2 Spuds in a Pod

Looking after your mental and physical wellbeing.

Category: Mental health (page 1 of 4)

Sitting still is tricky!

We are about one week on from my emergency surgery to fix two orange sized cysts on my ovaries. So far everything seems to be going in the right direction. The surgical sites are healing nicely and I am now on the lowest pain killers possible. Except for feeling tired a lot of the time I would say that I am doing very well.

Sitting still!

My main issue is this sitting still thing. I have never been very good at it and I am being less good at it now. Before last week I was doing an active job, making sure that at least six out of the seven week days I was in the gym and I was walking most places I could. I would happily go from one thing to another, to another and to another. I would plan lots into my day so everything was completed. Now I can do a few hours of activity before a sit down and then I can repeat.

It’s a good time of year!

That it is and I don’t mean that there are more colours around, trees looking fancy, mince pies everywhere you turn, music blaring from speakers and generally everyone seems to be in a better mood. I mean that there has been a lot for me to do. Friends and family have been coming over to the house to either take me down to the supermarket, taking me out for a drive, taking me for coffee and so on. I mean I have had small tasks to do most days.

The good thing!

The good thing about it is I am moving around. I have a theory that the more I move, the better I get and the quicker the recovery period so I can go back to Zumba and boxing. You may not think it is a big element to recovery but believe me it is. Little movement like walking from one room to the other, walking up the stairs, standing to seated and seated to standing, crouching down to pick something up (I can’t quite bend in the middle yet) and much more. All of this moves muscles, helps the cardiovascular system and more importantly the brain and my mental health. Yes, I would love to say that I am booked on to a Zumba and circuit class this evening but I have to wait. I have to wait until my core has healed.

Food

I thought I would add a quick note in here about food. I mean it would be great to kick back and eat all those sugary foods to make us “feel better”. But I am not. Having come so far in my weight loss journey it would be a great shame to start going backwards. I am aware that I may gain a little from in-activity but I am doing what I can to counter-act that. I have allowed myself the odd Christmas biscuit but I am also mindful that I don’t want to go over board with it either. I am sticking to the good foods. The proteins that will help my muscles recover. The fruit and vegetables (vitamins) so my whole body can recover and the water to flush out all the bad toxins.

Exercise

As mentioned above I am moving as much as I can. I am also going for walks. Nothing too big at the minute but I can now happily manage anything from a half hour to an hour. I have been to the gym once since last week. I did a half hour cycle and a half hour walk on the treadmill. I vary my days to walking outside to gym days and make sure when I feel tired that I remember it is my body telling me it has had enough for that day. I will increase these times (and resistances) as I come through the rest of December and hopefully post festive season will be back at the gym to start building my strength back up, Zumba and boxing.

Conclusion

Be kind to yourself. Let the body heal. Try not to rush into anything and be aware that if something doesn’t feel right or a twinge is a bit too much then stop. There is no harm in taking a break (I am trying, I really am!).

-Helen

Then it went a bit pear-shaped!

My week this week was meant to have loads of fun and exciting things in it. We had tickets to the cinema on Monday evening to see a live performance streamed from London’s West End of Les Misérables. We also had tickets to go and see the rescheduled John Barrowman Fabulous Christmas Tour. A trip to see Frozen 2 and ice climbing was for Friday and then away for the weekend for Rosie and my first-year anniversary treat. On top of that we had PT booked at the gym, many Zumba classes, some of my favourite clients where I work and a routine that would have made the week amazing.

8 in total

As I write this blog, I currently have four keyhole marks on the abdomen, two jab marks on my elbow from where bloods were taken, one in my hand from an IV and a further one in my bum from medicine. If you haven’t guessed already, I had another emergency surgery on my ovaries.

What happened?

A good question. I had woken up on Monday in the wee small hours with my ovaries playing tennis (pain), took some pain killers and had gone back to sleep. I woke in the morning to a non-existent appetite. Not thinking too much at this point I ate what I could of breakfast and toddled off to work in Glasgow. Later in the afternoon I started to feel sick, had a sore stomach and after my lunch felt even worse than I had previously. Alarm bells were starting to ring as I had had similar symptoms the last two years when this had happened.

Rosie took one look at me!

I called Rosie and warned her that something wasn’t right and then called my Mother to talk things over. Rosie came home from work a few hours later, took one look at me and had me in the car up to our local A&E. I was prodded and poked there for a couple of hours before it was decided to transfer me to the specialist unit in another hospital a good half hour drive away. It was getting late at this point, but we did what we were told. The consultant in the next hospital again took a look and I was admitted for scans the following day. The diagnosis was a possible cyst rupture again.

