my son got a wee coral cut on his foot. My other brother had a terrible cough, and hubby got some sports induced Asthma from running around on the tennis court all to much, oh and I (in all my glory) also had my period turn up…headaches, cramps and lethargy (it was worse because we were travelling!) With no pharmacy on hand to deal to our needs, the family started to worry a little.

None of these issues were predicted (bar the womanly monthly habit), and there was no doctor on the island, so suddenly it was all down to me and my Essential Oils kit! 

Never fear, I was more than happy to oblige. You know me - love a good chance to spread the Essential oil love. The oils I use are doTERRA essential oils and are all certified pure therapeutic grade (meaning they have no additives, and have not been striped of their purities). 

First up the oils are all 15ml or under, so totally legal for plane flying, as long as in a clear bag. EASY! This meant on the plane when children's ears were hurting (and mine!!) we could whack some "Breathe" blend on our wrists and our airways were clear for take off and landing - no need for sugary chuppa chupps (lollipops) or plane lollies to suck on to help your ears!

I also doused myself and my family in the "On Guard" blend. I like to think of this as our immunity shield (as the name suggests) You know how you always catch a bug off the plane? Well this is such a great way to avoid that, it's like your immunity fort, helping to prevent you from catching whatever has made its way into the air conditioning!

Easy to travel with. You won't catch me out without this combo!

Easy to travel with. You won't catch me out without this combo!

When I scored my massive blister and my son cut his foot on coral, we put a drop of "on Guard" blend into the skin and then I knew they were safe from anything nasty getting inside the skin. Last thing we needed were any infections. I believe this helped speed up the healing process. I then put a drop of Lavender on the wounds each morning and night to keep the inflammation down. They were all healed up within 2 days.

Lime oil in the water, helps cellulite (!!!) tastes amazing and refreshes life. Perfect for so many different reasons. The pina coladas tasted even better with a dash of lime in them (oh and it meant there would be no more cellulite right?!) Either way it was a refreshing way to alkalize our systems and help the kidneys flush out any toxins. Lemon also works a treat in the water bottle on the beach.

A few mosquitos during our bush walks to the top of the island made for some nasty bites. We cured them with lavender. Took the itch away immediately and they were gone within 12 hours. The next times we headed into the tropical bush we were all lathered up with a drop of "Terra shield" in our coconut oil, all over our bodies. No one received any more bites after that, AND we didn't have to deal with those nasty bug sprays that fill your lungs with all kinds of chemicals!

The Peppermint oil cured many a headache, and when my brother started to suffer from a migraine we put some peppermint and some "Deep blue" on the back of his neck and he was happy within 20 minutes. These oils are amazing!!!

"Breathe" throat drops are a must have on hand for those tickles.

"Breathe" throat drops are a must have on hand for those tickles.

My silly period was a hell bender this time. Weird as since becoming a clean eater all my symptoms had disappeared (hmmm maybe I did have a few too many cocktails after all) anyway, doTERRA's "Clarry Calm" monthly blend had me sorted. It aided my bloating and minimised my cramping. It sorted my mood out and generally  made me feel a whole heap better. I love this stuff and never leave home without it. Its great for ovulation pains, bloating, moods leading into menstruation and then all the fun that comes with menstruation as well.

You know how you get really, really dry on the airplane and in the hotel air conditioning? This citrus bliss hand lotion - filled with no nasties, not only moisturise intensely but it also uplifts everyones mood. Citrus is a mood enhancer and when people are tired and cranky from travelling this was a godsend!

"Digest-zen" Blend (don't you just love that name!) was used by the entire family to support over eating (not that you ever do that on holiday!) and to help indigestion. It also helped calm my sons stomach ache when he accidentally ate some gluten.

As some of our gang had travelled from other time zones they found it a little difficult to zone out at night, I remedied that with the "serenity" blend, and Roman Chamomile Essential oil. I even scored a huge hug from my little bro for helping him have such a great nights sleep!

