Wellbeing Tips and Activities for Children: Twinkl Blog featuring Eleanor

(image: Twinkl)

I was approached by childrens learning website Twinkl to contribute some tips and ideas for the wellbeing of children this Autumn. I am delighted to be featured in Twinkl’s recent blog – Autumn Leaves: Wellbeing Tips & Activities for Children.

Check out some of their resources for wellbeing and resources for mental health too, including in partnership with Mind charity.

Thank you so much to all at Twinkl and I hope my tips are helpful. I used to work as a teaching assistant and was trained in safeguarding too, so hope you enjoy reading the blog!

7 Bipolar Disorder Facts Everyone Should Know by Ronnie Deno

(image: bphope.com)


Bipolar disorder affects roughly 46 million people worldwide in 2017, according to the Our World in Data. While there remain several challenges for people living with bipolar disorder and to their caregivers, health experts believe that current developments have reduced symptoms and improved quality of life.

Bipolar disorder is a very common cause of disability and needs treatment . It is ranked by the World Health Organization as the 6th leading cause of disability in the world with the inadequacy of treatment, resulting in higher rates of ill health and worsening of symptoms. The following are the seven 7 facts everyone should know about bipolar disorder.  

Fact No. 1 – Bipolar disorder looks a lot like classic depression.

Formerly called manic depression, bipolar disorder involves extremes of emotions, when not well controlled. It is associated with mania, depression, or both. People who have it may undergo a depressive state for some time – that is, weeks to months – before entering the manic state. The depression period usually comes afterward, and the cycle repeats. In some cases, people experience both. They appear very agitated and energetic and sometimes this can tip into psychosis.. 

Both mania and depressive episodes range from mild to severe patterns. Because the clinical manifestations of bipolar disorder mimic other psychiatric anxiety disorders, it takes years at times for doctors to find the correct diagnosis.

Fact No. 2 – Bipolar disorder is characterized by dramatic shifts in mood and behaviour.

Some people with bipolar disorder experience cycles of manic and depressive episodes, which can be sudden and occurring several episodes a year. The cycle can shift quickly depending on the type and severity of the condition. Elevated mood associated with mania is defined by irritability, euphoria, and labile mood, whereas depression is often expressed by loss of interest, inability to function day to day and extreme sadness.

Fact No. 3 – Bipolar disorder has symptoms of mania and depression at the same time.

There are different variations of bipolar disorder, namely bipolar I, bipolar II, cyclothymia, and bipolar unspecified. These conditions are marked by mania, depression, hypomania, or mixed manic and depressive episodes. In mixed bipolar type, there is a rapid and severe mood fluctuation in a quick sequence or simultaneous fashion without recovery in between. 

Fact No. 4 – The mood episodes of bipolar disorder can vary from person to person.

The diagnosis of bipolar disorder is based on the clinical presentation. However, the symptoms can be unspecific and variable from one person to another throughout the disease. Thus, making the prediction cycles of a person with bipolar difficult. 

For some people,. a person with bipolar disorder undergoes two (2) cycles of mood changes with mania taking place in spring or fall. However, mood stabilising medication greatly reduces episodes.

Fact No. 5 – There is no known single cause of bipolar disorder.

It is thought that bipolar disorder may run in families. In terms of biochemical cause, the manic and depressive cycles of bipolar disorder are associated with the excess or depletion of certain neurotransmitters in the brain, such as catecholamines, dopamine, and norepinephrine. 

Trauma may also trigger bipolar episodes.

Fact No. 6 – There is treatment available for bipolar disorder.

The goals for treatment available for bipolar disorder are stabilisation of symptoms, prevention of relapse, and improvement of social functioning.

Pharmacotherapy, particularly antipsychotics, antidepressants, mood stabilisers, are the mainstay treatments for bipolar disorder. The HHS Public Access cited Lithium as the best drug for relapse prevention. T

In addition to medications, long-term maintenance for people with bipolar disorders may include psychosocial treatments that focus on education, stress management, detection of relapse, and developing a healthy lifestyle.

Fact No. 7 – People with bipolar disorder can and do lead happy, healthy lives.

