Energy on the Rise

I’ve had a good week. I have been dedicated to doing my runs — I’m now at 3 minute running intervals. And, with my new tracker, I have also been dedicated to making sure I have 10,000 steps per day. This has been a very helpful motivator for me on days where I have no plans and I would often stay in bed. This week, at least, I’ve beat the temptation. And the more I am active, the more I feel like being active. Yay!

I’ve been reading a lot lately on the benefits of exercise for depression and other mental illnesses. And the benefits for the brain in general. I find it helpful to think in terms blazing new pathways in my brain and how I have to keep reinforcing them to make them strong and replace the old, well-worn paths.

So that’s where I am right now. Finding my way out of the funk of winter and easing my way back to an active lifestyle with walks and short running intervals.

Hope you are well!

Better Days

A friend just pointed out that it has been over a month since my last post, which was a sad one. I’m happy to report that many days since then have been better. I’m starting to suspect that SAD impacts my depression and the weird hours of my job are exacerbating this. The good news is that spring is supposedly on the way… Despite all the snow today!

I’m starting to feel a bit more energized and have started doing more regular exercise. Yoga and running – for real this time! I’ve talked a lot about running in the past and how I wanted to get back to running half marathons, something I did prior to my major depressive breakdown. After several years of setting myself up for failure with my big goals, I’ve taken things back to the beginning with much more success. For the last month I’ve been running intervals for about half an hour, one to three times a week. At first I did intervals of one minute walking, one running, and now I’ve done a couple of weeks at two minutes running, one walking. It’s nice, manageable, pushes me gently and makes me feel better. I’m up to 3.75 km and should have a nice base in place when I can finally start running outside (once the snow melts).

I’ve also just bought myself a Fitbit to encourage myself to stay active. I’ve had it for a week and it’s been clear that I have some very inactive days. I’m hoping to start evening this out by tracking my steps. I’m also reading the book Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain and it makes quite the case for regular exercise to treat depression. I’ll write more on this once I finish the book.

Bye for now and take care!

Sorry for my neglect!

Hello all,

Sorry to be so absent lately! I’ve really neglected my blog!

There are many reasons — some good, some bad. Overall, I’ve not been so depressed lately so I haven’t felt the burning need to write. Also, it has been summer, so I think all the sun has helped and I’ve been a little busier.

I have, however, struggled a lot with anxiety. However, it is anxiety that is very much based on my current circumstances, not my brain acting up.

So I’m okay overall, much better this week than two weeks ago. Also, I’ve been really, really social, which is great.

But there are a few things that are really lacking right now, namely, exercise! I’ve been meaning all summer to get back to running, swimming and cycling and I just keep procrastinating. I’ve done some yoga, but nothing else, so this has to change.

So, to give myself the kick in the butt that I need, I’ve issued myself a 40 day challenge. Because 40 days is apparently the length of time it takes to start developing a new habit.

My 40 day exercise challenge:

I will do some form of cardio exercise for 30 minutes every day for 40 days.

I start tomorrow! Wish me luck or, even better, join me and we can support each other! 🙂

Psyching myself up to run

I’ve been meaning to start running again and have made a couple of false starts over the past month or two. Today I tried again.

I’ve actually signed myself up to run a half-marathon. Something I haven’t done in almost five years, and since many pounds ago.

Now that I’m finally over my cold, today I took steps to get myself outside to run. It took an extraordinary amount of mind games to do so.

Step 1:
I brought my running shoes in from the car yesterday and left them by the door where I could see them.

Step 2:
After a missed workout and headache this afternoon, I napped and then ate veggies and perked up.

Step 3:
I put on my running gear and went outside.

Step 4:
It started to rain literally the moment I went out the door! A sudden heavy rain. Way to test my resolve! Did I continue or go back inside? Would the rain last long? I knew it had taken weeks to get me to the point of putting on my running shoes and getting out the door, so I decided to continue. I looked in the direction I was planning to run and there weren’t so many clouds that way, so I hoped for the best, telling myself that I would simply run around the block if the rain got heavier.

