HomeTagsPosts tagged with "mental health"

mental health

People throw the term self-care around a lot and it can lose it meaning when it’s solely associated with buying Lush bath bombs and painting your nails, but self-care isn't just about manicures and face masks.

There are so many things you can do to look after both your mental and physical health so I thought I’d put a list of my top self-care tips together that don’t revolve around you spending half a day's wages in Boots.

1. Book your smear test

2. Cleanse your skin twice

3. Take a multivitamin in the morning

4. Stop drinking caffeinated drinks after 6pm

5. Take your full lunch break

6. Delete take-away apps off your phone

7. Get off the bus a stop early and walk 

8. Listen to podcasts when you feel anxious

9. Use all of your annual leave

10. Don’t drink coffee when you’re due your period

11. Go to therapy

12. Eat some vegetables

13. Eat some chocolate

14. Buy yourself flowers

15. Drink 8 glasses of water a day

16. Stop comparing yourself to people on social media

17. Watch an old movie from your childhood 

18. Go to the dentist

19. Read at least ten pages of a book every day

20. Go to the cinema by yourself

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Anxiety isn’t cute or trendy. It’s not about being shy or bashful. It’s not about being too sensitive or too nervous. It’s a serious mental illness that many people fail to treat with respect or care.

Speaking of his battle with depression, author Matt Haig wrote:

“Depression is also smaller than you. Always, it is smaller than you, even when it feels vast. It operates within you, you do not operate within it. It may be a dark cloud passing across the sky but – if that is the metaphor – you are the sky. You were there before it. And the cloud can't exist without the sky, but the sky can exist without the cloud.”

I think this applies to anxiety too. Even when you are at your lowest, you are more powerful than it, because anxiety doesn’t exist without you.

That said, suffering from an anxiety disorder isn’t easy, but there are little ways to help soothe the disorder, which will make your life that little bit easier.

1: Music:

It’s simple but so effective. I know listening to a Spotify playlist isn’t going to magically cure your anxiety disorder, but it can help a lot. I found that listening to music from my early teens helps trigger positive memories.

I am a firm believer in the power of nostalgia, and experts have found that is helps increase your mood and energy levels.

2: Tell someone:

I know opening up about your disorder is one of the hardest things to do. There is a huge stigma surrounding mental health disorders, especially here in Ireland. However, telling my friends about my anxiety gave me access to a huge network of support. Talking about mental health is difficult, because a lot of people can be dismissive, but confiding in someone who deeply cares about you will make a massive difference.

3: Be organised:

This is the tip that has helped me more than anything. I have hugely benefited from becoming a more organised person as it eases my mind. Sticking to a schedule will keep your anxiety at bay because you will feel in control of the situation. Chanel your inner Monica Geller, but maybe leave your label maker at home if you’re heading out for cocktails with the girls.

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For any only children or owners of brothers out there, having a sister is truly epic, and now that statement is backed up by science. 

Okay, you may have clothes and makeup stolen from your room on the regular and you may have to be the gatekeeper of many a cover story to your parents, but having a sister to confide in scientifically makes women happier people. 

Findings by De Montfort University and Ulster University found that sisters encourage open communication about each others emotions, which leads to elevated moods and feelings of happiness.

'Sisters appear to encourage more open communication and cohesion in families,’ Professor Tony Cassidy explained to The Telegraph.

‘However, brothers seem to have the alternative effect.'

'Emotional expression is fundamental to good psychological health and having sisters promotes this in families.' 

Image result for sisters kardashian

'It could be that boys have a natural tendency not to talk about things.'

'With boys together it is about a conspiracy of silence not to talk. Girls tend to break that down.’

So that solves it – having sisters officially improves your quality of life (even if it doesn't always feel that way)

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The countdown to Christmas Day is officially underway. There are mere days to go until December 25 arrives; a day filled with merriment, family, twinkly lights and turkey.

I’ll be rocking the matching pyjamas, singing along to Last Christmas and toasting to 2020 as my nearest and dearest gather at Nanny’s house.

As excited as I am for the holidays, it is important to remember that this time of the year isn't merry and bright for everyone, especially for people who are struggling with mental health issues.

Mental health disorders aren’t going to take the day off or magically vanish when you sit down to watch Love Actually. I wish they would, but they don't.

There’s a lot of pressure placed on society to act like all is well just because the holidays are here. For those with anxiety, depression, OCD and other mental health disorders, it can feel impossible to simply put on a ‘brave face’ for the sake of the extended family. 

We try our best to keep up appearances but I think it is very important to remember that you shouldn’t feel ashamed or disappointed in yourself if you find the holidays difficult. Having a mental health disorder is a constant battle. You can’t just pop a plaster over it and carry on with your day.

Living with anxiety has taught me that there will be good days and there will be bad days. It is a disorder you manage, not banish, unfortunately. Another thing, and possibly the best thing, this disorder has taught me is that there is help out there. Never ever be afraid to reach out to a friend or relative if you're feeling particularly bad. 

You may feel like you're 'ruining' Christmas, but that couldn't be further from the truth. There is never a bad time to reach out and seek help, Christmas or not. Your best friend will be there to hug you on the bad days. Your sister will help you find a counsellor. Your dad will listen when you're ready to talk about what you're experiencing.

