SS: Sunday Saves (#78)

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Good morning everyone and Happy Sunday! I hope you’re all having a lovely day so far. Today I’m back with another Sunday Saves and I’ll be talking about running a marathon, letting people help you and being in a blogging slump.

1) Claire Bella Loves (This Mum Can | I Ran A Marathon)

Claire ran a marathon! How amazing is it? It’s definitely a dream of mine but she done it, how incredible! In her post, she talks about when she started running and how it’s progressed from there; even when she couldn’t run for thirty seconds to joining a running club then to train for a marathon. Well done Claire!

2) Nothing Good Rhymes With Charlotte (Strength Is: Letting People Be There For You)

Before we get into Charlotte’s blog post, can we just appreciate the greatness of her blog name? Brilliant. So just by the title of Charlotte’s blog post, I knew I was going to relate to this because this is something I have struggled with. It’s hard to open up to people, it’s hard to tell someone you’re struggling and it’s even harder to be okay with the fact that you feel extremely vulnerable in that moment. She talks about anxiety and panic attacks; two things I’ve been unlucky to suffer from too so if you struggle to let people in when you’re at your most vulnerable, I think Charlotte’s post will help you.

3) Essential Twenty (I’m In A Blogging Slump)

I’ve featured Sophie quite a few times on my Sunday Saves but from her writing, we do seem quite similar so it’s not surprising she’s always featured. Blogging slumps; we all get them and right now, I would say I’m currently in a slump at the minute but not in a “I don’t have any ideas” way. I have quite a lot of ideas but for me, it’s finding the time. This week I didn’t have a free night after work and this week coming, I only have Tuesday night free. I know it’s all about balance but finding that balance is tough. If you’re in the same boat as us, go and give Sophie’s post a read.

That’s all for today’s post! I hope you’ve enjoyed all three posts and remember to head over to the blog posts themselves and take a read. Thank you for reading!

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SS: Sunday Saves (#73) World Mental Health Day Edition.

sunday-saves

Happy Sunday everyone! I hope you’re having a lovely day too, and a lovely weekend overall. Today’s Sunday Saves is quite a special one; I didn’t write a post for this year’s World Mental Health Day but I thought I would incorporate it into this week’s Sunday Saves. I’m featuring ten posts that I have read over the week (including this morning) that talks about mental health in many forms.

1) Becloumar (Focusing On The Small Things. #MentalHealthAwarenessDay)

Rebecca’s post for World Mental Health Day focuses on the small things and this is something that really sticks with me. I much prefer having a cup of tea and a chocolate bar while watching something on TV rather than a big night out (but that’s just me) but even those little things help tremendously with my mental health. She shares the little things that make her happy and I can definitely relate to quite a lot of them.

2) A Carers Perspective (What’s My Name Again? Losing My Identity As A Carer)

I have no idea about the life of a carer so reading Ann Marie’s story about looking after your mental health while looking after someone is very important for anyone to read. She talks about losing herself, losing her identity and even hating the person that she was becoming so she gives a few tips to those who are in the same position as her

3) Sparkles and Stretchmarks (Blue Monday and Seasonal Sadness – Are They Real?)

I wanted to include this post, not only because it relates to mental health but because I feel like over the coming months, it might be something that some people may experience in the coming months. Hayley talks about how she thought her feelings could be related to pre-natal depression and she could start to see a pattern with seasonal sadness instead. I’m not sure a lot of people really know what seasonal sadness feels like, because Christmas isn’t always so happy and festive for everyone, and I think it’s important to learn from stories like Hayley’s.

4) The Rose Glow (Anxiety: What Not To Say)

“Don’t worry” is one of the most stressful things someone can say to me when I’m very anxious and Alice seems to capture this very well in her post. She talks about some of the things that she’s been told by friends and family that can affect you more than you think, and believe me, I can definitely relate!

5) She’s A Writer (A Musing Or Two On World Mental Health Day)

I relate to Sarah so much through this post because she talks about not only how the conversation of mental health has changed over the last fifty years but also because she talks about her CBT experience. As someone going through CBT myself, I always like reading someone else’s experience and how it has impacted them.

6) Elle JC (Anxiety And Me)

Laura’s short post about anxiety gives an overview of how anxiety can play in your head and it’s one that I relate to. One little thought can spiral out of control but I think it’s important that Laura has not only spoken about how it has negatively affected her but the positives that have came out of it too.

