Posted in Blog, Reviews

Review: Kicking & Screaming by Melanie Gibson

Anyone that knows me, knows that I love martial arts. I’ve been doing Muay Thai for 10 years now and this book really shows how martial arts can help you with your mental health. There’s been tons of research on the topic of exercise and mental health showing the positive effects. This book just reiterates what we already know, from the perspective of someone who’s going through it. It’s always better to get a human perspective on our mental health journeys.  Kicking and Screaming: A Memoir of Madness and Martial Arts by [Melanie D. Gibson]

I really enjoyed this book because not only does she talk about her journey through taekwondo and mental health but she explains the process of taekwondo. If you’ve never done martial arts, it would be very confusing to know what moves she is referencing. 

There was a bit of humor in this book showing we should be able to laugh at ourselves. Never in a mean way of course! Melanie goes on to explain the unhealthy relationship that she had but I’m not going to give any more of that away. No spoilers! 

I wish there was a more in-depth look into the therapy that the author mentions and how her diagnoses were found. However, the book is called Kicking and Screaming so it makes sense that the focus was on the taekwondo side. Perhaps in the future, there will be another book about the therapy that took place alongside taekwondo. 

Overall, this was a really good book for anybody who’s trying to find a new outlet. This is a great starting point to read to see how Taekwondo might be able to help you. 

Get your copy here (affiliate link).

Posted in Blog, Reviews

Review: Conquering the Undertow by Suzanne Renee

It isn’t easy sharing your life with even one person, but sharing it with the world takes on a whole new meaning to the word courage. That is exactly what Suzanne does. She doesn’t sugarcoat the bad times, the dark thoughts, the overwhelm that was her life. It is a pure story of tragedy, darkness, and finally thriving. Conquering the Undertow: Learning to Breathe Again by [Suzanne Renee]

What I liked most was that Suzanne explained what was going through her mind. The reasoning why she continued working in a toxic environment, why she didn’t say more, why she continued on the way that she did. Most authors skim the surface of those moments because they aren’t ‘flashy’ or ‘exciting,’ but that is the whole point. Those are the moments that we each feel at some point in our lives and hopefully come out the other end stronger. We don’t want to dwell on those bad moments, but someone needs to speak up so that others know they aren’t alone. Thank you, Suzanne, for being that voice.

At the end of each chapter, she summarizes a ‘Transformational Tip’ that she learned throughout that portion of her life. These tips are great reminders. If you know someone struggling, even if you aren’t sure what they are struggling with, I suggest you gift them this book. You may not have the words, but at least they will know they aren’t alone and that you care.

Get your copy here.

Posted in Blog

Winter Blues

Many people (myself included) feel worse during the winter. I have depression all year long but without the sunlight and warmth it can be exasperated in the winter. However, for some winter is what brings on their mental health problem – SAD. Seasonal Affective Disorder is not a joke and happens when the seasons change (typically into the winter months).

No matter what your reason is for feeling the ‘winter blues’ here are a few tips you can use:

  1. Get some sunlight – it may be difficult with the reduced hours of daylight and the cold that is outside but do your best to get as much sun as you can, go for a walk at lunch, open your curtains for natural sunlight.
  2. Take vitamin D – this comes from the sun, so with the lack of sunlight we aren’t getting as much as is needed
  3. Exercise – it has been proven that exercise helps release our feel good hormones
  4. Play some cheery music – or whatever is your favourite music
  5. Talk to someone – I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – therapy is not a bad thing and if you need the help then please go speak with someone

Some days may be better than other days and that’s ok. But when you are feeling low or burnt out try some or all of the above tips. You are not alone.