I saw this on someone else social media today and wanted to share as it vocalises what anxiety feels like so perfectly for me.
I don’t know the person who wrote this but really worth a read.
I saw this on someone else social media today and wanted to share as it vocalises what anxiety feels like so perfectly for me.
I don’t know the person who wrote this but really worth a read.
This week I started two weeks of Paleo based eating. I’m currently on day 5 and feel like I’m starting to get into a rhythm with it. The first couple of days I find hunger always hits a little no matter how much I eat and I often feel a bit of a drop in energy as my body adjusts to not having some of the things it’s used to.
I’ve tried to keep my meals varied with eggs, chicken, pork, salmon, different vegetables, salad and fruits as well as nuts and so far haven’t missed chocolate too much- although all the nice cakes and biscuits people keep leaving in the kitchen at work don’t make this easy! Thankfully I normally drink black coffee so the lack of milk isn’t too much of an issue.
The reason I’m doing this is that I’ve decided to work through the 8 week Jump 4.2 Programme with Ricky Long.
I’ve trained with Ricky for a couple of years and his coaching has always extended beyond simply giving you a training plan, so he has encouraged the formation of numerous habits and mindset shifts for me in that time.
This has allowed me to be in a position where I am able to be involved in helping support those who are going through (and have previously gone through) Jump.
I realised however that what I haven’t yet done however is actually fully work through the full 8 weeks from start to finish in the format and order the programme lays them out in myself. This is something I felt would be both useful in allowing a greater understanding of the challenges within the programme so I can provide more support whilst also continuing to work on my own mindset, habits and fitness.
I haven’t started the workouts or mindset work as yet but plan to get going with that this weekend.
I’m committing this down on my blog to hold myself accountable to you for the next 8 weeks and plan to keep a regular diary of my progress on here over the coming weeks.
If you have any questions about what I’m doing please contact me and I’ll be happy to answer anything you may want to know.
Over the last two weeks I’ve taken on my own little personal challenge.
I think I’ve mentioned before how I struggle with my flexibility (I know planks of wood that bend more) and as much as I’m aware I need to work on this and it’s something I would always say to clients and class members it’s an area of my health that I neglect.
With this in mind and knowing that tightness in my hip and quad is very probably the cause of a recent knee injury I sign up for a twelve week yoga course. Several things appealed to me about this course.
So far I’ve practiced three times in week one, twice on week two and once so far this week (week three) although I intend to get another two to three sessions in this week.
In my head when I signed up I said to myself – I will practice every single day. That obviously hasn’t happened, but that’s OK, because I’ve gone from zero mobility work to 50 minutes plus a week over the last couple of weeks. However you look at it, that is progress.
Another thing that I have gleaned from the last couple of weeks – and it’s been centred around the yoga practice but is really key to how you approach all aspects of your own health / fitness regime – is about being honest with your practice.
By being honest with your yoga practice they mean accepting your body and it’s current ability. That means not progressing a move to progress it until you are comfortable and performing the current move week. It means acknowledging when you need to adapt a move to get the best out of your session and not being too proud to do so.
These two key elements of the mindset of your yoga practice are equally beneficial when applied to the rest of your training.
I’ve had lots of conversations with people over the last few weeks, and can openly admit it’s something I’m prone to do as well, about the all or nothing approach to fitness. We want to be fit and healthy – and we want it now. Society is result oriented and whilst we all want change we also want it now, we tend to be less keen on the idea that those results can take time and require gradual change. It’s why we do often start a new plan or course with the intention to commit 100% and then get disheartened and feel like we have failed when we aren’t 100% perfect in week one. Then we get the urge to quit, start again, that this isn’t for me.
The reality is few of us will ever do anything 100% perfectly. Life will get in the way, require adaptations and compromises and if we give up on things when the first stumbling block comes along we will not reach our goals.
What experience does show me however is that if you do stick to things for ‘most of the time’ results come. Set backs are just that, they aren’t the end of the road, simply something to overcome and move on from. If you are doing nothing and this week you do something you have progressed. Results may be slower but they will be more long lasting. Quick fixes tend to be quickly back to ‘where you were before’ as well.
Equally, being honest about where you are and want to be with your fitness is important.
Your goals need to be reflective of the effort you can put in. If you can train twice a week then training for a physique show is unlikely to be a realistic goal for you. However, reducing your body fat and getting fitter in two sessions a week is entirely possible.
