London life can be fast-paced, social, and full of opportunities. But it can also be chaotic, claustrophobic, stressful, lonely and at times a pretty overwhelming place to live. Sometimes you just need to be out in the open, away from the pollution, noise, people and pace of city life. Sometimes going back to nature is the only answer.
For me, trekking the Inca Trail to the beautiful wonder of Machu Picchu couldn’t have come at a better time. London life had left me feeling drained, overwhelmed, anxious, stressed and unenthused. I generally thought anxiety was something the Kardashians made up to add a little more drama to KUWTK. But no, it turns out it’s real, and can be pretty scary when you haven’t experienced it before. Despite having no specific reason to indicate why I felt like this, I knew I needed a change. I needed a new perspective, fresh air, a break from technology and constant commitments. And hiking for 4-days, camping out on the Inca Trail gave me just that.
The trip gave me the opportunity to go back to basics and reconnect with what life is all about. It enabled me to forge new relationships (without the distractions of Instagram stories or getting the down low on the WhatsApp group chats) and nurture existing ones. It also gave me the time I had been desperately craving to reflect on the past crazy 12 months London/life had thrown at me, and give me a moment to digest the negatives and appreciate all the positives I have to be thankful for.
The worry of leaving these tranquil surroundings, going back to London life and falling back into anxiety, continued to run in the back of my mind throughout the trip. I knew the learnings and reflections nature had given me couldn’t just be a temporary thing; my state of mind needed to stay in this positive place when I returned to my every day, and you know what they say … Your mind is your greatest power! So, after being back in London for a few weeks, there are 3 things I’ve switched up in my every day to keep me on the good feels, positive bandwagon.
Keeping hold of a positive perspective
Going back to basics and seeing the local way of living in Peru and on the Inca Trail was a massive eye opener. Mainly because despite the lack of materialistic things, the locals were all so happy, all they really needed was each other’s company. I’m fortunate enough to have a ton of incredible people in my life and a pretty great lifestyle, so I basically have nothing to be negative about. It’s the appreciation for the people in my life I need to remind myself of when the minor things start to take over.
Finding your calm
Finding peace in the midst of chaos can be tricky, but there are ways to do this. I’ve taken up yoga again which works wonders on my mental state and gives me that time I need to truly unwind. I’ve also upped my gym game, which is a great stress reliever and something I’d slightly neglected. And the big new headspace initiative? Getting out of the city once a month to reconnect with nature. Fortunately, London is surrounded by beautiful countryside retreats, so the likes of Bath, Oxford, York and Scotland are all on the agenda in the coming months.
Learning to just say no
I’m fortunate enough to have a whole heap of friends, family and a boyfriend all based in London. But this can also mean constant commitments, and that guilty feeling of saying no. But sometimes, having ‘me time’ and properly unwinding is exactly what you need. So, I’m making a conscious effort to put my own happiness and wellbeing first, and if that means a Friday night spent in the bath with a gin, candles and Netflix rather than hitting up da club, I’m so game!