It is possible that people with bipolar disorder can have happy and healthy lives. Realistically speaking, the quality of life faced by people with bipolar can be challenging when they have episodes or if they dont take or find the right medicines. This is because they continue to face challenges on their way to recovery, such as availability and choosing the right medication, ease of access to non-pharmacologic therapies, and finding the right balance of the medicine and non-pharmacologic treatments. In a qualitative study conducted by the International Journal of Bipolar Disorder, researchers revealed that some people with bipolar disorders explicitly struggle with managing their symptoms, maintaining relationships, and continuing to experience some form of stigma. Thus, regular contact with their health care provider is essential, as it provides a supportive environment for them.

While the cause of bipolar disorder is unknown, certain factors contribute to its development. Bipolar disorder remains a global health challenge. At this present time, there is no cure for bipolar disorder, but the current treatments have proven to mitigate their symptoms and improve quality of life.

An Exclusive Card Collection by Bryony Gordon , Mental health campaigner, for Thortful.com (for World Mental Health Day)

(image: Thortful and Bryony Gordon)

  • thortful launches ‘Affirmations by Bryony Gordon’ to mark World Mental Health Day
  • 100% of profits will go to the Community Programme founded by Bryony; Mental Health Mates

Greetings card marketplace thortful.com has worked with journalist and broadcaster and Mental Health Mates founder Bryony Gordon to create a series of positive affirmation cards written by Bryony and beautifully brought to life by illustrator Frankie Rose.  The cards campaign is in support of Mental Health Mates and Better Health – Every Mind Matters.

World Mental Health Day took place on Sunday 10th October, and throughout the month, thortful will be supporting both Mental Health Mates and the Better Health – Every Mind Matters campaign. The campaign encourages people to look after their mental wellbeing by getting a free NHS-approved Mind Plan. When it comes to taking care of your mental health, having a plan is a brilliant first step. So, throughout the month of October thortful are encouraging people to take the NHS-approved Mind Plan quiz, for personalised ideas to improve mental health and wellbeing.

Mental Health Mates is a network of peer support groups run by people who experience their own mental health issues, meeting regularly to walk, connect and share without fear or judgement. With walks and online communities across the United Kingdom, Mental Health Mates is a thriving community and one that is committed to growing to reach even more people in need of mental health support.

The affirmation cards collection is available exclusively at thortful. The cards include a QR code on the back, to scan to find out more about the partnership and tips to improve mental wellbeing.

Bryony comments: ‘Physical cards are so important, I used to receive them from my friend Fearne (Cotton) during lockdown, when she would write to me just for the hell of it, and it meant so much when it dropped onto the mat, even though we are in constant contact on WhatsApp! It’s easy to forget the stuff that is good for us and harder to retain it. I think affirmations are brilliant and important reminders of the things that make us feel good about ourselves. Reading an affirmation can really help us put positive behaviours into action.’

Clare Perkins, Deputy Director Personalised Prevention, Office for Health Improvement and Disparities (OHID formerly Public Health England) comments: ‘We are pleased to be continuing our partnership with thortful to support people with tips and advice to improve their wellbeing this World Mental Health Day and beyond. There are little steps we can all take to look after our mental health, and getting a free, NHS-approved Mind Plan is a great way to start. It’s important to find out what works for you and that’s why the Every Mind Matters website has lots of resources to try.’

Andy Pearce CEO of thortful comments: ‘We’re delighted to be able to host this collection for Bryony and her amazing community programme. Since our inception in 2016 thortful has always supported Mental Health causes so we’re delighted to be involved. We are also incredibly proud to continue our support of the Better Health – Every Mind Matters campaign by encouraging our community to get a Mind Plan.’

You can have a look at the cards here: https://www.thortful.com/cards/bryonygordon

This article was written on behalf of thortful.com and Bryony Gordon.

Self Care Tools to Better Your Mental Health and Wellness.

(image: Unsplash)

Looking to improve your mental health today? These 5 resources will help you to develop a healthy self-care regime.

1 . The Blissful Mind 

The Blissful Mind is a self-care blog, here you’ll find a range of useful articles to help you create a structured self-care routine. Catherine is a mindset coach and self-care expert, her goal is to help people achieve a positive outlook, develop a self-care regime, and avoid stress. Using this blog you can learn about the best time management practices to help you make time for what’s important. On the blog, you’ll find a range of different topics, including ‘The Power Of Setting Daily Intentions’, and ‘How To Build A Strong Foundation For Your Inner Life’.

