2 Spuds in a Pod

Looking after your mental and physical wellbeing.

Tag: habits

Gratitude

With all the bad stuff going on in our lives and the world, it is easy to forget that we all have a lot to be grateful for. This ties in with my reflections over the last years, and how positive I now feel about the future.

2 years ago

2 years ago I was not in a very good place. I had been signed off work with depression/low mood and we had moved from London to Scotland without any plans regarding housing or employment. At this point I was very much crying every day, getting upset for every little thing or nothing in particular. Everything became a real struggle, everything stressed me out and I found it difficult to to the simplest of things such as cooking and food shopping. Most days were spent at home, not doing anything at all apart from waiting for Helen to come home from work.

Changes made

I was lucky to be able to make 2 fundamental changes: move away from London and eventually resigning from the police. It is so clear now that this had such a negative impact on my mental health, with the job that I did being the main culprit.
What has also become a lot more important, which we have both recognised, is the need for me-time. This can be anything: reading, listening to music and drinking coffee. It simply means doing all the good things that you love to do, that makes you tick, that you’ve stopped doing because you’re too stressed or there is just not enough time in the day.

Physical health

Exercise had gone out the window completely. I went from cycling/running to work with several yoga and gym sessions in the week to doing absolutely no exercise. I am now going to the gym on a semi-regular basis, and I make sure that I get as much time outside as I can, be it gardening or walking or simply drinking coffee in the garden.

Mental health

Looking back I believe I have always been anxious but have managed it well, and as we know anxiety and depression always go hand in hand. When this all kicked off I was crying several times every day, often for no reason. I was prescribed anti-depressants which really do help, and I am now also having CBT sessions as well as seeing a counsellor every week. There is definitely a change in perspective happening which means I am now feeling a lot more hopeful, happy, energised and excited about the future.

Work and home

I enjoy the work that I do and I no longer dread going back to work after a few days off. Where we live outside Glasgow is so much nicer than where we were in London, and it also has a garden. Going from a small flat on the second floor in a house between the 2 flight paths into Heathrow (yes this means there was a plane over our head at least every 30 seconds) to our current place is magical (and quieter).

Gratitude

I have so much to be grateful for! We all do, and I believe we need to make a habit of recognising this. Rather than complaining about all the bad stuff, which brings you and everyone else down, appreciate and acknowledge what you have. If its not what you want then you need to have a serious conversation with yourself/those around you and bring about changes. Simple. But very hard.

I hope you all have a great week. Practice being grateful.

-Rosita

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

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