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Monique dreams of Inca Trail in Peru again after BioCheck participation

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“I’ve made physical steps, but also got to know myself better mentally.”

After a number of significant events, Monique’s (54) cup overflowed in the course of 2023. After participating in the Vitality Program of BioCheck, she is physically and mentally on the road to recovery.

The challenge 

Looking at Monique’s life from the outside, one might think: this woman has it all figured out. She has been happily married to Ron for over thirty years, an entrepreneur with his own pepper plantation in the Westland area. The couple has been living in Harmelen, near Utrecht, since 2014, and they have three children and a grandchild. Monique works satisfactorily as an independent autism coach, something that originated because one of her sons has autism. Her biggest hobby? Hiking. In ten months, she completed the Pieterpad trail.

Nevertheless, in the spring of 2023, Monique’s cup overflowed. She had a period of physical ailments; after a severe flu, she had symptoms for almost two months, for which the doctor even prescribed prednisone. “And then an incident occurred at Ron’s pepper plantation,” says Monique. “I reacted incredibly emotionally to that, much more intense than necessary. I cried hard and couldn’t articulate well. I also noticed that my breathing was shallow, something that has been a recurring theme in my life since high school.”

The emotional and physical reactions were an expression of accumulated tension and stress, Monique now knows. “In the past ten years, I’ve experienced quite a few intense things, which I tried to solve too much on my own and didn’t process enough. Ron’s rose plantation went bankrupt in 2013, and in 2017, my sister took her own life. She had been struggling with mental health issues and depression for years. Meanwhile, I had to keep my family and business going. Additionally, I went through menopause during that period. It all built up in my body until it couldn’t take it anymore.”

The solution 

Through a friend, Monique got in touch with BioCheck. “I was particularly intrigued by the attention BioCheck pays to breathing,” says Monique. “I was also shocked when the doctor prescribed me prednisone. I’m not one for medications and thought: as a 54-year-old, shouldn’t my body be able to solve this on its own? I realized I needed to address it physically. I worked from ten to four, but came home exhausted afterward. I had light and sound sensitivity, avoided birthdays and nights out. That couldn’t go on like that. After all, I plan to live until 90.”

Between July and December 2023, Monique followed the Vitality Program. Every Monday, she trained with personal guidance at their location in Rotterdam. There, she learned more about movement and relaxation in small groups of up to six participants. Twice a week, Monique trained independently using the app. “It was a tough schedule, especially because of the back and forth to Rotterdam. But I was happy to do it because I wanted to feel fitter and more energetic. Moreover, the in-person sessions were really valuable. You receive information about your symptoms and how your body works. That’s very valuable. Knowledge is power.”

The results 

Partly because Monique knew what she was doing, she made quick progress in her recovery. She especially benefited from the mental guidance provided by BioPsychology. “During the core values game, which I played with psychologist Fabienne, I got to know myself better. I realized that the inner voice everyone has is quite strict with me. And I learned that it’s okay to be less hard on myself.”

The combination of mental guidance, breathing therapy, and physical exertion worked well for Monique. “Every day, I faithfully took my measurements so I knew exactly how resilient I was that day. Training within your resilience was enlightening. Normally, I’m someone who goes all out. But then you burn yourself out. Sometimes it was confronting because my resilience was quite low for a long time. But I quickly noticed that I had more and more energy left after exertion. I did and still do the breathing exercises faithfully before and after every training. And also at other times during the day when I notice it’s necessary.”

The follow-up

After the final measurement, Monique continued to train herself with the help of the app. “There’s still plenty of room for improvement, so I like to continue with the tools from the app,” she says. “I still don’t do too many different things in one day, but I’m progressing. I can relax much better now, so I have energy left at the end of the day. Recently, I went to the Friends of Amstel Live concert – that was unthinkable a year ago.”

Monique concludes: “I also have more self-confidence, and my inner voice is much kinder to me. Physically, I feel like I can handle much more. This year, I want to walk the Dutch Mountain Trail, a 100-kilometer hike through South Limburg. I also dream of walking the Inca Trail, a hiking route to Machu Picchu in Peru. The fact that I dare to think about that again is pure progress that I would never have achieved without BioCheck. I see the chance to live until 90 in a brighter light again.”

Read about other participants: Sevgi goes through life ‘chill’ again after her burnout

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