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I realised earlier today that I have been living a bit of a secret life.

I posted a photo of me running…I ACTUALLY FLIPPING RAN…A WHOLE 5K….and a woman asked,

“Where are you? I’m sure you live in London”

As my face was clearly lit by warm and glowing sunshine.

I am in Greece, the Greek island of Rhodes to be precise. I have been here for 5 weeks writing my next book, Leading from the Back.

I haven’t been hiding this, especially in my coaching groups, as I am sharing my exercise and various other updates too, but I realised I didn’t really blog about my trip.

I am here not only to write my book but also to recover.

Lockdown 1.0 was bloody hard.

I know it was hard for most people. I found it hard personally because I was homeschooling my daughter Rose, and trying to keep two businesses afloat, and I was dealing with panic attacks…not something I’ve ever had before….and on the most part did this by myself, without another adult to lean on for support.

I pretty much became a recluse.

Even after the lockdown was relaxed, even when we were allowed to go out, even when Rose moved in with her Dad for a bit to give me some respite, I realised I just didn’t want to go out, and so I didn’t.

The impact on my health and well being was not good.

I knew I needed to be in nature, I needed to be somewhere less stressful than London, especially as COVID cases started to increase again, and I needed somewhere I could think straight.

I have been here for 5 weeks, the book is written, and I’ve been having a fine old time, going on hikes, swimming in the sea, doing yoga, and swimming.

I’ve been sleeping without the need for an alarm, binge-watching netflixs in the evening, and generally just working out what I want to do next with my life.

(I have had work commitments too, so it hasn’t all been rest and play)

I have however booked a flight now to come home.

I know I need to face up to the reality of my life back in London, and of course I miss my little girl like crazy. But this trip was needed. I fear that if I hadn’t taken it, lockdown 2.0 may well have broken me.

We talk about self-care as something that we need to prioritize, but sometimes a scented candle and an early night are just not enough.

I have felt guilty posting about my daily swims in the sea, and the warm weather, and the freedom. I have felt strangely irresponsible for not keeping an eye on the news in the UK, but I know that I needed to do this, to give me the strength to come home and see the next few months through.

“Be a model or be a martyr…it’s your choice” is my new motto.

I know not everyone can make the choice that I did to travel, to stay away from home, but I think when the opportunity presents itself we should be able to choose without the fear of judgement, or driving ourself mad with guilt and then not enjoying it.

I will be back home in time for my legendary Xmas fitness challenge (you can register here), and I am going to be investigating places I can sea swim in the UK (bbrrrrrrrr)

I will be writing more here on the blog about how to put yourself first, both in the big ways and in the small everyday habits that can make a huge difference.

Julie Creffield is the founder of Too Fat to Run, the plus size fitness movement born out of a simple blog, which this year celebrates its 10th year anniversary.

The Countdown to Christmas challenge os a 31 day fitness challenge which is now in it’s 6th year, and it a mix of fitness, fun and festive shenanigans to help us all stay active and sane over the festive period. You can register here

Leading from the Back is Julie’s latest book, all about how to grow an ethical business, without burning out or behaving badly online. She is working on a new book to be released in the Spring, which celebrates the 10 years in the fitness world

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