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A journey of burnout, finding yoga and giving up alcohol.

In 2013 I gave up drinking. It was one of the best things I have ever done, I feel so much more alive and alert. I had been cutting back my drinking for a few years before this, and once I finally gave it up, I haven't looked back.

Just to put some clarity into why these changes came to be.

From 2007 - 2011 I owned and operated a retail jewellery design boutique in Burleigh Heads. I was working flat out, burning the candle at both ends, as they say. This had been my way of being for many years before this time, my own business stepped it up to a new level of craziness. I used to believe I had to continue taking on more, as nothing was ever enough. I had big plans... Also, being an extremely headstrong person, I believed I could conquer anything.

The business had gone as far as it could go, and I was exhausted, so I let the retail side go and worked privately. At this time, I knew I needed something to calm me down, so this was when the yoga journey kicked in.

I enjoyed practising yoga for a couple of years in my early 20s, followed by a 16-year hiatus. In 2011 I began a committed practice. It started once or twice a week, then built up after two years, and it became a daily ritual.

Sometime after this, strange things began to happen to my health. I was utterly exhausted and my body began to let me know. My body had been holding on, and once the retail boutique was released my body began to shut down. I woke up one morning after I had a couple of beers with friends the night before, and my body was covered in hives. This went on for six months, I was taking up to four antihistamines a day. Some days I'd wake up with my eyes all puffed up looking like something from a horror movie. I finally found someone who could help me, as no doctor seemed to know what to do apart from the antihistamines. Johnny from Life Synergy on the Gold Coast is an acupuncturist and Chinese Herbalist, he was able to help me understand the situation and lead me in the right direction.

The drinking ended after that night due to these health issues. In 2013 I gave up drinking and haven't touched alcohol since. It was one of the best things I have ever done, I feel so much more alive and alert. I had been cutting back my drinking for a few years before this, and once I finally gave it up, I didn't look back. Then I decided to see how long I could go without alcohol. These days, I don't miss it at all. I can't imagine being a drinker again. I had to remove all food with preservatives and eat mostly organic. Eating out wasn't an option for a long time. It was approximately six months before I could eat at a cafe or restaurant.

While all this was happening, I also began to suffer from burnout, where I was so exhausted that I could hardly get off the lounge for three days. I would just lie there for so long, contemplating how far it was to walk five meters to the kitchen and grab a drink. It felt like a marathon. The energy would slowly rebuild and I could work three hours per day and build it up daily from there. This would happen every couple of months for six months and then randomly after that for the next few years.

Nowadays I don't push myself that hard anymore, yoga is my number one priority. I practice first and then I fit the other areas of my life around the practice. I also came to the realisation that I don't need that much in life at all. The less I have the easier life is. I try not to take on too many projects (although I still find it happening at times) as long as it's manageable then I'm okay.

I share this story to let others know, that this can happen to anyone. Also, that change is possible at any stage of life. We are never stuck. Although everyone's life situation is different, I firmly believe that small steps can be taken, and with every step, you never know where you will end up. If you don't take a step at all, it can only result in the same situation repeating itself.

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