Wellbeing Tips and Activities for Children: Twinkl Blog featuring Eleanor

(image: Twinkl)

I was approached by childrens learning website Twinkl to contribute some tips and ideas for the wellbeing of children this Autumn. I am delighted to be featured in Twinkl’s recent blog – Autumn Leaves: Wellbeing Tips & Activities for Children.

Check out some of their resources for wellbeing and resources for mental health too, including in partnership with Mind charity.

Thank you so much to all at Twinkl and I hope my tips are helpful. I used to work as a teaching assistant and was trained in safeguarding too, so hope you enjoy reading the blog!

Keeping things Stress Free when Elderly Family need to sell their Home.

(image: Unsplash)

A lot of elderly people decide to sell their homes. Usually, it is because they are either going to downsize or move into a retirement community. However, as we get older, it is not easy to do these tasks on our own, and a little bit of help is most certainly welcome, which will also help mental health. If you find one or both of your parents or a family member in this position, helping them navigate through it properly will make a huge difference, and that is what this blog post is all about. With that in mind, here are some things you can do to help them sell their home.

How to encourage a quick sale

If your loved one is moving into a nursing home for elderly, it is likely you will want to sell their existing home sooner rather than later. Heres one thing you can do…

  • Increase the asking price if too cheap – Your parents’ property could be failing to sell because it is too cheap. Do your research and see what comparable properties are being sold at. Never use the number 9 when pricing your home! Not only does £299,999 look unappealing but you will appear in viewer results on property portals. Why? You only fit in the category of £200,000 to £300,000. If you priced your home at £300,000 you would fit into the former category and £300,000 to £400,000.

Try to keep things as stress-free as possible

Moving home can be stressful at the best of times. However, this can be even more so the case if your parent does not want to leave their home but they have no choice but to do so because of their medical condition. This is why it is important to make sure that you make the whole process as stress-free as you are able to. When it comes to making all of the small decisions, don’t bother them with the details unless you think it is necessary. Aside from this, try to arrange viewings at convenient times to ensure your parent does not get flustered by the whole process. 

Five things you can do today to get your parents’ home sold

Instead of sitting there and feeling frustrated, do the following five things today…

  • Buy some new bedding – Freshen up their bedrooms with some new and modern bedding. This will instantly breathe some new life into the rooms. It is important that property viewers can imagine living in the home. Little changes like this can make all of the difference and help to encourage a sale.
  • Update your Twitter and Facebook pages – Drum up some fresh interest by updating your Twitter and Facebook pages. Ask your friends if they would share your status for you, so that you can get the ball rolling. With social media marketing, you have to update regularly if you want success.
  • Take new photographs of your home – Freshen up the photographs of your parents’ property. Add some seasonal elements to make it relevant and to create a welcoming atmosphere.
  • Call your estate agent – Ask him if there has been any interest in the home. Enquire about the general feedback so you can see where maybe you are going wrong. Don’t excuse your agent of not doing their job – you need to keep them onside, especially now!
  • Buy some new cushions – The impact of a set of new cushions can have on your living room is huge. You will instantly notice a difference, and, it won’t cost you much either.

So there you have it: some tips that can help you to help your parents or family sell their home! Good luck! We hope the advice provided above helps. 

This article was written by a freelance writer.

An Exclusive Card Collection by Bryony Gordon , Mental health campaigner, for Thortful.com (for World Mental Health Day)

(image: Thortful and Bryony Gordon)

  • thortful launches ‘Affirmations by Bryony Gordon’ to mark World Mental Health Day
  • 100% of profits will go to the Community Programme founded by Bryony; Mental Health Mates

Greetings card marketplace thortful.com has worked with journalist and broadcaster and Mental Health Mates founder Bryony Gordon to create a series of positive affirmation cards written by Bryony and beautifully brought to life by illustrator Frankie Rose.  The cards campaign is in support of Mental Health Mates and Better Health – Every Mind Matters.

World Mental Health Day took place on Sunday 10th October, and throughout the month, thortful will be supporting both Mental Health Mates and the Better Health – Every Mind Matters campaign. The campaign encourages people to look after their mental wellbeing by getting a free NHS-approved Mind Plan. When it comes to taking care of your mental health, having a plan is a brilliant first step. So, throughout the month of October thortful are encouraging people to take the NHS-approved Mind Plan quiz, for personalised ideas to improve mental health and wellbeing.

