Tag Archives: Learning

Committing to Myself

I woke up today wanting to change. I woke up today wanting to live the life I want to live for the rest of my life. Then I crawled back under the covers and hid. I let the excuses overcome me. I let the negative thoughts and the doubting thoughts take over. It was easier to stay in bed.

But then I got up. Slowly for sure, but I got up. I made myself breakfast. I caught up wit my favourite blogs and websites. I then went to the gym – on a Sunday!

It felt good and I felt good. So I came home and sat down and made a commitment to take care of myself.

These are not goals, but rather statements I want to live my life by. Things I value about myself and other people. Things I will make a priority over other things. I will do these to make sure I am taking care of myself and living the life I want to lead and have fun while doing it.

From here I then made some goals. Firstly to get through the next week. A week I thought I would be back in work so am also a little scared about.

I have decided to do WeightWatchers Online to get my eating under control. This has worked for me in the past, but I rebelled against it after reading about intuitive eating and not dieting, but I have come to realise that does not work for me. I work better with rules, tasks and planning. I tried just calorie counting with the Ki Fit, but the numbers can be off putting so WW ProPoints system is more appealing to me. I don’t expect it to be easy. I expect it to be hard. I expect my binge tendencies to surface. I am going to work hard and fight to live the life I want to live – one full of nourishing food that lets my body thrive.

I made my meal plan and exercise plan. I’m trying to be flexible and so have not planned out the latter part of the week just incase my plans change, but it felt good to sit and focus on myself. I have written in activity on all the days, but my goal is five sessions and any other is a bonus. I am focusing on exercising efficiently and to encourage relaxation and strength of body and mind.

I also made some goals leading me up to Christmas – only 9 weeks away!

These give me something to focus on and work towards. I also have goals regarding my depression, but those are hard to put a time line on so I am just going to keep working away at them regardless. I know I’ve been thinking more about next year rather than now and that’s not the way I want to live my life. I want to live in the present (and plan for the future) as I want to enjoy everyday.

I am tracking all this the old fashioned way and as I love funny notebooks and found this one a while ago so decided to bring it out as my food journal as I’m not a fan of doing it electronically :)

Anyone want to join me in making a commitment to take care of yourself?

World Mental Health Day

I’ve haven’t been online all day so I have only just realised it is World Mental Health day and this calls for a double post day!

This year’s theme is depression, which is perfect timing for me!

From the World Health Organisation:

“World Mental Health Day raises public awareness about mental health issues. The day promotes open discussion of mental disorders, and investments in prevention, promotion and treatment services. This year the theme for the day is “Depression: A Global Crisis”.

Depression affects more than 350 million people of all ages, in all communities, and is a significant contributor to the global burden of disease. Although there are known effective treatments for depression, access to treatment is a problem in most countries and in some countries fewer than 10% of those who need it receive such treatment.”

Maybe it’s the times we live in or that it is just becoming more well known as people are now seeking help, but it does seem depression affects more and more people, including myself. It is a lonely illness that can affect anyone. It can be hard to talk about, especially if from the outside it looks like everything is going right for you. Up until last week I would have called myself a functioning depressive. I could cope with pretty much everything, then fall apart privately. Everyone has a breaking point and I have just reached mine. Even after 18 months of being treated for depression I slipped lower than I can remember. Maybe I felt worse at the beginning, but when you’ve been feeling low for so long it is hard to baseline. Perhaps its been harder this time because I thought I had been recovering really well and so was unprepared for a dip. I’ve read that the hardest part of depression is recovery because it’s not linear. This makes it harder I think.

I’ve been extremely lucky to live in an area that has access to a psychology department with local counsellors. They run a series of group courses and one-to-one sessions, as well as offering a number of online tools to help. However, even with all that is offered, it is not enough. I am now on a waiting list to get more in-depth personal help. I am considering getting private help, but that is a minefield in its own right. It is sad that these kind of resources are not available to everyone.

