Be Ur Own Light Blog turns 5!

(image: Peach Blossom)

Be Ur Own Light is 5! I cant believe its been 5 years since I began this as a therapy blog as I was suffering from severe panic from trauma and lost my job. I love this blog and will continue to write to break the stigma around mental illness.

This year, Vuelio awarded us as a Top UK mental health blog again which is just incredible. We were also nominated in the Mental Health Blog Awards 2020.

This year we have worked with some amazing writers and organisations on mental health. Thank you:

OCD and Break Ups- Brooke Chaplan

Pocket book of love and Happiness- Trigger Publishing review

5 Ways Therapy can heal your family- Samantha Higgins

Why people are using weighted blankets- Calming Blanket

How to make your surroundings more calming if you have anxiety- Daniel Tannenbaum

Mental health tips to get you through lockdown- Chantal Shaw

How debt impacts your mental health- Ian Sims

Life under lockdown: by Chloe Walker

Lockdown and mental health by Graham Morgan MBE

Best employee benefits for mental health: Daniel Tannenbaum

We will beat this, it will get better: Jenny Nguyen

Covid 19, mental health and work: Danielle Strouther

5 ways to evaluate body mind and soul: Daniel Torres

5 ways you can reduce anxiety- Samantha Higgins

How to help teens with mental illness succeed at school- Brooke Chaplan

Stuck in self isolation? Useful DIY projects- Brandon Smith

My crippling anxiety floored me, now I wouldnt be without it: Emma Johnson, Worry Knot Jewellery

UK went into lockdown, I went into meltdown- Nicole

How to help loved ones with alzheimers- Hannah Boothe

How to avoid burnout during a pandemic- Jade Mansfield at Worsley centre

Maintaining a healthy work life balanace- Love It Cover It


On DBT, art and healing- Violette Kay

How to protect your mental health during the pandemic- Mary Davis

How managing my space helps my mental health- Poppy Duffree- Organise with Poppy

Relaxing places to visit to calm coronavirus anxiety

Bamboo sheets for less anxiety at night

Self care tips for 2020- Anthony L

Redecorating your bedroom for improved mental health- Rosette

 5 things that could be triggering your depression- Samantha Higgins

Escaping outdoors is beneficial to mental health- Amy Sloane

How to work and be a mother during the pandemic- Miranda Davis 

Overcoming the impact of substance abuse on mental health- Anita Ginsburg

How to minimise stress for the elderly in senior living- Johnny Kershaws

15 Ways to turn your home into a self care sanctuary- ImproveNet

Living with OCD during a global pandemic- Impulse Therapy

Managing emotions for better mental health

Taking care of your mental health when a loved one passes away

Checking in on your elderly loved ones mental health during the pandemic

Identifying the source of your eating disorder and finding recovery- Anita Ginsburg

Self care activities to do for those who love to be alone- Regina Thomas

Out of Office by Fiona Thomas- book review by Eleanor   

Using yoga to improve productivity at home: Daisy Moss

The difference between a psychiatrist and psychologist- Anita Ginsburg 

Moving to another country- are you escaping your baggage?

10 tips to avoid covid burn out at home and help your mental health

How to help others when you have lived experience of mental health

Coping with menopausal anxiety and panic attacks by LadyCare menopause

Home improvements to help mental health

5 ways a relationship can hurt your mental health- Miranda Davis

Life is Finite

The secret signs of anxiety

Digital detox ideas for mental wellbeing

How can you better your mental health?

Developing a new found confidence in yourself for the festive season

How to plan for your future in difficult times

Depression and what you should know

Planning for the future to ease your mind

and I wrote some personal articles too!



Thank you for continuing to read and for the support for so long, it means everything to me.

Lets keep breaking the stigma!

Love, Eleanor xx

The past few months: Mental health and Covid.


(image: istock)


Hi everyone,

I havn’t written a blog for a bit just because my start to the year was completely crazy.

Firstly, my dear Grandpa who was 94 passed away in January. Grandpa has been my guiding light, friend, surrogate parent and more. He was an incredible man and I will miss him terribly. Then, the next week, my family and I unfortunately contracted Covid 19 and tested positive.

