Finally, after a couple of months the black clouds have finally lifted, I have made some gains on the black dog!
Winter and in particularly Christmas is a hard time for me mentally , I think it’s a mixture of a number of the following things;
- Dark evenings and less sunlight
- More social interaction which drains me as an introvert
- Family issues, although it’s not fair that I elaborate on this here
- Over excited and often times naughty kids
- Less exercise
- Eating lots of rubbish processed foods
Added to this list this year was the passing of my wife’s Nan, my mother in law being admitted to hospital with pancreatitis and the dreaded general election. The general election issues where more my fault though for posting silly memes and not expecting a backlash. Having said that everyone did get very heated over it. Anyway this is not the place for politics.
Anyway, enough of that stuff, it feels like finally the sunshine has come out in my life once again, I’m starting to feel that buzz about me, lets hope it lasts. I thought I would break down some of my life lessons from this winter that have helped pass those clouds.
After a Christmas break to ‘reset’ the body I am back on it with a training plan on Zwift, more can be read about that with this link…Escape To Watopia.
I have also taken part in RED January where you promise to be active every day in January to promote mental health issues and to help your own mental health. Many also raise money for the Mind charity too, although I’m not pushing that myself as I know many struggle financially after Christmas, myself included.
You are what you eat
I have also returned to my healthy eating, I started this a few months back but it lapsed at Christmas. I read a book by Dr. Megan Rossi, the gut health doctor, entitled Eat Yourself Healthy.
I first heard Megan on the Chris Evans breakfast show, she sounded so knowledgeable I immediately pre-ordered her book, the first time I have ever done that, so she really did sell it to me. Megan was talking about how nurturing the bacteria in your gut can be beneficial and how the gut is linked to the brain with the ‘gut – brain axis’. It was so interesting, once I received the book I was glued to it!
I used some of the tests and found I had an issue with lactose. Cutting out lactose and introducing flax seeds to my morning porridge totally transformed me when it comes to the toilet (sorry to be gross), I also found out about low FODMAP foods. This has helped me to control my tummy issues which I now know is IBS through taking Megan’s online test. There is a code within the book that allows you to access tonnes of online content too.
I learnt so much about nutrition and I have also decided to give up meat, I don’t miss it at all, in fact I never been a great lover of meat. The final push was watching a great documentary on Netflix called ‘Game Changers’, check it out. So with no meat and no dairy I guess I’m an accidental vegan! I’m not strict on it, I love the odd burger but it really has made me feel much healthier.
Just a week back on having a healthy nutritious diet, with the odd treat, and tracking my calories on the ‘my fitness pal’ app I have lost 3lbs! I initially lost nearly 3 stone when I gave up running but have plateaued, I know plan to move at least another stone off.
If you read my blog back in December you would have heard how I had a bit of a falling out with a friend from our running club after a comment on social media. Firstly I’ve learnt a couple of lessons, don’t put up memes etc or political posts and expect no backlash and secondly that any communication in the form of text can easily be misconstrued. When it comes to text there are no facial expressions, no tone of voice etc. you really have to be careful what you say. I don’t think that the dark days I was going through helped as the comments went around my head for weeks and really played on my mind. Since then I have seen my friend as he was competing in an ultra marathon I was marshalling. He such a great guy, he came over to me, during the start as the clock was ticking and took time to ask me if everything was OK with us, stretched out his arms and give me a massive hug. I welled up a little, it was such a nice thing to do and all of that pain just melted away. Thank you, I won’t name you but you know who you are and I hope we never have any bad blood again, I will surely be careful not to be such an idiot on social media.
I have also promised myself and my wife to not use Facebook as much. However I still want to be there to allow people to see my updates on my page, keep in contact with some I don’t see often and use some of the handy groups. What I don’t need though is to post stuff that insights jealous comments that bring negativity into my life, to post stuff that may upset people or in fact to post stuff that may make my life look rosier than it sometimes is and cause jealousy or resentment. Unless it’s about my blog or running, you’ll see a lot less of me.
This morning, for the first time ever we all went to a ParkRun this morning in the beautiful Irchester Country Park, the whole family, my wife Kerry, our two boys Oliver and Joshua and our border collie Daisy. Oliver has high functioning autism and getting him out of the house is a huge mission but we know when he is out he loves it. We worked hard to convince him to come with us, we promised it was a walk not a run.
We finally got out and just made it to the start line in time, the boys, especially Oliver where very excited by all the dogs, Oliver tells us he is a dog whisperer and he can communicate with them! After his reluctant start he was now jumping up and down flapping his arms in excitement. He then decided he wanted to run with his brother and encouraged us to run, we were going for a walk and in jeans, not exactly running gear! However the enthusiasm melted away by just under a mile and turned into a “my legs are aching” moment from them both so we decided to take a shortcut back to the car park. I didn’t want to force the matter of getting round, I wanted it to be a good experience for Oliver.
I plan on now making Saturday ‘family ParkRun (or walk) day’. We will make it a regular thing, get the boys in a routine with it, build it up to a run/walk and hopefully by the end of the year we can run as a family. Not just a hobby we can share, dog included but make it a part of life’s routine to all become happier and healthier.
Winding it up
Well that’s about it for now before I bore you all to death. I will be blogging more and have just been sent a book to review by a publisher that I will type up when I’ve read it. I have also found this has helped me by getting stuff down on paper and also keep my brain focused. Another thing I have to focus on is my study, yesterday I started the first course of my professional accounting qualification, another part of the ‘new me’ as I open new doors and work on improving my life for me and my family.
As always, feel free to comment below and please share to help get the mental health conversation going and break down the stigma.