As hard as it can be, you must hold on to every ounce of hope.

Matt Haig sums it up perfectly:

“You will one day experience joy that matches this pain. You will cry euphoric tears at the Beach Boys, you will stare down at a baby’s face as she lies asleep in your lap, you will make great friends, you will eat delicious foods you haven’t tried yet, you will be able to look at a view from a high place and not assess the likelihood of dying from falling. There are books you haven’t read yet that will enrich you, films you will watch while eating extra-large buckets of popcorn, and you will dance and laugh and have sex and go for runs by the river and have late-night conversations and laugh until it hurts. Life is waiting for you. You might be stuck here for a while, but the world isn’t going anywhere. Hang on in there if you can. Life is always worth it.”

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Matt Haig (@mattzhaig) on

Remind yourself of Matt’s words when you’re struggling over the Christmas break. I understand that it can be unbearably hard time for a heartbreaking amount of people, but don’t lose hope.

As Matt said, life is always worth it.

You can contact the Samaritans on 116 123.

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Our phones are something we check in with every day. Like it or not, our lives are tied up in these little pieces of technology, so we might as well use that to our advantage, right?

We use our phones for our entertainment needs, so why not use it for your personal improvement, wellness and mental health needs too? You check in with your phone every day, so you should really check in with yourself too. There are loads of apps out there at the moment that claim to do these things, but which ones are really worth trying out?

We’ve detailed our favourite apps for all your sleep, fitness and mental health needs, to get you back on track in an interactive and effective way. Pick which ones work best for you and make room for a little wellness in your life!

Lifesum

Lifesum is one of the world’s most popular health and wellness apps with over 45 million users, and features personalised diet plans, nutrition advice and healthy recipes. Lifesum emphasises the nutritional value of food, and gives users personalised feedback, so they can successfully reach their health goals, whether it is to lose weight, gain weight, or just be healthier. Lifesum shows users how changing small habits and implementing them in everyday life can improve better eating and overall health.

Lifesum’s key features include

Personalised food rating algorithm: Provides users with important feedback based on their eating preferences. Users are able to get insights for each food, meal, and day they track

Wide variety of diets: Ketogenic, Vegan, Paleo, 5:2, 6:1, Mediterranean, Scandinavian, and High Protein, to help you stay on track

7-21-day Meal Plans: For example, Vegan for a week, Keto Burn, 3 Week Weight Loss, that provide users with four tasty, pre-planned recipes a day

Hundreds of easy-to-cook recipes: With detailed nutritional information, based on food preferences, health goals, and allergies

Track your food: Easy tracking with the barcode scanner. Create and save an unlimited number of foods, meals, recipes, and exercises to enjoy one-tap tracking

Detailed food and meal ratings: Ratings, including “Great source of fibre,” “high in sugar,” “low in sodium,” “high in sodium,” so you know how closely different foods align with your specific goals and preferences

Adjustable settings for macronutrients: Giving you customised recommendations to follow based on your unique needs and preferences

Body measurement tracking: Weight, waist, body fat, chest, arm, BMI – excellent tools for highlighting your progression to health

Integration with your favourite health-tracking platforms: Connects with Apple Health, Google Fit, and Samsung Health

Health Test & Life Score: A weekly health score based on 16 nutrition and exercise measurements, so you understand where you are and what’s next for you to build a healthy lifestyle

 

Headspace

Headspace has one mission: to improve the health and happiness of the world. And with millions of users in more than 190 countries, we’re well on our way. Mindfulness is the idea of learning how to be fully present and engaged in the moment, aware of your thoughts and feelings without distraction or judgment. Learn how to manage feelings and thoughts with the lifelong skill of everyday mindfulness, any time of the day.

With over 40 million users already getting some Headspace, you can join them and map your journey, track your progress, and reap rewards in your overall health and wellbeing. You can even buddy up with friends and motivate each other along the way.

Headspace was officially launched in 2010 as an events company, but attendees wanted to take what they learned home with them. Founders, Andy and Rich, and a small team decided to make Andy’s meditation techniques available online so more people could experience the benefits of meditation anytime, anywhere. And that blossomed into the Headspace you see today: guided meditations, animations, articles and videos, all in the distinct Headspace style.

You can try Headspace for yourself and learn the essentials of meditation and mindfulness with the free Basics course. If you enjoy it, then it’s time to subscribe. Once you do, you’ll have bite-sized minis for when you’re short on time, exercises to add extra mindfulness to your day, and hundreds of meditations on everything from stress to sleep. Their guided meditations truly cover every aspect of life, from work to kids, allowing you to focus, relieve stress and combat anxiety.

 

Sleep Cycle

One for the sleepyheads! Sleep Cycle tracks and analyses your sleep, waking you up at the most perfect time, feeling rested!

Waking up feeling refreshed is all about timing. Sleep Cycle tracks your sleeping patterns and wakes you up during your lightest sleep phase, without a conventional alarm clock. Waking up during light sleep feels like waking up naturally rested.