Thankfully, we were all able to manage the horrible symptoms at home. I spent 2 weeks sleeping, aching, dry cough, no appetite, had chills and fever, headache and such fatigue all I wanted to do was sleep…. it was like a super powered flu and I was so scared as being only 32, I am unvaccinated. Covid was just awful and my Mum had nausea too and loss of taste and smell but she has pulled through.

With immense gratitude, we have all recovered.

I found that having Covid and it being so debilitating that I really lost my confidence in myself and my work as I was off for a few weeks. Slowly but surely this is coming back.

Having Covid made me realise how much I appreciate my life and how thankful I am that my symptoms (and Mums and others in my family) did not become more severe.

I will always miss Grandpa, but I hope we can continue on his legacy.

Love,

Eleanor x

3 Things to Plan for your Future to ease your Mind.



There are many events in life that take us down different paths but there are certain things that are inevitable and some of these you can plan for to put your mind at ease. Current world events are a perfect example of some of the things that can happen as we see unexpected Covid-19 deaths and mass job loss.

But there are also things that can happen in life that we don’t necessarily want to think about or plan ahead for but they are a fact of life and shouldn’t be shied away from. By addressing some of these issues and planning for them we can ease our minds by planning for both the psychological impact and the financial burden that they can potentially place on us.

Some of the most significant events in life that we can plan for include:

  • Funeral
  • Retirement
  • Uncertain Times

Death is an inevitable part of life and can be eased with good planning while retirement can be thought of as a new chapter and we are all subject to uncertain events that can have a massive impact on our lives.

Plan for the Inevitable

We will all die and have loved ones and people close to us die as well, including parents, siblings, and hopefully not but possibly children as well as friends, relatives, and colleagues. A recent survey concluded that 20% of Americans are very afraid of dying and as such have developed a phobia of it.

However, accepting death as an inevitable part and a conclusion to your life can put a great ease on your mind. How you do this is up to you, whether it’s from a purely scientific point of view, religious or spiritual but a pragmatic approach to the eventuality of death can ease the burden of the unknown.

One of the first things you can do is arrange your own funeral process that you want to happen when you pass away. This might sound morbid, but making a plan of what you want to happen can ease the burden from yourself and more importantly your family. Not only can it ease the financial burden, which is very expensive, but the emotional as well. Your family will be in a state of grief and planning a funeral is the last thing they will want to do while stranded in the grieving process.

You could plan such things as whether you want to be buried or cremated and where, any services related to your religion and how you would like your life to be celebrated. It is becoming more common for people to forego a traditional funeral and opt for an intimate burial or cremation with their immediate family. Some providers can also arrange a payment plan well in advance of the inevitable and insurance companies offer this as part of their cover for older individuals.

Make Sure You Can Put Your Feet Up

Most of us love working, but we know that there will come a time when we can hopefully put our feet up and spend some time reflecting on a life well-lived when we retire. However, the prospect of retirement can be scary for some people because they might not know what they are going to do or whether they will have enough money.

Reportedly, 57% of retirement planning services found that running out of money was the top concern for their customers entering retirement. The great news is that there are lots of things you can do to alleviate retirement concerns with a little forward planning.

One of the best things you can do is to aim to retire without any debts. Even today, the average 60-year-old has around $19,000 of debt and that is a huge burden should you be facing retirement. Debt plans should be made at as early an age as possible and you should aim for a debt-free life before 50. 

Another way of easing your mind about the financial impact of retirement is to start a pension plan as soon as you can. Many organizations and companies offer pension plans as part of your employment agreement but you should consider a private pension as well. This will ensure that you get even more money when you retire which should be adequate to live on without having to continue work, post-retirement.

Savings also play an important part in retired life as they are the culmination of your life’s work. Try not to access your savings as the more that is saved, the more you will accrue in interest so you should switch to the highest interest savings account you can and take advantage of certificate deposits and other bank bonuses

Nobody Knows the Future

If the worldwide epidemic of 2020 and 2021 has taught us anything it is that we can never know what life is going to throw at us. The current disaster in Texas, USA is also a tragic example of the unpredictable nature of the weather which has cost over 40 lives and left millions without access to water and basic utilities.

