Is Stress Affecting your Skin? Heres how to tell.

(image: Pexels)

Is high stress causing skin conditions like acne, skin rashes, psoriasis, and eczema to occur? Here’s how to tell! 

If you’ve been experiencing high stress lately and have started to notice a change in your skin’s health, this is no coincidence. Aside from weakening your immune system and causing issues such as hair loss to occur, stress can also affect the state of your skin.  

Everything from dry skin, to acne, skin rashes, and other conditions like eczema and psoriasis can all be rooted back to stress. And unfortunately, dealing with these skin issues can also increase stress levels, which can ultimately perpetuate the  cycle. That’s why it’s critical to understand the relationship between stress and skin, as well as the different coping mechanisms and treatment available.  

To learn more about the stress-skin connection, and how stress hormones may be affecting your complexion, read on! 

Understanding the Relationship Between Stress & Skin 

There are two dominant stressors that influence your skin health. The first is environmental stress. Unlike other organs in your body, your skin is constantly exposed to the outside world, making it more susceptible to environmental stressors such as temperature, humidity, and ultraviolet light. These factors can trigger your skin to produce stress hormones like cortisol, which inevitably, sends signals back to your brain. These signals contribute to the other main stressor that influences your skin: psychological stress. 

Psychological stress disrupts the top layer of your skin—also known as the epidermal barrier—that acts to retain moisture and protect you from harmful microbes. A healthy epidermal barrier is vital for maintaining a clean, clear complexion as it helps to repair and shield the skin. So, when disrupted, your skin becomes more sensitive and reactive, causing irritation as well as the exacerbation of certain skin conditions to occur. 

As your epidermal barrier continues to be affected by psychological stress, it can become increasingly challenging for these skin issues to heal properly, especially if left entirely untreated. In the next section, we’ll take a closer look at different skin conditions and concerns that may develop from chronic stress, and what you can do to manage them. 

How Exactly Can Stress Affect Your Skin? 

Think stress is the explanation behind the changes in your skin? Below are a few common conditions to lookout for and available treatment options to consider. 

Atopic Dermatitis AKA Acne 

If you feel stressed on a regular basis, don’t be surprised if zits and pimples start to appear. The effects of stress tend to lead to acne because cortisol—the “stress” hormone—encourages your sebaceous glands to speed up. Your sebaceous glands control the oil production in your skin, so when provoked, they naturally cause your complexion to appear oilier. In turn, this can cause your pores to clog and consequently, lead to acne. 

Dealing with acne caused by stress is hard enough to begin with, but it’s especially difficult for people who naturally have acne-prone or oily skin. If you resonate with one of these skin types and are currently struggling with stress acne on top of your usual breakouts, it may be a good idea to invest in a prescription product to adequately treat your concerns. Using a tretinoin prescription to fight blemishes, for example, can make it easier to get rid of acne and acne scarring in real-time, and prevent further development from occurring.  

Skin Rashes 

Skin rashes like psoriasis, rosacea, and eczema are all tell-tale symptoms of high stress. The conditions will generally develop on account of a weakened immune system— another stress response your body has when dealing with high anxiety. When your immune system is weakened, it’ll likely lead to dysbiosis—an imbalance of bacteria in both your gut and skin health—to occur. If the imbalance appears on your skin, it’ll likely manifest itself with redness or rashes. 

Pre-existing conditions are normally characterized by itchy, dry skin, but when dealing with high stress levels, these issues become all the more aggravated.  

Fortunately, managing these inflammatory conditions can include using a basic anti-itch topical ointment that is readily available at your local drugstore. However, these aren’t effective in strengthening your immune system. Arguably the best way to promote overall immunity is to stick with a varied, well-balanced diet. 

Fine Lines & Wrinkles 

The natural aging process speeds up when you experience high stress, as it can cause changes to the proteins in your skin and fluctuate anti-aging hormones like DHEA (dehydroepiandrosterone). These factors can ultimately lead to a reduction of brightness and elasticity in your skin and accelerate the aging process. As a result, the formation of fine lines and wrinkles may occur. 

