I am absolutely delighted to announce that we have been listed for the 4th year running (!) in the Vuelio Top 10 UK Mental Health Blog list! This means so much to me as Vuelio rank influential blogs by data and this year we are in 6th place amongst some truly amazing blogs, including my friend Cara Lisette’s!
Thank you so much to Vuelio for the support as always. I hope I can continue to blog and produce content that tackles the stigma around mental health and bipolar disorder in particular. My aim is to share others stories and to help others feel less alone.
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 launch– me
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.
Valentine’s Day is here and it’s time to show a little extra love to the special people in our lives. But what about the most important person of all? Yourself! Whether you’re single or taken, it’s important to pamper yourself with the same kind of love and kindness that you’d shower on anyone else. Here the expert’s at Kalms, share six simple ways to practice self-love on Valentine’s Day and beyond.
Practicing self-love isn’t always easy. With so much else going on in the world, me-time is usually last on the to-do list. Worse, we can sometimes feel guilty about taking the time required to take care of ourselves. But no matter how indulgent or fancy the term may sound, prioritising self-love has some serious benefits for our mental and physical health.
In addition to boosting self-esteem and lowering your stress levels significantly, self-love has other physical health benefits including increased levels of dopamine, oxytocin, and serotonin aka the ‘happy hormones’, better cardiovascular health and a strengthened immune system.
So do yourself a favour, take a deep breath, give yourself a little hug and follow Kalms, the traditional herbal remedy specialists, top six simple ways to practice self-love this Valentine’s Day (and every day):
Do something you love. Engaging in activities you enjoy elevates your mood and boosts energy. So, schedule time regularly to do something just for yourself—whether it’s journaling, meditation, painting, listening to music or simply giving yourself an at-home spa treatment.
Pay attention to your thoughts. It is very important that we remember to be kind to ourselves. Whenever you notice yourself saying something unkind to yourself, simply switch to a gentler tone and try to evaluate things rationally to contain your inner critic. Speak to yourself as you would to a loved one. Self-love is about respecting your own needs and desires and is essential to counteracting stress.
Move your body. Whether it’s a brisk walk around the block, or a virtual workout, exercise encourages the body to release endorphins which counteract the release of cortisol. Getting outside in the fresh air not only clears the airways, but a daily dose of Vitamin D supports the body’s natural mood regulating system.
Write it down. Try taking time at the end of each day to write down how you feel. Offloading thoughts in this way can help slow down your thinking and clear your mind. Writing down the things you are grateful for can also relieve stress by focusing your thoughts on what’s positive in your life.
Relax your mind and prioritise sleep. Getting a good night’s sleep is restorative and healing. It also gives you clarity in your thinking and decision-making. Even just one night of poor sleep can decrease your ability to make effective decisions and increase stress levels. Valerian root-based remedies such as Kalms Night One-A-Night can be used to promote a refreshing and restful night’s sleep, whilst Kalms Day help to promote relaxation and relive stress.
Laugh more. Laughter releases endorphins and other healthy hormones and helps take your mind off of stress. Don’t know where to begin? Take note of who makes you laugh and smile and spend time with them. Read the newspaper and look for goofy headlines. Take a quick break at work to watch a funny video. Record a TV show that makes you laugh. Keep a journal of all these little things, so when you’re feeling blue, you have a pick-me-up guide.
The Kalms Range is available to buy instore and online at Boots, Superdrug, supermarkets, and pharmacies nationwide and online retailers such as Amazon or directly from www.kalmsrange.co.uk.
This article contains an advert for Kalms remedy capsules, but as according to guidelines, I did not receive payment.
Our health and wellbeing aren’t solely dependent on how our brains and bodies work; they’re also influenced by how we live. Making healthy lifestyle choices is key in supporting our mental health; influencing our self-esteem, confidence, energy, motivation, mood, and even our ability to sleep.
Want to know more about what you can do to support your health and wellbeing? Here are 5 key areas to get you started!
We know exercise is beneficial for our health and wellbeing; even being active for 30 minutes per day, 5 days per week can positively impact our mood, creativity, thinking and sleep. If going for a run or to the gym isn’t your thing there are so many other ways to get moving; including going for walks, climbing, cycling, dancing, surfing and table tennis (to name just a few).
Check out Head Hacks, a new directory website, run by a qualified Occupational Therapist, where you can search for fun things to do, locally and online, to help you get active in a way that suits you!
If you find yourself struggling to switch off at night, or you feel you’re not getting the quality of sleep you need to feel rested there are a number of things you can do to help yourself. These include:
Avoiding screens for at least 30 minutes before going to bed
Increasing physical activity and exposure to natural light during the day
Avoiding drinking caffeine for at least 6 hours before going to bed
Avoiding smoking for at least 2 hours before going to bed
Maintaining a general bedtime routine, for 30 minutes before going to bed (by doing things in roughly the same order around the same time each evening).