No matter where you live, it is good sense to plan for anything that could potentially happen, especially if you live in a particularly vulnerable place. For example, should you live near the ocean, it might be a good idea to have a plan for flooding or if near a fault line, a plan for earthquakes.

But it isn’t just natural disasters that we should be mindful of. Financial disaster can also befall anybody such as with the 2008 crash or the current economic conditions brought on by Covid-19. The Asia-Pacific region, for example, has seen 81 million people lose their source of income because of the impact of the virus.

It is always a good idea to plan for your future if you are able to and save what you can when you can as a little extra can go a long way. Should you lose your job due to cuts or other reasons, it is likely you will be out of work for some time with the average time between jobs being 4 months. We are of course aware that mental ill health can mean you are out of work or have less money to be able to save so this is just a guide..

These life events can all be stressful and impact on your mental health, so make sure you reach for help should you need it from your doctor or a therapist.

This article was written by a freelance writer.

Depression and What You Should Know

(image: healthyplace.com)

We have a lot of mental health awareness in the modern day. Barely a week goes by without it being mentioned that mental health is important, and that it’s “OK not to be OK”. By now, for sure, we’re all quite aware of mental health. What might be needed more from this point on is mental health understanding, because while people and organisations are more than ready to acknowledge the existence of conditions like depression, fewer are forthcoming with any practical help.

One of the problems that we have right now is that mental health issues were ignored and mocked for so long that – now we have some acceptance of their impact – a lot of people don’t have the language to deal with them. Well-meaning people might say “depression is an illness, just like X”, and not really understand that it can be seen as an unhelpful statement. It would be helpful for people with depression if the following facts were widely known.

A good day with depression doesn’t mean the problem is gone

A lot of the language used around mental illness, and particularly depression, portrays it as a steady, relentless grind – and it sure feels like that most of the time. As a result, when someone who has been suffering opens up, has a laugh and is “more like their old self”, their loved ones might see light at the end of the tunnel. Depression is a complicated condition, unfortunately, and even that brief spell of happiness might trigger a period of guilt, which deepens a depressive episode. This complication is part of what makes it so insidious.

“Looking on the bright side” isn’t a productive strategy

It’s easy to understand why people try to talk around someone dealing with depression by pointing to all the positives in life. It would seem like a productive strategy, because if they see a bright side, they will surely feel better. Right? Unfortunately not. While there are plenty of useful tips for dealing with depression, this is not one of them. Reminding people of how life is good and could be worse is more likely to make them feel like, on top of all the bad things they are feeling, they’re also ungrateful. It doesn’t help.

Depression doesn’t come from any single source

Some people believe that depression is a response to negative life situations. Others argue that it is a result of underproduction of serotonin in the brain. Both sides are right, and both are also wrong; depression isn’t solely chemically-driven, nor is it purely down to circumstances, and this means that you can’t fight it with medication alone. At the same time, it may not be possible to fight it without medication. Finding the right combination to beat depression (or at least sideline it) isn’t an overnight thing, but it is achievable. 

The best advice you can give someone with depression is that, in time, things will get better and that’s all you want for them. Acknowledge that it will take time, and that you’ll be there for them, but don’t ever try to argue them out of it.

This article was written by a freelance writer

Body Shop, Confidence and Mental Health: ‘I can’t do what you can do.’


As many of you know, last year I began working as a consultant (and now manager) for the Body Shop at Home. This was after leaving a job due to severe panic attacks that left me not able to attend work or leave the house daily (related to past trauma) . I eventually lost that job, as I had to leave so many ‘normal’ workplaces that weren’t able to accommodate me.

My confidence was on the floor. I lost my job, we lost the flat we were going to buy and then in March, we went into lockdown.

I have had to face many dark times throughout my life, as I am sure you have. However, in the darkest of times I have learnt one important thing- resilience. Resilience is something that helps me when I am on the floor, sobbing my eyes out from a panic attack (or in the past when I felt low and suicidal). Resilience got me through my GCSES, A levels and University. Resilience (and medication) somehow got me through being sectioned in 2014 for my bipolar and having to recover to live again.