Environmental stressors like ultraviolet light and radiation can largely contribute to an acceleration of the aging process. For this reason, it’s critical to make sure you’re protecting your skin at all costs, regardless of if you are indoors or outdoors.  

Be sure to apply sunscreen everyday as the last step of your morning routine. This will help mitigate environmental stress that comes from excessive sun exposure and keep your skin looking youthful and radiant all year round. 

This article was written by a freelance writer.

How to Prevent & Ease Effects of Stress 

Skin care can only get you so far when it comes to managing your stress. While washing your face regularly and incorporating treatment products in your daily regime may be practical in treating the skin issues mentioned above, they’re not beneficial in alleviating chronic stress as a whole. There are various ways to reduce high stress and anxiety, so try to explore the different options out there. Here are a few options to get you started: 

  • Schedule Time for Mindfulness: Give yourself a chance every day to relax with a stress-free mindfulness practice. Whether it be reading, writing, meditating, or stretching, remember to block off some time for yourself every day, even if only for 15 minutes. 
  • Stay Active: Exercise and physical activity offer numerous health benefits, and one of them is lowering levels of stress hormones. Take advantage of this benefit by staying active throughout the week! From personal training to outdoor activities like hiking and biking, there are plenty of ways to get your heart rate up! 
  • Talk to Someone: Managing high stress and/or poor mental health is not something you should burden yourself with. If you’re having trouble navigating your stress-free journey alone, don’t hesitate to talk to someone about how you’re feeling. A simple conversation with a friend or family member can be more therapeutic than you know, but if they’re support isn’t enough, don’t be afraid to seek professional guidance from a mental health counselor. 

Work in Progress: Healing from Trauma to find the Light by Eleanor

(image: pinterest)

So its a Friday, the sun is shining and I am sat here listening to a new singer I have discovered, Sinead Harnett. I have always found music so healing for me especially soul/jazz /rnb and she is fab! Today I feel calm and positive and happy. I am holding on to this feeling because there are days when I don’t feel like this!

I live with anxiety and panic attacks as the main symptom at the moment. This can limit my life in a lot of ways and its something that I want to break free from. I am very much a homebody but I also love seeing my friends. My anxiety can creep up and sometimes I don’t feel able or have the energy to see people or venture outside alone. Its difficult.

I did a questionnaire with my therapist last month which indicated that I do have some symptoms of PTSD but not the full blown disorder. This manifests as wanting to keep myself safe- in safe places and with people who are deemed safe in my head (won’t judge me badly, won’t ask difficult questions etc). I find it hard to do things alone as well- which I would love to change (things like going for a walk etc).

Keeping myself safe began as something to protect myself after the traumas of being sectioned, losing my mind in psychosis, being sexually assaulted and having to live in hospital for 4 months (and injected with medicine when very ill), with a further 4 months in a hospital day recovery unit. The life I knew was under threat and my anxiety was so high- i was flooded with adrenaline and there were times when I couldn’t sit still, I didnt communicate with anyone and turned my phone off, i went to bed at 8pm each night during that time- I was traumatised and unable to cope.

As you know, I have been working on my recovery from that bipolar episode since 2015. I am a different person and my medicines ensure I do not become manic in psychosis (believing a false reality) or severely depressed. I engage in therapy too. However, lately I have been noticing that I have been placing some limitations on my life that I need to work on.

Sometimes leaving the flat can be challenging. Sometimes meeting up with other people is hard. Blood tests, doctors surgeries and hospitals trigger panic in me still due to past trauma. I was able to get my Covid jabs with support, but I find anything medical really really hard because of what I have gone through. Its hard to trust people and put myself in environments that remind me of past trauma (in hospital i had to have weekly blood tests to check my lithium levels).

