i thought swimming reduced your stress levels

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A few years ago, a group of friends gave me a birthday gift which was a kind of intervention in disguise. At the time, I had a new baby who didn’t seem to appreciate the value of sleep at night, and a very jealous 19 month old. For some reason I felt the need to push myself with a strict routine which involved getting to the pool as early as possible most days, having the baby asleep at exactly the point of arrival at the pool crèche, and then pumping out a minimum of 2 km as quickly as possible. I would then zoom to the showers, grab the kids from the pool crèche and by just after 10 we would all be in a park somewhere doing the next thing, or meeting people, or something…you get the idea.

So essentially I was running on empty before I even got out of bed in the morning. Then I was pushing myself unnecessarily to achieve stuff. To be fit.

So one day I was at the pool swimming up and down like a lunatic, when I came up behind another swimmer. We were close to the end of the pool and I politely tapped the swimmers feet, which in international swimming language is the sign for ‘please let me past at the next turn, I am much faster than you’. Unfortunately the swimmer ahead didn’t speak international swimming language and she carried on at the next turn. Mmmmm. I was a bit peeved. There were a lot of swimmers in the pool and it was going to be hard to go past but I did it. I went really fast and furious, I went a bit too close and I pulled back in front of her probably a bit too soon. When I turned at the next end, she had crossed the lane and was standing up in my path. I stopped, I stood, and before I’d even taken a breath she had accused me of kicking her in the head when I had passed her. I then proceeded to explain the international language of swimming and what she should have done to avoid the passing scenario. She got really angry with me as I tried to explain it all, then she turned to swim away. And this is when things went from bad to well…really bad. As she launched herself off, (in front of me again!!) I reached out and grabbed her leg and pulled her back. Obviously with hindsight and a brain which now gets sleep, I can see that at that moment I was probably lucky not to have an assault charge placed against me.

So after being very embarrassed for quite a while and not telling a soul about it, I mentioned it to a friend. It then came up at a book club dinner. Then came the intervention, I mean birthday. And it involved this same cool group of book club friends giving me a voucher for a meditation course. It was my debut into meditation. It was amazing, and a real turning point for me. I don’t think I realised just how fragile I was. I had always assumed that if I was exercising then my stress levels and my mind would be OK, but I was just doing it all wrong.

Shared on With Some Grace for ‘flog your blog Friday’.

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2 thoughts on “i thought swimming reduced your stress levels

  1. PMSL! Oh Michelle I’m just imagining you grabbing her leg! Lol! I’m sure the new ‘zen like’ Michelle who be horrified by such behavior! I’m not a big fan of exercising and here’s a good reason not too! Give me a meditation session any day! 😉

    • The leg pulling moment was surreal and yes it was a very low un-zenlike point in my life. But as with all moments, good and bad, you learn stuff about yourself. Having kids has exposed emotion in me that I never knew I was capable of, both good and bad!

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