Follow your heart when your head needs to rest

So here we are, the last day of January, and as far as my own mental wellbeing goes, this has been a pretty good month. Incidentally tomorrow is being celebrated as Time to Talk Day, and I’d like to ask you, do you have someone in mind to talk to about their mental wellbeing, or someone to confide in with yours? With the first month out-of-the-way, how’s your year going so far? Hopefully 2018 is being kind to you, at the very least. Whilst I was thinking about what I’ve done these past four weeks or more, five areas in my life that I’m keeping close to my heart, mind, body and soul became apparent, and I simply wanted to share them with you. Perhaps you’ve five areas (or more, or less) that really mean a lot to your commitment to your wellbeing right now. If so, please share them with me!


 TRAINING
—yes, I am.

I’m now closer to where I want to be than I was four weeks ago, and the difference came when I decided to return to club training. It’s been a number of years since I last trained with a club, or with colleagues around shifts. I’d forgotten the banter. I’d also forgotten how much quicker I end up running, which really only hints at how lazy I can be when I train by myself.
A different therapy session
What it also tells me is that when I do train by myself, my camera is likely to be in one hand, so actually there’s no need to beat myself up about times or distances. It’s simply a different training session.

The word that came to mind was decelerate.

I think I’ll adopt it for my word of the year. And that’s exactly what my own running sessions are for: not putting the brakes on, just easing back when I need to.

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 #decelerate


PURPOSE

—Challenge5Alive is taking serious shape.

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I logged onto Ordnance Survey for their one week free trial and loved that I was able to plan in microscopic (ok, almost) detail my routes for the five challenges this year. Seeing them alive on the screen has been quite mesmerising. I’m starting to visualise myself on the routes, relishing the wind in my face and the ache of a rucksack that’s probably too heavy for the circumstances.

What I’m also visualising is the interviews I’ll be conducting at various points along the way. I’m still looking for interviewees along my five routes around Wales. The criteria for interviewees are:

  • those who use the outdoors for their mental wellbeing, for an illness or general stress relief
  • those who offer outdoor therapy to others

If you fit either of these categories and you’re somewhere along one of my routes then please do get in touch, or share with someone you know! As for conducting the interviews, well I’m still researching kit and a keen collaborator who has the skills and the time to join me…

#challenge5alive

ADVENTURE

—not such a lonely goat after all.
pexels-photo-247530.jpegI took one bold step this month: I finally listened to the voice of reason that is my Tom, and I registered with the Mountain Leader Award scheme. For me that is a decisive step towards a professional commitment that has danced about in my thoughts for well over a decade.Not to get ahead of myself, it was just the registration.

The training course and the assessment are a different beast altogether.My next step is finding a course for training that suits my situation. Getting more mountain days in my logbook (fortunately everything I’ve done over the past 12 years can be added), with a view to taking the assessment later in the year or next summer. Having my ML (the qualification that permits me to lead groups around the UK and Ireland to do hill walking, map reading and navigating in the uplands, mountains, hills and moorlands) is an exciting step towards the types of workshops I’d like to offer. I am channelling my inner adventurer. Yvie stylee.

#bold

CREATIVITY

—like a bag of tantrums, it’s having its moments.
This month has been about understanding where I’m at with my skills. I enrolled on an online photography course to better understand camera (of all shapes and sizes) functions and capabilities. Putting this knowledge into practice is in my own time, but I’m happy that I’ve begun this route towards what some people call CPD, but what I like to refer to as expanding my brain.

I just wanted to draw your gaze toward my little screenshot image attached. I’m in the middle of preparing a fresh set of photography and illustrations for my Patreon page, so I thought it best that I share what Patreon is with a link and an image. I understand it’s probably not immediately obvious, but everything I’m doing is about giving away as much of my skills, time and experience as possible. Just to do that, needs a little support.

If you haven’t seen this before, do peruse at your leisure! I’m just off hitting my first goal, which is terribly exciting for any independent creative with a mental illness. Of course, hitting targets is a massive deal for anyone, so I’m sure you can relate.

Excitingly, there are other creative projects that are taking shape, slowly but surely:

  • the content of my book recounting the joys of running the length of the country back-to-back whilst managing bipolar disorder.
  • the design of my first Creative & Mindful Adventuring (CaMA) workshop, the hardcopy material is being drafted as I write this, which naturally began a popcorn flurry of other ideas for workshops. But, let’s start with the first.
  • a seriously exciting collaborative creative project involving other like-minded folk which will hopefully be revealed in the not-too-distant future.
  • infographics to help folk (like me) who are visual and actually get put off by too many words with too much info (probably like this post).

#collaborate


HOME

—it’s probably much easier to talk about your life outside the flurry of home activities.
But how crucial is home to the balance of everything else?
Pretty crucial, I’d say.
Home, for me, is my safety net. I hide here. It is certainly my soul sanctuary, and when I catch myself thinking that, I have to also remind myself that I am incredibly lucky to have a sanctuary, to feel safe, warm, and very much loved.
Home for me is also where things go unnoticed by the outside. Many won’t know that I have an autistic teenage daughter who I care for (to a certain extent, if she’s willing) which means there isn’t a possibility of my leaving the roost for fixed employment in the foreseeable future.
It’s a situation we’ve adapted to over the past year, but which now shapes all of my/our other decisions, choices, opinions. I don’t think this situation has a title: carer? stay-at-home-mum? simply a mum? a mixture of all three? something else entirely? When it comes to government support, well, I’m learning fast that I, like many thousands in the same boat, are certainly invisible to the support of government (only they don’t want you to know that).

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Home, is pretty much the basis of all things. So if the wind changes, home will be where I reset my sails for a new direction.
If you also didn’t make any resolutions, if you’re just going from day-to-day, and you’re still going, well done you.
#love

About the Author Yvie Johnson

"You are the root of your success." Turbulent times will bring out the best in you, to make you stronger for yourself, and for others. Living with Bipolar Disorder, I'm now taking one day at a time and arming my spirit and body with health, love and happiness for the journey ahead.