I wanted to provide some links to websites I have found extremely useful :)

It is about finding the right support for your personal journey and a big thing for me is reading. I love to read and learn and this helps me focus. I struggle with talking and need extra help with that from professionals (my friends and family are great but often they are too solution focused and I just need someone to listen and help me make sense of my thoughts). Exercise is another key part of my lifestyle that helps. This combined with eating a nutritious diet makes a big difference, but is the hardest part for me as I use food as coping mechanism. Journalling and meditation have been other things I have tried with mixed success (I have to be in the right frame of mind to so these).  Overall though I think becoming more aware of my thoughts has been very important and this forms the basis of CBT.

I know what it is like to feel alone, hopeless and afraid. It’s where I currently am, but I want to get better, so I asked for more help. I still remember the day I went to the doctors not knowing what was wrong just feeling awful and coming out scared but relieved. My world was thrown upside down, but it also came together. I’m hard on my myself and I think part of my slip has been that I thought I would be better by now, but I’m not. It’s okay that I’m not better. There is nothing wrong with being depressed for weeks, months or years. I now realise why the doctors don;t give you a timeframe for getting better – they don’t know and everyone is different. But getting help is the same – you have to ask for it. It is unlikely that anyone will notice you have depressive illness – I wore/wear my mask well as I’m sure many of you do – so you have to look after yourself. It’s okay to look after yourself fully – even I have to remind myself of that.

 

I want to help raise awareness and get rid of the stigma attached to depression and I’m going to do that through sharing my experiences on my blog.

 

Things I’m Loving… Jillian Michaels Podcast

I love writing these posts, they make me happy, which was the whole point I started them. I also have a whole list of things I want to write about, but I’m trying to not get too far ahead of myself as I want them to be in the moment.

This week it’s all about Jillian Michaels Podcast!

This is weekly download from iTunes. I got into the habit of going out on a walk and listening to one a week, but with all the swimming and running I’m doing and also the nights are closing in I haven’t had the chance so I have been listening at work this week.

I find them motivating and real at the same time. Jillian doesn’t just tell you can do something and it’s easy, she tells it like it is. Maintaining fitness and a healthy lifestyle is not easy in today’s modern world of convenience.

It’s also not all about fitness and nutrition. There are guest who come on to talk about money, pschology and relationships. She doesn’t claim to be an expert on those things so gets people into help and it feels like you are learning right a long with the team.

The team is fantastic. Janice and Jake get involved and get their perspectives, which really helps all sides of a story come across. Having callers phone in and ask questions is also a great part of the show. Again this takes it back to real life.

For me these podcasts remind me of what I already know a lot of the time, but in low periods forget. Then there is new stuff that I just have to research as it resonates with me.

I love listening while walking, but I do find them a great help in work at time when I am totally unmotivated. I listen back to old ones randomly or pick a topic that I want to hear about again.

If you haven’t listened to one of these podcasts I would totally recommend giving one a try if you like Jillian Michaels and want some instant motivate and advice.

 

Applying to be a Chartered Envionmentalist

I’ve spent that last 4 months working towards putting together an application to become a Full Member of IEMA and a Chartered Environmentalist.

This has been the main focus of my career progression this year and I am glad I have had it to focus on and prepare for.

“The Institute of Environmental Management and Assessment (IEMA) is the professional membership body for promoting best practice standards in environmental management, auditing and assessment for all industry sectors.” (IEMA, 2012)

I currently hold Associate level membership, after taking the Certificate in Environmental Management while a student member back in 2007.

To become a full member I have to have had 3 years work experience working in the environmental field. Whereas to become a Chartered Environmentalist as well I needed 4 years experience and 4 full time years of studying. From August/September 2012 I met the criteria to make a dual application.

In order to prepare myself and my application submission I applied to take part in the IEMA Mentoring Scheme. I have had the opportunity to work with a fantastic mentor who has been supportive and honest. I was not sure whether to make a dual application, but she gave me the confidence to have the belief in myself.