I am only 33 and I am a work in progress. Healing is taking longer than I thought it would… but my husband, friends and family (and our guineapigs) all help with that- as does my therapist. Having a purpose daily and working with my Body Shop Team- Team Hope, fellow manager Leyla and my upline Sarah is incredible and they all give me so much joy.

I don’t want to keep looking back- I want to feel my life with positivity, sunshine and happiness. However, sometimes fear can be strong. Sometimes i get scared or things effect my subconscious mind.

I am starting to realise that that is OK. My confidence will improve in time and I will continue to work on it, to grab life with both hands instead of taking shaky steps. Writing and blogging is always so therapeutic and I am to work on more projects too 🙂

I am learning its alright to be a work in progress but to reach out for help to change my life and overcome fear.

6 Ways Fathers can Assist New Mothers- Guest blog by Jess Levine

(image: Unsplash)

A new bundle of joy in the family is indeed a happy addition. While welcoming a new baby is a joyous event, new mothers also have a lot of things to keep in mind. Not to mention, mothers have to make huge adjustments in their routines, schedules, and even hobbies just to make time for the baby. 

New mothers are also recommended to get enough rest. However, with an infant to care for, most mothers would not even have much time for themselves. And that’s where fathers should step up. 

New mothers need both physical assistance and emotional support. Baby care and household chores are part of physical assistance. Emotional support can be done in various ways. But letting new mothers have a day for themselves is more than enough. Caring for a baby could get exhausting, and having a self-care day can help mothers refresh and recharge themselves after a gruelling week.

Fathers, or partners, can always help in both aspects. But aside from simply volunteering to change diapers and give bottled milk, here are some more ways to assist new mothers: 

  1. Have Your Fair Share Of Chores

This is one of the main things that partners can do to help eliminate the stress and burden of new mothers. Most of the time, your wife may not be able to wash the dishes or mop the floors because she needs to attend to the baby. 

So, why not volunteer to do the dishes every night? Or help with the laundry each week during your day off? Helping around the house will definitely lessen the physical stress for new moms. Offering to disinfect or sterilise the baby’s things is also a great idea. The extra time they get can be spent resting or bonding with the baby.

  1. Cook or Order Takeout (takeaway)

Just like household chores, cooking also takes time. Most new moms don’t even have the time to think about meal prep or planning. So, might as well just take things into your own hands! You can volunteer to either prepare breakfast or cook dinner so your partner can get more sleep. If you’re working long hours and there’s not much time for you to prepare dinner at night, then offer to order takeout instead. 

  1. Offer A Spa or Massage Day

New mothers direly need, and would highly appreciate, a self-care day. Sending them off to a spa or massage session would definitely lift up their mood and calm their mind. Doing this at least once a month can help improve their mental and emotional state. Mothers need a break from all that baby care too! But make sure to have someone reliable enough to care for the baby while mom is away. You can volunteer to do it yourself but if you need to take care of work or other errands, then you may hire a nanny or leave the baby with grandparents or a trusted family member for the day.

If it’s not possible for you or your wife to go out to a spa or massage service, then you can book a home service instead. You can also plan and prepare a homemade bubble bath that your wife can soak and relax in!

  1. (image: unsplash).
  2. Avoid Adding More Pressure

New mothers might be overly conscious and anxious that they aren’t doing a great job with the baby and the house. On your part, you must also understand that they cannot fulfill household duties 100% all the time, since they also have a baby to care for. 

So, if you see that the kitchen is not clean, floors are dirty and unswept, and the laundry is already piling up, don’t take it out on her. Instead, ask her which task she may need help with and communicate how you can work together to make sure that basic household duties are still maintained while also caring for the baby.

Appreciate What She Does

New mothers are always overwhelmed, but a simple appreciation will make them feel happier and secured. Many new moms are always thinking that they aren’t doing a good job (even if they are). So, don’t forget to remind them that they are doing great and that you appreciate everything she does for the house and the baby. Most of all, it’s best to remind them that as long as the baby is happy and healthy, then they’re doing more than a good job already.

