Starting The Conversation: 5 Tips On How To Talk To Your Boss About Your Mental Health

Image by Andrea Piacquadio via Pexels

According to new data from Mental Health Statistics, during 2020, 58% of workers experienced some kind of work-related stress, while 63% were experiencing moderate levels of anxiety. 

Health experts have warned, that if these mental health issues are left untreated, it can impact our day-to-day lives, including the ability to do our jobs. 

That’s why the team of experts at Delamere, have shared five ways to open up the conversation about mental health with your employer: 

  1. Find the Right Time and Place to Talk  

When approaching the conversation of mental health with your employer, one thing that will help is finding the right time to talk. Talking to your boss on a day when they seem overwhelmed might result in you not getting the best response, so make sure to schedule a call or an in-person conversation with them ahead of time.

As well as the right time, it’s also important to find an appropriate place to have the conversation. Find a place that will allow you to talk in a professional and calm way, and is a quiet space in your workplace. If somewhere suitable isn’t available you could also suggest meeting outside the office or even going for a walk. 

  1. Plan what you are going to say ahead of your meeting

Before speaking to your manager one of the best ways you can prepare is by planning what you want to discuss ahead of time. This will not only calm any nerves you might be having ahead of the conversation but will also ensure that you are only sharing what is needed to frame how your mental health is impacting your work.

Points you can prepare in advance could include, identifying tasks within your current role and workload that is making you stressed, reminding your boss of your achievements so that they remember you are more than capable, explaining what factors might need to change in order to help you.

  1. Decide Who To Speak To 

If you decide to open up to your employer about your mental health, consider who you will feel most comfortable having the conversation with. 

If you have a good relationship with one of your managers, it might be helpful talking to them about what you are going through. However, if you find that they aren’t very approachable, consider speaking to someone within your HR department that will be able to help you.

  1. Consider That Your Boss May be More Receptive Than You Think

Though talking about your mental health with your employer may feel like an uncomfortable situation, they may actually be more understanding than you anticipate them to be. 

Mental illness is very common illness and a lot of people, unfortunately, suffer from this in the workplace. So when you start the conversation, the chances are your boss or employer will have already had direct experience with dealing with it or even experienced it themselves. 

  1. Focus on Your Productivity and Ability to Work

To get the most out of your conversation with your employer, think beforehand about how your mental health is impacting your productivity and ability to work.

If you go into the meeting with this already prepared, the chances are you will have greater success coming up with solutions on how your employer can support you and what you need to get better. Whether it’s more flexible working hours or a lighter workload.

This article was written by Delamere residential addiction care.

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

How to Support Your Spouse with Mental Health Issues: by Kara Reynolds.

(image: Pexels)

Providing support to anyone with a mental health issue is challenging, to say the least. But when that person is your spouse, the situation is even more complicated. At worst, it’s confusing and overwhelming. At best, you might be walking on eggshells. However, being there for your partner during this difficult time will ultimately bring you closer together.

Here are a few ways to support your spouse so you both can emerge from this stronger than you were before. 

1. Help Them Help Themselves 

In the United States, nearly half of those with clinical-level mental health issues don’t seek help. Instead, they try to handle their illness on their own or simply give up hope, both of which can quickly send them into a downward spiral. 

Therefore, if you notice potential symptoms of a mental illness in your spouse, it’s important to encourage them to seek help. Work together to find a therapist, counsellor or physician (doctor) who can provide medical advice or guidance. 

2. Understand the Diagnosis

Once they see a professional and receive a diagnosis, read up on their condition. Maybe you’ve noticed some of the accompanying symptoms but failed to attribute them to their mental illness. Now that you’re more aware, you can stay calm and avoid feeling triggered or attacked when these symptoms show up in everyday life. 

On the other hand, if your partner hasn’t visibly shown signs of depression, anxiety or other issues, you might have been unaware of their suffering. Understanding their diagnosis will help you notice symptoms in the future so they don’t have to go it alone any longer. 

3. Implement Support Tactics

Now that you know what to look for, you might notice more mental health flare-ups, so what should you do when things start going south? Implement support tactics specific to their condition. 

For instance, if your spouse is dealing with depression, you might notice they’ve neglected to wash the dishes or do the laundry. In this situation, consider offering to complete these chores yourself or suggest doing them together.

