Week Off Goes Quick

Time is going quickly. We’re on day 5 of our week off. Half way through and relaxing is hard on annual leave. When we’re trying to relax I get antsy. I can’t sit still. I keep checking my phone or an app even though I’ve no need to.

I don’t feel as stressed. I have calmed down. I’ve put my work and goals to one side to do what we want to do. My fear of time is coming back to haunt me. My mind won’t rest.

My patience is getting worse. So is my spending. I’ve even had chocolate the past 4 days. I feel that is affecting me. Tiredness in full swing.

I’ve 4 days left before I go back to work. I want to enjoy myself. Stop haunting me time.

Check up with my Doctor

I went to my doctors yesterday about seeing how I was doing on my anti-depressants. It’s been about 5 weeks now. I’ve blogged about my leg twitches, my headaches and sickness. I’ve been having chest pains too.

All of these I mentioned. He believes they are symptoms of my stress and anxiety. As anxiety, fear and stress are my overpowering issues. He has recommended a self-help book by Christopher Williams: Overcoming Anxiety, Stress and Panic.

My doctor showed me the first edition of the Overcoming Depression book by the same author. It looked good. Has questions and activities to complete. My doctor also said if I have any questions from doing the workbook. I should write them down and book an appointment to see him.

I thought that was really good. He wants to help me get better and answering questions about what I’ve done or don’t understand is something he is willing to do. So far, other doctors, I’ve met, I feel like I couldn’t do that.

They want you in and out as quick as possible. He wants me to come back just to chat if I need it.

Another thing he would like me to do is work on slowing down my breathing. That breathing is going back to haunt me. Think I need to listen. I breathe too fast. Which isn’t helped by stress or anxiety. In turn, causes my headaches and chest pains.

I’ve been working on this today. I’m even doing it now. Breathing in for 3 seconds and then out for 3 seconds. One breath cycle should be 6 seconds; 10 breaths a minute. I can do between 20 and 40 breaths a minute normally.

No wonder I feel panicked all the time. I noticed I feel a little calmer after a few minutes of breathing slowly. Unfortunately, I go back to my fast breathing if I’m not being mindful of it.

A new goal. It’s been a while since I made one of those. 

Goal: Slow my breathing down to 10 breaths a minute

It may be hard in the long run but hopefully having the foal will mean I practice the breathing techniques. Having the sense of relaxation would be a bonus.

Are you controlling your body or is it controlling you?

I had a felt sucky day. I had a headache, felt sick, allowed myself to be used like a doormat. My body controlled me. I didn’t control it.

When I looked at session 2 of my positive steps course; I found it quite fitting. It was called controlling your body. That our bodies change and our physical symptoms impact our mood.

Definitely did with me today!

It went over the vicious cycle. Hoping by now I understand my own and what effects me. I’m certainly learning that.

It went on to explain stress on the body. Looking at the physical symptoms you have. I knew I had symptoms but I didn’t realise how many.

mde

No wonder I feel more stressed and have unhelpful thoughts when my body feels this way.

There are two ways our mood is affected by our bodies; muscle tension and Automatic Nervous System. Looking T my body model, I have more in the muscle tension category then the other.

The symptoms we get are due to our fight or flight responses. It’s our bodies way of saying there’s a threat. Whether it’s work, kids, bills, arguing, even the housework. Money, work and my to do list are my obvious threats.

My tiredness, lack of motivation and lethargy is where my depression kicks in with the stress.

Then it gives me tips on how to combat the stress and depression. All the things you already know but have to hear anyway for your mind to click.

I certainly need to stop asking for reassurance, reduce avoidance and do some exercise.

Then there’s the relaxation techniques. I’ve met these before in my relaxation module. Think I need to go over my relaxation techniques 1 and 2 to refresh my memory. Then do.

Just doing something at the moment is an achievement for me.

Learning About: Mindfulness

This evening I started my mindfulness module I received after my first week of councilling. It is a very big module so I’ve only done the first section. Learning about mindfulness. I don’t wanna do too much too fast and it not work out.

What is Mindfulness?

