Get your house in order

VIE (very important email)

There’s a very important email petition going down at E4MH (equality4mentalhealth) HQ.

A number of public leaders, presenters, authors, sports personalities, and educators such as Ruby Wax, Joanna Lumley, Norman Lamb, Alistair Campbell, Danny Boyle, Michael Morpurgo and Sir Steve Redgrave, amongst many more, are behind this strong message to government that we have an opportunity to make a difference to our entire country, right here, right now.

It involves letting Chancellor George Osborne & Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt know that more compassion and investment is needed in order to bring our mental health to the same level of importance and proactive research & development that our physical health receives.

Basically, if we don’t tell them en masse, they’re just going to ignore the whole thing, and we’ll be fighting the system in vain, forever and ever.

We have lots of hashtag campaigns that are brilliant and are part of the mental health movement — #imnotashamed, #itaffectsme, #endstigma, #stopstigma — but this is the crucial one, this is the one that tells the government that we are serious and we want things to change.

This is one petition that affects every person on this planet — because how we all behave and think and feel is entirely linked to everything and everyone around us, and how they also think, behave and feel. We can stem at youth a lot of the stress that we have created in society, but we do have to start now, because time is not stopping for us to catch up.

Share this link. Sign up. Discuss it on social media. This is #PeoplePower in its truest form. We can change our future for the better.

http://www.equality4mentalhealth.uk

Pushing the Zone

A time warp moment.

Just six weeks ago I could barely contemplate going for a run, and now I’m planning the challenge of my lifetime. How come I’ve gained so much ground in such a relatively short time? Where is the research that can follow this and report back so that it can be handed out to others when they’re also on the brink of collapse? Surely someone should be bottling this up for distribution.

Here’s what happened. I got inspired. Plain and simple! Why couldn’t I have been inspired back in March when I went into freefall? Who knows. Timing is obviously key, but also the right kind of inspiration. You see, I wasn’t inspired by a world champion, a polar explorer or even Bradley Wiggins. I was inspired by my next door neighbour. I was inspired by the fact that she (my neighbour) had finally taken up sport and exercise because she’d realised that she was not getting any younger or fitter, and felt unhealthy, with a busy family, work and social life, and ultimately needed to feel better about herself. And she went and did it! No major races, no crowning glory. Just for self-satisfaction and to feel better, the result being that she looked healthier for it too. That simple recognisance that my neighbour had done something that I’ve been living and preaching for many years had helped to turn the active lights back on inside my head.

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So I started running. But me being me, I needed a goal to aim towards to motivate me. I couldn’t think of one off the top of my head, but the Bipolar UK newsletter came into my inbox just when I needed an aim – to fundraise for them and take on the Cardiff Half Marathon. My previous post When Irony Strikes Hot covers some of this – I decided to take on two events, the Eirias Triathlon (for which my partner and I won the relay prize) and a week later the Cardiff Half on 4th October. Both running parts would be wearing a polar bear outfit and I would be recognised as BiPolarBear. It was a good call, the race was not only fun but I laughed, danced and nearly cried throughout it. Supporters called out my name – be it Polar Bear, Super Bear, Super Teddy, Teddy Bear, or even Bipolar Bear – and I felt like a celebrity, bringing smiles and joy to the crowds. I momentarily considered applying to Disney World for a spot in their park.

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Photo courtesy of Lee Slocombe

Crossing the finish line, I certainly was spent, wearing a full head-to-toe costume on a body that already sweats profusely once the heating goes up was tough. One thing that will stay with me is the support from other runners, giving me water on the route and at the end, congratulating me for my efforts as they overtook me, and generally recognising that I was doing something with an additional challenge.

Getting home, jubilant that the fundraising support had raised over £450, and having done my first 13.1 miles in a year, I noticed that this buzz was still ongoing. I was riding on some emotion that I didn’t want to lose. It was the challenge, the adrenaline, the realisation that I had done something I never thought I would and achieved it, and why couldn’t I do more?

So I am now here, in my studio, preparing a challenge that will take about six weeks to complete, will stretch my body to its ultimate limits, and push me so far out of my physical comfort zone, it’s positively astronomical (for me). The funny thing is, mentally, I’ve already completed it.

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Which possibly speaks volumes: there is no correlation between mental illness and mental weakness.

If you’d like to donate to the Bipolar UK cause you can visit my fundraising page for ongoing efforts here. Thank you!