2. Rachael Kable 

Rachael Kable is a mindfulness coach, dedicated to helping people live their best lives. On Rachel’s blog, you’ll find plenty of practical tips for self-care, mindfulness, and improving your mental health. Explore a wide range of articles including ‘Self Care Tips For Busy People’, ‘Simple Bedtime Meditations’, and ‘Ways To Manage Stress’.

3. Sanity & Self

Sanity & Self is a great self-care application, here you can access plenty of activities and tips for self development. Perhaps you’re looking to reduce your anxiety symptoms? You might be looking to recover from a breakup, or boost your self-confidence? Whatever you’re looking to work on Sanity & Self is the perfect toolkit. Using this app you can explore a range of content, themes include sleep, self-love, stress, and more. The app includes both a journal and a mood tracker to help you create a healthy routine.

4. My Possible Self App

My Possible Self is a wonderful app for mental health, there are lots of activities to rewire your thoughts, practice healthy habits and learn new things. The app includes CBT methods and plenty of useful coping strategies. Users can benefit from lots of great features, such as:

  • Visual & Audio Exercises: There are a range of activities to help with sleep, relaxation, and mood.
  • Journaling: Writing in a journal is a great way to write down your emotions and problems. You can use a journal to reflect and problem solve.
  • Motivation: Get all the motivational tips you need to improve your self-care regime.

5. 100% Guilt-Free Self Care 

Looking for an awesome self-care podcast? Then you need 100% Guilt-Free Self Care. Tami is a self-care expert, here to teach you that there’s nothing selfish about the world of self-care. Throughout these episodes, you’ll learn how to fit self-care into a busy lifestyle. You’ll start to understand how you can let go of guilt, and improve your mental wellbeing.

All of these resources can be accessed using a mobile phone, laptop, or tablet. For the best results, update your operating system before attempting to access your content. If you’re looking to speed up mac check out the post from MacPaw to improve the performance of your device that will in turn, help your self care.

With the use of these tools, you’ll improve your self-care routine in no time at all. From apps to podcasts there are lots of ways to learn about self-care, to help you look after yourself and your wellbeing.

This article was written by a freelance writer.

5 Ways to Improve your Mental Wellbeing

When it comes to taking care of yourself, you should always put your mental health first. 1 in 4 people in England alone will experience a mental health problem each year, so we must be gentle with ourselves. However, modern life can be hectic, and sometimes it can be exceedingly difficult to find time to take care of yourself and your mind. So, what can you try to improve your mental well-being?

Credit: Tumisu/ Pixabay

Take regular time out

If you do not take time out to yourself each day, you will soon feel burnt out and struggle to manage your emotions. This could just be in the form of taking a nice relaxing bath in the evenings and completing your daily skincare routine. Or, you could watch an episode of your favourite show after a hard day’s work. Whatever works for you! You do not need to be doing something productive either; an evening in with Netflix can be just as good for your mental health as an evening spent cleaning or reading. After spending some time on yourself, you will feel more relaxed, and your mind will be more at ease.

Try yoga

Yoga can be a great form of exercise that will also help you focus and practice mindfulness. In addition, yoga can be a great choice for stress management, and attending a yoga class or taking an online class at home can leave you feeling ready for bed and content. If you are not a fan of yoga, then you could try daily stretches. Just ten or fifteen minutes spent stretching can make you feel flexible and can be a great way of winding down at the end of the day. Stretching is also a great way to start your day and can help set your mind at the beginning of the day so that way you are as productive and happy as you can be throughout the day.

Exercise

Exercise is a great way of taking your mind off any troubles you may be experiencing, and even just ten minutes of exercise will leave you feeling much better. When you exercise, your body releases endorphins, which make people feel happy and less anxious. However, when you are feeling down, it can be difficult to convince yourself to get up and complete a workout, but even just ten minutes of one of Chloe Ting’s workouts, for example, can leave you feeling happier. 

Some people struggle to complete workouts due to an illness, but there is a form of exercise out there for everyone! If you experience arthritis for example, there are exercise machines that are easy on joints that you could try! Or, if you find cardio too difficult due to a health condition such as asthma, you could try a more gentle form of exercise such as walking or cycling.

