Mental Health Awareness Week: Kindness & Self-Compassion.

This week is Mental Health Awareness Week, and the theme is kindness.  While a lot of the focus will probably be aimed at being kind to other people, I would like to focus on Self-kindness and the positive effects it can have on our physical and mental wellbeing.

In my last blog, Why Now May be a Good Time to Start Meditating, I highlighted how dangerous negative thoughts and emotions, such as anxiety, can be for our health. 

The further we traverse into the uncharted territories that this pandemic is presenting to the world then the more important actions such as kindness are.  As people become more afraid and stress increases, words such as kindness, love and care seem to get forgotten, replaced by anger, frustration and an urge to find someone to blame.

Numerous studies have shown that emotions such as anger and hatred can be a significant cause of premature death.  Dr Redford Williams at Duke University, and Dr Robert Sapolsky at Stanford University have conducted studies that showed how anger, rage and hostility are particularly damaging to the cardiovascular system.  Read more

Anxiously Stepping into 2020.

Usually I head into a new year with a level of optimism and hope, and 2019 was no exception.  While I was still struggling with my mental health I had plans and ideas that I thought would change things, especially financially.

The end of 2019 was bumpy to say the least; notably, I had started level 2 of the counselling course in September, but had to give it up after three weeks because I had a complete meltdown, and couldn’t do it.  I also lost my PIP benefit.  Both of these had a massive impact on my mood and self confidence.

While there were successes in 2019, my overriding feelings from the year were ones of increasing frustration and failure.  All the plans and goals had slipped away to nothing; I felt as though I had slipped down the mountain, past base camp and back to square one. Read more

Getting Back Into Running.

Over the last couple of months I have really fallen out of love with running; I can’t really explain why, but all motivation evaporated, and I hit rock bottom with it.

Kim thought that maybe I was just tired and needed a rest; which made sense considering all the running I have done over the last few months.

While it made sense, I didn’t feel like this was the whole reason for my slump.

I put a lot of pressure on myself, and it’s this pressure that I just can’t really deal with or release.  For some reason I could not run less than my normal 11km route; to do any less seemed like some sort of failure.  I also had to keep around the same time despite telling myself that the time was irrelevant, especially when doing the Race At Your Pace challenges; all that matters then is the distance. Read more

To Leave Something Behind – Sean Rowe

I cannot say that I know you well
But you can’t lie to me with all these books that you sell
I’m not trying to follow you to the end of the world
I’m just trying to leave something behind

Words have come from men and mouths
But I can’t help thinking that I’ve heard the wrong crowd
When all the water is gone my job will be too
And I’m trying to leave something behind Read more

Wading Through Treacle….

At the moment everything feels like a massive challenge.  Having to make major changes to your life is bloody difficult at the best of times however, when the changes are forced and not really of your doing, it makes it even tougher to come to terms with.

I have tried to keep myself calm and relaxed by keeping busy, but I find the constant barriers I face have a really negative effect on my mood and how I feel about myself and my capabilities.  The speed of progress is painfully slow and this dents my motivation to a point where I just want to sit in a dark room and watch TV.

“Sometimes, I feel like one who is on the sidelines, who has missed life itself.”

– Nelson Mandela

I feel as though the world is going on around me and I’m just stood watching.  I want to get off the sidelines and into the game, but there is so much to contend with.  My confidence is shot to pieces, I don’t even know if I can play the game anymore; I don’t even know what game I am meant to be playing.

The engine is seriously running out of fuel, and that’s where the treacle comes into it; just trying to do anything seems to take so much effort. Read more