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!

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Re-finding my yoga mat

Today, after a few months off, I re-found my yoga mat. It feels so good to be back.

Why did I stop? Well, mostly due to pain in my arm that made yoga difficult and frustrating and my crazy work schedule which makes it hard to stick to a routine. Oh, and it is expensive and I’m still trying to get back on track financially.

These are all true, but the thing is, with all the conflict, stress and long hours, I really need yoga now more than ever.

Today after a really long sleep I woke up and decided that it was time to just get on the mat at home. I’ve trained as a yoga teacher. I know what to do. I can adjust the routine to work around injuries and aches and pains.

So I put on a meditative music cd, stepped onto my mat, and just did a free flow of whatever poses I felt like in the moment. It was so great!

It’s unfortunate that I lost yoga for these past few months, as I’m sure it would have really helped with the stress.

But I’ve found it now, and it feels good. I plan to try to get on my mat every day now. Any length of time, no routine to memorize and follow. Just be present and move.

Namaste! 🙂

Withdrawn

If I had to sum up the past week, I would say withdrawn. I’ve been very anti-social and apart from some short burst of energy I have been staying home and alternating between watching TV and sleeping. I’ve been sleeping a lot.

Which makes me wonder what is going on and if this is just situational or a concern. Or if it’s just the transition period as I lower my medications.

By and large, I think it is related to my current situation. I’m not working and finances are beyond stretched. So I avoid going out, avoid invitations because they mean spending money I don’t have… I even ignored an invitation to visit a cottage this weekend because I didn’t think I had enough gas to make it there and back. Not that I explained this!

I cannot tell you how unbelievably stressful it is to be penniless. It casts a pall of worry over everything and constant stress.

But:

I know that I have done everything I currently can do about this.

And:

There is just one more week to go, and then I have my permanent job.

Also:

Not going outside and not using yoga classes and fitness passes that were already paid for simply hurts me with no benefit.

So. This week, I need to turn things around. Get ready to go back to the work force and revive my energy.

The plan: 8 x 8 energizing days

I need to get myself back in order so that I’m ready to return to work. So, I’ve taken a page from my old 10 x 10 challenge, and set myself some clear goals.

For the next eight days, I will do these eight things.

  1. Get up and shower by 9 am
  2. Go outside in the morning for at least 10 minutes
  3. Do some form of exercise
  4. Spend 10 minutes planning finances and/or brown bag lunches for work
  5. Go outside in the afternoon for at least 10 minutes
  6. Meditate for any length of time
  7. Eat a veggie meal
  8. Avoid napping. If I start to feel sleepy I can:
    • take a walk
    • go outside
    • eat fruit
    • do five sun salutations
    • blog
    • drink tea or coffee
    • watch TV
    • clean something
    • etc.

Here’s to a good week!

A day well spent

I left the house today and really, that is the key to a good day I think. I had no expectations of myself except that I wanted to go to a free outdoor yoga class and I wanted to ride my bike there.

Here’s my day:
-slept in
-showered
-rode my bike to the park
-did outdoor yoga
-rode my bike to a coffee shop for lunch and an iced latte
-rode home
-relaxed and blogged etc
-rode my bike for about 3 km
-settled down on under a shady tree and studied for two hours while enjoying the sounds of the birds and dogs, and the views of grass and trees and water
-returned home
-relaxed on my patio

In all I probably had about 5 hours of productivity but I feel so good, like I accomplished some great things today. Mostly, today was a success in continuing to build new paths in my brain, hoping that I develop this leisurely approach to my free schedule as a habit. Yay!

A beautiful sunny day

Today I put some of my spare time to good use and had some fun in the sun.

It is a gorgeous sunny day with bright blue skies and I finally took my bike out of storage for a ride. I also went to an outdoor yoga class. It definitely helped bring me some of the peace I’ve been lacking this week. The mat got quite hot a few times and I hope I didn’t get a sunburn, but the sun felt so nice on my skin.

I’m so glad I got out of the house and realized how great the outdoors make me feel. I think I need to start thinking of my time off as summer vacation so that I make the most of it.

That said, I need to study for a job interview this afternoon, so I plan to combine that with a bike ride and relaxation under a tree. 🙂

Personal Conflict

I’ve had a stressful few days with personal conflict hovering over me.

I am one to try and avoid conflict, to the point that I stress myself out and hide from the world.

The conflict was with a person who called my integrity into question and also had a very passive-aggressive way of doing so.

It stressed me out so much that I stayed in bed all day yesterday, trying to sleep away the day but only able to do so in fits and starts because I wasn’t tired. My jaw was permanently clenched and I developed a terrible tension headache. Not the best way to spend a national holiday!

Today was the first day I would see this person since the conflict arose and I was stressed. How would I deal with this?

While yesterday was unfortunate, I’m happy with how today went. In the morning I noticed whenever tension was coming on and told myself to breathe and relax. I kept saying it to myself as a sort of mantra. Breathe, stay calm, release your shoulders, be constructive. An angry confrontation wouldn’t solve anything.

I am proud that I managed this for the most part. And while I didn’t approach the person right away, I did so in a calm way and smoothed things over.

My second inclination was to hold a grudge. I was mad and I was tempted to let all my future interactions with that person show this. But I kept reminding myself – who is hurt by negativity and hostile feelings? Me. This was the other person’s “stuff” or issues. It wasn’t worth it for me to carry those feelings around.

This conflict was resolved peacefully, but I don’t think I will be able to trust this person anymore. But it was definitely a learning experience, and I’m glad that my mindfulness and yoga training helped me deal with the issue so constructively.

Back on track

It’s been a tough couple of weeks with a lot of changes and a bit of backsliding, depression-wise. So it’s time to take action.

I’ve created a new challenge so that I can focus on doing things for the next week. Hopefully that will help kick start me into a new summer routine. I want to start running again. And I haven’t gone beyond the first run I took in April!

Some of you may remember my first One Week Challenge in November. Or my 10 x 10 Challenge in January.

I’ve found them to be pretty motivational so I’m hoping for the same this week.

Here is the plan for my June Challenge:

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We’ll see how it goes. One point of progress, this time “get out of bed” isn’t one of the accomplishments, which means I’ve come a long way! 🙂