Running and Mental Health

***** I wrote this post back in March and never published it. I am still exercising regularly but not running as often due to Tim being away and it being dark and cold in the mornings, but the words I wrote still ring true today.*****

It’s nothing new that exercise benefits us mentally, a quick Google search will tell you that. Why do so many of us live sedentary lives though, and as a result suffer from depression or feeling “low”? We first world citizens live privileged lives and yet there is so much unhappiness, so much complaining, so much medicating. Yet, don’t we already know the answer? At least part of it? We need to move, we need to get off our bottoms (to put it politely) and get out the door. It’s not easy though and I’ve used all the excuses. I’ve been up all night with a baby (valid), I don’t have time, I don’t have money to afford a gym membership, it’s my period,  my little toe is sore….and you could go on. We all have our reasons to be lazy and only moving when it’s absolutely necessary….like to go to the toilet. Our current work environment doesn’t help with many people sitting at a desk behind a computer all day long, but there are still opportunities to move throughout the day, even if it’s just making a point to go for a short walk during lunch time. Last year about August I went to the Doctor, I think I went for some minor ailment, I don’t remember now but it ended up being more of a mental health check up than anything. One of my beautiful friends recommended her Doctor to me and I’m so thankful, she’s much more than a GP and was interested in me more than a prescription. I had a full blood work done to check Thyroid and other things and she advised me to take some vitamins. She also referred me to a psychologist. I was really struggling in every area but especially motherhood, I was not treating my girls well and they were copying my behaviour (as children do), I had a lot of self hatred, and negative self talk, there was a lot going on and when I tried reaching out to people they would say things like “well, Tim does work away, it’s bound to be hard”….very unhelpful. After a few sessions with the psychologist I visited my Doctor again, I still wasn’t doing great and she was hoping for an improvement. She asked me if I wanted anything for my mood….an antidepressant. I honestly didn’t think I was depressed but all the signs were pointing to that, in hindsight. I decided against the prescription and took her other advice, to start exercising. She told me it was part of my wellness plan and so I decided to take her advice, it couldn’t hurt me anyway.

I didn’t really get into regular exercise until after Christmas when Tim suggested we join a local gym that was opening. I’m not saying that exercise is a cure-all but I definitely think it’s for everyone. I know some people need medication and intervention but something in me knew what I needed to do. I’ve been doing some exercise on and off over the past few years, I was the most regular about 2 years ago when I was going to a BodyPump class at the gym and walking weekly with my friend Emma. She ended up moving back to the UK and I think I felt a little lost without that friendship, especially after getting back from our holiday in Canada and missing family. When we moved to Atwell, my friend Anna thought we should start the Couch to 5km running program together, we had each other for accountability and that was KEY. I knew I wasn’t going to be getting up at 6am unless I knew she would be waiting for me and I think she felt the same way. It was great to start at the beginning, we were both pretty unfit so it was nice to have someone to struggle next to. I downloaded the app on my phone, basically it starts you really slowly and builds up gradually over 8 weeks. You can listen to your own music and the app will tell you when to walk and run (or plod). For example the first week you start out with a 5min warm-up walk. Then alternate 60 seconds of jogging with 90 seconds of walking for a total of 20 minutes. Running that one minute was hard, that’s how unfit I was. I also climbed Bluff Knoll during those early weeks which was just another example to me of how fit I was, but gave me a vision and hope for a fitter future. I signed up for a 5km run the end of March, I had to pay a small fee which is an incentive in it’s self, I had a goal, I had a time frame, and I had a friend. Well about half way, or maybe we were a little further, Anna told me she was expecting baby number three. She continued running with me for a few more weeks but her Doctor told her that such intense exercise wasn’t probably a good idea due to her medical history. We were both disappointed in the news because had come to love that time together in the early morning, chatting and catching up on each others news, pushing each other to not give up running when our legs were screaming at us. She’s now happily growing a little baby and miraculously I’ve continued running. It hasn’t been easy to motivate myself to get out of bed, and occasionally I give myself grace to skip a planned run. I try to get in three a week and one or two classes at the gym. After a restless night I didn’t want to go this morning…at all. I was tired and slightly sore from my class on Monday, Kate had joined us sometime in the middle of the night and I had a hard time getting back to sleep after bringing her back to bed. This is real life. When the alarm went off at 5:35 I didn’t want to move, it was still dark and bed was so cosy. I did manage to roll out of bed though, get dressed and get my sneakers on before both girls appeared at our door. I was kind of relieved that I was ready to go because I really didn’t feel like dealing with kids who should have slept longer…you know the kind. I was a little later leaving then I had hoped but I got out the door and that’s the most difficult part.