Your movements vary with each sleep stage. Sleep Cycle uses sound analysis to identify sleep states, tracking your movements in bed, and a wake-up phase that ends at your desired alarm time. During this phase, Sleep Cycle will monitor signals from your body to wake you softly when you are in the lightest possible sleep stage.

 

Streaks

Streaks is the to-do list that helps you form good habits. Every day you complete a task, your streak is extended. Choose or create up to twelve tasks, like walk the dog, floss your teeth, eat healthily, practice Spanish or whatever habit you want to form! This is definitely one that we’re excited about.

Working on something every day helps you form a new habit. Don’t break the chain, or your streak will reset to zero days.

With the iOS Health app, Streaks can automatically track certain goals, like walk 5,000 steps, measure your heart rate, record your blood pressure or run for 5 miles.

Some tasks aren’t for every day, so the app allows you to set the days, so you don’t break your streak! For example;

  • Walk to work (Monday to Friday)
  • Go to the gym (3 days per week)
  • Call your parents (every Wednesday)
  • Avoid junk food (Sunday to Friday)

View your task statistics and track your results easily so you can keep motivated and up to date with your progress!

 

Yoga Studio Mind and Body

This app provides beautiful HD video yoga classes for everyone with easy-to-follow teacher commentary.

They believe yoga should be accessible to all! Which is why they have carefully crafted and curated the prefect mix of technology, teacher experience and overall yoga goodness to make Yoga Studio: Mind & Body the number-one destination for health conscious individuals looking to begin their yoga journey or to take it to an all new level. All the classes come with full HD video and teacher commentary that’s clear and easy to follow

They’ve done all the hard work, so making your own yoga classes is a breeze. Unique features like pose blocks and smart-link make it simple, intuitive and fast. 

Pose blocks are short sequences of poses – like a sun salutation – that can be used like building blocks to make classes. They help speed things up – just add a few blocks, throw in some of your favourite poses and your class will be ready in no time. Simple.

Not sure how to make your class flow? They’ll do it for you with their awesome Smart-link feature. Use it to connect poses that might not naturally lead into each other. This way you see exactly how to smoothly move from one pose to the next. It's like magic yoga glue.

Video stitch is a great way to learn and practice yoga. That's why they created a unique library of over 1,700 yoga video clips. It enables Yoga Studio to stitch together a full, flowing video of almost any class you can think of. So, you make the class, and they’ll make the video.

Freedom to practice wherever, whenever. No connection, no problem. Classes in Yoga Studio live on your phone: just download a class once and have the freedom to practice wherever and whenever you want.

Schedule classes that sync with your calendar, making it easy to stay on track. Don't have time for a class right now? Schedule it for later. They’ll put it straight into your iPhone or iPad calendar, so you don't forget.

Schedule a single class or repeat your favourites every month, fortnight, week or day. Whether you prefer an hour a week or 15 minutes every morning, a regular practice is important, so let them help you fit yoga into your busy life!

 

Sworkit

Sworkit means to simply work it. Your body was built to move daily and this innovative experience that makes it easy, enjoyable, and, yes, simple, to do just that.

This daily workout app is tailored to every goal, whether it’s weight loss, muscle gain, improved flexibility, increased endurance, weight maintenance or to simply tone. One of the top fitness apps for iPhone, Android, or web users, Sworkit’s workout plans are designed to help you reach your fitness goals faster and simpler.

Their philosophy involves consistency, meaning believe fitness isn’t just something you do, it should be who you are and part of a lifestyle you enjoy. The workout program is designed to help you make fitness a habit. With Sworkit, the idea is that you can get in shape and stay in shape for life.

No gym? No Equipment? No Time? No problem. They make it simple to workout at home or on the go. You choose the time – from 1 minute to 90 minutes – and they provide the variety, including strength training, stretching, cardio, yoga, and more.

Results: Sworkit has delivered life-changing results for thousands of people. Need personalized help? Get one-on-one guidance from certified fitness trainers with the ‘Ask a Trainer’ program.

With more than 400 unique workouts and over 800 exercise, you choose the time you have to work out, and create and save your own custom workouts. The app recommends workouts plans based on your goals and certified trainers answer all your fitness and nutrition questions.

 

Mood Mission

MoodMission is an evidence-based app designed to empower you to overcome feelings of depression and anxiety by discovering new and better ways of coping

When we feel down or anxious, there are heaps of things we can do to help us feel better again. Doing these things can help prevent everyday mood disturbances from developing into mental health issues, such as depression and anxiety disorders.

When you tell MoodMission how you're feeling, it gives you a tailored list of 5 simple, quick, effective, evidence-based Missions to improve your mood. All Missions are taken from scientific research, made accessible to you through the app, so you can learn exactly how what you're doing is helping.

Completing Missions earns you rewards in the app, motivating you to take steps towards becoming healthier, happier, and more confident.

