I Am Learning: Gratitude and Self Care for my Mental Health

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(image:mindsetofgreatness)

Today on this cold,dark,rainy,wintery day and past few weeks I am learning:

To be gracious

-To be more positive and to give thanks every day- either in my head to God
/ the Universe or verbally through prayer. I also appreciate more and write down things I am grateful for. My friend Holly Matthews taught me this but I had also learnt it and felt it from various Jewish  and self development teachings.

To be kind to myself if I have a bad day and practise self care

– If I am having a bad day with my anxiety or I am feeling low and tired because of the dark, cold weather, to feel better, depending on my mood I make sure I

1) Drink lots of water because my medications dehydrate me and so does the central heating  – and my skin gets all oily from the heating/ hair dries. So then I feel worse. Very important to keep drinking and try and get as much fresh air as possible.

2) Take time to have a bubble bath or put on some facial or body moisturiser due to the above but pampering is also so important to self care when you are needing some.

3) Nap/Rest and take time to relax without feeling guilty. I have my go to blanket for this. Also, am learning how to practise good sleep at night because I often go to bed with my worries! I understand that for some people eg parents that this is harder. Grab rest when you can eg when your baby is resting.

4)Sometimes, writing or working on various projects can help as long as I don’t stress myself out. If I do feel overwhelmed then I have to cut back on things.

Today I am learning it is OK to feel anxious and overwhelmed but what is most important is to work on my mindset, work on positivity and embrace change. As well as following what I love and practising my passions.

What do you do for self care?

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Hitting the Pause Button: Taking a step back to promote Wellness

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(image: https://blogrhiaepoitiers.wordpress.com/2015/04/23/il-est-temps-de-faire-une-pause/)

Last week was particularly tough for me as I have written about and I felt really down. So this week, I decided to hit the pause button and just relax as best as I could, before attending job interviews next week. I am staying at my Dads in the countryside this week and while I have been doing a little bit of job hunting/ applying, I have mainly been resting and trying to promote as much relaxation as possible. I felt so drained and stressed out last week when I received some difficult news and knew I should take a step back in order to promote my wellbeing. I am feeling so much better, after having lots of sleep and not beating myself up over what went wrong.

Sometimes, I think that when we go through hard times, it can be all consuming. Your brain replays the upsetting event and tries to analyse it and think where you went wrong or if you could have done something differently. This week, after several days of this, I have chosen to pause. I have had to, for my own sanity. I am also lucky that even though financially things can be hard, I have the support of my family. Not everyone has that. That has made me be able to be more positive as well. I know that I am one of the lucky ones in that.

Last night, I went to the cinema to see Paddington 2 which was adorable. A very sweet, happy, family movie. Just what was needed really!

I know that things will get better again and am trying to draw on my strength and past experiences to be resilient and move forward. It is never easy. I am hopeful this week that I will get there, and part of that is from pausing and regrouping.

Summer Heat Wave and Mental Health Wellbeing

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(painting by Yvonne Coomber)

Here in England, we have been experiencing a heat wave of over 30 degrees (yesterday was 34 and the hottest day in England for decades). Needless to say, we are not really set up for this type of weather and most homes don’t have air conditioning, just fans and open windows!

I have decided to write about this because heat and its effects can very much affect mental health wellbeing.

Heat can make you feel sluggish, tired and overwhelmed. It can make you more vulnerable to pressures and less able to cope. Add to that a mental health or physical health condition or  concern and you will find that many people struggle in this type of weather.

There are also the physical concerns of dehydration, exhaustion, sun stroke, sun burn and the impact this has on wellbeing and mental health. It is so important to keep out the sun and keep hydrated. The intense heat can also affect sleep- and stop one from falling asleep and getting adequate rest. Again this will impact on our overall wellbeing, making one feel low or anxious or extremely tired or in the case of mood disorders, has multiple implications.

I find that when its this hot and there is no air conditioning, I feel less able to cope and more tired. However I am proud of myself for doing my best in this weather.  Luckily, its going to cool off a bit now too.

On the positive side, the sunshine brings much needed Vitamin D and can be a mood booster too! Just make sure you stay safe in the sun, summer is well and truly here 🙂

Bipolar Slim: Part One, Small steps.

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And so, the Slimming world diet has begun. Except it doesn’t feel too much like a diet- it isnt hugely restrictive which means I just adapt a lot of what I eat already but make it healthier- so less cheese, smaller portions of certain foods, good lean proteins and some carbs, add more veg and fruit, eat less chocolate and sugar (limited juice, drinking lots of water and low cal squash). Its about eating speed foods to speed up metabolism and burn fat and eat free foods- which you can eat a good amount of as they are healthy.  Free to enjoy essentially.

I am oddly really enjoying being healthier and taking care of myself (I hate exercise and have never been on a diet but its empowering). Its just dealing with the chocolate cravings that are a challenge- chocolate milk/ ice cream cravings. I’ve had some chocolate this week but i’m trying to limit it to maybe once or twice a week and smaller portions/ healthier.

I re-weighed myself and I have lost a pound this week! Which is the start of a long weight loss and health kick journey. I am now going to incorporate exercise into my plan, did a 30 min brisk walk yesterday.

I am on Instagram with my food diary which is helping with support and motivation from other slimmers and have the support of family and friends too. The group process is not for me- but I get support online and from my loved ones.

My aim is to lose 5 stone over time. I remind myself that the biggest journeys start with small steps…. heres to getting healthier!  

Changes: Hopes and New beginnings

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Sometimes in life, changes occur rapidly and you have to just go with them and the flow. These past few weeks I have been having a lot of positive changes in terms of employment and meeting new people. Its this that can provoke positive mindset but also fears and worries too. Change can be the most wonderful motivator or you can sink under pressures.

I am lucky that in my work, I have a good support network. Additionally, as Spring is here and the sun shines more, with lighter evenings, it is a very hopeful time.

I was reminded this week that Hope truly is the most important factor. Without hope, we are nothing. I have also found that getting adequate rest and relaxation time is key in keeping me feeling well and able to cope with lifes challenges.

Looking forward to a peaceful, sunny  weekend.

Peer Support Work: A New Adventure

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I very much felt inspired to write today because its Friday and on Monday I begin my new job role as a Peer Support Worker for a mental health charity here in the UK.

Peer support takes people like me who have lived experience of mental health issues and are in recovery, and able to promote or assist wellness and recovery in others. This can be done through therapeutic groups, talking to service users and working in a collaborative team of occupational therapists, social workers and mental health coordinators. A lot of the work I will be doing is confidential so I won’t be able to disclose it here.

Its such an amazing- yet strange turn of events to be on the ‘other side’ (i.e. not a service user myself). I am embarking on a very new and exciting journey and very thankful to be able to help others.

I also just wanted to say a big thank you to everyone who reads, likes, follows my blog. I will continue to blog and share mine and others stories.

The Serenity Prayer, Hope and Manifestation

Whenever I have felt unwell, low, hopeless and like nothing would ever change (often after experiencing a low or high bipolar episode and being unemployed/ feeling very alone), I have found that certain prayers and ideas have comforted me and helped me grow and have hope.

One of these (as well as many Jewish prayers) is the Serenity prayer. Its words give me comfort. They have even been put to a song by India Arie, whose music aims to heal others struggling with difficulties, broken hearts, stress, sadness.

So today I thought I would share it with you. I would say I am quite a spiritual person and I believe that prayers really do manifest if they are meant for you- your heart is listened too. At times when I have felt hopeless, I turned to God (if you don’t believe in God replace with the universe). And even if my prayers didn’t manifest directly at that exact moment- they often do manifest – even if it takes a year or two.

I hope this will help you feel a little comforted or healed, like it always does for me. Serenity is so important, even if it takes a long time to reach

Have hope :

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Guest Post by Juno Medical: 9 Things People with Anxiety Disorders Would Rather not Hear You Say

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Anxiety disorders include generalized anxiety disorders, panic disorders, and social anxiety disorders. 1 in 12 people suffers from anxiety globally, and women are twice as likely as men to experience anxiety.

If you feel overwhelmed by the behaviour of a person with anxiety, try to put yourself in their shoes, and show understanding, not stigma.

For more see www.junomedical.com

 

The Bossing It! Academy- a Journey of Self Discovery and Recovery.

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I first discovered the Bossing It Academy when one of its founders, Holly Matthews started following me and contacted me on Twitter. Holly and her friend  Caroline Hardwick (a life coach and psychologist), were keen to share their message of positivity, healing, law of attraction, mindfulness and above all, self esteem and discovery. So, my connection with the Bossing it Academy began.

So what is the Academy and how does it work?

The Academy is a structured plan designed to boost confidence, self awareness, self esteem and to make positive changes in its clients lives. It inspires its clients to achieve their dreams positively, using the best that modern psychology has to offer. It is a 6 week self development academy, using the Law of Attraction, positive affirmations, ebooks and audios to help people make positive changes into their life plan.

As Holly and Caroline state,

In this academy you will learn how to attract positivity into your life and swerve around the challenges that spring up. You will be guided to create the life you have always wanted and taught how feel grateful and happy, regardless of where you are currently at.’

The notions of gratitude and positive psychology are key to the success of the Academy. It helps those who feel overwhelmed by modern life and stresses eg mental health issues or who are stuck in a life rut. It teaches its clients that they can achieve anything they want, regardless of circumstance.

