my battle for better health

My Battle For Better Health: Retreat

9/28/2015 Laura Watkins 0 Comments


I was invited to be the keynote speaker at a Utah Valley Writers retreat and spent four wonderful days at this log "cabin" in the mountains of Utah. If you're not interested in all my health stuff, this is the part where you can skip down to the pictures. ;)

There were two major health related things from this trip. First, I was hoping to be over the cold my kids had given me before I left, but as it was, it turned into a sinus infection while I was out of town. A cold wouldn't normally be a big deal, I've put up with bugs since my oldest first went to kindergarten.

Besides the usual pain and yucky cold stuff, I kept having asthma attacks. You see those stairs in the picture? They're really not too bad, just one flight. But walking up them just once sent me into a full asthma attack. I've never EVER had so much trouble breathing like that. I felt like an old lady, except most old ladies would have outrun me. I was sooooo glad I'd brought my inhaler with me!

I couldn't figure out why I was having so much trouble...sure, a few flights of stairs leaves me a bit breathless lately, but just one??? I knew I was out of shape, but this was ridiculous. I'd mostly chalked it up to being sick. When I got back home, I finally remembered that we'd been at around 6500 ft. No wonder I was having trouble breathing, that's a good 2000 ft higher than here in Provo.

It was a scary wake up call for me.  While I was at the retreat, I couldn't even get up and walk from one room to the other without my heart racing. I was constantly exhausted, and my brain was super foggy. It made writing a speaking a lot more interesting.

Now that I'm home, and on antibiotics for this dumb infection, I'm focusing a lot more on aerobic activity. I never want to hurt and feel so helpless like that again. After taking Sunday off, I walked some stairs today. I was happy to see that it took three flights (up and down) x2 to get me winded, and even then it wasn't as bad as in the mountains. So now I'm back to walking stairs every day (which is a bit painful with my knees still healing), but I am determined!

The second health thing was mental health. I haven't had a real vacation in about 15 years. No, that's not an exaggeration. We get to go visit family sometimes, but I'm talking about just going somewhere to relax, especially away from the kids (I love them, but every mom needs a break sometimes). Mentally, this trip did so much for me. It was absolutely AMAZING! Not only did I have a quiet place to relax and write, I got to socialize with a group of insanely talented writers and fellow geeks. I'll admit that I did make things a bit harder than they needed to be because I stayed up till around 3 am most nights, but I just didn't want to miss a thing! I didn't want it to end.

I came home feeling so refreshed and much happier! Even though I'm still sick, I'm not as grumpy, and life feels so much more hopeful. :)

If you're a writer, check out what events are available in your area. Retreats like this are usually way less expensive than you'd expect. I couldn't believe how inexpensive this one was. Whenever they have another, I'll be one of the first ones to sign up!

Learn more about Utah Valley Writers and their parent organization The United Authors Association. I love these guys!

This is half of my gorgeous room


The other half of my room :) (not including the full bathroom with a jetted tub!)


There were so many places to sit and write!




This porch that overlooked the stream had a beautiful view of the mountains. I miss writing there with the sound water!

I LOVED writing down by the stream too!


My goals

I want to have energy to spend time and actually do activities with my family.
I want to be able to be physically active. I’m not saying I plan on running marathons, but being able to exercise and do basic housecleaning on a daily basis would be nice.
I want my mind to feel less foggy all the time so I can do my job well and enjoy being in the profession I love.
I want to be healthy and be at a healthy weight.
I want my life back! I will look for the best in my life and realize what I truly have, always striving to make it better.
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