7) My Little Brushneen Blog (Mental Health Awareness: My Story)

Kayleigh tells her story of being diagnosed with G.A.D (also known as Generalised Anxiety Disorder) before and after the diagnosis. It’s quite a lengthy post but I love that she goes into so much detail because it can be quite a hard thing to talk about, and I really love that she has opened herself up so much about her journey.

8) Made By Steffie B (Drowning)

Steffie’s post is definitely an emotional one; she talks about her struggles with IVF, babies and how this has impacted her mental health. I can’t imagine how she feels but with her post, we get a glimpse into this journey that her and her partner have currently been going through.

9) Adventure and Anxiety (Mental Health In The Workplace – #WorldMentalHealthDay)

The theme of this year’s World Mental Health Day was well-being in the workplace so I thought it was very appropriate to include Beth’s post. Unfortunately for Beth, it seems like she hasn’t had very much support in some of her job roles when it comes to dealing with her mental health. She gives statistics on how mental health can play a huge part in your life in the workplace as well as some of her own experiences, which are quite sad that some employers don’t see the impact that they can have on someone.

10) Sarah’s Chapter (T5W: Books With Mental Health)

If you’ve been the reader of the blog for a while or you know me in real life, you’ll know I’m not much of a reader. I would love to be but I can never find the time and I get really tired. However, I thought Sarah’s post about mental health books was really interesting; I haven’t read any of the books that she has featured but “Reasons To Stay Alive” sounds like a really good one (and she has a full review on that particular book so I’ll be giving that a read too!)

I thoroughly enjoyed reading all these posts discussing mental health, their lives and how it affects them. Mental health affects each and every one of us; positively and negatively and I think these posts just prove that everyone has a story.

SS: Sunday Saves (#68)

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Happy Sunday evening everyone (or whenever you read this!) I’ve had such a busy weekend that the evening of my Sunday Saves was the only free time I had to write my post. I’ve just taken part in the #UKRunChat over on Twitter (it takes place every Wednesday and Sunday at 8pm) and I’ve came across a number of running blog posts during that so I thought it would be quite nice to talk about those.

1) Two Legs One Beard (My First Parkrun)

Reading Richard’s blog post about his first parkrun reminds me of my first parkrun last year (even though I started getting into them properly just a few weeks ago). He’ll give you some advice on what to expect from the Saturday morning run and he also talks about his experience.

2) Honest Fitness (I’m back. Running, blogging and moaning!)

Kev has just started up his blog again and he talks through some of the life changes he has gone through over the last few years. He talks about mental health and taking part in a 10K along with his little boy, so lots covered in just one post.

3) The Run Blog (Winning The Mental Battle)

The mental battle when running is something that I still struggle with and if you haven’t read my blog post on it, I’ll link it here. I love Paula’s honesty around running and how it used to make her feel versus where she currently is now. It’s definitely a relatable post for anyone who feels “off” when they run.

And we’re done for the evening! I hope you all enjoyed my chosen posts and remember to give them a little read and maybe a comment, it always means so much. Have a great weekend everyone!

SS: Sunday Saves (#63)

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Good morning everyone and welcome back to another edition of my Sunday Saves! If you’ve never read a Sunday Saves before, I choose three posts each Sunday that I’ve found throughout the week to talk about. This week I’ve decided to have a #NIBloggers special, and if you’re not sure what that is, it’s a hashtag used mainly on Instagram and Twitter for Northern Ireland bloggers. Being from Northern Ireland myself, I always think it’s great to highlight local bloggers as well as national and international bloggers. So this morning I’ll be talking about Instagram worthy feeds, becoming more ethical and tattoo stories.

1) Retro Rose (Is It Insta Worthy?)

Miriam Rose’s post about Instagram is something that I think we can all relate to. She speaks about some of her thoughts on Instagram including if you have nothing to post, that’s perfectly okay. I went through a period of panicking when I didn’t have something to post at least twice a day and I see on Twitter other bloggers who worry when they haven’t posted in a day. I soon came to the realisation that just because I don’t post in a day, it doesn’t make me any less of a blogger (or a person). She also talks briefly about themes and keeping to the same editing style which in all honesty, that wouldn’t be my cup of tea but whenever I see someone who has kept to a certain filter or style, I praise them because they have almost the perfect feed.

2) Lauren The Day Dreamer (Why I’m Trying To Be More Ethical)

I love that Lauren has decided to try and become more ethical! It’s something I’m trying to do myself; I haven’t ventured into any charity shops to buy clothes yet but I’m in the same boat as her. I tend to wear the same clothes over and over again and I’m definitely nowhere near as fashionable as Lauren so my sense of style could be labelled as boring but comfy clothing but I think I need to have another look at my wardrobe to see what I actually need and what I actually wear. Shopping elsewhere other than my regular H&M might even open my style habits up further too!

