“How is your health?” It’s something I’ve been asked a lot lately. By friends, by family and even perfect strangers who were part of the overwhelming response I received after writing about my latest autoimmune struggles, a few months ago. To all those who sent me their well wishes or shared their personal stories with me – thank you. I really appreciate it. To answer the question quickly – I’m getting better. The long answer is a little more complex.
To be honest, I hoped at this point, several months down the track I would be able to confidently deliver an answer somewhere along the lines of, “Things are great. I feel amazing. I’m back to normal”. Life would go on and I could ramp everything up again. Unfortunately, this recovery as I like to call it, is taking longer than I had (quite unreasonably) expected and the A-type in me struggles with that on a daily basis. But, as I’ve learned over the last decade of battling with my body or as the auto immune spectrum dictates – my body’s battle with itself, I need to be patient and I need to be kind, with myself.
After being diagnosed with hypothyroidism several months ago, I was encouraged to take some time to recover at home, true to form I couldn’t resist grabbing the opportunities to travel instead. Surely I could just recover on the road, right? Well, I have been on some incredible trips this year and I have absolutely loved each and every moment. I have to say though, I wasn’t at my best. Physically and emotionally I have been running on empty. Travelling with big groups of people on press trips in the humidity and heat through long days of touring, daily flights, boat and bus journeys has been tougher than it perhaps looks on social media. While I pushed through professionally, personally I haven’t felt at all like myself. Within the course of the trips, I don’t think I came across as my best self either. I had moments where I was overcome with anxiety (something relatively new that has come up with auto immune symptoms), I hid from cameras, declining offers from incredible photographers to be in their photos and spent less time than I normally would, getting to know other people. Anyone who knows me well would understand that’s really out of character and not really how I roll; I love people, I love the camera and I am often too loud, rather than a soul who retreats from the group all the time.
“Where are you off to next?” is the other big question I am being asked a lot lately. It’s a question I would normally answer in list-form with the trips, countries and places I plan to visit. But after about 1.5 years of travelling full time, I am taking a mini-break, a self-care staycation if you will, to recharge, reconnect and hit the ground running when I take off again, sometime in the new year. Don’t worry, there are some magical places on my international post-staycation travel menu. Stay tuned. In the meantime, you may get to see a little more of the beauty that’s closer to home, right here in Queensland.
What is a self-care staycation?
You know all that time you spend on holiday treating yourself to nice meals, spa treatments, naps and taking in the sights. Well, it’s kind of like that, but at home. I am taking the time to ‘retreat myself’; to nourish through food, undertake wellness treatments, set a realistic, healthy routine, get more rest, get on top of stress management, spend more time doing the things that I love and reconnect with friends and family. I have to say, I am already feeling a lot better. Here’s what I am up to:
Nurturing Through Food
I am following an auto-immune Paleo, low FODMAP style eating protocol. I don’t like labels for eating styles and I certainly don’t sit in one group all of the time, so let me put it simply – I am following an anti-inflammatory eating plan that won’t aggravate my gut (I am fructose intolerant). What does that mean? I am grain-free, dairy-free and refined sugar-free. My focus instead is on eating all organic foods; fresh cuts of grass fed meats, wild caught fish, lots of vegetables, good fats and a little fruit. I eat gut healing and warming foods like bone broth, lacto-fermented vegetables and organ meats. I keep processed foods to a minimum. I have also cut out alcohol and I am gradually cutting out coffee. This is an approach that has worked for me in the past to reduce my inflammatory symptoms and help me to regulate my weight. This way of eating is very restrictive and difficult to remain compliant. Most don’t need to follow such an extreme regime, so you should consult a professional in your own individual case. Most people simply need to eat more fresh food from every food group in its most natural state.
The Rig Renovation
While I had the best intentions of training as my body reset. It wasn’t quite that easy. Constant travel and exhaustion have made it harder that expected, but my energy is back up and I feel ready to get to work again to regain my strength and fitness.
I have started as an Ambassador with F45 Training in Newstead, Brisbane. I chose F45 for a few reasons: I am new to Brisbane and the group setting appeals to me; I am a functional personal trainer so the style of training seemed to fit; and put simply, I want my pre-hypothyroid body back – for my own sanity, my self-confidence and for my business. While I appreciate putting on so much weight in such a short amount of time is symptomatic of hypothyroid (under active thyroid), knowing that hasn’t made coping with it any easier. It’s a shame to say that physically not looking like ‘myself’ has had a huge impact on me. F45 promises rapid results so that is definitely part of the appeal. While many F45 fans hit the studio 6 times a week, I am easing my way in from about 4 to 6 as my body allows. I’m grateful to the team for taking me on. I’ll be telling you more about F45 Training and my personal journey soon.
