Last week I celebrated yet another birthday. I would prefer not to count them but see them as an excuse to do enjoyable things and treat yourself for one day of the year, although in my struggle with depression, I have got much better at having ‘treat’ days and doing things I enjoy doing rather than the things I feel I ought to do. We all have things we have to do like the washing, ironing, washing up and shopping but now that I practise Mindfulness even these tasks provide pleasure.


Following a trip to London for Proms in the Park I have been bothered with a pain in my shoulder and have woken in the night with pins and needles in my arm and fingers. I have had this before after carrying heavy teaching and assessment materials for considerable distances on a college campus so I immediately linked it to this trip.  We decided we could do without our wheelie cases and survive with a back pack each. The weather was unpredictable so my backpack filled quickly topped up with lots of goodies for the picnic in Hyde Park. In London we found our hotel in Bayswater was not as convenient as we thought and we walked long distances with back packs attached.


On my birthday  I decided another broken night was one too many and telephoned my local therapy  treatment favourites (The Bay) to see if I could have a massage that day.  Unsurprisingly they were fully booked up but they managed to get an independent  complementary therapist to come in half an hour early to see me at lunch  time.


Mindfulness teaches us not to live in the past or future but to live ‘in the moment’ and focus on the present. It does include planning for the unexpected so we are not ‘thrown’ by events. I therefore decided I was just having a back massage and did not expect to be relieved of my painful shoulder, which the googling told me was a trapped ulnar nerve. Lowering expectations is known to relieve stress, depression and anxiety.


This was the best 30 minutes I have spent since becoming ill last April as Allyson persuaded me to return to yoga and emailed links to local yoga classes. I have now cleared my lounge rug to a yoga-friendly zone and undertaken some independent practice prior to tomorrow’s class. She was also exceedingly understanding about a mental health illness I have had for 24years.


Allyson is prepared to ‘mix and match’ her therapies so she can, for example, combine some Reiki with a back massage which I have not always found with other practitioners.


You can look at her website, email her on

or phone her on 07977 519141

This post first appeared on my BlogSpot site on 23 September 2013


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