Back from holiday, low mood, fight back

Mon 27 Jan – Sat 1 Feb 2020

Personal Development

Basket case Britain

I will be honest, I returned from holiday on Monday and I am struggling with low mood. The weather is shit, we’ve left the EU, the old and thick are in control (trying to restore the empire), and life feels crap. If I didn’t have responsibilities I would just pack up and bugger off. Leave this silly little backward-looking country to its inevitable long-term decline.

Focus on what I love and fight back

But I’m stuck here for the time being. So I’ve got to make the most of it and I am trying to do that by focusing on the things I enjoy, future-proofing myself, and fighting back (life is eternal struggle and then you die). I love exercise and reading, more about that below. But I’ve also been continuing my language learning. The idea of being stuck on this little island only able to speak one language fills me with dread.

Sunday is the start of the week not the end

Astute blogger readers may have noted that I have stopped the blog period being reported at Sat rather than Sun. I am following a bit of advice that may be another way to deal with low mood. Basically, the advice is make Sunday the beginning of your week rather than the end. It’s linked to the idea of your life not being just about work. So the week doesn’t start with work but starts with a day off and work comes spread through the middle.

Thus, next week’s blog will cover Sun to Sat. πŸ™‚

Health and Efficiency

Weight

Back from holiday on Monday and weighed myself to find I had put on about 4 pounds. πŸ™ Continued to let myself go a bit during the week even though I had started back on exercise. Bad eating causes low mood and low mood causes bad eating – it’s a perfect but deadly symbiotic relationship.

I am going to try to eat less again (including intermittent fasting) and sensibly i.e. more fruit and veg. Before I went to Gran Can, some days I was hitting 13 stone and 2 pounds. To get below 13 stone would be amazing. I am currently about 13-7. πŸ™

Jog-run

man jogging

My general lack of fitness post-holiday was apparent in Sat’s 10K. Just under an hour and 5 mins. This is 2-3 mins above what I was doing before I went away and my slowest run for about 6 months. πŸ™ A real struggle at times and I should be pleased that I managed to get round without stopping plus no single km stretch over 7 mins. Returned to doing a little vid as that seems popular. All vids about my jog-runs can be seen here.

Gym

Dumbells

Took the plunge and renewed my annual gym membership on Tues – big one-off financial hit. πŸ™ That didn’t immediately lift my low mood but I can’t deny how happy being at the gym makes me. I love the way sometimes when exercising I can feel almost strained but also weightless. Hit the gym twice last week. The mornings of Tues and Thurs. Both times a bloody good, allover body workout. πŸ™‚

Yoga

And back to my community yoga group on Fri morning. The teacher is very into the spiritual side. But for me, I enjoy learning to control my breathing as well as stretching myself to try to keep some suppleness and delay joint problems. Like the gym, I love it at these sessions when I completely lose myself and feel like I’m not there. πŸ™‚

Books and Reading

‘Blind willow, sleeping woman’ by Haruki Murakami

Regular blog readers will know that I read because it stimulates my mind and helps tackle my low mood. I have several favourite authors and one of the contemporary ones is most definitely Haruki Murakami. He is Japanese and his writing places you in a world that is like ours but also has important differences. Indeed, his stuff is wonderfully dreamlike (modern fantasy?) and I read one of his short story collections as part of my holiday power reading finishing it just after I got back.

It’s an eclectic selection of stories though with some familiar themes of jazz, heterosexual sex, young people’s sexual relationships, food, parents, and death. I recognise some stories from other novels of his I have read. Must be that some of the short stories got incorporated into his later fuller length books.

My current reading

2 books on the go as usual, this stimulates me. Fiction = the final installment of the sci-fi Wormwood trilogy by Tade Thompson. Strangely the other is non-fiction, ‘Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion’ by Robert B Cialdini. Bit of a classic that explains through psychology why people say ‘yes’. It’s on my kindle and it’s great to drift in and out of taking bitesize chunks that make me think.

Friends and Family

Taking people out of your life

skull and crossbones

A way to deal with low mood is simply to take shit out of your life. I love social media but some of the people on it are like J.K. Rowling’s Dementors, beings that β€œglory in decay and despair, they drain peace, hope and happiness out of the air around them.”

Tackling low mood via social media

I have discontinued friendships over people’s support for Brexit and Corbyn. OK I could end up in a ‘narcissistic echo chamber’ but I think social media is more than just numbers. And last week I ended a connection with a long-term ‘friend’ who has been rude a number of times and completely lacks the ability to criticise himself. It felt bloody great to get someone out of my life who has effectively become a troll.

And I blocked / unfollowed someone who sometimes posts offensive (he thinks they’re funny) posts. That felt equally rewarding. Why put up with someone who makes you angry when you don’t have to? This also fits in with my new policy on social media of putting images up and not responding to comments. πŸ™‚

Caring for parents

As with so many friends, I have entered the phase of my life when I am looking after a parent. Mum continues to deal with chronic pain and struggles to be mobile. She’s been referred for an MRI scan so that may give some answers. It’s not always easy supporting people and can cause low mood. But sometimes it is our duty. And so I spent extra time just being with mum last week after my return from holiday.

The Week Ahead

  • Should be able to get in some good exercise to help deal with low mood. Target is 5 gym sessions, yoga on Fri, and my weekend 10K.
  • Usual working week, put my head down and get on with it
  • Will definitely finish the Tade Thompson book and move onto some new fiction
  • Thurs evening is Velvet Page Book Club where we are discussing ‘The Binding’ by Bridget Collins which I read a while ago and enjoyed
  • Catching up with my old mate Dom on Tues night. We disagree sometimes but he gives great support.
  • Spend time with mum
  • Continue with personal development especially language learning – it’s definitely a way of keeping my options open for the future to get away from here πŸ™‚
  • Would be very nice to have some art and culture in my life

And Finally…

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