Marathon Man – My Running Journey, Part 1.

Monday 6th May 2019 will forever be marked as one of the greatest days of my life; the day I completed the Milton Keynes Marathon!

All the books and articles about mental health that I have read say that exercise is great therapy; walking the dog worked, but I wanted more, I wanted to lose the Homer Simpson gut that too much alcohol had given me; I also wanted to achieve something, anything.

I started running short distances because that’s all I could manage, the problem was that I had no idea how far I was going, so I decided to get a running app on my phone called ‘Map My Run’.  The first recorded distance I achieved was 4.75k, which was a pretty good effort.

Motivation was a big problem for me, especially when the depression got bad; it’s easy to talk yourself out of things at the best of times, but when I hit rock bottom I just couldn’t scrape myself off the sofa.  I needed a goal, something that would get me out and running. Read more

A Walk in the Woods – Looking for Shinrin-yoku.

“A tree with strong roots laughs at storms” – Malay Proverb

We all know that getting out and walking is good for our mental health, but for that bit extra help in feeling better take a walk in the woods.

Walking among trees is really good for our wellbeing.  You must have felt it when you’ve been for a walk in woodland; the feelings of relaxation and grounding, of feeling more peaceful?  The Japanese call this feeling shinrin-yoku, or forest breathing.

I will be exploring more about why walking amongst trees is so good for us, but for now I want to share a couple of my experiences with you, and yes….. this is when it gets a bit woo woo, but bear with me. Read more

Gardening to Aid With Anxiety & Depression.

Since moving house I have loved spending time in the garden; I have found that it really helps my mood (unless Leo is busy digging holes in the already struggling lawn).  I can feel super stressed but just going outside to sweep up some leaves or do a bit of weeding can help reduce my anxiety and stress levels.

Not having a garden was always a down side to living in London.  Some of the flats I lived in had a balcony or some sort of outside space, however this was no substitute and whenever we visited our friends, the Saunders Family, I would love being in their garden and it always made me long for one of my own, and now I have it….. wooohoooo!!!

As Kim and I are renting the house there is a limit to what we can do, however we have already achieved a lot when you consider the state it was in when we moved in.  A lot of pruning and trips to the recycling centre later, and now it’s a space that we all love to be in, especially Leo. Read more

Cherish the Positives Whilst Fighting the Demons.

When you are struggling with anxiety and depression, it can be really difficult to notice anything positive that happens, most things slip under the radar so quickly that you miss them completely.

It is these positive moments that are really important to try and notice, and when you do, you need to grab hold of them and don’t let them go; they are like precious gems.

Gem - Photo by carole smile on Unsplash

The problem is that the negative moments always seem more overwhelming than the positive ones.  Last week was a great week for me; I had an article published in the Hitchin Comet (my local newspaper) and I completed the first challenge of my ‘Adventures of an Anxious Mind’. Read more

Time Pressures and Amended Goals.

One of my biggest anxiety triggers is time pressure.  Most people will be able to relate in some way to this because modern life is run at a fast pace, and we don’t seem to be able to take a break.

For me most of the time pressure came at work, I was snowed under and never felt as though I was on top of the workload, I always seemed to be playing catch-up.  E-mails were the biggest problem for me because the time taken for people to respond was pretty quick.  It is the speed of modern communication that causes a lot of additional stress at work because people can respond almost instantaneously, or jump on the phone as soon as they have seen your e-mail (sometimes without reading it properly…..)

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The pressures of time also spread to my home life; working Monday to Friday, it only left the weekend to do homey things, such as cleaning.  I had so much I needed to squeeze into a weekend that it was Monday before I even knew where I was. Read more