Mental Health Mates is a network of peer support groups run by people who experience their own mental health issues, meeting regularly to walk, connect and share without fear or judgement. With walks and online communities across the United Kingdom, Mental Health Mates is a thriving community and one that is committed to growing to reach even more people in need of mental health support.

The affirmation cards collection is available exclusively at thortful. The cards include a QR code on the back, to scan to find out more about the partnership and tips to improve mental wellbeing.

Bryony comments: ‘Physical cards are so important, I used to receive them from my friend Fearne (Cotton) during lockdown, when she would write to me just for the hell of it, and it meant so much when it dropped onto the mat, even though we are in constant contact on WhatsApp! It’s easy to forget the stuff that is good for us and harder to retain it. I think affirmations are brilliant and important reminders of the things that make us feel good about ourselves. Reading an affirmation can really help us put positive behaviours into action.’

Clare Perkins, Deputy Director Personalised Prevention, Office for Health Improvement and Disparities (OHID formerly Public Health England) comments: ‘We are pleased to be continuing our partnership with thortful to support people with tips and advice to improve their wellbeing this World Mental Health Day and beyond. There are little steps we can all take to look after our mental health, and getting a free, NHS-approved Mind Plan is a great way to start. It’s important to find out what works for you and that’s why the Every Mind Matters website has lots of resources to try.’

Andy Pearce CEO of thortful comments: ‘We’re delighted to be able to host this collection for Bryony and her amazing community programme. Since our inception in 2016 thortful has always supported Mental Health causes so we’re delighted to be involved. We are also incredibly proud to continue our support of the Better Health – Every Mind Matters campaign by encouraging our community to get a Mind Plan.’

You can have a look at the cards here: https://www.thortful.com/cards/bryonygordon

This article was written on behalf of thortful.com and Bryony Gordon.

8 Steps to help with Aging, Better Health and Wellbeing.

Getting older doesn’t mean that you will have many medical conditions or poor quality of life. However, it is very important to know what is expected when you get old and what is not. Growing old entails some changes in all aspects of life, from the mental, physical to social, sexual, emotional, and more.

Some of these changes can be regarded as constructive, while others are damaging. The vital thing to do is make the most of the good part of aging while also taking preventative measures to maintain good health and lessen the negative impacts.

(image: Pexels)

Fixing Your Personal Wear and Tear in Life

Wear and tear in life can be defined as the damage that occurs naturally and unavoidably due to normal aging. In simple words, the human body wears out because of use, and once they wear, they can no longer function as they did.

Besides, many people go through their lives without sufficiently restoring themselves, which can eventually lead to weariness during an extreme period of stress or even work. So, it doesn’t matter who or how old you are; fixing your personal stresses in life is one excellent way to make yourself feel great again. The following are some of the things you can do to achieve that.

Use the right skincare products

There are some key ingredients that you must consider when shopping for skincare products. Ensure that the product you buy has vitamin C, which can help brighten your skin, retinoid that increase cell turnover and stimulate collagen production, and an exfoliating element to remove the dead skin cells.

On the other hand, you can get rid of eczema, acne, or eye bags, by using CBD oil from places such as Simply CBD. This will make you look younger as this oil has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties to help you fix the wear and tear (lines and signs of aging) in your skin.

Get enough sleep

Getting a sufficient amount of sleep is crucial for good health. According to recent research, sleep disturbances can lead to an accumulation of a toxic protein called amyloid in the brain, especially in people at risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.

In addition, other studies have shown that poor or inadequate sleep can put an individual at a higher risk of developing illnesses like diabetes, high blood pressure, depression, cancer, obesity, and even premature death.

Therefore, you should aim at getting about seven hours of sleep. This is because when you sleep, your body gets the chance to release hormones that promote cell renewal and turnover. Use the sleeping time to your advantage by using good skincare products that will help your renew and revitalise your skin.

On the other hand, you can practice good sleep hygiene to better your sleep. Consider upgrading your mattresses, pillowcase and ensure that the bedroom is cool and quiet. Having a good quality pillowcase will ensure that your skin is not affected or irritated by the constant turning and tossing.