It’s a technique that teaches you to live with awareness. Learn to truely experience the present. Be more excepting of what has happened and to focus on being in the here and now. Helps you to see things differently. Because you become more aware of your thoughts and feelings. No longer stuck in them and gain control. Become accepting of what you think or feel.

That would be a great feeling. Recognising what I think, feel and accepting them and having control. Once I read the advantages I starting having more of an opened mind about mindfulness.

  • Let go of certain problems
  • Are able to enjoy the present more
  • Health improves
  • Handle stress better
  • Ability to concentrate improves
  • More energy then before
  • Feel better about yourself
  • Handle emotions better

Even my module said it wasn’t easy. You need to practice a lot to make this change. That you should practice daily. It’s a big time investment. Keep practising until it becomes second nature.

Wow, mindfulness as a habit that’s a thought. There are different techniques. I haven’t got to that part yet but here are a few tips.

  1. Adopt an open mind
  2. Know your benefits
  3. Find support
  4. Go for it!
  5. Reward yourself

Make a list of the benefits mindfulness could provide you. Here’s mine:

  • Relieve stress
  • Improve sleep
  • Increase creativity
  • Bring peacefulness to your life
  • Increase connection to my body
  • Alleviate digestive problems
  • Help me concentrate

Practice even if you want to do something else. I wanted to watch One Born Every Minute but decided it was best to do something. Be kind to yourself. If you manage to practice as often as you intended. Do something that makes you happy.

Time to make a commitment to put it into practice!

On which day will you make the sessions?

Friday

Where will you practice?

My room or the garden

At what time does practising suit you?

Early afternoon on days I’m working. Mid-afternoon on my days off. I have every other Friday off. 

What are you expectations?

Accept my thoughts for what they are without passing judgement. Letting go of problems in order to improve my health.

That is my commitment to mindfulness. I’ve put it in my diary and making it an official goal.

Goal: Practice Mindfulness

I hope you learnt something about mindfulness like I did and that you could make a commitment. A commitment to accept and gain control of your thoughts and feelings. Hoping to learn more at each stage of my module.

Much Love xx

 

Relaxation Techniques Continued…

I don’t know what happened. I had written this post up and had scheduled it ready and then I couldn’t find it. It had disappeared into thin air. I was very happy with that post. Even the start, I felt was great. Now I can’t even remember what I had written.

Putting into practice what I have learnt. Breathing in and out. Through the situation and calming myself. Let’s try again.


It’s been a couple weeks since I last looked at my relaxation module set by my counsellor. Truth be told, it was the publishing of my first Relaxation Techniques post is what spurred me on to complete it. Thank you blog.

In the first half of my module, I had learnt two relaxation techniques. Now there is another to learn.

The Relaxation Response

This is a form of meditation. Helps to draw on your natural ability to restore balance. Focusing your attention on a particular word. Enabling detachment from daily life and quiets your mind.

When I first read that I had to focus on a word. My reaction was WTF! How can you relax when you have to focus on a word. But then I thought, surely it’s the same as visualising a place or thing. I won’t know until I try.

In the video, it says that if you witness any thoughts, let them pass. There is no need to act on these thoughts.

How to:

Sit down in a comfortable position. The video does say don’t lie down. So, don’t lie down. Close your eyes. Relax all your muscles; from your toes to your face. Breathe in and out. On the exhales repeat the word “one”.

Please note this is the word used in my module video. I’m sure any word would do. Try positive words, I’d say. 

Don’t use an alarm. Try sensing when it’s time to stop. Ideally, complete this exercise for ten minutes. Once completed, open your eyes and take a couple minutes to sit a bit longer.

My thoughts:

I thought I was relaxed before trying this technique. But even with doing my yoga beforehand, I found my muscles were still tight and I was breathing fast. I was saying the word “one”, twice as much as the lady in the video. I think I need to try this one more to allow my breathing to slow.