Last of all, the "Breathe" throat drops were fantastic for all suffering from a sore throat (again air conditioning) and it meant nothing lead to any further infection! I think it's safe to say "Breathe" is my favourite oil for families.

So...all in all...the pharmacy free 7 days was absolutely fine. Just goes to show, you don't always need the pharmaceuticals to get by.  A natural way to stay healthy feels awesome on the inside and out. Of course, these statements are all subject to mine and my families experience with the oils, and I am not making any claims that they will heal anything...however I 100% believe they aided all of our symptoms and I think my family were mildly surprised at how effective nature can be.

*This is not an ad for doTERRA, and we are in no way endorsed for this post. I just felt it really important and quite inspiring to know that we could make it through with nothing but nature!

CHEEEEESE!!!!

CHEEEEESE!!!!

Written by Jess Eastwood

 

Finding my mojo again

It had been a long summer holiday with the children. Sure, it had been awesome, but it had been draining none the less and I was starting to feel a teensy bit like a slave to my 4 year old and 7 year old! That whole 'life revolves around their schedule' was starting to kick in as I decided it better to let them dictate the actions we took, rather than me rush them in and out of the house unneccessarilly.

They were happily playing with their LEGO and I was desperate to get out of the house and get some fresh air.  As I sat their waiting for them (unbeknownst to them that I was waiting) to start fighting so I could break it up with a "lets go biking". I decided this was ridiculous!

I wanted to go biking. I was the Mother. I was the Boss, not them...

But on the flip side, it's just no fun draggling kids out of the house when we are not rushing to make it to school before the bell, or to swimming lessons before its over, or to sports before the team give up on my little players. 

I left them to it. They were playing so nicely, it was stupid to break it up. I then decided that if I was so desperate to get into my mountain biking again properly I needed to take it into my own hands and make it happen more often. I wandered off to the office and as synchronicity would have it, up popped an advertisement for a local women's mountain biking skills course that ran every Wednesday night for 5 weeks. I stood their, staring at the screen, convincing myself of all the reasons why I shouldn't do it.

I often go riding with my husband, he is an amazing mountain bike rider.  I do my 'thing' and try to keep up and pretend I'm not scared. He does his 'kind thing' and shares advice and tips along the way, and of course encouragement... which I take as patronising... and well.. as I become more frustrated and angry because I don't really understand what he means, and I don't like telling him what to do, he becomes more confused with my feminine reactions.  

A lesson from your husband is just not the best medicine for a really happy ride (as good as his intentions are) it all lies with me struggling on a hormonal, emotional level! I always feel like I am holding him back from a great ride OR I find he takes me down some scary as track in the forest and I loose all my confidence... you can see how it's just not a good idea, unless I knew what I was doing and really didn't need his advice or general man speak!

So, I continued anyway to find more reasons as to why I shouldn't sign up.  It clashed with my husbands touch rugby night, it would be too hard to arrange a babysitter during the middle of the week, I would be tired come that time of night, I wouldn't be good enough to cycle with those people, I would make a dick of myself, I didn't even know what the parts of half my bike were called... and on and on it went.

Then I asked to myself - what would you say to your client?!

I would remind her how much her battery needed to be recharged and filled with joy as well as everyone else. I would ask her what made her tick as a kid, what gave her passion to keep going, what excited her, what made her feel like HER?... and whammo - the decision was made. I signed up that night, without even talking to the hubby. Babysitters are a common breed. I could make it work, and that I did.

It was time to learn how to get up this hill!

It was time to learn how to get up this hill!

I swallowed my pride and turned up on the first night and met some lovely women, who it turns out were all in the same boat and just wanted to re-gain their confidence on a mountain bike again. The majority of us were Mothers who used to have confidence, but somewhere along the line lost it. I also guess I found more anxiety when I was in the forest or out on the tracks because my brain was overthinking everything regarding my next move on the bike, and I would think silly things like "don't jump that, you can't do it, you will crash and then who will do all of your work?!" etc etc. The majority of us do that.

