5 Lessons Football Has Taught Me About Life And Mental Health by Rose Atkinson-Carter

(image: Unsplash: Konstantin Ekdokimov)

It’s true what they say: the best lessons are taught outside the classroom. We’re all constantly learning and growing in the most unexpected ways and dedicating yourself to any sport or hobby is bound to teach you more than you imagined, if you’re open to it.

I’ve played football for almost 20 years and learned a thing or two about dedication and persistence, which have affected my approach towards my mental health. Sure, there have been times when I’ve felt like the cons have outweighed the pros — training in a blizzard is never fun — but when all is said and done, football has helped me weather my own personal storms.

Along the way, I’ve picked up a few practical life skills and lessons that extend beyond the football pitch, to that big game called Life.

1.   A healthy routine can get you through tough times

The first lesson football taught me is to consistently show up for myself, especially on the days when I don’t feel like it. Growing up, building habits was never something I gave much thought to. Football practice was just second nature.

My football “habit” has been essential in getting me through times of low motivation and stress. Motivation is not a flat line — it’s something that fluctuates. There will be days when motivation alone will not be enough to get us to lace up and buckle down, and taking a mental health day is never something to be ashamed of. However, playing a team sport, or at least having a schedule to follow, is a great way to help yourself along on days when you need an external motivation to keep going.

2.   Prioritising ‘hobbies’ can create balance

When work piles up, it’s easy to stop prioritising your own wellbeing and to lose sight of what’s important in the grand scheme of things. Playing football has forced me to consider my priorities and this has, in turn, helped me create balance.

Sometimes, playing a sport when you’re busy with other things adds pressure. It’s tempting to cut out the ‘non-essentials’ — the hobbies and things that don’t seem to contribute to your career or relationships. However, I’ve found that prioritizing football has had a net positive effect on my life. It feels counterintuitive, but letting your mind take a break allows you to clear your mind, reduce stress, and work and feel better.

3.   You don’t always have to get along to produce great results

You don’t need to get along with everybody to get results. But if there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that you don’t all need to be BFFs to win a game.

Teamwork isn’t about creating a group of like-minded individuals who see eye-to-eye on everything. It’s about identifying everyone’s individual strengths and using that aggregated power to pull in the same direction. So while you don’t have to love everyone’s company, the team — the people you surround yourself with — is incredibly important in shaping your experiences.

4.   When you feel like quitting, ask yourself why

Wanting to quit something is quite natural, especially the longer you’ve spent doing something. When the urge to quit strikes, it’s good to explore where that feeling is coming from. For me, playing with strangers at university was incredibly stressful, but I eventually had to acknowledge that the problem wasn’t football, but social anxiety.

One thing that has helped me find answers has been to first recognise the feeling, and then try to drill down and understand where exactly it’s coming from. Asking myself ‘what is it that I think will happen if I don’t quit?’ helps me identify the elements of activities I dread or have negative feelings about (e.g. “I will have to keep seeing stressful person X every day”), which then means I can make conscious decisions without rushing into quitting.

5.   Quitting doesn’t make you a quitter

Then there are the times when you try a few more times, and the feeling of wanting to quit still remains. While football taught me a lot about perseverance, I’ve also had a hard time knowing when quitting might actually be the best thing for me.

A common misconception is that quitting is the easiest option, or that quitting “makes” you a quitter. But think about it this way: leaving something behind involves making an active decision to change. The trouble is, if you don’t know what you’re trading it in for, it’s much easier to just keep going with the status quo.

Quitting something after careful consideration can actually be the best way to continue to show up for yourself. Ultimately, there’s a huge difference between giving up on yourself and giving up something that no longer brings you joy and comfort.

Football, to me, has always been more than just fancy footwork. From showing me how to get up after a few tackles to accepting defeats and working hard towards my goals, it has been one of my most influential teachers. As the final whistle blows, I hope some of the lessons it has taught me can be useful to you as well.

Rose Atkinson-Carter is a writer with Reedsy, a marketplace that connects authors hoping to get published with the world’s best book editors, designers, and marketers. She loves to advise authors on topics like book formatting and literary copyright — and to play football, of course!

