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The Big Wow from my Holiday

I’m really excited to share with you what I discovered on my holiday as I’m convinced it’s something that everyone with a chronic illness like ME/CFS needs to know. When I first heard someone with ME talk about this in her recovery story, I was very dubious, but last week I discovered it for myself.

So what is the big secret? Our physical energy will rapidly increase if we can let go of all mental and emotional tension and pressure.

On holiday I let go of all work, I let go of any sense of needing to do or be something in particular, I allowed myself to just enjoy the moment and go with the flow. I allowed things to be just as they are and let go of wanting anything to be different. And every day my physical stamina improved at a remarkable rate.

I very tentatively used the swimming pool on that first day because in the past when I got into a pool the temperature of the water would make my muscles tense up, then they wouldn’t let go properly and would get overworked before I even got to use them. I knew though, that my health has been improving a lot over the last year or so, so I chose to trust things to be different and it payed off.

I adore swimming and within seconds I remembered how at home I feel in the water, I glided through 9 lengths as though it hadn’t been nearly 10 years since I’d last been able to swim like that then I noticed my muscles starting to get tired, so I stopped. However, the next day I got to 10 lengths without them getting tired, the next I did two sets of 10 lengths with a long rest between them, and by the last day I’d done one set of 20 lengths and another set of 14. I was amazed that my physical ability improved so quickly. I’d gone from getting tired before finishing 10 lengths to being able to complete 34 lengths in a day, in just a week! And I realise now that I was able to do that because there was nothing else draining my energy. Have you ever experienced something like this?

I’ve known for a long time that the simple key to overcoming this illness was to find as much peace as possible,  but I guess I didn’t really believe just how quickly my body could strengthen if I did actually find that peace. Once again, I’ve discovered just how crucial it is.

Although the principle is simple it’s not that simple in practice. I know that now I’m back in real life, pressures and tension have jumped straight back in, but I’m doing well at catching them and tackling them because I know just how wonderful it feels to be able to be physical again.

My meditation and mindfulness practices have helped me hugely to develop the skills that keep the majority of these pressures and tension at bay. Do you meditate?

Mindful meditation has taught me to notice when my thoughts are going in a direction that isn’t helpful and redirect them to something more helpful.

Meditation in general helps keep me relaxed so that day to day challenges are less likely to trigger and sympathetic nervous system response, which is very energy consuming.

If you’ve never meditated before and would like to try it out you can try the first week of my basic breathing techniques and meditation start kit here: https://www.mecfsselfhelpguru.com/basic-breathing-techniques-and-meditation-starter-kit-days-1-to-7

One of the things that I’ve been doing when I’ve noticing the pressure building is to remind myself that everything is OK in this moment just the way it is. I don’t have to do anything right now, I can let go of wanting things to be different. I can trust that it will all work out, by just taking small steps in a relaxed and effortless manner. And now I know just how much progress can be made if I truly stay relaxed!

If you’d like to hear me talking about this subject to can watch my Facbook live here.

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One Response to The Big Wow from my Holiday

  1. Sheryl October 21, 2017 at 6:55 am #

    Well done Julie! Swimming is strange in the way it increases like that I think. When I first picked it up again I was panting at 1 lap and aching. Then the next swim it was 5, then 12, then 30, then 70. Then it sort of retains that memory such that even if I don’t swim for months, I can still do 30 average.
    Anyway just sharing cos reading that bit was really interesting!

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