Compassion v Cynicism

Give yourself a pat on the back if you’re taking a leap of courage to improve your situation and your health at the start of 2015. Whether it’s a detox or a new training programme, doing an action will always reap more results than just thinking about it.

I love new starts! It’s always good to clear out cobwebs and review the direction we’ve come from. We are designed to make progress via figuring out where things go wrong!

imageEspecially when it comes to cynicism about others and their choices, even why people choose to review their health by detoxing.

Yes, we can all get caught out, and our cynicism needs an overhaul every now and then. We need to grow our knowledge, and perhaps our compassion, catch up with new data, awaken ourselves to social change, and not solely rely on past opinions and potential miseducation.

And we also need to respect the life choices of others, and hold back on our judgements. Otherwise we risk damaging the progress that others desperately wish to make.

As Zoe Hodge points out in an article from the ‘Clean and Lean 30 Day Detox’ group page on facebook:
“I would strongly also recommend reading “the Beck Diet solution” for anyone struggling with the mental side of a detox or diet. I’m a Cognitive Behavioural Therapist when I’m not a new independent consultant, and this is a really useful book for dealing with the psychological battles you may face. It’s not based on any actual eating plan, just the mental side of dealing with one.”

And as for the daily nutrition advice on the Clean and Lean group page, you’re in the safest hands with nutritionist and professional dancer Sarah-May Stubbins! She always leads with true intentions and a passion for helping you become the incredible person you want to be. Just taking the first step is what’s needed.

If you want to have that help and advice and also remain independent to do your own thing but know the support is there, please get in touch. Remember 2015 is my year of giving, and what better to give than sharing what’s woncerful for you.

I’m glad my information comes from sources who know their stuff and have such big hearts!

Love the skin you’re in (and take care of it).
😄💚

Dusting off the apparel

You can do this!
I’ve officially only been a runner since the 1st January 2004, before that I hated running, I understood it, but my body was too big. I thought.
That first day, I ran for about ten minutes, my body couldn’t physically do anymore.
But I went back out the next day, and the next, and sure enough after just four months, I was looking like a runner, and feeling like a runner.

In the past eleven years, I’ve trained to cover distances I never believed my body could withstand, and on terrains I’d have happily been carried over at one point in time.

But it hasn’t always been a continuous improvement. It wasn’t until after my third child was born that my triathlon improved…indeed, he was barely two months old when I got back on the racing circuit, breastfeeding before the starter whistle. A race to get back before the next feed.IMG_4706

Eighteen months later and it’s a stomach operation that has put me out for about three months. I came back with PBs in every single event; 5k, 10k, half-marathon and Cyclo-Sportives, half-ironman, and most importantly for me, my first marathon distance – Snowdonia no less.

More recently I was hit with depression, rotator cuff and hockey injuries over the space of fourteen months, and yet I came back to run the Snowdonia Sevens (22 miles seven mountains) with just 4 weeks back running and a handful of training up and down Snowdon.

4 weeks back running after more than six months off with ACL injury? Absolutely.

Once you get to the point where sport becomes a greater struggle than the merits and thrill it produces, it’s time to take some time out. And probably for your benefit.

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I didn’t just leave sport behind though. Whenever I’ve taken time out, I’ve looked long and hard at my nutrition. Exercise is only 20% of what we look like. The rest of it is in what we absorb through what we eat and what we put on our bodies, how we treat ourselves in our mind, and how well we sleep and repair. So it’s no wonder I can get back out there fast. I look after the other 80% of me with a 100% attitude.

Arbonne Essentials Greens Balance – 37 Vegetables & Fruits
Arbonne Essentials Greens Balance – Full colour spectrum support

2015, I’ve got this. I’m quite happy to indulge in my family’s baking today (you would too, believe me), and even for the rest of this week.
But come Monday 5th Jan 2015, I’m back in the game.

Training, detoxing, refuelling, focusing, planning, actually going for it.

Yvie getting ready to train again

My first 30 days will be with the help of the only sports nutrition range I can now fully support, Arbonne’s “30 Days to Healthy Living and Beyond”. Not just a sports range, it’s also a huge part of my daily diet, so no fad, no gimmick, no waste products thank you.

Daily healthy living, that’s how good habits are created. I’m giving that 80% of me more of that 100% attitude.