So today I did something very different. I’ve made and uploaded my very first YouTube video!
The idea behind it came from a video I watched by Mark from the Twin Peaks Wild Camping channel. The concept is to go out into the woods, make yourself a tea or coffee (a brew), film the process and upload it to YouTube. The purpose is to speak about mental health and especially mental health in men who are particularly poor at talking about mental health issues.
I feel that this is a very important topic and needs as much publicity as possible. This blog won’t get that out to a very big audience but I am tagging two other channels that I follow. They are Paul Messner and Simon A Bloke in The Woods. Between them they have just over 200K subscribers and if they accept the challenge then that is big publicity.
I don’t go into anything too personal in the video but I think it’s important to highlight that everyone struggles with their mental health at times. Sometimes people who seem the happiest on the outside are unhappy on the inside. Sometimes this is just a day here and there and sometimes it’s many, many days at a time. Keep an eye on those around you, especially your friends. Don’t be afraid to check if they are OK. If you are struggling with your mental health please know that you are not alone no matter how much you may feel you are.
Here in Ireland there are two main organisations for anyone looking for help or just someone to talk to.
This is also why I was out on the MTB yesterday. I wanted to do a bit of exploring to find a good spot, somewhere pleasant to sit and film and where I wouldn’t be disturbed. I found a cracking spot along the river in my local Monellan woods. This is also why I made the alcohol stove and billy can earlier in the week. You can watch the video below to see how I got on.
A regular blog read for me is Today’s Perfect Moment written by Anthony, a teacher of English as a Second Language based in Canada. It’s all about finding the positives in life and especially in the small things that happen every day.
His tagline is:
Using a little bit of perfection found by sifting through the day to brighten my mood and hopefully yours.
At work today I had a customer I know from before I worked in retail. She arranged the mortgage for our current house approximately 16 years ago. I’ve met her a couple of times over the years but today was the first time I’ve spent a while talking to her and definitely the first time selling her something. We talked quite a bit about her house, her job and of course her sofa and dining chairs. She asked me about work and working in my current job. I told her I really enjoy it and she very nicely told me that it suits me and that I’m very good at it. I’m still learning to be able to accept compliments but it was really nice as I could tell she meant it. I thanked her of course and I hope she understood how good it made me feel, definitely a perfect moment and especially nice as I’m now off on leave for 4 days!
noun 1. a person attached to another by feelings of affection or personal regard. 2. a person who gives assistance; patron; supporter 3. a person who is on good terms with another; a person who is not hostile: 4. a member of the same nation, party, etc.
When does someone become more than someone you know and become a friend? In today’s world do you have to know someone in real life to call them a friend?
I have a number of different groups of friends and a lot of them I haven’t met. I have a small number of very good friends that I have known for a long time and are very important in my life. I have friends that I know through work both past and present and from past times such as the cycling club and geocaching. Some of them I interact with in person and some online only now. Then I have “virtual friends“, people I only know from an online perspective and have never met. Some of these are from Facebook/WhatsApp groups that have similar interests to me and others I have interacted with through blogs.
Over the last few months I’ve been interacting with these virtual friends more than my real life friends as a result of the lockdown and restricted movement. It may sound strange to describe them as friends but through the blogs and posts I get to see inside their lives, to varying degrees, interact with some of them and share some of my own life. Some of them, like the None2Run Facebook group, provide support and motivation as I work through that program, very much like regular friends do.
I don’t know when someone becomes a friend but I do know that the last three months would have been much more difficult without them – all of them.
Since my surgery the week before last I had become very sedentary. Most of the fitness I’d managed to gain during January was steadily fading away, I was sleeping badly and generally feeling crap. My mood was definitely not good and I probably wasn’t great company.
I figured part of the problem was that I wasn’t getting outside enough and using the excuse of the surgery to justify my laziness. I also figured that fresh air (lack of) was both the cause and the cure. The only time I was spending outside was the trip from the house to the car, the car into work and the reverse in the evening.
The easiest and most effective solution was a lunchtime walk. Buncrana is a seaside town and I’m just a 5min walk from the shore front so with sandwiches and a bottle of water in my pocket I hit the paths on Thursday lunchtime.
It was tremendously windy with a storm coming in but it was bright and sunny and definitely blew away the cobwebs. I headed along the shore front path skirting the edge of the park before retracing my steps and heading across to the Heritage Trail start and then back to work. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that I slept soundly that night.
Friday I decided to explore the Heritage Trail more and this took me along the opposite direction skirting a small beach and out to the Life Boat station at Ned’s Point. I wandered a little here before turning back which left me very tight for time getting back to work.
Saturday morning was wet and windy but I was delighted to see it clear up by lunch and the sun come out in full force. The Ned’s Point walk was the perfect blend of distance and enjoyment so I repeated Friday’s walk. At times it was quite warm when sheltered from the wind. On my way back I met a very friendly guy from Tipperary who had relocated to Raphoe and was meeting a friend in Buncrana. We walked back to the Main Street together swapping stories and having a great old yarn.
One of the guys at work thinks I’m bonkers. He doesn’t seem to be able to understand the attraction or how I’m able to walk and eat at the same time.
3 days last week and I hope to repeat that this week. Let’s just hope that the rain stays away as it’s not feasible to spend the afternoon drying off and squelching around the shop!
This morning I went cycling with the Club. That’s a simple statement that covers (up?) a whole lot. Getting to that point was the result of a lot of small steps that took effort and not all from myself. It started with a phonecall earlier in the week from one of the other guys asking me to come back out again. It’s not the first time I’ve been asked and not the first time by this person but this week it came at the right time.
Then came the small steps from me, getting my bike back from service in Halfords, getting my gear ready, getting my lights and Garmin charged, setting my alarm, putting my bike in the car yesterday, filling my bottle, getting dressed and leaving the house. Every one a small step that involved overcoming a separate mental objection resulting in a very enjoyable Club spin.
I was very nervous this morning, full of doubts about my own fitness, my ability to cycle the distance and to stay with the group but also going back out with people I know. Friday I cycled with strangers and that was mentally a whole lot easier.
In the end I surprised myself on all counts. It wasn’t easy and I know the group weren’t pushing too hard but I hung in there, was able to stay with them, not get dropped (except on one climb), enjoyed myself and completed my longest cycle for 3 months.
I’ve always been a quiet person socially and it’s only in recent years that I’ve taken up cycling and found a group that I enjoy and feel part of. Over the last 12-18 months I’ve become more reclusive again, especially over the last year to the extent that today was almost exactly 7 months since I’ve cycled with the Club.
One phonecall was the catalyst to change that. For a non-physical part of the body the mind has such a lot of control.