I am also walking and will be running again in the next month. I haven’t been able to run consistently since the beginning of the year. As a runner, I am very keen to regain my fitness and pace.
Hiking and being out in nature during my recent travels to Indonesia and Canada has been something that really energises me, so I also plan to find more hikes closer to home too.
Yoga, pilates and meditation are also a part of my stress management strategy. Managing stress is something I have always struggled with. Running everyday used to be my outlet, but introducing something more Yin based is definitely important for a sustainable practice.
I am have mentioned before I am under the care of a GP and specialists for my autoimmune concerns. I am also supported by a doctor of Traditional Chinese Medicine and I am getting regular acupuncture. Each person has their own opinions on complementary and Eastern medicine. I personally have always sought complementary care alongside conventional medical care. I have really tried it all. It is up to you to work out what is effective for you, this is simply my experience.
What does this mean for The Fit Traveller?
Absolutely nothing. No, really, this is actually a great step for The Fit Traveller for several reasons:
We have a growing team of contributors that are based and travelling around the world. This was always to plan for The Fit Traveller – to grow and include as many voices as possible and to bring readers as much information and inspiration as possible; to build an international community. Spending a few months in one place helps me to grow our TFT family and ultimately bring more content to The Fit Traveller. We will be able to talk to more writers, photographers, journalists and experts who want to work with us. If that’s you, send me an email (firstname.lastname@example.org)
I have an inordinate amount of content from all my recent adventures waiting to be written, compiled, produced and published. So I can’t wait to finally get more of that to our readers.
We will have the space to expand our brand beyond travel. Travel is a huge part of The Fit Traveller brand, but we are more than just travel. We are a lifestyle brand and we will be bringing readers a lot more by way of wellness, beauty, fashion and general healthy lifestyle coverage.
Do you need a self-care staycation?
For me, this is really a time to focus on myself. To take time out to pause a little and invest some time back into my body. If you are rundown, burnt out or under extreme levels of stress, a little staycation or even a weekend retreat close to home might be a good way to get you back on track. Here are a few options to create your own retreat or staycation;
- Check in with your doctor, dentist and any specialists you need to if you haven’t done it in a while.
- Book a massage at home. Mobile massage is a great way to relax in the comfort of your own home, without having to battle with traffic, parking or commute time.
- Do a meditation course in your city or download apps like Headspace or Calm and learn to retreat from your living room for just 10 minutes a day.
- Try a one-on-one yoga session with an instructor in your backyard and ask them to design you a personal practice. There is nothing quite like having your sequence created with your needs and goals in mind.
- Grab some fresh market ingredients and try out some new nourishing recipes in the kitchen or hire a private chef to come and cook for you, showing you how to prepare some healthy basics.
- Turn off the TV and read a new book instead.
- Spend more time in nature. Even sitting in the local park or walking along a nearby beach can make you feel instantly refreshed.
- Keep a gratitude diary to help refocus your thoughts and self-talk.
- Make an effort to connect with people in person, not simply through texts and social media.
- Find an urban retreat in your city. We sent Liv Proud to Bondi Yoga House and Gabrielle Boyle to Q Station to do just that.
- Check into a hotel within or just outside of your own city for a wellness weekend. Many hotels now cater to busy corporates looking to downshift with simple add-on therapies at the spa or free yoga classes as we found at Elements of Byron.
- Book an overseas retreat that is a short flight from home. We have road tested these retreats for you.
A self-care staycation doesn’t need to be a super intensive or laboured event. Simply give your life a quick wellness audit – take a moment to assess how you generally feel over the course of the week; what your daily habits look like and whether they can be improved. If you are feeling burnt out, possibly neglecting your health or not living in a conscious way, take a week or a weekend where you focus on swapping out any bad habits and giving your life a mini-makeover, so you will really thrive again, at home and on your next holiday.
The medical information in this article is provided as an information resource only, and is not to be used or relied on for any diagnostic or treatment purposes. This information is not intended to be patient education, does not create any patient-physician relationship, and should not be used as a substitute for professional diagnosis and treatment.
Skye is the founder and editor-in-chief of The Fit Traveller. She is a journalist, writer, photographer, intrepid traveller and a former personal trainer with a passion for helping others reach optimal health. As a TV journalist and producer, Skye has worked for household names such as 60 Minutes, Sunrise, TODAY and Nine News. She has also written for Women’s Health, Fodor’s Travel and Yahoo7 Travel, among many others.
Skye created The Fit Traveller as a beautiful online space and community where people feel inspired to escape the desk to move and explore more.
Equally comfortable in a 5-star resort or hiking a far-off mountain, Skye loves the unexpected and enriching life experiences that each trip brings and can often be found in a backstreet chatting to locals with her camera in hand.
Skye is based in Sydney, working to master the balance between motherhood and her insatiable appetite for adventure.