Prepare a bed of rocket lettuce on a plate. Scatter the remaining ingredients over the bed of rocket. Splash some balsmic vinegar and drizzle of extra virgin olive oil with a few grinds of seasoning. Prep time about 7 minutes and voila! Sumptous nutritious brainfood to keep you going through your working day.
I have been to some dark dark places in my mind. I have travelled to the centre of a black hole of depression right into the heart of its singularity from which no light escapes. If it wasn’t a phonecall to my friend Steve at the critical time then it could have been oh so different. He saved my life (and I had saved his – a few years back).
It’s a different experience for different people and affects people in differing degrees and profundity. The medical protocols can have quite an impact but the aim of any practitioner is to support independence and freedom of living, management of the condition and functional wellbeing.
Often, those who have a mental health issue have accompanying challenges. It is known amongst this cohort they have the highest levels of wanting to work but the lowest levels of in work rates. Issues such as employment, making work work for them, substance abuse, complex family issues and housing needs all burn at the same time in somesort of crucible.
It is added pressure to those who are already stressed and in need. Needless to say a lot of the services have been cut. A lot of the support that exists beyond your GP – who isn’t a specialist – can be hard to travel to, and costly to get there. Across London, there are a patchwork of services and organisations – charities or otherwise doing the best they can to mitigate the problem but provision needs to have more concerted thinking and delivery.
I am fortunate, that in my part of the Borough, services are joined up to a greater degree but when you walk out that door, you walk out alone – and then it hits you. You’re on your own, trying to survive and this is a test of your own leadership to solve. You have to be leader to lead yourself out of what can be a quagmire. And if you can make it, anyone can.
You have the desire but perhaps something is stopping you.
You understand the benefits of getting active but are constantly putting it off. You’ve heard the individuals, organisations and celebrities extolling the virtues of an active lifestyle. You understand but feel overwhelmed.
I’d like to share my experience of getting fit. I’m biased here as I have always been active in some shape or form. I just love exercise and try to fit in what I can when I can and perhaps you can do it too.
First of all, start small, then make incremental increases. Starting small can mean doing chores at home; gardening, climbing the stairs between ironing, dancing to music, parking your car a little further away from the your local supermarket or carrying reasonably heavy shopping back to the car.
Increase the frequency; have different days of varying intensity such as light, moderate and tiring. There is a concept in health and fitness called “Perceived Exertion Level”. This basically means trust your judgement as to how intense or physically demanding the activity is you are taking part in. If you feel it’s making you tired then the chances are you are working your body – and that’s a good thing.
It’s a fairly reliable indicator of exertion in the absence of any wearable tech. Use that as a guide and – use your common sense. Keep a diary of your activity. This can be a pen and paper journal or electronic notepad. Most mobiles come with software that allow your to make notes or journal. Once you’ve completed the activity make a note or perhaps put it into somesort of calendar for reference.
One you have tracked your activity, this will give you the facts on frequency. Make a note of how tired you feel afterwards. You can also start cataloguing your sleep and your moods if you are going through a stressful period. It all helps with the ‘Mind – Body’ connection.
Keep going. Keep making incremental increases or undertake more challenges once you’ve built up enough confidence. You’ll find that soon you’ll build a virtuous cycle. Do not beat yourself up if things get in the way and you have not been as active as you’d like to. It’s normal to have emergencies, lazy days or otherwise known as rest days. This is an invaluable opportunity to recover, rest, recharge and regroup. Taking adequate rest is an important part of the health and wellbeing equation.
Do not underestimate the power of nutrition and sleep. If you’re a family and have a baby, or young children then you may think this isn’t going to work for me. Just think about the activity of loading and unloading a buggie from your car, take turns as parents to push it round a circuit of your local park or as you wind round Ikea.
You may be able to ask your partner for some time off from running your household to go out for a walk or cycle ride. Indeed this will benefit your family in the long run as you are acting as a team to support your household and it’s important that as a couple you both takes turns to be rested. You’ll both be more resilient in the long run and you’ll be doing your bit for the environment.
So, just get started and ACT for your own health and wellbeing and for your kids.
If you want to read more about the subject of health and wellbeing I recommend anything by Patrick Holford and Dr. Michael Mosley.