6 Ways Living By The Waterfront Can Improve Your Mental And Physical Health By Rachelle Wilber

If you want a change in life, moving to a waterfront community may offer you a great new perspective. Buying a home that’s next to the ocean can have many advantages and improve your physical and mental health in different ways. 

Stress Reduction 

Waterfront living can reduce your stress and help you feel better physically and mentally more of the time. When you’re feeling stressed, the calming maritime scenery and the sounds of ocean waves crashing onto the shore can put you into a better mood almost instantly. The reduction in stress can also be good for your blood pressure and heart health and soothe your body and soul. 

Possibly Less Air Pollution 

You might be exposed to less air pollution if you live next to the ocean. Studies show that air pollution is often higher in valleys because of topography and temperature factors. With less air pollution, you’ll be able to breathe easier and inhale more of the clean oxygen that your mind needs to function at its best. 

Less Crowding Than in Big Cities 

Waterfront communities are often less crowded than big cities. Living in an overcrowded community can expose you more to communicable illnesses that are passed from other people. You may also feel more stressed and combative if you have to contend with large numbers of people in your daily life, and you may avoid these problems by buying a waterfront home instead. 

Chance to Connect More with Nature 

Being around nature offers you one of the best ways to minimise your problems and view life from a broader perspective. When you look out onto the ocean each day from your home, you’ll have the chance to connect with nature more and think about what’s most important in life. As you search for your new home, you can choose from many waterfront homes for sale that can put you in better touch with nature. 

Encourages More Physical Activity 

You may be inspired to get out and exercise more if you live by the ocean, which can help improve your physical fitness and keep your stress levels in check. People often like to jog and ride their bikes next to the sea, and seeing these passersby near your home can encourage you to join in on the activities. You may also be inspired to take up boating if you see boats on the water frequently. 

Cooler in the Summer 

Even though you’ll still likely get plenty of sunshine and warm temperatures if you live by the ocean, you probably won’t have to deal with the heat spikes that you would if you lived farther inland. Excessive heat can cause breathing problems and lead to other serious health conditions. The hotter temperatures can also make you feel more irritable, and living next to the ocean can help you keep your cool with the sea breeze. . With all the different waterfront homes that are on the market, you should have no trouble finding the house that’s the most suitable for you. 

Remember to think of what is best for your mental and physical health, as well as needing to be near your support networks.

Rachelle Wilber is a freelance writer based in San Diego, California.

Drowning In Debt: 4 Ways to Help You And Your Mental Health.

(image: Pixabay/Pexels)

Debt can quickly become overwhelming. What may have started as a single personal loan a few months ago, can quickly turn into multiple loans, credit card bills and rent/bills arrears. Eventually, you may reach a point when you’ve exhausted all borrowing options. At this point, it may seem like there’s no escape, however there is always a way out of debt – it may just be a case of seeking out professional debt help.

Additionally this can take a toll on your mental health- stress due to debt can cause insomnia, anxiety, depression and a host of ailments too. You may despair or wake up scared to carry on. You may fear the debt letters or emails and phone calls. The uncertainty is difficult for anyone.

There are four common ways to get out of heavy debt. You can learn more about these below.  

DMP

A DMP (debt management plan) is an agreement to continue paying off your debts, but at a reduced rate. If you cannot keep up with the current monthly debt repayments, a DMP could help lower these to make them more affordable. While you can negotiate debt payments with creditors yourself, choosing a DMP allows professionals to do the negotiating for you. 

DMPs do not cover priority debts (e.g. mortgage, council tax debt etc.) and are informal agreements that lenders can go back on at any time. They can also have a serious negative impact on your credit score. The benefit of these forms of debt relief is that almost anyone who is struggling with debt can apply for them and you will not be added to an insolvency register.

DRO

DRO stands for debt relief order. This is a legally binding order in which all of your debts are temporarily halted for a length of time (usually about a year). This period of time is known as a ‘moratorium period’ and is a chance to improve your financial circumstances. If after the moratorium period, you have tried to improve financial circumstances but not been successful, your debts will be written off. 

To apply for a DRO you must have debts no more than £30,000 and a disposable income of less than £75 per month. It is recommended for those that have assets less than £2000. Lenders must abide by a DRO, unlike a DMP. A DRO also applies to priority debts. Just be wary that you will be added to an insolvency register.