Australians tend to be better at getting going early in the morning. I think it has something to do with the extreme heat. If you want to get anything done outside (gardening, exercise, dog walking) it’s best to do it early just as the sun is rising, before it gets hot.  It’s nice greeting people who are out early, even though I’m listening to music and very sweaty I always say good morning to passers-by. It’s energizing to get moving early in the morning to greet the day, I most often have more energy and get more things done on the days when I go for a run (unless I push myself too far and then I’m shattered). It normally helps me to make better food choices as well. I never really thought of myself as a runner or an early morning one at that…. and I kinda picture myself looking like this when I run. However; I do it, I am doing it and feeling better for it. No I haven’t really lost much weight, but I’ve become stronger and actually have some muscle tone. I ran a 5km timed race last weekend and came in at just under 37 minutes. I was happy with this because I honestly didn’t know if I could run 5km straight yet and I didn’t think I would be under 40 minutes. So really it’s not about the running, it about feeling better. Feeling better about myself, having more to give to my girls, not letting the excuses win. Feeling mentally stronger, knowing that I can push myself to run further because it’s a mind game. It’s a time when I can set my day on the right track rather them be woken from a deep sleep by someone whining for breakfast. I always listen to worship music when I run, it’s a time for me to think about nothing other then God, and pushing myself until the app tells me to stop (I’m now on the C210K one…and it’s hard).

I, of course have bad days, we all do, but I have far less of them now. I’m coming out of that horrible, out of control, “low” time and now I can see it on other mums. Tired, worn out mums, who can’t imagine trying to fit exercise into their schedule. Mums who know they need to exercise to feel better but feel hopeless and don’t really know where to start, maybe they’re afraid to fail. It breaks my heart really to see it because I’ve been there, and not too long ago. Some days I still feel like I’m there. Honestly, I would recommend visiting your Doctor (without kids), and if you need a good one in Perth just ask me the name of mine, also get moving ASAP. Even if it’s just walking to drop your kids off at school instead of driving one day a week, or around the neighbourhood pushing a stroller with a bigger kid on a scooter. It’s possible, and you and your kids will be better for it. So that’s where I’m at, I want to encourage others to get moving because I’ve seen how much of a difference it has made in my life.  I’m a little unsure about how to do this since I don’t want to make people feel worse about themselves (I’ve been there, feeling like people are exercising AT me). The interesting thing is that you can’t fail at it, moving more, even a little bit will benefit you. I don’t plan on running any marathons, running 5kms is still hard, but I CAN run 5km and a few months ago I could barely run for one minute straight. I’m never going to be that super muscular mum with fake boobs at the gym (nor do I want to be) but I can have more energy for my girls. I’m proud of how far I’ve come.

I decided that 2015 was going to be my year to work on my fitness and so far so good! I’ve set realistic goals with a plan to achieve them. I may be less available for play dates or getting together because I want to go to a class at the gym, this may sound strange but honestly it’s my priority this year. Another word of advice, get outside. I know this is really difficult for people in Canada where the sidewalks are covered with metres of snow right now but when the snow starts to melt get outside and breath fresh air. In the meantime there are alternatives. If you want energy, drink less coffee and exercise more.

Prayers, Plans, and Split Lips

Our church CityLight is going through a bit of a transition right now and as a result Tim and two other leaders are going to be sharing the teaching role. This is a new thing for Tim (but not the others) as well as an exciting and scary leap of faith. We’ve been praying a lot lately about our church, our role in the church, and future plans for our church.

This morning we were there early helping set up. Tim was planning on leading a session on personal testimony this morning for our Family Service (everyone in together including kids) when Eden, who was running around in her sock feet, slipped and had a fantastic face-plant on the tile.

This resulted in me scooping up all 20kg of her, running to the kitchen where Tim was, and trying to figure out where all the blood was coming from. We decided that it wasn’t bad enough for a trip to emergency but definitely a trip home for a non bloody shirt.

