Checking In On Your Elderly Loved Ones Mental Health during the Pandemic.

(image: Pexels)

This is a difficult time for many people’s mental health. The 2020 coronavirus and Covid-19 pandemic has been completely unexpected and has taken up the most part of most of our lives and conversations throughout the past year. Massive changes have taken place that can all impact mental health, ranging from fear of the virus to difficulties with social isolation, difficulties with social distancing and difficulties with job losses, financial instability, reduced income and troubles keeping up with financial commitments.

The list goes on and on. But chances are the people often hardest hit by this virus are the elderly. Even those who do not battle the virus itself have had to lead more sheltered and isolated lives since the start of the year and, if you have an elderly loved one in your life, it’s important to do your utmost to help them right now. Here are some suggestions that can help you to achieve this!

Make Sure They Have the Most Up to Date Information

The first step that you need to take for your loved one during this pandemic is to make sure that they have the most up to date information on the virus, current guidelines, current restrictions and any other useful information.

The rules and the regulations that we are living by are all changing on a really regular basis and it can be hard for the elderly to keep up. Bear in mind that many of us get our news updates from social media and online news apps. The elderly often rely on newspapers, which only arrive once a day and which they may not actually be able to get their hands on while they are isolating. The radio can help too. Make sure that they are in the know to make sure they feel comfortable and know what’s going on.

Check In On Elderly Relatives in Care Homes

Sure, many elderly people are in care homes where you are not able to visit them right now. This reduces virus spreading. But you should still check in on them. Most care homes will take care of your loved one well. But there have been instances of neglect or misconduct throughout this pandemic and you’re going to want to call your loved one and check everything is okay. If there are any issues, you may need to reach out to a nursing home abuse attorney.

Buy and Deliver Their Essentials for Them

If your loved ones still live in their own homes independently, you may need to get their essentials for them and drop them off on their doorstep. This minimises contact with them, but also ensures that they have the food that they need, the medication that they need, the toiletries that they need and the cleaning products that they need. Many are unable to head to the shops themselves – especially if it means taking public transport.

Now can be a hard time for the elderly and the pandemic could be taking its toll on their mental health. But by following the steps above, you can help to give them peace of mind and reduce their stressors.

This article was written by a freelance writer

Taking Care of Your Own Mental Health When a Loved One Passes Away.

(image: Pexels)

If you have ever experienced the serious illness or passing away of somebody close to you, you will know that this is a seriously difficult time for your own mental health. When we lose a family member, friend or partner, the grief process is long and arduous. When somebody dies in our community, we sometimes focus on taking care of others, trying to help them through the tough time without thinking much about our own wellbeing. Similarly, death brings up all sorts of logistical obstacles such as funeral arrangements, will-reading and sifting through the person’s belongings. 

Even if the person who has passed was sick for a while, elderly, being given live in care or other assisted living arrangements, death still comes as a shock. If you have experienced this, you will know that this is a highly overwhelming time both practically and emotionally. So how can you take care of your own mental wellbeing when this happens?

Grieving is a time to look inward, as well as outward to the future. In this blog, you will find some common mental health troubles that are experienced during grief, and how best to work through them.

The Mind and Body Connection

Many people believe that mental health issues are completely separate to physical health problems or side effects. However, science disagrees. It is clinically proven that mental illness and trauma can manifest themselves in our physical bodies. It is important to remember that if you are experiencing grief, although this is seen as a purely emotional thing to happen, you could experience physical symptoms too. This is totally normal, and it is important to recognise when these things happen so you can best cope with these changes. 

The Shock of Absence

One of the things that makes us feel the rawest and most difficult emotions is the sheer shock of losing a loved one. One minute they are alive in the world, the next they have moved on. The shock of the absence of this person can have seriously detrimental effects on your mental health, which can also bleed out into physical symptoms. Some of these effects might be:

  • Loss of sleep. Sometimes when we are in emotional shock, despite wanting to sleep, we can’t seem to let our mind relax enough to fall into slumber. 
  • Excessive sleep. On the other hand, some people’s bodies react in the opposite way, by sleeping through the day as a way of escaping reality. 
  • Wildly varying emotions. You may experience a feeling like you can’t control your emotions or find stability within them. This is normal. Your body can’t feel full-strength emotions constantly, so it’s totally normal to have varied emotions at this time. 
  • Picking up the phone to contact the person, or referring to them as if they are still alive by accident. This is very common, and can make you very upset when reality hits. When you are so used to a person being in your life, your brain is wired to consider them alive and well, and so it will take a long time to readjust to the new reality. When these moments occur, try not to get angry with yourself, but instead try your best to accept it as a process of adjustment. 
  • Not eating or overeating. If you have an emotional connection to food, you may find that you lean on your eating habits as a coping mechanism. This could be eating less than usual, or relying on food for comfort. People will tell you that this is unhealthy, you can’t expect to be perfect when you are dealing with trauma like this. As long as you don’t take these comfort habits to a dangerous extreme, these can be relied upon through the grief process. If you feel this getting out of hand, you can use eating disorder helplines and therapy programs. 
  • Feeling joyless. When something bad happens, we usually defer back to the things that make us happiest. Our kids, our best friends, favourite movies, pets, yummy snacks… You name it, we seek it out when we feel blue. But losing a loved one can cause us to lose joy, even for the things that make our hearts happy most of the time. This can last a while. 
  • Having intense, vivid dreams. When somebody we love dies, it makes sense that they are on our mind most of the time in the beginning stages of coping without them. When we dream, it is our brain’s way of leaking all the information and emotions that it has processed during the day; when we experience something traumatic or particularly intense, our brains sometimes can’t fully process it all at once. Hence, you are likely to have some intense dreams about the person – or even lots of crazy dreams about other things!
(image: Pexels)

Coping With These Effects

The above are only a small number of the wide range of emotions and physical sensations that can come with grief. So what can you do about it? Here are some solutions to the feelings you are experiencing, to try to make the transitional stages of grief easier. Although this time will always be hard, there are ways to alleviate some of the stress you are feeling. 

  1. Seek Grief Counselling 

If you have never been to see a therapist before or find the prospect daunting, this is to be expected. After all, counselling or talking therapy requires you to be vulnerable in front of someone who will be, at first, a total stranger. However, grief counselling will allow you to express your emotions without judgement – but even more than that, the therapist will give you tools with which to manage your stress and sadness. These can be breathing exercises, ways of staying connected to the person, techniques to help you sleep better and routine-based activities to keep you ticking over. You can get one-on-one counselling or group therapy sessions with others experiencing similar loss. 

  1. Hold your loved ones close. 

Grief sometimes propels people into a state of isolation. After all, it feels like nobody can be feeling what you feel, so some people react to this by shutting others out. If this is a tendency you are familiar with, make sure you work actively to combat it. Your desire to lock others away from your emotions is stopping you from getting the support you need. Start by reaching out to one – just one – person in your life who you trust. From there, you can gradually build a support network. 

  1. Try to spark joy, even if it doesn’t work. 

Even if you feel joyless, the search for joy should be constant. Try new ways of sparking tiny moments of happiness, even if it fades away in a split second. This could be through sex, food, seeing friends, playing video games, going for walks alone, or watching your favourite films. You can’t expect all the bad feelings to disappear, but you could be distracted from them just for a moment, giving your brain and body some much-needed relief.

4. Try talking to the person, if you want to. 

Many people shy away from this for fear that they might look “crazy”. But there’s nothing “crazy” about wanting to feel connected to a person you have lost. If speaking to them helps, then try doing it. There is no shame in maintaining a spiritual connection. 

Grief is a horrible thing to feel, and no amount of fun activities or therapy will totally eradicate those feelings. However, with time, persistence and kindness to yourself, you can learn to cope better with the aftermath of losing someone close to you. 


This article was written by a freelance writer

How working for the Body Shop at Home has helped my Mental Health by Eleanor

So last night, I was sat in the bath contemplating life. How far things had come since the start of Covid 19 lockdown in March. How my life has changed for the better in so many ways.

In February, I began a job that was full time and very busy doing marketing for a newspaper in an office. This was after leaving another job in PR that I loved but had to leave due to my anxiety . In all honesty, we needed the salaried income and I had the technical and people skills to pull it off. However, what I didn’t have was good mental health.

As many of you know, when I was 16, I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder and developed social anxiety and panic attacks. I spent time in hospital as a teenager and was an outpatient for 10 years (although very up and down with my moods, with moments of stability). Since 2014, I have developed a form of PTSD, post traumatic stress disorder, due to the trauma I faced in hospital when I was sectioned for a bipolar episode.

As a result, my mental health was hanging by a thread but I was attempting to live a normal life and work and feel better.

In truth, the workplace had become a great source of stress for me. Traditional workplaces have a ‘show up despite how you feel and we will monitor all your sick days’ policy. This doesn’t work for someone like me with a chronic mental illness. Allowances can’t be made for me despite the law- adjustments can be made but traditional employers want you to be OK and in the office where they can see you and don’t cut you slack either if your health disrupts office attendance.

In February, I suffered such bad panic attacks (whole body feeling fear, insomnia, racing heart, flight or fight, sweats and negative fearful thoughts) about having to show up and prove myself and my ability- that I had to leave the job after a week. I couldn’t get into the office. There was no real empathy- it was- you aren’t here, you’re unreliable, goodbye.

Then Covid struck.

I needed something for me that I could do from home. Something where I could be self employed, where I could work with people who understood that sometimes we all have bad days, we all have to pace ourselves. That it isn’t about ability or disability. In the right environment, everyone can thrive. Everyone can work hard. Everyone can achieve.

No more counting sick days. This was about how well I could do, how hard I could work (I am nothing if not a hard worker) , how much I could achieve and most importantly- going slowly to protect my mental health.

My blogging friend Sarah Cardwell who I met through Twitter and who has written for this blog, had reached out to me in 2019 to join the Body Shop at Home. I had been following her amazingly successful journey- she started her business from home while anxious and not leaving the house. Sarah has been very open about her own difficulties with mental illness but she has achieved more than you can even dream of!

I was scared. I was used to being monitored at work. Having to endlessly discuss the reasons why I missed a morning or full day of work due to my panic disorder. Having to go to review meetings and make targets to improve my attendance or back to work interview meetings. Having to prove that despite having all the skills (including getting my masters degree at 24) , being a published author and freelance journalist, a social media expert and blogger, I still wasn’t deemed good enough because I wasn’t ‘well enough’ on a daily basis with my anxiety to be able to always make it in to the office (and work from home wasn’t seen as good enough even though I hit targets).

I was really terrified to take the leap. I had never worked in retail. I had worked in social media marketing and blogging so I knew that I could create something online. I didn’t have much choice. I had just lost my main income (I earn money from my book and blog but it isn’t enough to live on). Covid was looming. We went into lockdown. We lost a flat we were going to buy because I lost my job.

I didnt know until recently that Sarah was worried that lockdown could mean that the Body Shop at Home would struggle. But what happened was, it thrived!

Set up by Dame Anita Roddick as a way to give people an income around their children, the Body Shop at Home is the direct selling arm of the Body Shop.

Since March, there has been a growth of over 700%, and records are being broken in this industry. The shift to online, contact free and direct shipping delivery has meant that the business has thrived.

I didn’t know what to expect.

I set up my Facebook group and I was loving sharing the products with friends and family, taking my first orders and pampering myself with the beauty kit (it really is a speical kit).

I enjoyed being a part of a new community of friendly, warm and welcoming people- people from all walks of life, genders, ages, with chronic illness and without. There is every kind of person in the Body Shop at Home.

I belong to Region Purpose- Sarahs region as this business gave her a purpose after she had been unwell and she now has a hugely successful full time business.

Shortly after joining and selling £400 in my first month, then £1000 in my second (that was such an amazing feeling), I realised quite quickly I wanted to be a Manager and set up a team- recruiting is hard but worth it to find the right people (and I have been led to them!).

Body Shop was giving me hope- when life had got dark. It gave me something back for myself and to now help and mentor others. I became a Manager in Training with my first 3 recruits and then in August I promoted to be Area Manager of my team, Team Hope. There are now 11 of us from all over the country and we are growing fast- shout out to my team members, who are now friends! I aim to make this my full time business.

I am so grateful to Sarah for persisting with me even when I was unsure.

Since joining Body Shop, my anxiety attacks have lesssened and I engage in regular therapy sessions for them. I take next to no sick days because I am able to run my own workload and help others. I get up excited about the day and week ahead.

Today I woke up to receive an envelope with a rainbow necklace (the sign of our region) and the words from the Wizard of Oz, sent to me and others in our region. The support is just incredible. I would like to end on these words sent to me by my incredible manager who has helped me (and this is no exaggeration) to find my self worth again.