IVA

An individual voluntary agreement (IVA) is another option. It is similar to a DMP in that you continue to pay back your debts but at a reduced rate. Unlike a DMP, it is legally binding. IVAs typically last 5 to 6 years, after which any outstanding debt may be wiped.

IVAs are available to anyone with unsecured debts over £7000. Unlike a DRO, they are recommended for those with assets over £2000. Like a DRO, you will be added to an insolvency register. You can check out this site for more IVA advice

Bankruptcy

Bankruptcy is sometimes seen as the most extreme option and has a certain stigma around it, but there are times when it can be the best option. The bankruptcy period lasts 12 months – during this period, any non-essential assets you own and excess income you earn are used to pay off your debts. At the end of this period, you are discharged and any remaining debts are written off.

Bankruptcy is only an option for those with debts over £5000. You will be added to an insolvency register and you may find that you are not able to borrow any money for a certain period after. The advantage of bankruptcy is that all your debts are wiped after a year, making it quicker than IVA.

Whichever option you choose make sure you look after your mental health and wellbeing and get support from loved ones and those around you. This may include visiting your GP if you need too.

This article was written by a freelance writer and edited by Eleanor Segall.

Need to Relax? 5 Unbeatable Ways To Unwind by Dixie Somers.

(image: adobe stock royalty free)

Sometimes life can be overwhelming. Whether it’s an extra project at work, adjusting to a new schedule or city, or trying to start a new exercise routine, your body can become overly stressed. Fortunately, there are many ways to relax yourself, and while some work better than others, there is no shortage of ways to take care of yourself. Here are five unbeatable ways to unwind and get rid of that extra stress. 

Make a List of Today’s Triumphs 

While making a list may seem like the complete opposite of what you’re used to when it comes to unwinding, it’s more therapeutic than you think. Some people even take solace in checking off to-do lists, as it makes them feel accomplished. Taking the time to write down all the things that went right today is a great way to put your mind at ease. Many times, we end up focusing on all the things that went wrong and forget about all the things that went right. 

Having an attitude of gratitude goes a long way for your mental wellbeing. By being grateful for all that you have and all that you’ve done, you cultivate peace in yourself, as well as self-gratitude. These emotions are the exact opposite of tension and uncertainty, and can help rewire your anxieties into something more positive and soothing. 

Consider Colouring 

This suggestion may garner some confusion at first, colouring is in fact a great way to help distract the mind and promote calmness. It allows your creativity to flourish, which recharges the brain. Whether it’s using an adult colouring book or just creating your own style with some coloured pencils, colouring can be a great way to unwind and recharge.  

Even if you’re not the artistic type yourself, there are plenty of ways to enjoy colouring and being creative. There are a plethora of sources online or in craft stores for unwinding by colouring. If you are more artistic, consider taking a painting class, or finding a paint-by-numbers booklet at a hobby store. Whatever your skill level, colouring can be a quiet, peaceful way to relax and enjoy some colour therapy. 

Soak in a Hot Tub 

Hot water has always been a fantastic way to help soothe the body and ease pain. Consider talking to a certified hot tub company if you would like a bigger, more luxurious way to enjoy a hot soak than in your bathtub. 

 Determine the best hot tub to meet your needs, whether it’s indoor or outdoor, and be sure you have enough room for either. Some great features of hot tubs include an audio system, jets, low lighting, cooling systems, and so forth.  

Go for a Walk 

Walks tend to be underrated when it comes to de-stressing. However, they are one of the best and most affordable ways to do so. Simply putting your body in motion and taking in the scenery can do wonders for clearing your mind and making your body feel good. Consider taking walks in different locations to help improve their effect on your mental health. 

If you live somewhere with walking trails, use them. They can take you to places near your home that you never noticed before. Walks in local parks and even shopping districts can be therapeutic as well. Taking the time to slow down and enjoy nature is a must for anyone in life, and is an unbeatable way to relax when you’re under a significant amount of stress. 

Turn on Your Favourite Tunes 

Music is another timeless way to help let the overactive mind escape into a state of soothing calmness. Consider turning on some music and relaxing on the couch. Or, if your schedule is too busy to take time to sit down, consider flipping on your favorite music while you’re working on something. This will help to distract your mind and allow it to unwind. 