The next day

The next day we discovered there were no specialists for that specific scan, so we had a new consultant do a trans vaginal up in a little room off the ward. I walked down to the room in my Harry Potter pj’s, Doc Marten Boots and black t-shirt. Excellent combination and I am sure London Fashion Week will be calling me any day now. With the help of my Mother the consultant had a good look around. Now considering they had done the finger check for the ovaries the previous day which left me doubled over you can imagine my response to the probe. My Mum helped me to stay calm, keep my breathing under control and issue words of comfort.

The diagnosis

They had found two cysts, one on the right and one on the left which were both the size of an orange. The right one had grown since it was last scanned in August and that was the main suspect. We had mentioned to the consultant that we were in the middle of IVF tests so they had suggested I had the coil removed, the Hy-Co-Sy scan complete and a general look around whilst I was asleep. Answering any questions, I had the consultant put me on the surgical list for the next day. I was an emergency but could be controlled on the ward. My main concern was if the cyst was a pain in the ass, I was at risk of losing a one or both ovaries. Not want you want to hear if you are sitting at the start of IVF.

Later that afternoon

Back on the ward I was told to start eating and drinking as I had been fasted until this point, this was as the operation would take place the next day. I had a few sips of water but nothing more. A lucky move.

Then it really kicked off!

Within about an hour of being back on the ward I had the consultant, the consultant’s colleague, a surgeon, an anaesthetist, two nurses and two surgery porters ready to take me to theatre (and I don’t mean the all singing, all dancing kind). There was a gap in the schedule, and they were going to use it. I was changed from my pj’s into a sexy hospital gown complete with very sexy hospital stockings, tucked into bed and wheeled down to theatre. Rosie came with me and I had the two porters cracking jokes which put me somewhat at ease. I was taken into the surgical waiting room and it was the coldest I had felt since I had arrived. I was then wheeled into theatre.

The theatre

At this point I wish it was the all singing and all dancing variety. There were lights, surgeons with big cloaks and masks on, a black table, lots of other machines, I had people moving me, prodding me, hooking me up to various and bits and pieces and straps put on to my legs. The porter said to jump from my comfy bed to the table. I took one look at it and crumbled. I was scared. A nurse stuck out her hand and said you can hold on to that for as long as you need. I held on good and tight until I was put to sleep. So, to that theatre nurse, thank you so much and I hope I didn’t crush your hand too much.

Recovery

Surgery is weird. You are put to sleep and then after what feels like a massive nap you wake up again. My first questions apparently were:

  • Where was buddy? (Rosie) – she was upstairs waiting for me
  • Did I still have both ovaries? – yes
  • Are you Tony (I was to ask for Tony when I got to recovery so I was just checking) – he was Tony

I wasn’t in recovery for long before I was taken back to the ward and to Rosie.

The surgical diagnosis

I apparently had endometriosis cysts which were drained and burnt. I had the coil removed and I had the Hy-Co-Sy scan completed. We are still a little confused as to the PCOS/Endometriosis diagnoses. I have been told for years it was PCOS and now it may be something completely different. It is one of our questions for January when we see yet another consultant. Apparently, the thing with endometriosis cysts is they can come back. Now the fact they are in my ovaries only means I have a good chance of falling pregnant but what are they to do in the meantime? They have given me a jab in my bum to shut down my ovaries temporarily. The side effect, I may experience menopausal type symptoms. So, at 35 years old I may get hot flushes, night sweats and mood swings. Something to look forward to.

The next day

The next day a nurse popped by my bed to say I was going down for my scan at lunchtime. I lifted my t-shirt and said erm, I think they did it already. It was a small funny moment in the grand scheme of things.

Rehab

I am now back at home and being looked after by my family. I am sore and swollen but doing well. Stairs are tricky but we will get there. With regards to rehab, I feel very lucky as I went through a similar surgery three years ago, so I know what to do with regards to rehabbing me back to normal. I am currently banned from high intensity training, weights, heavy gym work, boxing and my favourite, Zumba. The ban is in place for the next six weeks. I can walk and when the swelling in my abdomen subsides, I can start stationary cycling in the gym.

Thank you

A massive thank you to Rosie and my Mum who saw me through the hospital procedures, you were both superstars. My friends and family for their well wishes. The theatre nurse whose hand I could hold on to. My work colleagues who have re-arranged all my schedule and classes.

-Helen

Nutrition and much more

The vote

This months vote was:
Option 1
How nutrition helps mental and physical recovery.

Option 2
Food schedules and easy trips to the supermarket.

The votes have been counted and it is 50/50 with regards to results. This means I will do two blogs in one. I think they tie in nicely with one another as well so here we go.

Nutrition helping mental and physical recovery

Nutrition can play a big part in mental and physical recovery. I admit it is sometimes easier to grab the take out menu when you are sick than to heat some vegetable soup. I have done it in the past. The downside to a take out is that it is usually pizza, fish and chips, Indian or Chinese. Lots of fats and sugar in them with very little nutritional value. I mean yes they make us feel better. They are quick and easy too. But at the end of the day your body when sick needs nutrients. Proteins to help the muscles, vitamins and minerals to help fight infections, sustenance to help fight whatever you are fighting and the list goes on. So unfortunately, as much as we want those tasty things to make us feel better we also need to make sure we are getting the right nutritional value as well.