Encourage Social Interaction

The mental and emotional stress that new mothers feel is sometimes caused by being cooped up in the house for too long. While she can spend more time bonding with the baby and communicating with you, remember that a healthy adult also needs a well-rounded social relationship. 

So, encourage your wife to go out and see her friends over coffee sometimes! Recommend a mom group in your area that she may be interested in, or if your wife thinks she should see a therapist to help with postpartum depression or anxiety, then help her book a session.

A new mother would usually insist on being more hands on with her baby, and this is not a surprise, since it is just part of human nature. However, it does not mean that they don’t need the help and support from others—especially from a partner. 

Assisting a new mother would not take much time, a simple gesture and moment of appreciation can already do wonders. However, it’s important to also help them with physical tasks to ease their stress and burden. Most of all, it’s important to do these things consistently.

Author’s Bio:

Jess Levine is an experienced writer who loves creating articles that can benefit others. She has worked as a freelance writer in the past making informative articles and fascinating stories. She has extensive knowledge in a variety of fields such as healthcare, technology, business, finance, marketing, personal development, and more.

Check out her company here: https://www.spacetobeyou.com/

What are the Benefits of Personal Training for your Mental Health? by Life Force Fitness

(image: Unsplash)

Exercise, including personal training, helps to keep your body healthy and strong. However, did you know that physical activity can also improve your mental health?  

Due to the current Covid-19 pandemic, mental health has become an increasingly popular topic of conversation, especially as people have been stuck at home trying to get through the seemingly interminable lockdowns.

So, what are the mental health benefits of exercising?

  1. You feel a sense of achievement

Exercising on a regular basis can provide you with a sense of pride and satisfaction. Nevertheless, personal training requires:

  • Hard work
  • Determination
  • Perseverance

If you possess these qualities, you will not give up easily and this will enable you to significantly improve your mental wellbeing. 

  1. It can keep you calm

If you have a stressful job or challenging lifestyle, exercising is an excellent way of releasing a lot of the tension. Unfortunately, gyms can be overcrowded and this may even add to your stress. Private studios may be a better option as they only allow a few people in at a time and you will also have the benefit of a personal trainer supporting you. Even if the exercises are intense, the quiet and spacious room will keep you calm and focused.  

  1. A healthy alternative to anxiety and depression

Exercise, especially if performed regularly, can prove effective in helping you fight off anxiety and depression. Indeed, physical activity can work as a standalone treatment or in combination with medication and therapy.   

The fantastic thing about exercise is that there are few if any side effects. In addition, compared with taking antidepressants or undergoing psychotherapy, you will not experience any form of stigma.

If you are having some issues with anxiety, exercising regularly can help reduce your tension. One of the main advantages of exercise as a form of treatment for anxiety and depression is that it incurs very few costs. Despite this, it can significantly improve your mental health.   

  1. It can halt or at least delay the onset of cognitive decline

Modern healthcare strategies have increased people’s life expectancy here in the UK. However, there has also been an increase in the number of cases of dementia and cognitive decline. Fortunately, physical activity can help protect you from this type of disease, or at least delay any further decline. Also, a regular workout can reduce your chances of suffering from depression by around 20–30%.          

  1. It will increase your mental resilience  

Personal trainers have pointed out that many people tend to quit exercising after their first few days due to a lack of willpower. However, if you give up too easily and don’t stick to the programme, you may develop low self-esteem and depression. If you book sessions with a well-respected personal trainer, they will help you push on so that you go beyond your comfort zone. Indeed, as you get used to the routine, your mental fortitude will also be strengthened.     

  1. Regain your mojo 

Your mojo is a quality that will attract people to you, make you successful and give you lots of energy. When people say they have lost their mojo, it means they have lost their enthusiasm and zest for life. Fortunately, a suitably designed training programme can help you regain your mojo.  