Dental care and repair

When thinking about aging, many people think of wrinkles or droopy eyelids. But, some might have yellowed teeth, sunken faces, and droopy eyelids. Usually, these problems can actually make you look older than you are.

Therefore, dental care and repair can help you improve your smile and radiance. Cosmetic procedures from a dentist are some of the proven and most worthwhile treatments you can get to repair your teeth. Remember that it takes into account your particular dental needs and repair goals for you to come out with a sense of beauty and pride in your expressiveness. So, regardless of how well you take care of your teeth, you might need some maintenance from time to time.

Massage and deep spa treatment

People are constantly talking about the health benefits of spa treatment and massage therapy in relation to various illnesses.  But did you know that massage can significantly reduce the effect of aging? Massage therapy is one of the ways to increase your general wellness, making you feel much younger.

Besides, going to a spa at the end of your workday can be an excellent way to unburden your stress and release all the tension you have on your shoulders. Other than that, massage therapy can increase your quality of sleep and improve blood circulation.

Drink plenty of water

Drinking enough water is excellent for your skin health. Besides, water is considered an excellent moisturiser that can reduce the appearance of wrinkles, helping you look younger and slimmer.

Failure to drink enough water can make your skin swollen and can lead to ballooning. Also, you can develop skin problems like dry skin, eczema, spots, wrinkles, and psoriasis. In addition, the first sign of dehydration is usually visible on the skin. Water is also known to eliminate toxins and waste products from the body leading to healthy life quality. It also helps get rid of headaches and leads to a happy life.

All of these things can help boost your wellbeing and mental health, and as you age, this is more important than ever,

Eat a well-balanced diet

As the saying goes, beauty comes from the inside, and just depending on skin creams and pricy potions for glowing skin is not enough. You can eat yourself to youthful and healthy skin. And since aging increases your risk of developing chronic conditions and heart illnesses, it is essential to consume a diet rich in fruits and vegetables.

Nutritional experts have recommended focusing on vegetables, fruits, and foods low in salt and sugar. Besides, there are certain types of food that you can eat to reduce the effects of aging. For instance, you can consume green tea rich in antioxidants that can protect your skin from harmful free radicals. Also, you can consume tomatoes, watermelon, bone broth, fatty fish, and dark chocolate. Also, ensure that you consume meals low in saturated fats, red meat, and sugar.

Stay socially and physically active

Staying connected to your friends and family can help delay the cognitive decline that comes with old age. Also, according to various reports, having pets can have many benefits as it helps seniors maintain social connections and improve their mental health.

On the other hand, it is crucial to stay physically active. Staying active can help you maintain a healthy weight and make you look younger. And according to many pieces of research, working out, especially high-intensity interval training, can slow down cellular aging by almost ten years.

The benefits don’t stop there; exercise can also increase blood flow to your brain and move critical nutrients throughout your body, resulting in a more youthful look. Besides, a regular workout is beneficial for maintaining strength and muscle mass which can add many years to your lifespan.

Reduce caffeine intake

Everyone loves coffee; in fact, older adults are shown to drink more coffee than any other age group. And while drinking coffee can positively affect your health, energy, and moods, consuming too much of it can have some adverse effects. Too much coffee can lead to poor sleep quality and dehydration.

According to Mayo Clinic, people who consume too much coffee experience restlessness, headaches, heart palpitations, and anxiety. Also, too much caffeine overstimulates the nervous system and leads to jitters, upset tummy, and sleep issues in older adults.

Also, too much caffeine can wreak havoc on your skin health, dehydrating your body and rob it of its vital nutrients. And unfortunately, some of these effects of caffeine are irreversible.

The Bottom Line

There are not enough substitutes when it comes to fixing your personal wear and tear, as your body will eventually show how you treat it. So try as much as possible to stay active, maintain a healthy work-life balance, drink plenty of water, get enough sleep, limit the amount of caffeine you take, and, more importantly, eat a well-balanced diet.

This article was written by a freelance writer.

5 New Interior Design Ideas to Boost Wellbeing

(image: Pexels)

The Novelty Cave Design

The novelty cave design is a unique idea that will make your home more exciting and memorable. It’s not easy to find something like this because you have to create it, but the results are excellent. Decluttering to create the space can also increase feelings of wellbeing.