Credit: pxhere

Try herbal teas

Herbal teas are great at helping you unwind and are more relaxing than normal tea or coffee, which may only increase your anxiety and make you feel more stressed. Herbal teas, particularly chamomile tea, can ease feelings of anxiety or depression, as well as boost your immune system and aid your digestive system. So, herbal teas are great for both your body and mind! However, you should keep in mind that herbal teas are not a cure for mental illness and that if you are worried about the state of your mental well-being, you should consult a professional for help. 

Eat well

As much as we all love chocolate and pizza, sometimes these foods can leave us feeling bloated and grumpy. Therefore, you should still eat these foods because they are yummy, but you should make sure that you also eat lots of healthy foods that will make you feel better. For example, Brazil nuts are known to help improve people’s moods because they reduce inflammation and are a good source of Vitamin E, making Brazil nuts a great snack choice if you’re feeling a bit down in the dumps. Other foods such as seeds, fatty fish, and leafy greens can all help improve your mood.

Listen to ASMR

ASMR has been rising in popularity over the past few years. It is a niche genre of videos on YouTube where ASMRtists (the name for YouTubers who dedicate their channels to the strange sensation) brush your hair, whisper, and perform soothing sounds. Watching ASMR can reduce your anxiety, help you fall asleep at night, and soothe you. There are hundreds of ASMR videos online, so if you find that ASMR does help you unwind and relax, then there are plenty of videos out there for you to see. 

Meet with friends

Sometimes when you are feeling low, what you need is a good laugh with friends. As difficult as it may seem, get in touch with them and ask them if they want to meet for a coffee or go for some evening drinks. Even if you find that your state of mental health is not allowing you to enjoy your time with them, you could try and talk to your friends about how you’re feeling. Talking about your mental struggles and how they make you feel can ease your burdens and help your friends understand why you are not as perky or upbeat as you usually are. 

Credit: Glenn Harper/ Flickr

Tidy your home

It may sound silly, but tidying up your home or workspace can make a massive difference to your mental state. Tidy space, tidy mind! The act of cleaning and tidying itself can be very therapeutic and can help you relax. Once you have finished tidying up, you will find that you probably feel a lot less overwhelmed, particularly if your home is particularly cluttered or messy. A messy room can overload your mind because you are thinking about all the things you have to clear away and constantly searching for items you have lost amongst the mess.

When it comes to taking care of yourself, you should always put your mental health first. 1 in 4 people in England alone will experience a mental health problem each year, so we must be gentle with ourselves. However, modern life can be hectic, and sometimes it can be exceedingly difficult to find time to take care of yourself and your mind. So, what can you try to improve your mental well-being?

This article was written by a freelance writer.

8 Steps to help with Aging, Better Health and Wellbeing.

Getting older doesn’t mean that you will have many medical conditions or poor quality of life. However, it is very important to know what is expected when you get old and what is not. Growing old entails some changes in all aspects of life, from the mental, physical to social, sexual, emotional, and more.

Some of these changes can be regarded as constructive, while others are damaging. The vital thing to do is make the most of the good part of aging while also taking preventative measures to maintain good health and lessen the negative impacts.

(image: Pexels)

Fixing Your Personal Wear and Tear in Life

Wear and tear in life can be defined as the damage that occurs naturally and unavoidably due to normal aging. In simple words, the human body wears out because of use, and once they wear, they can no longer function as they did.

Besides, many people go through their lives without sufficiently restoring themselves, which can eventually lead to weariness during an extreme period of stress or even work. So, it doesn’t matter who or how old you are; fixing your personal stresses in life is one excellent way to make yourself feel great again. The following are some of the things you can do to achieve that.

Use the right skincare products

There are some key ingredients that you must consider when shopping for skincare products. Ensure that the product you buy has vitamin C, which can help brighten your skin, retinoid that increase cell turnover and stimulate collagen production, and an exfoliating element to remove the dead skin cells.

On the other hand, you can get rid of eczema, acne, or eye bags, by using CBD oil from places such as Simply CBD. This will make you look younger as this oil has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties to help you fix the wear and tear (lines and signs of aging) in your skin.

Get enough sleep

Getting a sufficient amount of sleep is crucial for good health. According to recent research, sleep disturbances can lead to an accumulation of a toxic protein called amyloid in the brain, especially in people at risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.

In addition, other studies have shown that poor or inadequate sleep can put an individual at a higher risk of developing illnesses like diabetes, high blood pressure, depression, cancer, obesity, and even premature death.