MoodMission’s personal mission is to empower people to change the way they feel, and it is their vision to be the best provider of easily accessible, evidence-based mental health and well-being support. The app does this by showing people new and better ways of dealing with mood and anxiety problems, educating and enlightening people about their own psychology and the importance of practicing self-care and linking people in with professional or clinical supports

The key components of their mission are that they are;

Ethical

  • Evidence-based: using hard evidence to make decisions and recommendations
  • Give back with research: they engage in the research process and publish findings to help mental health support more broadly
  • Respectful: they respect others and act in a way congruent with this

Effective

  • Do what works for the user
  • In line with users’ long-term goals, as well as their short-term ones
  • Solution-focused – do what works and what empowers the user

Collaborative

  • Transparent
  • Responsive to feedback
  • Validating of users
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We’ve all been there. It’s 1am. You’re lying in bed, the idea of sleep a distant dream because your mind is absolutely buzzing. You’re thinking about the stupid thing you said yesterday. The week before. A year ago. Why did you make that decision? What if that important thing doesn’t work out? What if someone hears about that thing that you said/did/caused?

It is so easy to spiral when you’re alone in the dark and the light of day – and reality – isn’t there to comfort you. It’s harder than ever to switch off and studies are showing that the world we are currently living in – a world rocked by a global pandemic – is affecting us all more than we realise. A study published by Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavia measuring anxiety and depression in the Republic of Ireland during the COVID‐19 pandemic found that ‘more than one‐in‐four (27.7%) people screened positive for generalised anxiety disorder or depression during the first week of the strictest COVID‐19 lockdown measures in Ireland.’

(Checkout the study here.)

It can feel impossible to surface from these thoughts, to gain perspective and clarity from your own over-thinking. But it’s so important to learn how to stop these thought processes in their tracks to protect our mental health. Our minds know the well-worn paths of these worries and jump from thought to thought if we don’t start to find ways to control them. The use of methods like mantras and sleepy teas have become increasingly popular as a method to slow down and focus our minds when they begin to spiral. But mantras are are usually short, grounding phrases, like ‘all is well’, ‘calm down’, ‘I am at peace’.

Sometimes we feel the need for longer-term methods that address the exact thought process our minds are going through. Sleep meditations are here to help. We have compiled some of our favourite meditations available on Youtubethat can can help with sleep, anxiety, energy, grounding or anything you need in that moment. Here are our top picks;

Fall Asleep In Minutes…Sleep Talk-Down Guided Meditation Hypnosis for Sleeping – Jason Stephenson

Jason Stephenson is my absolute favourite meditation creator. With videos up every week addressing different themes, such as removing subconscious blockages, resetting the body and sleep talk downs, his channel has something for every situation, feeling and worry. His calming voice is great for the guided meditations where he speaks to you to aid your meditative journey and his sleep music creates deeply relaxing environments, ideal for study, relaxation, insomnia and to fall asleep fast.

 

Guided Meditation – Blissful Deep Relaxation – The Honest Guys

The Honest Guys have been writing and creating high quality guided meditations videos since 2009.

The meditations have one purpose: simply to try and help people. Every meditation is produced with genuine care for those people who use them because they too have needed the kind of help meditations are trying to offer others. They specialise in guided fantasy visualisations and relaxing meditation sleep music, all designed to work in harmony with your mind body and spirit to promote greater health. These ‘story’ meditations guide you on a relaxing journey to a beautiful fantasy location, designed to bring peace, positivity and sleep.

 

Deep sleep meditation for anxiety, stress reduction, peaceful deep sleep, deep fast sleep – Lauren Ostrowski Fenton

Would you like to fall asleep faster, sleep more deeply, and more easily? This guided sleep meditation is suited to adults, parents, children, students, and babies who are looking for help and guidance with achieving a night of deep sound sleep.

Lauren Ostrowski Fenton’s deep sleep guided meditations offer positive suggestions for encouraging a restorative, natural healing rest and sleep, together with a peaceful experience of total mind and body relaxation. Fall asleep fast at bedtime with this guided sleep meditation and wake up mindfully clear and focused ready to face your day. Suitable for all ages.

This guided meditation experience is recommended for repeated and ritualized listening. Develop a daily sleep ritualized practice and with regular listening this guided meditation will encourage positive sleep suggestion and positive cognitive sleep patterns. 

Lauren is an expert in her field and holds a Master’s in counselling at Monash University Clayton Australia. She has been teaching meditation for 30 years and is a qualified Personal trainer with certificate 3 and 4 in Fitness and has lectured in the fitness and wellbeing industry for over 25 years.

 

Relaxing Sleep Music • Deep Sleeping Music, Relaxing Music, Stress Relief, Meditation Music (Flying) – Soothing Relaxation

Soothing Relaxation specialize in relaxing sleep music for deep sleeping and stress relief. Fall asleep to their beautiful nature videos and use the relaxing music ("Flying" by Peder B. Helland in this video) as sleeping music, soothing meditation music, relaxation music, study music and more.

Peder B. Helland is a composer from Norway and started his channel with a simple vision: to create a place that people can visit whenever they want to sit down and relax. He composes music that can be labelled as for example: sleep music, calm music, yoga music, study music, peaceful music, beautiful music and relaxing music.

