Before I got ill I worked part time at a local college, in a job that was much bigger than the hours I worked. Despite the challenges, I loved my job and was really motivated by what I was doing. Just before I got ill I was producing a huge 5 year plan and was putting in extra work to make sure I got everything finished by the pre-Christmas deadline.
At home I was responsible for 3 school-age kids and all their various activities, all the cooking and food shopping as well as most of the cleaning and laundry. My husband was/is supportive, but worked long hours; because I worked part-time I did the lions-share of the household chores.
I did not work on Fridays and I tried to carve out some time for myself, although there was a constant pull of household jobs that needed doing. I was also a committee member for the after school club my children attended and was busy organising a fundraising 10km run for them.
In addition to this I had an active social life. I did a pub-quiz every week with a group of friends, and regularly socialised at the weekends.
I did sit down and watch TV in the evening, but my brain was always thinking “what do I need to do next, to make tomorrow flow smoothly?” Like most households with two working parents and three kids the list of jobs to do was always longer than the time available.
I loved cycling and cycled to work most days. This, and my weekly pilates class, were the only time I found to exercise, so I took it seriously, I had a heart rate monitor and sensors that monitored by speed, distance and cadence on the bike. This makes me sound like a far better athlete than my performance suggests. I was not interested in winning races, but I wanted to optimise the time I had so that I could enjoy a fit and active life. In the past year I had cycled the London to Cambridge Bike ride (60 miles) and a 40km women’s cycletta. I was focussed on improving my fitness and doing more events next year.
We were an active family and at weekends often went swimming or cycling together. My youngest son also loves football and I would get dragged into back-garden football matches. Our holidays were spent camping, and my husband and I loved walking, although this had been somewhat curtailed by the children. We also went on an annual cycling weekend with friends, staying in a hostel and going on a 20 mile (long for children) cycle ride on the Saturday.