My journey from stressed out corporate to living a balanced life.

When we hear stories about how a person turned their life around or made a significant change, there’s often a defining moment which brings them to that point.  For me, it took a visit to the doctor to make me realise that my life needed to change.

I was at a crossroads in which I could either continue with life at it was. Or I could choose a different path to live a balanced life.

Let me briefly take you back to that time

I like to refer to this time as my ‘previous life’, a life where my day started with breakfast on the run and it generally ended with me working late into the evening working at my computer before going to bed around midnight.

If I’m honest with myself, I really wasn’t enjoying the environment and culture in which I was working. I felt stuck on this Ferris wheel in which everyone wants more, more, more.

It was normal for me to go to bed and be staring at the ceiling. My mind still racing thinking about conversations or something that had happened earlier in the day. Thinking through tomorrow’s To-Do list, mentally going through imaginary scenarios. When I did eventually sleep, it was normal for me to wake in the early hours still worrying about work or aspects in my personal life where I was struggling.

I would wake-up in the morning feeling tired and reach for coffee to boost my energy to get me through the day. Sound familiar?

Self-doubt and anxiety had raised their head on many occasions. I was starting to feel a little lost with how life was going.

What I didn’t realise at the time, I was living continuously in what is called the ‘stress response’ also known as the ‘fight or flight’ response, a response designed for emergency situations. The body shifts all its energy resources to fight or escape a life threat. Yet, there were no tigers chasing me, but the way I was living my nervous system was thinking otherwise. What we know now about chronic stress it is the gateway to several diseases.

I was burnt out.

stressed corporate
How a visit to the doctor changed everything

On an unrelated visit to the doctor, he asked if he could take my blood pressure. Not an unusual thing, normally it was ok but, on this occasion, it was sky high. I distinctly remember the doctor saying to me that I was 10kg’s overweight, and he should be putting me on medication.

I was horrified. Shocked. There was no way I was going on medication. I needed to get a second opinion!

A different doctor was recommended to me, she suggested I go onto a blood-pressure monitor for 24 hours. I agreed, and for those 24 hours continued with my working day as usual and every 30 minutes it would take a reading of my blood pressure.

When I went back for the results, there was a clear pattern that had emerged, my blood pressure was normal during the night and first thing in the morning, but as I travelled to work my blood pressure would begin to rise. It would remain high throughout the day until I returned home where in the evening it would return to normal.

This was not good.

Taking the leap…

Following my visit to the doctors, it was clear my day-to-day life, my career choice wasn’t working for me and my body was beginning to give me signs that it didn’t like it either. I needed to eliminate as much stress from my life as I could and live a balanced life.

After much thought I decided to quit my job and embark on the path of freelancing.

Walking away from what we are all supposed to strive for in life was not an easy decision. You know, the well-paid job, that enabled me to live in a nice place and have disposable income to go to restaurants, have nice holidays, buys clothes…etc… But this path fundamentally didn’t make me happy, it didn’t fulfil me, and it was damaging my health.

How yoga supported my transition to a balanced life
Yoga and Meditation supported me through my transition.

Yoga had already become an important tool for my wellbeing, and here I was seeking to live a more balanced life. A life that would allow me to teach yoga but also use my knowledge and experience of marketing, to support smaller, more conscious businesses. I had been practising yoga regularly, attending a few yoga classes every week over the previous three or four years. I’d also recently started practising a different system of yoga that took a more holistic approach. (you can discover more by clicking here.)

In that it viewed yoga as more than just the asana (postures) and a little bit of relaxation. But it looked at all aspects of life, with a large emphasis on developing and bringing awareness into every moment, through meditation, and being present or mindful in all our day-to-day actions.

Yoga was my sanctuary

Going to a yoga class has become my escape. It was 90 minutes just for me. Any stresses from work, thoughts or anxieties that were happening outside or off my mat disappeared. And I slept so well after yoga. I felt calmer and more relaxed.

I’d begun to see changes physically, and I was more aware of my anxiety, stress, and the general unhappiness I was feeling. The inner voice of change had started to get louder and louder.

I could never quite understand how by practicing a yoga asana, pranayama and meditation could give me so much strength. Until I read an article by master Yogi Simon Borg Oliver, who explained it beautifully by saying that with postures we put our bodies into some challenging positions that is a reflective on life and gives us the strength to deal with difficult situations in life.

I can honestly say that was true for me. It did allow me to make some very difficult decisions and some very big changes.  My friends saw the changes in me and they could see how happy I was after I made this life change.

How life looks now

It has been 7 years since took this leap into freelancing.  I continue to work in a marketing capacity, but I’m able to balance this with teaching yoga and meditation. And I’m able to choose to work with clients who fit with my ethics. I don’t make any where near the amount of money as I did before, and I work much less hours.

BUT…Working for myself has given me much more freedom to manage my own workload and be in control of my own destiny. Pre-covid I was able to travel and work from anywhere in the world. Now I am here in Catalonia with my partner Ram. I am happy and healthy.

Importantly choosing this path gave me space to go back to study. In 2015 I completed a two-year Yoga Studies diploma in Satyananda Yoga because I wanted to share these amazing yoga practices with others.

I have so much respect for the practices and the benefits they continuously give to people. When I teach a class, I believe I’m sharing the most incredible gift.

Tiny steps…

Yoga has been life changing for me. What started as a form of exercise became a way of life.

Conscious marketer
choosing a balanced life

I wouldn’t expect anyone to make the drastic changes to their life as I did without first thinking it through and having a clear plan. But I would recommend looking at life more holistically and if like me you have or are experiencing burn-out, stress or anxiety, it may help to make a few tiny changes so that you can live a more balanced life.