4. Be a Good Listener

Sometimes, your loved one will want to talk about their experiences or past trauma that may have prompted their mental illness. When they express interest in discussing things, create a safe space for them by being a good listener. 

Pay attention to every detail in an effort to better understand their perceptions and beliefs. Let them talk it out without worrying about how to respond. Then, when you do react, try to do so not from a place of judgment, but of empathy and compassion. Validate their feelings to help them accept their emotions and move on.

5. Be Patient 

It may be difficult to hear, but certain mental illnesses can ebb and flow for years without reaching a resolution. There’s no magic timeframe for recovery.. Therefore, it’s best to let go of idealised timetables and take things day by day. 

This is when love becomes a choice and your commitment to one another carries you through — for better or worse. Instead of running away, resolve to stay steadfast and patient. Instead of holding their illness against them and growing bitter, choose to see it as yet another challenge you can overcome together. No matter how long it takes, you’ll be there to give them support, encouragement and affection. 

6. Practice Self Care

If you’ve ever been on an aeroplane, you know the flight attendant recommends putting on your own oxygen mask before helping others. After all, you can’t assist others if you don’t take care of yourself first. The same is true in your marriage — and every other relationship, for that matter. Therefore, it’s incredibly important that you practice self care and take care of your own mental health before trying to help your spouse with their issues. 

Take time to be alone each day. Revisit an old hobby or pick up a new one like knitting or journaling. Mind-body exercises and autoregulation techniques can also relieve stress and help you tune into sensations you wouldn’t have otherwise noticed. Engaging in these activities will help you stay healthy and better support your spouse during this difficult time. 

7. Keep the Love Alive

Mental health issues and the symptoms that accompany them can become all-consuming. However, it’s important to focus on your relationship apart from this conflict to keep your bond strong and the love alive. 

Spend quality time together, go on dates and continue to communicate openly. Do things that bring you both joy and focus on enjoying each other’s company. Doing so will remind you why you fell in love in the first place and give you more reason to fight for your spouse’s mental health and your relationship as a whole. 

Communication Is Key 

After some time, you and your spouse may begin to resent the patient-caretake dynamic. When these sentiments arise, communication is key. Talking about your feelings will help you understand one another better and may put you on a level playing field again. Once you realise that it’s you two against the world — and not against each other — you can take on mental illness together and emerge on the other side stronger than ever.

This article was written by freelance writer Kara Reynolds, Editor in Chief at Momish.

Winter Mental Health and Anxiety Update by Eleanor

Hi everyone,

I have spent a number of months avoiding and not taking action on one of the main issues that has. been happening in my life.

As you know, I have spent many years living in the shadow of having bipolar disorder and panic disorder (social anxiety and panic attacks) and possibly also PTSD symptoms from my last hospitalisation.. that I didn’t realise that my panic disorder is essentially agoraphobia too. (Oh got to love my overly anxious nervous system and imagination that creates panic!),.

Agoraphobia is a type of anxiety disorder in which you fear and avoid places or situations that might cause you to panic and make you feel trapped, helpless or embarrassed. You fear an actual or anticipated situation, such as using public transportation, being in open or enclosed spaces, standing in line, or being in a crowd.

For me, this means that I can struggle to leave home alone at times, socialise, go out on public transport, go out to eat, go into a shop, travel anywhere alone including walking and that I panic and avoid and retreat from situations.. When I am going through a period of low mood, the agoraphobia/panic disorder can worsen.

I am managing my panic attacks through therapy and speaking to my therapist works. However, being indoors all the time through Covid and changing my working patterns to working from home meant that my agoraphobia got heightened. I didn’t want to be around crowds because I could get Covid. I didn’t want to go on public transport in a mask- because I might get Covid. I didn’;t go in a shop because people were there- but once vaccinated, this hasn’t changed. Really this was masking deeper anxiety and fear of the world in general- feeling uncertain after a job loss and starting a new career and feeling intensely self conscious too about weight gain on my medication.

Today on facebook, I had a memory from 12 years ago (when I was 21) which informed me that I had been on a night out at Ministry of Sound nightclub in London for a gig and I was also coordinating London Booze for Jews ( a Jewish student bar crawl) – despite the fact I didn’t drink. I have always been social but nights out in bars and clubs are just not my thing these days at the grand old age of 33 (grandma alert).

