2 Spuds in a Pod

Looking after your mental and physical wellbeing.

Tag: positivity

Positivity vs Negativity

What is it?

According to the dictionary positivity is defined as:

“the practice of being or tendency to be positive or optimistic in attitude.”

And according to the dictionary negativity is defined as:

“the expression of criticism of or pessimism about something.”

People

People tend to either sit in the positive club which usually means you feel happy go lucky most of the time, or the other side which is the negative club where you don’t feel so happy go lucky. I feel the best way to do it is to have a little be of positivity and a little bit of negativity. A bit like a seesaw for example. Somewhere you can adapt your attitude depending on the situation. I think it is healthy to have a little bit of both. Sometimes you will feel positive but it is ok to feel negative as well.

Let me explain

My general personality is to be positive most of the time. Rosie often refers to me like the Duracell Bunny. Someone who can be positive and active twenty-fours a day and seven days a week. However, she is also pleasantly surprised when I do have a negative thought as she remarks that I am only human after-all. Rosie’s personality was more negative than positive. At the height of her illness it was negative twenty-four hours a day seven days a week and that is something that can rub off on a carer like myself when I was looking after her. Today Rosie is much more positive and she has worked hard to get to this, and she will continue to do so. Together we find we have the right mix.

Negative people can bring you down

It is very true. If someone is negative most of the time and you hang out with them most of the time, then at some stage it is going to make you feel a little down. You have probably heard of the term “vampire friend”. This is someone who zaps your energy after you visit them for a cup of coffee as they spend the whole session talking about themselves and their negative thoughts. Yes, they ask you upon arrival how you are and you say “I’m fine”. Inside you are thinking I want to tell them you’re engaged, I’m going on holiday in three months to Thailand and that Henry (the pet bunny) is sick. But after “I’m fine” that is as far as you get. They then spend the next few hours discussing their situation even if it happened six years ago. You start to wonder why you are so tired, drained, in need of a nap or some “me-time”. That is the basics of it. Your friend (either consciously or sometimes unconsciously) has zapped your energy.

Vampire friend

To some degree it isn’t their fault. Some people may not even be aware that they zap your energy and it will take a very well worded conversation to tell them so. However, I need to stress that you need to choose your time wisely with this. Some people at the height of the mental illness may be negative and I feel they need some time to work through this. It is ok. My point is the people who are dealing with the same issue from ten years ago and are struggling to move on may be more negative than others. There may be ways to help them but they are unwilling to take sometimes simple steps to get there.

Rosie’s negativity

As I say at the height of Rosie’s mental health breakdown she was negative a lot of the time. However, it was more her Depressive Illness talking than Rosie. I would say something like “lets go for a drive and a walk”. Rosie would answer with it is raining, the sun isn’t shining, it will be cold, the clouds are grey, I don’t want to go”. Can you see the difference? It may have been raining but I knew that a walk in the fresh air would do her good. Today even though she still has her Depressive Illness she is much more positive and isn’t stuck two years ago going over and over the bad stuff. She turned the negative into a positive.

How to turn negativity to positivity

Most people who come into contact with me remark that I am a positive person. I have learnt over the years that being positive helps me deal with whatever situation I need to go through. As a person I tend to want to make people laugh too. Usually I will try and tell a silly joke with an obscure punchline, I will do a silly dance or attempt to do the “floss dance craze” from last year and so on. This is my point. I can’t do the “floss dance” for love nor money but it makes Rosie laugh at my attempt and therefore I do it. I find if you are laughing you are going to be fine.

Laughing

Did you know that there are laughter clubs around (and no I don’t mean comedy clubs). There are special groups where you can go and laugh. There is even laughter Yoga. Now if you can’t get to a laughter club near you then there are several options. Watch a comedy on tv, listen to a comedian doing their thing or hang out with friends. Try anything to make yourself laugh. It doesn’t matter what negativity you are going through just try to find the positive.

Benefits of laughter

Yes, benefits! Laughter can relax the whole body as well being good for your muscles and heart. It can also help your immune system and release endorphins (the happy chemical). It can make you turn that frown upside down too. I mean what more could you want. Find something funny, get laughing and try to gain a new perspective on whatever was negative.

-Helen

Coming back from illness

We have spoken a lot about mental health on these blogs but today I wanted to change the tone a little bit and look at coming back from an illness. I have brought myself back from one through good nutrition, exercise, sleep and looking after myself.

