What's up Doc?

I’d like this to be a regular feature, but I know myself too well, so for now we will have to just see how it grows. I write to keep myself sane (not often enough clearly) and to sometimes share my experience in the hope that it might help somebody else out there going through some shit in their head. So this post is to share what I’ve learnt about mental health lately and offer some insight into what I’ve been reading.

What’s news?

Well I’m gonna bullet point this, because it’s a little ennui…

  • My wife and I are looking for an apartment to buy. Mainly so that we can get a rescue dog.

  • I am back working at Apple again (third times a charm), which is awesome.

  • I’ve got my first long Aussie road trip coming up in Alf (my Ford Falcon ute) to Brisbane.

What is Tom working on?

Last week I went to see a dietician for the first time in my life. This may seem strange to people as I haven’t got any particular dietary problems other than eating a lot. But I like to approach everything with the idea that we can anything about ourselves for the better. Whether it’s our mental health or a new skillset, there are many things that we can have a positive impact on.

So I went to see Rebecca Hay at The Sports Clinic at Sydney Uni to help identify areas for improvement. For those that don’t know me I “like” to run marathons and this was my main reason for going to get help. I’m aiming to run a personal best time at the Sydney Blackmores marathon on September 15th this year, so any improvement I can gain will be helpful.

From that first session I walked away with what may seem like some obvious strategies. Firstly Rebecca advised me to eat a small pre-training meal in order to fuel my muscles and avoid muscle breakdown. After years of early starts as a PT to train other people I had a bad habit of avoiding breakfast, instead opting for a coffee and trying to be a hero until lunchtime. Error! Her second focus for me was to look at my hydration levels. For this I have to record how much sweat I lose in a variety of different running sessions. I’ve now done this twice and so far worked out that I lose approximately 900-1,000mls per hour of running. This has been a shock to me because I didn’t think I would be losing as much as that and because I am definitely not replacing that when I run!

For now I am focused on changing two habits in order to improve my running. I think that even a small improvement can be gained from these two areas. However I’ll let you know next week how they are working out when I’ve had longer to test them out on myself.

What have I been reading?

What haven’t I been reading! I read like a bookworm with ADD who’s had too much caffeine, which means I always have two books on the go at the same time. One will be a non-fiction normally focused on self improvement and the other a fiction to help switch off from the world.

I’ve just finished two excellent books. The first was Children’s End by Arthur C. Clarke, a short but powerful sci-fi novel set in the future when humankind meet extra terrestrials and the subsequent new realities they are faced with. I won’t ruin the story, but Clarke had an amazing grasp of what the future would turn out to be when he wrote this in the 1950s. His other works include 2001: A Space Odyssey, you may have heard of it ;)

The second book, my non-fiction read, was Daring Greatly by Brené Brown. If you haven’t heard of Brené and want to hear her speak then look no further than the 2010 Ted Talk, which is now somewhat infamous. I found a lot of parallels between her writing about vulnerability in this book and my own experiences. I suppose in some ways we are always looking for those commonalities when we read or watch anything, after all as humans we search for connections in the darnedest of places! But I honestly think she has some invaluable things to say and there are many lessons to learn about ourselves and those around us within its pages.

What am I working on?

This year I am trying to simplify and that means taking on less and doing more with the things I have going already. Right now I am working on an update for my book The Noisy Mind, which I will be adding before the end of the year. My excitement at the moment though is for my new workshop space, which I plan on using for my carpentry projects and as a quiet, distraction free space to go and write. For those interested in the workshop I will be starting my “DIY Social” evenings soon, so you’ll be able to come and learn to use some tools and meet new people. More info on that to come shortly.

Ja ne,