The novelty cave design creates an underground space that you can use as a bedroom, bathroom, or just any function you want. Naturally, therefore, it’d be necessary to declutter areas you wish to redesign ahead of time. Consider moving boxes or anything you deem clutter to a storage – learn more about reliable movers near you.

The main thing here is to create the illusion of being in a natural cave, and it’s not that hard at all. It can help to have a space where you feel cosy.

Sauna Style Design

When moving houses, you may experience overwhelming feelings but moving in a house with a sauna style design will instantly improve your mood with its timeless and functional beauty. It’s not only about being cosy but also getting many health benefits while enjoying some time with your family and friends.

You can also include some cosy elements in the bathroom – your home will become more beautiful than ever if you take care of the minor details. You want your home to feel calm.

Pod Styles for Specific Rooms 

With their drawers, shelves, and cabinets for storage or display, pod-style furniture pieces are a great addition to any room. They take up less space than traditional shelving units but still provide many options for displaying favourite items.

Pod styles work well in bathrooms, where they serve as both countertops and extra storage areas. If you’re looking to transform your master suite, consider a pod-style countertop to replace the standard vanity. It will add storage and create an elegant focal point. It can also help to promote feelings of calm in the space.

Twilight Lighting Design

It’s no secret that a well-lit room is essential for any interior design. However, what if you’re trying to create more of an atmospheric experience? If so, then twilight lighting might be the perfect fit. Twilight lighting works by adjusting your lights in such a way as to cast shadows across the floor and walls – resulting in an ethereal feeling room. This can boost wellbeing if it helps you to relax and switch off too.

Minimalistic Designs

If you like more natural-looking designs, then this might be the style for you. This design is great because no matter what kind of decor your living space features, it will look good with a minimalistic design. The most common thing that people do when they use a minimalist approach to interior design is use light colours such as grey and white throughout the space. This can feel more relaxing.

This is a great design idea for people trying to sell their homes because the neutral colour palette makes your house more attractive and appealing. The best way to make sure this style works well in your living room would be using a fireplace as an accent piece or adding one large focal point in the room.

Conclusion

Interior design possibilities are endless, and it is up to you how far you want to go with the designs to make them interactive, attractive, and timeless. Make sure you create a home with lots of space and light, so it feels calm and promotes feelings of wellness and cosiness.

This article was written by a freelance writer

How to Look After Yourself When You Care for a Loved One.

(image: Pixabay)

If you are a carer for a loved one, or perhaps have a carer as someone with a long-term illness or chronic health condition, you will know that while it can be enjoyable and rewarding, it can be tough. Being able to take care of the needs of someone else, as well as yourself, can be a juggle, and often feel overwhelming. If you need some help and advice when it comes to caring for a loved one, then read on. As the old saying goes, you can’t fill from an empty cup, so looking after yourself is important as well.

Make each day different

It can be tough, but if you are caring for a loved one who isn’t very mobile and getting out of the house can be hard, then getting out and about can be the last thing on your mind for the day. However, having a change of scenery and keeping as active as possible is important for the mind in terms of dementia, as well as for their mental health. It can be a good thing for you as a carer too, as fresh air can make such a difference to how you feel too.

Think about routines

It can be easy to let the person you care for slip into your routine. This can be especially true if you don’t live in and just pop in each day at certain times. However, it is a good idea to think about the routine that is going to work best for those that you are caring for. It should help them to feel comfortable and at ease. This could look like not interrupting them when you know their favourite show is on TV or waiting to serve their meal at a better time, not just one that is more convenient for you. There needs to be a degree of flexibility with this, of course, but having a rethink of what you currently do is important.

Get the support that you need

Talking of routine and seeing what fits in with you as well as what fits in with others is important. However, there will be times when some things just won’t work; you can’t put everything that you need to do on hold. This is where getting help comes in. It may be that you just need another family member to step in for one day or perhaps you need to seek out the support of a carer support services team. It might be that you need physical help one day if you have an injury and lifting someone could make it worse. Look to create a circle of people around you that you can call on when needed and who you can trust and confide in.