Therefore, you should aim at getting about seven hours of sleep. This is because when you sleep, your body gets the chance to release hormones that promote cell renewal and turnover. Use the sleeping time to your advantage by using good skincare products that will help your renew and revitalise your skin.

On the other hand, you can practice good sleep hygiene to better your sleep. Consider upgrading your mattresses, pillowcase and ensure that the bedroom is cool and quiet. Having a good quality pillowcase will ensure that your skin is not affected or irritated by the constant turning and tossing.

Dental care and repair

When thinking about aging, many people think of wrinkles or droopy eyelids. But, some might have yellowed teeth, sunken faces, and droopy eyelids. Usually, these problems can actually make you look older than you are.

Therefore, dental care and repair can help you improve your smile and radiance. Cosmetic procedures from a dentist are some of the proven and most worthwhile treatments you can get to repair your teeth. Remember that it takes into account your particular dental needs and repair goals for you to come out with a sense of beauty and pride in your expressiveness. So, regardless of how well you take care of your teeth, you might need some maintenance from time to time.

Massage and deep spa treatment

People are constantly talking about the health benefits of spa treatment and massage therapy in relation to various illnesses.  But did you know that massage can significantly reduce the effect of aging? Massage therapy is one of the ways to increase your general wellness, making you feel much younger.

Besides, going to a spa at the end of your workday can be an excellent way to unburden your stress and release all the tension you have on your shoulders. Other than that, massage therapy can increase your quality of sleep and improve blood circulation.

Drink plenty of water

Drinking enough water is excellent for your skin health. Besides, water is considered an excellent moisturiser that can reduce the appearance of wrinkles, helping you look younger and slimmer.

Failure to drink enough water can make your skin swollen and can lead to ballooning. Also, you can develop skin problems like dry skin, eczema, spots, wrinkles, and psoriasis. In addition, the first sign of dehydration is usually visible on the skin. Water is also known to eliminate toxins and waste products from the body leading to healthy life quality. It also helps get rid of headaches and leads to a happy life.

All of these things can help boost your wellbeing and mental health, and as you age, this is more important than ever,

Eat a well-balanced diet

As the saying goes, beauty comes from the inside, and just depending on skin creams and pricy potions for glowing skin is not enough. You can eat yourself to youthful and healthy skin. And since aging increases your risk of developing chronic conditions and heart illnesses, it is essential to consume a diet rich in fruits and vegetables.

Nutritional experts have recommended focusing on vegetables, fruits, and foods low in salt and sugar. Besides, there are certain types of food that you can eat to reduce the effects of aging. For instance, you can consume green tea rich in antioxidants that can protect your skin from harmful free radicals. Also, you can consume tomatoes, watermelon, bone broth, fatty fish, and dark chocolate. Also, ensure that you consume meals low in saturated fats, red meat, and sugar.

Stay socially and physically active

Staying connected to your friends and family can help delay the cognitive decline that comes with old age. Also, according to various reports, having pets can have many benefits as it helps seniors maintain social connections and improve their mental health.

On the other hand, it is crucial to stay physically active. Staying active can help you maintain a healthy weight and make you look younger. And according to many pieces of research, working out, especially high-intensity interval training, can slow down cellular aging by almost ten years.

The benefits don’t stop there; exercise can also increase blood flow to your brain and move critical nutrients throughout your body, resulting in a more youthful look. Besides, a regular workout is beneficial for maintaining strength and muscle mass which can add many years to your lifespan.

Reduce caffeine intake

Everyone loves coffee; in fact, older adults are shown to drink more coffee than any other age group. And while drinking coffee can positively affect your health, energy, and moods, consuming too much of it can have some adverse effects. Too much coffee can lead to poor sleep quality and dehydration.

According to Mayo Clinic, people who consume too much coffee experience restlessness, headaches, heart palpitations, and anxiety. Also, too much caffeine overstimulates the nervous system and leads to jitters, upset tummy, and sleep issues in older adults.

Also, too much caffeine can wreak havoc on your skin health, dehydrating your body and rob it of its vital nutrients. And unfortunately, some of these effects of caffeine are irreversible.