When talking about mindfulness a lot of people may link it with meditation and yoga; however mindfulness comes in many different forms. If meditation or yoga aren’t your thing why not try ‘mindful doing’? The aim is to keep your mind present while doing an activity you enjoy or that fits into your routine, (like going for a walk, cooking, eating a meal, doing the washing up etc). Try to minimise distractions and instead focus on your current thoughts and feelings, and what you’re doing (using all your senses).
Having a sense of ‘purpose’ is the feeling your life has some meaning or direction; without this we can feel anxious, low, bored and unmotivated. If this is something you feel you’re lacking here are some ideas to help you find more purpose in your life:
Learn a new skill
Develop a sense of community by connecting with others over a shared interest e.g. joining a local activity group
Spend time thinking about what is important to you and form one or two goals around this (remember to break these down into manageable steps!)
Read (research has linked reading with feelings of purpose)
Connecting with others
Positive and meaningful relationships are vital to our health and wellbeing; providing us with a sense of belonging, self-esteem, and emotional support. However you prefer to spend time with people, find a way to connect with others in a way that suits you; some of us prefer having one or two close friends, for others it’s family, and some prefer socialising in larger groups.
To sum up
Research shows us that how we live; our relationships, how we spend our time, our sense of purpose and belonging, all vitally contribute to our health and wellbeing. Now that Coronavirus restrictions are easing, there are increasing opportunities, both in our local areas and online, to get involved in activities that are important to us, and that will help support our health and wellbeing.
Head Hacks is a new online directory, setup by a qualified Occupational Therapist, which aims to link people up with these activities and groups, as well as sharing useful information about managing health and wellbeing. Check it out to find fun things to do near you! Anna Witcherley is the founder of Head Hacks and wrote this article.
When it comes to our mental health, it can feel like a good idea to keep our feelings in. However, talking about your thoughts and worries is extremely powerful. Seeking the right advice, whether it be from a friend or a professional, can help you achieve better mental wellbeing. For those who worry about speaking up about their issues, here are five reasons why you should.
Find the best solution
Whatever you are dealing with, speaking to an expert or a friend may help you find the best solution. There is no use in being left in the dark and not working on it. The issue may never be resolved if you avoid talking about it.
For instance, you may have been in a recent accident on the road and worry about who to talk to to get the help and compensation you need. It will be best to seek advice from your local car accident attorneys to ensure you can overcome the issue and find the best solution.
Those dealing with feelings of stress or anxiety can benefit from seeking the right advice to know that they are not alone. There are millions of people worldwide that deal with these emotions. Although you may feel alone, seeking advice will help you understand you are not and can be supported.
Speaking up to a friend or expert can give you peace of mind and continue with life with less weight on your shoulders.
Save you time
You may need advice for financial reasons or legal issues from an expert. Instead of trying to resolve the issue yourself, you can ask an expert to deal with the issue of concern for you. You will get the best result and save you time.
Life can be too short to waste time. Thus, always seek advice when you are spending too long trying to resolve an issue.
Build up confidence
Seeking advice can also make you more confident to confide in friends or experts in the field in the future. If you are someone who often tries to deal with issues alone and feels stressed, or doesn’t find an ideal solution, then start asking for help. You will save time and reduce stress whilst building up the confidence to ask for help on a more regular basis.
Improve your wellbeing
Whatever you are asking for advice on, from finances to mental wellbeing, you will be able to improve yourself. You may feel happier or acquire knowledge that you did not know before. Thus, you can feel happier and better informed.
Even if the advice you receive leaves you with one small tip, that one tip could help you resolve the issue if it is recurring. Or, you can offer advice to someone else and help them when they require assistance.
The next time you question whether it is worth asking for advice, think back to these tips and reassure yourself.
Be Ur Own Light is 5! I cant believe its been 5 years since I began this as a therapy blog as I was suffering from severe panic from trauma and lost my job. I love this blog and will continue to write to break the stigma around mental illness.
This year, Vuelio awarded us as a Top UK mental health blog again which is just incredible. We were also nominated in the Mental Health Blog Awards 2020.