Snacks

If you are struggling to eat a big meal or your appetite has done a disappearing act then keep it simple. A slice of wholemeal toast with honey, a piece of fruit or fruit juice (150ml), little porridge pot, banana on those wholemeal crackers or a handful of nuts, seeds and berries.

Water

Remember also to keep your water intake up. The water flushes out the toxins our body has and helps our digestive transit.

Ask a family member or neighbour

If you are really struggling then see if a family member, friend or neighbour would mind making you a little something. A healthy delivered meal for example. Unfortunately in these times this is few and far between but I like to live in hope. If you don’t ask then you don’t get I find. Alternatively get a supermarket to deliver healthy salads, soups and so on.

Hot chocolate to the rescue!

I can remember when I had my appendix out and my appetite had returned Rosie came to see me one day. She told me to walk with her to the end of the ward. Slow and steady we went. Rosie kept saying it would be worth it. I kept wondering how far it was. She had found the best cure. Hot chocolate, biscuits and fruit. Yum! If you needed an incentive to get out of bed then there was one right there. I had the best of both worlds. I had sugar to get my strength back up and I had vitamins and minerals in the fruit which helped my body recover. Once we had gone home it was soup and salad all the way.

Coughs and colds

Seeing as this is very seasonal I thought I would include it. It is rare that I take medicines during a cough or cold spell. I tend to go for the more natural items. Orange juice and oranges being a big one as they are full of vitamin C. The same goes for smoothies full of vegetable and the odd fruit for taste. Again full of vitamins and minerals. The drink of ginger, lemon, honey and hot water can work wonders for a cough and sore throat. Usually I make a big batch at the beginning of the cold and it sees me straight through. I can also recommend turmeric. I add a dash to the smoothie or drink and hey presto I have an anti-inflammatory.

Try it!

Next time you are sick or recovering from something try the above (with a chocolate bar now and then). You may find it helps you through.

Food schedules

Ah, the food schedule! That little white board on the wall which is going to tell me what I am eating. If it needs to be taken out of the freezer or needs preparation. The 2 Spud house hold does not seem to function incredibly well without that white board.

NB: Other writing materials can be used, for example, the good old pen and paper.

How to write a food schedule?

It is pretty easy to write one which is the good news. It could look something like this:
Dinners:
Monday
– Scrambled eggs on wholemeal toast with avocado and tomato
Tuesday – Dinner with friends/local restaurant
Wednesday – Spaghetti bolognaise from freezer (remember to take out in the morning)

Lunches:
Soup (remember to buy from supermarket), spaghetti bolognaise (from Wednesday), wholemeal sandwich.

And then you carry on for the rest of the week.

For the next week you take the past week, see what you had and then add in some different meals.

It is amazing once it is all written down how much it makes sense, you eat better options and you don’t grab that take out menu.

The shopping list

The best bit from a written down food schedule is you can make your shopping list. If you have a written list for when you enter that big building full of aisles you then know exactly what aisles you need to visit. It has been a long time since I have been down a biscuit, cake or crisp aisle. I don’t need to get anything from those aisles so I just don’t visit them. I go with my list, tick off once I have got them, circle the item if I cannot find it or it is out of stock and then go to pay.

The supermarket zapper thingy!

I find this is quite a useful tool for shopping. You get your zapper at the entrance to most big supermarkets. You go around and zap your products to put straight into your bag and then you go to pay. I find it useful if I am doing a big shop so I don’t up spending loads of money on things I do not need. If I can see the price in front of me totalling up as I go I know exactly what to expect at the checkout.

Online supermarket shopping

Shopping from the comfort of your own couch. What more could you want?! The best bit about this is the supermarket will remember what you have bought so next time all you need to do is check and confirm. You quite often get a two hour window so you can take your time as well. You can also check the kitchen cabinets to see if you do really need mayonnaise and there aren’t five bottles in the cupboard already.

Shopping on your own or with a buddy?

A good question. If I need a big shop then I tend to like to do it on my own. Rosie tends to muck up my filing system and then sneaks things into the trolley which are not on the list. If I am in the mood for a wander and chat when shopping then I take someone with me. On these trips I take time going up and down all of the aisles. This is especially exciting at this time of year. I get to see if I have missed anything in my quick trips. Lets just say these trips tend to happen once in a while and not every week.

Any questions?

Feel free to drop 2 Spuds a line with any questions you have from this blog. We will try our best to answer them.

-Helen

That time of year (lists)

It’s getting to “that time of year” again. The time when we need lists. What to buy lists, what to get at the supermarket lists, a general “to do” list to make sure the Christmas decorations go up and I am sure a few more list ideas too.

