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Is Laughter the Best Medicine?

There is with a definite sense of triumph I sit to type this blog.  Having just returned from my ski trip totally unscathed,  not counting the cough and runny nose due 100% to excess!What an incredible week I had.  I loved absolutely every minute and can safely say I haven’t laughed as much in years and am certain my aching belly is more to do with laughing than my new improved ski technique or over eating!

I approached my holiday this year somewhat apprehensive.  I’d done no cardiovascular exercise other than an occasional walk with my 3 year old since a little dose of meningitis back in July!  My new years yoga resolution stopped after 4 weeks.

My skin had also not been great.  The eczema on my face that blighted my life as child and teenager had slowly been worsening again for the first time in years.  I know that the hot chalet / freezing mountain air / exercise combo is never a good thing for my skin and I definitely didn’t want to end up a red faced,  itchy,  scratchy scaly lady on the slopes,  particularly given that most my ski clothes are black.  AGH!

Having had a lesson last year for the first time since I was 14, I decided to think back to the points it highlighted. Ever since my knee arthroscopy (following a fall on ski’s age 19) I backed off from loading my right knee and found dissociating my trunk to the right never happened. I kept finding my weight backwards when turning to the left and my ski’s wobbled like jelly! So with a few slow and mindful dynamic squats moving my weight from side to side and adding a trunk twist, I was all prepped and ready to go!  Seriously,  it was the best I could do.  Prep done.  Expectations were pretty low.  I thought I’d manage 4-5 half days at best and would fill my time with trips to the spa and reading my book with a hot choc.

Lets skip to day 6 on the slopes with 6 pretty full days skiing under my belt.  I’d resisted the urge to dance on the table at the La Folie Douce, instead I was happy to have the energy to jump up and down in my ski boots pretty smug to have made it through the week unscathed. Surrounded by dear friends, old and new I was truly happy and still sensible enough to get the bubble down instead of running the piste gauntlet with a vat of rose in my system!

So, how on earth did I do it?  There were plenty of late nights in the chalet singing endless ABBA numbers and show tunes.  My sleep was poor,  still waking at 5am expecting to be pounced on by a toddler and I was as desiccated as a piece of coconut from the altitude, heating and inability to quench my thirst (for water I might add!).

Several factors came together I believe. Here are my little lessons from Val!

1. Beautiful surroundings – our chalet was spectacular. Well picked Darren! It was my version of my ideal home all sheepskin rugs, wood and neutral earthy tones.

2. The chalet staff were amazing! So helpful, fun and kind. Matt our executive chef provided incredible 4 courses every night after the canapés and bubbles! Will and Ella brought us tea in bed each morning (thank goodness we’d kept the window open) and were on hand to help us with anything we needed including topping up our glasses with incredible pared wines!  They were all great company. https://www.vip-chalets.com

3. We had a pool and steam room in the chalet which I visited religiously each afternoon to soak away the demands of the day.  The pool also had this amazing jet that could be directed into aching muscles for a short blast “massage”.

4. Paula had brought a camelbak which she loaded with electrolyte tablets on the slopes each day.  So I was sipping loaded water all day whilst exercising replenishing my reserves. https://international.camelbak.com. https://www.scienceinsport.com/uk/our-expertise/sis-go-hydro/.

5. I had 2 x 3 hour lessons with the lovely Lauder from tdc. I can safely say they were the best lessons I’ve ever had.  Learnt heaps,  simply broken down and loads of fun.  We peddled,  banana’d,  hockey stopped,  Simon Say’s and even had a few moments in the powder (on purpose I might add).  Yes I tried my absolute best to be teachers pet at all times.  There is nothing quite like a little praise for a people pleaser! http://www.tdcski.com/val_disere/

6. Because my technique was so much better my legs didn’t ache!  More pelvis tilting to load my weight better on the front of my boots was the key!  Hooray.

7. I embraced my balaclava on the coldest days and was liberal with the factor 50 on my face.  Obviously my nose is still red but then I’ve been sneezing and blowing it lots!!  Yeh right says Rudolph!

8. I moisturised like a demon.  Any of you who know me are aware REN products are my absolute fave and never upset my eczema.  Win win.

9. I listened to my body.  If I was tired I sat out one of the runs and rejoined later.  I maybe finished an hour earlier but I didn’t end up needing my solitary moments with a book all afternoon.

10. My expectations of myself were pretty low so there wasn’t any pressure each day to ski longer or harder.  Anything I did was a bonus!

11. And finally,  the best most important thing of all was that I laughed!  Laughed hard and whole heartedly with the lovely people I had the absolute good fortune to be with. Laughed morning,  noon and night.  A lot.  I also danced,  sang,  lip sync’d,  nattered, played scrabble,  drew deep breaths of glorious crisp beautiful mountain air,   stopped to absorb the views and energy from the mountains and snow.  It was amazing

A little fatigued I retreated home for the detox to commence.  My eczema was happy to reappear on my return!  The take home message surely is to laugh more.  My skin thing has got to be related to the “s” word shock horror,  who’d have thought it!!  Not my diet as I had suspected.  My body is also stronger than I thought and dare I say it becoming more robust than it has been in years.  More on how that has happened another time.  But for now I must sleep with a smile on my face and a song in my heart.  Good night!