This year we have worked with some amazing writers and organisations on mental health. Thank you:
OCD and Break Ups- Brooke Chaplan
Pocket book of love and Happiness- Trigger Publishing review
5 Ways Therapy can heal your family- Samantha Higgins
Why people are using weighted blankets- Calming Blanket
How to make your surroundings more calming if you have anxiety- Daniel Tannenbaum
Mental health tips to get you through lockdown- Chantal Shaw
How debt impacts your mental health- Ian Sims
Life under lockdown: by Chloe Walker
Lockdown and mental health by Graham Morgan MBE
Best employee benefits for mental health: Daniel Tannenbaum
We will beat this, it will get better: Jenny Nguyen
Covid 19, mental health and work: Danielle Strouther
5 ways to evaluate body mind and soul: Daniel Torres
5 ways you can reduce anxiety- Samantha Higgins
How to help teens with mental illness succeed at school- Brooke Chaplan
Stuck in self isolation? Useful DIY projects- Brandon Smith
My crippling anxiety floored me, now I wouldnt be without it: Emma Johnson, Worry Knot Jewellery
UK went into lockdown, I went into meltdown- Nicole
How to help loved ones with alzheimers- Hannah Boothe
How to avoid burnout during a pandemic- Jade Mansfield at Worsley centre
Maintaining a healthy work life balanace- Love It Cover It
On DBT, art and healing- Violette Kay
How to protect your mental health during the pandemic- Mary Davis
How managing my space helps my mental health- Poppy Duffree- Organise with Poppy
Relaxing places to visit to calm coronavirus anxiety
Bamboo sheets for less anxiety at night
Self care tips for 2020- Anthony L
Redecorating your bedroom for improved mental health- Rosette
5 things that could be triggering your depression- Samantha Higgins
Escaping outdoors is beneficial to mental health- Amy Sloane
How to work and be a mother during the pandemic- Miranda Davis
Overcoming the impact of substance abuse on mental health- Anita Ginsburg
How to minimise stress for the elderly in senior living- Johnny Kershaws
15 Ways to turn your home into a self care sanctuary- ImproveNet
Living with OCD during a global pandemic- Impulse Therapy
Managing emotions for better mental health
Taking care of your mental health when a loved one passes away
Checking in on your elderly loved ones mental health during the pandemic
Identifying the source of your eating disorder and finding recovery- Anita Ginsburg
Self care activities to do for those who love to be alone- Regina Thomas
Out of Office by Fiona Thomas- book review by Eleanor
Using yoga to improve productivity at home: Daisy Moss
The difference between a psychiatrist and psychologist- Anita Ginsburg
Moving to another country- are you escaping your baggage?
10 tips to avoid covid burn out at home and help your mental health
How to help others when you have lived experience of mental health
Coping with menopausal anxiety and panic attacks by LadyCare menopause
Home improvements to help mental health
5 ways a relationship can hurt your mental health- Miranda Davis
Life is Finite
The secret signs of anxiety
Digital detox ideas for mental wellbeing
How can you better your mental health?
Developing a new found confidence in yourself for the festive season
How to plan for your future in difficult times
Depression and what you should know
Planning for the future to ease your mind
and I wrote some personal articles too!
Thank you for continuing to read and for the support for so long, it means everything to me.
As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, you are probably spending more time in your home than ever before. As a result, you’ve probably started to pick apart its every flaw, as you are stuck within the same four walls each day. Therefore, you may have decided to make some changes!
With that in mind, here are 5 changes you can make to your home that will make your life easier!
Though it can be hard to let go of items we once loved, a cluttered home is never going to look as good as a home that is free of clutter. Therefore, you need to be ruthless. If you no longer use an item, and it does not have a strong sentimental value, donate it to charity or throw it away.
When you remove clutter from your home, you will feel more organised and focused. It also means you’ll have to clean less – so it is a win-win situation! Furthermore, it also creates the illusion that your home is much larger than it is, giving you plenty of free space to take part in activities such as home workouts and Yoga.
Technology is designed to make your day-to-day life easier, and we now have endless possibilities at our fingertips. As a result, you should make the most of all available technology when renovating your home. For example, if you or a member of your home suffers from mobility issues, then why not install a stairlift or platform lift? Terry Lifts are on hand to answer any questions you might have about their lifts, and can help with every step of the process – form installation to lift maintenance, so be sure to get in touch with them to find out more!
You can also make use of technology on your mobile phone, by installing remote control light bulbs. This means you never have to get out of your warm bed to turn off the light ever again, you can simply tap a few buttons on your phone!
Making home improvements to boost your mental health is so important now we are spending more time at home.
Readers of this blog know all too well that life can sometimes take a turn for the worse at times. You can start the year with high hopes, only for things to go catastrophically wrong later on.
Many people go through tough times and wonder whether upping sticks and moving away might help. They think that moving to a new country will give them a fresh start and allow them to leave the past behind where it belongs and move forwards with their lives.
But is that really what happens? Well, it depends.
Seeing The New Location As A Fresh Start
One type of person sees moving to a new country as a blank slate – a fresh start. They’re not the kind of person who spends all night getting angry about what went wrong in the past. Instead, they accept what happened and choose to move forward with their lives. They never look back.