This blog is to do with just that. Rosie and I are aware we covered this in June but thought as it was a very big topic for this time of year we would re-visit it.

Writing a list

Making a list can be a massive step forward but it can also help you de-stress. Jotting something down means you can remember it better and things tend to happen in the right order. I mean it would be a disaster if you cooked all the vegetables, made the gravy, the Yorkshire puds were baked and then you put the turkey in. As I say, not a good way forward. A list can make sure we get everything done we need to do so we can relax and enjoy.

Being accountable with a list

The other point to make here about lists is that you are then accountable for it. If you stick the list up on the fridge door at home, then other people are there to help you remember it too. It is amazing once you write something down how concrete it can be and therefore you remember it.

Rosie and I are both list people

After a sleepless night due to loads of tasks to complete for our Wedding we took to a list and had a very restful night the next time bedtime rolled around. We had highlighted sections on our list for different elements. We had flowers, cars, who had to be paid, who we had to confirm certain items with (like our photographer), we even had on our list to remember to eat on the night before the Wedding. The final item on our list was to turn up to the Wedding and have loads of fun. Now that was more a of comedy one, but it put a little bit of laughter amongst the tasks.

Try making a list right now and see if it empties your brain so you can then think about the basics of a good night’s sleep and that all important “me time”.

Lists

Just in case you have forgotten what a list may look like I have included a small one below. 

  • Get milk. 
  • Pick up dry cleaning. 
  • Invite Bob and Charlie for dinner. 
  • Call Sandra and check on her Mum’s health. 
  • Buy and wrap Billy’s Christmas present. 
  • Double check holiday insurance for February. 
  • Call GP and renew prescription. 
  • Be kind to myself and take some “me time”.

Let me do the list one more time with ticks, notes and so on.

  • Get milk.
  • Pick up dry cleaning.
  • Invite Bob and Charlie to dinner (called them and left a message, will try again tomorrow).
  • Call Sandra and check on her Mum’s health (texted Sandra as she said she was in the hospital).
  • Buy and wrap Billy’s Christmas present.
  • Double check holiday insurance for February.
  • Call GP and renew medication.
  • Be kind to myself and take some “me time” (booked in for a massage on Sunday morning).

The list looks a look less scary with a few completed tasks on it doesn’t it?

Simple yet effective

As I say a list is simple yet effective. I always start with the easier stuff as it is then ticked off before moving on to the more time consuming and harder items. Setting an hour allows you to complete some of the list but does not then take up your entire evening. I find this works best in my opinion. Try it and see what happens.

Pick the easiest option then build it from there (and don’t beat yourself up over it)

The most important element to remember is to start with a small task and work your up to the bigger ones. There is absolutely no point in beating yourself up over something that in the end is the smallest task of them all. The private counsellor that Rosie was working with said to her to take each task and think about it. She had to think what it would achieve and at the end of day would anyone suffer from her not doing it. I always thought that was a good way to look at a task.

A minor task

I have a mountain of washing up to do from dinner and the clothes from this morning are still in the washing machine which I forgot to take out this morning, I am exhausted and have no idea on where to start to sort all of this out. Now which task do you do first? You could leave the washing up (or stick it in a dishwasher if you have one) and deal with the clothes or you could leave both. The dishes will still need washing up the next morning and the clothes can be washed again. Do you see the difference? If you didn’t do either task not too much is going to change and more importantly no one is going to suffer from you not doing it.

An important task

Take this for example, you have run out of medication for your mental health condition, the new one is sitting at your local pharmacy and you need to go and get it. Now this is a more pressing task to get sorted. You need your medication at the end of the day, and you are going to suffer if you do not get it sorted.

I hope that all makes sense

As I say have a look at the situation you are involved with and the tasks that need to be accomplished. If no one is going to suffer then leave it. If you (or someone else) is going to suffer then do it. This is how we determine what to do and what not to do. You will get around to washing those dishes but not much is going to happen if they are not dealt with immediately.

Stop and think

Stop and think about it next time you feel yourself in a stressful situation and ask yourself these very questions. It is not a selfish act in any way. It is differentiating between right now and a few hours later.

Alternatively

Alternatively, if you have a friend, a partner, a husband, a wife, a mother, a father or anyone else who can help you out then ask them.

-Helen

There is a shift happening

The last few weeks have been ok. The one thing I am doing different is speaking to a counsellor on a regular basis. This in turn is allowing for my perspective to start changing ever so slightly, and it is making a real difference. It meant I was able to stand up for myself whilst on the phone to my manager the other day (as I did not agree with what he said), something Rosie from the last few years would not have done.

Counselling sessions

What I really appreciate about speaking to a counsellor is that he does not know me. Yes I go there on a regular basis and we talk about very personal stuff, but that stays there when I leave. I spend a lot of time in between reflecting on a multitude of things, such as life, work, relationships and so on. So pretty much anything goes. I guess that is one of the purposes of a counsellor, that they start tapping in to you. This then causes a lot of thoughts and realisations to just come out. It opens up different avenues and it is liberating.
Because he does not know me, and I know he will only ever be part of my life as “the counsellor”, I feel completely at ease when it comes to speaking to him about everything. That would not be the case if it were someone I knew on a personal level.

