Browsing Category

Mental Health

Mental Health

30 Inspirational Quotes To Read If You Are Stuck

quotesPhoto by Alisa Anton on Unsplash

One of the posts I remember doing on my old blog was one about inspirational quotes that got me through a day, a month and a year. I’ve literally got a whole board on quotes that have inspired me and made me laugh. I think sometimes you read ones that are meant to be helpful but are actually condescending. You can also read ones that don’t make sense at the time but do in the future.

The quotes I have below have helped me a lot in recent years with my mental health. I hope in turn they can either help you or at least give you a smile.

  1. You are allowed to outgrow people.
  2. One of the biggest mistakes we make is believing other people think the way we think.
  3. Be patient with yourself. Nothing in nature blooms all year.
  4. You’re doubting yourself again. Stop that.
  5. Don’t let anyone rent space in your head unless they are a good tenant.
  6. Not all storms come to disrupt your life. Some come to clear your path.
  7. Work hard in silence. Let your success be your noise.
  8. Just in case no-one has told you lately, the progress you’re making truly matters.
  9. We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when creating them.
  10. We are told to put on a brave face, but sometimes the bravest thing is to take the mask off.
  11. If you’re on medication for your mental health, that’s okay. They’re like glasses for your brain.
  12. Fight like a Disney princess.
  13. You are either on my side, at my side or in my way. Choose wisely.
  14. Tears are words the heart can’t say.
  15. You are not alive just to pay bills and lose weight.
  16. If Plan A doesn’t work, the alphabet has 25 more letters.
  17. People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.
  18. It’s okay. You just forgot who you are. Welcome back.
  19. You are powerful, beautiful, brilliant and brave.
  20. Somewhere there is a past you overflowing with so much pride looking at how far you’ve come.
  21. You would be surprised at who is watching your journey and being inspired by it. Don’t give up.
  22. It’s okay if you fall apart sometimes. Tacos fall apart and we still love them.
  23. If someone asks ‘are you crazy?’, simply reply yes. Boom. End of discussion.
  24. If you see someone without a smile, give them one of yours.
  25. You’re healing and that terrifies them. They’ve never met a woman who can break several times and put herself together with nothing but self-love.
  26. When life shuts a door, open it. It’s a door. That’s how they work.
  27. Take time to be thankful for what you have. You could always have more, but you could also have less.
  28. They laugh at me because I’m different. I laugh at them because they’re all the same.
  29. Don’t be hard on yourself. The mum in ET had an alien living in her house for days and didn’t notice.
  30. Avoiding certain people to protect your emotional health is not a weakness. It’s wisdom.

Which quotes do you find inspirational and help you?

Lifestyle Mental Health

5 Things You Should Try To Do Every Day

do every dayPhoto by Emma Matthews Digital Content Production on Unsplash

Every one was taught as a child to do certain things every day to be healthy. I can remember being taught how to properly brush my teeth at school, eat a balanced diet and even dealing with periods. It was like having a third parents in my life!

The problem is that, as soon as you reach adulthood, things start to lack. You wish that there were lessons for you to do every day to maintain sanity. Those lessons could be super simple or they could be tricky like money! I still don’t get money. I guess it’s a good job that I don’t earn a lot. Haha! I thought I’d try to come up with things to do every day that you might not think of yourself.

Stay hydrated

You would think that this would be a super obvious one to do every day but you’d be surprised! I don’t even do it and I know that I should.

The recommended water intake you’re meant to have is 8 glasses a day. It isn’t that Sometimes you have to be creative with how you take it in. You could have cups of green tea, buy a hydro-flask that tells you times to drink at or just always have water near you. That way you’ll see it when you look up and will be able to sip.

Since you’re reading this post, why not go grab some water now?

Laugh

This is another simple yet tough one to do especially if you suffer from mental health or struggling. Apparently 3-4 years old laugh up to 300 times a day and adults only 17! That’s crazy when you think about it, right? It’s sad that we lose that sense of fun as we grow up. I can understand why since life happens but still sad.

While I doubt we’ll be able to get you laughing as often as a kid, maybe these ideas could help:

  • Watch a comedy film you haven’t seen in a while
  • Watch a cat/dog video
  • Tell a loved one ‘bad jokes’
  • Look back at old photos/watch home videos

Make at least one meal at home

So many of us either eat out or order in and that’s understandable. We have busy lives and don’t always feel like cooking.

You don’t have to make a four course meal! You could easily make something quick like scrambled eggs or a salad. The meal doesn’t have to be hot, just homemade.