Step 5:
It turned out to be isolated showers so the beginning was the worst of it. I was glad I had continued on. I started running towards the paths as I’m not so close to them anymore. I ran past people on their lawns and had it in my head that they were laughing at someone as fat as me out trying to run. I kept going.

Step 6:
I set out to run four 5-minute sets with one minute walking breaks in between. Set one: okay. Set two: okay. Set three: my heart rate was really elevated and I was out of breath, I ran two minutes and then walked a few minutes. I passed a lot of young people who I again had in my head as laughing at me – and I said to myself – so what? I could notice that my walking breaks were jauntier and I had to start somewhere. If I let what other people thought (or what I imagined they thought) get in my way, I’d only get more and more out of shape.

Step 7:
I was getting tired but I decided to fit in more spurts of running. Run two minutes and then you can walk again, run from this stoplight to the next stoplight and then you can walk again, one more block to get home, you can run that.

So I did it. I ran and walked for a total of 3.44 kilometres in 31 minutes. Sure I used to run 5 km in the same amount of time with longer stretches of running. But that wasn’t important.

Running is a mind game as much as it is about your body. Today the real goal was to just go outside and run however far I could get in 25-30 minutes.

Mission accomplished.

Next goal: to repeat this within the next two days.

June Challenge: Week 1 Recap

I continued on with my challenge, but struggled a little late in the week. I haven’t gone running again (need to break the mental block), but I have done other exercise. I also relied on lattes for energy a lot late in the week.

I’m going to start a new challenge tomorrow. I haven’t finalized it, but I plan to address a few things that keep tripping me up. The biggest is this: No Naps.

We will see how it goes. As for today, I had a really good day and I am feeling pleasantly tired after a day well spent.

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June Challenge: Day 3

Today was unorthodox, but good overall.

Highlights:
– worked well
– doing great with cutting lattes from my daily routine
– laughed at my cat who started purring and walking under me when I was doing a downward dog
– felt like I was floating around when I walked around the office during the day, a really good feeling in my body after running yesterday.

Fails:
– ice cream for dinner
– napping all evening

Things I’m okay with:
– Not running today. I had planned to, but I don’t think my muscles had recovered from yesterday. I think running should be every other day for now as I don’t want injuries.
– Cleaning and stretching and meditating in the early morning hours. I woke up after my long nap and felt like doing some of the cleaning tasks I had neglected. I cleaned the kitty litter, gathered the clothes from the floor and put them all in the hamper for the wash, checked that I had something to wear tomorrow, and loaded the dishwasher. And I’m trying out the delay feature for the first time. If all works well, the dishwasher should go on when I need to wake up for work!

I’m feeling relaxed and ready to head back to bed now. And I’ve got a few ideas for tomorrow on how to make sure I don’t nap and miss my team sport.

Good night! 🙂

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June Challenge: Day 2

I did it! I was disciplined and I went to the gym after work. And I ran!

I’m easing myself back into long distance running, so today I did a combination of running and walking for 30 minutes. For some annoying reason, treadmills in Canada seem to be set in miles more often than not, which doesn’t mean much to me. But it said I did 2.05 miles, which is about 3.3 km. Not a bad start! I did two stretches of running 5 minutes straight to begin, but then slowed down some as my body wasn’t ready for more and I was getting a bit dizzy. So for the rest of the time I did a mix of 1, 2 and 3 minute running sets.

I was also social and went out with two friends. 🙂

The only missed goal today was being on time for work. But considering I was struggling to go at all after insomnia last night, I’d say that is a win because the key thing is that I went.

Overall, the day was great despite the pouring rain. I have some new work projects that are more engaging, and I got a lot done today while still feeling relaxed.

I think the key to today’s success was this: I didn’t go straight home after work where the temptation to sleep always seems to set in. I went straight to my workout and then out to meet my friends, so my energy didn’t have a chance to dip.

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