The Bottom Line

There are not enough substitutes when it comes to fixing your personal wear and tear, as your body will eventually show how you treat it. So try as much as possible to stay active, maintain a healthy work-life balance, drink plenty of water, get enough sleep, limit the amount of caffeine you take, and, more importantly, eat a well-balanced diet.

This article was written by a freelance writer.

5 New Interior Design Ideas to Boost Wellbeing

(image: Pexels)

The Novelty Cave Design

The novelty cave design is a unique idea that will make your home more exciting and memorable. It’s not easy to find something like this because you have to create it, but the results are excellent. Decluttering to create the space can also increase feelings of wellbeing.

The novelty cave design creates an underground space that you can use as a bedroom, bathroom, or just any function you want. Naturally, therefore, it’d be necessary to declutter areas you wish to redesign ahead of time. Consider moving boxes or anything you deem clutter to a storage – learn more about reliable movers near you.

The main thing here is to create the illusion of being in a natural cave, and it’s not that hard at all. It can help to have a space where you feel cosy.

Sauna Style Design

When moving houses, you may experience overwhelming feelings but moving in a house with a sauna style design will instantly improve your mood with its timeless and functional beauty. It’s not only about being cosy but also getting many health benefits while enjoying some time with your family and friends.

You can also include some cosy elements in the bathroom – your home will become more beautiful than ever if you take care of the minor details. You want your home to feel calm.

Pod Styles for Specific Rooms 

With their drawers, shelves, and cabinets for storage or display, pod-style furniture pieces are a great addition to any room. They take up less space than traditional shelving units but still provide many options for displaying favourite items.

Pod styles work well in bathrooms, where they serve as both countertops and extra storage areas. If you’re looking to transform your master suite, consider a pod-style countertop to replace the standard vanity. It will add storage and create an elegant focal point. It can also help to promote feelings of calm in the space.

Twilight Lighting Design

It’s no secret that a well-lit room is essential for any interior design. However, what if you’re trying to create more of an atmospheric experience? If so, then twilight lighting might be the perfect fit. Twilight lighting works by adjusting your lights in such a way as to cast shadows across the floor and walls – resulting in an ethereal feeling room. This can boost wellbeing if it helps you to relax and switch off too.

Minimalistic Designs

If you like more natural-looking designs, then this might be the style for you. This design is great because no matter what kind of decor your living space features, it will look good with a minimalistic design. The most common thing that people do when they use a minimalist approach to interior design is use light colours such as grey and white throughout the space. This can feel more relaxing.

This is a great design idea for people trying to sell their homes because the neutral colour palette makes your house more attractive and appealing. The best way to make sure this style works well in your living room would be using a fireplace as an accent piece or adding one large focal point in the room.

Conclusion

Interior design possibilities are endless, and it is up to you how far you want to go with the designs to make them interactive, attractive, and timeless. Make sure you create a home with lots of space and light, so it feels calm and promotes feelings of wellness and cosiness.

This article was written by a freelance writer

How to Look After Yourself When You Care for a Loved One.

(image: Pixabay)

If you are a carer for a loved one, or perhaps have a carer as someone with a long-term illness or chronic health condition, you will know that while it can be enjoyable and rewarding, it can be tough. Being able to take care of the needs of someone else, as well as yourself, can be a juggle, and often feel overwhelming. If you need some help and advice when it comes to caring for a loved one, then read on. As the old saying goes, you can’t fill from an empty cup, so looking after yourself is important as well.

Make each day different

It can be tough, but if you are caring for a loved one who isn’t very mobile and getting out of the house can be hard, then getting out and about can be the last thing on your mind for the day. However, having a change of scenery and keeping as active as possible is important for the mind in terms of dementia, as well as for their mental health. It can be a good thing for you as a carer too, as fresh air can make such a difference to how you feel too.

Think about routines

It can be easy to let the person you care for slip into your routine. This can be especially true if you don’t live in and just pop in each day at certain times. However, it is a good idea to think about the routine that is going to work best for those that you are caring for. It should help them to feel comfortable and at ease. This could look like not interrupting them when you know their favourite show is on TV or waiting to serve their meal at a better time, not just one that is more convenient for you. There needs to be a degree of flexibility with this, of course, but having a rethink of what you currently do is important.

