I was so unsure about my body and went crying to the hospital, feeling weak and emotionally drained. Thran all the tests, and prescribed antibiotics and rest. Then he sent me to a lady in the hospital who would “help me breathe.” Now I was already breathing all day long, so what was she going to do? Turned out to be a lot actually. I broke down having such a bad day and needed some extra help taking a breath.

Hailie, my personal trainer, likes me to breathe all the time. I seem to forget often. Beijing has made me think about breathing more than anywhere else, as the air makes it hard sometimes. Somebody pointed out to me that we breathe more than we eat so it is important that the air is great. I have 10 air purifiers in my home, and the gym I work out at promises clean air. My work environment has over-the-top air purifying equipment, and the air is at a constant AQI of 1.

My doctor at Oasis Hospital sent me over to Nathalie Sophrologue, a mindfulness and stress management practitioner at the hospital. I was happy to see her. I needed somebody to be there for me that day, and she provided a safe space for me to reflect and recharge, making time to just be with myself and my own breathing. I started with telling her my story in brief. She then started with a simple guided meditation and helping me focus on my breathing. She explained that meditating is a ongoing process of learning and I should aim to practice everyday. I voiced one concern with her: that I wanted to stop using food as a excuse to celebrate my pain or happiness.

Breathing and actually feeling emotions seems like the way to go. My new way got tried and tested to the max last week, and I had some occasions that NEEDED chocolate. I tried and I succeeded in shifting my feelings. I usually get to eating as fast as possible when I get upset or happy, but not this time. I just felt through the emotions and worked through them. And I cried, I cried like a toddler. In the middle of a workout session I broke down, I cried while finishing my 10 bur-pees. Then I biked for 20 minutes while I cried some more. And that was that: no food, just tears.

This blog was posted originally on the beijingkids website.