Although the person you are caring for will come first most of the time, much like a relationship with a parent and child, you do still need to care for yourself. Putting plans in place that will make things easier for you, and give you any downtime that you need, is important.

This article was written by a freelance writer

What I am Loving this Autumn- The Midnight Library Book Review (Matt Haig) by Eleanor

(image: Charlotte Greaves/Twitter and Book by Matt Haig)

Today here in England has felt chilly, windy and cooler than the heatwave of a few months back. Its only the 1st September but there is that back to work. and school feeling, but also a feeling of cosiness.

I love this time of year. I never used to, with it getting darker earlier, but now I love the cosiness of Autumn- reading a good book, watching a good movie and snuggling under blankets with hot chocolate.

I normally use this to give updates on my mental health and write about how I am getting on. The truth is, I have been anxious at times and dealing with panic from time to time, so I have restarted therapy. However, so much of life is appreciating the good things so heres what I am loving..

You all know i love to read! I found this book online- I loved Matt Haigs book Reasons to Stay Alive, where he discusses his own depression. Its a book that has complete honesty and I found the same for his novel The Midnight Library.

The Midnight Library- a novel by Matt Haig

(image: Box Tree Gift/ Publisher)

I had been a bit late to read this (it came out last year) but the book touched me so much! Its about Nora Seed, whose life unravels to the point where she begins to feel suicidal and wants to end her life. I won’t ruin the book but she ends up in a spiritual/ fictional library with her trusted school librarian Mrs Elm and she is able to try on parallel lives- What if she had married someone? Had children? had a different career? become famous? What if she had said or something different- what if her life choices led her to different events or people?

We follow Nora on her journey of self discovery and as she navigates her own life, mental health issues, and overcoming her challenges. She is guided by Mrs Elm and the whirring library of lives she finds herself in- which includes the ‘Book of Regrets.’

This book speaks to me on so many levels. My favourite quote is this,

‘The paradox of volcanoes is that they were symbols of destruction but also life. ..She wasn’t a black hole, she decided. She was a volcano. And like a volcano, she couldn’t run away from herself…she’d have to stay there and tend to that wasteland. She could plant a forest inside herself.‘- Matt Haig

Matt Haigs writing is so beautiful- and I think this book will be turned into a movie. I recommend it if you are feeling well (as it does talk about suicidal ideation, which could be triggering). Its a wonderful book and completely unique.

The library metaphor and parallel universe theory pervade throughout. Although I am useless at Physics, its an interesting theory that there could be parallel lives or universes.

I recommend this to those who wish to be inspired- its just a really exceptional piece of writing and it will touch many hearts.

Note: This is not a paid ad for the Midnight Library- I just read it and loved it so much!

What you need to know about Post Partum Depression (PPD) by Kara Reynolds

(image: Lisa at Pexels)

Postpartum depression (PPD) is a severe medical condition that many mothers experience. It’s a condition that occurs to a mother after she gives birth to a newborn. You might be feeling hopeless as you try to be a mother — maybe your birthing process didn’t go as planned, or perhaps you’re having trouble breastfeeding. 

The symptoms of PPD can last a long time. They’re severe as well, and if left untreated, you could develop something more serious that may pose a danger to you or your child. It’s essential to learn about postpartum depression to know if this is happening to you or even your loved one. 

Know that if you have PPD, it is not your fault. It’s a medical condition that requires treatment if you want to get better. Here’s what you need to know about PPD so you can keep yourself, your loved one and the baby healthy and safe. 

Defining Postpartum Depression

Postpartum depression is a medical condition associated with extreme feelings of worry, sadness, tiredness and hopelessness that women experience after giving birth. These feelings can last a long time, making it hard for new moms to take care of themselves and the baby. 

This condition can occur any time after childbirth. Even though it usually starts within a few weeks after having a baby, it can begin later, too, even up to a year after birth. It often doesn’t go away on its own and needs professional treatment to get better. 

Although it is common for people to feel sad or empty, it’s not common for it to last as long as it does with PPD. It’s also not an expected part of becoming a mother. PPD affects your behaviour and physical health and gets in the way of day-to-day life.

