2 Spuds in a Pod

Looking after your mental and physical wellbeing.

Page 2 of 7

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

Routine, habits and self-care

I’m back at work now following the operation on my hand. Needless to say, any routines I may have had before have now long gone, and I need to pick them up again. It is easy to forget how good it is to have good routines, to be efficient but more so for your own self-care.

Do what you love!

To me this is becoming more and more important. I spent a few years in a previous job where I was working all sort of hours and days, and was not able to do the things I wanted and needed to, at a time that suited me. Just think of it, working a 24 hour shift then going back to work following 8 hours break (including travelling to and from work, eating and sleeping) really messes you around. You end up in this vicious circle of only work, and not enough down time. And we all know where that got me, right? But I’ve learnt from this, and I’m still learning. The purpose of these blogs is to share my/our experiences so that perhaps some of you can make some healthy changes to avoid getting to this bad place.

Starting your day

For a long time, when I got up in the morning I only had enough time to shower, get ready and eat before heading to work. I always stayed in bed for as long as I possible could. Working long days means that there is no time in the evening for the good stuff, including spending time with Helen who is not a morning person but she is around in the evenings. This leaves me with one option: having good quality me time in the morning. After all, this is what the high flying, important, successful people do, right? I never thought I would also be advocating this. I fully appreciate that sleep is very important, but so is everything else.

Getting off to a good start

My alarm now rings 0530. This gives me a couple of hours before I have to leave for work. I make a very large cup of coffee then go through to the living room and sit down. This time of years is great in that I can light candles all around, and the smell and light is very calming. I normally take some time just there in the moment. Nothing fancy, just me sitting there in the glowing light. I try to empty my brain and fill it with positive thoughts. I find that if I set myself up this way, my mood is so much better, and I feel a lot more positive about the day ahead.

Write it down

If I have a lot to do, I make mental notes of what this is. For anything else, in particular the important stuff, I have both a notebook and a diary. I spend a couple of minutes looking through the diary. For most of last year I had to write absolutely everything down or it would have been forgotten about. I’m now in a place where I still write things down but I often don’t have to read it to remember.
Another advantage of writing things down is that I am accountable to myself. If it is written down it’s not as easy to get out of.

Get moving

Whilst sitting there I try to feel how the body feels. I often have niggles in various places, at the moment it is my lower back. So having finished the coffee it’s time to move. I spend the next few minutes (how ever long is necessary) on the floor, stretching and mobilizing the whole body. This sets me up physically as well as mentally.

Eat a good breakfast

A bowl of porridge and home made apple sauce sets me up nicely for the day. If I have time I will have some more coffee.

No social media

I used to spend maybe 30 minutes every morning just mindlessly scrolling through the usual social media accounts every morning. This accomplished the great total of absolutely nothing! I never gained anything from it, on the contrary I felt there were far too many cool things out there and places to go and I’d never get there. If anything, I felt more depressed and anxious because of it.
I have gradually reduced the time I spend on social media. I now spend just a couple of minutes in the mornings checking the news.

Reading

A few minutes are spent looking at useful stuff, such as books I like to read, training I would like to do, a show I want to see and suggestions for days out for me and Helen. I also spend time reading books. At the moment I am reading computer books as well as life coach/mindset books. I only read a little at the time, and this keeps my brain happy too. The other day there was some maths to be done in the computer book and I loved it! So note to self: read/do more to stimulate the brain too.

Ready to take on the day

Having spent the morning this way I feel ready to get on with the day. We all know what we need to do in order to keep ourselves physically and mentally happy, but it is often not easy to do just that. If you implement just one little tiny change tomorrow morning, try it just for tomorrow and see how you feel. It may well be a game changer.

Setting up good routines, good habits and looking after yourself is so important. We sometimes forget this, or we simply don’t have the time. I urge you though to make a few little changes here and there, it can change a lot!

I hope you have a great Sunday wherever you are. I will be at work, having had some quality me-time in the morning.

-Rosita

Exercise as a daily activity

For our Facebook poll this month we asked you if you wished to see a blog on:

The importance of exercise as a recovery tool and stress outlet
Or
How to bring exercise into your daily life (no gym required!)