I know my panic is not the whole of me. In the past I have completed a degree and masters at drama school, travelled to India, Israel, places all over Europe and volunteered in Ghana for 7 weeks. Despite my anxiety, I run two small businesses, have managed to release a book, written for well known publications and achieved many of my dreams. I also met my wonderful husband and am not only proud to be a wife, but an auntie (and hopefully one day a mother too).

I am still Ellie and still the person I was inside before trauma hit.

Despite all of the amazing things above, I have been struggling with getting out of my 4 walls. So this is a diary entry to say: I will get better and get out the flat more. I will try and expose myself to feared situations. Above all, I will be kind to myself and take slow steady steps. I will lose the weight too!

All friends/fam are welcome to try and coax me out and help too!

A Guide to Life Insurance for those with Depression and Anxiety.

(image: Pexels)


According to research from mental health charity MIND, 1 in 6 adults suffer from depression or anxiety in any given week in England¹. 

The prevalence of mental health conditions in the UK is on the increase, not helped by the physiological and financial pressures caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Fortunately, this also means awareness is growing.

When it comes to life insurance, insurers now better understand the need to provide financial protection for those with less than perfect mental health. 

If you need to arrange life insurance to protect your loved ones’, but you suffer from depression or anxiety, you may wonder how this will affect your application. 

If so, continue reading as UK life insurance broker Reassured explain all in this 2021 guide…

What is life insurance?

Life insurance is simply an insurance policy that pays out a cash lump sum to your family should you pass away whilst the cover is in place.

The proceeds can be used to cover mortgage/rental payments, provide an inheritance, as well as meet family living costs. If you have dependents who rely on your income, then life insurance ensures that they would be financially secure if you were not around to provide. 

You pay a monthly fee, known as the premium, in order to benefit from the cover protection. Premiums start from approximately 20p a day for £200,000 of cover (or sum assured).

Can depression or anxiety affect your life insurance application?

Yes, if you have been diagnosed with depression or anxiety then this can affect your life insurance application. But do not worry, this does not mean you cannot secure cover or that you will definitely pay a higher premium.

The challenge is that you may need to answer some questions about your condition before your application is accepted. Your responses to these questions will help the insurer better understand your individual circumstances and provide you with a suitable quote.

If the insurer thinks you are more likely to make a claim on your policy due to your depression or anxiety, then they may increase the cost of your monthly premium to mitigate this perceived risk. 

Questions you may be asked include:

  • When were you diagnosed?
  • What treatment are you receiving?
  • What are the severity and frequency of your symptoms?
  • Have there been any instances of self-harm, attempted suicide or hospitalisation?

The only exception to this is over 50s plans. If you are aged 50-85 you can take out an over 50s plan; these policies guarantee acceptance and do not ask any medical questions during the application.

However, whereas standard cover (such as level term and decreasing term) can pay out up to £1,000,000, an over 50s plans maximum is £25,000. As a result they are commonly used to cover rising funeral costs and/or provide an inheritance (not cover larger debts such as a mortgage).

Does depression or anxiety affect the cover itself?

No, if you have been diagnosed with having depression or anxiety before taking out a life insurance policy, then this will not affect the cover itself.

Your policy will be the same as for anyone else who takes out the policy – the only difference being that you may pay a loading on your premium due to your condition. 

What will stop me from getting life insurance?

It is very unlikely that you will be declined life insurance due to depression or anxiety alone.

When sourcing quotes, you will also need to provide the insurers with other information about yourself such as your age, health, weight and smoking status.

These factors are more likely to impact your life insurance options than your mental health condition. Nonetheless, you may be declined life insurance if your depression or anxiety is deemed too high risk. For example, your diagnosis is recent or you’ve self harmed/been suicidal on more than one occasion.  

As someone with depression or anxiety, you may struggle with the process of applying for life insurance and therefore, put off getting a quote. This is understandable as you will need to discuss the details of your condition with a person you do not know. 

However, it is important to understand that insurers are very familiar with assessing applications for people with a mental health condition.

Once your life insurance is in place, you can have peace of mind that your family are financially protected if you are no longer around to provide.