Walk 30 minutes a day

Something that has made life easier for me or at least feel accomplished is walking 30 minutes a day.

If my legs aren’t declaring war on me and the weather is behaving, I walk. There is something really relaxing about walking in the sun. You can get away from social media and clear your mind. Not everyone can walk 30 minutes in one go so you could try doing it in 10 minute intervals.

Hug a loved one/pet

Apparently it’s been shown that by hugging someone your blood pressure goes down. Don’t quote me on that but I’m sure I heard that fact on some scientific show! Haha! It could be your pet!

Even though I can’t do this one every day, I do try to visit my local cat cafe once a week to hug cats. They keep me calm and ease my anxiety. If I can have at least one day with being anxious I’ll be happy! You can never go wrong with furry cuddles! Though you have to catch a cat at the right moment.

Talk to someone

It isn’t just the elderly that can get lonely. Any person of any age can suffer from loneliness. I myself suffer with it almost every day since I don’t have any relatives closeby. It’s why I try to take myself out of my flat and do something. I go to craft classes, visit my local library or just walk around town. Along the way I’ll eventually chat with someone and that is a good thing.

Try not to exclude yourself for people. You matter.

Oh, and talk physically! We’re all online way too much methinks!

What things do you think we should do every day?

do every day

 

Mental Health

Thoughts I’m Having Before My First Therapy Appointment

therapyPhoto by Timothy L Brock on Unsplash

Oof, have I had a bit of a history with therapy?

I’ve been in and out of it ever since I was a kid and haven’t had much luck with it. Some sessions had been to help me with my confidence, others for bereavement. I think what you can get with therapy is a little hit and miss depending on the therapist.

Why am I writing this post since I’ve already chatted so much about my mental health?

Well, as the title kind of suggests, tomorrow I have my very first therapy session. At least in the last few years anyway! I was supposed to have it today but my therapist double-booked. That kind of left me upset since I thought I’d have to wait for months again. Thankfully that wasn’t the case.

I’ve got so much inside my head in way of thoughts and some fears! I know that I shouldn’t be scared of therapy because it’s meant to help me, but this is me we’re talking about! Haha! I wouldn’t be having it if I didn’t have some dumb fears about the session.

“If I tell the whole truth, I’ll be sectioned!”

If you ever had severe depression, then I’m sure you’ve had this particular fear regardless of who you talk to.

The thought of ever being sectioned is terrifying. The only thing that keeps me going (in a sense) is having control. It’s funny that I say that since I don’t think I’ve had true control over my life for years. At least not mentally anyway. I have to tell myself that she wouldn’t automatically section me unless I was at immediate danger to myself or someone else and I’m not.

If I’m going to stand any chance of recovering, I need to be completely honest. Therapy means confidential and she is there to help me make sense of why I think the way I do. It’s going to take a really long time but I know it’ll be worth it. Maybe I’ll feel more stable for when I go to visit family in June.

“What if I’m too far gone?”

This is such a stupid fear for me to have.

If I was really too far gone then I would either be sectioned or with my parents. The fact that I’m even doing therapy means that I must (deep down) feel like I can be helped. Part of me feels like I’ll never recover since I’ve had to wait for so long to get to this point. I’ve literally had something like 3 assessments to even be considered to see a psychologist.

“Maybe she won’t think I’m depressed and give me another diagnosis!”

A long shot of fear but, when you’ve heard so many people say different things, you don’t know what to think anymore. My autism support worker says that a lot of people she looks after are diagnosed with different mental health conditions. When the symptoms they’re showing are actually connected to their autism.

I know I’m quirky but even I don’t think I can be placed in different baskets.

What I’m getting to as well with my fear is that they won’t think my depression is serious. I wouldn’t be going to see this person if someone didn’t think I needed the extra support. Never been to see a clinical psychologist before so fear of the unknown I guess. Eventually I want to be able to come off my anti-depressants but that’s a long time in the future!

“I won’t recover by the end of these sessions.”

I’m certain that we’ve all had this fear when it comes to our mental health. You see so many people chatting about their recovery (which is incredible by the way!) and you worry that you won’t. I know that I’m in that boat right now. I don’t know if you can ever fully recover from mental health.

Part of me always thought that everyone was born with the possibility of suffering. We just need that life trigger to kick it off. I know mine was started by bullying and made worse by losing family. One lesson that I have taken to heart is that, once you’ve been bullied, you carry on the bullying. It was something that a therapist said to me in CBT and it’s just stayed in my brain.