The type of music you turn on makes a huge difference in your mood. Easy-listening music, such as instrumentals or classical music, can help to calm your mind and ease into yours. If you’d rather listen to something other than music, there are plenty of apps, online channels, and audio files for ASMR–listen to ocean waves, chirping crickets, or birdsong to keep you at ease. Maybe you want to learn something as you unwind–tuning into an insightful audiobook or a guided meditation can both be amazing ways to keep your mind tuned-in while you’re relaxing.  

When your life gets stressful, having a multitude of ways to unwind and soothe your brain and body is a must. The above are viable methods that you can add to your arsenal to ensure that you can always handle any bouts of stress that life throws at you. Try mixing up your routine every now and then so things feel fresh, relaxing, and keep helping you push on.  

This article was written by freelance writer Dixie Somers, based in the USA.

Tips for Identifying and Overcoming Seasonal Mood Changes by Brian Thomas.

(image: free image)

Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that some people experience with the changing of seasons. Usually, it is associated with the transition from fall into winter, but it can also happen during the summer. Either way, there is a noticeable pattern with signs of SAD due to many external factors. Here are some ways you can identify SAD and work to overcome some of the symptoms. 

Spend Time Outdoors 

SAD is thought to be caused by fewer hours of sunlight due to the shift of the planet’s position going into the autumn and winter months. It is also believed to be linked to the production of melatonin, a hormone that we produce when it is dark outside. Not getting enough sunlight can affect your mental and physical health. Therefore, it is important to remember to get outdoors and soak up the sunshine even during the colder months. 

Snow activities, such as snowshoeing, skiing, and sledding are all fun ways to spend time outside in the cold, if you’re in a country where you have snow. Weather permitting, a walk around the neighbourhood is a more manageable daily outdoor activity that you can do with a furry friend or family member.

Not only will you be able to maximise your vitamin D intake, but you will also be able to spend quality time with your walking partner. If you’re finding it difficult to leave the house to get your vitamin D, consider taking a supplement or buying a sun lamp. 

(image: free image)

Increase Exercise 

Exercise can help boost energy levels by producing endorphins, giving you that “runner’s high” feeling and keeping your SAD symptoms at bay. Some of the outdoor activities listed above are also great methods of exercise, but if you can’t get outdoors to get active, have no fear. There are many at-home workout videos on the internet that you can follow along with. Whether it’s yoga, Pilates, or HIIT, find what works for you and get into a routine. 

If getting outside of the house is high on your priority list this time of the year, we hear you. Try taking a tour of a local fitness center or gym that you’ve never been to. You may find that you enjoy being around other people who are as motivated to move as you are. Not every “New Year’s Resolution” has to start on January 1st, you can set goals on your own time.

Seek Professional Advice 

If you feel like you’re experiencing more than just a case of the blues, consider talking to your doctor or therapist about next steps. Medication may not be right for everyone, so it is important to consult with your healthcare professional about what is best for you. These conversations are not always easy to have, but keep in mind that your mental and physical health always come first. 

If addressing your mental health seems intimidating or you don’t have a therapist, consider an online teletherapy service. Over the past few years, virtual appointments have grown in popularity because of their practicality. Many people feel more comfortable in their homes than in an office,which is important for a productive session. 

Get Creative 

Writing and journalling are two ways to get your thoughts onto a page and out of your head. This tip is especially important to consider if you feel like you’re stuck in a creative rut. You can draw, write fiction, or find prompts to follow online.

Gratitude journalling is a great way to reflect on what you are thankful for in your life and is especially relevant with Thanksgiving coming up. This holiday season, consider sending a Thanksgiving card to the people in your life that make you feel grateful. It will make them feel appreciated and you are sure to feel good about it too. 

You can even try a meditation colouring book. In the past, it may have seemed like an activity meant for a younger group. But now, it is gaining popularity because it can be calming and a great way to focus your mind for a while. When you’re finished, you’ll have a piece of art that you created and can hang up wherever you’d like. 

During these cooler and busier fall and winter months, it is important to make time for yourself and your mental health. SAD is not something to be ignored or swept under the rug. If you are looking to read more about mental health, check out our other blog posts! 