The second option was a favourite so we will be discussing that in this blog.

It’s easy!

It is just that. Bringing exercise into your daily life with no gym is not as hard as you may think. There are several simple options to help you. I am sure some of you will be doing them already. Half the battle is preparing in advance so you can achieve your goal.

Walking

A simple yet timeless classic (and it is free!). Now going for a walk around the block when you get in from work in the evening is one way to do it. However, there are others. For example, getting off a bus stop earlier than normal and walking home from there. Parking your car at the other end of the car park at the supermarket and walk in from there. Going for a walk at your lunch break. This last one you get a break from your desk and become more productive in the afternoon. Of course with the British weather I suggest bringing an umbrella.

Take the stairs

Another good option. Walk up the escalator or stairs rather than using the lift. How many levels can you get to? You can also challenge your friends and family on this one. If you have a set of stairs in the house then you can play stair relay races.

Get up from the couch!

Just that. I know it is that time of year where we want to grab a blanket, sit down on the couch and watch that baking show. However, that baking show can help us. It has adverts. Get up during each advert, walk around or generally stand up/sit down until the advert is finished.

Standing up at work

Standing up at your desk to answer a phone call or walking away from your desk every hour to get your photocopying, making a cup of tea, going to the bathroom and so on. I know standing desks are coming more and more into office spaces but we still have a long way to go.
On a side note, if your manager is complaining that you are standing up too much then just send them to 2 Spuds and I will explain why.

Vacuuming

A personal favourite of mine. I should point out that we live in a house with stairs and that living in a bungalow may make this tricky. There is nothing better that lifting the vacuum up and down the stairs, moving the furniture around to get into the nooks and crannies, then trying to empty the thing into the rubbish. I generally break a sweat when I am doing this and need a good sit down at the end. The same goes for cleaning the house from top to toe.

Making dinner

Grab some tins of baked beans or 2 bottles of water and hey presto you have dumbbells. While making dinner you can do some bicep curls, triceps or shoulders. Plus the standing up burns calories as well.

Gardening

More of a summer activity when it is nice and warm but well worth a mention. I know Rosie come April next year will be back out in our garden and looking at what to plant. She will then spend the summer maintaining it, watching it grow then harvesting it for the kitchen. Last year we ended up with many trips to the garden centre as well as B&Q as Rosie created her master pieces.

Dance, dance, dance

Now this happens on a regular basis in the 2 Spuds household. The music gets turned up and we dance like no one is watching. It blows away the cobwebs and puts a smile on our face.

Bodyweight exercises

Aptly named as your body is the weight in these rather than a dumbbell or barbell from the gym. The list is endless when it comes to this. It can range from squats to press ups to ab crunches. All you need is a bit of space and a comfortable rug to lie on. If you need some ideas then that multi-coloured search engine will be able to help you.

The benefits

Of course there are many benefits to the above. The obvious ones are weight loss, toning up, muscle building and general fitness. Some of the less well known ones are reduce your risk of heart disease, high cholesterol, less coughs and colds, less risk of diabetes 2. Exercise can also help your mental health, mood and sleep. It can also help reduce your risks of falls and more importantly it can increase your chances of living a healthy and long life.

Exercise as a daily activity

There you have it – exercise as a daily activity with no gym required. See what you can do.

-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

You cannot outrun a bad diet!

The fact!

It has been said time and time again that you cannot outrun a bad diet and it is a very true statement. As much as you try and run a bad diet will always find you. 

My weight loss

When I started my weight loss journey I did start the wrong way. I didn’t change my nutrition. I exercised more but nothing else. In a month I had lost a pound. 1 whole pound in a month. Not a great start. The following month I changed my nutrition and kept going with the exercise. I lost 3 kilos. 

Now you may ask yourself the following, “if you are a personal trainer then why didn’t you see that?”. It is a valid question and the short answer is I didn’t put two and two together and come up with the conclusion. I spend my days discussing nutrition with people but rarely do I turn the question around to myself. Now I have learnt my lesson.

The ratio

It has been said that a weight loss journey is 70% nutrition and 30% exercise. 70% is a massive number. You need to make a massive nutritional change to make it work.  