I have a whole bunch of fears that come with therapy. Whether it’s not fully trusting whoever I’m chatting to because I don’t know them or showing how broken I am. Let’s just hope that this psychologist has some extra strong super glue to piece me back together again.

It would be nice to feel stable and normal!

If you’ve had therapy, what were your fears before your first session?

Lifestyle Mental Health

5 Ways On How To Support An Introvert Friend

introvertPhoto by Prasanna Kumar on Unsplash

I can remember a moment in school when I was taught the words ‘introvert’ and ‘extrovert’. They didn’t mean much to be at the time but now I know that it can be a handy word. If you don’t know what an introvert is, it’s basically someone who prefers time to themselves and find busy social situations difficult. If you looked it up in the dictionary, I’m pretty sure you’d see my face!

I’m pretty socially awkward and have been for years. It isn’t that I haven’t tried being social but they’re just not my scene. Unless it’s a Harry Potter quiz or I’m surrounded by friends, then I can handle. A lot of the time people automatically think that introverts are mousy and boring. That’s so far from the truth!

We can be just as fun as extroverts! You just have to take the time to learn how to love being friends with an introvert!

Spend 1-to-1 with your friend

If you know that your friend happens to be an introvert, try spending specific time with them.

There’s something nice and safe about not having to cope with a group of people and trying to make conversation with them all. That’s more likely going to put your friend off coming. You could go for lunch somewhere, look around some book-shops or even go to the cinema.

You’ll have their attention and they will have yours.

Try to understand what it’s like to be an introvert

One of the best ways to know how to be with an introvert friend is to picture what it’s like to be in their shoes.

Take time to see how overwhelming social situations can be for them, know what their boundaries are and find others to be social with them. Not every person will be a shy little butterfly and can probably handle being social, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have a limit.

You’re not being over-the-top by understanding. To be honest, I’d be somewhat flattered that you’ve tried to find ways to help our time be fun for both of us.

Let them have alone time

Ugh.

I’ve had a few friends in the past who have pushed and pushed and pushed for me to come out. One of those friends turned up to my house without ringing first and starting banging on my front door. It was 8am on a Saturday so I didn’t answer. They then started knocking on my downstairs windows. Mum was not happy with her at all and I ended up cutting ties with that person.

I can’t deal with pushy friends.

If a friend prefers not to go out often, don’t push or try to ‘persuade’ them to go. There’s a difference between being geniunely understanding and allowing your friend time and not listening.

LET US BE BLANKET BURRITOS!

Don’t make them feel as if they need to be fixed

This is something that really frustrates me. It’s not just the odd friend who does this but family as well. I do know that most of the time they are only trying to help but it makes you feel like you’re a problem.

You don’t need to be fixed.

You aren’t being awkward.

Being an introvert isn’t some kind of character flaw. We do need pushes to get out there and not disappear into our little comfort zones. Believe me, I would totally love if I could stay home under my blanket reading. If your friend/loved one ever feels like this, try and help by reassuring them that it’s okay. If they don’t want to go out, that’s fine.

It might take us time to open up to you

I like to think that if a person is a real friend then they’ll have patience with someone.

Some people might mistake being introverted for being cold, distant or seemingly uncaring. That is so far from the truth! We just take our time to get used to a person and, if we feel safe, then we’ll open up. As soon as we do, you have us! Our loyalty, our true personality underneath the quietness and more!

Be honoured if you ever see what I’m really like.

I’d love to know if you’re either an introvert, an extrovert or even bits of both. I guess I do have extrovert tendencies whenever I feel really safe with someone. That’s normally when I do non-stop chatting, let you into my thoughts and…you’ll know.

What do you consider yourself as?

 

Mental Health

Did I Succeed With My 2019 Mental Health Resolutions?

mental health resolutionsPhoto by Lesly Juarez on Unsplash

This time last year I did a post setting some resolutions specifically for my mental health. I wanted to aim to try and improve it over that year and I figured this would kick my butt into gear. The question of the hour is did I succeed in completing any of my mental health resolutions.

I’m going to go through each and let you know how they went. I’ll warn you guys that this won’t be the longest post I’ve done, but this is handy for me to see! Any progress is better than none at all!

Take my medication on time

Yes!!

I’ve managed to take my anti-depressants every night with no issue. Have I seen an improvement in my mental health because of this? Not really. I still have quite a few rough days such as last Saturday. However, I’m still proud of myself for keeping on track with this particular med.

Now I just need to remember the meds for my migraines! That would be brilliant!

To not beat myself up if I don’t do something

Okay, this one was a no.