‘Somewhere over the Rainbow

Skies are Blue

And the dreams that you dare to dream

Really do come true’

8 Tips on Managing Your Emotions for better Mental Health.

(image: Pexels)


Having emotions and expressing them is a part of the human experience. Regardless if they are positive or negative emotions, the most important things about your emotions is how you express them. The response to your emotions can help you in so many other areas of your life, it is important to know how to control your emotions well, to help your mental health.

If you know how to properly work with your emotions you will likely make better decisions, your relationships will flourish, your everyday interactions with people you pass by or coworkers will improve and you will be better equipped to take care of yourself.

If you are tired of being run by your emotions, we have practical tips that can help you manage your emotions no matter what life throws your way.

Understand The Impact Of Your Emotions

Your emotions are important. Intense emotions can remind you that you are alive. It is also common for emotions to overwhelm, whether something good happens or if something terrible happens. That is why it is important to have a strong understanding of the impact your emotions play in your life. Emotions can make life worth living or it can make things unnecessarily difficult.

Take some time to consider how your emotions impact your life. You may have a lot of conflict in your friendships or other relationships. You may have a hard time relating to other people, so you may isolate yourself. Unmanaged emotions can also lead you to have issues in your professional life at work and in your academic life in school. It is very likely that you will have emotional and physical outbursts. Spend some time with yourself and determine how your emotions are affecting your life up to this point. Where has it led you? Once you put a name to your emotions, it will be easier to keep track of your problem areas making it easy to track your progress.

Regulate Not Repress

Managing your emotions does not mean repress or suppress them. You should still be expressing your emotions. Expressing your emotions is healthy and imperative to stable mental health. If your goal is to not feel something, strongly reconsider. Sometimes you may subconsciously do it, not even realizing. Bottling up your emotions may seem like a quick fix, but it causes more problems down the line. Repressed and suppressed emotions can lead to things like anxiety, depression, lack of sleep, muscle tension and pain, stress management issues and substance abuse.

Remember that your goal is to control your emotions, not pretend they do not exist. You cannot shop it out, smoke it out, drink it out. You have to deal with your emotions head-on. That is the best way to take control of your emotions. The goal is balance.

Know What You Are Feeling

It can be difficult to control something you are unfamiliar with. Get familiar with your feelings. Constantly check in with yourself about how you are feeling. When you check in with your moods and feelings, you will be better equipped to respond to any and every emotional trigger you may face throughout the day. It could also stop you from making purely emotional decisions that may not be the best decisions to make.

Throughout your day, ask yourself how you are feeling. If you are feeling good or bad, ask yourself why you feel this way. Maybe you are having an emotional reaction to what someone did to you or for you. Before getting upset with them, consider if the inciting situation has a different explanation aside from the one you are currently telling yourself. Sometimes it is the stories we tell ourselves that are the main cause of our discomfort.

Once you have done all of that, ask yourself what is the best way to get out that emotion. Should you scream? Should you vent? Another question to ask yourself is if there is a better way to cope with your feelings. Sometimes screaming is not the best way to cope. Instead of screaming at your significant other, scream in a pillow at home instead. Maybe taking a few deep breaths is more appropriate.

As long as you are thinking about alternatives to your current situation and your feelings, it will be much easier to control your emotions instead of working off of your knee-jerk reaction.

Be Accepting Of Your Emotions

Avoid downplaying your emotions. Give yourself permission to feel those feelings. Do not feel about feeling those feelings either. Do not invalidate your experiences! If something makes you so happy you could leap into the air, do it! If something makes you feel super sad, express that. Do not tell yourself to “calm down” or “it’s not that serious.” It is serious to you and that is what matters.

Once you become more accepting of your emotions, the good ones and the bad, you will become more comfortable with them. The more comfortable you are with your emotions the less likely you will react to a triggering situation in a way that does not serve you best.

The impulse to judge your emotions is common and everyone struggles with this in different variations of difficulty. Remember that your emotions are not good or bad. They are neutral. They hold useful information that can help you improve, even if the emotion itself may feel unpleasant.

