It’s okay to enjoy your work

Depression & Anxiety, Thoughts & Ramblings

Over the weekend I caught up with Chris, the man behind Criss-Fit (follow him on Facebook or Instagram). He recently became a personal trainer, so I wanted to feature him as a creative over on SONZA. I’ll share a link to the whole interview once it’s up, but there was one thing we talked about that I have been working through and would like to put in the public forum.

It’s the idea that if we are doing something we love, we should feel guilty about it. Now, on paper (or rather, on screen) this seems absurd, and yet it’s something I’ve struggled with for a really long time. It has only been in the last year that I’ve actually identified it as an issue and begun to work on it.

Before I started writing this post, I was working on yesterday’s page for the 100 Days Project, and I noticed this feeling of guilt. I put the page aside to write this post, because I think it’s important that we don’t feel like this. I believe that when we are doing things we’re really passionate about, the world is a better place. It’s why I became a teacher, it’s why I share my work, it’s why I try to encourage others, and it’s why I spend my time on things I love and care about.

Last week I spent a whole afternoon making these journals, and it was bliss.

But while I am doing these things, a little voice pops up sometimes and reminds me that other people are slaving away at their desk-job, or walking miles to get barely-drinkable water, or working hard physical labour. How dare I spend my time on something so frivolous and enjoyable as art?

I try to reason with it. I’m doing this project to build my connection with, and to raise awareness of the beauty of our natural world; I’m publishing to inspire children to follow their dreams; I’m interviewing awesome people to raise their profile; I’m sharing my experience of depression and anxiety so people know they’re not alone. But I know that those aren’t really why I’m doing any of it. I’m doing it because it helps me, because the process of creativity is a wondrous experience, and because I love being a part of other people’s transformations.

And I am entitled to make and share my work for those utterly selfish reasons. I am allowed to spend my time doing stuff I love doing (and some things I really don’t like doing). While I still feel responsibility to help people less fortunate than I, the way that those more fortunate than I help me, I am only human, and I am only here for a short time.

There are a few people close to me who have died, in my lifetime. When I look back on why they are so special to me, and why I looked up to them while they were around, it has nothing to do with what they sacrificed for others. What I admired about them was how they lived their daily lives with passion, and how kind they were to others. I loved them for their uniqueness, and even for their ‘flaws’.

I want to end this post with an Instagram post from my friend Amanda, that really struck a chord with me this week: “Be proud of who you are and let it come out in everything you do.”

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Two weeks in – Auckland (half) Marathon Training

Depression & Anxiety, Mindfulness & Mental Health, Running

For those of you who don’t know, I’ve signed up to the Auckland Marathon as a ‘Charity Hero’, to raise money for the Mental Health Foundation of NZ. It’s now been two weeks since I started training for the 21km run in October. What have I learnt?

For training, I’m alternating walking and running, with a day or two off. I’ve been keeping it pretty casual, and this worked well for a while. I went from only being able to run 2km (and finding it difficult) to running 4km without trouble.

My best run yet – the views helped! @ Kiwi Esplanade, Auckland.

However, I only got a couple more small runs in after that because I was too sore. I managed to push myself too much, in too short a time period, and my body was not going to let me get away with it! To counter this, I’ve spent some days ‘off’ only walking, and finding yoga routines to help stretch my muscles (see my playlist here). I might also use it as an excuse for a hot bath. To be fair, I did expect this to happen, I just thought it would happen further down the line.

What came as a surprise was how much I enjoy the act of running. I had thought that, like going to the gym, I would appreciate how I feel after a workout. Well, I do, but while I was running along the coast I was elated; lit up. People around me have noticed a change as well, in my general happiness and energy levels as well as my appearance.

So where to next? I’m going to stick to a six days on, one day off schedule, but listen to my body more. I’ll be incorporating more yoga, and doing more squats/stairs to build my quads which can’t handle the jandal right now. My goal is still to get under 30mins by the end of May (see progress here).

I’ve been fortunate to find two running-friendly tracks on the way to my two dayjobs (Kiwi Esplanade and Pakuranga Rotary Walkway). I know I can run anywhere, but it’s the views that keep me going so I’m really grateful for living in a place where views aren’t hard to find πŸ™‚

Shameless self-promotion time: