Having a bi-polar disorder has made life “difficult but interesting”, with several periods of homelessness and subsequent admissions to psychiatric hospitals. I’ve had many jobs including; kitchen porter, office administrator for a large pensions company, cleaner, outdoor activities instructor, aerobics class instructor and personal trainer, waitress, shop assistant, activities organiser and chair exercise instructor for the elderly and I’ve also worked in several voluntary jobs which were very rewarding.
My life is much more settled now after over 20 years of what seemed like a vicious cycle of work, higher education, homelessness and hospital admissions.
I now thrive on helping other people achieve their fitness and nutrition goals to improve their mental health.
I hope I can do this with my self-published Fitness and Nutrition Guide For Good Mental Health (available as a paperback and e.book). My qualifications include nutrition advice as well as fitness testing, fitness prescription and instruction. I studied my Level 2 at Stevenson College in 2004-2005 and gained my instructor qualifications for exercise to music, circuits and gym. I then got my Level 3 personal trainer qualification with Premier Training International in 2005.
I have had further training from the Nutrition and Weight Management Centre in 2005 while I was working at a private health club in Edinburgh as a fitness class instructor and personal trainer. I have worked as an outdoor activities instructor, near Dunoon on the West coast of Scotland and near Hemsby in Norfolk, England and I’ve also worked with elderly and disabled people as a chair-based exercise class instructor and activities organiser in a nursing home.
Through trial and error I have found that many of the symptoms of my bi-polar mental health disorder have been reasonably alleviated by using fitness and good nutrition as a compliment to my prescribed medication.
My guide is meant as complementary therapy advice and not as a substitute to medication and NHS mental health services.
Yes I have not always practised what I preach hence me saying “through trial and error” at the beginning of the last paragraph, having a mental health condition is a complex issue and I personally still struggle at times, however it is through the good and the bad experiences I have had over the years, that I have realised myself how getting into good positive routines, self-care, openness and honesty with people I know well and trust, as well as medication and using the mental health services as often as I need to, can and does help a great deal. I personally have realised that pushing myself to “go further” sometimes, helps me to put life’s other challenges into perspective.
Nicole also has a book on fitness and mental health. You can find it here.
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