You Go Yoga?

I do indeed go to Yoga classes twice a week. As part of my quest for distractions from depression, and to help with my knee issues as well I took the plunge 4 weeks ago and attended my first yoga class.

My expectations were that I would enter a class full of people tying themselves into knots while the fat bloke in the lycra (me!) could barely see his toes, let alone touch them!

I introduced myself to the instructor, a wonderful lady named Alex, and explained my muscle and joint issues to her, as well as my depression. She put my at ease by simply telling me to do as much as my body allowed and not to be too expectant of what I can and cannot do.

From the first five minutes I was hooked! Just sitting down cross legged, eyes closed and breathing slowly in and out seems such a simple thing to do BUT how many times do we simply do it? Never that’s how many times!

The whole hour of the class my mind in just focused on being able to get into some of the positions, not on anything to do with my mental health or the world outside the class. My attention is all on me and my breathing.

To be honest it feels amazing to actually be in tune with myself even for just an hour twice a week.

The other thing I love about yoga is that it really is a bloody hard workout! forget the running on the treadmill for an hour I sweat more in the yoga class than I do on the treadmill, well to be fair I do not sweat I glow ūüėÄ but the whole body gets a workout, stretching my arms, legs and muscles in my stomach that I didn’t know I had!

Built into the workout is the knowledge that the time spent is all about me! breathing and letting go of my troubles and worries help greatly. I would go as far as saying that my depression has improved since I started going! I have also noticed that I am able to get further into stretches each time I go so it is also helping my flexibility and easing the pain in my knees as my hamstrings get a good work out.

As a distraction for depression, or other mental health illnesses I really cannot recommend yoga enough. The class is not full of skinny as a rake women with their legs over their heads easily going from one position to another, nor is it just for women! There are a few men in the classes with me, which is great for me to not feel like I stick out like a sore thumb.

Quiet time for the mind, deep breathing exploring myself and a hard physical workout! what more could you ask for?

Give it a try if there is a class near you. I promise you will enjoy it! and even if you don’t enjoy it what have you lost? an hour of your life is all.

Trying out something different is a string to my bow since I acknowledged my depression and decided to do something about it – if someone told me a few years ago I would not only be doing yoga but loving it I would have laughed at them.

My opinion is that people are missing a trick not attempting it at least once.

 

 

Guest Post – Rose Returns!

I am interested in what distractions people use when dealing with their mental health. I asked on twitter if anyone was willing to write a guest post about distractions and Rose sent this in! Rose also wrote a guest blog for me recently and I am delighted she has returned!

The original post she wrote can be found here

Over to you Rose….

 

The art of distraction.

Why would I need distraction ?

When you are depressed there are many things that can help you to feel better, sulking about it isn’t one of them. It’s not hard to understand that sitting on the sofa or lying in bed all day isn’t going to make you happy, especially when your thoughts are mainly about the fact that you are not happy.

Now even though it’s not very helpful, it is natural that your depression is on your mind a lot, it’s a feeling that is impossible to ignore.

This is one of the reasons why distraction is recommended by healthcare professionals, to keep your mind busy with other things.

You might wonder why not just not think about bad things then ? Well, the best answer on that you can give yourself, with help of a little experiment.

When you are reading the rest of this post, don’t think about a cuddly pink bear, whatever you do don’t think about that cuddly pink bear! Got it? Good.

Another reason is that doing things that you use to enjoy can bring back the feeling of enjoyment. It won’t be there immediately and you might need support of medication to be able to feel enjoyment again but when there is any change its best noticeable with those things you use to love doing.

simple but not easy

when you are depressed, you don’t really want to do anything.

Especially when you are deep in the depression.

Then everything is heavy, its like walking with cement blocks on your legs and you are already tired before you even begin. Your concentration is gone and you are pretty sure that you will fail at everything you try.

Naturally your instinct is to just stay in bed and wait until it’s over but as we discussed earlier, that won’t help. It’s very hard to any motivation to do anything but keep remembering that it is important in getting better.

Last year I came to the point where I couldn’t bring myself to do anything any more and I was taking into hospital. In the psych ward they also work with distraction, they had a whole program mainly meant as a way to keep your mind occupied. That the program wasn’t optional helped me into doing things again, for a long time I just did them because I had to but then there where moments where I began to like it again. Following the program wasn’t optional what was a good thing as I wouldn’t have done it if it was.

What helped me a lot when I came out of hospital is having someone who reminded me that it was important to keep doing things and someone to help make plans so I didn’t spend too much time on thinking about what to do. Also a gentle kick in the behind is at times just what I need.

