Summer holidays – a reminder to look after yourself!

What did you do on your summer holidays?

Not unusual for someone to recount how on their summer holidays they went for a swim in the Med, did some singing and remembered their yoga. Kay Longstaff’s story was a bit more dramatic than that: the swim was somewhat enforced since she’s she’d fallen off the back of a cruise ship just before midnight 60 miles off the Croation coast and was rescued 10 hours later. The singing and the yoga and, one suspects, a big dose of resilience, was what she said helped her survive. Now that’s what I call a holiday to remember, or possibly to forget.

silhouette photography of group of people jumping during golden time
Photo by Belle Co on

Well my 2018 summer holiday had the same components though thankfully without the near death experience. To explain, my fitness regime through most of my adult life had involved running and trekking:  very worthy but, I now realise, resulting in decades of damage to joints, cartilage and tendons. Time for something different. My companion through most of these years of exertion was my very good friend Tony who now has a hotel on the rather remote western end of the Isle of Mull. And he’s started hosting yoga weeks led by a wonderful Mull-based yoga teacher Zoe Feald.  Somehow I must have agreed to give it a shot. I was a newcomer to yoga but by the end of a week of meditation, relaxation, contemplation, and concentration I was bending in all kinds of places I’d never expected. And in such a wonderful setting: white sandy beaches, mountains up in the clouds and – a sheer delight having travelled up from the south in the middle of the heatwave – the occasional drop of rain.

And the swimming and the singing? Well “Tony’s beach” (a mile of white sand with more sea otters than people and stunning views south to the Paps of Jura) being just a few yards down the track from the hotel, we swam in the sea. It wasn’t warm, but it was magical. And, much against my better judgement but who am I to argue with my newly acquired and very insistent yoga guru Zoe, we, the yoga group, sang – at a music evening in Fionnphort’s only pub. It was hot, heaving and rowdy. But the locals joined in with us, our relief was palpable, and that was probably the un-yoga-like highlight of the week.

In the Wellbeing Collective we talk a lot in relation to leadership about our professional responsibility to look after ourselves.  Singing, swimming and yoga? Not a bad prescription for wellbeing I’d now suggest. And, you never know, very handy if you ever find yourself alone in the Med watching your ferry disappear over the horizon.

Richard Barritt -Consultant, The Wellbeing Collective

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