I am not perfect but I know what it is like to have no confidence, no self esteem, to be highly anxious or severely depressed and for each day to be a struggle. To feel like you are wading through treacle or for every fibre of your being to be stressed with anxiety.

When I talk to people about my Body Shop journey and the opportunities that it has brought me and my manager Sarah (who also lives with mental illness), people not only can’t believe it but they also tell me:

I can’t do what you do, you have so many supportive friends.’

‘I can’t do what you do, I feel really low in confidence and low on time’.

While it is true I do have wonderful friends and a good network, I still had to build my group, build my business and build my team from nothing. From scratch. I had to familiarise myself with the products, learn what they do and their ingredients. I had to make contact with new people and find new customers via my network. I had to sell to friends and family….which I was petrified of doing.

I thought I couldn’t sell a product as I had never worked in retail. My anxiety and confidence was really low and it took a lot to go live and share the products, play games like bingo and go live in the group.

But people got behind me and because they did, my confidence began to grow. I realised I loved what I was doing. I was good at it. I could help others and work from home with flexible hours. I could rebuild again.

But what I want to ask you is:

Why can’t you do what I do, if you want to do it?

Why can’t you say yes to an exciting opportunity- and have support from me and a great team?

Why can’t you devote an hour in your day to your Body Shop business?

All it takes is a yes, a leap of faith and slowly building confidence. There is no pressure, coming from a background of mental illness, I want to empower and support others (not count sick days). I want to uplift and help, in the spirit of my manager Sarah who is wonderful too.

If you want to change your life and start on a new journey, drop me a message and reach out.

How to Plan for your Future and Look after Mental Health in Difficult Times this 2021.

(image: Pexels)


It is no secret that life has been tough for many people lately. Having to deal with circumstances that are out of your control can be especially hard to handle. But, in the most difficult times, it is more important than ever to focus on a brighter future. Spending so much time at home may have got you thinking about your plans for the future and how you want your life to look in years to come. Considering what you want from life can be so helpful and give you a focus to aim for. Having a focus can be particularly helpful in challenging times, such as the current situation. 


Take Care of Yourself

Taking care of yourself now is an investment in your future and the bedrock for everything else in your life. Looking after your health now can reap huge benefits for the future. Having good health will enable you to live life to the full and experience it fully. 

Being out of your usual routine can make it harder to remember to look after yourself and to stick with good habits. Self-care is essential for good mental health, so you may find it helpful to try and stick with a routine and incorporate healthy habits into your day. 

Take Care of Your Finances

Money worries are an issue that many people experience. Finding ways to improve your financial situation can help you to feel positive about the future. Taking control of your finances now will help you to plan for the future with confidence. If thinking about retirement is something that worries you, then researching ways to alleviate these concerns now could be beneficial. You may want to consider a Reverse Mortgage for Seniors or setting aside more money now to prepare for the future. Preparing your finances now will help you to gain the peace of mind to live your retirement to the full.

Focus on Your Goals

Everyone likes to have things to look forward to, so setting yourself goals for the future is an excellent way to stay focused and enthusiastic about life beyond this challenging time. It is essential that your goals are things that make you happy and don’t put you under an unhealthy amount of pressure. Overcommitting yourself to goals that you don’t feel comfortable with can be a source of anxiety and worry, which could impact your mental health. Instead, it is far better to consider goals that you will enjoy working towards and will bring you a real sense of achievement. 

Reconnect with Yourself

When planning for the future, it is vital to make sure that your plans are yours, and not a result of other people’s expectations. Making plans for your future should be about reconnecting with what you want from your life and fulfilling your own ambitions. Checking in with yourself to make sure that you are planning a future that works for you and not just for others is essential to helping you to live authentically.

If you need to talk to someone about your mental health call Samaritans 116 123

This article was written by a freelance writer.

Developing a Newfound Confidence in Yourself this Festive Season.