Disclaimer: This article is intended for educational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. Consult a medical professional if you are seeking medical care or treatment. 

Brian Thomas is a contributor to Enlightened Digital. He enjoys reading and researching tech and business. When he’s not looking into the latest trends, you can find him out cycling.

5 Valuable Tips for Communicating With a Parent/ Person with Dementia

(image: Unsplash)

Due to various factors, including the ageing population, dementia is on the rise. In the future, it could touch the lives of half the population, becoming one of the most common degenerative diseases. 

When a parent gets dementia, it can sometimes be disorientating and upsetting. All of a sudden, their behaviour changes and it’s not clear what’s going on. They just don’t seem like themselves and they can’t take on board what you say. 

Adjusting to this new reality can be challenging, but this article is here to help. In it, we run through some tips for communicating with a person who has dementia so that you can keep your relationship with them strong. 

Give Them Your Full Attention

Communicating with a person who has dementia becomes challenging when you don’t give them your full attention. Misunderstandings are common, so trying to watch TV or do the dishes at the same time as talking to them is a bad idea. 

Instead, address your parents directly in quiet surroundings. Make sure that there is nothing else going on at the same time, including screaming kids and so on. When approaching your parents, use non-verbal cues, such as touching them on the shoulder to indicate that you want to talk to them. 

State Your Words Clearly

Language can be fuzzy sometimes. But when our brains are healthy, most of us can get by. 

However, that’s not the case when your parents are receiving dementia care. It is considerably more challenging for them to understand what is going on and their surroundings. 

Therefore, always state your words clearly. Avoid raising your voice, as your parents may mistake this for aggression unless they are also hard of hearing. 

When you speak, use the same wording. Prepare yourself to repeat what you need to say several times.

Ask Simple Questions

If you do ask questions, keep them simple. Ideally, you want questions that your parents can answer “yes” or “no” to. Refrain from asking open-ended questions, such as “what type of food do you prefer?”

Break Down Activities Into Smaller Chunks

Telling a patient with dementia that they need to go shopping or get ready for the day is generally a bad idea. That’s because these tasks involve multiple smaller steps that they need to go through. To a healthy person, this all seems simple. But for a patient with dementia, it is considerably more challenging. 

For this reason, try breaking down tasks into a series of smaller steps. Instead of telling your parents to get ready, ask them to put on each item of clothing one at a time. 

Distract And Redirect

Sometimes people living with dementia can become frustrated and angry. Many do not understand what is going on. 

Because of this, it’s a good idea to distract and redirect. These psychological techniques make it easier for you to manage difficult interactions. Focus on the feelings they have and offer support, but then if that doesn’t work, offer immediate redirection, such as suggesting getting something to eat or going for a walk. 

It can be really challenging when a parent or family member has dementia- it can affect both mental and physical health. You may find yourself feeling exhausted, stressed and frustrated too- as well as sad that the person you love is being affected so much. Your loved one may also feel like this at the beginning and struggle with any loss of memory or function. Make sure they get the correct support and you look after yourself too- by practising self care and speaking to a therapist if need be.

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

Taking Lithium for Bipolar Disorder: Side Effects by Eleanor

Pre Lithium in 2010 (skinny minny)

Post Lithium (on my wedding day in 2019)

I first heard about Lithium carbonate, a natural salt and the ‘gold standard’ medicine for bipolar disorder, when I was in my teen years. My dad was taking it to help his bipolar episodes- Lithium is known to stabilise mood and stop mania and depression from occurring or lessening their impact. I knew then that it was quite a strong drug, that you would need blood tests and that it caused weight gain. But it really helped my dad with his illness.

Fast forward to 2004, I was just 16 and had been diagnosed with bipolar in hospital. My brain was still growing and both I and my psychiatrist were reluctant to try Lithium at that stage, so I was started on Carbamazepine, another mood stabiliser. It was only when this medicine stopped working about 10 years later in 2014, when I was struggling with suicidal depression and anxiety (which then turned into a manic episode that I was hospitalised for), that I seriously considered taking Lithium to help me, like it helped my dad.

