My journey of joy….
Started at the beginning of 2020 when I have found myself in a new situation heavily influenced by the Corona virus pandemics who put a hard stop on my life routine.
I have spent the last 6 years in a consulting job who has carried me across the globe with more than 200 flights in the 4 years prior to the global situation change.
The perks of being a frequent traveler were unimaginable for a 28 years old. To give a bit more perspective around it, I have started my business travel with monthly flight from Europe to Africa which went on for 2 years.
The location was not bad, as I was lucky to land my first project in Cape Town – a honeymoon location for those of you who are less familiar with it.
All flights were business class, with occasional upgrades to first class.
The hotels were all 4* or 5*, most often Radisson Blu, by the ocean promenade or The Westin, where I was one of the regulars and all staff knew me.
I don't want to get into too much details , but I promise will write another article about my African adventures.
After two years of long-haul travels, two more years of weakly travels came. My flights were in Europe, but often no direct flights were available on my routes which translated in lot of hours spent in the Lufthansa senator lounge every Monday and Friday – yes, I was often travel Monday evening to Friday morning because of flight connections issues.
But this was just the travel...
I also had a highly stressful customer facing job, a relationship where we have just moved in together (we all know how stressful this can be) and I was feeling highly motivated to succeed in all.
Then my body started showing me small signs that I was doing too much. I was feeling constantly tired and I needed 3-4 coffee when I was at the customer just to keep me sharp and focused. I was trying hard during the weekend not to spend it all sleeping and do some activities with my boyfriend who was waiting the whole week for me to come home. I guess some guilt was sneaking in my heart as well.
So I continued...
I went to concerts and parties during the weekends and I was flying to the customer on Mondays. Not to mention I was waking up at 6 am 3 times a week for HIIT workouts and Spinning which most likely added more stress on my body.
I have been diagnosed with an autoimmune disease - Hashimoto Thyroiditis. My iron and most of other vitamins and minerals in my body were very low and on top of this I started to have heart arrhythmias and experience poor sleep.
Looking back, the problem was there for a long time and my body was trying to give me signs to
Stop and breathe
But I have ignored them and went on autopilot with the fast rhythm that I have self imposed.
I will write a detailed blog post about my journey with autoimmune disease.
Coming from a family with records of hearth problems, liver issues and diabetes, I was always careful when it came to my diet, but I have neglected the most important part :
My stress was mostly self-imposed coming from the desire to succeed in the business world and in all aspects of life plus a grain of controlling issues and not accepting failure as a natural part of life.
Of course, I have used conventional medicine for diagnosis and treatment and the doctors told me to reduce the stress, which was logical, but easier said than done.
To take the problem in my own hands I decided to start yoga, and I mean to seriously start practicing every day. I was not new to yoga, and I have practiced it years before, but I was never too serious about it.
I have enrolled in a Yoga Teacher Training (200h) with the Rishikesh Bindusar School with the purpose of learning yoga and its philosophy the right way. The course lasted for 6 months and some of them overlapped with the lockdowns, which meant teaching moved into online due to the impossibility to travel.
The yoga journey was painful, but pleasant and I had more time to practice daily and to work with my mind, my competitive spirit ( yes, I was competitive on the mat as well not only in my consulting life 😉 ). What I learned by combining it with my consulting job was that it added more stress to my life. This was mainly due to my competitive spirit and wishing to advance faster that my non-flexible body could. But I also learned in time to be less critical with myself. In other words accepting things as they are in the present moment.
The biggest transformation, though, was in my attitude and mind. I was simply feeling joyful about everything that I was doing) from paining a fence, to drinking a tea, watching a movie, cleaning the house and even in my daily job as a consultant.
I have become more mindful, because in the end life is about enjoying every step, even the mundane Tuesdays. 😊
My journey to joy is still on going, but I have decided to start sharing my learnings with the rest of the world.