How To Avoid January Anxiety And Burn Out By Dr Catherine Carney at Delamere

(image: Unsplash)

As soon as the 1st of January hits, every advertisement seems to switch from encouraging total indulgence, to tips and tricks on how to ‘better’ yourself both mentally and physically. Such a drastic change in narrative can cause your New Year to begin in a stressful, pressurised manner, and can even lead to burnout. 

With this in mind, Dr Catherine Carney of private rehabilitation centre, Delamere, has offered some tips and tricks to combat the anxiety that January can bring. As well as this, she will also outline the most common causes of New Year burnout, making it easier for you to avoid them. 

  1. Setting unrealistic goals 

While there is nothing wrong with being ambitious, pushing yourself too hard is destined to lead to disappointment and a feeling of failure. Rather than comparing yourself to people on social media platforms, it is always better to write a short list of smaller, more obtainable goals. 

Once you have achieved these, you can start to work on more difficult ones. This may be easier said than done due to toxic hustle culture being everywhere, but it is important to remember that everybody progresses at a different pace. If you attempt too much in one go for example, telling yourself you will go to the gym every day or read 10 books a month, you could mentally and physically crash and burn. 

  1. Comparing your progress to someone else’s 

As stated previously, different people achieve things in their own time, which is crucial to remember around New Year. If somebody you know has started running 10k a day and you are struggling to get past 5k, then try not to punish yourself – or worse, exert yourself too much and cause an injury. 

Your body and your mind can only do so much in a certain period, so it is always important to remember to rest and recharge. Not allowing yourself to do this can lead to you wanting to isolate yourself from others, due to feeling like a failure, as well as making you feel exhausted and worn out. Taking small, realistic steps is key when it comes to forming a new habit.

  1. Forgetting to plan your time

Many people find themselves struggling with day-to-day life in general, so adding a new task or activity can cause them to be completely thrown off. Telling yourself you will go for a run, read a book, or do some writing, but not planning a specific time, could lead to you becoming stressed and irritated – especially if you do not end up doing the task. 

Juggling work, sleep, a social life, eating healthily, and leisure activities can be very difficult, so it is handy to write tasks and goals down. Setting a specific time would allow you to get things done prior to the new activity you are trying to stick to, as well as allowing you to fill your time efficiently and with things you enjoy. 

  1. Neglecting rest, relaxation, and meditation

Sitting down and allowing your body and mind to recharge is possibly the most effective way of avoiding burnout. It can be very easy to forget about this, especially with hustle culture making people feel guilty for not being productive. However, mentally recharging will allow you to feel more energised when it comes to tackling your New Year’s Resolutions. 

Meditation and general wellness has been proven to lessen feelings of anxiety and depression, allowing you to clear your mind after a challenging day and re-centre your energy. While wellness is not the right path for everybody, it could be worthwhile to give it a try, especially if your resolutions have left you feeling sluggish. 

  1. Forgetting to see friends and family 

Many people experiencing depressive feelings will feel compelled to socially isolate themselves. This can be for a number of reasons, ranging from feeling too emotionally exhausted to leave the house, to not wanting people to know how they are feeling. However, as depressive thoughts go hand-in-hand with burnout, it is crucial to maintain contact with friends and family – especially around the New Year. 

If you have not achieved something you told people you would, or are generally feeling like you are underachieving, socially withdrawing may feel like a comforting thing to do. Sharing your thoughts and worries with a loved one will allow them to offer words of encouragement and support, as well as a potential solution to your issue. For example, if your goal is to go to the gym more often, your friend could offer to go with you. 

Content from Dr Catherine Carney at: https://delamere.com/addiction-treatment/work-burnout

Non Traditional Therapeutic Services To Try For Anxiety by Brooke Chaplan.

(image: Monstera, Pexels)

If you’re struggling with anxiety, you may be looking for non-traditional therapeutic services to help you cope. Anxiety can be a debilitating condition, making it difficult to function in day-to-day life. While there are many traditional treatments available, such as medication and therapy, sometimes these aren’t enough. If you’re looking for something different, there are a few non-traditional therapeutic services you can try. 