The examples

This morning I Googled some basic calorie to exercise ratios and found the following. 

The sugary drink

If you drink a sugary soft drink (Coca cola and the like) it will take 26 minutes of walking or 13 minutes of running. I mean how long would it take you to drink a coca cola? 5 minutes shall we say? Now look again at the exercise minutes. Crazy right?! While we are on the subject of sugary drinks. The diets and 0’s may not contain sugar but do contain a sweetener and still the caffeine. According to the NHS website sweeteners will not increase the blood sugar level whereas sugar will. As I say, everything in moderation. 

The blueberry muffin

If you go to your favourite coffee house and eat blueberry muffin at 265 calories it will take 48 minutes of walking or 25 minutes of running. If you add in a grande white chocolate mocha you are looking at 505 calories. As exercise that translates as 1 hour and 40 minutes or walking or 50 minutes or running. 

The crisps

My final example is crisps. You eat a small packet of crisps at 171 calories which means 31 minutes of walking or 16 minutes of running.

All the bad news can be changed

So, with all that bad news and the fact I may have made you think about that packet of crisps you are eating whilst reading this blog. How do you change it? It’s simple really. 

  • You eat more fruit and veg
  • Change the sugary drinks to water or fruit juice (180ml per day)
  • Eat a well balanced breakfast, lunch and dinner to help stop constant grazing and snacking
  • Snack on a handful of nuts or my personal favourite those Nākd bars
  • You make smart choices like a slice of pizza and lots of salad

A good website to check out is Change 4 Life. You can always keep a food diary and send it to 2 Spuds for analysis and recommendations (a small fee will apply). 

As I have said everything in moderation is the key to a balance diet. Eat the fruit and vegetable rainbow, drink water, get the right portion size, get regular exercise. I could go on but I am sure you catch my drift. 
Any questions just ask. 

Conclusion

As I have said everything in moderation is the key to a balance diet. Eat the fruit and vegetable rainbow, drink water, get the right portion size, get regular exercise. I could go on but I am sure you catch my drift. 
Any questions just ask. 

Ps.

This burger photo was taken after a day and a half of travelling to New Zealand from the UK. It was February and we had left minus degrees to be welcomed with 30 degrees. The burger was delicious but this is not my point. The next day we cycled for around 4 hours and walked a further 2. As I say, everything in moderation.

Find your routine

Following an operation on my hand, I’m currently on sick leave. With the kind of work I do I need two hands to be fully functioning as it is very physical. Now that I am off work, all my routines have gone out the window, and I need to get them back.

Work

Work is so much more than just a source of income. Having been in a bad place, getting my new job last year was a life saver. Both my mind and body are very grateful as they are kept busy. I often don’t have time to think too much (yes I do overthink a lot) and I find it easier to make a quick decision and get on with it.
I was able to settle into a good enough routine, although there were still room for some improvement. But on the whole I felt ok with it all.

Benefits of working

Apart from the obvious, working gives me so much more. It gives me a chance to meet a lot of new and different people every day, each visit means a new challenge (this is due to the work itself, and not the people!). I get to have interesting conversations with people from all walks of lives, and leaving a job with a satisfied customer gives me a great buzz.
My work also takes me around some parts of Scotland, which means I get to visit new places. I love the scenery and get great satisfaction from looking at a loch or a hill or some animals in a field as I drive past or stop for a quick lunch.

What I miss from not working – 3 main things

  1. social interaction with a lot of different people.
    This surprises me, but I realise I miss this aspect of work a lot.
  2. the physical side of things as it often gives me little workouts.
    Apart from missing out on the nice feeling of having a tired body through work, I have unfortunately put on a little weight too. I’m not worried about this, it is just somewhat annoying.
  3. having a routine!
    I can now do what I want and when I want. As nice as it is, I feel a little lost.