Answering somewhat awkward questions

As part of the last session, I was given a list of ten questions to answer. Examples of questions are: I feel I have someone to speak to, I have made plans to end my life, I feel it would be better if I was not here, and so on. Now these questions have a purpose for the counsellor, to see where you are and how well you are doing (or not) so they can help you the best.
I scored very low (which is the good end). I knew I felt pretty good, I had tried all day to think of something to talk to him about in the session and had not come up with anything. So I knew there was nothing bothering me at the time. He brought a few things up that I had talked about before, and helped me to put it into persepective. He helps to provide explanations to things which is great.

Difficult questions

I am now used to answering these, but it has taken a while. I remember the first time still, and I can’t really describe the feeling. It is as if you are so unwell that you can’t see what is happening, or that your behaviour is causing such concern to others. Imagine this: you’re at your doctor, trying to explain what is happening and how you feel, telling them what you can and can’t do, when they start asking difficult questions. Are you suicidal? Have you tried to kill yourself? Do you want to kill yourself?
It really hit home how bad I was at the time for the doctor to ask this. Now before you ask, I have never been in such a bad place. Just that they asked made me feel a lot worse. I spent so many years asking others these questions as part of work, and now I had to answer them myself. I did not like that one single bit.

Shift in perspective

Once you start seeing things from a different angle, no matter how miniscule, your perspective starts changing. It feels liberating, I can already see and feel that there is a shift happening and it makes me feel amazing. I’ve been so stuck in my habits, wants, wishes, ideas, work and life, you name it. I’m not sure if was the depression or anxiety causing it (or both) but it’s just gone downwards. Beeing able to shift how I see things is a game changer. Trust me.

NLP

The NLP day also helped a lot, and continues to do so. I will come back to this once I feel I know more about it and feel more confident. For now I will just say that this will help me shift things more.

I feel hopeful, positive, energised and I worry less. It also meant I could question my manager the other day when I did not agree with him, something he told me later he enjoyed and thought I did well for doing so. Rosie from a few years back would not have even thought to do that.

There is help out there. A lot of it, we just need to find what works for us. We are all different, with different life experiences and different needs. If you want to get in contact please do and I will help to guide you in the right direction.

-Rosita

NLP

NLP or Neuro Linguistic Programming is something that 2 Spuds did over the weekend with Bodycore Training. We were aware we were doing the course on Saturday but what we were unaware of was how much it can help someone, how much it can benefit us and how deep it actually goes.

Tissues

The course instructor opened the course with, “the tissues are on the table, water on the side and hugs are also available”. We suddenly thought what had we let ourselves in for. Over the next 8 hours we were about to find out the full ins and outs of NLP. We are still finding out today what it is about and I am sure we still have a lot to learn going forwards too.

What is it?

A very good question I would say. According to our notes and that multi-coloured search engine NLP stands for neuro which has to do with neurology, linguistic refers to language and programming is to do with neural language functions. It is about changes in perception and developing positive choices in a given situation. NLP can be used for personal development as well as phobias and anxiety.

What did we learn?

We learnt a lot. We learnt that our brain has a MAP and no I don’t mean Google. I mean it has a record of our past, our feelings, our thoughts, our learnings and so on. We get this information from our parents, teachers, television, social media and much, much more. NLP takes us from our comfort zone to our uncomfortable zone then flourishes. My favourite metaphor from the course is: there are 10,000 films playing in our brains at any one time but consciously we are only aware and concentrating on 1. Just the 1 from 10,000 films. We have 1! Wow! Now that is a bit mind-boggling at the best of times. Around 95% of us is working on a subconscious level or in other words, auto-pilot. Again, wow!

Life style questions

There are series of life style questions which you answer to determine what area of NLP will be good for you to experience. We were then introduced to the NLP technologies. These are the “trances” for want of a better word. Someone will speak to my subconscious and my conscious beings to determine where I need help and what behaviours need changing to help me too.

The trance

Now this was interesting. We were put into a trance like state and then asked questions. It is very weird when you are moving part of the body, the brain is controlling it but you cannot figure out when you open your eyes how it did that. If that makes any sense whatsoever! That is the kind of weird that it is. Helen didn’t go too deep on the first try but has over the last day or so been saying that one of her bad memories has a block on it. The memory is hazy. It is something that she will continue to work on. Rosie is also feeling calmer over a bad memory and now has a more positive frame of mind.