Realistically this probably wasn’t the best resolution to set myself before I start therapy. I’ve got a lot of negative thoughts about myself which lead to me beating myself up. They can be the tiniest thing such as forgetting to brush my teeth or not posting a blog post.

I’ve battled with this for so many years!

I did get a little better at trying to accept if things didn’t go exactly like I planned. Unfortunately there were more days that went sour such as not doing enough steps in my day. It’s such a stupid thing to worry myself over, but it happens. I’ve had to delete any pedometers that I had on my phone so that I wouldn’t trigger myself too much.

I will not listen to my inner voice

HAHAHA no.

If any of you suffer with a mental health issue, then you will know that the inner voice must come with an internal megaphone because it doesn’t shut the heck up! It must be like that annoying bully who keeps telling you all the nasty things it thinks about you and anything you do.

I definitely wish I could turn off that voice or swap it for a better one.

If we’re going to look at any sign of progress, it would have to be that I did have one day where I ignored it. It was when I was trying to walk a bit further and it was trying to say that I was super unfit. HA! I proved it wrong that day!

Learn to accept compliments

Another nope from me!

I try so hard to accept when someone compliments me on my look or my attitude, but it’s very difficult when I don’t feel it about myself. They say it and I just immediately shake my head. I do appreciate it deep down since even I like to hear nice things especially since I only hear negative thoughts coming from me.

If you happen to tell me something nice, thank you!

Stop myself feeling guilty from spending

This is something I did better at.

To be honest I didn’t really buy too much. When I did buy something it was usually an item that I’ve wanted to buy for a while. I’ve taken on the mentality that if I really want something, then I should wait a few months. If I still want it after that then I can buy it. This has worked with books, notebooks and other teeny things. I don’t like to spend money since I don’t have that much of it after bills.

That said I know that I do deserve to treat myself on occasion.

Instead of doing a new post chatting about my mental health resolutions, I’m just going to do a little list here of what I want to aim for during 2020!

  1. Be more positive about my achievements
  2. Reduce my medication dosage
  3. Successfully start therapy
  4. Try to counteract a negative with a positive

If you had any mental health resolutions, how did you do?

Lifestyle Mental Health

What Things Keep You Up At Night?

night

I would sit up at night reading books or magazines to try and get myself sleepy. Sometimes it worked and other times I ended up with nightmares.

My brain can be so weird sometimes. There are a number of things that keep me up so maybe we can be insomnia buddies.

If you do struggle a lot with sleepless nights, don’t be afraid to go and see your GP about it. There could be other reasons for it such as pain, mental health and more. You can get help! Now that’s out of the way, I’m going to look at certain things that might keep you up and try and come up with ways to overcome them. I’m definitely not a medical professional! Just a person whose body hates sleep!

Negative thoughts

Everyone suffers a form of these. You don’t have to suffer from mental health to have negative thoughts about something. It’s unfortunately what makes us human.

My mind never shuts up with all the negative things it believes I’ve done that day. Maybe I forgot to let an elderly lady onto the bus first, maybe I lied about feeling good, maybe I didn’t go out. It could be the littlest thing ever and you get made to go over that thought over and over and over.

You can tell why I don’t get a lot of sleep.

What I’ve recently done to try and combat this is to start both writing in my diary and jotting down anything positive that happens in my day. I have to accept that I will think negatively about things, but that doesn’t mean I have to let it control me.

Being on my phone before bed

Yeah…I’m one of those that brings their phone to bed and plays on it before they sleep. I know I shouldn’t have any electronics in bed and there is a whole scientific research saying that the blue light keeps you awake. I do have a method to my madness, I swear!

Some of the ways I fall asleep is by listening to music.

I can’t do with solid silence. My brain automatically tries to add different sounds into the silence and they are nightmare fuel! During my childhood I used to be terrified of a guy I would call ‘The Tamberine Man’. I would never see him but I would hear the sound of his tamberine and awful things would happen soon after. My adult brain now tries to undo all that conditioning by saying that the sound had actually been people outside my bedroom window making noise. I think my half-asleep brain just made it into something it wasn’t!

Still hate the sound though!

My iPhone has a setting where I can time it to turn the light from blue to red. The red helps make you tired so, between that and the music/Calm app, I would feel very sleepy. You’d think I would sleep after that but nope.

Pain

Enter the life of a chronic illness sufferer!

