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

The Isolation of Anxiety & Depression

One of my main anxious fears is being around people, and talking to people.  When I first had my breakdown I struggled to leave home and could not walk up the local high road without feeling anxious; my body would be tense, I would look down at the pavement, and move quickly, just to try and avoid people.

Things are slightly better now; I can go out and not have the same level of fear that I did.  This is probably down to the fact that I am living in a different area.  In Chiswick I was in a block of flats, so the chances of bumping into a neighbour were greater, plus there was always the chance of seeing someone I knew when on the High Road or out walking Leo.  Where I am now, no one knows me, and so the chances of having to stop and talk to someone are a lot less. 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