Acupuncture Therapy 

One non-traditional service that has been shown to be effective for anxiety is acupuncture. Acupuncture is a form of traditional Chinese medicine that involves inserting thin needles into the skin at specific points on the body. This is said to help improve the flow of energy and promote healing. 

There is some scientific evidence to support the use of acupuncture for anxiety. A study published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine found that acupuncture was effective in reducing anxiety symptoms in people with a generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). If you’re interested in trying acupuncture, be sure to find a qualified practitioner. It’s important that the needles are inserted correctly to avoid any complications. 

Additionally, if you are depressed, self harming or having self harm thoughts, this may not be an appropriate therapy for you at that time.

Virtual Reality Therapy 

Virtual reality (VR) therapy may be among the newest types to seriously consider. Professionals like AppliedVR are companies that specialize in providing virtual reality therapy for various conditions, including anxiety. Their approach is based on the theory that VR can help to desensitize people to their fears and phobias. 

Numerous studies published in the Journal of Cyberpsychology, Behaviour, and Social Networking found that VR exposure therapy was effective in reducing symptoms of a variety of anxiety types. While more research is needed, VR therapy shows promise as a treatment for anxiety and many other conditions. If you’ve tried a list of other treatments that haven’t helped, this could be an opportunity to try something innovative. 

Herbal Supplements 

Certain herbs have been used for centuries to help treat various health conditions including reducing anxiety. It may be worthwhile to meet with a local herbalist to see what is recommended for anxiety, and of course, consult with your doctor before taking any supplements. If you get the green light from your doctor, just be sure to buy quality supplements from a reputable source to avoid any adverse effects. 

While these are not the only non-traditional therapies you can turn to, they are some great ones to begin with. Finding ways to manage anxiety can be a challenge, but it’s important to keep trying different things until you find what works for you. Don’t give up hope and remember that there are many options available. 

This article was written by writer Brooke Chaplan.

How to Address Issues Harming Your Mental Health.

(image: Unsplash)

It is so important to look after your mental health. Many people struggle with their mental health and with illness that feels beyond their control and often they will need medication or therapy to help them. However, there can be other issues that need to be addressed if they are harming your mental health.

Learning to appreciate the issues that you may have overlooked is the first step to success. If any of the following are relevant to you, address them ASAP. you should find that your mental health reaches a far more stable place.

Untreated PTSD

If you have tried fixing a mental health issue without getting to the root cause, the benefits will be restricted. So, finding the right PTSD therapies that get to the bottom of poor mental health could be the greatest decision you make. It will provide significant direct rewards. Working with a therapist and understanding your personal situation is essential if you want to improve it.

Almost everyone has experienced at least one traumatic experience. So, it’s could be likely that mental health issues you experience will have PTSD, or a similar issue, linked to them.

Worries Behind The Wheel

The knowledge that you are in a potentially vulnerable position can be the biggest cause of anxiety. A car that has experienced problems or required frequent trips to the garage could be causing anxiety if you rely on it to get to work and travel independently. There may also be finanical worries for you.. A professional service like Edmunds can help you appraise your current car and upgrade to a better model. This could make you feel more comfortable and reduce anxiety.

Financial Worries

Money problems are the most common source of stress. So, it could be the underlying reason why your mental health continues to hit hurdles. While there is no magic spell to suddenly make the problems fade, you can at least feel a weight is lifting from your shoulders. Good organisational skills are the key. Learn to trim the fat from your ongoing expenses, and you’ll see a big impact.

Not Enough Daylight

Spending more time outside in the fresh air can work wonders for your physical and mental wellness. Experts like Raleigh Bikes can help you find a new hobby that encourages more time outside. The fitness benefits are also supported by enjoying improved air quality. As well as vitamin D, serotonin, and experiencing life. It’s an issue that many people struggle with. Thankfully, you no longer need to!

It’s especially important in the colder months when it gets darker to try and get some exercise to help your wellbeing.

The Wrong Network

Your support network can have an impact on your life, in relation to your mental health. The right people will build you up and guide you through tough times without leading you to poor decisions. Sadly, the wrong friends cause you to make regrettable choices. Likewise, they may pressure you to support them, potentially financially. This could drag you down even when you’re in a good place.

So make sure you look after each aspect of your life and self care, in order to improve your health and overall wellbeing.

