It has been just over fourteen years since I have retired from competitive sport. The years have flown by and I have loved all the excitement and variety that life has brought, including the arrival of my two children, Greta, 13, and Easton, 10. I have broadcast five Olympic Games, and continue to be involved in sport at the international, national, and grass roots level.
Over the course of my “retirement” the common question has been, “do you still train?” I have thought about my answer, and I often say that I’m not “training”, but I do exercise. I keep active and have all along. Whether it was walking/jogging with my kids in the stroller, or coaching my daughter with ringette, or keeping up with them on the trampoline, I am constantly active, or try to be. I have two dogs and I love the fact that even when all I really want to do is have a glass of wine and sit on the couch, they get me out and about even for a quick walk. I have also joined a women’s ringette and hockey team.
However, as the kids have gotten older, their activity and commitment level has continued to increase, along with their school and homework schedule, which in turn adds to my stress as a busy, working mum.
It is now, more than ever, that I realize I can’t forget about my own health and keeping myself in the best possible shape, both mentally and physically.
It has been proven that the more stressed we are, the more important it is for us to eat well, get enough sleep, and keep active. However, we know the reality - and that is, that the more stress there is in life, the busier we are, we sacrifice all those healthy options. We catch up on laundry and cleaning late at night – we say to ourselves that we will sleep another day! We either don’t eat, or do a quick drive through – and say to ourselves, I will cook next week’s meals on the weekend! I often say that I will go for a run or walk tomorrow morning before work – and at 2am when I go to bed, I realize that I really need that extra half hour of sleep, so I put it off AGAIN!
This is real life and we have all lived it, and perhaps, are currently living it!
However, each of one us, needs to make a commitment. And that commitment is to ourselves. We need to treat ourselves better! We need to take even thirty minutes a day, and STOP (well, perhaps I mean GO), and do some sort of activity to clear our minds, fill our lungs, and renew ourselves. Easier said than done. But, as we talk about a stressed out, obese society that struggles with mental health, I challenge each person (including myself) to take some time. Leave the laundry, put the phone down, and just DO! Do something for yourself that will renew your strength and will allow you to renew the energy. We need to be healthy so that we are there for our children now and into the future.
I have taken so much pride in having kids tell me I have been a role model for them. Well, I want to continue to be a role model, to my kids, to the kids in this country, and a role model to all who are pushed and pulled in many directions, by making health, a priority!