Lithium was first found to have benefits for patients with bipolar disorder in the 1950s, with a discovery by psychiatrist John Cade. Even today, we still don’t know what causes the disorder, but it is believed that Lithium stabilises mood – particularly mania. The psychiatrist.com notes this,

The real breakthrough in lithium therapy came in 1952, when Erik Stömgren, a Danish psychiatrist and head of the Aarhus University psychiatric clinic in Risskov who had read Cade’s article, suggested to a staff psychiatrist at the hospital, Mogens Schou, that he undertake a randomly controlled study of lithium for mania. Random controls were just being introduced to psychiatric drug trials at that time, and Schou randomly assigned patients to lithium or placebo by the flip of a coin. His results were published in a British journal with the article concluding, “The lithium therapy appears to offer a useful alternative to [electr[electroconvulsive therapy] since many patients can be kept in a normal state by administration of a maintenance dose.”

For me personally, Lithium treatment has changed my life in a number of ways- both good and not so good. Lets start with the good, I havn’t had an episode of mania and psychosis or suicidal severe depression in 8 years, which is largely down to medication helping my bipolar brain chemistry. It has worked for me- which is amazing- and I never thought I would find an effective treatment to help me. I have bipolar 1, the most severe type and although Dad has the same and was helped, I never thought it would lead me to remission. In fact, in 2014 when I was under the home treatment team after hospital, one of the nurses asked me to consider whether Lithium might not work for me and I might have to live with episodes… needless to say I cried as was very fragile and asked her to leave! She was wrong, thankfully.

On to the bad things: Lithium in combination with an antipsychotic Quetaipine has caused me to put on a lot of weight, as it slows metabolism. I also have to have 3 monthly blood tests to check my lithium level is within the correct range as too much is toxic to the body. Thankfully, I drink enough water and eat enough salt so I have never had a toxic reading but its a very careful balance..I have to always look after myself. Another bad side effect is skin sensitivity and acne- Lithium causes spots- so I have had to adapt my skincare regime and diet accordingly. Sometimes certain foods plus Lithium can trigger this too. Again, I have to pay more attention to my physical health as a result of taking Lithium and Quetaipine

The weight gain in particular has been a worry for me and is something I am working on., especially as diabetes runs in my family. Then there is the Lithium thirst…

Lithium as mentioned is a salt, and as it metabolises in the body, makes you incredibly thirsty. You have to be careful not to get dehydrated. Hence my love affair with Robinsons squash and the occasional ice cold fruit juice. No matter how much I drink, I can never fully quench my thirst, even if well hydrated. Lithium thirst is not the easiest… but Robinsons is my friend as its lower in calories and more delicious than plain water! And now I am thirsty again… haha

So I have a love-hate affair with Lithium. Brilliant for my mental health, not so great for my physical health at times. There is also a concern because over time Lithium can cause kidney and thyroid issues, which is why I have blood tests too. So its not perfect, but it really helps me to live my life and have stable mental health. Over time, its important i am monitored. I have been on it 8 years, but it could start causing problems at some point.

Additionally, when I please G-d get pregnant one day, my lithium levels will need to be monitored (but thats a blog for another time).

I don’t have nausea or trembling on Lithium which is good, but the other side effects (particularly weight) have not been so pleasant. I am so grateful though to have a medicine that keeps me well and out of hospital, able to live a life that some others take for granted.

Thanks to all who voted for this blog. If theres anything else you’d like to know, just ask a question and I will respond.

Eleanor x

Our Blog is 6 Years Old Today!

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

Self care ideas for positive change in 2021

How to cope with top 4 challenging life events

The Book of Hope launchme

Sending self care packages- a guide to sending gifts

Feel less trapped with these powerful ideas

6 Tips to stay positive and help mental health

Moving to our First Home and mental health- me

How to reach for help and not be ashamed

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

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

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

The benefits of seeking mental health support and help

The link between debt and mental health

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

How can mental health workers cope with the new normal?