This article was written by a freelance writer.

Mental Health At Work: First Aid Products Have Surged In Popularity In 2022.

(image: MHFA England)

Awareness days, weeks and months have helped to familiarise people all over the world with the term “Mental Health First Aid”. Now, first aid retailer FirstAid.co.uk reports a 260% uplift in interest for MHFA products on their site, noting that an increase in work-related stress, depression and anxiety cases each year is the most likely driving force.

The retailer has now sold more Mental Health First Aid items this year so far than everyday travel and motoring first aid kits.

Data from the Health and Safety Executive shows that cases of work-related ill health (of which 50% are stress, depression and anxiety) have risen almost 28% since 2015, despite physical injuries being in decline since 2000.

Their data also shows that 820,000 people in Great Britain suffered from work-related stress, depression and anxiety in 2021, compared to 441,000 people who sustained a physical injury at work.

“According to Mental Health First Aid England, one in six people of working age in the UK is experiencing symptoms of mental ill health at any given time.” Says Mike Thakoordin, MHFA Instructor and Suicide First Aid Associate at FirstAid.co.uk“We know that around 81% of employers have increased their focus on employee mental health since the pandemic began, and it is fair to say that awareness days and events are doing their part to sustain that focus. 

“During the first week of Stress Awareness Month in April we had an 85% increase in the number of people visiting our stress-related products compared to 2021, and we’re anticipating a similar surge between Suicide Prevention Day in September and World Mental Health Day in October as individual and business shoppers research items and guidance that can support those who are struggling.”

(image: Unsplash)

While events and awareness days like these play a big part in the ongoing rise in interest around mental health-related products online, it’s the persisting growth in the number of people struggling with poor mental health that is likely the bigger factor at play. Despite several years of employers saying they’re taking mental health more seriously, the reality is that a huge number of people each year still find themselves with too much work, not enough rest, workplace politics issues and concerns over job security – among other things.

“For several years running now, the HSE has reported an increase in the number of people taken ill by work-related stress, depression and anxiety.”  Thakoordin goes on to say. “Poor workplace mental health has knock-on effects in many other areas, and we hope that this increase in people shopping for MHFA materials translates into a greater number of workplaces offering meaningful, consistent support.

“With the 2-day Mental Health First Aid course recently being updated, now is the time to get enrolled and play your part in making workplaces safer from a mental health perspective.”


For information on how to recognise stress in the workplace, and advice on dealing with stress,
visit FirstAid’s Stress In The Workplace page.

This article was written in collaboration with First Aid.co.uk

4 Effective Ways to Boost Your Mood And Keep Well.

(image: Shutterstock)

Your mental health matters a great deal when it comes to your overall wellbeing. There may be days or times you feel low or maybe you’re someone who is managing a mental health or mood disorder currently.

Regardless of who you are, it’s important that you take positive steps in the right direction to take good care of yourself. Consider making and incorporating these changes and then notice how much better you feel overall. Here are four effective ways to boost your mood and be well so that you can get back to living fully and have a smile on your face while you do it.

1. Exercise & Move More

One effective way to boost your mood and be well is to exercise. Not only workout and break a sweat regularly but also commit to moving more throughout the day. Exercising is great for your mental health and can instantly put you in a better mood. Make working out fun by engaging in activities you enjoy and that get your body moving and making a playlist that keeps you motivated.

2. Get Organised & Declutter

Another effective way to boost your mood and be well is to get organised and reduce the clutter in your home, office, and life. You’ll feel less stressed daily and will be able to easily find what you’re looking for. Go through old boxes and get rid of or donate items you no longer use or want sitting around. As for anything you decide you want to keep but don’t want in your home, it would be useful to look into securing a storage unit with https://www.storagearea.com for the overflow.

3. Stay Social & Connect with Others

If you want to effectively boost your mood and be well then it’s in your best interest to build relationships with others, if you are able. Stay social when you can and make connections that are meaningful and rewarding. Keep a social calendar and be sure to get out and about once in a while so that you’re not always sitting around the house or feeling lonely. Sometimes this can be more difficult, so be kind to yourself.