So here we are, Eden’s eating a popsicle while Tim’s teaching and somehow looking after Kate at the same time.

Thing’s don’t always work out how we plan them, often they don’t, but we have to trust that God has a plan better then ours, even if it involves split lips. This is definitely true for our church, we wouldn’t have planned how things are going right now but we can trust that God has a plan and rest in that knowledge.

So stay tuned as the next few months are bound to be full of prayer, plans, and hopefully no more split lips.

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Sculptures By The Sea 2015

Just a few photos of our Sunday at Cottesloe Beach the other weekend. Every year they host Sculptures By the Sea. We haven’t made it out to the event since we moved here, until this year. Unfortunately, we had to go on the weekend with a thousand other people, but it was still nice to see some of the Sculptures and spend time on the beach.

Eden tripped on the way to the beach (we had to park at a bit of a distance) and scraped her knee, so it didn’t start out very well, but thankfully she got over it quickly!

I should note that there were signs everywhere that said don’t touch the art…..

This one was beautiful

This one was beautiful

Eden liked how the person on top was upside down (sorry...not in pic)

Eden liked how the person on top was upside down (sorry…not in pic)

Little poser

Little poser

It was really cool how big a lot of them were, it must have been quite a feat installing them in the beach.

I liked this little one

I liked this little one

It's too bad we all couldn't get in this one, as there were two more holes. There was just way too many people there though.

It’s too bad we all couldn’t get in this one, as there were two more holes. There was just way too many people there though.

The flock of flamingoes were pretty cool

The flock of flamingoes was pretty cool

There was a whole bunch of them

There was a whole bunch of them

It wasn’t really a relaxing day on the beach, but it was interesting none the less. I’m glad we went, but I wouldn’t go on the weekend next time.

Getting their toes wet

Getting their toes wet

Our favourite one and we almost missed it. Really interesting with the faces in the charcole.

Our favourite one and we almost missed it. Really interesting with the faces in the charcoal.

Having a little snack to keep us going

Having a little snack to keep us going

Such a beautiful beach

Such a beautiful beach

We live in a stunning place

We live in a stunning place

Testing the Waters

I’ve got an idea I want to run past you. I come up with a lot of ideas – a quick glance through the Reminders app on my phone brings up such prompts as “Mnemonics on Demand”, “the selfies they would have taken”, and “tempted by the road less travelled” – but most end up being discarded. Nearly all my ideas have a creative or artistic component to them, although some are more practically oriented (patent ideas, or technical solutions); unfortunately, most never make it past their entry on the list. Eventually enough time passes that I lose the vision, or in some cases forget what it was even about!

Tonight I want to throw an idea out and I’m keen to get your feedback. If you read this post, I expect to receive some kind of answer from you one way or the other; silence is not affirmation. I think this idea has potential to motivate me in a big way, which I hope could lead to Miss Rumphius’ third objective being accomplished in my life: doing something to make the world more beautiful. If it all goes well, it could have potential to bring some joy to your life as well!

The idea is about music. For me, music is a beautiful, universal language. The older I get the more I appreciate the power of music to convey stories and meaning, with or without lyrics, whether delivered by soloists or symphony orchestras. Music moves and inspires me. It brings depth, energy and clarity when life starts to feel tedious or mundane.

Public guitar at the Bluff Knoll Cafe

Public guitar at the Bluff Knoll Cafe

The idea is also about stories. I’ve begun to realise that the uniting factor among many things I’ve felt most passionate about in life – at present or in the past – has been The Story. I love a good story!! When I was a child I formed a writing club with my friends, in which I developed a series of (hilarious, in retrospect) stories called “The Adventures of Brian Landers.” When I switched from a Physics major to Geology in university, it was largely the unravelling of the Earth’s stories that got me hooked. In the latter years of my degree I got into blogging, beginning with LiveJournal, where I chronicled my adventures in Labrador. This was followed by a shift to WordPress when Kathryn and I got married. While I’ve been inspired by Gordon Lightfoot for as long as I can remember, in recent years I’ve developed an increasing appreciation for good story-telling, with or without music. There’s nothing to better to spice up a day in the office than a podcast of DNTO, and the Vinyl Cafe is pretty great too; I have been unable to find Australia equivalents.