 

Extremely Powerful Guided Meditation. Experience Deep Love And Acceptance For Yourself. Healing. – Rising Higher Meditation

This meditation is designed to help you to have a physical experience of 1) Uncovering your deep feelings and allowing them to be present and 2) taking the perspective of your higher self and understanding in an experiential and physical way what it feels like to truly love and accept yourself. Use this opportunity to form a deep loving connection with yourself. FEEL what it is like to truly love and accept yourself. I support you and your growth. YOU are Devine, magnificent and worthy of all the joy and love the world has to offer. Get into a comfortable position, close your eyes and relax, breathe deeply and tune into the feelings of love with affirmations. Many blessings and much love from Jess Music by Rising Higher Meditation Written, spoken and produced by Jess Shepherd About The Speaker: Jess Shepherd is an amazing Energy Therapist from the Gold Coast, Australia. She is a true blessing to this world and we know you will be able to FEEL her positive energy through these recordings. If you want to learn more from Jess or get in touch, please visit www.jessshepherd.com email us connectandcre8@gmail.com *** How Can Guided Meditation help you? *** Guided meditations are designed to bring you into a still and peaceful space, a relaxed but aware state where you are in sync with all that you want to attract into your life.

Relax, visualise, and rejuvenate as you descend into a beautiful dream-like journey which will plant your powerful seeds for setting all of your positive intentions and overcoming all inner-self limitations.

Welcome to this guided meditation experience for helping you to release subconscious blockages and clear negativity from your deeper mind before your refreshing bedtime sleep. This sleep meditation and dreaming experience may be repeated as often as you choose to reinforce your nightly calmness, assist with stress relief, reduce anxiety, and resolve insomnia. By your own inner direction may you continue to find your greatest waking potential. This session is suitable and recommended for repeated listening, and regular listening will help compound positive suggestions and / or your own positive results. The end of this session will offer suggestions for drifting and dreaming into a naturally sound and refreshing bedtime sleep.

Hypnosis | Hypnotherapy | Guided Meditation | Sleep Meditation Hi, my name is Michael and welcome to my channel, where I hope you can stop by to relax, listen in, and see for yourself the power of positive hypnosis. Hypnosis is a completely natural state of often deeply felt relaxation and focused attention, where positive suggestions can be more easily accepted by our subconscious minds. Imagine a fantastic and tranquil state of daydreaming, and that is very close to hypnosis! Hypnosis can bring us improved self control, clearer and empowered behavioural choices, and allow us to listen to our best inner resources. Many people experience a deep sense of calmness and serenity during hypnotic meditation and are often pleasantly surprised to see the ongoing, life enhancing results. Thank you greatly for your support, feel free to subscribe and comment on your great results, and I trust you will benefit from your time spent with positive hypnosis.

 

Sleep Music: Night Oasis – Headspace

Night Oasis: For when you can't sleep or when you need a little background noise. Relaxing music that helps you create conditions for deep sleep.

Headspace is guided meditation for everybody. Download our app from the App Store or Google Play and learn how to meditate, wherever you are, whenever you like. Relax with guided meditation sessions that will help you rest and reset after a long day, let go of worried thoughts with our Stress pack, or create the ideal conditions for healthy, restful sleep with our sleep meditations and sleep sounds. That's as well as mindfulness exercises for everyday situations like commuting or cooking, dozens of animations like the ones you see on this channel, and eight different meditation techniques, all taught by Headspace's co-founder, Andy Puddicombe, a former Buddhist monk. With hundreds of hours of content, Headspace is your personal meditation guide to just about anything

 

Fall Asleep Fast, Clear the Clutter of Your Mind, and Release Thoughts and Worry / Sleep Meditation – The Mindful Movement

This meditation allows you to release any worries, let go of the day’s events, and allow sleep to quickly and easily come to you, by inviting relaxation into your body and mind.  Allow Sara's soothing voice to be your guide to effortlessly slow down the momentum from your day. 

This is a sleep version of one of their most popular practices and contains an elevator visualisations.  Together, these two meditations become a powerful practice to simplify and unclutter your mind and reduce anxiety and overthinking

Mindful Movement is an oasis where you can come to tap into your inner calm, develop a positive mindset and heal from the stress that’s blocking your fulfilment. They offer guided meditation, visualisations, and hypnosis as well as Yoga, Pilates and a variety of mindful movement practices to help you live mindfully, move well and feel great! They facilitate an environment to empower growth among a community of like-minded individuals who strive to live mindfully in all aspects of their lives. Guided meditation and movement videos published every week.

 

Deep Sleep Music, Insomnia, Sleep Meditation, Calm Music, Sleep Therapy, Study, Relax, Sleep, 1980 – Body Mind Zone

Body Mind Zone’s relaxing sleep music is specially created with binaural beats to help you feel sleepy and beat insomnia. Our ambient music makes use of binaural beats and delta waves to ensure that our music can be used for a variety of music genres, such as deep sleep music, healing music, peaceful music, soft music, stress relief music, spa music, yoga music, zen music, study music and more. We have a range of relaxing music for sleep meditation and lucid dreams that will help you achieve soothing relaxation and inspire a good night’s sleep and a state of zen during the trying times of lockdown. Our relaxing sleep music and healing music is beneficial, whether you want peaceful music for a power nap, calming music as sleep meditation music or soft music to study to.

