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.

How To Support Elderly Parents Living Independently.

(image: Pexels)

As you grow older, you may start to notice the role of parent and child starts to change. In the past, the parent provided the care and support to the child, but as the years pass, these roles can become reversed. If you are currently in this situation, you may be wondering how best you can support your elderly parents and help them to get the most out of life in their senior years.

Striking the right balance between being on-hand to help without interfering is challenging and can take some getting used to. It is perfectly natural to feel unsure about the best way to approach this new situation. Reaching a point where you feel comfortable you are providing your parents with the right level of assistance while respecting their wishes can take time to achieve. Here are some of the ways you can give extra support to your parents while they are living independently:

Keep Communicating

Keeping in regular contact with your parents is essential to ensure that you understand their needs and their wishes. If you are concerned about their health, communicating with them regularly will make it easier for you to spot any deterioration and give your parents the opportunity to discuss any aspects of their health that worry them. Making sure that you listen as well as talk is vital to ensure your parents feel their needs and wishes have been understood and are respected.

It is so essential to maintain your relationship with your parents. When they are more dependent on you, it is easy to fall into the trap of only talking about their care and no longer having any fun. So keeping that parent-child relationship alive by talking about everyday topics and taking them out and about is crucial.

Address Any Health Concerns

Finding the right level of support for your parent’s health issues can be challenging. Knowing whether or not they are able to continue living independently or whether they need to receive a greater level of care can be hard to determine. If your parents are adamant that they want to stay living independently within their own home, you may be concerned that they won’t get the best care. Choosing a specialist at-home care provider can help to alleviate these concerns and ensure they are getting the level of assistance that they need. Dementia home care is one specialist care service available that could help keep your ageing parents in their own home while receiving the appropriate level of support.

Make Life at Home Easier

Providing your parents with practical support is an excellent way to support them living independently. Carrying out everyday tasks on their behalf such as cleaning and getting their shopping can make life far easier for them. Making sure that your parent’s home is free from trip hazards and is clean and tidy will help to protect their health and wellbeing and provide you with the peace of mind that they are safe in their home.

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

Stress and Panic Attacks Part Two- My Mental Health.

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

Hi friends,

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

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

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

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

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

Thanks for reading, I send love to anyone struggling

Eleanor

x

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.

The Flowers that bloom in Adversity: by Eleanor

mulan1

(image: Roxi Roxas Art)

I have wanted to write this post for several weeks, but so much has been going on personally and I have been really emotionally drained (and launching my new business too). Let start at the beginning.

At the end of May, my mother in law (who is carer for my father in law with terminal brain cancer) was taken very unwell. She was rushed to hospital with stroke like symptoms and put into an induced coma on a ventilator as her lungs were collapsing. We were super scared it was Covid as she was shielding anyway and it came completely out the blue, on the day of her 60th birthday after we had celebrated.

She is the main carer for my father in law and so my husband Rob had to move in to their house to care for his Dad and support his brother. (cue frantic phone calls to the doctors surgery, hospitals, Macmillan nurses and Jewish Care, all done by my incredible husband).

Thankfully, my MIL came off the ventilator to breathe unaided and she tested negative for Covid 19. We think she caught a severe bacterial infection and she then got pneumonia in her lungs. She was in hospital for 4 weeks and discharged 2 weeks ago and is making amazing progress with her physio team and her speech. She is still frail but she is recovering slowly.

This blog post I don’t want to make about my in laws because they are private people. Dealing with all these scary changes has been tough on my mental health (and everyones).

We are slowly slowly coming out the other side, although we know my FIL will worsen in time due to the nature of his illness.

So what flowers are blooming during this adversity?

-On Saturday will be our first wedding anniversary and we will spend it together. Its been a rollercoaster year but I am so thankful to have Rob by my side!

-I am loving my new Body Shop at Home business and my team and incredible managers. It really has been keeping me sane throughout this time of family lockdown and I can’t thank Sarah Cardwell enough for introducing me to the business. The products are so good for self care and healing too, which has been so needed and I have made lots of new friends. It keeps my mind stimulated and earns me income too- I am so grateful.

-Yesterday, Robs kind family member went over so we could spend some proper quality time together (thank you). We went for a walk in our favourite little village near by where there are cottages and flowers and village green and pond- I took lots of pictures of my dream cottages and gardens. Then, we got vanilla chocolate milkshakes (first time in a café post lockdown) and visited family. It was so special just to have US time, so rare in this current time for our family.

-This blog is continuing to grow and turning into a side business and for that I am ever grateful. I am also loving sharing peoples personal stories and hope it is a useful resource.

-Our guineapigs Midnight and Nutmeg are a source of joy and give great cuddles.

-Friends and familys kindness and messages help so much. I havnt had a therapy session in a while but will do.

I am feeling positive but there will be rough days ahead in the coming months. Today though, I am enjoying slightly more calm and peace again before the potential storm, and watching the flowers that are blooming in adversity.  

 

How to Protect Your Mental Health During the Pandemic: by Mary Davis

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These days of the coronavirus pandemic are filled with anxiety and fear unlike anything else we and the world has experienced since World War II. It’s important to stay in tune with yourself and remember it is okay to not feel totally well and to be feeling more anxious. 

Here are some ideas to help your mental health during the pandemic: 

 

Get moving

You’d be surprised what physical activity does for you, both in terms of physical health and mental health! In terms of mental health in particular, it can help decrease anxiety and improve moods. While gyms and studio classes are closed and it is easier than ever to get an effective exercise in with guided tech at home, now is a great time to become familiar with fitness apps. There are many different ones to choose from: you could try the 30 day fitness challenge app for example to get into a new routine and find the perfect guided workouts work for you! Whether its workouts, barre, or even taking the stairs more, try to move as much as you can. 


Try meditating, mindfulness or prayer

Finding stress management techniques that resonate with you is crucial as stress is an inevitable part of life. The ideal time to start up a mindfulness practice is when times are good so that you have established a practice in times of stress, but it can still be incredibly powerful if you are starting out now!

Just remember to be patient with yourself. There are a lot of practices out there, such as meditation, mindfulness, and prayer, so you have options. If you are unsure of where to start, start with daily deep breathing exercises. 


Avoid alcohol 

Avoid or at least monitor alcohol intake in times of high stress in order to protect your mental health. Alcohol is often used to ‘self-medicate’, but while it can release endorphins in your body, it is classified as a depressant. It significantly impacts your central nervous system, and in times of stress you want to be in tune with your body and paying extra care to your nervous system rather than confusing it. 


Seek a therapist and do appointments via Skype or Zoom

Seeking help is a sign of strength! If you need help or need professional support as you work through stress and/or anxiety, seek a therapist. Many therapists do appointments via Skype or Zoom and if you find one in your area, you can transition to in-person appointments when possible. 


Practise self care

Self care looks different for everyone, and finding what makes you feel good and content is so important. Try cooking, at-home facials, taking extra time on your skincare and giving yourself a face massage, baths with Epsom salts, and quality sleep. 

 

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(image: Samantha Carbon)

 

All of these things can contribute to healthy living and can help us get through the pandemic. They are also great habits to incorporate into your lifestyle to continue caring for your body and mind. 

This guest blog was written by freelance writer, Mary Davis.