by Sarah Stiles
I am sitting her wondering, “How did I lose my ‘vitality’?” I’m not entirely sure when I lost it, but I am certain it went astray. Without vitality I felt flat. So flat that nothing excited me and I found that I derived little or no pleasure from things or activities that I once enjoyed.
I would go as far as to say that I can’t remember exactly when I lost that vavavoom, oomph, vigour and zest to get up and do things, which is fine because I was in the doldrums with a low mood. Although not ‘clinically’ depressed, just feeling glum, so why do I need it? Saying that, I knew if I could get a little bit of bounce back into my stride and if I could find a way to add a little sparkle to my day, I might just start to feel brighter and in time, more positive about life in general.
The trouble is it became so easy to do nothing. It is so easy to make excuses and to stay in that dark miserable rut than it was to try and get out of it.
For example, I used to be a social butterfly I enjoyed being with people and doing things, but without vitality, when I got an invitation to go out with friends, I avoided all contact. On the rare occasion, if I did go out, I made little or no effort to speak to anyone, I just couldn’t be bothered.
On a day to day basis I managed to fill my time by keeping busy doing nothing in particular. I tended to sleep until midday. I slouched around the house in my onesie and although I could see that life was slowly passing me by, I simply didn’t have the energy or the inclination to do anything about it.
Then one day, I asked myself ‘How much longer can I continue to plod on in this sorrowful state?’ There was a part of me that longed to get back to ‘normal’. I had been down in the dumps for so long that I’d forgotten what normal was. I wanted to get back to feeling excited and to doing things rather than making excuses and avoiding taking that crucial step forward towards recovering my vitality.
I wanted to re-light the fire of a desire to do things, anything, no matter how small. I lacked energy. I didn’t feel up to joining a gym, or going to a fitness class.
So I decided to start with something simple. My new daily activity was walking. I didn’t need any special equipment, nor did I need to schedule an appointment with a fitness trainer. It was a gentle walk near to home. The first couple of weeks were slow, and when I got home I felt exhausted. I persisted and set aside an hour at the same time every morning to go for a walk. It was not long before I was able to extend my walk. I found the more I did, the more I could do.
I upped the pace and I started to walk with a new found purpose and zest. This new physical activity made me feel so much brighter. It also helped to ease my mental angst. Being out in the fresh air helped to make me think clearer and my sleep improved too. I felt as though I had crossed over from a dark dismal place to somewhere lighter and more alive. It was the beginning of my journey to get some vitality back into my life.
I started to feel physically stronger and more able to do things. I was able to take stock of where I am now. You often hear that phrase ‘Be where you are now,’ but it was not until I rediscovered some vitality that I could think and take on board what it really meant to me. For the first time in a very long time I stopped dwelling on the past. I stopped mulling over all the things that had gone wrong. I stopped thinking negative thoughts and I started to concentrate on the good and positive aspects of where I was.
It is true the more you do, the more you can do. I have added swimming to my routine. It was not easy to get out of the house and get to the local pool but once there I enjoyed it.
I have still got a long way to go on my journey before I can say I feel exuberant or effervescent, but by recognising that my vitality was lost, and taking that first hesitant step to regaining it, has turned my life around for the better . I feel a great sense of hope for the future.