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.

How to Look After Elderly Parents And Assist Them To Be Healthy And Happy.

(image: Andrea Piacquadio: Pexels)

When you have aging parents there’s a lot that you need to consider. Getting them help and keeping them healthy as well as safe is usually at the top of most children’s priority lists. You also want to make sure that they are happy and enjoying their senior years. 

If you have been struggling to find ways to help your elderly relative feel more comfortable, there are a few things you can do to make sure they get the help that they need to stay healthy and happy. Take a look at the following steps.

Get Them Involved

As your parents age, they may need help in and around their homes. You may need to get them a live-in caregiver. A caregiver will help to ease any burdens you may be feeling and give your parents the chance to get assistance.

However, a caregiver can make your parents feel as if you are taking away their independence. This is why you need to make sure that you involve them in the process of finding someone to assist them. 

You will need to do interviews for live in care jobs, so get them involved. This can help them to feel less resentful and happier with the situation.

Sort Out Their Finances

Assisting your elderly relative in making sure that their finances are in order is something that you should do. 

Getting someone to assist them will cost money. Buying them the medication that they need or also call money. 

Take a look at their current financial assets and then decide if they need financial help. There may be some programs that you can apply to. 

Once you know how much money they are likely to need, especially in a month, you can ask family and even friends who are capable of assisting to do so.

Keep Them Safe

Another thing you need to do for your elderly relatives is to make sure you keep them as safe as possible. For elderly people, safety begins in the home. Be sure to declutter the floors and remove rugs and cords that can make them slip and fall. 

You can add grab bars in their bathroom and make sure they are railings on their stairs. Ensure that their homes are well lit especially if they live alone and that they have high-level security systems in their home to keep them safe.

Show Your Love

Part of taking care of elderly parents is making sure that they have all the things they need to be healthy and happy. It can be overwhelming sometimes because it may seem as if they need so much help. 

However, if you consider the points that have been given here and work on them you will be able to help your parent significantly.

Getting the right help, taking care of their finances, and keeping them safe are the main things you need to do to take care of your elderly relatives. 

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

Don’t Feel Like Cooking Tonight? Heres 4 Reasons why You Should For Your Health.

(image: Jason Briscoe: Unsplash)

Home cooking offers many benefits. It gives us control over what we’re consuming, we can try out new combinations and recipes, and it can even be a soothing activity.

It’s often one of the first things that falls by the wayside when our lives get hectic, however. Revenue in the ready meals market has increased since 2017 and is expected to continue rising until 2026. It’s clear that in our busy lives, we often resort to convenience foods.

Here, we’ll cover some of the hidden benefits of cooking at home for those times when you feel like ordering a takeaway or throwing another microwave meal in.

Portion and ingredient control

When you order a takeaway or eat a meal at a restaurant, you don’t have much control over the ingredients used or the size of the portion you get, unless you specify you’re allergic to an ingredient. Home cooking is a great way to eliminate unhealthy ingredients.

Portion sizes vary wildly between restaurants – some are much bigger than we’d make at home, while others are not enough to satisfy us. Everyone’s food intake requirements are different, and the healthiest attitude towards food is to eat a satisfying amount – even if it’s more or less than your friend. Generally, restaurants aren’t a good guide for portion sizes, whereas you’ll know your nutrition requirements when cooking at home.

Making healthier choices

A lot of us have been tempted by an impromptu fast food lunch order when we’re at work. And while there’s nothing wrong with indulging in your favourite takeaways occasionally, doing this too often can leave us feeling lethargic and unhealthy.

Preparing your meals for work in advance gives you the freedom to cook whatever you love the most while incorporating energy-boosting fresh ingredients. Meal prepping has exploded in popularity in the past few years, and for good reason. Whether you batch-prep your meals for work every week or you cook an extra portion of your evening meal for the next day, preparing food for work is great for our health.

You’ll need to make sure your trusty work bag can fit your lunch in – backpacks for women are hugely popular for work now, and they can also fit in plenty of other healthy essentials like a reusable water bottle, plus your work laptop!

(image: Max Komthongvjit: Unsplash)

Saving money

It won’t come as a surprise that regular home cooking will keep some more pennies in your purse, especially considering we’re experiencing an increase in the cost of living right now. Dining out at our favourite restaurants is unsurprisingly the most expensive way to eat, but even those visits to the shop for a seemingly cheap meal deal can add up.

Cooking from scratch allows us to cost up our meals and ensure we’re eating within our budget. If you’re finding that you’re priced out of some fresh ingredients, don’t worry – studies have shown that frozen fruit and vegetables are just as healthy. In some cases, frozen produce may even contain higher levels of some nutrients – and come with the added bonus of being easier to prepare!

