Make Your Choice
Kindness can be a smile, a small favour, a helping hand or even a silly joke to make someone laugh. It is surprisingly easy to be kind to others but harder to be kind to yourself.
It’s been a bit of a rough week. Some bad news in the family has knocked us all. Jamie has been working long hours and had his own stresses going on. By Friday I knew I needed to grab the weekend by the horns and get outside!
We all have options when times are tough. We can sit back and let things keep hitting us – or we try to do something that makes us feel good. It is definitely easier to take the first option; no action required, get through the day. Luckily I chose option two by dragging Jamie out on a lung bursting off-road bike ride.
Getting The Roadie Off Road
Jamie is a road cyclist through and through. Cut him in half and ‘roadie’ will be written in his core. So my suggestion of him borrowing a mountain bike was not met with great enthusiasm. My mountain bike sits upstairs, gathering dust, for much of the year also. I use it so infrequently that I often get to the ‘should I sell it?’ stage. Yesterday I was very glad I hadn’t.
The Ordnance Survey maps app is great for plotting runs, rides and walks so I whipped out my phone and created a twenty something canal and bridle path route. Grumpy and I grabbed bikes and gear and headed out into the countryside. With the first part of the route on road it felt like hard work. When you are used to the ease of a road bike gliding across tarmac the resistance from mountain bike wheels feels restrictive. It did not improve Grumpy’s mood!
Soon however, we were off road and alongside the Grantham Canal. I think Grumpy started to turn back into Jamie at this point and I was really enjoying a different style of riding. Having pointed out the disused lock which would be perfect for hiding a dead body, (I feel this worried Jamie slightly) we left the canal and headed into a mud fest.
There has clearly been a lot more rain than I have noticed lately. The bridle paths were fantastically deep with it and soon our bikes were caked. I had to stop repeatedly to remove huge clods which were jamming between my wheels and frame. The going was tough!
But this was when we both started to really love the ride. A brief pub stop to rehydrate and we now headed into hilly woods. This really was gasping for breath and burning leg muscle territory. Now leaves were my bikes downfall, sticking to the mud and being drawn into chains and mechs. Push, ride or carry; the only way forward was me and the bike together.
When we eventually emerged back onto tarmac it was time to fly downhill and let the mud fly too! As we sped down huge clods shot from our bikes in all directions, some smacking us in the face as they went. With grins on our faces we both agreed it was a great downhill.
Kindness Is Key
Three and a half hours of tough biking, followed by twenty minutes of jet washing the bikes and we were happy. Exercise helps you to produce endorphins; happy chemicals! I found this article, which outlines the huge benefits from getting your body producing more endorphins. Couple this with a general feeling that you have spent your time well and seen more than the inside of a shop or a television screen and you are bound to be smiling.
Later in the day Jamie admitted to me that he had woken that morning and wanted to do nothing. There are certainly times we all feel that way. By making a choice our day was better. Stresses do not go away. Bad news does not become good. But in showing kindness to ourselves we had made a difference.
Being kind to yourself doesn’t have to be exercise. It could be a spa treatment or perhaps taking the time out to meet a friend for coffee. I could have gone out to buy myself nice new clothes. For me though that would have been only a fleeting, consumer pleasure. I far prefer to go out and get muddy!