Body Mind Zone’s sleep music is specially created to help you fall asleep. To fall asleep fast, our music for insomnia with its embedded delta waves is essential deep sleep music. Feeling sleepy? Use this sleeping music in the background for soothing relaxation or as meditation music after a busy day at work. Our beautiful music for sleeping is ideal relaxation music for stress relief

 

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The Covid-19 pandemic has caused major anxiety for millions around the world. Our mental health will take a serious hit due to self-isolation and social distancing, but one thing that will help is reading.

Studies have found that reading has a positive impact on your mental health. Natalie Phillips, who is an English scholar, teamed up with Stanford neurobiologists and radiologists to look at the benefits reading has on our mental health.

They found that reading increases the blood flow to certain parts of the brain. They asked participants to read a chapter of Jane Austen’s Mansfield Park– both leisurely and analytically- as the participants read their brain was scanned by an MRI machine.

The team found that reading “requires the coordination of multiple complex cognitive functions”, meaning reading exercises underworked parts of your brain.

I would never have thought reading an old copy of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel The Great Gatsby would keep my anxious thoughts away, but it did. Reading is one of the things that has helped ease my symptoms the most.

Pick up a book and dive into a new world, meet new characters and learn about their lives. Reading is a great way to push the anxiety away. It eases your mind when it is full of doubt and fear.

It is the perfect form of escapism. Pop into your local bookshop or order a book online; whether it’s a classic like Wuthering Heights or the latest Sally Rooney novel.

It may not work for everyone, but something as simple as channelling your inner Matilda may keep those dreaded symptoms at bay.

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By Rachel O Neill

I was first diagnosed with generalised anxiety disorder when I was 19 but really I’d been suffering from it for as long as I could remember. I thought it was normal to get obsessed with studying for exams and to cry if I got 85 out of 100 instead of 90. I thought it was completely normal to have your brain scream things at you that you would never dream of saying to another person. I thought it was normal to be sad all the time. In reality, getting my diagnosis was my first step to admitting that my normality wasn’t everyone else's.

I was prescribed antidepressants and started seeing a therapist. I was of the belief that I could cure myself by talking to someone and taking my pills. I didn’t understand that anxiety and depression need to be managed rather than cured. So I took myself out of therapy and weaned myself off my meds, convinced that I was fine. I would go on to have a breakdown a year later and would go back to therapy for nearly 15 months.

I’m very open about my struggles and my problems but that doesn’t make it easy to tell people about them. You don’t want to appear weak or vulnerable and most of all, you don’t want to be treated differently to anyone else. You just want to be seen as a colleague that works hard and does their best regardless. 

Telling my manager about my problems was hard. It’s something you have to prepare for. You rehearse in your head what you’ll say and how they might react. In reality, I had nothing to worry about. My manager was very understanding about my problems and has been incredibly supportive in managing workloads when I need it.

Our work lives are more hectic than they used to be. Ever-changing deadlines, longer commutes and increased pressure means that employees can often feel like they have nobody to talk to. I wanted to do something about it and was lucky enough to be  given the opportunity to help The Institute of Advertising Practitioners in Ireland (IAPI) and The Advertising Benevolent Society (TABS) launch SMASH, a campaign around their new employee assistance programme.

The programme which is run by Spectrum and offers 24/7 support for a range of different issues including mental health support, financial advice, legal advice and career advice. 

 SMASH is the first wellbeing programme of its kind for the advertising industry in Ireland and the programme will provide a variety of mental health supports and practical services, exclusively to IAPI’s two thousand members. The SMASH programme is funded by TABS, The Advertising Benevolent Society.

IAPI members, through the SMASH programme, will be able to avail of six professional consultation sessions on eight different concerns. The programme of up to 48 professional consultations will cover financial, legal, consumer, health, parenting and career advice as well as mediation and life coaching.

It’s a really good programme and I’m so proud to be involved in the launch because I believe that every employee should have access to it. 

More and more of us are taking days off work for mental health reasons. We don’t always say it’s mental health because there is still a stigma attached to taking time off for it. But with an EAP like Spectrum available, we can feel more comfortable in recognising and tackling our problems before they turn into a major crisis.

For those of us like me, who have been managing their conditions for longer, it’s comforting to know that there is a resource there for you if you need it. 

My mental health problems haven’t gone away. They are conditions that I have to manage closely. I’ve been on antidepressants for the last 18 months and I see a therapist regularly too. Even in doing all that, I can still struggle to get out of bed or to see my friends regularly, making my head a lonely place to be.

That being said, I’m optimistic that things always have the potential to get better and being able to share my story with my colleagues has shown that. Hopefully with a little more talk and a lot more action, more organisations will follow in IAPI’s footsteps and support their employees as much as they can.

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If you have noticed that your mood- or that of someone you are close to- is exceptionally low this time of year, that could be because you are experiencing symptoms of seasonal affective disorder (SAD).

Just as it sounds, SAD is a disorder that is at its most prevalent during the darker days- from September to April. It causes symptoms of depression and anxiety and is more common than you’d think, affecting approximately 1 in 15 people. Like others who live as far from the equator as we do, the decrease in natural sunlight during the winter months has a direct effect on our mental health.

