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 whatever mental health condition you struggle with, which help you to look after your body and mind.

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.

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!

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  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/

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.

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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

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

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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

The Book of Hope is Out Now!

I have written here before but I am so excited to say that the Book of Hope, which features my essay ‘Of Hope and Sunflowers’ and put together by my friends Jonny Benjamin MBE and Britt Pfluger is out now!

Happy Publication Day!


It is such an honour to be in a book with so many incredible people in their own fields talking about overcoming their own adversity and mental health issues.

As I write, the book is currently 16th in the bestsellers chart for all books on Amazon.

Hugely thankful to Jonny and Britt for including me in such a great project.

You can get your copy here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1509846379/ref=cm_sw_em_r_mt_dp_3VAKJ0JC6HV05ZYMNHW2

Being Kind to Myself: Social Anxiety, Mental Health and Life in Recovery.

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I really wanted to write today because the sun is shining, apple blossom is on the trees and Spring is finally here! I always feel more hopeful and happy once Spring is here but living with bipolar disorder and an anxiety disorder can mean that some days are harder than others.

This week, I have really struggled with low mood and social anxiety. I’m an optimistic person and sometimes I pack too much into my days and end up having a panic attack because I can’t cope. This is what happened to me yesterday when I decided it would be a great idea to pack in too much, including going across London and delivering many Body Shop orders to my customers and friends. My social anxiety was so high (I think largely due to being in lockdown) , I just wanted to hide and I ended up sleeping to escape my feelings and feeling super low. I am lucky that I understand what to do when this happens and I have a husband and family who support me too. I am still in therapy for my panic disorder and it has improved a lot but there are times when it gets triggered like this week.

I have also found that I am worrying more about what people think of me- if I have said the right or wrong thing or upset anyone. Its so silly but due to past rejection I get scared and those fears bubble to the surface.

On Friday, I had a really productive therapy session. There are a lot of worries about the future that I still hold and being able to unpack them in therapy is really useful for me. I am doing EMDR trauma therapy but a lot of it is talking out and facing those triggers one by one. I have a very good relationship with my therapist and having a session often calms my mind.

In positive news, last week I became an aunt to a beautiful baby girl, Cara Harriet who is the sweetest little baby. She is a joy and light in all our lives and I feel so lucky to have a little niece! My sister and brother in law are amazing 🙂

And in other good news, in April, my essay in the Book of Hope by Jonny Benjamin MBE and Britt Pfluger will be published alongside many others I look up to (Dame Kelly Holmes and my friend Hope Virgo). So there are good things as well as bad!

I am doing a lot better- I dont rapid cycle, I havn’t had an episode of mania or hypomania since 2014. My brain seems to like Lithium and Quetaipine (a mood stabiliser and anti psychotic). I have to learn to be kind to myself and practise self care, because my social anxiety is a fear response from the past.

Being kind to myself is of utmost importance. Heres a list of what I do when I am having a bad day: take a nap, have a bubble bath, read a book, hug the guineapigs and Rob, talk to Rob, a friend or family member, put on a face mask, cry, breathe and listen to calming music, watch a good TV show (I have been watching First Dates Teens), book in a therapy session, eat something nice, put some make up on, wash my hair, wear an uplifting perfume.

How are you kind to yourself on your bad days?

Love,

Eleanor x

Book Review : ‘Smart Girls Handbook: How to Silence Self Doubt’ by Scarlett V Clark of Smart Girl Tribe

Disclaimer: I got sent a free copy of the book to review but did not receive payment for this review.

I was so excited to receive my copy of this book! I have been following Scarlett Clark’s work for a year or more- she is an incredible woman! She set up a global hub for women on issues that matter, Smart Girl Tribe at the age of only 19! Scarlett is a true trailblazer and entrepreneur, who is all about womens empowerment. Smart Girl Tribe is now the UK’s number one empowerment organisation and as well as being an accomplished motivational speaker, activist and writer, Scarlett can now add author to the list!

On International Womens Day, earlier this month, Scarlett released The Smart Girls Handbook: How to Silence Self Doubt, Find your Purpose and Redefine the Impossible’ with Trigger Publishing (who also published my book!). I often have self doubt and it can be hard to find life purpose too for so many of us, especially if you struggle in life.

(image: Scarlett Clark/ Trigger Publishing)

Using her own story alongside the most popular questions that Scarlett is asked at the many events she runs in schools and colleges, The Smart Girl’s Handbook  aims to help you:

• Discover your talent and find your passion.
• Learn how to deal with fear of failure.
• Cope with anxiety and start speaking your truth.
• Build a strong group of true friends and slay the naysayers.
• Be confident and love yourself.

Each chapter follows the themes above and uses examples from Scarlett’s own life to explore the central idea. Included are tools, tips and exercises to work through, as well as interviews with other ‘Smart Girls’. This is a handbook for any girl who wants to push boundaries and go for what they want.

Scarlett tackles each issue head on, giving examples from her life journey and providing incredible motivational tips. I loved learning more about her, her life story and why she set up Smart Girl Tribe by herself at such a young age. Her fearless attitude and strength of character really stood out to me but also how she empowers other women to be and do the same.

Having lived with anxiety since the age of 15, I have had many years of holding back through fear but I have also achieved a lot too. I will go back to this book for advice again and again! It is an empowering book that will help women of any age, and especially teens and young women to reach for their dreams.

Each chapter has the Smart Girl Tribe promise headings and includes exercises to help you on your way too:

1) I promise to discover my talent and find my passion
2) I promise to learn how to deal with the fear of failure
3) I promise to learn to cope with anxiety and start speaking my truth
4) I promise to slay the mean girls and build a strong tribe of true friends
5) I promise to be confident and love myself unconditionally
6) I promise to be a total #boss
7) I promise to embrace self-care and take a well-needed pause
8) I promise to stand up and help change the world

Thanks Scarlett for being you and publishing this wonderful book too!

If you;d like to read your copy you can here



About Scarlett Clark:
At 19, female entrepreneur Scarlett V Clark set up a global hub for young women. Smart Girl Tribe quickly became the UK’s number one female empowerment organization. Since then she has worked with the UN, the British Council, HeforShe, Women for Women, and spoken at the Houses of Parliament. Now in her mid 20’s, Scarlett is an ambassador for the NSPCC and 50:50 which lobbies parliament and the political parties to be more inclusive of women. With a Masters degree in journalism, Scarlett has written for major publications including Cosmopolitan and Harper’s Bazaar. She is an avid traveller, competitive skier and multi linguist.

How Can You Better your Mental Health?

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

Try To Relieve Whatever Stress You’re Holding

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

Hypnosis Might Be Worth A Try

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

Try Taking Up A New Hobby

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

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

This article was written by a freelance writer.