3) Sarah Louise Writes (My Tattoo Story #MentalHealthAwarenessWeek)

We all know that I love scrolling back on people’s blogs, not just looking at their latest posts and this is exactly how I came across Sarah Louise’s post about her tattoo. I don’t have any tattoos and I don’t know if I’ll never have one because I’m too indecisive, I’m more of a piercing woman myself but I loved her story behind the tattoo. I’ll let you go to her post to read her story in full but I think it’s so special to hear about the stories behind people’s tattoos because not many people open up as much as Sarah Louise has, especially when it comes to mental health.

Thank you so much for reading my post and remember to go to the featured blog posts to give them a read too. To catch up on my other Sunday Saves, click here and you’ll have another sixty two to keep you busy. If you want to keep up with what I’m up to during the week, I’m over on Twitter and Instagram. Have a wonderful day! 

Training for a 5K Run: Running and Negative Mental Health?

Have you ever had a negative run or ran when your mental health was very low? There’s a saying that goes “The only workout you regret is the one that you skipped” and when you hear people telling you that exercise is one of the the best anti-depressants, one would assume that the majority of your problems go away if you just “run it off”. 

Mental health is something that I talk about on the blog sometimes but in general, I try to keep my “online presence” very positive, or as positive as I can be. I made the decision over the last year to not be so open about my negative mental health because it’ s very personal to me and because it can be very hard to deal with, I struggle to share that with the people around me, never mind the Internet. 

Today I’m going to open the lid of that box and share my experience of what it was like running when I was at a very low point. 

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Scott had planned out a run for us but I didn’t know where it was or how long it was going to be. It was a Friday night so while I should have been happy that I had finished work for the week, I could relax and enjoy my second run of my 5K training; that reality couldn’t have been further from the truth. 

He was my only motivation getting ready because I knew he was looking forward to it, and I had been all day up until that night but all I wanted to do was lie in bed and cry until I fell asleep. He brought me down to where we were going to run and it’s actually a really nice towpath that we’ve walked before so I was familiar with the scenery. 

I’m a tracker. I like to track my progress in almost everything I do and running is no exception so when my fitness tracker wouldn’t work, that made me feel slightly worse that in the end, I gave up with it. It came round eventually but I really didn’t care at that point, I just wanted to run. 

20170610_094301(This part of the path is further on down but I took a few photographs from our last visit.)

People say running is good for your mental health, it clears your head and helps you gain perspective on what’s going on negatively. Mentally, running made everything worse. I can’t describe when you’re in such a negative place how many little moments, big moments, negative thoughts, self-critical thoughts and imagined scenarios pop up in your mind.  I lost count; it’s a very scary place to be in because you feel out of control and that night I was. I tried to control my breathing but then my breathing started to get so short and quick that it was almost turning into a panic attack. I cried quite a few times on that run, and I really tried to hide it but I don’t think that worked on Scott. 

I knew I was running faster than the first time and because I was embarrassed of my time last time, running faster gave me that motivation to not get that time again. I felt like I was running away from everything; I was running away from my responsibilities’, my past, my scenarios that I made up in my head that had become so real, my thoughts, my emotions and I thought the faster I run, the faster my head won’t be spinning with these thoughts.  It’s like being in a trapped room that you can’t get out of.  

He stayed quiet for most of the run which is what I needed. I know there are the type of people who want the comfort, the cuddles and the supportive words and I admit, I can be one of those people sometimes. More often than not, I just need to be on my own, in silence while I try and let the very negative emotions pass, and if I need to cry, then I cry.  

I started to crack almost half way through thinking I couldn’t do it anymore, I almost just sat on the ground and cried but I felt like I would have disappointed myself if I didn’t finish the run. I continued with Scott until less than a mile away and I was so close to saying “can we just stop now?” when his phone lit up and said “only 0.85 miles to go until your destination”,  and I just knew I couldn’t quit then. 

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We finished the run and Scott asked me did I know what pace I was doing or did I even know what time we had hit. I didn’t know because I wasn’t paying too much attention to my watch or even the time. We had knocked off six minutes from our overall time, so almost two minutes from each mile which was incredible considering how disappointed I was with our Monday night run. It was actually around the 36 minute mark from his phone but I didn’t hit my watch off at the 5K mark, so I did in fact do the run in faster than this. He kept saying how proud he was of me and how well I done, and it was genuinely so lovely, I’m glad I made him proud despite how I felt.