How to get the cheapest premiums 

If you suffer from a mental health condition such as depression or anxiety, it is really important to compare multiple quotes before securing cover.

Every insurer will assess your application differently and therefore premiums will vary in cost, so shopping around will ensure you can get the best available price.

You can do the research yourself, use a comparison website or enlist the help of a specialist FCA-regulated broker.

Whichever method you choose to compare quotes, rest assured the vast majority of those suffering from a mental health condition can in fact secure affordable life insurance.

In fact, the most influential factor affecting the price of premiums is likely to be your age – so why not seize the day and secure your loved ones financial future?

Sources:

¹ https://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/types-of-mental-health-problems/statistics-and-facts-about-mental-health/how-common-are-mental-health-problems/#:~:text=1 in 4 people will,week in England [2]

This article was written by a freelance writer.

Remaining Mentally and Emotionally Stable Post- Pandemic.

I think we can all agree that the last couple of years were never in our plan. Whether we were at the best or the worst place in our lives by the end of 2019, a wide-spread virus and quarantine put just about everything on hold. Jobs, businesses, and routines all over the world were brought to a sudden halt—and one that has lasted for nearly two years. However, while many of our practical, everyday needs were unable to be met, this two-year pause did help to shine a light on our society’s immediate need for mental health resources. 

Whether you were facing pandemic-induced anxiety or depression, or you were fighting an old battle with any existing diagnoses, many of us had no choice but to ask for help. Luckily, with some time surrounded by loved ones and away from our busy lives we were able to truly care for our health. But now that we are finally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel, the question is, ‘how do we maintain our mental health post-pandemic?’ Well, here are some tips to help you do just that.

Normalise Your Needs

One of the biggest stigmas we often face when battling with mental health is the misconception that asking for help is considered weak. When in fact, that couldn’t be farther from the truth. Whether your struggle requires therapy, emotional support, or prescription medicine, asking for help and tending to your needs are the strongest things you could ever do for yourself. Specifically after the pandemic, this is the type of mindset we all need to adopt. By normalizing our natural, human need for assistance in times of need we can slowly eliminate this stigma, not only within ourselves but within our society as well. 

We can see how normalising our needs can even impact companies like Gopuff, who recently piloted prescription-based services in Philadelphia to support its consumers’ health throughout the pandemic. Similarly, BetterHelp, an online therapy service has created some buzz during the pandemic because of its on-the-go accessibility that has normalised therapy and integrated it into our daily lives.

Stay Connected

Along the same lines as asking for help, we need to make the point of staying connected post-pandemic as well. Many of our mental illnesses thrive in isolation; making it so important to establish a healthy lifestyle and surround yourself with a support system. 

Not only will a support system help you appreciate the good times, but they can also hold you accountable when you are struggling. And I know what you’re thinking but accountability is actually not as scary as it sounds. It is simply allowing your loved ones to call you out when you are living a life that is less than what you deserve. Luckily, when the accountability is coming from someone you trust, it can be the driving force that makes you want to be better mentally and emotionally and maintain your health for the long haul.

Find Your Passion

Oftentimes we hear that distraction is the best way to keep your mind off of the negatives in life. However, distraction is temporary and will only promote diversion, not growth. Passion however, will encourage you to go after the best things and life and in return, will promote mental wellness stability as well. 

A passion is whatever you deem it to be. It can be as simple as a love for reading or even a full-time job in teaching. In any case, it can allow you to step outside of your struggles and feel your impact on the world. Passions are also much more sustainable than distraction because they are not rooted in a temporary escape but instead, they are based in a love for a particular thing or idea. Exploring your passions can provide you with a sustaining peace that can get you through whatever feelings of uncertainty may arise after the pandemic.

Take a Break

Lastly, don’t forget to take a breather! Given the lax lifestyle that the pandemic brought on, many of us may rush back into the busy and overwhelming lives we once lived. However, we often underestimate the power of mental and emotional strain. We think that since we’ve had so much downtime these last couple of years, we no longer need a break. However, whether you are working a job or working on yourself, your mind is constantly going and is still in need of a break. 

Pandemic or not, don’t forget to prioritize yourself. Meet your own needs, stay connected with those you love, explore your passions, and as always, take a break and you’ll be sure to find some stability in your life. 

