What I Learned About Health From A Recent Road Trip

road trip

Midlife Musings: Debra Johnstone

I never thought I would have an insight like this at my age, because I have spent the last 30 years focused on good health.

Lack Of Energy:

Unfortunately, on my recent two-week road trip, I discovered exactly what it feels like to really lack energy.

“I would describe it as one of the most amazing trips I have had in Australia.”

We had an amazing time driving through the Australian outback. It was absolutely spectacular. Wide, open roads with nothing but nature and the occasional big rig road train in sight. We even saw emu cross the road! The changing landscape as we traveled further southwest was profound. Yellow through to green with stark blue skies, randomly scattered wildflowers and cacti.

Certainly, I would describe it as one of the most amazing trips I have had in Australia. We combined our adventures with visiting our gorgeous families and celebrating grandkids birthdays.

Being Energized In This Phase Of Life:

The problem was when we returned home not only did I feel absolutely exhausted, I felt weak and stiff.  We’d spent the most part of two weeks sitting in a car, because we’d done about 4,500 kilometers driving. Health wise the end result was something I hadn’t experienced before. 

It was a big discovery for me because I’ve always been so active. I also hadn’t done a road trip for over 20 years. What I could see, without a doubt, is that regular daily movement is an essential part of being energized in this phase of life.

After two weeks of being active again, I felt back to normal. My flexibility and strength returned and so did my energy. But it took work and exactly the same amount of time it had taken to de-energize. My discovery, which I only knew from a positive standpoint until now, is that movement is vital if we want to thrive. Exercise isn’t the only thing I am referring to. I’m talking about regular movement in general too.

“I work from home and I am very mindful about how frequently I move.”

Structure Our Regular Daily Movements To Maximize Energy:

We all move our body daily without even thinking about it. There are chores to do around the house and garden, and at work. I work from home and I am very mindful about how frequently I move. 

Chores like making the bed, doing dishes, stacking the dishwasher, and hanging out the washing I structure. Even though my work is done sitting at a desk, I move every hour. I do my chores throughout the day and combined with trips to the loo, getting cups of tea and glasses of water, I move often.

If you work in an environment outside of home, you can still manage to include movement. Structure your trips to the loo, washing up in the staff area, getting your drinks; ensure you have frequent movement. At lunchtime go for a walk, even if it’s to the shops. I never realized I did this until I reflected recently.

It’s Important We Include Regular Exercise We Enjoy:

The emphasis here is on enjoyment, because if we force ourselves to do something we don’t like it drains our energy. There are so many forms of exercise to choose from, it’s easy to find one we love.

For me, it’s walking combined with weight training and yoga. Not so keen on the weight training, but it feeds my value of health because I know it is vital for muscle and bone health. So to make it more enjoyable I go to a gym where the owners are on my wavelength. That makes it more fun.

Choose from numerous forms of exercise like walking, running, cycling, swimming, dancing, hiking and the list goes on. Find something that lights you up from the inside because that energizes you.

“Find something that lights you up from the inside because that energizes you.”

Mindful Movement Energizes In A Different Way:

Ruminating and worrying about problems will also drain energy, because it causes stress and tension. We can do all the exercise in the world, but if we’re still worrying and stressing as we walk, it doesn’t do much to help.

Not that I did any worrying on my road trip; I was totally uplifted. But from self-reflection I have realized this is a regular part of my movement schedule.

Yoga is my go to, because it aligns my mind and body, through movement, breath and focus. But you can choose from yoga, TaiChi, Qigong, walking meditation, practicing presence walking, hiking, running or swimming. There are many more forms of mindful movement. It’s really about aligning the mind with the body as you move.

Be Flexible And Let Go Of The Tendency To Do All Or Nothing:

The tendency to do all or nothing can halt us and before we know it we’re back to square one.

I don’t do everything I mentioned every single day. The amount and type of activities I include depend on what else I have going on. But I always include something daily and throughout the day.

It’s about finding what works for you and your schedule and creating a ritual that you can follow. Notice which forms of movement you enjoy and what energizes you the most and include them. And if you go on a long road trip like me, make sure you break it up with movement. I will certainly be doing that next year!

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Debra Johnstone

About the Author:

Deb Johnstone is a Transformational Mindset Coach and a Midlife Transition Mentor. Experiencing midlife transition herself, she wanted work with more meaning and started her coaching practice in 2012. After the death of her father in 2019 and processing her grief, Deb experienced a deep loss of self where her identity felt challenged. It was through this that she felt the calling to work with women in this phase of life. It is now her mission to support women to transition midlife and beyond feeling confident, empowered and free to be your true self and live the life you want and deserve. You can connect with Deb on Facebook through The Empowered MidLife Woman where she posts insights daily, or connect with her through her website.