You also need to be honest about what you are really doing. Putting weight on even though you’re eating less? Yet you aren’t using my Fitness Pal to track your calories and aren’t really counting the calories in your two coffee shop coffees or the sauces that you put on food because they are barely anything. It’s easy to think you are in a calorie deficit but when you track EVERYTHING realise you aren’t. It really comes down to being honest about what you are doing.
You could even go more specific- what do you lift? Do you lift it was strong technique? Would you get more out of your session if you lifted less, better?
My message for this blog, which following the conversations I’ve had recently more than just me needs to remember, is this.
Wherever you are at with your fitness goals, it is a continuous journey, when you reach a goal it doesn’t end, new goals will arise and you will keep on working. What you can do and, indeed, want to do will change over time. Sometimes you will not do everything right, maybe for days and weeks on end, that doesn’t mean starting over or failure. Sometimes you will meet people who can lift more than you, are leaner, more flexible and this doesn’t mean you have failed because the only progress that genuinely matters is what you can do now compared to what you could do before.
Patience and honesty are key tools to have in your fitness armour.
Also, I can highly recommend adding a bit of yoga to your life!
I have been practicing Yoga with The Kicking Asanas 12 Week Yoga Challenge. You can find more information on the services Michelle offers here:
On Saturday I went to Les Mills Tribal Gathering in Manchester.
This is an opportunity for instructors to try out the new releases and catch up with one another, and this one was a bit special because the Programme Director for Body Pump and RPM, Glen, flew over from New Zealand to teach.
It’s a long day- I was up at 6.00 am and got to bed at 3.30 am the next day!
Below is a 5 minute video to give you an idea of what a day at a Tribal Gathering is like!
P.s. I am not a good camera woman but I thought this would be more interesting than me writing about it!
Due to a new partnership with Les Mills I’ve seen lots about the ‘THIS GIRL CAN’ campaign this week.
Encouraging more people to take part in sport / exercise, encouraging people to exercise regardless of their hang ups and celebrating the fact that a variety of body shapes and sizes can be fit and healthy – all a tick for me.
Using the word girl as opposed to woman – issue for me, somehow I can’t ever see a This Boy Can campaign being conceived in any boardroom out there.
That being said there are lots of PEOPLE who for various reasons don’t exercise, who could benefit from the encouragement of such a campaign.
Below are my tips for anyone looking to start exercising.
Let’s call it my THIS PERSON CAN Tips:
Social Media isn’t reality, did you know that?
It feels like recently there has been a lot of acknowledgement that people tend to post a ‘best of’ of their lives of Instagram and Facebook- nights out, impressive meals, pretty hotels etc. and that can sometimes make us feel bad about our own lives; that we are perhaps not exciting enough, successful enough, interesting enough.
More people now, possibly in response to this, post more mundane / normal things on Social Media (if you want to know what I’ve eaten at any given time check my Instagram stories and there will be a not very attractive meal that may or may not have some nutritional value to it but to be honest is likely to involve cake, because I’m a fitness instructor and like to fuel my body with foods that provide it with value but I also really really like cake). That’s good right- fewer perfect lives and more normality will make people feel less disheartened?
But actually does it? Is my account any different from someone living their best life? I would say my social media is reasonably warts and all, I post the days I eat the food I planned but I equally post the unplanned cake and chocolate. I post pictures on nights or days out but my Twitter account, which is basically a tool for complaining to Northern Rail about their ever worsening service, demonstrates that my daily commute is far from glamorous and my days are simply long most of the time. Yet even I unwittingly self ‘airbrush’ my own life. In what ways? Well, obviously not everything I do or eat gets posted, so I might not specifically hold back certain things and post others, but what I do post can’t totally reflect my day or who I’ve seen / spoken to or how I feel (I’m a historian by degree and we will tell you that all historical accounts are subjective so this isn’t something new with the advent of Facebook). If I’m feeling a bit anxious or down for whatever reason I’m a lot less likely to post anything, so it’s not that I always feel OK and sarcastic as my accounts may suggest, just that my response to not feeling on top form is to withdraw a little rather than tell the world. So even if you follow people who are pretty open and honest you still don’t see everything.
This make me sound like I’m not keen on Social Media but that isn’t the case at all. I use many forms frequently and find the positives outweigh the negatives for me personally most days. But nothing is cut and dry.