Alternative Techniques:

There are also alternative techniques to aid in relaxation. If none of the ones shown work for me; I can try these:

  • Yoga > Hatha yoga is a slow paced yoga which promotes a relaxed state. I haven’t heard of this one. Think I may need to search for it.
  • Music
  • Meditation
  • Hot Baths > think I need to practice my goal of having baths.
  • Massage > hopefully my monthly one will help.
  • Steam rooms and Saunas > Never been to one myself. What do you think of them?

Make Relaxation Apart of Daily Life

All the techniques learnt. I now need to make time to practise the techniques daily and find the one that’s best for me. I want positive results after all. I need to come up with a goal plan.

To help with this I need to know what I want to achieve from the techniques. I was given the following questions to answer:

  1. What would I most like to achieve by practising these relaxation techniques?
    > Relaxed muscles
    > Calm breathing
    > To be able to use the techniques at times of stress and anxiety
  2. What changes would I like to experience from using these relaxation techniques?
    > I want to be able to control my stress and anxiety levels.
    > Be able to relax within myself and be able to handle the situation I’m in
  3. How would I like to feel after practising these relaxation techniques?
    > Relaxed
    > Be at ease with my mind and body
    > Breathing Calmly.

To help ensure the daily practice of the relaxation techniques I was given three steps to follow:

  1. Take responsibility
  2. Make a commitment
  3. Be willing to take a risk

Sometimes we may falter. I’m already imagining myself doing so. Which clearly isn’t good. It’s normal. Don’t beat yourself up over it. Simply pick it back up again.

The end of my relaxation module. Now I just have to put in the work. Practice makes perfect and all that. I hope you have relaxation in your daily life. Enjoy your own journey to relaxation.

Is there anything you do to relax which isn’t in my posts?

If you would like to read the first Relaxation Techniques post. Click Here.

 

Relaxation Techniques

I had a little scare a while ago. All due to idiots on the road. Causing another car to nearly tip over and head straight in my direction. On a 60mph road no less. The idiot driver trying to over take within a dip/corner. Noone thankfully bumped into another.

When I saw the car coming towards me, my heart felt like it was gonna jump out of my chest. I had to stop myself from crying. Used the breathing in and out technique. Luckily I did some of my relaxation module before I left the house. The breathing technique was one I tried.

Breathing Technique

I had to stand bare footed, eyes closed, hands on lower stomach. Breathing in through my nose to the bottom of my stomach. Then breathe out through my mouth. Repeat.

Well, at the time of doing this standing up in my room, I just felt frustrated in myself. But now I’m glad. It’s helped me calm myself and prevent a panic/crying attack in the car. Not what you want before turning up to a customer home.

Progressive Muscle Relaxation

I also tried the progressive muscle relaxation technique before I left for work. This didn’t help me in the car. But I left it released some tension in my muscles before I left for work.

This technique involved inhaling through the nose as you tighten muscles and exhale through the mouth as you release the tension in the muscles.

I did this while lying on my back, palms up and feet to their sides. When breathing in, focus on one body part at a time, e.g. left leg. Tense all the muscles in this body part. When breathing out, relax all muscles.

Do this with all the muscles in the body, including the face and buttocks. In-between each body part, have a breathe in and out to help relaxation.

After this one, I felt my muscle tingle, like they were starting to relax. There was another technique but I didn’t want to spoil a good thing. I’ll do that another time. To properly relax, it says to repeat techniques daily, getting into the habit.

Goal: Relaxation Techniques

 

Get rid to Destress

I woke this morning to find 2 likes on the post I reblogged last night. My first two likes. Yes I know it’s for someone else’s work. But I know at least two people have read the post I wanted to share with the world.

I’ve also decided to get rid of one piece of technology I own. My tablet. I only had it for Instagram as I wanted to keep social media off my phone. I’ve come to a compromise. I will have Instagram on my phone to get rid of the tablet. Then use my laptop for everything else.

Using the tablet was causing me to more stress than good. I am a social media admin on Instagram for an animal charity. I don’t have a personal account. I used to but I don’t want it. Having the app on the tablet wasn’t motivating me to help the charity at all.

Least this way I can go on the laptop, check emails and other social media posts/messenger. Then email myself the posts to go onto Instagram on my phone. It may take longer but not as long as using the tablet and a lot less stressful.