My fibromyalgia is such a party pooper when it comes to me trying to sleep. I’ve had so many nights when my legs have either be super painful or so restless. One of the reasons why I can’t go on coaches is the fact that their leg-space isn’t much. You used to have pitstops to service stations where you could stretch your legs but there isn’t anymore. At least on the coaches I go on. Sitting in your seat for 4 and a bit hours is not fun!

Back to sleepless nights!

My legs do the exact same thing they do on coaches. They become painful and very jumpy. You could be lying in bed and your leg suddenly jumps. I can usually feel it growing in my foot and then it travels up my leg. It has had me in tears on a few occassions.

Currently on medication (gabapentin and baclofen) to help combat the muscle spasms and the pain. Not perfect but better than agony!

Can’t get comfortable

There are other reasons other than pain that keep you up at night.

Apparently the top reason for not being able to sleep is because you can’t get comfortable in bed. The main cause for that? An out-of-date mattress. This isn’t a sponsored post (though I wouldn’t mind the opportunity! Haha!)…just passing on what I discovered from my local mattress man. He said that you have to change your mattress every 8 years since it can get out of shape after so many years.

It gets bumpy because of springs and it sags, doesn’t support you as well as it used to and might even make your allergies worse.

Noisy neighbours

Oh, do I have experience with this one!

If you follow me on Twitter, you will probably have heard that I’ve had quite a few problems with noisy neighbours. They would blare their loud music for hours! The longest was just over 6 hours! It’s bad enough when you have to deal with this music during the day, but when you have it at night? Ew. It doesn’t help that I’m sensitive to loud noises.

I’ve had to go down to talk to them at 11pm to tell them to turn it down! You can imagine how difficult it would be to sleep with something like a party happening down below you.

How do you cope with this?

You can either buy some ear-plugs to block out some of the noise or wear some noise-cancelling headphones. These are kind of more temporary options. You could report them for nuisance noise or let them know personally how the noise is affecting you!

What tends to keep you up at night and how do you deal with it?

Mental Health

How To Make Small Changes For A Happier 2020

small changesPhoto by Brooke Lark on Unsplash

Something that I have started to understand in my old age (I’m almost 33!!) is that you’ll never succeed with unrealistic resolutions. I’ve spent so many years attempting your average choices: lose weight, go to the gym more, drink more water. You name it, I will have tried it over and over. My brain doesn’t seem to accept such big goals so I don’t even try anymore. I instead know that I need to make small changes to how I think for them to stick.

Am I making sense? Probably not but I’ll try to explain what I mean!

Say yes when you usually say no

I’m surprised that no wasn’t my first word as a baby because I say it way too often! I’ve missed out on a number of things by saying no. I’ve said no to going out with friends and even to going on a city break. If I have a solid reason, then I don’t feel so guilty, but most of the time I’m just scared.

Do you see why I’m not a Gryffindor?

I’m always going to have anxiety and feel nervous about new situations. That doesn’t mean I can’t start saying yes to opportunities. At least I’ll know I’ve tried if I get anxious!

Accept compliments

Okay…hands up if you’ve ever given me a compliment and I’ve not accepted it? I bet a lot of you will have both hands up! It’s an awful habit that I’ve developed. It isn’t that I don’t appreciate when someone gives me a compliment. I really do! I just don’t believe I deserve it. It’s really irritating to everyone, including myself.

If you give me a compliment, I’ll do my very best to try and accept it. Even if I just say thank you! It’s better than saying I don’t deserve it!

Love yourself more

Oof.

This is going to a major topic for me to focus on when therapy starts. The thing is this has been growing for decades and I’ve had many people telling me that I need to be nicer to myself. They’ve told me that I’m better than I think I am and that I have many great qualities.

Everyone deserves to love themselves a little more. Look into a mirror and compliment what you’re wearing today or how well you might have done your makeup. It will take time but that’s why these are small changes.

Don’t suppress your emotions

We all do this.

Whether it’s to protect our loved ones, our friends or because we’re afraid of what we’re feeling. I did this so many times to protect my mum. I didn’t want to worry or frighten her with all the thoughts that were going through my head. It even took me a while to tell someone that I didn’t understand something. I didn’t want my teachers to think I was dumb.

Suppressing how you feel only leads to more heartache and pain. No-one said that it would be easy to accept your emotions. You just have to acknowledge and take it from there.

Pretending to be someone you’re not

My whole life I’ve pretended to be someone I’m not. I’ve pretended to be fine when I’m sobbing inside, I’ve pretended to be chatty when I wish I could hide and I’ve pretended to be normal when I’m a little different. Acting is a great way to pretend to be someone but even then you have to have an element of you there!