Easing the burden of divorce- Brooke Chaplan

Stress and Panic Attacks Part two- Me

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

How selfie changed my life and mental health- Kathryn Chapman

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

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

6 Ways Fathers can Assist New Mothers- Jess Levine

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

Is stress affecting your skin? heres how to tell

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

Why privacy is critical for our mental health

Goal setting for mental health

Moving house? 5 tips to deal with moving stress

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

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

The Midnight Library book review- me

5 interior design ideas to boost wellbeing

Steps to help aging and wellbeing

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

Bryony Gordons mental health card collection for Thortful.com

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

Being self compassionate when I have anxiety- me

Keeping things stress free when selling an elderly family members home

7 Bipolar disorder facts everyone should know- Ronnie Deno

Recovering from an eating disorder- Kara Masterson

Wellbeing tips and activities for children- collaboration with Twinkl resources

Building trust in a relationship

How sleep patterns affect your mental health

Choosing life and freedom- my therapy journey- me

Dealing with imposter syndrome

Confidence on return to the office

lifestyles and mental health- Anna Witcherley at Head Hacks

Stress and mild anxiety formula- Nu mind wellness

Mental health problems in the pandemic- Webdoctor.ie

Patient transport helps anxious travellers- EMA Patient transport

How to stop signs of traumatic brain injury- Lizzie Weakley

Looking after mental health in a tense office environment

Dealing with anxiety as a mom/mum- Kara Reynolds

5 Self help books for 2022

Winter mental health and anxiety update- me

Tips to fight addiction- Lizzie Weakley

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

Helping elderly people to live independently

Getting your loved one help for their addiction- Emma Sturgis

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

Battling co occurring mental health and substance addiction- Holly

Festive season- me

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

The difference between a therapist and life coach- Lizzie Weakley

Managing mental health over christmas/ festive time- me

Reflecting on a new year 2022- me

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

Window to the womb launches avocado app for perinatal wellbeing

Where to start when battling addiction- Rachelle Wilber

Mental health new year resolutions

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

Depression meals when life gets hard- Kara Reynolds

Jami see mental health campaign blog

Recovering from cancer- the mental health aspect- Rachelle Wilber

Outdoor activities to improve your mental health- Elizabeth Howard

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

Fitness and mental health

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

Self love for Valentines Day- with Kalms (ad)

Being debt free and in good mental health for 2022

Mental health medication- fighting the stigma- me

Overcoming alcohol addiction- Rachelle Wilber

Spiritual tips for helping mental health

Risk factors for post partum depression

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

Love,

Eleanor x

Fitness and Mental Health: A Career to Help You Glow

Photo by kike vega on Unsplash

Breaking into the fitness industry might seem like a bit of a challenge, especially if you are switching careers. But if you know that nothing is exciting as lacing up your sports shoes and getting started, then here are a few tips for you to break into fitness as a career. It can help your mental health as well as your physical health!

Education

Even if you are an avid runner, you shouldn’t be giving others running tips beyond anecdotal stuff. This is because the body is a finely tuned machine, and a step out of place while running at full speed, even if it works for you, can cause damage to others.  Equally, things like nutrition should be handled by a professional. 

So one of the most important things that you can do alongside enjoying your fitness is to make sure that you have the education and training to do the best job possible. Thankfully there are plenty of options for online courses, and you can even take a test now to kickstart your career. 

Options

You have hundreds of options within the fitness umbrella. As you invest in education and put that education into improving your own fitness routines, you can explore multiple options. 

You can talk to other fitness professionals about how they got to the point that they are at; most often, they’re so passionate that they’ll be happy to talk to you about it. 

One of the things that are an overriding subject in the professional fitness community is that they want to do the best for their clients.

Passion

If you have only been running, jogging or taking part in yoga for a short time; you might still be riding high on that new hobby energy. Once that new hobby energy starts to wane you might not find it as enjoyable as you did? 

However, if you have been doing it for years, and the passion is still there, then the chances are that you should be going into a fitness career and enjoying a natural feel-good glow.

Within fitness, you’ll find things like writers, fitness instructors, teachers, coaching, sports and fitness photography, gym owners, personal trainers and more. 

You’ll need to decide which one you’re passionate about drives you towards and which one you can picture yourself doing for the long haul.

Experience

Once you have your certification, it’s time to get some experience; you might find it a little bit difficult to get paying clients immediately. 

This is where your friends and family can help you out; ask them if they can be your guinea pigs for a short while and see if you can help them meet their fitness goals.