My favourite distractions

this is what I love doing the most, writing. Not only (hopefully) informative post but also fiction in form of short stories and poems usually. Also I am working on a novel that I would love to finish and publish it someday.

I often write as now in English but my novel really will be in my native language, Dutch.

It’s not only working as a distraction for me but is also therapeutic as writing is a good way to express myself.

There are times when writing is just too difficult because it requires either thought or inspiration, neither is my depressed brain very good in.

reading is also something I really like, when I find that I can’t concentrate enough to read myself I find that audio-books are a good alternative.

I also like to puzzle, I make simple soduku’s on my phone or on paper. Jigsaw puzzles are also a great thing to do. I puzzle quite obsessively and often, it works quite calming for me and gives a feeling of accomplishment when its finished. When concentration is low I stick to simple and small puzzles so it doesn’t become frustrating.

Games on phone or computer are also often played and the tv is well watched.

With dry weather I try to get out of the house at least once a day. before this week it was always work that forced me out but work had due to all kind of thing become too stressful so now I am home. So now I walk and bicycle to get my fresh air (exercise is good for body and mind)

another thing that I have to watch on is that I am not days alone, this is a difficult one for me.

I do have the need for social contact and others are a great source of enjoyment and distraction but getting in touch with people isn’t easy for me as an autistic person. I go by a friend and to my parents from time to time but don’t want to bother them too much. Not sure how I am going to solve that one to be honest but I’ll find a way.

About that bear

if our little experiment has worked (and if this post wasn’t too distracting) you will have found that you never have thought so much about a cuddly pink bear as you did now. When you try not to think about something then in trying to do that you constantly remembering not to think about it what causes you to think about it.

Redirecting your mind to something else is far more effective than just trying not to think about it.

Gardening and Depression – Garden Envy

As the warm weather returns (and hopefully stays!) I start to wish that I had a garden for me to go and enjoy the sunshine in.

Alas I am stuck on the top floor (2nd or 3rd depending how you count them) and have to look out at other people enjoying their own little space, in a flat that will soon double as a sauna once the real summer arrives.

As I continue on my journey to recovery I am thinking more and more about distractions that could help people with depression and gardening would seem to be a trick I miss out on.

Recently a good friend asked me to help clear her garden as it was overgrown. I say garden loosely as when I got into it the first thing that I thought about was the hidden tribesmen and their spears attacking me as we headed deeper into the jungle.

I am not green fingered either, unless you include an awful nose picking and cold incident but I will not elaborate!

There was something incredibly therapeutic about taking all your built up frustration onto that poor defenceless weed that needs pulling up or removing a big stump that wont budge until you really get angry! (think Incredible Hulk angry Рalthough more Incredible Bulk!)

With each push of the spade into the earth I was thinking about something that had caused my depression and the poor roots of the trees did not stand a chance. Not only was it a great form of therapy it was also hard work so bingo! 2 for the price of one in the same afternoon. I also discovered I’m a bit of a madman with a pair of secateurs and overgrowing ivy.

It is nice to be outside in the fresh air and sunshine as opposed to the same four walls and darkness, it can improve your mood to have a bit of warmth beating down on you and a bit of hard work to get the blood racing. I am more and more aware of the benefits of  embracing different ideas to work on bringing my mood up and gardening is something I wish I had the opportunity to do more off.

Distractions are important when dealing with depression, having something to do to take your mind off the daily stresses and worries that weigh us down. If you are lucky enough to have a garden get out there and enjoy it, if it needs working on even better as you have a target to aim for and reach. My great aunt has asked me to go around and help her with some gardening and I cant wait to get out there!

If you do not have a garden how about Ecominds? Its a project run by Mind to get people outdoors

The following is taken from the Mind website

Ecominds projects

Through Ecominds, Mind has funded 130 environmental projects in England to provide a range outdoor of outdoor green activities for people with mental health problems. Some projects are open to all, others require you to phone up for more information, and some require referrals from your GP. Ecominds is part of the Big Lottery Fund’s Changing Spaces programme.

You can search our map to find a project near you.

why not look into it? there are lots of projects around the UK

Let me know how you get on with it, how it makes you feel, and if you have a garden does it help with your mental health?

Even better if your in London/Essex area get in touch and I can help! Im fairly cheap

If you have shrubs that need working on and are unsure how have a look at http://www.gardenhealth.com/plant-care-and-propagation/projects/how-to-prune-shrubs  it certainly helped me with my Aunts shrubs!