Social media (especially Instagram) has people posting images of their lives and themselves looking gorgeous. It gives people a false idea of what real life is and you don’t see that someone is struggling. Not everything has to be posted online. You don’t have to let everyone see everything but just keep in mind what your audience might think. We’ve got teens seeing celebs who look stunning or super skinny and feel like they need to pretend to be like that to be popular or accepted.

Life really isn’t like that. I’m pretty sure my LGBTQ+ friends will agree with me. Don’t be afraid to be the person you know you are inside.

Understand when you need to step back

Sometimes life can be go, go, go! You’re trying to get as much work crammed into the day as you physically can and don’t always realise how thin you’re spreading yourself. Only when something gives do you suddenly discover what damage you’ve done. You need to recognise when you need to take a step back. If that means taking a day off from work to rest or if you need to give something up, do what you need to.

Forgive yourself and those around you

This is a tough one.

You know the saying ‘Forgive and forget’?

There are days when you need to be the bigger person and forgive yourself/someone else. It will hurt and, like a lot of things I’ve mentioned in this post, it will take time. It will happen though. It all depends on the circumstance, I think. If it’s a massive thing then it might not be possible to forget but you might forgive one day.

Don’t push aside your beliefs

It’s sad when people push aside what they believe in or someone doesn’t acknowledge it. Whether it’s your religion, your eating habits or your views on a subject. Not all beliefs should be accepted (such as racism, targeted abuse etc.) but you shouldn’t have to put your belief to the side. If you don’t believe in eating meat then that person should give you the courtesy of understanding.

I saw so many tweets from friends who had family members who refused to cook a meat-free meal for them!

What small changes do you think someone could make to feel happier?

 

 

Lifestyle Mental Health

Staying Safe During The Winter Season

staying safePhoto by Alex on Unsplash

Ughh! Today was the first day that it reached -1 degrees where I live and I hate it! I don’t do extremes in temperature. If it’s too warm or too cold, then I don’t function. Between dealing with my skin throwing a toddler tantrum and my sense of balance becoming non-existent, winter is dangerous! That’s why I want to look at staying safe during the winter season, especially pedestrians.

A lot of people tend to overlook what winter could throw at us.

I’m honestly not trying to put the fear of God into people. Just trying to make sure that anyone who reads this looks after themselves and others. I guess visiting the elderly with my Mum made me realise how deadly the cold can be. It looks gorgeous and like a picture on the outside but there is always more. I mean…does anyone else in the UK remember 2010 when the temperatures got down to -14?!

It was no fun wading through knee-high snow and hitting my frozen pipes!

It’s even worse for people with disabilities affected by the cold and trapped in their homes.

Wrap up warm

This is a massive one for those of us who walk or drive.

One of the few positives of winter is that you get to wrap up snug. You can throw on as many layers as you feel comfortable with! Hat, gloves, scarf, thermal socks and leggings! There is no reason to freeze just to look good. If you need to, think like a runner. Even though they don’t wear as many layers, they still make sure to protect themselves while they run.

If you drive and it snows, try to make sure to have emergency winter stuff in your boot. I hear this so often in the news when people get trapped in the snow. I might not drive but I did learn a few things from my parents. They always made sure to have extra warm clothes like jumpers and socks packed. Not only clothes but blankets, a sleeping bag, flasks of tea and food.

People forget how freezing cold a car can get when it’s not running!

Be seen

This is another tip I’ve picked up from a runner friend (hi Lisa!).

Now that the nights hit around 4pm and we have to leave work/school in the dark, we’ll be at more risk walking. What she does is wear a reflective armband so that any passing cars will see her. I reckon that’s great advice for anyone who is walking somewhere with less light.

You could attach a flashing light to your bag or even a reflective band. You don’t have to wear it all the time but there is no harm in staying safe just in case.

Don’t pull a Bambi

THIS!!

I, Daisy, have basophobia.

That’s a fear of slipping on ice and it’s real! I am a wuss when it comes to a lot of things, but ice literally has been frozen to the spot. No pun intended. I don’t even know what caused me to become so scared of falling but the fear is there. If I see that it’s icy outside, I refuse to out. I’ll re-schedule everything and stay in.

I’m not the best on my feet anyway because of legs giving out so add that to ice = Bambi!

Something I have learned from getting the odd concussion over the years is that you should never underestimate ice. It’s so tricky! You can see the obvious shine of ice spread over the pavements, but there is also black ice and freezing rain.

FREEZING RAIN IS A MENANCE!