Once you have some experience, you can use that feedback to improve or add social proof to your website.

And of course, one of the most incredible things about helping people with their fitness journey is that you might become part of their recovery and support.

Looking after their mental health, as well as their physical health is so important and it is proven that fitness has a huge positive effect on mental wellbeing too.

This article was written by a freelance writer.

Looking After The Home and Wellbeing of a Loved One As They Grow Older.

(Image: Karolina Grabowska: Pexels)

If you have elderly parents, family members, or those that you care about, you want to make sure that they are living in a home that is able to support their needs and to make sure that they are safe, secure, and comfortable. If your loved one is living alone, they may not be as likely or able to keep up with all of the home maintenance tasks necessary and may have some needs that they haven’t fully considered that their home could help them meet. Here, we’re going to look at a few ways you might be able to help with just that and increase their wellbeing.

Securing the household

While neither you nor your loved one should be in a panic about potential threats out there without any reason to be, considering the security of your loved one is worth the time. If they live alone, then they are somewhat more vulnerable than most people, so you may want to look at ways to secure the home, whether it’s investing in strong new doors and windows with tamper-proof locks, or in things like more external lighting to make the area around the home more visible and thus deter those who might think to lurk around the home. This will also improve their mental health- knowing they are secure and cared for will help their general wellbeing.

Inspecting the heating and looking after wellbeing

If there’s one season we should be careful to make sure that we’re equipped for: it’s winter. A particularly cold winter can be a health hazard, and older people can be some of those most affected by them. As such, before winter rolls in, you should make sure that you arrange for a servicing and inspection of the heating appliances in your loved one’s home. If there are any problems found, you might be able to cut some costs such as by sourcing a replacement part here yourself, but you should rely on a professional to make sure they’re taken care of in the safest way possible. Make sure that your loved one doesn’t have any problems with insulation and check for any air leaks so you can keep the home comfortable and toasty in the winter.

Make sure you visit your loved one regularly and check in with them, a chat and a smile will really help them feel settled and improve wellbeing too. Check ins to their overall health are so important, both mentally and physically.

Check the wet areas so they feel safe and comfortable

The “wet areas” such as the bathroom and kitchen are some of the most important areas to inspect on a somewhat regular basis. For one, you should check for any signs of leaks that could be fixed with the help of a plumber. But you should also keep an eye out for things like spreading mould and damp, which could affect your loved one’s health over time. In many cases, mould can simply be cleaned away from the area, but if it has spread too far, you might need a mould remediation team to come out and replace the affected surface areas.

It is important that your loved one doesn’t slip in their home due to water and that you regularly check that their home is safe and comfortable for them so they feel secure.

Making the home more accessible to help any anxieties around safety

A lot of people begin to face mobility issues as they reach old age, and disability becomes much more common. For that reason, you might want to look at some tips for making the home more accessible. You can talk to your loved about any specific issues they might have, such as answering the door, going up and down the stairs, or using the bathroom safely and comfortably. There are many changes that can be made to a home to mitigate the risk of injuries such as slips, trips, and falls, and to help your loved one live independently for longer, feeling comfortable going about all the usual daily tasks in the home.

In many cases, setting up alarm systems in the home can help too. For instance, a pulley that alerts someone if they have trouble accessing the bathroom can be a great idea. This functions similarly to the best nurse call systems, allowing someone with the most authority attend to the issue appropriately.

This will also calm any anxiety they have about these things and give them peace of mind. Their mental health is equally as important.

Considering whether they should remain at home

You can do all of the checks necessary to make sure that your loved one is getting along well in their own home. However, if the home is no longer fit to keep them safe and comfortable, or they are unable to make the adaptations necessary to suit it to their needs, then you may need to think about other options. There are a lot of assisted living facilities that can make sure that their individual needs are seen with the care of attentive professionals. If your loved one is no longer able to live independently and to see to both their own and their home’s needs, then you need to think about ways to have those needs better fulfilled for them.

Talk to your loved one about how they are getting on in their own home. Ask about how cold it gets, any leaks or issues they’ve noticed, or simply any issues they have using the home. Help them live in the comfort and security they deserve to improve their wellbeing and see if they have any mental or physical health issues which are preventing this too.

This article was written by a freelance writer.