Personal training supports self-improvement

In general, people like to see if they can improve themselves. Personal training can certainly help in this regard, especially when it comes to self-confidence. When you complete an assigned exercise routine, it gives you the confidence to extend yourself even when confronted by a difficult challenge.    

How much exercise do I need?

To achieve the best possible results from your physical activity, you need to do it on a regular basis. The NHS recommends that you perform at least a 2½-hour intense workout every week or 30 minutes of exercise per day. Although this may seem daunting, especially if you are a beginner, as you get used to the routine, it will become much easier. 

Physical training is a good start

Bearing in mind the current Covid-19 situation, it is no longer advisable to exercise in a crowded gym. Fortunately, physical training offers you some elbow room. Due to the wide open space, you can focus on doing your exercises with little or no distraction. And, by practising social distancing while you perform your physical activities, you will also gain peace of mind. 

Conclusion  

As well as looking after your body, it is imperative that you take care of your mind as otherwise, you may potentially find yourself requiring a significant amount of medication or therapy. However, exercise, including physical training, is a healthy way of helping mental health conditions such as anxiety, depression and dementia. You can also obtain some notable benefits from your physical activity, ranging from feelings of accomplishment to regaining your self-confidence. Remember, it is vital that you start exercising as soon as possible in order to improve both your physical fitness and your mental wellbeing.  

Note from Eleanor: it is important to note that if you are very unwell, exercise may not feel achievable. Be kind to yourself and look after your energy.

How Selfie Changed my Life and Mental Health: by Photographer Kathryn Chapman


(image of Face to Face – a mental health photoshoot : Kathryn Chapman photography)

In my early twenties, after suffering years of severe depression and anxiety, I attempted suicide and ended up in hospital. Life was completely unbearable, ending my life felt like the only option. I existed in an excruciating, disassociated, confusing, numbed-out-tuned-in agony. Sometimes I’d feel incandescent rage and injustice, other times overwhelming sadness and often infinite emptiness.


I didn’t know who I was, I hated myself and my inner critic was rampant. I had no idea how to love myself or even what that meant. I embarked on 25 years in and out of talking therapy but achieved nothing and I was left drained, hopeless and utterly tired of talking.


In 2015 my mental health hit a massive low, I was knocked off my bike and the fragility of life hit me like a tonne of bricks. But it didn’t make me more positive, it made me more whats the point?


A subsequent psych assessment revealed clinical depression, severe anxiety and ‘off the scale’ PTSD. What was reflected back was a massive shock and once I’d got my head round it, promised I’d do things differently. My way. One thing at a time.


I started with my drinking and buried trauma began to surface. It was in this space I finally started to get a handle on what was going on –  it helped enormously but didn’t stop the cycle of depression and ferocity of my inner critic. But the mirror held up during the psych assessment had planted a seed.


A couple of years later, I had an idea for a self-portrait shoot. It persisted in my head for months before I realised it wouldn’t go away until I’d created it. It was a test – I wanted to see if everything was as bad as it felt, to hold up a mirror to myself, to look myself in the eye and face myself fully. So I sat with my most difficult emotions and photographed what was there.


I hadn’t thought about how I might react to the images, what I’d think, how I’d feel or what they might teach me. But there, looking back was a woman in agony, desperate for care and love, and the only person who could do that for her was me. It was a moving and very powerful moment.

Amongst the pain and hurt, I saw vulnerability, courage, resilience and strength – here I was, in all my beautiful mess. This was the first time that I saw and fully accepted myself, the first time I gifted myself kindness, patience and gentleness. I couldn’t deny what was staring back at me and I experienced a deep compassion for myself that has remained ever since.


It was the catalyst I needed to prioritise self-care and to feed my soul. I realigned with my spiritual needs and discovered a way to quieten my inner critic. I looked after myself holistically and it came easily, because not doing it wasn’t an option. The images had changed what I thought about myself, what I said to myself, what I saw in myself. It was transformative.