We tidied the house

We are not sure if this has anything to do with NLP but on Sunday we did all of those jobs which have been on our “to do” list since May. The garden has been put away for the winter, we tidied the shed, we took the stuff we had been saving for a rainy day to the tip. At some point we had lunch before we tackled the kitchen. The cupboards were emptied, checked what we actually wanted to keep, what we hadn’t used since we had moved in, cleaned from top to toe and all sugary snacks given to the neighbours kid. By the end of Sunday we had 10 bags to go to charity.

2 Spuds and NLP

2 Spuds is currently practising a lot of the NLP techniques so we can be ready for a launch next year. Due to the nature of NLP, how deep into your past it can go and the fact it needs to be handled with the utmost care and respect it will take some time for us to get this ready. We will of course keep you updated on this site.

-Helen

Time for reflection

The last couple of years have been an emotional roller coaster to say the least. I have had help from various people and professionals around me, all with their specific purpose at the time. As you might have seen in a previous post, I decided I needed to reach out again and ask for help (read this blog here).

CBT

I have now started counselling and CBT, and I am excited about both. This is very personal to me, but I also feel that I want to share some parts of it as I believe that is important. I had a long chat with the CBT therapist about all events leading up to the juice-incident (read about this here) and this caused me again to put in to words how I felt. I believe (in my non-professional opinion) that my anxiety took over a long time ago, leading to a downward spiral of negative thinking which then literally made me depressed. When I initially made contact with the CBT clinic there was an assessment with lots of questions about how I felt. The therapist gave me feedback on this, and the score for anxiety was by far greater than depression. To me that makes a lot of sense, and also confirms how I feel. The aim is that she will provide me with tools for dealing with my anxiety, and this is very exciting.

Counselling

The counselling is a talking therapy, and it is different from the one I had previously. As the counsellor pointed out, and that I had not thought of, it was more looking at tools to help me get through the day. What we are hoping to do now is getting to the bottom of why I feel the way I do. He is a nice guy and I feel comfortable speaking to him. It is difficult too at times. I realise I’ve spent the last few years not really thinking about things, or reflecting. I have simply just existed if that makes sense. One reason for this is that it is the easiest thing to do. But it does not mean that it is healthy. I’m very good at not talking and bottling things up, however that is all changing now.

Stand up for myself

There are a few things I really want to work with for myself. The one thing that stands out right now is that I always feel that I have to go along with what other people say and do, that I find it so difficult to stand up for myself and say “you know, that does not actually suit me right now”, or “I don’t agree with with that”. I feel that doing or saying anything that rocks the boat is just so difficult, so difficult that I just agree with what people say. That in itself is clearly not healthy. I feel it is certainly a huge factor contributing to me feeling the way I do. When you constantly do and say what others do or say, or expect you to do, then it’s easy to understand that I feel that I’ve lost myself along with all confidence and self-esteem. Again, this is something which is difficult to talk about, but then I feel that I should. This feeling is not based on what others expect of me, which is a nice little learning example. I also feel that by writing this down, I become more committed.

So there we are. If I was to give you one piece of advice, it would be to speak up for yourself and do what is good for you. Do not bottle it up.

Keep moving

I am looking forward to continuing my journey towards a happier self. That is what it is, a journey. I feel I was stationary for quite a while and I am now moving again. And speaking of moving, it is time to put my trainers out and head out for an outdoor gym session with the other spud this morning. It is raining but that’s fine too.

I hope you all have a good week. Please feel free to get in contact if anything here has bothered you, or if you feel that it has been good to read about my experiences. This journey is not a book with precise directions on how to get better, we can all learn from each other!

-Rosita

Something different!

I thought I would do a slightly different blog today.
I mean yes, I could write about my week. About how my own personal trainer gave me many ab exercises that I now have DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness). All I can say about that is it hurts every time I sneeze or cough. I could say that I had my flu jab this week too and my arm feels like a dead weight. May be I could mention that I am incredibly frustrated that I had my weigh in this month. I only lost half a kilo. I am still heading in the right direction which is something. Still eating the “good and healthy foods”, exercising like there is no tomorrow, not drinking alcohol or eating chocolate. However, I am currently wondering where I am going wrong, I can’t work it out. With PCOS (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome) I am aware it will make a weight loss harder. But is that the main reason on why I am not losing a lot of weight? Couple this together with the fact it means even more hoops for me to go through before I get to even start IVF. It is a slow journey and at the minute it feels a little troublesome.

The Nutritionist

On the up side we are due to have a chat with a nutritionist on Friday. This is causing some anxiety. Let me just clear something up here. As a personal trainer we are qualified in nutrition. We do the basics as part of PT school. We are allowed to get you to write us a food diary so we can give you recommendations on it. This all has to be in line with governmental guidelines and the NHS Eatwell Plate. However, what we are not permitted to do is; write food plans for you, send you for blood tests to determine how your body is working and so on. A nutritionist or dietitian will have been to university and done a full degree in the subject. They are the ones who should know the subject inside and out.

Why am I nervous?