(image: Pexels)


It’s okay to need to spend some time renewing your confidence now and then. Confidence is often seen as a brick wall that stands the test of time once it’s built, but often, it’s more like a flame, one that must be fed, and felt with quality fuel, in order to keep going. Even the strongest and most audacious people on Earth can be knocked back by life, and they regularly are. This is humbling, because it shows that no matter how good things are, we can always find struggle. However, this also shows an opposite and no less important truth, that no matter how bad things are, we can always improve and come to love ourselves again, building that confidence necessary to moving forward.

This is the essential principle shown by the famous symbol of the yin-yang, the white has a little black in it, and the black a little white. So – if confidence is more of a fire to be kindled than a wall to be built, how can we re-fuel it? Let’s consider that, below:

Finding New Opportunities

It can be worthwhile to find new opportunities in life, even if they’re self-directed, and even if they come straight after an intense experience such as a life setback, trauma, bereavement or a divorce settlement. Taking stock of what your new situation means, how you can use it to your benefit, and what exactly it is that you want can help you move forward with confidence, resilience and a patience that not everyone has. The primary thought to keep in mind is this – new opportunities are always there. You just have to dig for them.

Going For Gold

Going for gold is important, once you have your opportunities or ideals prioritised. It might be that you invest completely in a new hobby or practice, or that you do something you’ve always wanted- a dream, travelling to a new place or something you’d never do normally such as getting a new tattoo. Going for gold- making things a reality , can also help you feel expansive, generating your purpose from one day to the next. No matter if this is getting back in the dating scene, trying to go for a new job, or finally enjoying your freedom, don’t forget to go for gold.

Being Unapologetic

It’s important to be unapologetic about who you are. Why is this? Well, what do you have to apologise for? Your sense of style? Your sexual orientation? Your dreams and desires? Absolutely not, and actually, you should take complete and total pride in these things. This is what makes you, even if, as an individual, you are more than these designated labels. Being unapologetic helps you realize that you have dignity too, and that you’re worth expressing it. Having that mindset can help you curate your best attitude, which may or may not help you become a better, less bitter and more empathetic person. We all need to learn this lesson in life. It’s good to learn it now.

We hope you can develop that newfound confidence in yourself you truly deserve.


This article was written by a freelance writer

How Can You Better your Mental Health?

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Your mental health is precious, and you’ve got to look after it as much as you can. We know sometimes this isn’t the easiest thing in the world as there are so many things that are beyond your control. We also know that even when things are okay, sometimes it’s still difficult to control the way that we feel. But, that’s why we’ve written this article, so that you’ve got some ideas as to the things that you can do to better your mental health. Keep reading if you would like to find out more.

Try To Relieve Whatever Stress You’re Holding

The first thing that we’re going to recommend is that you try to relieve whatever stress you are holding onto. We know that this isn’t easy, and we’re not saying it is, but it’s something that you’ve got to do if you want to recover. Your mental health is not going to benefit if you are constantly stressed. But, the only way that you are going to be able to relieve stress is if you know what is causing it. It’s for this reason that you’re going to have to think yourself or speak to a therapist and figure out what is causing most of the stress. From there, you can work out the best way to destress and take control, and this should ultimately end up improving your mental health. 

Hypnosis Might Be Worth A Try

Have you ever given much thought to trying hypnosis? Professional hypnosis involves interaction with you and the therapist to heal mental health issues going on in your life. For example, you can get hypnosis downloads that will help you to do whatever it is you’re aiming for. Hypnosis will involve your consent and its worth a try- Your mental health is worth it. Search for a recommended therapist.

Try Taking Up A New Hobby

The final thing that we are going to suggest is taking up a new hobby. Your mental health will always be worse if you are not distracting yourself from negative thoughts. You’re going to get too deep into things and you may spiral into anxiety or depression. Instead of doing this, find something that you enjoy doing, thats a positive focus. It can be a sport, or a game, reading, watching TV, completing some arts and crafts, whatever you want to do as long as it takes your mind off of your thoughts for a little while. Become immersed in whatever you are doing, and leave the rest of the world behind for a while.

We hope that you have found this article helpful, and now see some of the things that you can do to better your mental health . Something on this list should help, and if it doesn’t, there are also plenty of other things that can be done as well. Make an appointment to see your GP or therapist if your mental health worsens and take care of yourself- self care is vital.