Having a good routine works wonders for your mental health

I like to take things as they come, but I’ve also realised that there are certain things I need to have in my life on a regular basis. All my routines, with all the good stuff that really helped me, went out the window the last few years which was a great contributor to me ending up where I did. We were able to rectify a lot of this and I got in to a pretty good routine. For me, this means there is a structure to my days and they are filled with good stuff outside of the things I must do.
Being off work with all the time in the world (and not able to do as much due to the surgery on my right hand) has thrown me a bit. I feel more anxious, perhaps because I have more time to dwell on things, or simply due to lack of interactions. Neither my body or my mind is as tired as it is normally.

Do what is right for you

My advice would be to do as much as you can of what keeps you happy on a daily basis. It is so important to still exercise, eat good and healthy food, go outside for fresh air and sun. Also keep in touch with friends and family. Do not just sit in front of the tv all day. Get out there! Move that body, and keep the mind occupied.

-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

2 Spuds did a presentation

And we were terrified!

I was at work one Wednesday morning preparing to go and teach the early morning spin class. I had texted a friend of mine about tickets for a fitness event at the weekend. His response was something along the lines of “we have had a speaker drop out and the topic is mental health, would you like to do it?”. I was grateful I had a spin class to take my mind off of responding. My immediate thought was it was would be a fantastic platform for 2 Spuds. My next thought was how to pull it off with 3 days notice.

Preparation

I am really lucky that for 11 years (before turning to personal training) my job was to organise international conferences and events. Thankfully my rusty skills knew how to put a presentation together. Over the Wednesday evening I started to put the mental health content into a presentation. About halfway through the evening I went too quiet. Rosie always worries when this happens. The reality of what was in front of us was getting to me. A quick trip to the supermarket for chocolate made the evening pass better. As 2 Spuds often says you need an outlet. That particular evening for me it was chocolate. I finished around midnight but the content was in.

Over to Rosie

Thankfully with Rosie being at home recovering from surgery she could help with the graphics, slide alignment and slide transitions. Rosie spent most of Thursday doing this. Her university background is in computer graphics and the like. She did a really good job with the presentation.

Notes, notes, notes

Our slides had the important facts and figures on them. It was over to me to put my notes together on what I was going to say. This took up most of the Friday. We had also sent the presentation to the event organiser to make sure we were in line with what they were thinking. We had an anxious wait before the organiser got back to us. Luckily all was good and we carried on with our preparations.

Next we ran through it

The next step was to run through what we had with power-point and notes. The first couple of times we did this it was a bit ropy but with practice it improved (thankfully). This took up the majority of Saturday evening.

The funny thing

Here is the funny thing about this presentation and public speaking. I can stand in front of a class of people and take them through a circuit, a indoor cycling or weights class. When it comes to a different event I was terrified. I had a similar feeling before I did my parents 40th wedding anniversary speech. Why is it I can stand in front of a class but then doing a presentation (which is still standing in front of people) can be a terrifying experience?!

Then it was Sunday

Sunday came around fast and we were suddenly in the car going to the event. The first thing we did when we arrived was check out the stage and see where I would be. I tried to be calm through the morning and waited patiently for my slot in the afternoon. Rosie and I had a look at the event, bought some brownies made with sweet potato, had a go at some glute exercises and tried everything to keep my mind off of the presentation. Then it was my turn.

The presentation

We had a few people turn up for the presentation. Not a whole lot which was a shame but a few. I was very nervous. All the other speakers we had watched during the day had completed their presentations without notes. I wasn’t letting go of mine for love nor money. The problem was I had a hand held mic, a slide clicker, my notes, 2 hands and no lectern to balance on. It was multi-tasking at another level. The presentation lasted for around 45 minutes which was excellent.

I was starving!

I hadn’t been able to eat very much from the Wednesday as I was worried about the preparation and outcome of the day. As soon as I was finished I was starving. We had taken snacks with us which was good news and we went for dinner shortly after that. It’s funny how the body show stress. As my presentation said what I had done over the last few days was a short-term stress.

Afterwards

Rosie and I both thought we had done very well with the time we had, the presentation and the actual public speaking. We now of course have a presentation in the 2 Spud filing cabinet which can be tweaked and ready to go whenever it is needed. We also found out post event that it was not very well publicised which would explain why the numbers were low. It has also spurred us on to set up the 2 Spud wellness days for everyone. So in some ways we had both good and bad points from the day and that is good.