So here is the thing. I am concerned for Friday because of my background. Is the nutritionist going to laugh at me as it should be something I know?! Is said nutritionist going to think that I am lying in my food diary. Eat cakes all day and that is why I am struggling (I am not!). I know it seems like a small issue to deal with and I am desperately trying to keep it that way.

My week and my blog

So there you go. I could write in depth about that but I want to keep this blog fairly upbeat I will change topics.
Last week I went to the Enchanted Forest up in Pitlochry, Scotland. May be not what you were expecting me to say but there you go. Now why do I want to write about this?

The moon and the world!

Well, the main reason is we are tiny in comparison to the moon and the world. Sometimes the world feels like it is on our shoulders and we wonder how we are going to get through to the next day, the next and the next.

Facing a problem

But stop to breathe, rise up with your boxing gloves on and ready to take on that challenge, whatever it may be. This is what helps me get through some of the hard things I have to deal with. I take a deep breath (may be two), stand up taller, shoulders back, chest out, raise my head and then take that first step into the challenge. I have found if I am physically strong then I tend to be mentally strong as well. The Helen from years ago was a quiet type who wouldn’t take on a challenge. The Helen today picks wisely what challenges need attention and what ones are just going to zap my energy and I will walk away from.

The illusion!

This is another image from the Enchanted Forest. The moon and the world in the background are suspended on wires above the water to give its reflection. The trees were just there but gives it a very cool and mystical theme. Sometimes taking your mind off of the problem, looking at a different element of it or turning the problem on its head is when you may find you solve it better. I tend to find if the moon is smiling back at you then everything is going to be ok.

You could always just pop up to the ISS (International Space Station) for a quick birds eye view of a problem before you tackle it.

I’m sure the astronauts up there won’t mind and I am sure there will be some freeze dried tea to offer you. Someone told me that a cup of tea solves almost everything. It’s a shame I don’t drink it really.

Problems and perspectives

All I am saying is sometimes the world will throw a curve ball at you, something unexpected. That nice email you wrote a month ago will go unanswered. A weight loss journey will seem like you are going nowhere fast. You will lose sleep over something that can be sorted within minutes but the body likes to worry about it first. You will plan a day out which then needs to be re-scheduled. And so on.

What is meant for you will not pass you by!

My Dad keeps telling us this. It is true. You may not see it at the time and it will get frustrating when you have you heart set on your goal. But afterwards you will be able to connect the dots and realise that it didn’t happen then for a reason. Your goal will come when it is the right time and the problems leading up to said goal will just melt away.

But…

Look at the beauty the world creates and see some of your problems in a different perspective. That is what I am saying, this is my point. The Enchanted Forest is made up of lights (and clever artists). Just lights but gives us that amazing mystical affect and can take us away for the evening to just have fun (or find a solution to a problem!).

-Helen

Knowing when to ask for help – and do it!

Sometimes we all need an extra hand to get through things. I am not good at asking for help as I like to just soldier on and get things done. You could argue that it is a good thing, and I agree, but there are times when I’m not coping well. I have seen warning signs over the last couple of weeks, and I’ve now done something about it.

Triggers

I feel I have been pretty stable up until a couple of weeks ago. A lot has been going on and I feel both mentally and physically exhausted. This last week in particular I have felt quite down and also been a lot more anxious than normal. I feel I’m stuck in this downward spiral of negative thoughts, and I have to do something about it.
There are various things that could have triggered this. I’m pretty sure I know what they are, as I am sure you all know what your triggers are. What is important is to recognise them when they appear, and not letting them take over.

Asking for help

Having been in this not-so-great place a while now again, I realised I had 2 choices. I could continue feeling really bad, depressed and anxious, or I could try and do something about it. Feeling as bad as I did, I simply had to reach out and ask for help. So I did just that! Not once but twice even. I contacted the mental health service at work, and I am waiting for an appointment for CBT through them. I also have an appointment to start counseling next week.
With previous (not good) experience of CBT, which I did not complete, I felt that I should give it another go. It just so happens that they both start next week. I think it is good, and I am really proud that I did ask for help.

Podcasts

Podcasts have never been my thing, but lately I have started to appreciate how good they can be. Listening to short, empowering podcasts when I am getting ready in the morning or washing up is very good! There are so many great podcasts out there, with a lot of good topics. At the moment I am listening to The Life Coach, which is in Swedish, The Mindset Mentor and Your Anxiety Toolkit. They are quite short which means I don’t have to concentrate for too long. I find them very motivational and they help me to break out of the negative thinking for a while. They help to put things into perspective, and I almost feel they are my own little counselor that I can keep in my pocket and take with me everywhere.
I am currently listening to a wide range of different podcasts. Topics include coaching, anxiety and depression toolkits, mindset, mindfulness, habits and motivation providers. Have a look for yourself and see what you can find! There is nothing to loose.