It wasn’t until I arrived in Australia, specifically whilst working away from home in the Pilbara, that I began to express my own thoughts and experiences through songs, most of which sit unknown in a tattered ring-bound scribbler in my bedside table. Kathryn thinks I should record some of these songs, and I tend to agree. Obviously I’m a bit self-concious about them, particularly since they expose some pretty raw parts of my being, but I like the way most of them sound and I suppose other people might, too. I had an epiphany the other day too, which, like most epiphanies, doesn’t sound as dramatic when put into mere text, but it went something like this: these are My Stories, and these are My Songs. Nobody else in the world has these stories to tell, or these songs to sing – if I don’t do it, nobody will.

So this is what the idea comes down to: I want you to help me tell my stories. A couple years ago I picked up a nice little condenser mic called the Zoom H4N, which came with some basic mixing (Cubase) software. This allows me to record decent-quality sound in multiple tracks, which can be layered and adjusted individually.

Zoom H4n Mic

A Zoom mic like mine

 

I’ve also got a beautiful guitar (Martin DCPA3) which I often feel unworthy of. I think the Zoom mic actually does quite a nice job of capturing the depth and range of its sound. Lastly, I’ve got time – not much, but enough to chuck a few hours in per week, at most. Here’s what I lack:

1) A sense of urgency (i.e. motivation) – for several years I’ve been telling myself I’ll get around to recording more, but it hasn’t happened yet

2) Experience recording music – I’ve done a little, but I have a lot to learn and I don’t intend to pay anybody to record/mix for me

What if I had a group of friends who was willing to give me some accountability and feedback when it comes to recording (and even writing) my own music? Like an online songwriters’ circle, but more. I’m picturing this: a separate blog and accompanying YouTube channel where I post regular updates on song(s) I’m working on, hurdles I’m trying to overcome, sound and/or video clips of the recording, editing and producing process, and lastly the finished products. I’ll share with you the stories behind the songs (à la VH1) and the experience of recording them, and you help me by sharing your honest feedback on what does or doesn’t work (for you of course, since music has a large degree of subjectivity).

Once the songs are written, recorded, and mixed to my (our?) satisfaction, you would be the first – and possibly only people ever, haha – to have access to the full tracks for download, of course!

So, if you’ve stuck with me through this entire post, does that mean I can count on you? I need critical mass here – sorry mom, but I’m not going to commit to this project just for you ;)

If you’re keen, please let me know via comments below, or Facebook. If I can build up enough support that I think it’s worth pursuing, I will send you all the details/links in the next few days. If you know someone who isn’t too distantly removed from me who may want to get involved, particularly someone with song writing/recording experience, feel free to share this post… sometimes it’s easier for people who are slightly further removed to provide constructive criticism, but mostly I want to be among friends.

Cheers everyone, looking forward to your responses.

Inspiration for the week

It’s true that I probably spend more time online then I should. I’m much more productive in my life if I switch off my devices and tune in to real life. However, as a Stay-At-Home-Mum, life can get a little…mundane. I can think up creative things to do with my girls, crafts, lego, imaginative play. I can read an unlimited amount of stories until my throat is dry and all I want to do is fall asleep. I can make endless meals and snacks (the snacks are usually consumed more readily, popcorn anyone?). I can go to parks and play outside. Sometimes (maybe too often) though I just check out. I think it’s a form of survival really, from the boredom.

Don’t get me wrong I love my girls and would die for them. I want their lives to be enriching and interesting, I want them to love life, themselves, and God. I want so many things for them but I think you’d be lying if you said (as a SAHM) you weren’t bored from time to time or that you never wanted to escape your current reality. I am thankful that I’m not cleaning poopy diapers any more (though still wiping bums…does this ever end?).

So I read blogs and listen to podcasts to escape, to get a glimpse into someone else’s reality, to be inspired by the amazing work that people spend their lives doing. I hope that someday I will inspire others to be a better version of themselves, to serve others, to make the world a more beautiful place as Miss Rumphius would say.

Here are some of my favourites that I’ve read recently.

Revelation Wellness has been inspiring me lately I love what they do and their mission. You should follow them on Instagram and get their emails! I loved this blog post: Should I or Shouldn’t I Work out today?