Six months later (after intending never, ever to share any of the images) I posted this picture. I got so much love and support, it was amazing. 


Not long after another surprising thing happened – I found my life purpose. I developed everything I’d discovered into a therapeutic programme and named it Face to Face®. I hold up a mirror so clients may see their own potential for lasting self-compassion and happiness, helping them come home to all that they are, to see they’re enough, they’re not to blame, that they matter.


To see themselves better.


Looking back, I realise that however close I came, I never gave up hope. I never gave up thinking there must be something or someone that would make the difference I needed. The something that made the most difference was my shoot and the someone that helped turn my most significant corner was me. I was my own light.
Our answers are within us, sometimes we just need someone to walk next to us for a while, to join us on our journey and reflect back our strength while we navigate the storms.


Keep searching, be your own priority. Trust who you are and what you need. And most of all have hope, because without hope we have nothing.


Kathryn is a portrait photographer, creator of Face to Face®, Freedom Shoots and the Inner Critic Tool. She is fascinated at how we perceive ourselves and uses therapeutic photography to challenge self-belief, offering a different perspective. She helps to understand what it means to be human – vulnerable, complex, creative, beautifully flawed, perfectly imperfect and astonishingly brave.


www.kathrynchapman.co.uk

@kathrychapmanphotography@facetofacephotos

How to remain Independent and look after your Mental health as you grow Older.

As we grow older, we’ll physically feel ourselves slowing down and gradually taking our time with various daily activities and tasks. As such, it can be tempting to ask for help, hire a care worker, or even move into a nursing home for extra support. However, staying independent – if you are able, is a good way to look after your mental health and a sense of dignity. Some people would prefer not to ask for help or move into a care home, preferring to just stay in their own house and live out the rest of their days in peace and happiness.

So in this post, we’re going to take a look at a few tips to help you remain independent as you grow older.

(image: Unsplash)

Keep your brain busy

Staying physically active is extremely important, but we also can’t neglect the importance of your mental health. You can do this by playing cards with friends and family members, watching game shows, doing puzzles, or even playing video games.

In fact, video games can be a great way to both stays social and also keep your brain active. There are many creative video games that you can play with friends and family members, making it both a social activity and an activity to keep your brain active.

Avoid the temptation of nursing homes

A lot of people think that nursing homes are a good option because they can get assistance when they need it. They can remain independent for everything else, but they’ll get a bit more help when it comes to medical conditions or seeing a physician. Unfortunately, when senior care goes wrong, it can lead to devastating consequences and might create further problems that will negatively affect your lifestyle. However, some homes can be very positive.- so it is trial and error!

If you do require some assistance, then it might be beneficial to look at home carers instead. However, if there’s no other option and you require full-time assistance, then make sure you look for a reputable care home that looks after its residents.

Always remain social

Try and continue your regular social activities if possible. This can mean going to a place of worship, visiting friends, seeing family members, or even taking a walk to the local shops to have a conversation with people. There are loads of opportunities for seniors to remain social, and most of it starts from leaving the house instead of staying stuck indoors. If you need assistance getting around, then it can help to seek out mobility aids to assist you while still offering independence.

But if you do plan to move around and go out, make sure you’re always thinking about your safety first. Mobility aids can be important, but you should also think about a personal emergency response system and learning how to use smartphones so that you can stay in touch with friends and family members. This can help you remain independent, but also keep you safe should something happen.

This article is written by a freelance writer

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

Feeling Lost? Ease the burden by Handling your Divorce and your Mental Health: by Brooke Chaplan

(image: online)

Events in 2020 put a great deal of pressure on relationships and many marriages didn’t survive. If yours is folding or has already collapsed, do your best to treat yourself and your former spouse as fairly as possible. Focus on the safety and security of all, and make sure to give children the most caring and logical structure possible.

Prioritise Safety First

If either adult in the relationship is abusive in any form, including physically, financially, sexually, or emotionally, the first step must be to get them out of the house. Even if they continue to choose that behaviour, getting them out of the space where your children live will reduce the risk of further damage. Additionally, counselling for all parties should be sought.