I have had to write two essays for my application. One was on my career, which basically meant a descriptive CV. I enjoyed writing this as it was already planned in the form of my CV and I got to add the details of key achievements and explanations for why I chose the career path I have. This was also a good confidence booster for getting the application ready. It reminded me of everything I have achieved, as well as areas that have been challenging and I have moved forward from. It is also a good recap for job applications and interview preparation.

The second essay was an in depth discussion of projects I have lead over my career. This was one was harder to write than the first to begin with, but once I got into the zone I realised I was writing about things I have done and why. There is no right or wrong answers to these types of essays as long as it is your own work. I chose the three big projects I have led within my current role, which I felt could be matched against the criteria set for being a Chartered Environmentalist. I enjoyed going back through my work and remembering how much I have learnt.

My mentor was a great help with finalising these essays.  She would read them and give feedback on where I needed to explain certain things further to make sure the readers will understand. She also gave me the confidence to be honest. As I had to get two witnesses to sign off on my essays to prove they contain the truth I was worried about being honest. However it was about being honest professionally with regards to barriers to my work and how I overcame them or not in some cases.

Although I’m thinking of a turn on my career path I do not want to let go of all I have learnt. I truly believe that in order for businesses to survive in the future they will have to be sustainable and that the environmental impacts of their activities will be fully transparent and everyone will be accountable for their actions.

This has been a challenging exercise for me. Having the belief in myself that I have enough knowledge and experience is extremely difficult. It has reignited my passion for the topic of sustainability that I thought had all but disappeared in the last year or so. I have kept working and believing that I can, do and have reached a point where my application is ready to be put in the post!

Now is a waiting period. IEMA will review my application and assess whether it meets the criteria to be put forward for the interview stage.

I truly hope I am successful, but with all things like job interviews and exams, there is a side of me that worries I will fail. I know this is something I have been working for and I know that I still have a long career ahead of me, so if this is not the right time for me to progress to this level yet I will continue to work towards it. It has been a great focus for the last few months while the job has been slow and life hasn’t felt like it has been moving anywhere. I know this is what I want and I want my life and lifestyle to follow a sustainable way of thinking and living.

Updating Motivations

I’ve been having a look at my motivations again this week. I have realised that they change more often than I thought so restating them every so often will help to focus myself again.

Weight wise I’ve been doing great – even with a wedding and break away!

  • Last Weight: 224.2lbs (17th August)
  • Current Weights: 220lbs (7th September)
  • Lost 4.2lbs in 3 weeks :)

So how am motivating myself to keep going?

After doing quite a bit of reading about motivation I know I need to be specific to improve my quality of life. I also know I need a powerful emotional connection with my motivation and goals. A lot of my motivations are about increasing my confidence to do things out of my comfort zone.

  • I want to be strong both mentality and physically.
    • This one involves beating depression and getting of the medication when I’m ready.
    • Also getting strength training in my fitness schedule.
  • I want to go out with friends and on dates and not feel ashamed about my body.
    • This is about getting more confident about being in social settings and feeling comfortable in my own skin at all times.
  • I want to spend less money on crap food for binges and spend it trying new activities.
    • I have made a list of things I would love to try but can’t because of cost.
    • I’ve set up a spreadsheet for when I spend money on food I don’t need to to compare to what I could have spent the money on.
  • I want to do a Triathlon and a Spartan Race.
    • For the challenge.
  • I want to have a healthy body fat percentage.
    • This relates to the strong motivation.
  • I want to be able to wear anything to work or out socially just because I feel like it, not because it fits.
    • This also relates to confidence .
  • I want to get into the ‘bid dogs’ lanes at swimming.
    • This is a goal to aim for and I can compare my swim sets to those lanes to see how far I am away.
  • I want to run with the main running group for longer runs.
    • Again I can compare my progress to what they do to see how far I have come.

So those are things that are currently motivating me. They all relate to my longer term goals in some way and are all about making progress towards those goals. I am going to keep track of my motivations more regularly than I have been doing to make sure I still relate to them and if not update them with new ones that are current. These are more about getting me to go swimming, running or to the gym. I can remind myself of them and why I am working hard right now and that it’s worth it.

I’m worth it!

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