Mental health benefits

Many of us will already know how relaxing cooking can be. The act of methodically preparing, seasoning, and stirring our food can be therapeutic. Taking the time to cook a meal from scratch tells us that we are worthy of spending time on, which can boost our self-esteem. The act of cooking sometimes requires precision, but it takes us away from the hustle and bustle of our busy lives and – usually – drags us away from our screens.

Having a regular routine is powerful for people who experience anxiety and feel like their life is out of control. Cooking at home regularly is an important part of a healthy everyday routine, which can help us feel in control of our lives. What’s more, it can be a creative activity, and that’s proven to lift our mood and reduce stress.

While we love dining out and ordering in the occasional fast-food feast, there’s no doubt that home cooking reigns supreme. Not only does it allow us to be aware of what we’re putting into our bodies, but it also allows us to take some time away for ourselves, away from our devices and the busyness of our everyday lives.

This article was written by a freelance writer and contains ad links

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

Six Ways to Practice Self Love This Valentine’s Day (and Every Day) with Kalms #ad

(image: Unsplash)

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.

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.

5 Outdoor Activities That Will Improve Your Mental Health by Elizabeth Howard

(image: Elizabeth Howard)

Spending more time outdoors will do wonders for your mental health. While research has shown that being outdoors helps alleviate stress and the symptoms of emotional illnesses, you can easily discover these benefits by interacting with nature. You will benefit from being outdoors when you sit on your porch, but you’ll keep your leisure time more interesting when you engage in a variety of different outdoor activities and boost your mental health.

Take a Weekend Camping Trip

You can rough it in a tent or enjoy a glamping excursion by renting a fully equipped cabin for the weekend. As you search for available campgrounds in Mississippi (or the country you live in), look for a location that’s near the water or offers a variety of activities. You should try to plan a camping trip that offers plenty of amenities for you and your companions. Swimming, fishing, snorkelling, hiking, and bird watching are a few of the outdoor activities you can enjoy over the weekend. 

Be sure to bring your phone or a camera. You will probably see plenty of wildlife that you’ll want to capture in pictures or on video. Even if you rent a comfortable cabin or take your RV, you’ll find enough activities to keep you outside and in nature throughout your camping excursion.

Go For a Walk

You can spend more time outdoors without leaving home when you plan to take a walk each day or evening. This is an opportunity for you to get outside and clear your head away from work, family, and other obligations. As you walk, let your mind wander. Many people find this to be an effective way of subconsciously working out stressful problems. By the time the walk is over, you might find that they have a solution to a particular problem. 

You can keep your walks interesting and distracting by taking a different route each night. Find a different park, road or walk to a different convenience store each time. In addition to helping you explore different parts of your community, you will also have the opportunity to interact with different people, if you want to.

Rent a Boat

There’s no reason you should feel bound to land when you look for outdoor activities to enjoy. In fact, renting a boat and spending a few hours on the water can have a soothing effect on the mind. You may feel more tranquil as you’re surrounded by the sights, sounds, scents of the water. This is a great opportunity to get together with friends or bond with your family. 

When you’re on the water, you’ll be removed from distractions and have the chance to enjoy deeper conversations. You’ll also have a chance to see your city from a different perspective. By the time you return to the dock or shore, you’ll feel more peaceful and less stressed.

Start a Garden

There are many hidden health benefits of starting a garden, and it will provide a way for you to improve the landscaping of your own property. Working with your hands as you plant and maintain a garden will help you strengthen your hands and fingers, reducing your risks for joint pain. As you tend to your garden, your mind will wander and you’ll enter into a type of meditative state. This will help you set aside your daily worries and concerns for a brief period. That will be enough to relieve stress and help you enjoy a lighter mood.

Climb a Mountain

If you live near a mountain range, consider taking up climbing as a means of getting more outdoor exercise. The act of climbing will help you strengthen a variety of muscle groups throughout your body. As you climb, you’ll see your community and the surrounding region from a different perspective. The air will be more exhilarating as you reach higher points on the mountain. 

While you should start slowly and work with a guide, you may eventually find that mountain climbing can be a competitive sport that allows you to improve your performance over time. Achieving new climbing goals will cause a release of endorphins in the brain, helping you to enjoy a happier mood.

There are many more ways you can enjoy the outdoors and benefit your mental health. Look for things you like to do outside even if that just involves sitting under a tree and reading a good book. The fresh air will benefit your physical health as well as improve your wellbeing.