How To Create Healthy Daily Habits by Sierra Powell

Photo from  Pexels

Your mental attitude often influences your altitude. People who are happy and successful don’t get there by chance alone. To go where you want to go, you need to take deliberate action, practice self care, and bring energy to everyday activities.. To live the life you want, here are some good ideas to follow, if you are able:

1. Get Out of Bed Early

Even if you don’t have to get up at the same time as the sun every day, it’s still important to get up at a reasonable (early) time so your body can function at its best. The human body and brain have evolved to follow a circadian rhythm, which helps to regulate sleep and wake patterns set by our natural environment, specifically the sun’s rising and setting. This rhythm was set by the natural environment millions of years ago and passed down through generations of humans. This natural circadian rhythm also aligns with the natural cortisol levels inside the body.

Cortisol is a hormone widely recognized for its function in our metabolism, immune system, stress response, and overall energy levels. Cortisol levels start to increase 2-3 hours after the start of sleep and continue to climb until the early morning, which helps wake us up. This rise in cortisol levels occurs in a balanced condition. The cortisol levels in the body will reach their highest point between 8:30 and 9:00 in the morning, and then they will fall as the day progresses slowly. As a result, optimizing one’s energy levels, level of productivity, and general health may be accomplished by the simple practice of adhering to one’s natural circadian cycle and cortisol levels. Note: cortisol can also increase anxiety, which can explain why you may feel more anxious upon waking.

2. Establish a Set Morning Routine

Find out what gets your day off to a roaring start and make it your priority every morning. For instance, if you like to reflect before starting your day give self guided meditation a try. This is a  surefire method to help relieve tension, quiet a buzzing mind, and delve deeper inside yourself. Meditation can improve overall health and wellbeing. Doing a meaningful activity first thing in the morning will help you get off to a good start and be more proactive throughout the day. Rather than racing through the morning to make up for a lost time, beginning your day with a routine may help reduce stress, improve mental tiredness, and boost productivity. If you have no idea where to start then you may find it helpful to examine others morning routines and see what works for you.

3. Read

Reading books is one of the most effective ways to expand one’s horizons intellectually and creatively. Reading in a state of immersion enhances attention and has a relaxing impact similar to meditation. Moreover, reading before bed might help you sleep better. Books that are not works of fiction, in particular, are a great instrument for expanding one’s horizons, developing new ideas, and looking for inspiration. In addition, they give real-life examples of how to deal with a variety of tough situations and give advice on how to get through them.

4. Go on a Stroll

Step outside for some exercise and taking in some oxygen can lift your spirits immediately, help you think more clearly, and give you a break from working on your computer. It is also a very underappreciated exercise that may make your heart and lungs stronger, lower the risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke, alleviate high blood pressure and high cholesterol levels, soothe joint discomfort, and much more. It is an easy way to enhance your general health that is entertaining and has a minimal effect, to put it another way.

 5. Fuel Your Body with Healthy Food

It is becoming more common practice for medical professionals to suggest plant-based diets to all their patients, not only those suffering from conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes, and heart disease. If one cannot wholly commit to a vegan or vegetarian diet, even making an effort to consume more plant-based foods whenever it is practical to do so may cause a significant improvement to one’s overall health.

If you make it a point to concentrate on developing wholesome routines that are manageable for you on a day-to-day basis and that you look forward to doing, you will have a better chance of sticking with them over the long run. Creating healthy routines for one’s daily life will require an investment of time, energy, and focus, but this does not indicate that it is impossible to do so.. Instead, steer clear of drastic solutions, focus on developing good habits, and take your time to help guarantee that your health and success will be long-lasting.

This blog was written by writer Sierra Powell

Our Blog is 6 Years Old Today!

On the 1st March 2016, I started this blog as a way to provide therapy for myself- as I was going through panic attacks, (caused by trauma due to a hospitalisation for a bipolar manic episode). Since then I have had several years of EMDR trauma therapy and my life changed so much too- I met my husband, we got married and moved to our first home. I also found a career I love after many twists and turns due to mental illness. Life is never plain sailing especially with mental health and I still live with panic attacks/ social anxiety at times but am learning to manage them.

The blog has turned into a book Bring me to Light (with Trigger), writing for Metro.co.uk, Glamour, the Telegraph, Happiful, Rethink Mental Illness, Mind and other incredible organisations, I have partnered with large and small brands, charities, businesses, writers to create content that battles stigma on mental health. We have been awarded as a Top 10 UK blog by Vuelio since 2018 (thank you) and I love to share my story to help others and educate people about bipolar, anxiety, panic disorders, psychosis, mania and mental health in the workplace (amongst other mental health topics!). I have also recorded podcasts – most recently with Dr Rosena Allin Khan MP, shadow minister for mental health, Daniel Rosenberg at SodsPod and was also interviewed by Penny Power OBE with my Dad Mike (who is a mental health speaker).