Social Media allows fitness professionals to talk to people openly beyond the clients in their gym and there are many excellent fitness professionals, both well known on Social Media and those only known more locally, who provide great insights to people for free. This can potentially then encourage someone to go and seek out more advice and make huge strides in their fitness journey. Equally, advice and posts could be misunderstood or someone could take advice that was meant for a different demographic to them and not get the results they want. So positives yes, but we also need to be careful about what we say and promote.
Social Media can connect people who would otherwise not have met and provide opportunities to get advice and mentorship from such people and allows businesses to connect with clients on a more human level. Equally it can cause debates and misunderstandings as people don’t know each other to understand why they have those opinions or view points because their situations are different. It often appears easier to argue with someone you never have to see and that can create an environment where people feel more able to say things they wouldn’t in person.
Social Media has opened up conversations around mental health. Now I’m still a little dubious about this. I like how people feel more comfortable talking about it. I am less keen on how sometimes when people do post things about their own mental health they can be met with well meaning but not necessarily helpful reactions. It’s tough to know whats really going on behind even the most honest of status. I think being aware of the emotions of the people we talk to daily is a better way to show support to others. Watching out for the signs that suggest that someone is maybe a bit stressed or anxious is possibly going to be more helpful on a realistic level. However well meaning, we aren’t doctors or health care professionals and whilst listening to people express their feelings on Social Media can help both break down barriers and make the person in question feel heard / better understood, it also encourages us to offer advice – which might end up being helpful but equally could not be. Our feedback could end up being harmful to the person posting. Nonetheless the reduction in stigma surrounding mental health issues is a positive thing.
Social Media can help keep you motivated. I know of many social media accounts which responsibly promote building a healthy mindset and teach hacks and systems which allow you to approach life’s challenges and which don’t try and fix whether you are ‘happy’ or not (if you are interested I can direct you to some people). Equally however there are well meaning posts that show a happy picture and a quote about only wanting to deal with positive vibes. Those posts are probably normally quite personal to that individual and reflect what they are feeling at that moment and are not a dig at others. Yet I sometimes feel they could have a negative effect on people who maybe at that point do not feel positive. Because let’s acknowledge that depression means you don’t always feel positive but that this doesn’t mean you are a ‘negative’ person. In reality we all have days when we don’t feel 100% positive and that doesn’t make us negative people. Sometimes we don’t need to be told to be more positive we just need to be able to vent or have a rant and clear out our mind / work though our thoughts. When we post on social media we don’t always think how our words could be interpreted by others, nor can we be held responsible for how someone else takes our words of course – this is just another one of the double edged swords of the medium.
Like real life, Social Media isn’t all great and isn’t all bad – it’s messy and can be viewed differently day by day. So in reality how we respond to anything whether it be something showing someone’s ‘best life’ or someone posting something real and honest is going to depend on how we feel ourselves that day and on any given day the same post could be viewed as inspirational and motivational or equally something which makes you feel a bit shit. That’s our internal reflection of what we see more than what is actually posted.
So yes, sometimes accounts may only show the best bits, but I think all accounts however honest and real can affect people in different ways regardless iof intention.
How do we deal with that, because for a lot of us, Social Media is a part of life and just dropping out isn’t necessarily an option we want?
Well in part I think just acknowledging that Social Media is always a life through a filter or a censored opinion – even when we think it’s totally real- it’s just not possible to be 100% real via a computer / phone or photo, even when you try. I go back to history as my example, as a historian all sources are tainted by subjectiveness – be they propaganda materials or diaries and personal testimony.
Some people are more honest and open in how they use Social Media though so you could look to pick people to follow who match with your values and make you feel better / empowered rather than crap – people who will talk to you, respond to questions with honest answers. If there are people on your feed on any site who make you feel rubbish you can remove them or mute them (because you may not be able to remove your mums neighbour three doors down without causing awkwardness in the supermarket).
If we choose to use Social Media for positive it can be a great addition to our life, it just needs to be something that we are aware of how it affects us and react accordingly to that. That means breaks when needed and setting boundaries that work for us (because everyone’s limit will be different).
Beyond that, I believe working on our own emotions and head space is a really important thing. How we train, eat, feel can be impacted by Social Media only so much when we are in the best place we can be at the time. How often does a post trigger you into a mood on a bad day but on a good day you’d find the same thing funny? That is why when I don’t feel so great I spend less time talking on Social Media. It is also why I haven’t just invested time and money into my physical well being but I also work with a trainer on my mindset as well – our wellness is a much more rounded package than just our bodies.
