Mairi's MovementWise Journey

#8: Putting Myself First

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Health is not a destination, it’s a journey.

Rightly or wrongly I have spent most of my life thinking of others. I think it is a generational thing and probably also the way we were raised. We were taught to offer the plate of food to others at the table before we helped ourselves, to share our toys no matter how precious, to do the chores before we were asked, to anticipate the problem before it had arisen.

As girls we were expected to be modest about our talents and achievements, to not brag about our good grades or published story, to listen whilst our brothers told us how strong, fast, clever they were, to accept being teased or mocked.

Forging my own path and breaking through old gender paradigms

We don’t, as women, push ourselves forward in our careers. We have until now accepted lower salaries than our direct male colleagues and we, not the men, are often the main caregivers in our families. We women don’t let the dishes do themselves, leave the laundry to pile up in the corner, walk past the children struggling with their homework or let them eat scrambled eggs or pizza four nights in a row. For many reasons women put the needs of others before their own. But let’s be frank, in the same way you apply your own oxygen mask on an airplane before you put on someone else’s, you are only able to truly reach out to people when your needs are taken care of first.

Taking care of each other and acknowledging each other’s needs

My Movementwise Journey has taught me that I need to put myself first in order to get truly stronger. I need to let the dishes pile up in the sink and leave the dishwasher to be emptied by someone else whilst I focus on what I need to do. I have to make it my priority to find the time to do my exercises, to go to my swimming lessons, to cook healthy meals, to walk up mountains and to go skiing.

I have come a long way in the past year. I have gone from being unable to walk across the room without pain to hiking six hours up a mountain. From watching Ski Sunday on the television to being back up those mountains on skis. I am not completely there. I still have hopes and dreams to attain but I know that in order to achieve them, I have to keep challenging myself, learning, and building my confidence along the way.

I have learned that health is not a destination, it’s a journey and one in which I must invest.

Standing tall as I follow my guide


MovementWise Journey Insights

Tania Cotton

Founder of MovementWise

We all hold a story inside our bodies:

  1. The activities we have done and how we have done them – we are what we repeatedly do.
  2. The physical, mental and emotional challenges we have faced – we are the embodiment of our thoughts, feelings and emotions.
  3. The relationships we have built and how they connect and support us, or sabotage us:
  • The relationship we have with our body and our self.
  • The relationship we have with our environment, including gravity.
  • The relationship we have with the people around us.
  • Our relationship with nature and animals.

Do you listen to your body? When your body is in pain, what is your body saying to you?

Take care of me? Give me attention?  Look after me? Love me?

Do you spend so much time trying to make sure that everyone else’s needs are getting met, that you are left with no time or energy to consider your own?  Women in particular often feel ‘guilty’ if they take time out or ‘indulge’ in learning a new activity or sport when in fact they are looking after themselves.  And when the going gets tough, pleasurable activities will be the first thing they let go.  This can cause you to feel socially isolated and to lose your sense of SELF. Your body reflects your roles, goals, responsibilities and your sense of identity.

There is a tragic misunderstanding worldwide that if you are not pushing yourself to your limit, you are taking up too much space.  For many, life has become ‘an emergency’ and many of us live on an overdose of stress hormones, whilst sleep has become a privilege! If you have ever read the fable of the tortoise and the hare you may be able to relate to the fact that the key to your physical, mental and emotional wellbeing is to ‘pace not race’. Not only that but those who pace come out on top!

Mairi reaping the rewards of investing in herself

Taking the time to become aware of how you move through life does not just shape your body it shapes our mind. Yes, mindful movement creates new neural connections in your brain that will protect your body against Alzheimer’s and dementia.  And, the quality of your mind affects the quality of your life.  When you allow yourself to accept support and go through a process of guided mastery with a coach, teacher or MovementWise Mentor, you develop self-awareness which means that you give yourself the time to feel how your whole body moves and is connected. Movement mastery gives you access to some incredibly powerful anti-stress and feel-good hormones such as Dopamine, Serotonin, Oxytocin and Endorphins – are you benefiting from these internal resources?

Our MovementWise Top Tip for this Month is Say NO and LET GO! Say no to something that will drain your energy and instead, DO SOMETHING FOR YOURSELF that will give you energy.  It may be something you simply love to do like go out for a walk with your dog; or something you have never done before but have always wanted to try like learning how to swim.  In the short term it may take you out of your comfort zone, yet in the long run, with the right guidance, such life skills can become something that helps you to feel good, can open up opportunities for exploration and adventure and can literally save your life.   Letting go can be the hardest thing to do, letting go of feeling responsible for everything and everyone in your life and attending to your own needs, so that any feelings of guilt can transform into a big nourishing feeling of gratitude.  We all have the power to choose our attitude – we are all response-ABLE.

Give yourself ‘permission’ to come to one of our MovementWise Workshops and learn to move in a way that will enable you to perform at your best and live your life to the full, like Mairi.

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