2 Spuds in a Pod

Looking after your mental and physical wellbeing.

Category: Self help

Organise, prioritise, then action.

A lot of us will at some point suffer from mental health issues, some so much that they cannot function and others who just get on with it. I used to be one of the “get on with it” until I simply could not carry out the simplest of tasks. Life continues and we all move with it. How we feel is not constant. I am now coming out the other end, and I want to talk about a few things that are helping me at the moment.


I can see that as my mental health went down hill, so did my organisational skills. Maybe skills is not the right word, they are still there, but certainly the desire to being organised and keeping on top of things became too much. By this I mean simple things like having a good filing system, both physical and on the computer; having somewhere to put my stuff down when I come in from work which is my own space and it won’t get touched or moved; having books and music easily accessible on tablet or phone, and also passwords for everything. I feel when things are not organised that there is chaos in my head and it is difficult to function. This only adds to the feelings of depression and anxiety, it makes it worse and becomes a vicious circle.

Getting organised

Over the last few weeks I have been able to, and wanted to, get organised again. This includes sorting the above, as well as starting writing a journal and having a non-digital calendar, the one you write in using a pen. I have been in a better place recently and I feel a lot of this is down to the shift I am going through, which I believe is thanks to CBT and counselling. Writing in a journal and/or calendar means all my thoughts and things to do are written down for me to see, and once I’ve written it I can put the thoughts away as I know they are there for me to read as and when I want to. Writing this way works for me, but you might find that making notes online or similar works better for you. I find it is very beneficial actually using a pen to write on paper and it can be very therapeutic. I use pretty colours too which possible helps 🙂


If you’re anything like me, you have a hundred and one things to do. It is simply not possible to complete all tasks, and this is when you need to prioritise. I have started prioritising me more than before, and what I want to do in order to get better.

Prioritise goals and tasks

There are things I want to do for various goals, be it short-term and long-term, as well as various tasks. An example of a goal is to be well enough to come off my medication. This is a long-term goal that currently does not have a time frame on it. I have loosely said about a year but I don’t feel it is appropriate to put an exact date in for this. Examples of the tasks are going food shopping, cleaning the house and going to the dentist. I try to ensure that I work towards my goals every day whilst also completing tasks. It is so easy to simply do the tasks but this won’t bring you closer to your goals. You might need to become a bit selfish in order to do this. I am very lucky that I have Helen who always does a lot, because that is how she is. I am trying to make sure that I find a happy medium there so I don’t annoy her by not contributing, but she would also tell me to pull my weight if she felt that I did not.


It is very safe to make lists, plan, organise everything and certainly very much within the comfort zone. I find I am not quite as good as taking action. This again is something that I used to be better at, whereas now there is this nagging thought that stops me from doing just that. I need to have a conversation or argument with myself before being able to take action. This is something you can work on, like I do. I am trying to just throw myself out there and do whatever it is that needs doing, preferably just diving in before the brain and thoughts even have time to stop me.

Examples of taking action

One example of this is the counselling. I first became aware of this counselling place almost 2 years ago now, but I did not do anything about it. Then I had a pretty bad day and just went for it, I made a self referral and got an appointment for the week after. I had gotten to a point again where I needed more help, and this is absolutely fine. I am so much better for it.

Another example is throwing myself into a physical challenge, which I will tell you about in a later post. Suffice to say it will be both physically and mentally challenging. We were out walking a couple of weeks ago and this thought popped in to my head. It is something we talked about several times before, but not done anything about. I blurted it out without thinking and luckily Helen thought it was a marvellous idea. I certainly got a buzz from just going for it without thinking about it before. Thinking about something is not necessarily a bad thing, but when it stops you from doing what you want and you end up worrying and getting anxious then clearly this is not good.

It is important also to recognise when you have done something you were putting off, and give yourself a pat on the back for doing so. Without action, failure or success we cannot move on.

Don’t let your thoughts stop you. Act on the good before your thoughts have time to put in an appearance.



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.


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.


This time of year (and exercise)

I thought I would do a quick blog on this time of year and exercise. There are a few things that may influence our exercise during the next few months. Yes, stress will be a major factor but I am talking more about coughs, colds, flu, SAD (seasonal affective disorder) and so on.

Can we exercise when we are sick?

The short answer to the question is, listen to your body. It is as simple as that. When we are sick with a cold or flu our bodies are using up vital energy. Energy trying to fight the bugs that caused us to be sick in the first place. If we then decide to go and run a 5k the energy switches from making us better to attempting the 5k. In short, it could make us much worse which will take even longer to recover from.

Our CV system

Our cardiovascular (CV) system is made up of our heart, lungs, arteries, veins and so on. If our lungs are already inflamed fighting off a chesty cough and we decide to run a 5k then this could make us worse.

An overnight bike ride

Let me put this into an experience. With a cold I was about to complete an overnight 100km (62 mile) bike ride. I should have been at home in bed recovering but I was at the start line at 2330. Riding through the night breathing in the continuous cold air was not a good idea. My body ached, I struggled uphill as I couldn’t breathe properly and I eventually made it to the finish line. Lets just say it was more of a collapse over the finish line. I was exhausted. Later that day my chest hurt, my cough sounded like a barking dog and I had a temperature. My mother was less than sympathetic (“it’s your own fault” she said) and I ended up with a chest infection. Several years later if I get a cold it always goes straight to my chest (a reminder for being such an idiot). The long and short of it was, I should have been in bed.