For many, SAD is so disabling that they cannot function normally without treatment. SAD most commonly begins between the ages of 18 and 30-years-old and you are diagnosed after two or more consecutive winters of experiencing symptoms.

So, what are they? Those with seasonal affective disorder may experience the following symptoms:

  • Sleeping problems– It is common to oversleep often and have difficulty staying awake.  Disturbed sleep and waking too early are also symptoms of SAD
  • Feeling lethargic– Those with SAD can lack energy and are sometimes unable to go about their normal day because they feel so tired. Limbs become heaving and weight gain is common due to overeating and craving carbs and sugar.
  • Feeling anxious– Anxiety is a common symptom with increased feelings of dread and stress.
  • Feeling depressed– Low moods, weeping and feeling generally sad are key features of SAD. Hopelessness and feelings of failure are also very common.
  • A weakened immune system– Those who suffer from SAD will be more susceptible to catching winter colds, flu and bugs.
  • Feeling apathetic– SAD causes loss of motivation and difficulty concentrating. It can also leave you feeling less motivated to partake in things you would normally find fun.
  • Feeling like staying in– More than normal, we mean. Those with SAD will withdraw from social situations at this time of year and become uninterested in friends.
  • Disinterest in sex– Loss of libido is a common symptom, meaning a decreased interest in sex and physical contact.
  • Mood swings in the warmer months– Many people experience spurts of energy and hyperactivity (known as hypomania) in spring.

Identifying this very common mental health issue is the first step. There are luckily many ways to treat and look after your mental health if you suffer from seasonal affective disorder:

Spend as much time as you can in the sun

Try to get up early to get the most out of the daylight. Make an effort to allow sunlight into your home. Trim any vegetation that may be blocking the path of sun rays to your windows. Keep blinds open and surround yourself with colour by painting walls and using brightly coloured décor. You could even switch desks at work so that you are sitting close to a window.

Try to stay healthy

This is the hardest one. Any exercise or time spent outdoors will help. A simple walk each day can have an amazing impact on your mental health. Try to limit your sugar, alcohol and caffeine intake (we know). These changes to your routine will be worth it when your mood lifts.

Try to have fun

Instead of taking all your holidays during the summer, takes some time off in winter to do the things you love and surround yourself with people who boost your mood and support you. Do what is fun FOR YOU.

Consult your GP

This one is important: Ask for help even before it seems overwhelming. Take all medication as prescribed by your doctor and keep an eye on any side effects. Your doctor may suggest light therapy. This is the use of artificial light to substitute the sunlight. Ask your doctor about this one- they will know.

The most important thing is to consult your doctor immediately if you notice your symptoms are getting worse or stronger. If you suffer from severe winter depression your doctor will need to determine if your symptoms are SAD related, or if something else is causing them.

Psychotherapy, behavioural therapy, stress management techniques and prescribed medication can all be used to treat SAD. Remember, you are never alone, and your GP will always be there to support your mental health.

Sources: Mental Health Ireland, HSE.ie

 

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When you finally get the courage to seek help for mental health issues, one of the first things you will learn is that there is hardly ever a cure for mental. A huge milestone is when you realise that there is no such thing as getting better. Struggling with your mental health is not synonymous with being broken, so it is important to move away from the idea that you can be fixed. Instead, accepting that you will have bad days, weeks or even months throughout your life, is a breakthrough in itself.  

With this in mind, it can be beneficial to plan for these tougher times. To prepare for the difficult days so that you can deal with them as best you can. Here are some things to think about when planning for a tough mental health day:

Write it down

Write your ‘bad day plan’ on a Word Doc on your laptop or in a notepad that you won’t lose. Leave it in a place you will remember that is easily accessible. You don’t want to have to search for this when you are not feeling well.

This could simply be a step by step guide on how to get through the day. Shower, eat (something comforting) and get dressed. It might be helpful to save a draft text or email to send to work etc. Include a list of movies and music you can watch/listen to that might make you feel better. 

Let someone in on the plan

Your partner, your best friend, your sister, or brother. Ask them to be the person you confide in when you are having a bad mental health day/week. There is no shame in this, asking for help is essential. You will need support and it is a comfort to know that there is already someone familiar with your needs who has agreed to help.

Know your limits

Become familiar with how to take days off work, college, school etc. Know what sick days you are entitled to and know the process you need to follow to get a day off. If your mental health is affecting your work, tell your employer and ask them for the company’s policies on sick leave in this case.

Have a backup plan if you have family commitments. When you feel things getting worse, cancel plans. Be honest with friends and family about how you are feeling. Do not push yourself when you are feeling low, anxious or confused. This can make things worse and lead to a spiral.

Go easy on yourself

Allow yourself to take time off. Do not expect to be productive on a bad mental health day. Getting through the day might be all you can do and this is enough. If you have certain basic ways of making yourself feel better, plan these. You could even make up a pack of resources like candles, a hot water bottle, certain foods that comfort you and leave them together with the plan you have written down.