This article was written by a freelance writer.

My interview with Ayala Goldmann at the Judische Allgemeine Newspaper in Berlin. ‘I wanted to get rid of the stigma’

(image: Blend Video and Photography, London)

Last month, I was contacted by Ayala Goldmann, a journalist at Jüdische Allgemeine, Berlin’s Jewish newspaper in Germany. My grandpa Harry, who is now 94, grew up in Berlin as a child and fled the Nazis to England.

Ayala asked me lots of questions about my Jewish family background, bipolar disorder, my dads illness and my book.

Her interview with me is published in German, so click Google Translate to turn it into English. The title is ‘I wanted to get rid of the stigma’.

Thanks Ayala and all at the Juedische Allgemeine.
Read here:

https://www.juedische-allgemeine.de/kultur/ich-wollte-das-stigma-loswerden/

Believe In Progress, Options, Laughter and Recovery: Some Thoughts on Bipolar and Life.

(image: Hannah Blum)


Hi everyone,

I havn’t done a personal blog for a while because things have felt pretty…. the same. We are all going through such a difficult year where we feel in limbo, stuck with the dark, cold nights and little to distract ourselves- we can’t travel, go on holiday, see friends indoors in person . It can all feel bleak and frustrating with Covid 19 and this new world we find ourselves in.

I am lucky that my mental health hasn’t taken a nosedive, although there have been days where I have felt low, anxious and overwhelmed. I love my work for the Body Shop and my writing, but there are times when I just want a break. We were planning on maybe going away somewhere in the UK, but then Tier 3 restrictions hit London, so we will be at home over the Christmas break. Instead, I have made sure I have taken time for myself and rested- so that things don’t get too much.

I opened my book Bring me to Light this morning- I don’t often read it as I wrote it. But, it fell on this page- a poem about Bipolar that a fellow friend and patient wrote when we were on the hospital day unit in 2014. She also had bipolar disorder and was in there for her recovery.

It said,

Believe

In

Progress

Options

Laughter

and

Recovery

She kindly let me keep her poem- at the time, I needed hope, healing and faith- that I could get better. That Bipolar wouldn’t ruin my life.

I did get better. I have been so much better on my new medication. I met an amazing man who is now my husband. I found a career I am able to do with my PTSD and new friends and a team of people around me who are wonderful. Life is good.

However, a small part of me is scared. Scared to get ill again or be hospitalised. Scared of the psychosis that wrecked my life. Scared of whether or how I can become a mother whilst on Lithium or whether we will need to look at surrogacy as the meds can cause birth defects and there is a strong risk of post partum psychosis and pre or post natal depression for me with my bipolar. I am scared that if I carried my own child, I could end up on a hospital ward again- but a mother and baby one. I don’t want that to happen.

In my book Bring me to Light I wrote, ‘ Sometimes I still feel like the scared sixteen year old, sitting in that psychiatry room at the Priory North London, being given a diagnosis of bipolar disorder. …I have learnt that thanks to Lithium and therapy, bipolar disorder does not have to be my life.’

But knowing Lithium’s impact on my physical body too is scary. Weight gain. Acne. Water retention. Potential issues with kidney function/diabetes in future. Not being able to breastfeed on it or possibly carry a baby due to the severe risk – I have the most acute form of Bipolar and become very ill without medication.

These issues are so personal and I and Rob have been processing them for a while. We lost Robs dad to brain cancer in July and I didn’t feel able to blog about children before now. But, when the time is right and we speak to a perinatal psychiatrist and plan for a child, I want to write about it- maybe even a new book.

In the mean time, I am excited for new births in our family and I am just living and enjoying being well, being healthy.

I never see myself as someone with a disability- I always look for the Light. But, there are limitations and drawbacks to having this illness, even when it is in remission. It is biological and impacts on things I never realised when I was diagnosed in 2004. At the age of 32, these are becoming more real than ever and its scary. But, I want to smash the stigma and so I will write about what I can.

I wish you all a wonderful , relaxed festive season with good mental health- Happy Chanukah and Christmas.

Love,

Eleanor x