Again if you have flu or a high temperature then attempting a high intensity class will only make you warmer. If the body gets too hot then it will shut down and you will faint. Not a great thing to do in the middle of a crowded gym.

But can I exercise?

If you are like me and you are determined to get into the gym then here is my top 5 things to do if you feel you really do need to work out.

  • Stay in bed
  • Drink a hot drink (water, lemon, ginger and honey can do wonders)
  • Watch TV
  • Eat chocolate
  • Call lots of people to give you sympathy

There you go.

No, in all seriousness if you are determined then here is the “real” list.

  • Slow to medium walking on a treadmill (no incline)
  • Cycle (not a spin class)
  • Lift little weights (no 100kg’s)
  • No high intensity/circuits/or anything that will get you out of breath
  • Some light stretching

Your body needs the time to recover and it is time you will need to give it.

When you feel better

When you feel better you will need to again listen to your body. Depending on how much time you have had off you will need to let your body get back into the swing of things. Don’t assume after 2 weeks off you can do straight into lifting 100kg’s or sprint for 2 minutes. Give your body time to get back to where it was.

SAD (seasonal affective disorder)

Now, there is one condition you may get around this time of year and it is SAD. SAD is a type of depression that presents itself during the winter months. The 3 best ways to help SAD is getting as much natural light as possible (sunshine) , exercising regularly and keeping stress away. For more information on SAD please visit the NHS website.


As I keep saying, during the next few months listen to your body. Let the main symptoms disappear and then get back into your exercise routine. Don’t beat yourself up about not being able to make a circuits class. It is much better that you recover first rather than collapsing mid-class. Even I have been known to say “I think I need to sit on the couch tonight”.


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.


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 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!


The road to recovery

Facebook poll

A couple of weeks ago we asked on Facebook what blog you would like to see. The options were mental health conditions, signs and symptoms or how can I help myself on the road to recovery. It was a close call between the two options but with 57% it is the road to recovery. Rosita will take you through her recovery and Helen will take you through hers in Wednesday’s blog.

A road walked

This is a road I walk every day, some days more than others. It has become a way of life, making sustainable and healthy changes. I have come a long way from completely losing the plot having drunk Helen’s glass of juice. You know you’re in a bit of a mess when something so trivial tips you over the edge. It certainly put things into perspective for us. The next day we went to the doctor who signed me off for 2 weeks. 5 months later I resigned from work, having not been back to work. I spent the first few weeks/months crying and not doing a lot. Pretty much everything stressed me out. Most of this time is a bit of a blur. We made a few changes which helped enormously and that is why I am in such a good place today. 

Not going to work

It soon became obvious that my job was the main reason for me no longer functioning. I probably knew that before but could not see a way out of the situation. I loved the job itself, and the good days were fab. But working in the public sector, for a service with over 50,000 officers and staff, became difficult. There were a lot of changes made by people having to justify their existence at work, none for the best in my opinion. There never is a need to reinvent the wheel. I love helping people, and I’m damn good at it too. It got to a point where I could no longer do that. This is all very clear to me now, but it has taken a while to realise that, with a lot of conversations with the professionals and Helen. In the end, the job I loved broke me. Simple as that. 

Leaving London

We had been talking about leaving London and took action. This resulted in us finding a lovely flat in Scotland which also has a little garden. Having outdoor space means the world to me. I can make coffee and sit outside in the sun. You might think this is nothing, but to me it is what keeps me sane. It involves coffee, me-time, fresh air and hopefully sun too. All of this is pretty essential. 


Being prescribed medication was a massive thing. I only started with the pills after a couple of months, when I realised that I was not getting any better. They have made a huge difference, and I was able to get more from the counselling as well as my brain started to calm down. Constantly crying is hard and tiring.


Counselling gave me a lot of advice and tips, which was essential to my recovery. I have high standards for myself, our home, nutrition and exercise, to name a few. It became apparent that I could not keep this up. So the counsellor suggested to ask myself this: “if I don’t do this particular thing now, is anyone gonna die?”. The answer is simple. This helped me to lower my standards, giving me more time for me. This was when I was really struggling to do anything.


I started taking time for me. This involves me doing things I love. To name a few:

  • Listen to music
  • Read a book
  • Taking photos
  • Going for walks
  • Sit and drink coffee
  • Being outside in the sun

These are just a few things that give me a buzz. All of which, apart from drinking coffee, I had stopped doing because I was stressing too much to get chores done. I can now take half a day or a few hours or even a whole day and do nothing. Nothing to me involves me-time. We now have a saying in our house that it’s time for me-time, and this overrides all chores. You should try it. You need to look after yourself. 


I know not everyone has partner in these circumstances, and I do not know what would have happened had I not had Helen by my side. She’s been, and still is, my rock. Words can’t emphasise enough how I feel. So I will just say this: thank you buddy.


Lists, lists, lists!

Writing things down to make it easier. An easy sentence to write but one that can prove trickier in the making. It does help a great deal to write things down. It is a much better way to remember them as well. Writing things down when you are stressed can help you create a list to use to help de-stress you I found when Rosie had too much information on the brain to help her we would get a piece of paper and just let her write. Sometimes she would write a sentence and sometimes it was just a word. On one occasion though she took the pens and scribbled all over the page. An interesting way to make a list but the point was this, it helped her to de-stress by making a giant circle. Whatever works for you do it.

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”.


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 birthday present. 
  • Double check holiday insurance for next trip. 
  • 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 birthday present.
  • Double check holiday insurance for next trip.
  • 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 complete 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, 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.


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