Get the support that you need

Talking of routine and seeing what fits in with you as well as what fits in with others is important. However, there will be times when some things just won’t work; you can’t put everything that you need to do on hold. This is where getting help comes in. It may be that you just need another family member to step in for one day or perhaps you need to seek out the support of a carer support services team. It might be that you need physical help one day if you have an injury and lifting someone could make it worse. Look to create a circle of people around you that you can call on when needed and who you can trust and confide in.

Although the person you are caring for will come first most of the time, much like a relationship with a parent and child, you do still need to care for yourself. Putting plans in place that will make things easier for you, and give you any downtime that you need, is important.

This article was written by a freelance writer

Why we must prioritise Mental Health on the World Stage- Simone Biles, Naomi Osaka and reactions. By Eleanor

(image Pinterest)

Yesterday, I woke up to hear that the Olympic gold medal winning athlete Simone Biles – the most decorated and greatest gymnast of all time, pulled out of the Tokyo olympics, citing mental health reasons. Instantly, she was criticised by people for not being a team player, for going to the Olympics in the first place, for daring to reveal that she is human and she struggled.

Gymnastics can be a dangerous sport if you are not in the right mindset and after not feeling her best, Biles withdrew from the competition. She still stood in the glare of the world media to support her team though!

We live in a toxic society that still doesn’t understand the mind- or anything they cannot see. Whether like Naomi Osaka, who withdrew from Wimbledon, its stress, anxiety, depression or burn out/exhaustion, the reasons are valid. Just like sportspeople pull out for physical injuries, mental injuries are just as justifiable and important. The brain is an organ and it can break too.

If we look at Simone Biles and her background, which I didn’t know until looking into it, she was sexually abused by her gymnastics coach as a child. She also comes from a difficult upbringing. She will therefore be carrying trauma in her life which could get triggered by the pressures that come with the Olympics and being the most visible and famous gymnast in USA history. She is only 24.

There is a certain columnist/journalist in the UK who writes and attacks women in the public eye with mental health issues constantly. it doesn’t matter if they could be depressed, anxious, burnt out or suicidal. It doesn’t matter if they have disclosed they have been suicidal in one case. He is paid to pull these women to pieces in public and accuses anyone not agreeing or being ‘woke’ or a snowflake’.

This infuriates me that someone with so much media influence spends their time attacking people who are vulnerable and who should have support.

I hope that in the not too distant future we won’t have to have these discussions about mental resilience, about how people are quitting on their team for being unwell, about how its an ‘excuse’. This is usually said by people that have no understanding of mental health issues and who do not understand the pressures of performing in public and being successful at that level.

With Naomi Osaka, she was fined for not attending a press conference and breaching her contract. If that isn’t discrimination, I don’t know what is.

This has to change. its 2021, not 1821!

I was heartened to see so much support for these women on social media and so I hope it is a small minority of views. But sport, a typically macho arena, needs to wake up, needs to support people and stop treating athletes in this way. This also echoes the workplace in general.

Solidarity with Simone, Naomi, Meghan and anyone else struggling. They are inspirations to people around the world with mental illness and together they will make a change.

Is Stress Affecting your Skin? Heres how to tell.

(image: Pexels)

Is high stress causing skin conditions like acne, skin rashes, psoriasis, and eczema to occur? Here’s how to tell! 

If you’ve been experiencing high stress lately and have started to notice a change in your skin’s health, this is no coincidence. Aside from weakening your immune system and causing issues such as hair loss to occur, stress can also affect the state of your skin.  

Everything from dry skin, to acne, skin rashes, and other conditions like eczema and psoriasis can all be rooted back to stress. And unfortunately, dealing with these skin issues can also increase stress levels, which can ultimately perpetuate the  cycle. That’s why it’s critical to understand the relationship between stress and skin, as well as the different coping mechanisms and treatment available.  

To learn more about the stress-skin connection, and how stress hormones may be affecting your complexion, read on! 

Understanding the Relationship Between Stress & Skin 

There are two dominant stressors that influence your skin health. The first is environmental stress. Unlike other organs in your body, your skin is constantly exposed to the outside world, making it more susceptible to environmental stressors such as temperature, humidity, and ultraviolet light. These factors can trigger your skin to produce stress hormones like cortisol, which inevitably, sends signals back to your brain. These signals contribute to the other main stressor that influences your skin: psychological stress. 

