First day of astronomical spring brings hope for better things to come
I've covered so many distressing topics again this week (some of them highly personal), so today I'm having to write something more light-hearted to help calm myself and lighten the mood.
Today is the first day of astronomical spring in the Northern Hemisphere, where the sun crosses the equator line heading north, resulting in increasing daylight hours and warming temperatures. I'm so glad we're finally out of winter because it's been particularly difficult for people this year with lockdown restrictions making things so much more challenging than usual.
I found an article on the Healthspan site yesterday which mentions lots of different ways to 'lift your spirits for spring' so I thought I would attach that for you today and also discuss a couple of my own ideas for how to boost mood this spring.
The article mentions being mindful, eating healthily, and natural mood boosters, but there are a couple of things that I've been engaging in which are omitted and are worth a mention too.
Now that I am well enough to look after my mental health - by which I really mean well-being - I am now making a conscious effort to improve my physical health as well by walking up the hills nearby for two hours every lunchtime.
My physical health took such a battering over the last twenty years with crippling depression leaving me unable to get out of bed for months and months at a time.
The last four years have been especially tough and the stress of going through psychiatric hospitals combined with a worsening of my condition after the disastrous ketamine infusions, has had a terrible effect on my physical health.
The agitated depression that I developed in 2018 - where I was experiencing deep inner unrest and heart pains - made me think I was actually going to die of catastrophic heart failure. I can now clearly see why bipolar sufferers have a lowered life expectancy because if you are crippled mentally then your physical health will deteriorate as a result.
I also had absolutely no appetite when I was depressed and I didn't care if I lived or died (I actually welcomed death most of the time), so I smoked cigarettes and drank coffee to stimulate my stunted mind which did my body no good whatsoever.
Now that I have the mental capacity for wanting to live, I WANT to look after myself by healthy eating and exercise because I know that it is good for both my body and mind.
However, the mental side of things had to be improved first before I could help myself through exercise and nutrition, because I couldn't do anything until my depression had been successfully treated.
So, all the unhealthy 'crutches' are now gone and I'm exercising everyday by walking which is my preferred method of exercise because I think it is the most beneficial for the mind.
I'm trudging up a huge and steep hill every day so my heart rate is being tested and I'm getting enough exercise out of it. I'm choosing walking rather than running or cycling because I believe it is better for my own mental health because I can relax and think calmly and quietly in nature.
It's especially good to be walking at the moment because you can see little demonstrations of life returning and regenerating in the buds on trees and plants which is bolstering my mood as I imagine it does for a 'normal' person at this time of year. This is the first spring that I can remember when I am noticing that my mood is opening up in the same way as nature is emerging and coming back to life.
So, I will be doing my usual two hour walk this morning and then engaging in the two other things that I find beneficial for my mental health and that's writing and reading. I'm determined to keep benefiting from 'bibliotherapy' in particular, so I am now reading Delia Owen's debut novel 'Where the Crawdads Sing' which is really excellent and keeping me occupied.
Tomorrow I am doing an interview with a freelance journalist which is going in 'Your Horse' magazine so I am going to be riding the famous Mr Ed who is the chestnut horse on the home page.
He's 25 now and retired, but I am going to get on him for a couple of photos because he's part of the whole story with what happened with my eventing career and mental illness. I'm sure he'll be absolutely crazy because he's never quietened down even at his advanced age, so tomorrow could be interesting!
If you would like to read the Healthspan article about bolstering mood this spring then you can find it here.
Hope everyone has a great weekend and I will be back as usual on Monday.
Thanks for reading,