Contributed by Toun Deji-Anjous
I usually start off each year with a bang and, like ‘Pinky and the brain’, dreams of taking over the world. But for once, I sense God telling me to slow down through certain events that have taken place. When you need to slow down..you need to make it happen.
I was pregnant last year and travelled to have my second baby. On my trip, I decided to take my first child along with me even though a number of people told me that it would not be easy especially as he was only 18 months. However, I believed I knew better as I was superwoman.
I also had a few deadlines to meet, some of which I had set for myself. Some of my goals included completing my dissertation for my Masters in Human Resource Management and getting accredited. Submitting a proposal to a company, interviewing for a new role and losing the extra forty pounds I had gained during pregnancy.
I have to add that I am the sort of person who enjoys having many deadlines and the pressure and the busyness that comes with them. Ultimately, I took on all my set goals and succeeded in completing my Masters and becoming accredited (yay!), obtaining positive feedback from the company I sent the proposal to, getting a new job with more responsibilities, losing 25 pounds and most importantly, juggling both kids without compromising (too much) on their development. All this whilst binge watching ‘Gilmore Girls’ from Season 1 through to ‘A Year in the Life’.
Learning to slow down
The bubble I was in – that came with achieving everything – was rudely burst when I went in for my 6-week check with the gynaecologist. They discovered that my blood pressure had skyrocketed. This confused me as my blood pressure had been perfect during both pregnancies, labour, and post labour. I put it down to the stress of that particular day and being away. Weeks and some pounding headaches later, the blood pressure remained high even after being back in Nigeria. This led to daily medication with a reminder to regularly monitor my blood pressure.
My Change in Lifestyle
It would have been easy to know what to give up if I smoked or was addicted to coffee. As I didn’t do any of these and so I have had to immediately and painfully let go of things I love and consciously change my lifestyle. Some of my changes include smoothies (with beetroot), substituting brown rice and whole wheat bread for white rice and white bread. My meals now include sautéed mixed vegetables and dark chocolate, while drastically reducing salt. I have also made physical changes which include long walks and yoga to replace aggressive exercises. Rest, sleep and breathing exercises are now a regular practice. [Read Mums why your wellbeing matters ]
With all these changes, my blood pressure has reduced. To ensure it stays down, I constantly remind myself to take things easy and set realistic targets. Rest. Slow down. Take a break.
Why? The most important people to me need me healthy and that is the most important thing.