Psychological stress disrupts the top layer of your skin—also known as the epidermal barrier—that acts to retain moisture and protect you from harmful microbes. A healthy epidermal barrier is vital for maintaining a clean, clear complexion as it helps to repair and shield the skin. So, when disrupted, your skin becomes more sensitive and reactive, causing irritation as well as the exacerbation of certain skin conditions to occur. 

As your epidermal barrier continues to be affected by psychological stress, it can become increasingly challenging for these skin issues to heal properly, especially if left entirely untreated. In the next section, we’ll take a closer look at different skin conditions and concerns that may develop from chronic stress, and what you can do to manage them. 

How Exactly Can Stress Affect Your Skin? 

Think stress is the explanation behind the changes in your skin? Below are a few common conditions to lookout for and available treatment options to consider. 

Atopic Dermatitis AKA Acne 

If you feel stressed on a regular basis, don’t be surprised if zits and pimples start to appear. The effects of stress tend to lead to acne because cortisol—the “stress” hormone—encourages your sebaceous glands to speed up. Your sebaceous glands control the oil production in your skin, so when provoked, they naturally cause your complexion to appear oilier. In turn, this can cause your pores to clog and consequently, lead to acne. 

Dealing with acne caused by stress is hard enough to begin with, but it’s especially difficult for people who naturally have acne-prone or oily skin. If you resonate with one of these skin types and are currently struggling with stress acne on top of your usual breakouts, it may be a good idea to invest in a prescription product to adequately treat your concerns. Using a tretinoin prescription to fight blemishes, for example, can make it easier to get rid of acne and acne scarring in real-time, and prevent further development from occurring.  

Skin Rashes 

Skin rashes like psoriasis, rosacea, and eczema are all tell-tale symptoms of high stress. The conditions will generally develop on account of a weakened immune system— another stress response your body has when dealing with high anxiety. When your immune system is weakened, it’ll likely lead to dysbiosis—an imbalance of bacteria in both your gut and skin health—to occur. If the imbalance appears on your skin, it’ll likely manifest itself with redness or rashes. 

Pre-existing conditions are normally characterized by itchy, dry skin, but when dealing with high stress levels, these issues become all the more aggravated.  

Fortunately, managing these inflammatory conditions can include using a basic anti-itch topical ointment that is readily available at your local drugstore. However, these aren’t effective in strengthening your immune system. Arguably the best way to promote overall immunity is to stick with a varied, well-balanced diet. 

Fine Lines & Wrinkles 

The natural aging process speeds up when you experience high stress, as it can cause changes to the proteins in your skin and fluctuate anti-aging hormones like DHEA (dehydroepiandrosterone). These factors can ultimately lead to a reduction of brightness and elasticity in your skin and accelerate the aging process. As a result, the formation of fine lines and wrinkles may occur. 

Environmental stressors like ultraviolet light and radiation can largely contribute to an acceleration of the aging process. For this reason, it’s critical to make sure you’re protecting your skin at all costs, regardless of if you are indoors or outdoors.  

Be sure to apply sunscreen everyday as the last step of your morning routine. This will help mitigate environmental stress that comes from excessive sun exposure and keep your skin looking youthful and radiant all year round. 

This article was written by a freelance writer.

How to Prevent & Ease Effects of Stress 

Skin care can only get you so far when it comes to managing your stress. While washing your face regularly and incorporating treatment products in your daily regime may be practical in treating the skin issues mentioned above, they’re not beneficial in alleviating chronic stress as a whole. There are various ways to reduce high stress and anxiety, so try to explore the different options out there. Here are a few options to get you started: 

  • Schedule Time for Mindfulness: Give yourself a chance every day to relax with a stress-free mindfulness practice. Whether it be reading, writing, meditating, or stretching, remember to block off some time for yourself every day, even if only for 15 minutes. 
  • Stay Active: Exercise and physical activity offer numerous health benefits, and one of them is lowering levels of stress hormones. Take advantage of this benefit by staying active throughout the week! From personal training to outdoor activities like hiking and biking, there are plenty of ways to get your heart rate up! 
  • Talk to Someone: Managing high stress and/or poor mental health is not something you should burden yourself with. If you’re having trouble navigating your stress-free journey alone, don’t hesitate to talk to someone about how you’re feeling. A simple conversation with a friend or family member can be more therapeutic than you know, but if they’re support isn’t enough, don’t be afraid to seek professional guidance from a mental health counselor.