This type of person can get on well with moving to another country. The change of location isn’t the important thing. That’s just a backdrop. The primary decision is to take control of one’s life and move forwards. When you go to another country, you’re proving to yourself that you can make major life changes, and you have control over your life. You’re no longer tethered to a situation in your home country. You’re free to conduct your business as you choose. Self-mastery is the name of the game.
When you go to a new location with this mindset, it colours everything that you do. It’s a decision you’ve made. And so it feels like you have ownership over the situation. Even though things have been tough, you’re moving on with your life and doing the things you have to do to reestablish control. It feels natural and healthy. You’re a master of your destiny. Moving away has nothing to do with trying to escape the negatives. It’s about embracing the positives. You look for a studio apartment for rent, and you start a new life. It can be a challenge, but it’s also a heck of a lot of fun.
Seeing The New Location As An Escape
But there’s a dark side to moving to another country. If you think moving is a way to escape how you feel, you’re sadly mistaken. You might be living in a different apartment building in a foreign country, but that doesn’t mean that your memories and feelings disappear. Yes – you might find yourself in a totally different culture. But that’s pretty much irrelevant if you’re bringing all the same feelings and emotional baggage with you.
Seeing the new location as an escape is a trap. You think that by moving, you’re doing something to alleviate your experience. But that’s not what’s happening. Instead, you’re changing location and dragging all the old feelings with you. It’s not moving that gives you the sense that you’re escaping your problems – it’s taking control. When you feel like you have some sort of autonomy, that gives you the mental space to create a life for yourself on your own terms.
But if you’re feeling homesick and still thinking about your country of origin, that’s a recipe for depression. You’re not looking forward – you’re looking back. And you inevitably feel hopeless and futile.
Your World Becomes A Lot Bigger
Moving countries should be about making your world bigger. It can help you to leave your past behind, but it is not all that’s required. You can move to another country, but if you don’t process what happened to you, then you’re not really leaving your problems behind. Paying different government taxes is no substitute for emotional understanding.
When you allow your move to fill your life with new opportunities, things suddenly become more clarified. Everything opens up, and you’re suddenly able to pick a direction and go with it. It can be a frightening experience sometimes, but it is essential for living a rich and fulfilling life.
Usually, people leave their country of origin to escape past unhealthy relationships. Going abroad offers a degree of safety. But it also takes you out of a dysfunctional network of friends and family. You’re able to breathe the free air and start afresh. You’re no longer tied down to a particular social group. And you don’t have to observe its traditions or customs. It’s a liberating experience.
Sometimes, that feeling alone is sufficient to make the move worthwhile. But, ultimately, that’s a choice that you need to make. The question of whether you should go to another country is a personal one.
This is a difficult time for many people’s mental health. The 2020 coronavirus and Covid-19 pandemic has been completely unexpected and has taken up the most part of most of our lives and conversations throughout the past year. Massive changes have taken place that can all impact mental health, ranging from fear of the virus to difficulties with social isolation, difficulties with social distancing and difficulties with job losses, financial instability, reduced income and troubles keeping up with financial commitments.
The list goes on and on. But chances are the people often hardest hit by this virus are the elderly. Even those who do not battle the virus itself have had to lead more sheltered and isolated lives since the start of the year and, if you have an elderly loved one in your life, it’s important to do your utmost to help them right now. Here are some suggestions that can help you to achieve this!
Make Sure They Have the Most Up to Date Information
The first step that you need to take for your loved one during this pandemic is to make sure that they have the most up to date information on the virus, current guidelines, current restrictions and any other useful information.
The rules and the regulations that we are living by are all changing on a really regular basis and it can be hard for the elderly to keep up. Bear in mind that many of us get our news updates from social media and online news apps. The elderly often rely on newspapers, which only arrive once a day and which they may not actually be able to get their hands on while they are isolating. The radio can help too. Make sure that they are in the know to make sure they feel comfortable and know what’s going on.
Check In On Elderly Relatives in Care Homes
Sure, many elderly people are in care homes where you are not able to visit them right now. This reduces virus spreading. But you should still check in on them. Most care homes will take care of your loved one well. But there have been instances of neglect or misconduct throughout this pandemic and you’re going to want to call your loved one and check everything is okay. If there are any issues, you may need to reach out to a nursing home abuse attorney.
Buy and Deliver Their Essentials for Them
If your loved ones still live in their own homes independently, you may need to get their essentials for them and drop them off on their doorstep. This minimises contact with them, but also ensures that they have the food that they need, the medication that they need, the toiletries that they need and the cleaning products that they need. Many are unable to head to the shops themselves – especially if it means taking public transport.
Now can be a hard time for the elderly and the pandemic could be taking its toll on their mental health. But by following the steps above, you can help to give them peace of mind and reduce their stressors.