Journal

Before you cringe at the thought of keeping a journal, try it out. Writing down your emotions and the responses you have to those emotions can help you clearly see patterns. Often when something happens that triggers intense emotions, you may have the instinct to run through the situation in your mind over and over again. Take it a step further and put words on paper. Sometimes the act of writing something can help you reflect more deeply on your feelings and your triggers.

Think of journalling as a way to keep track of the things that trigger you. Once you know your triggers, you can catch yourself before falling back into those patterns that no longer serve you. If you want to truly reap all the benefits journaling has to offer, make sure that you stay consistent with it at least once a day. Make note of all your triggers and reactions to those triggers. Use your journal to explore different, more productive ways to express your emotions.

Remember To Breathe

That sounds too good to be true, but remembering to breathe can impact the way you process your emotions. Life happens fast. Sometimes it happens so fast, we barely have time to process. Taking some time to yourself to deeply breath can clear your mind in a moment of rage or it can help you fully enjoy a moment. Taking a deep breath gives you between the moment something triggered an emotion and your reaction to it. In between that breath you can check in with how you are feeling and why. You can ask yourself those questions like what is the alternative explanation that makes sense. All of that can happen in the time it takes for you to complete a few deep breaths.

If breathing deeply is not your thing, do not worry! It can be your thing! All you have to do is try. Get in a comfortable position and try deep breathing exercises before you start your day. When you take a few deep breaths, remember to breathe from your diaphragm as all deep breaths come from there. Once you have breathed in so much that your belly is rising, hold it in for three counts and release slowly. You can take it a step further and add a mantra that you say to yourself while doing your breathing exercises.

Understand That There Is A Time And A Place

Expressing your emotions is imperative to being able to control them, but you must understand that there is a proper time and place to express those emotions. There are some situations in which an emotional outburst is acceptable. Maybe you lost a loved one and are stricken with sadness and anger. Crying into your pillow, punching your mattress or screaming is a great way to express emotions.

The challenge comes when there is no space for you to do these things. You then have to determine if expressing your emotions in this way is the time and place. You cannot yell at your boss and expect to keep your job. You cannot slap the cash register because your card got declined otherwise you will go to jail. You have to be mindful of your surroundings and what the situation calls for. This can help you determine if this is the right time and place to express your emotions in this way.

Give Yourself Space To Process

Sometimes triggering emotions happen so fast, it can be overwhelming to process. That is why giving yourself space to process is so important. When you create a mental distance between yourself and your emotions by taking a walk, watching something that makes you laugh, talking to someone you love and spending a few minutes with your pet, you are better able to process those difficult emotions.

Living with OCD during a global pandemic by Impulse Therapy

(image: Pinterest)

Managing OCD without the stress of a global pandemic is challenging enough. COVID-19 has presented some unique challenges for many OCD sufferers, forcing people to be restricted to their homes, encouraging obsessive behaviours like handwashing and limiting access to in-person therapy. 

In this article, we’re going to break down the challenges OCD sufferers face in the times of COVID, along with how to support loved ones and how to access support. 

What are the new challenges for OCD sufferers?

People with OCD typically have behaviours that fall into the following categories:

  • Checking: Repeatedly checking tasks that have already been done, such as locking a door or turning off the tap. Checking behaviours can also include believing you have a medical illness and repeatedly getting medical exams or visiting the doctor. 
  • Contamination: A compulsion to repeatedly clean yourself and the surrounding areas. Being in a dirty environment can cause feelings of fear or anxiety. 
  • Symmetry and Ordering: The need for things to be in order and/or symmetrical. Behaviours related to symmetry and ordering can be triggered if things are not organised. Some people with OCD may experience hoarding behaviours which also fall into this category. 
  • Ruminations and Intrusive Thoughts: These are common for people with OCD. Intrusive thoughts experienced by OCD sufferers can sometimes be disturbing and violent, directed towards themselves or loved ones.

New behaviours and triggers are being experienced by OCD sufferers in all of the above categories since COVID-19. 

New Checking Behaviours

With OCD sufferers being confined to their homes, they may be experiencing more frequent checking triggers, repeatedly turning off lights before bed, locking doors, even repeatedly checking the news for updates. People with OCD checking behaviours may also convince themselves they have COVID-19, with a desire to repeatedly get tested while also experiencing paralysing anxiety around leaving the house through fear of infecting others.