This Mission WOW bike course had me at 'hello' because one of the first things our coach said was "As girls, we over-think everything, especially in a biking situation...well here we all are to learn more skills and gain some confidence" She had hit the nail on the head. I would be back next week.

Over the next few courses I went from totally doubting my ability, to completely backing myself around some tight, steep, gnarly berms, turns and tracks. I was actually speaking nicely to myself in my head and convincing myself that I could do things. I tried them, and it turned out that the more I backed myself, the more successes I had. I didn't fly over my handlebars and I didn't make an idiot of myself, and even when I did have to stop and push or pull my bike, I didn't care...turns out neither did anyone else!

 It was so inspiring and motivating to be around a bunch of about 30 other completely inspiring and wonderful women who all felt the same way.

Everyone knew how everyone else felt and therefore all comments were empowering and supportive and you could just see these women blossoming into confident riders. Heck, none of us a necessarily heading into the competitive mountain biking scene, but everyone learned many skills that they didn't previously have, and more importantly, I think, learned to speak kindly to themselves!

Now that the course is finished I am so excited to jump on my bike and head out for a ride. I'm not the most awesome rider in the pack, and I am not the worst, but the coolest thing now is that I have confidence in my decisions on how and where to ride and I know my ability and what to do. If anyone out there is just gagging to get out and do something for themselves I highly recommend it. I feel like I am me again.  I feel like I finally have my Mojo back!

Find your "you time" again and go do something completely random. At the same time as I joined the biking course (I guess I was on a roll...and the kids were still not fighting!) I signed myself up for the local adults hip hop dance classes.

This was again one of the best things I could have done for myself. I used to dance as a child and teenager and pour my heart and soul into it. I sat exams and I did well, but more importantly I absolutely loved every second of it! I have danced with my kids most days of their lives and music plays a massive part in our lives, BUT, I have always wanted to go back to dance class and get my groove on.

So there I was, all signed up and full of memories of the youthful dancer I was. As the ladies rolled in for dancing I felt slightly nervous, and unsure of what I was about to embark on.  I decided I could hardly walk out of the studio, Wanaka is too small, people know me! So there I stood in front of the mirror with our amazing teacher (Rachel Erichson from Dance Out Loud studios) and she started to share with us some brilliant dances and moves. I joined in, eyes on the floor and my body only giving half of what it really had because I was too embarrassed to really get into it. 

"What if I send my arm off in one direction and its the wrong way and there I am looking like an egg in the mirror?" or " What if I spin the wrong way and crash into everyone? GAAAA! Maybe I should just leave...I know some of these people"

Then she turned the music on, and off we went. WOW. This was AWESOME! I was having the best time. I was doing just fine keeping up. Yeah - Im not about to hop on a stage anytime soon, but I was having a ball. I was beading with sweat and most of all I was smiling and laughing.

Im now up to week 7 and it turns out that I can watch myself in the mirror while I dance with the group. I can even hold my head up and give it my all. It's so much fun! I feel like I did as a young girl. I come home and I am ready to be a good Mum and a loving wife. Its so important to remember what made you tick in your youth and try to get back on that horse.

Go on, swallow your pride; sign up for something that you love or have always wanted to do, or had on your bucket list. I swear. You will have no regrets (even if you do fly over the handle bars!) It makes a great story ;-)

The best part of this whole thing is that I am 'me' again. I remember little bits about myself, things I was forgetting because I was just constantly doing what needed to be done. I can laugh, I can have fun, and I can do the things that I like to do as well as keeping my family happy. I think my family are even happier now that I am off doing my own thing more often because I find I have more patience and time to spend with them when I am present. Do what makes you happy...because it will make everyone else around you happy too.

Written by Jess Eastwood