Going back to 2010…I saw so many people falling over, cars and buses sliding everywhere! It was like I was watching an episode of Who’s Been Framed! That was the year I slipped over backwards twice and gave myself a severe concussion. That’s why I now refuse to leave my flat until I put on my Yaxtrax! They have me a literal godsend to me. They give me much more confidence walking outside when it’s icy.

If you don’t own something like this or shoes with a decent grip, take it easy! Make sure you have extra time to get to where you need to be. Another piece of advice I’ve picked up: walk like a penguin and use your arms to keep your balance.

Be prepared

Like Scar sings in The Lion King, be prepared!

The weatherperson does tend to be right more often than not so, if they say snow is immient, get ready!

Try to stock up on items that will last such as soups, frozen food and bread. They will help to keep you fed if you’re stuck indoors for a little while. If you take medication, make sure that you’ve gotten everything you need. Pharmacists are usually nice and will help you out if you’re worried.

If you have furry babies, they need help staying safe too! Get their food all sorted and, if you have a dog, time to get them dressed up! You can pop on a cute little coat and, depending on where you live, some boots. I’ve heard that grid and salt can really hurt their paws so let’s keep our babies safe!

Keep an eye out

Winter may be a nightmare for us but it can be horrendous for the disabled and the elderly.

I’ve heard so many stories from fellow disabled friends who dread the idea of heading out. Some of them are in wheelchairs and know that their chairs would stand a chance. I hate seeing ambulances being called out to the streets near me because an old dear has slipped. I live near a residential home and that always happens!

It can really strip the little independence they have away.

If it’s possible, check on any elderly neighbours to see if they need any help getting shopping. If they don’t, then just stay and chat. Loneliness can be even more deadly in the winter. I’ve recently started volunteering at a helpline where I talk to some elderly folks about whatever they want to. It’s amazing how much of a difference someone caring makes! It helps me too!

Listen to your body

If there is anything that winter is known for, it’s getting everybody sick.

People sneezing, coughing and slowly feeling like they’re dying on the way to work. I’ve already chatted in a post about how to try avoiding getting sick but it’s not always possible. You can be ill both physically and mentally. While it’s great that you’re pushing yourself to getting out of the house when you’re struggling, but your body is sobbing.

Don’t let life dictate what you should be doing winter.

Yes, there are probably a lot of getting their Christmas shopping done at the shops or going on winter breaks. That doesn’t mean everyone is. Comparison is so easy to fall into! Believe me, I know. Do what you feel you can right now and know that there are people there to help.

How do you usually stay safe during winter?

Mental Health

5 Simple Ways To Manage Anxiety Socially (Alone/With Friends)

manage anxiety

If you’ve been a reader of my blog for a while, you’ll know how bad anxiety can be for a sufferer. It can take over someone’s life and ruin a typical day, even if you had stuff to do. Admitting how you’re honestly feeling to someone you care about is difficult but we all need a friend.

Knowing that you have someone who can help a friend when anxiety hits makes you feel very safe. You obviously need someone you can really trust but, once you do, there are 5 simple ways to help manage anxiety socially.

1. Wait before you speak

This may sound condescending but it’s a vital way to help.

Whenever I have my anxiety peaking, I find it difficult to have someone immediately jump towards me and start asking if I’m okay. Obviously if it’s a stranger you can’t really blame them since they don’t know you. However, if you know someone who has anxiety, wait before you speak.

Everyone is different.

Take things slow and wait until you find a moment to say something. Sometimes all a person needs is to know that you’re there when they’re overwhelmed out and about.

 2. Find somewhere quiet

If you and your friend are out shopping, at a party or even out for a meal and something triggers their anxiety, you don’t need to immediately draw attention. If you’re with a group who might not know about anxiety, it can sometimes make it worse due to embarrassment or fear of what they might think.

It’s best to have a quick check of where you’re okay as a precaution.

That doesn’t mean anxiety will always get triggered. I’ve had occasions when mine has been absolutely fine in the noisiest of places which I feel a little crazy, but you know that’s me in a nutshell! However, if lots of things are happening at once like loud music, constant chatter or kids crying, anxiety takes no prisoners!

Find a quiet corner away from everyone or, if it’s not too cold, head outside with your friend for a bit. People may get a little claustraphobic and need some air.

3. Have a plan of action

Some people have an emergency kit for when their car breaks down or a first-aid kit for when someone is hurt. You can use something similiar to manage anxiety socially.

Whenever I’m out, I always carry a small kit of essential items that I know can help.

