I fell in love with motorcycles when I was a teen-aged girl, riding behind my young Tom Cruise type boyfriend, the wind blowing the smell of his aftershave into my face. It was thrilling!
While my relationship with ‘Tom Cruise’ ended almost before it began, my love affair with motorcycles continued and was rekindled 20 years ago when I finally decided to get a bike of my own.
We often hear, or talk about, the importance of work-life balance. What started out as a hobby, has become not only a major stress reliever for me, but has moulded me into the person I am today – a stronger, more confident person.
As a communications specialist at Eastern Health, I work with people from all professions including housekeeping, professional practice, human resources, nursing, and so many more. As a member of the Healthy Workplace Committee, I hear stories of the challenges people face in achieving balance. It can be tough! Our focus is to educate, enable and encourage employees to take on activities that make them healthier, both physically and mentally. This balanced approach also allows them to be more productive, healthier individuals both at work – and home.
Small Things – Big Impact
Like others, I am learning that there can be serious repercussions when we allow imbalance to impact our health. In particular, mental illness has become one of the biggest health issues in the country. Both research and current practice indicates that over the next few years mental health issues, from stress to anxiety to chronic mental illness, will become the number one health issue in the workplace. One in five people will experience some form of mental illness at some point in their lives.
I’m striving not be one of those five, but it takes work! And sometimes the small things make all the difference. I make it a point to ride my bike to work whenever I can and often leave home early so I can take the ‘scenic’ route. I am energized when I get in and ready to start the day.
And I know I have it bad – I actually lie in bed at night dreaming about the ride!
One of my favourite things is to open that shed door, see her sitting there all clean and chrome; to swing my leg over the seat, start her up and listen to the sweet throaty sound of the pipes. The swell of power as I open the throttle. The wind in my face. The twisty-turny roads. Yes, it’s a passion!
Let’s Get Physical
This passion has also enriched my physical activities, in particular, hiking, another love of mine! It all started during a recent doctor’s visit. I got on the scale and got the shock of my life! It was a watershed moment for me – more like a tsunami really!
I decided at that moment that I was too well ‘rounded’ and I had to do something about it. I started exercising several times a week and incorporating more fruit and veggies into my diet – and discovered that I was enjoying myself and, more importantly, rediscovering the vigour of my youth. And I thought, hmm, how can my bike fit into this?
It was time to revise an old tradition. Several years ago, a good friend of mine and I would often plan a bike ride, hike and a picnic, which we dubbed a ‘bike-n-hike.’ We would choose our hike, often on the East Coast Trail, pack a lunch, go for a ride ‘up the shore,’ and enjoy a hike and a picnic. With my renewed focus on health, the bike-n-hike was reborn.
So find that ‘thing’ that makes you happy, brings you peace or excites you! Incorporate it into your day-to-day routine if that works. Reach out and discover people with the same passion – they might even be in your own home.
The simple fact is, balance can be contagious! The self-assurance, confidence and strength that becomes part of you when you allow balance into your life spreads to other people and can enrich your experience and make you a better person. ■
This story was written by Robyn Lush, a motorcycle enthusiast and communications specialist with Eastern Health.