-Helen

The road to recovery part 2

Helen’s journey

As we said on Saturday it is time for Helen to give her road to recovery.

My journey

As I have said in a previous blog I suffer from something called Functional Movement Disorder and Dissociation Behaviour. There is a lot of information in that blog about signs and symptoms. Today I want to take you through what it is like to have counselling.

What is a counsellor?

Counsellors are the people who will help you navigate the traumas of life and the curve balls which are thrown at us.  As we have said both Rosie and I have had counselling over the years, and we have different lengths of time in using it as well.  Rosie has had both private and NHS based practice whereas mine was private. My counselling was every week for around two years before I discharged myself.  Counselling has given me the information I needed, my trusty pack of cards and I have been helped through some tricky life turns.  My counselling ended several years ago. In the future if I need it I would go back.

I was scared!

An experience of work place bullying and a loss of identity lead me to counselling. Turning up up to a clinic I hovered outside for a few minutes waiting for my feet (and confidence) to walk me through that door.  My feet eventually took me in, and I went over to the reception desk where I said something along the lines of “I have seen on your website you have counselling facilities, I have no idea what kind I need but I think I need to speak to someone”.  The reception asked if she thought it was a general talking therapy of something called cognitive behavioural therapy.  I said it was probably more a talking therapy as I no idea what the other one was.  I said talking would be a good place to start and if I needed the other one then I was sure that would become apparent.  The receptionist recommended a particular person and an appointment was set up for the following week. 

The counselling room

The following week I turned up in that waiting room and waited for my allocated time.  My counsellor appeared and I was taken upstairs to a room at the back of the building.  The room was red with a big floor to ceiling window and a net curtain.  Through the window I could watch the planes going into London Heathrow too.  Also, in the room there were two armchairs along with a desk and a desk chair.  I decided to sit in one of the armchairs as it looked comfortable.  Next to the armchair was a smaller table with a box of tissues on it.  

A room of safety

This was to become the room of safety, whatever was said in this room was not going to be judged.  I could say whatever I wanted and all that was going to happen was listening from my counsellor and talking by me.  One particular session I sat in my outdoor jacket and winter hat, I can’t remember the ins and outs of why but the counsellor didn’t even bat an eyelid. I was safe so we continued. As I have said it was a safe room at the time, I needed it.  

What did my counsellor do?

My counsellor listened to whatever was troubling me on that day, helped me navigate my troubles back into a reasonable thought and sometimes offered a solution to the problem.  They made me do the work, they didn’t turn around and say this is what you should do, and this is what I think is right. I liked that approach and it worked for me.  

Over the two years

As I have said I was there for about two years and we navigated a lot of different topics from work to family to travelling to love to relationships to Rosie (I had met Rosie a year in) to what other people think to exercise to LGBT issues to what makes me feel good and so on.  I am not going to go into the ins and outs of what was said as that is a very private matter.

My family

Do not let anyone push you into telling you what has been discussed within a counselling meeting.  If you are happy to tell them then do so but do not feel obligated and pressured to do so.  Also, remember that you may not want to tell someone (counsellor, friend or family member) on a Tuesday but may be willing to tell them three weeks the following Tuesday.  The time needs to be right for you.  I am a thinker so I will get to the subject but there may be a gap before I do so.  Many of my friends have referred to me as a closed book or a cryptic clue person.  They are probably the one thinking back now going “oh yes” and now have a good laugh about it. 

Today

Today I have my wife to listen to my rants, issues, personal feelings and so on. I also have my family and friends who I turn to. I learnt through counselling that asking for help is ok. No one is going to judge me for doing that. Depending on the situation I willing tell you the ins and outs of something. However, if I don’t feel like it I will say so and that is fine too.

It needs to be right!

Counselling may be recommended to you to help you. Here is my advice: don’t be ashamed or afraid to take it. Obviously different counsellors have different ways and methods of counselling and that is up to them.  The situation needs to be right for you, no one else.  Just you!

Questions

As we have said both Rosie and I have been through counselling. If you have any questions just send us an email or Facebook chat. We are more than happy to help you out.

-Helen

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