On my Therapy Journey to Being Free: I Choose Life. By Eleanor

Image: notsalmon.com

I started back in therapy consistently (weekly), 2 months ago in August after reoccurrence of panic attacks. I have been working with a really brilliant therapist for the past two years who is a specialist in trauma and EMDR therapy. EMDR stands for eye movement desensitization and reprocessing therapy and is a way to help you process and confront traumatic memories, with the aim of reducing their impact on your life. Its a very good therapy for people struggling from PTSD (Post traumatic stress disorder). Although I do not have the full disorder, I do have some PTSD symptoms according to a therapy questionnaire, from being sectioned and in hospital in 2014 and other traumas that occurred around the same time.

My PTSD symptoms include:

– Panic attacks (palpitations, sweating, negative thoughts, fight or flight adrenaline and needing to cancel feared event) triggered by certain situations which remind me of the past traumatic events. This includes fear of medical appointments now including going to hospitals for myself or the drs surgery.

– Social anxiety- what will they think of me?

-Other fears over traumatic events – i can get triggered and feel flooded with panic.

So, as you can see, a lot to deal with and unpack in therapy. And figuring out my identity as a 33 year old woman with bipolar disorder (thankfully stable) and what the future could hold.

I have to say that finding an excellent therapist has been a lifesaver. I look back to where I was 2 months ago and generally (without jinxing it) my nervous system has calmed down a lot, I have been anxious but able to enter certain situations I couldn’t have done 8 weeks ago. My medications keep my mind stable and my husband and family are a wonderful support too. I love my work and can do it from home. I am really lucky in so many ways.

It is still a major work in progress for me, getting back to the person I once was. I prefer to work from home and I also am unable to go out as much alone as I would want. However, I am starting to go out more with others and I will keep working to find freedom from fear for myself.

If you’re feeling stuck or alone or fearful, reach for help. I have been very lucky to have help with funding my therapy sessions (shout out to my incredible parents) but they are so needed. I know not everyone has this.. the waiting lists for the NHS are so long and I was on them for years without support. My local borough also does not fund trauma therapy which was frustrating at the time.

Thanks for reading the update, feel free to share your therapy experiences with me,

i feel quite emotional writing and sharing this with you! And remember- to keep reaching, growing, and above all healing. Healing is so important for our mental health if you can access it,

Eleanor x

PS- while writing this blog. I was listening to the Sugababes originals Mutya, Keisha and Siobhan (MKS) sing No regrets which has the lyrics.. ‘I choose life’ . Listen here to this live version (not an ad, genuine love): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MfdYE7BkEsw

Being Self Compassionate when I have Anxiety (a List) by Eleanor

(image: Unsplash)

I think that I put a lot of pressure on myself to be doing and achieving and living my best life. The truth is that this sometimes leads to overwhelm. I often try to run before I can walk as I am the eternal optimist… and then on the day anxiety (panic) takes over and I can’t do things.

This week though I have had extra pressures. I have had to deal with some medical things like my blood test for lithium (which I struggle to get to the surgery for), a potential job interview and my fears around social anxiety. Needless to say i have felt panicked and have had to self soothe, be kind to me and really look after myself. I am also working with an EMDR therapist.

So I thought I would create a list of things that I and you can do to be kind to ourselves! (inspired by googling and things that help me). Feel free to add in the comments!

  1. Call a good friend and have a natter- always good to speak to those who love you for you non judgementally and don’t mind if you’re not having the best day.

2. Have a warm bubble bath or shower with your favourite shower gel/ bubble bath/ bath treats. I am a big fan of bath bombs. Theres something super relaxing about them and you’re taking care of yourself too! I love things with cosy vanilla scents personally.

3. Do not be hard on yourself or criticise yourself. Bad mental health is not your fault and tomorrow can always be a better day.

4. Talk compassionately to yourself if your anxiety is overwhelming. Do what you need to self soothe and look after yourself.

5. Make sure you get enough rest- its OK to curl up with a blanket and Netflix for a bit, or read a good book. making art can also be healing too.

6. Accept the way you are feeling and seek support from a trusted therapist, friend or family member. You are OK as you are. You just may need help to recover.

