Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Group CBT Week 4: Dealing With It

So for the first time since I started I finally liked a CBT session! This week we focused on what to do with worries once first have them. Worries generally arise out of a current situation, and then begin to escalate when we begin to imagine the extreme consequences of our current worries.

For example, yesterday I lost my worry diary that I had to take to our session. I began by worrying about where it could be, but then I began to worry about what would happen if I couldn't find it, I worried that I would be late if I couldn't find it in time, that I'd be told off if I didn't have it etc. The first worry; worrying about where my diary could be, is a current worry. The rest are hypothetical; worries that I am inventing.

The best way to deal with a worries are first to divide them into whether you can do something about them. Generally, you can do something about a current worry. You can act on it, tell someone about it or schedule a time to do it. In this instance, I decided to look for my worry diary instead of worrying about where it could be.

Once you have acted upon your worry, it is off your agenda, so there's nothing more to worry about. In the case of the missing worry diary, I couldn't find it, despite looking everywhere I could think of. Therefore, I had to put the worry to one side. This was hard at first because I was worried about it being seen by someone, or what the consequences would be when I turned up to the CBT session without it. However, I couldn't do anything more about it. Whatever will be will be...

Stage 3 is to distract yourself. In this instance, distracting myself was easy, I left the house and went to therapy. I read a book on the way there so I didn't think about the missing worry diary. In the end, we didn't even need the worry diary to hand, as long as we could remember how it went.

If you can't act on a worry, then put the feeling to one side and distract yourself from it, as described above. Obviously this is easier said then done, but the key is to keep practising. If you have distracted yourself by reading a book, and now you have finished reading the worry has come back, do something else. Maybe do the muscle relaxation or deep breathing (as described in this post) or some other hobby; gardening, baking, or even chatting to a friend on the phone.

At last, this week's CBT session seemed quite useful, as opposed to dwelling on our current feelings. There is no CBT for the next 2 weeks so don't expect any more useful tips for a while (haha)!

Sunday, 6 April 2014

There's No Shame in Walking

This week I started running again. I used be super fit a few years ago, even called 'The Machine' by my coach because I could run and run and run. I used to find exercising easy, playing rugby meant that I could get fit almost effortlessly because I enjoyed it so much. Then, two years ago I injured my foot, lost my confidence and my fitness and haven't really done much since.

I tried doing a few rugby sessions last year but I was so unfit I found it hard to keep up. I tried running on treadmills and using the gym but it is so boring that I found it hard to commit to.

This week I've started to have more time on my hands, so I decided to get up early and go for a run each day. At first I found it difficult to run even 100 metres. I was gutted. I seemed so far away from being as fit as I was. I sat on a bench feeling proper down. Then I remembered some advice I'd heard while I was still playing rugby: 'Just Keep Moving'. I decided to run as much as possible, and then when I felt out of breath I'd walk until I'd regained my energy and start running again.

This was the best thing I could have done. I got up off the bench and did a 3.5 mile walk/jog. I was proper sweating but it felt good. I was exercising to my current ability and not feeling depressed because I couldn't do what I used to be able to. I tracked my jog on Map My Ride (great app) and found that by the time I'd got home I'd burnt 400 calories! That was such good motivation that I found it easy to get up every morning and go out.

Now I've got a route, with checkpoints that I try to run to before slowing down and walking. By doing this every day with 2 rest days in the middle, I've found that I can run for longer already. I've got 10 minutes quicker over the course of the week, and have burnt up to 670 calories per run. I can't believe how quickly my fitness has developed by just taking an hour to do it each day!

Over the course of the week I've lost 4lbs just by making this tiny change. I've began to realise how important walking is: I walked to my friend's house 2 miles away (a walk I've often done) which burnt 256 calories in 30 minutes.

I am so proud of myself and I feel so much better. Getting my fitness back to where it was actually seems doable now. I know I probably won't be able to go 5 times a week every week but as long as I work out 3 times a week it's definitely feasible. Hopefully I'll be able to start playing rugby again in July. Excited!

Friday, 4 April 2014

Blogging for Twining Enterprise

I have started guest blogging for a London based mental health charity, Twining Enterprise, that helps people suffering with mental illness find work. It also provides businesses with education programmes about mental health in order to reduce stigma in the workplace. They're really friendly and well worth getting in touch with if you are struggling to get back into work.

I have a series of new posts lined up with them so keep an ear out! My first one is already up, so go and check it out (and have a browse round their website while you're there!).

Looking for Work Triggered My Anxiety

My graduation marked the end of 16 years of continuous education. I suddenly found myself in the complete unknown. I've had jobs in the past but nothing that required real responsibility. And that’s when I started to worry – what on earth do I do now?Read More...
Also, sorry I haven't posted in a couple of weeks, lost all motivation! Will be back this weekend with a big catch up on all that I've been up to!