You may want to join clubs or orgnaisations in your area, volunteer, or play group sports to help you stay better connected, if you want to. Otherwise, take up a hobby or two and make new friends this way as well. If you struggle with making friends or have social anxiety, you aren’t alone and there is a lot of support out there for you too!

4. Eat A Healthy Diet  

What you put in your body for fuel can also impact your mood and mental health. Feel better fast by eating a healthy diet and cutting back on sugar, alcohol, and processed and fried foods. Some foods can also cause anxiety and make you feel uneasy. Stick to a healthy and well-balanced diet filled with fruits, vegetables, and leafy greens, nuts, and lean proteins. It might help to get in the habit of cooking for yourself at home so you have more control over the ingredients you use and what you’re eating. Also, always drink plenty of water to make sure you stay hydrated and have more natural energy to get you through the day.  

Keeping well is something you can do for yourelf- go at your own pace and look after your mental health and overall wellbeing.

This article was written by a freelance writer.

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

Looking After Your Mental Health While Working from Home.

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio

When you work from home, it can be challenging to maintain a healthy work-life balance. You may find yourself working all hours of the day and night and not getting enough exercise or social time. This can lead to problems with your mental health. Here we will discuss some tips for looking after your mental health when working from home.

1) Make Sure To Take Breaks Throughout The Day

When you work from home, it is essential to make sure that you take breaks throughout the day. This will help you to avoid burnout and will allow you to recharge your batteries. Make sure to step away from your work every few hours, even if it is just for a few minutes. If you work from home and you notice that your mac is hot, go for a walk, make yourself a cup of tea, or call a friend while you wait for it to cool down.

Doing something that takes your mind off of work will help you return to your tasks feeling refreshed and ready to tackle them.

If possible, try to take a longer break in the middle of the day – this will give you something to look forward to and will help break up the monotony of working from home.

2) Set A Schedule And Stick To It

One of the best ways to stay on top of your mental health when working from home is to set a schedule and stick to it. Having a routine will help you to feel more in control of your work, and it will make it easier to take breaks when you need to.

If possible, try to start and end your workday simultaneously each day. This will create a sense of structure in your day, and it will give you something to look forward to.

In addition, make sure to schedule time for lunch and other breaks. Putting these into your schedule will ensure that you take them, and they will help you to avoid working straight through the day.

3) Make Sure Your Workspace Is Comfortable

When you work from home, your workspace is likely to be in your house. This can make it difficult to separate your home life from your work life. To help with this, it is essential to make sure that your workspace is comfortable and inviting.

Your workspace should be somewhere that you enjoy spending time, so make sure to personalize it with things that make you happy. If possible, try to set up your workspace near a window with natural light. This will help you to feel more energized and will reduce eye strain.

In addition, make sure that your workspace is free of distractions. Turn off the television, put away any toys or games, and close the door to any other rooms in the house. This will help you to focus on your work and will minimize distractions.

In conclusion, working from home can affect your mental health. However, by following these tips, you can make sure that you stay on top of your mental health and avoid burnout.

Make sure to take breaks throughout the day, set a schedule and stick to it, and create a comfortable and inviting workspace. By following these tips and looking after your health, you will be able to maintain a healthy work-life balance and will be able to enjoy working from home.

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

Mental Health Chat With Penny Power OBE and Thomas Power of Business Is Personal with Myself and my Dad Mike Segall. Our Journey With Bipolar Disorder and Anxiety.


Yesterday, 9th Feb, my dad Mike and I were honoured to be interviewed by his friends of many years, Penny Power OBE and Thomas Power of Business is Personal- live on Linkedin, Youtube and Facebook.

They asked us to come on their weekly show to talk about our hereditary journey with bipolar disorder and anxiety and shed light on all things mental health.

It was a real pleasure to talk all about our lives and how my Dad was diagnosed with bipolar just 4 years before me.

Trigger warning: discusses suicidal ideation and psychosis.


Thanks Penny and Thomas! We hope it battles stigma around this much misunderstood illness. Watch here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fghp8RNTvX0

Managing Our Mental Health During Christmas And The Festive Season by Eleanor

(image: Jonathan Borba: Pexels)

Its nearly here everyone! Just 4 days until our country (the UK) stops and celebrates Christmas (or uses the day as a chance to see family because they’re off work, like we do!).