It’s Not the Same as Baby Blues

More women experience baby blues after childbirth, but this is not the same as postpartum depression. Baby blues have similar symptoms of PPD, but those feelings don’t last nearly as long and usually go away naturally after a few days or a week. PPD symptoms last much longer and the emotions are more intense.

Baby blues are more like mood swings. New mothers have to grapple with being a mum for the first time and everything that goes with it. Of course, they’re going to feel anxious, stressed and upset at times. The sudden hormonal changes can do a lot to a woman’s mind and body, but the hormones eventually level out and women can handle the feelings independently. 

It’s Fairly Common

You are not alone if you suffer from postpartum depression. In fact, about one in eight women will experience PPD in their lifetime. Postpartum depression estimates can vary by state, age and race, and can be as high as one in five women in some parts of the world. 

Additionally, PPD is often higher for first-time mothers. However, it can happen to mothers who have had many kids, and it can reoccur in each pregnancy. Rates may be even higher than estimates because not all women will report or seek help if they think they have postpartum depression. PPD is more common in women who have had a history of depression, too.

It Can Affect Your Child

Postpartum depression can make it more difficult for you to care for yourself and also your baby. If your PPD goes on without treatment: 

  • You might end up skipping your postpartum checkups for you and your baby, which can lead to other health and developmental problems.
  • It may be more challenging to bond with your child, which can affect breastfeeding.
  • Your newborn may not get the medical attention they need.

Getting the proper treatment and recognising that you or a loved one may be suffering from PPD can better the chances of the new baby thriving. 

It Comes with Many Signs and Symptoms

Mothers will often feel overwhelmed when they bring their new babies home. There are regular hormonal changes that occur, and being a mother poses a new lifestyle all in itself. However, there are signs and symptoms that may be leading to PPD. If these occur for more than two weeks, then you need to seek medical attention: 

  • Feeling hopeless, sad and overwhelmed
  • Crying more than normal
  • Having thoughts of harming yourself or your baby
  • Feeling like a bad mother or worthless
  • Changing sleep patterns
  • Withdrawing from friends, family and life in general
  • Not having any interest in your newborn
  • Eating too little or too much
  • Having physical pains, like headaches and stomach aches, that won’t go away

New mothers or even mums who have had other children may feel ashamed or embarrassed if they feel depressed (although its OK to feel this way) and may not seek the help they need. You don’t have to suffer, though — reach out to a doctor if you or someone you know experiences these symptoms.

It Can Be Prevented

While PPD is treatable, it can also be somewhat prevented. If you have had depression in the past, you can get counselling before giving birth to discuss your feelings about having a child. 

Two kinds of counselling can work best to prevent PPD for women at an increased risk. The first is cognitive-behavioural therapy, which helps you manage negative thoughts by changing your thoughts and actions. The second is interpersonal therapy, which helps you identify and deal with problems in your life. 

It’s Treatable

There is hope for those who have PPD. The earlier you seek medical help, though, the better off you and your baby will be. Common types of treatment for postpartum depression include therapy, medicines prescribed by your doctor and, in severe cases, electroconvulsive therapy. 

At home, you should rest as much as possible. Additionally, talk to your partner, join a support group and make time to visit with other people.

Take It One Day at a Time

With time and support, you can make it through this season of Post partum depression. You are not alone.

This article was written by writer Kara Reynolds, editor in chief at Momish.

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



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

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

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

  • Funeral
  • Retirement
  • Uncertain Times

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

Plan for the Inevitable

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

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

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

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

Make Sure You Can Put Your Feet Up

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

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

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

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

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

Nobody Knows the Future

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

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

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

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

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

This article was written by a freelance writer.

Digital Detox Ideas for Mental Wellbeing.

(image: Unsplash)

It’s no surprise that our mental health is affected by the culture around us and our technology-based lifestyles. Every day we are bombarded with stimuli and information that influences our mental and emotional states and alters our opinions and worldviews. This is happening all the time, every day.

Today, we spend so much time online that it has become second nature, and we are losing important social skills and mental abilities that were once considered essential for a healthy lifestyle. It’s important to remember the impact technology has on us and adapt our lifestyles to include more nourishing practices. You can do this with a digital detox, read on to discover more. 