Professional help

Sometimes you do need that extra bit of help. I am fortunate to have support around me, but I’m at a point now where I need more than they can provide me with. So I need professional help, again. That is ok. Part of me gets worried and anxious just thinking about it. The bigger part is excited about getting more help, and hoping to get closer to what is actually going on. Because I do not wish to feel this way for the rest of my life. I am better than this. I am not my depression and anxiety.

What do you do?

What do you do when things get on top of you? How do you manage everything that goes on? I’d love to hear your thoughts and advice too, please get in touch. Together we can do this!

-Rosita

Tomorrow is World Mental Health Day!

As I am sure most of you know, tomorrow is the day allocated to Mental Health. This year’s focus is on suicide prevention, which we are lucky not to have much personal experience with. I do realise we are all not so lucky, and I think it is great that it is being highlighted. Here is a link to the World Health Organization site with more information and suggestions on what you can do to take part. It is shocking to hear that every 40 seconds, someone loses their life to suicide. 

There are a lot of ways to help someone, or yourself, who is not feeling mentally well. We want to share our own experience using our chosen outlets: cycling, Zumba and boxing for Helen, and yoga and nature for Rosita.

Helen

As many of you know I like my fitness and exercise. It keeps me happy and keeps me fit. However, it is also an outlet for me when life gets stressful. I do many kinds of exercise as well. My top three would have to be (in no particular order) cycling or indoor cycling, Zumba and boxing. These are the main ones that keep me happy.

Cycling (or indoor cycling)

First, it is how Rosie and I met. We would cycle around the parks in London, eat ice cream and chat. I like how cycling can take me places. It can take me from A to B as a work commute, it can take me to a place I have never been before or it can take me on a night-time cycle ride for charity. There is nothing better than huffing and puffing to get up a vertical hill and then speeding down the other side while you catch your breath.

While I was at PT school, I had the chance to do the indoor cycling qualification. I thought with a love of cycling it would be a good thing to do. I love my spinning whether it is my own class, or I am taking part in someone else’s. The variety it has from sprints to hills to jumps to whatever the instructor can squeeze in before cooling down and your legs are about to give up.

Zumba

Whoever has read my Zumba blogs will know that with my two left feet, lack of coordination and terrible balance I still give Zumba a good try. The music, the way the body moves and all the steps it must create the dance is enough to put a massive smile on my face. Even better is when I am facing away from the mirrors in the gym and I can pretend I know exactly what I am doing. That is the thing. You don’t need to be good at it, you just need to try.

Boxing

This is an interesting one as I do boxing both as a personal trainer taking a class/client and as part of my own workout. I find it is a great stress buster for both clients and myself. I mean where else can you hit something and not get told off for it. Imagine you have had a crazy day at work. Your manager is demanding the report in for five o’clock that evening and you lets you know at a quarter to five. Your partner has just called to say they will be late home from work which means that dinner reservation you had now needs to be cancelled. The childminder has just texted to say your little one is sick and needs to go home urgently and reception have just emailed to say that your business client is waiting for you downstairs. Stressful? I would think so. Now take all of that stress down to the gym and put on a pair of boxing gloves. Hit the boxing bag, hit it again, and again and again. Now how do you feel? All the stress has been left in the bag and you start to feel better. It’s as easy as that. Once you have let go of the stress then you can start working on technique, the moves, the cardio side of the exercise, the core (abs) side of boxing and so on. It takes time but it is fun at the same time.

An outlet

Here is my point. Mental health can make us feel unwell, not wanting to do anything, angry, upset and so on. But when you have an exercise outlet (in my opinion) you can switch it around to feeling awesome!

-Helen

Rosita

There are a lot of things I can do to try and stave off my depression and anxiety, however there are 2 main things: yoga and nature. 

Yoga

Going to a yoga class is something I wish I could do every day. I do yoga at home but it is not always the same, and some days you really need someone to tell you what to do! What I like about yoga is the physical workout, and also the breathing. Physically I feel amazing afterwards, it feels as if the body has been reset and I can do anything. The breathing helps me relax, and it is something I use at other times too, particularly when I get anxious or stressed. Taking a few seconds out to breathe and relax the mind is so beneficial. It might sound corny to you, but I urge you to give it a try. When I say breathe I mean inhaling through the nose for 4 seconds whilst allowing your belly to rise, then exhaling through your mouth for 4 seconds. Next time you are stressed or anxious, why not give it a go? 

Nature

Nature has an amazing way of helping me feel relaxed. Most of the time it does not matter what I do when I am outside. It can be a mixture of things, physical outdoor activity or simply sitting in the sun. Going outside when I’m feeling a bit down or anxious really does help me feel better. 

Another contributing factor is the me-time that comes with both yoga and being outside. It helps me to look after myself, which is also so very important. Having spent a lot of time looking after others, I am now getting better at looking after myself.

-Rosita

#MovementForHealth #yoga #WorldMentalHealthDay #meTime #Zumba #boxing

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