I have:

  • my anxiety medication (beta blockers to calm me)
  • my tangle (to distract myself)
  • some Bachs Rescue Remedy (to chew and release drops)
  • a small spray of Chanel No. 5 (my mum’s perfume always makes me feel relaxed)
  • headphones (to listen to music whenever things are too loud)

It’s a good idea to have one of these for yourself and to let a couple of close friends know. That way they can know to head for your kit and pull out items that will help ground you. Don’t feel that you’re being over-dramatic. You wouldn’t say the same to someone with diabetes so why say it for your mental health.

4. Avoid busy times

Whenever I’ve been into London to visit Ali (from AliCaitrin), we always say that I should make up an anxiety guide to surviving London. This city is a crazy, crazy place and even worse when it’s peak times on public transport. If you come from somewhere quieter such as the countryside or even a small town, London can be a real shock to the system.

If you live in the city and a friend is visiting you or you’ve been to London before, try to plot out times where everything gets horrendous. Ali taught me a tip of going to the ends of a tube platform as it seems quieter down there. Most people seem to go immediately for the middle so you might have a chance to sit down and breathe. If that isn’t possible, look at the peak times for the stations you’ll be going through. These seem to be around 7-9am and 5-7pm.

If the Underground is just too much (especially for those who can’t handle being crowded), grab a taxi/uber. It might be more expensive but you’ll have your own space together and can take your time.

5. Distraction

Sometimes breathing techniques can actually make someone feel worse so the next possible step to help manage anxiety is distraction.

If you’re on your own, use your kit to start your distraction and then come up with ideas in advance.

Not every distraction that has worked in the past will work every time. I’ve had a couple of occasions where reading or listening to music doesn’t work. It’s super annoying and triggering. Believe me, this happens to me most Sundays! Always have a backup for your backups.

If you’re with a friend, then go for a walk if the weather lets you, give your mind something else to focus on (5 things you can see, 4 things you can hear, 3 things you can touch, 2 things you can smell and 1 thing you can taste). That’s a great grounding technique if you’re panicking! Thomas Sanders even used it in his latest video!

What ways have you got created to help manage anxiety socially?

Mental Health

What Does Depression Feel Like? | Blogtober 2019

depression

Photo by Camila Quintero Franco on Unsplash

One question I hear and see online is: what does depression feel like?

I bet you’ve had times when your loved ones and/or friends have seen that you’re not yourself or curious as to why you can’t go out. They try to help by saying that it’s just a bad day and to distract yourself, but it’s not as easy as that. I’ve seen comics raising this by saying you wouldn’t say that to someone with a physical illness or injury.

“Oh, it’s just a broken leg. Try to walk off.”

“Oh, you’re having a hypo? Don’t worry…just smile.”

It’s so silly but situations like this happen to anyone who suffers with a mental health illness. We shouldn’t be seen as ‘crazy’ people just because history deemed us as that.

You guys know I love my gifs and use them to communicate my feelings. I’ve honestly been horrified to see the gifs suggested on Twitter. Thankfully most of the triggering ones have been removed. I used to see people pretending to take their own life from TV shows and almost parodying someone with mental health.

Is this their answer to what depression feels like?

I’ll tell you what it feels like to me. (TRIGGER WARNING! SKIP THIS LITTLE SECTION IF YOU’RE STRUGGLING)

You know that moment when you were little when you lost your mum and panicked?

Imagine that panic in your chest and literally filling you all the way to the top, crushing you and leaving you unable to move. That’s only the start.

This morning I woke up crying. My body feel as it had the heaviest weight hanging off it and negative thoughts running through my head over and over: You’re fat! You can’t even get out of bed, you lazy cow! What’s the point in being alive? No-one would even miss me if I did die. You’re hopeless and worthless! You haven’t got a job, you keeping crying about how unfair your mind is and there are people really struggling.

My trigger was being weighed yesterday and finding that I’d put on 3lb.

For someone not struggling, they may a little put off or frustrated but would be able to carry on. As for me? I literally feel like a whale. I’m constantly prodding at the fat around my middle and my thighs. I can’t look in the mirror without seeing a double chin.

It’s an illness. It’s like you have the worst flu ever, causing you to ache, tremble, wish that there was someone there to hold you and say it’ll pass.

Depression affects people differently and it doesn’t mean that you’re struggling all the time. We can smile, we can laugh, we’re utterly normal. Please don’t doubt us or force us to move. Just sit there, listen and we’ll talk when we can.

Whatever you’re going through, call the samaritans free any time, from any phone, on 116 123.

What does depression feel like to you?