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This blog post by Kelle Hampton, if you’ve never heard of her she’s a mum, one of her daughters has Down Syndrome, and she’s a champion. Just read it.

Inspired to Action is a must listen to Podcast for me. I recently listened to this podcast and was inspired to be more intentional with my girls. I’ve started Sense of the Resurrection with the girls to prepare for Easter.

My friend Melinda posted Making Ethical Fashion Choices, on FB recently. It’s written from a Christian perspective but I think it applies to EVERYONE living in first world nations. We are too quick to grab a deal, to buy junk from dollar stores without pausing to think of the actual cost, the human cost of the deal we scored. This issue doesn’t only have to do with fashion but with pretty much every industry. If you want to make better chocolate choices this Easter then check out Traffik Free Easter, their website has a wealth of information (not just on purchasing chocolate).

When it comes to human trafficking I feel sick. It’s easy to ignore global issues that don’t personally affect us but some of my friends back in Canada have recently become passionate about spreading awareness of this problem and trying to affect change. A21 campaign is actually freeing people who have been trafficked yesterday and prosecuting people who do it. This is something that I’ve seen first hand. I was in Northern Thailand with YWAM in 2003 and we were working in a village building some infrastructure and helping in various ways. I noticed that there were NO girls between the ages of 4 and …? old women. They were all sold to the bigger cities with the hope that they would be going to a real job so they could send back money to their families. In reality they were working in brothels and it made me weep, it still does. It’s easy to feel hopeless when sex and slavery is such a huge industry but I believe if one person is freed then it’s worth it.

The team

The team in Thailand

To end on a hopeful note, MercyShips is an amazing organization which provides medical care for the least of these. This video is one that I shared on Facebook but it worth sharing on here. It’s moving and full of hope. Women’s Health Program.

I almost forgot, you should check out this art. If you have Instagram you should follow Gracelaced. It’s beautiful and inspiring.

Rooted+and+Established+In+Love+WEB

So what makes you feel alive? What escape do you have from the mundane? What do you do to make your life not solely about yourself and satisfying your desires? Whether you’re a SAHM or not, I think there’s something in all of us that realises life isn’t just about us and we can’t just turn a blind eye to some of the major issues in our world. We are raising global citizens after all, what will their world view be?

Oh and if you’re wondering, I like reading the “hold in your hand” type of books too, but my children are neglected and household chores are forgotten when I get into a plot. So I try to “limit my intake” at this point in my life.

I’m looking forward to your comments.

Creationism and the Grand Conjectural Canyon

Creationism and the Grand Conjectural Canyon

K & T:

I sympathise with the desire to unite scripture and scientific inquiry, but I have to admit that I agree completely with the author of this post. I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that Young Earth Creationists have reached the point where they are disingenuously casting doubt on things that are plain to see and straightforward to interpret, given what we know in modern times.

There is a big difference between healthy scepticism and the kind of misleading/distracting techniques employed by so-called creation scientists. I believe the Earth is very old because of the vast amount of evidence I’ve observed firsthand in the rocks, not because of ideological bias or philosophical reasons. In fact, I would prefer the earth to be young, for the simplicity of harmonising it with scripture, but if that is the case then there is an extraordinary amount of misleading data in the rocks!

Anyway, hope you enjoy the article and feel free to share your thoughts.

Tim

Originally posted on Age of Rocks:

“The writing on the wall”

It was a Friday afternoon like any other. Katrina pulled into the driveway promptly at 4:30 PM upon returning from her weekly exercise class and a much needed shopping run. For Katrina, it was a three-hour sanctuary in which she could recuperate from the constant demands of Molly, her energetic toddler. That role was temporarily assigned to Sarah, a young neighborhood girl with comparable creative energies.

“How was she?” asked Katrina, while struggling to close the door through a web of heavy shopping bags. “Did she cause you any trouble?”

“Not at all,” replied Sarah, “I think she finally fell asleep.”

Carefully nudged against the cracked door, however, Katrina’s motherly peer was immediately stolen by an unfamiliar disarray. “That’s not wallpaper…”, she thought silently to herself. With a slight rush of adrenaline, she nervously flipped on the light to find the new ‘Ivory White’ paint job ruined by chaotic swaths of…

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