Many of us had the opportunity to take time out from work over the holiday period. Did you get the chance to do something new and challenging or was it time to relax with family & friends?

As my partner is a long haul pilot, Christmas is usually spent working so we are away from home and our family, in some distant city that is mostly closed for the day. But we are all together, which is what counts, and even hotel bars open on Christmas day!

This year’s trip was Los Angeles so the natural thing to do in a warm climate is to…… go skiing for a day. Although I love snow, I am not a natural skier. Every time I strap those 2 long planks to my feet and look down a steep slope (or wonder how many times I’m going to fall off a chair lift today), I am quaking inside. I have to take a deep breath, try to compose myself and …… just go for it.

Most of the time, we are in control, ploughing through the work and staying within our comfort zone. What’s good about challenging ourselves is that we’re not allowing our horizons to shrink and learning how to “wobble”. That way we extend ourselves and learn new skills (or try to perfect existing skills).

I know I’m never going to be be a fluid skier but once I’ve done a few runs, I can finally start to really enjoy the experience, the scenery and have fun with people I want to be with. I’m not letting my fears hold me back.

Which brings me to my second point. Be aware of your limitations.

We finally got a family holiday after Christmas & went to the Red Sea in Eygpt to chill out. Despite the cool sea and strong winds, we all went snorkelling together. As this was a first time for our 12 year old son, I kept close to him to show him how it’s done.

Preoccupied with the enchanting fish, I didn’t realise we had drifted out into deep waters & the sea was choppy. Soon we were both struggling to stay afloat, breathe and swim back. With help, he made it to safety. Gasping for breath and with numb, aching limbs, I realised I was in difficulty & out of my depth in both senses. To confront your mortality is a sobering thought. But I finally made it to a jetty & climbed out. Reaction set in and I had a sniffle and a sob.

Was I going to get a complex about it, just like skiing? No way! I went back into the water (within my depth) and swim back to shore. The next day, we went snorkelling again. But this time I treated the sea with the respect that it deserved.