Ouch, something isn’t right

I had woken up on a Monday morning not feeling quite right but well enough to go into work. I completed the day with a slightly sore stomach, nauseous and a ghost white face. People kept asking if I was ok and I would answer with I am sure it is a 24-hour thing and nothing to be concerned about. Little did I realise at this point what was about to happen. The Tuesday morning, I woke up and was to go and do my final training run for a duathlon I was to take part in at the weekend. I had been training for months and had finally managed to get my 5k up to scratch and master the run-to-bike-to-run transition. Rosie was ready to go and was waiting with a half a banana energy boost to get us going. I didn’t touch the banana noting that I wasn’t very hungry. Now if you know me then you will know that I am constantly hungry, I blame it on all the exercise I get. People will know that if I am not hungry then something is very, very wrong. So out to the park we go on this run and I am not feeling like moving at all. I say to Rosie to run ahead and I will walk/run and see what happens. I was very aware this was the last training session and I was still thinking this was a 24-hour thing that should go away shortly.

Oh no!

But oh no. The pain intensified in my left side and by the time Rosie had completed her run and was returning to me she noticed I was walking with bent in the middle on the left-hand side. Rosie immediately took charge and we phoned the GP. Off we popped to get a check-up. Then it all went downhill.  From the basic observations the GP did, we were sent straight to A&E and within a few hours of being there I was in emergency surgery. It turned out that I had a cyst on one of my ovaries which had burst and in turn had inflamed everything in its path including my appendix. The surgeons had to clean up the mess, take out my appendix and sew me back together again.

I’m still doing the duathlon

I woke up from surgery and the first two questions were; where was Rosie and am I going to be ok to run at the weekend. Once I had found Rosie, who had been busy drinking coffee and pacing the hospital corridors, I turned my attention to the fact I would be running, cycling and running at the weekend. The doctors, the nurses, Rosie and my family were all saying no, it would not be the case, but I was determined to get better in 4 days and ready to go. I am going to blame the painkillers entirely on this irrational thinking. Apparently according to Rosie and the nurses I was on cloud 9 and having a whale of a time there.

I didn’t take part

Although I tried, I admitted in the end that it was not going to happen with me taking part in the duathlon. All my hard work, training, preparing of the bike, buying new trainers, eating the nutritional plan we had been set and so on was lost. I would still be at the event on the Sunday, but I would be there as a spectator cheering Rosie on from start to finish.  I cannot explain to you the devastation of being at the event and not being able to take part. It was heart-breaking.

The medal

On the upside I asked the event organisers if I could still have my medal. I explained what had happened and as a consultation price I got it. I just felt that with all the training and particularly that fact I had come from not running a centimetre but to running two full 5k’s this was a big moment for me. Luckily the person I spoke to understood the situation as well.

Recovery

This was long and involved a lot of patience. As Rosie kept saying it takes times for the body to heal, you need to be nice to it and her favourite saying to me was “don’t be an idiot!”. Again, for those of you who know me will know that I do not sit still for long periods of time. I always find some washing up to do, a room that needs tidied, a gym programme that needs me to experiment with, the grass needed cutting, and the list goes on. So, to put me under enforced bed rest from both Rosie and my mother, it took a great deal of patience on my part to get better.

A lot of walking

I realised early on in my recovery that I could walk without much discomfort and that is what I did. I started going around the block which was a matter of five minutes or so in the early days and then progressed back up to that 5k one which would take a good hour or so. Luckily for me this happened in a September and it was one of those sunny and warm ones. I just kept walking my way back to health.

Further training to recovery

After I had myself back at the hour of walking, I went on to using a spin bike in the gym followed by some light weights. The abs exercises came last. I had had key hold surgery which is much better than having a full one but still they had to go through my six pack muscles which meant I had to wait for that to heal before doing any crunches. I managed to modify a lot of the ab exercises I did. From doing plank on my knees, to concentrating on the deep muscles during a bridge I worked my way back into crunches, bicycles, leg extensions and so on. I would keep the sets and reps low as I built it up again, but I got there in the end.

Positivity

Throughout my hospital trip, recovery and beyond I tried to stay positive in what I was doing. I knew it was going to be a long and hard recovery and I knew at times I would be in discomfort and wanting to rush into things too soon. But I also was aware that was lucky that in that grand plan we call life I would get there. This is the main point: if you put your mind towards something you will achieve it. Whether that is running a 5k, coming back from illness, getting out of bed in the morning and so on. Trying to stay positive will help get you there.

Duathlon

Just in case you are wondering. I unfortunately never made it back to take part in the duathlon but that was more the fact I moved away from the area than anything else. One day I may decide to do one. You never know.

-Helen

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