The abuser may resist therapy. Talk to a family law specialist about supervised visits if they refuse to seek counselling.

If you can create an abuse-free space as a couple, you have a chance of handling your divorce as fairly as possible. Divorces can be emotionally draining for everyone involved, so it is important to control the situation in order to prevent potential problems in the future.

Be Smart About the Money

Too often, angry people set out to financially sabotage their ex. Ultimately this serves nobody, especially if you have dependent children in the household. To get to a better place in your mind and heart about this, you and your spouse may need to sit down and put together a budget for two households.

If you can’t make the numbers work on paper, you may need to make a different choice. For example, perhaps you could move into separate rooms and continue to maintain one household for a time. This isn’t ideal, but it can make it possible to avoid conflict while you make financial adjustments. It can also prevent the spread of your family’s environmental impact. Of course, you should not agree to any ideas that you are not comfortable with. Reaching an agreement that you are satisfied with will help make it easier to move on emotionally.

Stay Friendly

It’s hard not to resent your spouse as you work through the divorce process. This unfriendliness can force your loved ones to take sides. If you need to vent with a friend or talk to a therapist, do so. Having someone to talk to during your divorce can help you avoid feeling overwhelmed. However, forcing family and friends to take sides in your battle will probably not be healthy for any of you in the long run.

Divorce can be the toughest decision you’ll ever make. However, it can also be one of the best choices for you and your children. Be smart and do your best to keep your and your children’s best interests in mind.

This blog was written by Brooke Chaplan, freelance writer and regular contributor

How can Mental Health Workers Cope with the ‘New Normal’

(image: Unsplash)

Mental health workers have continued to take care of their patients even in the midst of the recent Covid-19 quarantines and lockdowns. However, there is no doubt that the pandemic has made their job a little more difficult; longer working hours, the threat of infection and redeployments have all placed enormous pressure on working conditions. In addition, due to the nature of their work, many mental health staff are worried about infecting their family members.   

How has Covid-19 affected mental health care?

If you are a mental health worker, you may be worried about how the pandemic will affect the way in which your patients can continue to receive high-quality care. For example, staffing levels may be reduced due to Covid-19 restrictions, sickness or self-isolation requirements. Meanwhile, community support is being cut back, which only makes failed discharges more likely.  

There may also be a fear that you or your patients may unintentionally transmit Covid-19 to other people despite taking every health precaution possible.      

What would you do if a patient exhibited signs of the disease?

Often, mental health patients are unable to understand their condition. Moreover, many healthcare facilities are not even providing the most basic protection (PPE) to staff.   

How can managers and supervisors promote their staff’s well-being?

  • By providing accurate and timely updates
  • By rotating staff so they alternate between very stressful and less stressful duties
  • By buddying-up new recruits with experienced staff 
  • By making sure that every team member takes regular breaks

Coping mechanisms

As a key worker, maintaining your emotional well-being is of paramount importance. According to this article, people working in the mental healthcare sector are often anxious about:

  • The safety of their patients
  • The possibility of infecting others or getting infected themselves
  • The financial impact of the pandemic

One survey has revealed that many nurses are suffering both mentally and physically. 

Stress is an everyday aspect of the job, even without the current Covid-19 crisis. The important thing is to effectively manage your stress as well as your psychosocial and physical status. 

Despite the heavy workload, stress and isolation from your family and loved ones, you need to remain resilient during the ‘new normal’. Days off are essential in order to recharge your batteries, so you should never feel guilty about taking them. Also, make sure you take your assigned work breaks. 