Plan for your physical health, too

Mental and physical health go hand in hand. Try to stay away from alcohol when you begin to feel low or anxious. Make an extra effort to eat well if you can – but don’t deny yourself comfort food when you are having a bad mental health day. Try to stick to your exercise routine as best you can or even make sure to go outside when you feel things begin to get worse.

When a bad mental health day becomes unmanageable or when you feel out of control, call you GP or mental health professional.

source: SpunOut

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When a loved one is struggling with depression, it can be hard to know what to say. We can feel powerless in these situations, aware that what we say could be damaging if not thought through properly. There is no perfect way to talk to someone affected by depression but making an effort can be comforting and help in more ways than you think. Here are five helpful things to say to a loved one who is living with depression:

1. ‘I am here if you want to talk’

Depression can manifest itself in many ways, but it is common that those affected are reluctant to ask for help. You cannot force someone to talk about how they are feeling. No one owes you a conversation in exchange for your support. However, for someone to know you are there makes a huge difference.  Be patient. Open up the lines of communication and let them take it from there. Remind them often that you will be there whenever they want to talk.

2. ‘What can I do to help today?’

Getting out of bed can be a challenge for those with depression. Symptoms include fatigue and lethargy. Ask your loved one what you can do to help them get through their day. This does not have to be huge tasks, it will often be small things like having a cup of tea together, sharing a lift to work or even accompanying them to the doctor. Sometimes, giving them space is just what they need, so be sure to ask if they simply need time to themselves.  

3. ‘You are not a burden’

Those with depression often need help with everyday tasks such as cooking food, shopping or even getting dressed. You must let your loved one know that you are helping because you want to. You want to create a space where they feel comfortable asking for this kind of help when they need it. Let them know that they are not putting you out in any way.

4. ‘You are so important to me’

Depression causes people to have feelings of doubt and worthlessness. It is important for you to tell your loved one outright how much you value them in your life. Try and do this as often as you can. Let them know specifically why you love and respect them. Even if they do not respond to this, your words can be powerful.

5. ‘What you are feeling is real. I am sorry you are feeling like this’

Those with depression have heard it all before: ‘snap out of it’…‘eat more vegetables and you will feel better’…‘you’re just being lazy’…‘there are people worse off than you’. These are extremely unhelpful ways of responding to anyone. Even if you do not fully understand how your loved one is feeling, it is crucial that you validate their emotions or lack thereof.

If you have a loved one who needs help, encourage them to visit www.pieta.ie for a range of supports. 

 

Source: Spunout.ie 

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To mark World Mental Health Day (tomorrow 10th October 2020), Avoca is proud to partner with Walk in My Shoes, the flagship mental health awareness campaign from St Patrick’s Mental Health Services, which promotes positive mental health, tackles mental health stigma and works to change how people think about mental health.

This Christmas, Avoca’s team of crafters have designed two bespoke exclusive products for the Walk in My Shoes campaign; a beautiful candle and pack of paper chain decorations, with all proceeds donated to this worthy cause.

The exclusive candle, made in Ireland, invites the smooth and warm scent of Sandalwood and will be available for €22.95 and the paper chains at €8.95, will add a charming festive flair to the home with a beautiful decorative floral print. Both items are designed in Avoca’s Wicklow Studio and will be available to purchase from 27th October in store and online at www.avoca.com.

The Walk in My Shoes campaign was first established in 2012 when a young man in St Patrick’s Mental Health Services said, “he wished his friends could walk in his shoes to understand how he was feeling.” Since then, Walk in My Shoes have launched initiatives each year to promote positive mental health in schools and communities around Ireland. Thousands from across Ireland have become involved with the Walk in My Shoes campaign, including charity ambassadors, TV and radio presenter Blathnaid Treacy and Dublin Ladies GAA player Nicole Owens.

Amanda McArdle, Project Manager at Walk in My Shoes comments: “We are delighted that Avoca has chosen Walk in My Shoes as their charity partner this Christmas. Walk in My Shoes runs a number of awareness-raising and education campaigns throughout the year, such as our #MindYourSelfie resources for classrooms, our Transition Year programme and our popular Mission Possible awards, celebrating schools that promote positive wellbeing. This partnership will allow us to create further opportunities to support young people, teachers and parents at home, or in the classroom, during this challenging time.”

Maoliosa Connell, Marketing Director at Avoca, says: “We are very proud to support and promote positive mental health and effect meaningful change in peoples lives, particularly in these current challenging times. We’re thrilled to be part of the conversation this Christmas and support Walk in My Shoes’ campaign initiatives, as well as raise funds to aid the awareness-raising and education resources they provide to local communities across Ireland. We are proud to offer a meaningful gift to give this Christmas.”

To mark World Mental Health Day this Saturday, 10th October, and as part of the Walk in My Shoes Live campaign running all week, Avoca will be hosting a complimentary virtual yoga class this Saturday, 10th October from 11am– 12pm, on their Instagram Live platform. The class will be hosted by Avoca staff member, Rachel Lenny of Earth and Purpose Yoga and it will be centered around mindfulness and mental wellbeing, through a vinyasa flow practice accessible for all levels. It will offer a welcoming opportunity to breathe, stretch and connect within.

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