When I started this blog I had no idea where it would lead and its been the most special, humbling and amazing journey- with so much more to do so watch this space!. I really want to help more people this year and also have a childrens book I would love to get out there to help kids with anxiety.

As always, I want to thank all my contributors and brands (sponsored or not), as well as the digital agencies and freelance writers who provide content too. I hope to keep it going for the next year at least! Let me know what you want to see.

This year heres what we have been talking about (and big thank you to everyone. If it doesnt have a name by it, content has been written by a writer):



How social distancing is affecting social anxiety in the pandemic- Anita Ginsburg

Book Review of the Smart Girls Handbook by Scarlett Clark- me (Eleanor)

Being kind to myself, social anxiety and life in recovery- me (Eleanor)

Self care ideas for positive change in 2021

How to cope with top 4 challenging life events

The Book of Hope launchme

Sending self care packages- a guide to sending gifts

Feel less trapped with these powerful ideas

6 Tips to stay positive and help mental health

Moving to our First Home and mental health- me

How to reach for help and not be ashamed

Whats the connection between mental health and addiction- Jennifer at Mandala Healing

We are a top UK mental health blog 2021- thanks Vuelio- Me

Can you still get health insurance cover if you have a history of mental illness?

The benefits of seeking mental health support and help

The link between debt and mental health

Start Up founders are 50% more likely to suffer from a mental health condition- Daniel Tannenbaum

How can mental health workers cope with the new normal?

Easing the burden of divorce- Brooke Chaplan

Stress and Panic Attacks Part two- Me

How to remain independent and look after your health as you get older

How selfie changed my life and mental health- Kathryn Chapman

The benefits of personal training for your mental health- Life Force Fitness

Recovery from alcohol or substance abuse: benefits of a sober living home

6 Ways Fathers can Assist New Mothers- Jess Levine

Work in progress- healing from trauma to find the light- me

Is stress affecting your skin? heres how to tell

Prioritising mental health on the world stage, Simone biles- me

Why privacy is critical for our mental health

Goal setting for mental health

Moving house? 5 tips to deal with moving stress

4 Ways to make mental health a priority in your life- Emma Sturgis

What you need to know about post Partum Depression- Kara Reynolds

The Midnight Library book review- me

5 interior design ideas to boost wellbeing

Steps to help aging and wellbeing

How to keep your children in mind during a divorce-Brooke Chaplan

Bryony Gordons mental health card collection for Thortful.com

The Inquisitive-a film on mental health and suicide- Kelvin Richards

Being self compassionate when I have anxiety- me

Keeping things stress free when selling an elderly family members home

7 Bipolar disorder facts everyone should know- Ronnie Deno

Recovering from an eating disorder- Kara Masterson

Wellbeing tips and activities for children- collaboration with Twinkl resources

Building trust in a relationship

How sleep patterns affect your mental health

Choosing life and freedom- my therapy journey- me

Dealing with imposter syndrome

Confidence on return to the office

lifestyles and mental health- Anna Witcherley at Head Hacks

Stress and mild anxiety formula- Nu mind wellness

Mental health problems in the pandemic- Webdoctor.ie

Patient transport helps anxious travellers- EMA Patient transport

How to stop signs of traumatic brain injury- Lizzie Weakley

Looking after mental health in a tense office environment

Dealing with anxiety as a mom/mum- Kara Reynolds

5 Self help books for 2022

Winter mental health and anxiety update- me

Tips to fight addiction- Lizzie Weakley

Lockdown, sleep, anxiety and mental health- collaboration with TEMPUR mattresses (ad)

Helping elderly people to live independently

Getting your loved one help for their addiction- Emma Sturgis

How to support your spouse with mental health issues- Kara Reynolds

Battling co occurring mental health and substance addiction- Holly

Festive season- me

Its Okay not to be Okay by Esther Marshall book review- me

The difference between a therapist and life coach- Lizzie Weakley

Managing mental health over christmas/ festive time- me

Reflecting on a new year 2022- me

Surviving trauma makes relationships difficult- self compassion helps- Taylor Blanchard

Window to the womb launches avocado app for perinatal wellbeing

Where to start when battling addiction- Rachelle Wilber

Mental health new year resolutions

Book review- Pushing through the cracks- Emily J Johnson- me

Depression meals when life gets hard- Kara Reynolds

Jami see mental health campaign blog

Recovering from cancer- the mental health aspect- Rachelle Wilber

Outdoor activities to improve your mental health- Elizabeth Howard

Mental health and eating disorder recovery journey- Emily J. Johnson

Fitness and mental health

Interview with Penny Power MBE, Thomas Power and Mike Segall on bipolar disorder

Self love for Valentines Day- with Kalms (ad)

Being debt free and in good mental health for 2022

Mental health medication- fighting the stigma- me

Overcoming alcohol addiction- Rachelle Wilber

Spiritual tips for helping mental health

Risk factors for post partum depression

Wow! Thank you for supporting me and the blog, for continuing to read and share it and to help battle the stigma around not only bipolar disorder and anxiety- but every mental illness.