New Contamination Behaviours

As you can imagine, experiencing contamination behaviours and triggers as an OCD sufferer during a global pandemic is a complete nightmare. 

OCD sufferers who experience contamination triggers likely already experience anxiety soothing behaviours such as repeatedly washing hands, cleaning themselves and their surroundings. COVID-19 will only be worsening these triggers and behaviours for OCD sufferers. 

With more emphasis being placed on how we wash our hands, the frequency of handwashing and using hand sanitiser, OCD contamination sufferers will likely be triggered whenever they are reminded of COVID-19 to do these behaviours compulsively. 

New Symmetry and Ordering behaviours

Spending more time at home in lockdown and isolation may be triggering symmetry and ordering behaviours for some OCD sufferers. They are constantly surrounded by their triggers, resulting in more frequent behaviour indulgences to ease anxiety. Frequent changes in COVID regulations could become a new trigger for OCD sufferers with symmetry and ordering behaviours. 

During lockdown, a lot of people have been inspired to ‘Marie Kondo’ their homes, organising and discarding items that no longer ‘bring joy’. Many OCD sufferers will be organising and reorganising their homes compulsively to ease anxiety. 

New Ruminations and Intrusive Thoughts

During a global pandemic, OCD sufferers could start to have intrusive thoughts about loved ones being infected with COVID-19. These thoughts can quickly spiral, with sufferers believing they are the cause of their loved one being infected, even if they are not showing symptoms or have tested negative.

People with COVID-19 can be asymptomatic, meaning they can have COVID and be infectious without showing any symptoms. Due to this fact, many people with OCD will convince themselves that they have COVID and are asymptomatic, causing them to isolate themselves possibly unnecessarily. 

How to support loved ones during these challenging times

As unfortunate and uncomfortable as it is, one of the best treatments for OCD is exposure and response prevention, a type of therapy that exposes the patient to the situations that make them anxious as a way of normalising these moments and learning ways to cope with the anxiety without resorting to the usual anxiety soothing behaviours. 

For the OCD sufferer, this means facing a lot of discomfort throughout treatment. If you’re living with an OCD sufferer who is struggling with frequently being triggered, possibly even by things you are doing, it may be tempting to stop what you’re doing that is triggering your loved one. However, it could be more beneficial long-term to behave normally, continuing whatever action you are doing that may be triggering, as a way of exposing your loved one to their trigger to normalise it. If you live with someone with OCD and are triggering them and don’t know how to behave around them, it could be worth speaking with a therapist to get some advice. 

Talking things through can always be helpful for anyone suffering from any mental health issue. If you can talk to your loved one about their OCD struggles in a patient, calm and empathetic way, this is a great way to support. 

How to access support as an OCD sufferer

Access to in-person therapy is currently limited worldwide due to COVID. If you’re looking for a way of accessing support, either for yourself or a loved one, there are online options. 

Online therapy is becoming more and more popular, with users enjoying the ease and accessibility without having to leave their homes.

The best form of treatment for OCD is therapy treatment using CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) and ERP (Exposure and Response Prevention). This type of treatment can be done in-person or online. 

Alongside therapy, there are many other tools that someone suffering from OCD can use to reduce and manage symptoms, such as worksheets, meditation, journaling and more. Each OCD sufferer is individual and has a unique experience. One person with OCD may struggle with contamination behaviours, while another could only ever experience ruminations. This is why everyone’s treatment plan will look a little different. 

When speaking with a loved one about getting help, remember to approach the conversation with patience and empathy. Seeking help for OCD is tough, and the person struggling may need time to come around and ask for the help they need. Discuss options with them in an open-minded way without any expectations. 

This blog was written by Impulse Therapy

We are a Top 10 UK Mental Health Blog 2020- Thanks Vuelio!

Today I received the most amazing news that top PR and communications company Vuelio have listed us as a Top 10 UK Mental Health blog for the second year in a row!

It is such an honour to make this list with other amazing blogs- everyone who runs them works so hard to provide content and keep updating them. Congratulations to everyone else on this list 🙂

We are at number 6 and you can check out the list here!

Thanks Vuelio!

15 Ways to Turn Your Home into a Self Care Sanctuary: by ImproveNet

Mental health plays a critical role in our lives, and self-care is an important aspect of our mental well-being. Self-care encompasses any activity we undertake to improve our emotional, mental and physical health. 

