Get active and get space

Yesterday, I mentioned that last week was not my best week. Today, Tany (my wife) shares about her own struggles and the steps she has taken to minimise the impact. 

There are a couple of warning signs for the state of my own mental health. Today, after a week-and-a-half of home schooling, I noticed one of the warning signs and thought it may be helpful to share it with others…

Working from home, my level of exercise, activity and steps drops significantly but I find I am mentally tired. My warning trigger is when I start to feel tired all day and struggle to wake up in the morning, even when I haven’t done anything to warrant being that tired.

Years ago, when I first noticed this, I did nothing about it. Instead, I slept more, ate more and just got lower and lower. Some of my friends will remember when I finally worked out, with their help, a way up and out of my slump and ways to avoid this in the future.

For those that are struggling now:

Firstly, don’t knock the home schooling, it’s exhausting, especially if you are not a natural teacher. You are going to be mentally tired and that’s OK.

But, add to that, not leaving the house and getting minimal exercise, your body goes into a form of hibernation which isn’t healthy. It tends to affect your mental health before physically causing issues.

The answer for me was getting active and getting space. Even though you don’t feel it, and trust me I was soooooo not in the mood yesterday, try a bit of PE with Joe, Zumba, boxercise (or whatever takes your fancy) on YouTube (the kids can watch if they don’t want to join in). Then get yourself outside, sit in the garden, go for a walk, even better a run, listen to your favourite music, take time for yourself.

Also, take vitamin D as long as there is no medical reason for you not to. Most doctors advise anyone in the northern hemisphere to take vitamin D during winter. A lack of it will make you feel tired, sluggish and generally rubbish especially as we aren’t outside much at the moment!

So last night I got 8 1/2 hrs sleep (and I wanted tonnes more) and generally felt shattered. There was no physical reason for it, so I forced myself into PE with Joe (ask Phil, I DID NOT want to do it!) then I did home school in the garden (with jackets & gloves) followed by a half-hour run listening to positive uplifting music.

I am still tired, but it’s an, ‘I’ve done stuff’ kind of tired. Mentally, I’m a lot, lot better.

Knowing myself, tomorrow it will be easier to get out of bed, but that’s because I caught myself on day one. I just need to keep the activity going

If this sounds like you, give yourself a good couple of weeks of trying to get active and find some space. I’m sure it will help, but it does take time. The earlier you catch the trend, the easier and quicker you’ll get out of your slump.

I hope this helps – hang in there xx

The Gratitude Initiative

Yesterday I had the distinct privilege of spending a few hours in the company of Girma Bishaw. He’s a wonderful man seeking to change this nation by being thankful and showing gratitude.

An Ethiopian lunch with Girma
An Ethiopian lunch with Girma

The Rev Dr Bishaw, to give him his proper title, is an Ethiopian who has now spent more years living in the UK than in the country of his birth. In his time here he has seen firsthand how immigrant communities, due to their strong attachment to their country of origin and challenges they face here, may pull away from involvement in their new home nation and this lead to complex issues which could exacerbate the divide rather than solutions to problems. His experience has led him to believe that a culture of gratitude can begin to bridge some of those divides.

During our time together he told me the story of meeting a lady in central London. She commiserated with him the experience of being an immigrant in the UK right now and how difficult it must be for him to be here. Girma’s reply was to point out all the wonderful things about living in Britain.

By the time the conversation finished she had tears in her eyes. ‘If we were in Ethiopia’, as Girma said, ‘we probably would have hugged. This is still Britain’.

Gratitude isn’t about coving up the difficulties and problems that exist in society, but it is about choosing to start the conversation by recognising where there is good and appreciating it. As it says on their website,

We are convinced that a greater culture of gratitude can make a very significant social contribution. A society in which resentments towards the other are frequently expressed without respect and mutual appreciation is a society in danger of fragmentation. A society, however, in which gratitude to the other is readily expressed is one which will be inevitably more stable and coherent.

It was a blessing to spend some time with this man and learn about how he’s seeking positive change. I feel inspired as to what gratitude could do to change my immediate community and even this nation.


I’m in Kenya at our Alliance Leadership Team meeting. Today is day one and it has been busy, and the rest of the week already looks challengingly full. That said, one key focus that will go through our week is considering spirituality in mission.

This afternoon we took some time to worship and reflect. To focus our time we listened to Forever, sung by Kari Jobe. It’s impactful, so I’m sharing it here for you too.

My wonderful wife

Today marks the one-year anniversary of Tany leaving the NHS to step out in business on her own.

It strikes me, that over the last few years, she’s taken a number of significant steps to enable me to work for Wycliffe Bible Translators. Initially, it was surviving a long commute to Harrow for work. Today, it’s being self-employed, running Liberty Home Physio, in order to maintain a reasonable quality of life at home, especially during the times I need to travel.

Who knows what the next year will hold? We are both incredibly grateful for the way that God has provided for us over this last year but we need Liberty Home Physio to continue to provide while also increasing the number of people supporting us, enabling me to continue to work with Wycliffe.

In the meantime, I’ll just celebrate my wife, friend, mother to my children and self-employed physiotherapist who has survived her first year in business. Well done Tany.