The pressure is taken off for me during this period because its just a chance for relaxation for us as we’re Jewish, we don’t have the same expectations for the day as others. However, I know for many people Christmas is a stressful time where they see family they don’t normally see and may feel they have to hide how they are truly feeling with their mental health. The pressures are also on for the cost of food and gifts during this time and many people get into debt too.

We already have less daylight during this time and with the Covid pandemic a lot of people are feeling lower and more anxious . This has been the new normal for us all for over a year and particularly here in England where we have record numbers of Omicron Covid cases- but aren’t yet in lockdown.

I know I have been feeling a bit more anxious lately to do with Covid and other things… but I am also going to be kind to myself and give myself a break and time off work to relax also! I love sitting eating Quality street or a Terrys chocolate orange (yum) with loved ones and watching a good film like The Holiday… thats my favourite. Second is the Muppets Christmas Carol. Third Love Actually. Whats yours?

(image: lilartsy: Pexels)

I am lucky my bipolar is in remission and I am stable on medication. So I don’t have to worry about severe depressive or manic episodes right now. But, I still need to look after myself or practise self care- lots of sleep, not too much sugar, and check in with myself or my therapist if needed if my anxiety flares.

Obviously, over Christmas lots of NHS mental health professionals aren’t available but you can reach out to helplines such as Samaritans 116 123 (UK) if you need someone to talk to who will just listen.

You can also text SHOUT to 85258 if you’re in crisis and need support.

In an emergency, if you have a phone line to a hospital outpatient crisis team that are working over Christmas, call that and if not in an emergency you may have to go to Accident and Emergency (but there could be long waits).

Mind have an amazing list of helplines, organisations and food banks such as Trussell Trust for over the Christmas period should you need, click here: https://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/tips-for-everyday-living/christmas-and-mental-health/useful-contacts/

Wishing you all a very happy holidays, a peaceful festive season. This time can also be hard for people with alcohol or drug addictions or eating disorders, as Christmas is often a time with plenty of alcohol and triggering things.

Remember that its OK to be struggling but tell people you trust and reach for support. May your Christmas/ holiday season be merry and bright- and if it isn’t, remember things can get better from here, you can recover and you can be helped. Always tell someone you trust if you feel suicidal or want to harm yourself, so you can be protected and helped through these feelings.

Thank you for all your support this year,

Love,

Eleanor



Dear NHS: The Search for EMDR Therapy by Eleanor

sunsetlake1

(image: Freepik)

Today I am writing because I have had enough with the NHS mental health services.  Firstly, I was told that in my area of London, the NHS- national health service doesn’t fund EMDR (rapid eye movement processing therapy- for trauma and PTSD). Why, I have no idea as it is desperately needed. However, I was referred to IAPT wellbeing service (still under NHS), who do have EMDR therapists. Some telephone questionnaires later and I have found that I have been discharged from IAPT – to another team that doesn’t provide the therapy I so dearly need.

I have had years of therapy- CBT x3 and psychodynamic- most had to be privately funded due to the waiting lists in NHS. I need vital treatment for the trauma I faced of becoming so unwell,being in hospital and all I faced during mania and psychosis. My trauma comes out in anxiety and panic attacks which disrupt my daily living. EMDR helps process trauma and I am hoping it will help me to live fully again.

Due to this, the only option with therapy may be to go privately- which is expensive and not ideal for me- I can’t afford it alone. However, I have found an accredited therapist online so this will have to be the route I go down I think. I will speak to the psychiatrist in the other team but don’t hold out any hope as they don’t fund EMDR and there is a 2 year psychology waiting list. Yup, you heard that correctly, 2 years.

I am not doing so well- I have been feeling lower in the mornings and more anxious since having to leave my job. This was another blow today.

Yet….

I am trying to keep myself positive and focused and going. But some days, I just feel like hiding away.

Some positives- I am grateful for:

  1. My new bright pink cardigan is making me smile
  2. Our wedding photos and video come back today
  3. Finding a therapist
  4. Bipolar UK sharing about my book
  5. Love and support from others
  6. Job interviews and book promotion

When people say fund our NHS mental health services, they mean it. People like me are denied access to vital support and put on waiting lists or fobbed off. Its not OK.

Eleanor x