Make Your Home a Calmer Place

  1. Declutter and organize; donate or throw out what you don’t need
  2. Paint walls with calming colours — blue, green and pink are peaceful
  3. Cover walls with your favorite artwork, photos or inspirational posters
  4. Welcome plants into your life; greenery helps us feel more relaxed
  5. Light candles with soothing scents: lavender, citrus, pine, vanilla, jasmine
  6. Add essential oils to a diffuser; valerian, lavender, jasmine relieve anxiety
  7. Open blinds to natural light, purchase warm-toned bulbs, add dimmers
  8. Purchase soft, comfortable bedding to make you feel cozy and protected
  9. Weighted blankets have been proven to help ease stress and anxiety

Make Yourself More Comfortable

  1. Dress comfortably at home; PJs, a robe or cozy socks are relaxing
  2. Give yourself a home spa treatment with face mask, cooling gel, etc.
  3. Enjoy a long soak in the tub; add Epsom salts to relax muscles 
  4. Take care of your skin by exfoliating, dry brushing and moisturizing 
  5. Consider meditation, deep breathing or yoga to decrease stress
  6. Get plenty of exercise at home: stretch, dance, run on a treadmill

94% of Millennials reported making personal improvement commitments in 2015. Compare this with Boomers at 84% and Gen X at 81%. 

This guest blog and infographic was created by ImproveNet.

How to Minimise Stress for the Elderly moving into Senior living facilities: by Johny Kershaws

A move into an assisted living facility or institution is very challenging. While family members and involved individuals would feel the challenge and difficulty, as well, keep in mind that the seniors would feel the same but, in a much more intensified way.

They may feel excited about moving into the new chapter of their lives. Some would even feel happier, as per claims. However, anxiety and grief will still reportedly be part of the process. And stress can be very apparent during these times.

But, even so, you, as an involved family member, may help minimize these “stresses” amid the transitioning. Here are some ways that you may want to check:

·         Empower

One of the best ways to reduce and minimize the stress of the seniors amid the transition is to empower them. There are actually several ways that you can do to make them feel empowered. But, among all, involving them in all of the processes is the best.

Whether it is a simple or a huge matter in your family circle, always make sure to include them in the discussions. The truth is, letting them know that their views and opinions are still valued, even though they are already living in an assisted living facility, will help empower them.

·         Respect Them

Moving into a senior care facility or even in an assisted living for seniors with pets will certainly involve a few stresses from here and there. This is very much apparent amid the downsizing processes as most seniors would not want to throw any of their valuables away.

If certain issues or disagreements arise in the middle of it, try to understand where they are coming from. As much as possible, respect their decisions, especially when the matter involved their belongings and valuables.

·          Continuity

Continuity is another great way to minimize the stress and anxiety that seniors might feel during the transition. One great example of this is the family’s agreement to allowing certain things in their old home to be moved or carried into the facility, which will serve as their new home.

For seniors, stress can be much less when they see something familiar around them. If applicable, try to bring things that will make them feel that the continuity is still there despite their move to the facility.

·         Keep the Familiar

There are cases that family members would feel the need to buy new things, like furniture and accessories for seniors upon their move. If so, try not to do it, especially just right after the relocation to the assisted living facility.

This might only cause further stress and isolation to the senior since moving altogether is already an event that may likely cause the feeling of being alone and isolated from loved ones.

·         Prepare

As always, failure to prepare will always result in unwanted instances and events. Accordingly, more stress will certainly rise in the middle of the transitioning. This is why making preparations days or even weeks prior is a huge must.

When seniors are already scheduled to move, say in an assisted living for religious seniors, help them make all the preparations before the actual day of the move. You may help with the packing of their things or do an outline of the schedule for smoother movements going to the facility.

Whatever you choose to do, just ensure that it will make things much easier on your and your loved ones’ part.

·         Stay Involved

When seniors move to an assisted living facility, there is a huge possibility of feeling overwhelmed, isolated, and vulnerable. This is why it is very important for family members to stay involved in almost all aspects of the transition.

This guest article was written by writer Johny Kershaws.

