Monthly Archives: February 2015

Exercise and Depression: Staying well

 

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I’ve already talked about Gratitude and Self compassion in relation to how I stay well, so today I thought I’d talk about Exercise. I have to admit I enjoy exercise and it’s always been a part of my life, either running, walking or swimming, but before I became unwell last year I wasn’t really looking after myself, and I was finding very little time to exercise.  During my major depressive episode it was very hard to exercise. A walk around the block would take me half and hour, everything felt so slow and hard, but I kept at it. Some days it was so hard to get out that door, but I would walk the kids to school and preschool, and that felt like an achievement. Each day I built on my walks, going a little further each time. Once I emerged from the depression I started running, and I love to run! I love the sense of freedom, that my body is strong and fit.

I decided as part of my recovery I wanted to improve on my running time, improve my strength and tone up. I started working with a wonderful trainer, Pers from Yummy mummy fitness. I have to admit when I first started I wasn’t very fit! But I really enjoyed the sessions, particularly the boxing. There is nothing like boxing to vent your frustrations for the week and make you feel fabulous! Yummy Mummy fitness also hold boot camp classes, and they are wonderful too! On the holidays I was able to take my kids along with me to the park, and they could play while I exercised, it’s a great option for mums!  Yesterday I did a fitness test with my trainer, and I was so excited to run an extra 200m in my running time trial than when I started out, that’s a huge achievement for me!

I have gained weight while taking anti-depressants, not much, just a few kilos, but I have to be really careful with what I eat, which is so hard some days! I also exercise every single day, I either walk for an hour, or run or do boot camp or work with my trainer. I exercise so much because I enjoy it, and I’m not suggesting at all that anyone else should do so much exercise.  Exercise need not be intensive or exhausting. A recent study by Dr. Andrea Dunn found that patients who did the equivalent of 35 minutes’ walking, six days per week, experienced a reduction in their level of depression by 47 percent.  This study, conducted at the Cooper Research Institute in Dallas, Texas, shows that as little as three hours of regular exercise a week reduces the symptoms of mild to moderate depression as effectively as Prozac and other antidepressants.

Thanks for letting me share my journey with you

Miss Lucy x

For more details regarding Yummy mummy fitness see: http://yummymummyfitness.co.nz/

 

It’s frocktastic friday

I am very excited, and am waiting very patiently (kind of) for the Mary Blair collection coming soon to Pin up girl clothing. Mary Blair was an American artist who produced art and animation for Walt Disney studios. She drew concept art for Peter Pan,  Alice in Wonderland and Cinderella, and created designs for “it’s a small world” at Disneyland.

Pin up girl clothing are bringing out a Mary Blair collection very soon, and my favourite (it’s so hard to narrow it down) has to be the Heidi dress in cat print. I already own a Heidi dress in the Spanish fan print and i love the way it fits. I am small up the top and bottom heavy, and the dress accentuates my good bits, it’s very forgiving and flattering. This dress has the cutest little print of sweet little kittens gathered around a bowl drinking milk, it’s so adorable!

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 For more details see: http://www.pinupgirlclothing.com/

Have a fabulous Friday

Miss Lucy x

Sunday feature: Being grateful

 

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At the start of this year i began a gratitude journal. Research indicates that grateful people are more likely to:

  • take better care of themselves physically and mentally
  • engage in more protective health behaviours and maintenance
  • get more regular exercise
  • eat a healthier diet
  • have improved mental alertness
  • schedule regular physical examinations with their doctor
  • cope better with stress and daily challenges
  • feel happier and more optimistic
  • avoid problematic physical symptoms
  • have stronger immune systems
  • maintain a brighter view of the future

Last year I had a major depressive episode. I’ve never had depression before, so it was quiet a challenging experience. One of the first things I was asked to do by the mental health team was write down everything I was grateful for, I managed to fill in a whole page (something I was grateful for!)! I’m finding it’s all different types of things I am grateful for, not just major life events, I find myself writing about being grateful for sunflowers in my garden, for cuddles with my children in the morning, for good coffee and beautiful dresses. It’s given me a new appreciation for my life, and I am finding that helps me to stay well.

We’ve also started discussing gratitude with our children at dinner. Each night at the dinner table we all take turns talking about our highlights from the day and something we are grateful for. Research indicates that gratitude is one of the biggest predictors of life satisfaction regardless of the demographic, but gratitude does not come naturally to children it is taught. We are finding that the kids are enjoying talking about their day and what they are grateful for, and even when they’ve had a bad day, we find we can always help them to identify something good from that day.

For me it’s a year since I was unwell, and I’m think I’m doing really well. Some days things can be challenging, but I’m finding it gets easier, and being grateful helps me to realise their are so many good things in my life.

Have a lovely day

Miss Lucy x

 

Self compassion

 

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Over the past year i have been learning the skill of self compassion. It’s been out of necessity really, i used to put everyone else’s needs ahead of my own and i ended up becoming unwell. Initially i worked through the book “Self compassion by Kristin Neff”. It was really an eye opening experience, and it helped me learn new skills to care for myself, to be kind to myself and treat myself well. One of the first activities i did from the book was to speak to myself the way i would speak to a good friend who is going through a hard time, and that was really nuturing, it was so nice to encourage and support myself. There is also a Self compassion website with guided meditations, and just about every day I do the Self-compassion/loving kindness meditation. It just allows me to take some time out from my busy life, nurture myself and it helps me to stay well. I’ve struggled in the past as a busy mum, trying to do everything for my family, rushing round like a mad woman on my days off trying to fit in a million things. Now i just take things at my own pace, if the house isn’t tidy, or if i don’t make it to the post office today, i can always go tomorrow, and this slower pace is so much nicer!

If you want to explore self compassion check out: http://www.self-compassion.org/

Have a lovely day

Miss Lucy x

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