So did I feel better once I finished my run? Physically, yes. When you finish something like a run or a really stressful workout, you do get this wave effect that passes through your body and physically, it feels like it’s breathing a sigh of relief. How did I feel mentally? Nothing; zero, zilch. I still felt sad, I was disappointed in myself for not being able to control the way I reacted to my feelings. I was tired but it wasn’t from the running. 

I understand that this training series is meant to be about my running progress and how excited I am about my first trained 5K but I would feel like an absolute fraud if I either didn’t tell you about the run at all like it didn’t happen or I decided just to leave out how I really felt. My mental health is something I’ve struggled with for over a year now and this was one of the many days where it bared everything, so while it might not be the nicest thing for me to type out and relive, it’s an experience I got through, and at the end of the day, isn’t that the most important thing?

If you want to catch up on the first post, that was based around my first run and it was a general introduction into what I’m training for, so you’ll find that right here.  Thank you so much for reading, I know it wasn’t my usual content, but I appreciate you listening to what I had to say.

SS: Sunday Saves (#56)

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Happy Sunday everyone! While I’m writing this, it’s such a gorgeous day outside, always a sure fire way of being in a better mood eh? In today’s post I’ll be talking about cleaning your home and mind, habits of grateful people and being more mindful as a non-vegan.

1) Suzie Speaks (50 Things To Remove From Your Home and Your Life)

Judging by the weather (most of the time), I’d like to think we’re coming into the Summer and one of my favourite things to do during the Summer is do a massive clean. I know a lot of people like to do a Spring clean (in the Spring of course) but for me, it always goes back to when I was in school and you would have a huge clear out before heading back to school in September. Suzie highlights fifty things that you should remove from your home but also from your personal life, so not only are you cleaning your house but you’re also cleaning your mind, to a certain extent.

2) Hack Spirit (The Top 9 Habits Of Grateful People… Even In Tough Times)

If you’ve been reading the blog lately or following me on my social media, you’ll know I have started to get into the practice of gratitude. It’s such an important practice for me especially when my day isn’t going as well as I had hoped it would. Gratefulness brings me back down to earth. That’s what I found so interested about this Hack Spirit blog post about habits of people who are grateful even on the tough days. It’s something we should all take into consideration, both on the good days and the bad.

3) The Zombie Said (5 Simple Ways For Non-Vegans To Help Vegan Causes)

I prefer to call myself plant based rather than vegan because I’m quite open about not having changed all my clothes, make-up, hair care and skincare over to one hundred percent cruelty free. I really liked the way Steph came across in this post, it’s not preachy or forceful, it’s just giving you a few simple tips on how you can be more mindful when it comes to spending your money on products and perhaps promote a positive change if you can’t commit yourself to being vegan.

Well that’s all for today’s Sunday Saves post. If you’d like to catch up on my other Sunday Saves, you’ll find them here and let me know your thoughts on today’s post, either down below or over on my Twitter!

SS: Sunday Saves (#51)

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Happy Sunday! I hope you’re having a lovely weekend so far! So with this week being Mental Health Awareness Week, I thought it was quite suited that my Sunday Saves would be themed around Mental Health. Just to add, there were so many bloggers addressing Mental Health Awareness Week which I think is fantastic and it was so hard to choose just three posts to feature this week.

1) The V Nice Life (High Functioning Depression)

A lot of society have painted depression with one paintbrush stroke but depression can take many forms and Sarah talks about high function depression which she suffers from. I didn’t know a lot about the high functioning side of depression so it’s a fresh perspective on the condition, so if you’re not too sure what exactly it is either, I’d recommend Sarah’s post.

2) Parenting, Pasttimes, Prosecco (Has Mental Health Tested Your Parenting Life?)

Having a mental breakdown has only happened to me once or twice in the past year and I can completely understand where Sarah is coming from. It really is just built up over so long and you become completely uncontrollable. It’s a horrible feeling that I wouldn’t wish on anyone. I think it’s fantastic how Sarah has written about her experience and especially being in her family situation at the minute, she deserves a medal.

3) All About Aoife (YA Mental Health TBR List)

I loved the idea of this post! Aoife has put a list together of the young adult books she’s hoping to read soon but they all have a theme based around mental health. She even gives you a little description of each book too, so you don’t have to go look up each one to find out what it’s about.

Well that’s all from this week’s Sunday Saves! I hope you’ve all had a good week and if you have any posts you think I should read, please tweet me over at @RetroSnowflake.