When you sign up to the Academy you get the following included:

-Weekly webinars, with your theme for the week.

– Daily audios, to get you in the right frame of mind for the day.

– A techniques e-book, with techniques you can use to stay focused and positive during and after the 6 weeks.

– The bossing it! ebook, which gives you everything you have learnt in a visual format.

– Weekly short videos, with themes to help keep your mindset on track

–  A guide to Affirmations and Affirmation examples

–  The ‘Oh sh*t’ audios for those times of high stress

–  Your bossing it! workbook, with a journal to fill out daily

–  Certificate on completion of the full 6 weeks

–  Access to a private Facebook community, where you get extra content and live coaching

–  A tried and tested 6 week programme that is used by celebrities and influencers

The key to the success of the Academy is that Holly and Caroline are incredibly hands on with their clients. They have a unique facebook group offering support to its clients, with both being reachable my phone and online for guidance and appointments. They are dedicated, kind professionals whose ability to guide you through your process of positive discovery is second to none. Holly also makes Facebook Live videos with healing, guided meditations that focus on positivity and achieving. I sat in on the Calm and Clarity meditation and found it to be incredibly calming and healing, focusing on mindfulness and breathing. Holly is very personable and a true professional at what she does.

The group of Academy clients are hugely supportive and kind to one another. This helps as part of the therapeutic process, as clients feel part of a positive, recovery focused group and assist one another through the 6 week process of work books, videos, affirmations and all that encompasses the Academy.

In the group, I asked fellow clients to share their stories of how the Academy has changed their lives and here are some quotes from their stories. These are real testimonials from clients working on the Academy right now, whose lives have changed for the better. (names changed):

‘I started the academy as I had no self confidence ,I had body dysmorphia and other mental health issues. I hated myself so much thatIi didnt understand why my husband was with me and I argued with him over women he works with. I had visions of things happening in my head ,bad things like crashes, him cheating etc to the point where I didn’t want to leave the house and If I did leave I’d never go alone. I spent all my time with my children and  felt guilty having me time

Once I started the academy I started on my self confidence doing the affirmations, Work book and audios I soon stopped the negative and just used to think positively until I believed and then I didn’t worry as much.  I’ve now started my own business with a positive vibe- I would never have thought it could work before as  everything was just an idea! I’ve been going out on my own and I’ve been putting time aside for me! My goals.are high and I know I can reach them’    (‘Mary’)

  ‘Since being a part of the academy my entire thought process has changed and after suffering with horrendous OCD, since being 8 years old, I can now say I’m 80% better than I’ve ever been in the short space of time being a part of this amazing community. I see beauty everywhere like a cloud has been lifted and look forward to life instead of just plodding on. (‘Miranda’)

I  know I was guided to the academy, I was at a point in my life where I was starting to doubt if anything would get better. I have great family, friends and a fantastic relationship but everything else seemed to be stagnant. I was really struggling to stay positive. I read book after book on the law of attraction but nothing seemed to click with me. Then the academy came along and it’s like a light bulb. The care and attention Holly and Caroline give to us all is amazing, they have helped me understand how I can make my life great. It’s like coming out of the fog and seeing clear.’ (‘Claudia’)

‘I  began the incredible bossing it academy after suffering a very nasty panic attack on the 1st of December 2016. I have suffered with depression and anxiety for years and spent a lot of my childhood living with a dad who suffered from very severe mental illness which impacted on my life.  My mum had been following Holly on Instagram for awhile and always had remarked on what an incredible, beautiful, positive lady she was and after my panic attack emailed her without me knowing to ask for her help and guidance as she too was struggling to know how to help me…. However, very quickly my dark, stormy world began to be filled with sunshine and with the support, guidance, tools, care and love that the bossing it academy provides my world has been transformed.’ (Lisa)

Each of these clients had genuine transformations in their lives in just 6 weeks due to the professionalism and warmth that Holly and Caroline provide.

For more on the Bossing it Academy and how you can get involved, visit http://www.iamhollymatthews.com/bossingit/

Twitter:  @imbossingit     and  @hollymatthews

Monday Afternoon Thoughts

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Its strange to think that only two months ago I was working in a completely different career. I love children but teaching brought with it what felt like endless morning panic and panic attacks so I had to give it up.

However, since giving it up I have rekindled my love for writing and blogging and working as a social media manager. I love seeing social media grow and building presence for people and I love writing and sharing my message about mental health to the world.

I am pleased I have found something so fulfilling and I feel like this is what I am meant to be doing.

So, as I look forward to the week ahead, I must also remember to work hard and rest well also. To get enough sleep, eat good food and keep my spirits up.

Thankfully I have been so much better of late too in terms of my bipolar and general health.

Have a wonderful Monday to all my followers and readers! I hope you are all well and I send you love from London.