Furthermore, there are various coping techniques that can help. For example:

  • Always stay hydrated
  • Eat healthily
  • Make sure you get enough sleep
  • Maintain social contact, even if it is virtual 

It is also a good idea to stick to tried-and-tested coping strategies, including:

  • Deep breathing
  • Relaxation techniques
  • Regular exercise
  • Being mindful
  • Talking to someone (a family member, co-worker or friend) 

However, it is important that you try to avoid these unhealthy coping practices:

  • Drinking
  • Taking recreational drugs
  • Smoking

Turn off social media

Social media can be a valuable tool for obtaining and sharing information. When it comes to your mental health, it is also a useful outlet for letting off steam. 

However, the negativity that often permeates social networks can also heighten your anxiety so you need to make sure you:

  • Mute any words or phrases that can trigger negative emotions
  • Unfollow or ‘snooze’ offending hashtags, users or groups
  • Set boundaries with regard to the time you spend on social media 

Rumours or speculation can often trigger anxiety. However, accessing accurate and up-to-date information about the virus is the best way of counteracting this problem.   

Conclusion

Although mental health nurses may not be considered to be frontline workers, they still face the same risks. In addition, the Covid-19 pandemic has made their job even more difficult due to staff shortages and the reduction in community support. There have also been issues with the supply of PPE. Bearing all these issues in mind, it is essential that staff take care of their physical and mental well-being. There are various coping strategies that can help, including getting enough food and sleep, maintaining regular social contact and exercising as often as possible.   

This article was written by a freelance writer.

Start up Founders 50% more likely to suffer from a Mental Health Condition by Daniel Tannenbaum

(image: John schnobrich- Unsplash)

A recent article in Forbes highlights that entrepreneurs and startup founders are 50% more likely to have a mental health condition than an average employee or member of the public. 

Running a startup is very stressful and there is a lot on the line, including your name, reputation and finances. The article highlighted that being an entrepreneur can lead to ‘self-doubt, imposter syndrome, loneliness and burnout.’

In a survey conducted, it showed that only 25% of startup CEOs have some kind of executive coach or therapist to help them overcome their daily anxieties and stresses – suggesting more support is needed to help those entrepreneurs manage the stress of running a high-risk venture.

Mental wellbeing is an important factor for any startup founder, Forbes continues. The levels of stress and anxiety can shape one’s creativity, productivity and ingenuity. Taking care and managing your stress will preserve your talent and innovation and help you to become the best leader possible.”

Daniel Tannenbaum, co-founder of startup news site TechRound and a partner at short term lender Pheabs, explains:

“Startup founders and entrepreneurs are often taking on a huge risk financially, with hopes that they can raise enough money, grow a large company or exit for huge sums.”

“In the short-term, this means taking a financial pay cut, working significantly more hours with the hope that their proposition becomes established and successful.”

“But the process can be incredibly stressful. For example, a lot of startups do not really make money until they exit or are bought out, so regardless of how many hours you work in the first few weeks, months or years, your financial position does not necessarily change. Bear in mind, that you might be missing crucial time with your family, loved ones or you are not fully present in the room because you ‘cannot switch off.’”

“Running a startup is a huge financial risk and there is always going to be someone better funded and getting more PR. So don’t sweat, just do it for enjoyment.”

“Meanwhile, it can be soul destroying to see other competitors in your space or people you know getting massive PR, large funding rounds or sales – and you can really start to doubt yourself and feel like you’ve hit a wall. It becomes a horrendous spiral of jealousy, anxiety and doubt, whilst you have been underpaid and overworked for too long.”

“More than 50% of startups fail, yet it doesn’t stop people creating them, and new businesses being created daily.”

“But I think before you get into a startup, it is important to manage your expectations and understand your vision.” explains Tannenbaum

“You might need to look at this like, ‘I am going to work hard for 3 to 4 years and then reassess if it does not work out.’”

“And also, you just have to do it for enjoyment,” he concludes. “After all, running a startup means that you are calling the shots, not having a boss and being able to hire who you want. So if you can enjoy the everyday part of running a business and a startup, that’s great, and if you happen to make a lot of money, well even better!” 

Daniel Tannenbaum is the co founder of start up news site Techround