Finding the balance

Balance. A word that’s used in numerous facets of life advice. We’re encouraged to eat a balanced diet, find a work-life balance and ensure we balance time for ourselves with time spent with other people.

I’ve been thinking about balance a lot this week. I’ve got an exam in a few months, so I’ve been studying, I’ve made my return to the choir I sing in, I’m fund-raising, training for a marathon and travelling back to Cambridge several times a month for hospital appointments – all while holding down a full time job. I spent the first few days of the week worrying that I was doing too much and that I wasn’t going to cope!

Just when I was beginning to think I’d bitten off more than I could chew, I came across a quote.

Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving.

I feel like this summarises my thoughts on my experiences in the last year perfectly. I was riding a bicycle, but I fell off. Thanks to the NHS and Headway, I’ve picked myself up, dusted myself off and now I’m riding my bike again – just with a pair of stabilisers this time! The last year has changed me massively as a person, but that’s okay. I’ve just got to find a balance in my life and run with the hand I’ve been dealt.

Being busy is great, just as long as I stay mindful of the most important balance – staying healthy.

A few days ago, having reassured myself that what I was attempting was possible, I started considering my physical balance.

Over the last few months, I’ve noticed that I struggle to follow a straight path when I’m walking and often find myself  losing my balance and veering off to the left. This is particularly annoying when walking through doorways – I’ve lost count of the number of doorframes I’ve come face to face with recently!

Now that I’ve got a few coping mechanisms in place for fighting the tide of my fatigue, I’ve started to work with Headway to find some methods to improve my coordination. So far, they seem to be working. I’m currently trying the scanning method – spending a second or two looking around me and taking note of any obstructions before I move anywhere.Put more simply – looking where I’m going!

Unfortunately, the scanning method is a little more difficult to achieve whilst running, so I’ve got to look for alternative methods of improving my coordination.

For that reason, in addition to pounding the streets of Oxford for a run a few times a week, I’m going to be hitting the gym on a regular basis under the ever watchful eye of my personal trainer.

He’s come up with a series of runs for me to complete each week, in addition to my weekly session in the gym with him. In these sessions, we will focus on my balance and coordination so that, hopefully, as the runs get longer, I’ll only have to focus on the difficulty of the run itself – not staying upright!IMG_1840

So, this morning, I woke up eager to get started with training and went for my first long distance run! I’m sure to any runners reading this, the 800 metres I ran wouldn’t fit in to the long distance at all, but it’s probably the longest distance I’ve travelled under my own steam since December. It took me an age and I was a sweaty mess when I’d finished, but it was a good start!

The fund-raising element of my challenge is also going well. I’ve raised over £300 since I launched my fund-raising page and I’m so grateful to every single one of you who has donated. The money you are all donating really does help Headway give support to the brain injury survivors in their care.

However, £300 isn’t nearly as much money as this fabulous charity deserve, so I’d love it if you could share my blog on social media or click the follow button at the bottom of the page to receive updates on the happenings in my life. I can’t beat my fund-raising target on my own, but together we can spread awareness of the charity and raise enough money for them to continue the work that is such a vital life-line for so many brain injury survivors.

I’ll be back next Saturday with another update on my journey. For now, why don’t you let me know how you keep balance in your life? I’d love to hear about your ideas in a comment!

Amy x



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