Overcoming the impact of Substance Abuse on your Mental Health: by Anita Ginsburg

Substance abuse is on the rise in the U.S. and around the world for many reasons. People who are addicted to alcohol, prescription medications, or illicit drugs often suffer many kinds of side effects. Sometimes the addiction can severely damage their lives or even prove fatal. It can especially impact a person’s mental health. However, the effects of substance abuse on mental health can be overcome by healthy practices like these.

Mental Health Testing

Although mental illness and substance abuse are not always coexistent, they can develop simultaneously as people struggle to control mental distress by practicing self-medication. This can take many forms, including the improper use of legal or illicit substances, many of which can negatively impact mental health and worsen any underlying conditions. Mental health screening can identify conditions that are sometimes associated with substance abuse so they can be treated medically and appropriately.

Substance Abuse

Someone who is struggling with conditions like depression or anxiety may be tempted to use medication or street drugs for relief. Certain substances easily lead to substance abuse, which over time can become a firm addiction. Using substances for physical or emotional pain relief often is more harmful than helpful. 

Doctors and therapists can help to diagnose mental health conditions and treat them effectively to help people in distress find relief from uncomfortable symptoms. Substance abuse can become part of an unhealthy lifestyle of avoiding professional medical care, becoming dependent on illicit or inappropriate substances, and leading to problems with finances, responsibilities, and relationships.

Professional Help

Professional assistance from substance abuse doctors, counsellors, and clinics is widely available. The cost may be tailored to a person’s income, or in some cases, be provided at no cost to the patient. Inpatient treatment typically lasts a few days or a few weeks, although longer stays may be needed for full treatment of the addiction. Outpatient treatment may be offered part-time while the person works or manages other responsibilities.

Personal Follow-up

Someone who is trying to escape substance abuse must be committed personally to following specific recommendations and lifestyle changes. Support groups that meet weekly or more often have helped many people to stay strong in their fight against relapse. Personal therapy to address mental health concerns and lifestyle issues is important.

To protect mental health, someone with a substance abuse problem can find medical help for diagnosing and treating the relevant issues. Recovery programs with dual-treatment options for mental health issues as well as substance abuse problems can help many people. A personal commitment to follow professional advice and protect your own mental health is the most important tool of all.

This guest article was written by Anita Ginsburg.

Bereavement, PIP, Promotion and Panic by Eleanor

Teamhopereal

Hi lovely readers,

So much has been going on that its been a little overwhelming so I didn’t feel able to sit here and type out my feelings. But today, I feel like I can share so here goes.

My dear father in law passed away from brain cancer at the age of just 67 last month. This was expected, after a two year battle, rounds of surgery and chemo and radiotherapy and being told they could do no more treatment as he had two aggressive tumours and they couldn’t operate further. However, it was still immensely painful when it happened (although we were all with him at a nursing home) and we had the funeral and week of mourning (shiva) as per Jewish tradition. I moved in to my in laws home that week to be there to support my husband, brother in law and mother in law.

We will all miss him terribly- a truly wonderful man and it was a privilege to know him.

Despite this sadness in our family, some positive news has followed. I had applied and been awarded a disability benefit called PIP (Personal independence payment) and been awarded it due to my bipolar disorder and panic attacks impacting on my mental health and ability to work outside the home. This greatly helps our situation and means I can work alongside it too in my role at the Body Shop from home and around my writing (my book Bring me to Light is available here) . We also found out that Rob is being taken off furlough and returning to work on the 1st September- he has been furloughed for 6 months and this was a huge relief for us, as you can imagine.

Additionally, a few weeks ago I got promoted to Area Manager of my Body Shop team, team Hope. This means I manage a team of consultants/ manager in training and help them to develop their businesses too. I feel incredibly lucky to do a job that I love from home and be so supported by my manager Sarah and all my wonderful team mates too. I truly love this job and hope to make it my full time career eventually. The products are so good for self care too.

Now on to my mental health. My anxiety has returned with a vengeance these past few weeks. One night I was up til 5am with panic and insomnia (feeling tearful, restless and pumped with adrenaline) so took some prescribed anxiety medication. I also use a lavender pillow mist which helps me to sleep better too. I have had to cancel and reschedule things. I am not good with change and my anxiety is being triggered. I have a wonderful therapist and so I will definitely book in another session with her soon because I can feel myself dipping a little.

The guineapigs are adorable and good for cuddles and I have had a lot of support from friends and family, so thank you for that, and from Rob too.

How is everyone?

Eleanor xx