It was sometime in April that I decided that I want to go on hiatus.....a two-way one. Take a break from social media and go to the mountains for two weeks to plunge into a totally different lifestyle. I had a fixed aim in my mind......to redefine my physical and mental fitness. I knew I wouldn’t find the former tough considering what a disciplined person I am. I knew I’d have huge difficulties with the latter coz of my eternal restlessness of the mind which struggles with quite a few mental issues.
Decluttering of the mind is what I wanted to begin with and for that social media had to go. I’ll admit I was addicted to it and loved seeing what others posted.....partly to be informed about people’s lives and partly for the kick I got in analyzing others through their posts and getting to know people better virtually. And of course there was this joy in showing off as well. It was taking up a lot of my mind-space and that had to stop even though social media can also be a learning experience. I feared that I might have withdrawal symptoms considering the fact that the first thing I did in the morning after waking up was going through social media. Was surprised that I didn’t have any.
To help me declutter my mind, I knew I had to declutter the physical space around me. So I chose to go to the mountains alone in a tiny little flat that was austere and ascetic in its feel. Mountains have always had a special place in my heart.....they engulf me with their peace, greenery and fresh air while giving me strength with their stoic solidity.
Whatsapp was my only connection to the outer world. I kept it activated to be in touch with my very near and dear ones and some work colleagues.
I needed to begin by giving a structure to my day. So I planned it out meticulously. A 45 minutes run by the lake or in the woods, followed by a routine workout at the small gym in town (they do weekly memberships luckily), a little grocery shopping to take care of the needs of the stomach. Then it was working for an hour or more on the laptop. A light lunch followed this and then I curled up on the couch with the self-help books I was armed with. Poring over them, trying to see things in a new perspective, analyzing thoughts.....all this was so taxing at times to the brain that I dozed off. (Best part is, each of these books follow a totally different philosophy of life. What you take away from them is your choice)
If the weather permitted, I went for a short walk into town and browsed through the shops and cafes. Then I came home to cook a simple dinner which I enjoyed eating mindfully and gratefully. After that I tidied up the little kitchen and sat down to meditate with a timer. By 9pm I was already in bed and continued reading until I crashed into deep slumber.
Getting the body fitter.....comes easily to me. I got into the mood of trying out electric mountain biking. So I enrolled myself in a course at the local bike shop only to realize that I was hopeless at riding downhill. I like cycling but this was a different ball game. The tongue-lolling uphill rides were easy by changing to the turbo mode but there was no mode to help me overcome my fear of going downhill. I hated the feeling of losing control and just whooshing down the steep slopes with my butt raised above the saddle. I got to understand couple of aspects to myself that I didn’t want to face.
1.I am a control freak and hate letting go of myself.
2. I am a scaredy cat who’s extremely scared of getting hurt....both physically and mentally.
3.I don’t like thrills and adventure sports. I prefer sports that add to my fitness level and make me stronger.
Talking about thrills, yes, I am either an extremely boring person or I have enough thrills in my life shuttling between two worlds in Delhi and Davos, Silampur and Sertigtal. And boy, I can vouch for it with the last breath in my body that these are effing very different worlds and one needs a very strong head to be able to juggle them the way I do. No mountain bike ride can come close to it!
Now comes the incredibly difficult bit about getting the mind fitter. Understanding one’s mind and being able to criticize and accept things.....I hadn’t realized this was going to be this hard. What I also realized is the human mind constantly is under confirmation bias and doesn’t want to be confronted by new ways of looking at things. I had wanted to redefine my mental fitness by being able to tackle the umpteen anxieties, fears and confusions that rage inside the brain of mine. This was a good start and as I read the books, I understood that it’s only me who can help myself and my battles. There were so many aspects that I can control myself with the way I look at things that this knowledge itself was liberating. There’s no one else who’s responsible for our happiness just as there’s no one to blame for our confusions. We have choices.....and this is empowering and enlightening. It fills the mind with a kind of lightness that I had needed so badly.
Being alone helped me get to know and love myself better. There were simple changes I needed to make to find more time for my goals. Breakfast was a porridge made with oatmeal, soya flakes, chia, flax seeds and sunflower seeds. Lunch was a salad with avocado and boiled eggs thrown in. Dinner was a lightly fried fish with some boiled/sautéd vegetables and some dark chocolate as dessert. And this was every day for two weeks. I loved the food and ate with such happiness. This taught me a simple lesson that we have so much power to change our reality with our perceptions.
There were two things I was doing more during this break.....living the moments mindfully and filling my heart with gratitude about little things I experienced like feeling the cool air on my skin as I ran in the morning, the beautiful nature, the fact that I had so many choices in my life like being fit at 50, being on my own and of course appreciating the wonderful people who have come into my life mostly by chance and enriched it.
Oh yes, the only app I was checking fervently during this time was the weather app. The mountain weather can be so unpredictable and make you change your rigid plans. Well, it’s a good lesson in adaptability and flexibility.
Am I content with how I am feeling now? I know how easy it is to get unfit again very fast both mentally and physically if I don’t continue to work at myself, even in my regular life. So this hiatus was just a beginning.
Now, I am already planning my next break. Whoever said that being alone is being lonely!!
- Certified fitness Trainer