Love,

Eleanor x

5 Risk Factors For Post Partum Depression.

(image: Fat Camera via Unsplash).

During the 2020 COVID season, UK health experts stated that new mothers were twice likely to experience postpartum depression. The report further stated that women with babies younger than six months were the most at risk of developing this mental health condition.

While 47.5% of women may seem on the high side, it is a reality some people have faced in their motherhood experience. While science is still at a loss for the exact cause of postpartum depression, the medical fraternity believes risk factors exist.

  1. Stress associated with new baby care

Without a doubt, baby care is a demanding responsibility. It can take a toll on your physical, emotional and mental wellbeing. Unfortunately, women who are unable to properly manage all these three elements may increase their risks of post partum depression. Feeding, diaper/nappy changes, and constant monitoring can take all your time.

This is why experienced parents believe it is necessary to adopt certain measures to ensure you do not push yourself to the backburner. One of these measures is to sleep when your baby naps. So, how long does it take to sleep train your baby? This question is an issue many new parents struggle with as they streamline their babies’ sleeping patterns.

  1. Preexisting mental health condition

Usually, a female with a preexisting mental health condition is believed to be at a higher risk of postpartum depression. Psychologists believe that the issue of brain chemical imbalances may significantly influence a person’s vulnerability. While the discussion on postnatal and postpartum depression continues to rage on, you may find it helpful to know the subtle difference. Postnatal depression is usually the mental health condition associated with a woman’s depressive mood in the first six weeks after birth. However, postpartum depression (PPD) refers to the period exceeding that.

According to a mayoclinic.org study, women with bipolar conditions may have a higher risk of PPD. Individuals in this category experience more depressive symptoms if the condition is left unmanaged. Additionally, a person with a history of Schizophrenia or Bipolar, may also have an increased chance of experiencing postpartum depression. Usually, women without a prior diagnosis of any preexisting mental health condition can have difficulty understanding why they have PPD.

  1. Family history 

A 2019 report by postpartumdepression.org claims a possible genetic and hereditary disposition to PPD. Although some medical circles believe the findings are inconclusive, there is a strong belief that this mental health condition can run in families. For example, if your mother experienced postpartum depression in her reproductive years, you may have inherited genes that put you at a higher risk. Indeed, this is not the kind of news people want to hear, but it is vital to be armed with this crucial piece of information.

It is worth noting that since specific genes run within biological families, the discussion of genetically inherited PPD cannot be a mere claim. PPD researchers claim that certain genetic alterations during pregnancy could indicate whether a woman would experience postpartum depression. Additionally, these researchers believe that the chances of it happening to a first-time mother may be higher than another who has had multiple births.

  1. A drastic change in image perceptions 

In many instances, women experience weight gain and other image alterations during pregnancy and after childbirth. While some women can bounce back to their former selves within weeks of birth, most take longer. For the latter group, the drastic change in physical appearance can affect their self-confidence and self-esteem. Unfortunately, the inability to embrace these physical body changes could contribute to postpartum depression.

A preemptive measure may be to embrace the fact that a changed appearance is a part of the pregnancy and childbirth journey. If you find that too hard to believe, you may find it helpful to be patient in the ‘waiting period.’ This is the phase when women’s bodies gradually return to the pre-pregnant state. If you can psych yourself up in this period, you can reduce your chances of developing an image-induced PPD.

  1. Absence of social support after birth

Contrary to public perception, single mothers are not the most at risk of absent support. Undoubtedly, the absence of a partner may double up the burden of baby care. However, this issue cuts across both divides. Whether you have a partner or not, the absence of a support group from family or friends can increase your risk of postpartum depression.

Post partum depression can be a difficult struggle, but it is one that can be overcome with support. Reach for help from your doctor or psychiatrist, friends and family and support groups/ other mums too. You may decide to take anti depressants or engage in therapy to help. There are also helplines and charities out there to help new mums with mental health issues, including PPD. You are not alone!


This article was written by a freelance writer and contains affiliate links.

Your Guide To Being Debt Free And With Good Mental Health in 2022

(image: Unsplash)

There is a strong correlation between debt and mental health which is often overlooked. According to the Royal College of Psychiatrists, 1 out of 2 adults with debts, also struggle from mental health and therefore it is something that certainly should be discussed more openly.