Spend time offline 

Depression comes in many forms and is very common. You can be mildly depressed due to a situation eg something that happened in work, or clinically depressed meaning you have a low mood that doesn’t seem to go away and only medication seems to help. Any state of depression can be exacerbated by using the Internet. 

Those who overuse the Internet are prone to depression, researchers have found. This may be due to the lifestyle of heavy Internet usage that limits social contact and encourages a stay at home mentality, but it could also be caused by mental feedback loops when feeling of depression and low mood are reinforced through Internet behaviour. 

Naturally, there are several solutions to the issue. If you experience low mood coupled with high Internet usage, consider switching off for a period or limiting your usage in the week. Instead of Internet usage, try a different activity such as talking to friends and family or taking a nature walk. 

Limit SmartPhone Usage 

Smartphones are a wonderful invention, as are mobile phones for seniors; they are portable computers and communication tools, essentially. But there are some underlying issues associated with them, especially with regards to mental well being. It’s thought, for instance, that high smartphone usage can increase anxiety and feelings of unease and restlessness. It’s no wonder with so much of our lives dependent on them. 

Smartphones can increase anxiety due to our attachments to using them. We not only store important everyday information on them; we also communicate through them, socially and for work. In some ways, our smartphones have become our gateway to the world, and it’s difficult to put them down sometimes or go a few minutes without checking them for updates. 

Although it’s challenging a successful digital detox will involve a reduction of smartphone usage. You can limit your usage by making certain rules for yourself. The phone is not allowed in the bedroom, for instance, or you are only allowed a certain percentage of screen time per day. Train yourself to use the smartphone less and create discipline by opening up other avenues of communication.  

Log Off Social Media

The Internet is useful for many things, but no one knows what it’s main purpose is; that said if it’s meant for anything, it’s meant for communication. Social media is an online phenomenon that has emerged or evolved throughout the age of the Internet, from chat rooms in the early days, to MySpace and then Facebook and others. There are now 2.7 billion Facebook users worldwide. 

Although this platform is an excellent way to communicate with friends and relatives globally, to start businesses, sell things, and market services, there are some hidden dangers that can lead to anxiety and depression in people, some of whom are unable to escape from their online habits. 

Everyone on Facebook presents the best possible image of themselves, which leads to feelings of inadequacy and low self-esteem when some people start comparing and contrasting. The reality is that many people experience issues in their lives, and no one is as perfect as how they like to be perceived. Logging off social media for a time can greatly benefit your mental wellbeing. 

Social Media Dangers 

The dangers of social media extend beyond low self-esteem based on comparisons. Facebook and Instagram may be the catalyst for such conditions, but the conditions can then manifest in various ways and cause long term mental and physical health issues. Disorders such as anorexia and addiction can worsen from heavy usage.

A phenomenon that affects mainly women is an increase in body awareness and adaptive behaviour based on the effects of social media. Since so much of social media feeds are occupied with perfect images, some women feel pressured into conforming and changing their body shape to achieve positive attention. This encourages eating disorders like anorexia or body dysmorphia. 

This all points to a reduction in social media usage for improved mental wellbeing. It should also highlight the consequences of comparing ourselves to others. You can limit your social media usage by deleting your apps for a period, perhaps a week or a month. It doesn’t mean you have to leave the website, but train yourself to develop healthier online habits. 

Improve your Sleep

Researchers have found that the average person requires eight hours of sleep per night to go through their full sleep cycles. What’s more, your sleep should happen through the night due to your circadian rhythms – these help keep the chemicals in your brain properly balanced so that you regulate and maintain optimal mental wellbeing. 

Technology can influence and disturb your sleep patterns and cause insomnia in extreme cases. Harford researchers discovered that the blue light from laptops phones and devices was sufficient to reduce the levels of melatonin in your system. Melatonin is the chemical responsible for putting you to sleep. So using your screen every night in bed might cause you to fall asleep later and feel more drained in the morning. 

A digital detox is recommended if you find your sleep pattern is disturbed for some unknown reason.

Make your bedroom and technology-free zone. Leave all your devices elsewhere in the house and take a book to bed instead. Reading a book does not have a digital glow and should help you fall asleep faster. You might also delay your technology usage in the morning shortly after waking. 

Above all, look after your mental wellbeing and detox when you need to.

This article was written by a freelance writer