7. Cuddle a pet. I have two very sweet guineapigs who give wonderful cuddles.

8. Listen to soothing music- that you love..

9. Remember to be kind to yourself, look after your wellbeing if you are low or anxious.

10. Call a support line if you are in crisis– such as Samaritans 116 123

Love,

Eleanor

x

4 Ways to Make Your Mental Health a Priority in your Life by Emma Sturgis

Because of the stress and fear caused by the pandemic, more people are coming forward to talk about their mental health struggles. Mental health conditions, such as anxiety and depression, affect millions of people around the world. The inability to cope with stressful events as well as other factors can lead to an increase in mental illness.

When you make taking care of your mental health a priority, you will be surprised at how many ways there are to help a variety of mental health issues. Here are four simple but effective ways to improve your mental health.  

(image: Pexels)

Practice Mindfulness 

According to the UCLA Mindful Awareness Research Center, mindfulness improves mood disorders such as anxiety and depression.   Some people are skeptical about how mindfulness can create such positive results, but it really only takes a few days of regular practice to prove to yourself that being aware of what you do when you do it focuses your mind. When your mind is focused on a task in the present moment, it won’t engage in depressing or anxious thoughts. Definitely give it a go and see if it works for you.

Exercise Regularly If You Can

Physical activity is an excellent way to manage depression and improve your mental health.  Physical activity boosts the release of mood-enhancing chemicals in your brain. These endorphins can help reduce any feelings of sadness or anxiety, alongside other treatment. Exercise also increases blood flow to the brain, which can make you feel more energised and happier.  Furthermore, physical activity can help people cope with stress better by improving their coping skills due to the endorphin boost or just being outside in fresh air. Exercise is also a great way to spend time with others in a social setting such as an exercise class or do some gentle exercise at home.

Eat Healthy Meals 

Diet is an important part of our lives, we should make sure that we eat a balanced diet in order to nourish both our bodies and souls. There are many healthy food options to choose from which help you to look after your body and mind. For example, why not try the nutritional goods on offer on the Gold Bee website, such as the natural honey and coconut oil that can be added to many meals of your choice. 

Get Professional Mental Health Assistance   

Talking to a psychiatrist can help you learn how to deal with your mental health condition. It’s especially important to be able to get professional assistance when dealing with a life-altering event or trauma. Talking about your feelings, fears, and worries alleviates stress and can help mental illness. 

Try these four ways to improve your mental health. Mindfulness increases productivity and reduces stress. Physical activity benefits your mental health in many ways. Following a balanced diet nourishes both body and mind. Talking to a mental health professional can help mental health recovery.

Stress and Panic Attacks Part Two- My Mental Health.

(image: https://society6.com/product/its-okay-not-to-be-okay1048684_print)

Hi friends,

8 weeks ago when I last wrote, we were about to move into our new home. We have now been settled in and been there 5 weeks. It is so exciting and we have been overwhelmed with love. Moving though is a big life change and has triggered my mental illness again.

Lurking under the surface is my Bipolar/ PTSD anxiety disorder. If I do a lot and am more active, I can’t cope. I always try and do more than I am able and then end up crashing into panic- insomnia, racing anxious thoughts mainly and having to cancel plans. Social anxiety becomes heightened. Last week, I went to my mother in laws in Essex three times and also went to a family wedding (which was so special!). Both were lovely, but on Saturday night, my anxiety was triggered, thinking about going back home and socialising the next day- and my body and mind said Enough. This is too much.

Being on your own when you’re anxious and can’t sleep (but everyone else is) is one of the worst places to be. I actually posted an Instagram message at 6am about how I was feeling because I didn’t want to wake anyone up. People were really kind. I slept for maybe 2 hours and felt teary and emotional on Sunday, but had support from Rob and my family too.

The past few days my anxiety has been unleashed and remains high. I am writing this from my Mums house today as I didn’t want to be on my own again working in our flat . I have booked a session in with my therapist too because I am waking up feeling panicked. Its like my body and brain are trying to protect me from something, an old fight or flight response. I keep having regular panic attacks where I shut down, cry and hide in bed. Speaking to my therapist I know will help me process and clear the triggers behind whats going on.

Living with this is debilitating- but I will not be beaten. I will keep doing all I can to improve my low mood and anxiety, to keep going despite any setbacks and to try to heal my mind and soul so I can feel more confident and happier again.

Thanks for reading, I send love to anyone struggling

Eleanor

x