Not only can people with mental health such as anxiety or depression face difficulty with managing finances, but parallely, those with debt can often suffer anxiety or depression as a consequence. 

Debt can start with basic credit cards or types of personal loans and get out of control due to shopping online, gambling or by being unable to keep up by losing your job or form of income.

With 1 out of 10 Britons suffering with debt problems, circa 6 million people, it is something that we need to be more conscious about and today we offer some useful guidance and support to be debt free and have good mental health for 2022.

Speak To Your Creditors

The stress of having debt starts with the letters demanding payments and it is remarkable how such a small piece of paper can cause so much stress and anxiety. Also just the feeling of having debt in itself is a painful and uncomfortable feeling.

But one of the worst things you can do is avoid any communication with the creditor. In fact, just speaking to the creditor or company that you owe money to, can ease things. There are always options available to you if you are struggling to pay back a credit card or you are behind on a loan.

For instance, credit card companies can offer you a minimum payment, which is 10% of the balance and you can recur this each month until you want to pay in full. The fees for doing so are very, very small and there is just a tiny negative impact to your credit score – but it offers huge breathing space.

For lenders, they are likely going to be able to freeze interest, delay payment for several weeks and months or spread your repayments over a longer period of time, via something called an arrangement to pay. So whilst you will still owe the repayment, it will certainly help by being able to delay repayment until you can get back on your feet.

And just having some repayment schedule in place can stop any calls, texts or letters coming through the door and take some stress off your shoulders. 

(image: Unsplash: Towfiqu Barbhuiya).

Speak To a Professional 

If you are struggling with debt and are unsure where to turn, consider speaking to a debt professional. Not only are there lots of forums online, but there are charities who will answer you and help you for free, such as StepChange and Citizens Advice Bureau. These establishments will be very used to the types of debts and problems that you are having and they will know very quickly the best ways to calm things down and help limit any further fees and charges being applied.

Speak to Your Family and Friends

Whilst many people are too embarrassed to speak to their close circle of friends and family about their debt or their mental health, you will find enormous strength and support from the loved ones around you.

If you have some debts to pay off, you may find that borrowing money from family and friends can be a simple way to elevate this. It is common for parents to help with any debt problems and not request any interest back. You should always be planning on paying your family back though, because this is always healthy for a relationship. But certainly if you have lost your job and just need some breathing space, this can always be a viable option for you.

Don’t Be Shy to Ask For Help

Being strong in times of mental health or financial problems can sometimes add even greater stress, by just having to hold everything in or still be required to attend birthdays, pay for gifts or go to restaurants with people you love.

But being open and honest with the loved ones around you, can be one step closer to helping with your current problems and getting back on your feet.

Just Realise That Everything is Temporary

You might feel like your debt is taking over, but in reality, it may only be temporary. After all, debt is something that can be wiped out once you have repaid or part repaid.

You may want to avoid selling important things in your life, such as your house and your car, but do not be surprised how much junk is lying around the house that people are willing to pay money for. Whether it is books, CDs, DVDs or clothes, there are people on various apps, Facebook Marketplace or even car boot sales who are interested in buying these things and you could quickly gather a few hundred pounds in very little time.

You will be surprised how quickly you can get your debt sorted – and one step closer to financial freedom and better mental health.



This article was written by a freelance writer and contains links.

Mental Health New Years Resolutions by my Twitter Followers (and I). by Eleanor

(image: Unsplash)

Its 2022 and some of us are making New Years Resolutions so I thought it would be a good idea to do ones focused on mental health and wellbeing. I asked some of my lovely Twitter followers what their resolutions were to include in a blog, so here they are. Thanks to all who contributed! I would love to know yours too!

Mine are get enough sleep, eat more healthily, lose weight and self care.

We can add:

Conversations Create Change LLCMy intentions are to nurture my inner child through healthy eating and fun activities.

Rabbi E. PoupkoProduce more video content for my YouTube channel!

PollyMine are to reduce my alcohol consumption, swim at least once a week, and learn to say No!

Erin HallettSaying no more often without an apology and continuing with daily yoga .

Ncediwe SolwandleTry to take time out for myself from time to time, invest in boosting my confidence and self-esteem.

Guy Barton I don’t do New Years resolutions but I aim to believe in myself more.

Stuart Rimmer MBESpend time in nature , heading for the mountains and living with more simplicity to counter the worlds complexity.

Robert Ashton1- Exercise, 2- sleep, 3- the outdoors, 4 – SAD lamp 5- 15 mins silent reflection at the start of the day.

What are your new years mental health resolutions?

(image Unsplash)


Love,

Eleanor