For me systems and creating habits in the real world, which help me respond differently to triggers than I used to is the key to then feeling healthy towards what I see on Social Media (and beyond).
This blog started as one thing and then sort of meandered elsewhere so apologies for the random nature of what has essentially been a mind dump on how I feel about Social Media and mental health, but as I said I have systems in place that help me process my own thoughts and sometimes this blog ends up being one of them … so here it is a very public social media style way of considering social media.
Also – sometimes we just do nice things and want to post them for people to see. So as reflective as I have been sometimes we really just had a nice holiday and want to share!
Would love to hear your thoughts – whether you agree of disagree!
Apparently today is International Men’s Day,
Think back to International Women’s Days when from Facebook and Instagram you KNEW it was International Women’s Day because EVERYONE had something to post.
I wrote a blog post that day about needing a day to acknowledge women specifically because as a gender we are still marginalised in many ways in society. Essentially you could argue the other 364 days of the year are International Men’s Day.
But I think the article below articulates well, why celebrating men is also important in removing gender stereo types and bias.
Sometimes it’s good when you read something to consider your own opinions and their validity and this article made me do just that.
*Note this is intended as a tounge in cheek look at recent developments in the world of the Tribe and not intended to be taken too seriously!
10th October is World Mental Health Day.
I have suffered from (do still) depression and anxiety. It’s an important topic and I’d be happy to talk to anyone – whether they need someone to talk to or want to just gain a greater understanding.
Mental health isn’t just depression or anxiety or any one singular condition. Mental Health is something we all have – it’s how we deal with life, how we feel. You might feel great that’s still mental health. We all need to be aware of how we take care of ourselves, to keep ourselves well mentally and much as physically. Self care isn’t only for people with illnesses – it’s soemthing everyone needs to practice.
Every year there is a specific focus of World Mental Health Day–This year being “young people and mental health in a changing world”.
According to WHO “Half of all mental illness begins by the age of 14, but most cases go undetected and untreated. Our focus is on building mental resilience among young people, to help them cope with the challenges of today’s world.”
One challenge highlighted is the impact of technology in people’s lives. This topic can go beyond young people however, there will be few people of any age who do not find themselves increasingly relying on various forms of technology in all aspects of their lives (if you’ve lost your phone recently you will probably have realised just how much this is the case).
Social media is probably one of the most obvious ways in which technology has changed the world in a matter of years. The expanding use of social media undoubtedly brings many benefits to our lives – we can develop social contacts and business relationships regardless of location. However, the same technology can also bring additional pressures into our lives, as connectivity to virtual networks at any (ALL) time of the day and night grows and becomes the norm. Being ever connected and seeing more aspects of other people’s lives in a way we previously would not have can have a profound effect on our own mental health and how we view our own situations.
Only this morning I was having a conversation with a member at a gym I teach at who recently removed themselves from Facebook for this very reason.
They have been away studying at university and seeing pictures of friends from home together every week, having fun together as a group, whilst this person was miles away and couldn’t be with them produced negative emotions. Despite speaking to them and knowing that these Facebook posts were not the full picture (during the week these friends barely get a chance to speak and it’s not all constant socialising) the emotions the Facebook posts created wasn’t positive and since removing themselves from Facebook they feel happier.
We all know social media posts create a version of our lives whether we mean to put a filter on things or not it’s inevitable that it happens. Whether we present something as glossy and amazing or terrible – we have decided how it is presented to the world. The world then views it from their own prism and puts their own spin on what we’ve said.
All this sounds like I’m anti social media but I’m not. I use Facebook, Instagram (occasionally Twitter, never really got the hang of Snapchat) and obviously I blog. I have got work from and made business connections through the advances in social media. It has so many benefits and can add value to your life as long as you are aware that it can also add new types of pressure.
So here are a few ideas of things you can do to protect your own mental health and help create a healthy relationship with technology:
As much as technology may cause some increased stresses to our mental health it also allows people to talk about it more openly about the topic of wellness and to a much wider audience so there are lots of positives to our changing world.
Talking about and being aware of the potential issues arising from change can help us work though them and stay well. We all need to be aware of our mental health and develop systems to help us maintain a happy healthy life as our surroundings change. That’s not easy- believe me I know – but days like today and discussions like the ones created by days like this can all play a part in helping work towards better mental health.