Guest Post: Five Ways to Keep Anxiety in Check When You are Travelling

Guest Post: Five Ways to Keep Anxiety in Check When You are Travelling

This week’s mental health related post is a guest blog from Sarah over at https://www.clinpsychsarah.com/blog

Five Ways to Keep Anxiety in Check When You are Travelling

Travelling is one of the most incredible ways you can spend your time and money, if you get the chance to. So many of the memories that I cherish are of times when I was out in the world, experiencing different cultures and seeing animals I can’t find in the UK: going on safari in Kenya and seeing elephants in the wild; swimming with sea turtles in Mexico; whale watching off the coast of Iceland. There’s also something to be said for food in other countries – my first taste of Dole Whip at Disney’s Animal Kingdom is one I will never forget!

I’m a clinical psychologist by trade, working with people with chronic physical health conditions. But I also have experience of my own mental health difficulties. I’ve struggled with anxiety from a young age and, whilst it never goes away, I’m very aware of the situations that make me feel anxious and have some strategies to manage them now as an adult. One of the things that makes me particularly anxious is travelling – even though I love it, the unpredictability of transportation, the language barrier, and the changes to my daily routine are things that can trigger worry and panic in me quite easily. So in this blog post, I wanted to share some of the things that help me to manage my anxiety when I’m away from home. I hope they’ll be useful to you as well.

Have a Plan

This is super useful if you struggle with anxiety in certain situations. Whilst it’s often important to put yourself in situations that make you feel anxious, so that you can get used to feeling anxious and learning that nothing bad happens, that’s probably not an experience you need to put yourself through on holiday! I’m not saying you need a minute-by-minute plan (although feel free to have one if it helps!), but having a rough itinerary for your time away can help you to feel more in control of the process, as well as helping you to budget for your trip and get to see all the things you want to without feeling rushed. If you know that there are particular things that will stress you out more than others, make sure you allow extra time for those things. For example, one of my particular panics is around getting to my hotel from whichever airport I find myself at. So, I make sure that I have a strategy for doing that, and plan in extra time so that if I’m getting a bus or train, it’s not the last one and I can have a contingency plan.

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Travel with Others

This comes with a few caveats! Whilst I love travelling with other people, and don’t think I would want to travel alone, make sure the people you are with understand your difficulties with anxiety. There’s nothing worse than going on holiday and feeling pressured into doing something because your friends/family haven’t realised how anxious it makes you – or worse, don’t care how anxious it makes you because they want to do it anyway. I’m lucky that I have people in my life who care about me and want to make things easier for me (I wouldn’t have been able to navigate New York in the freezing cold without my best friend, or Palma in the sweltering heat without my husband) but, if you don’t have those people, being alone might make it easier for you to manage your days.

  • Take things that remind you of home
    If you have a specific routine at home to manage your anxiety, work out how much of it is portable. Having things that remind you of feeling safe and calm can be really helpful when you’re stressing out in a foreign country. Look particularly for things that stimulate all the senses:
  • Sight – a picture of loved ones, or your pets, or maybe a letter written to yourself from when you were feeling less anxious to remind you of why you love travelling and why you’re doing it.
  • Touch – something soft and calming like a small blanket or scarf, or something that you can use to keep your hands busy, like a stress ball.
  • Taste – taking a small amount of something that you really like, such as a bar of your favourite chocolate, can be really helpful to ground you when you’re panicking. Just make sure that you’re allowed to take it into the country that you’re visiting, otherwise you might end up having other problems than anxiety!
    Smell – take your favourite scent, or something that reminds you of comfort and safety. Tiny bottles of perfume or essential oils like lavender and peppermint can be helpful for this.
  • Hearing – I never go anywhere without my iPod, as listening to music has a really calming effect on me. Make sure you have some of your favourite tunes on hand, to distract you for a little while and allow your body and mind to calm down.

Learn a Few Key Phrases

I’ve always been quite jealous of people who pick languages up naturally when they’re away – sadly, I am not one of them, and communication difficulties are something that are also likely to raise my anxiety quite a bit. When you’re going to a county that you know might be difficult to navigate due to language differences, learning a few phrases can be really helpful to make you feel more in control. As well as allowing you to learn a bit of a different language, people are often much more friendly when they feel that you’re making an effort to communicate with them, and are often really excited to teach you new things.

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Remember to Breathe!

Important but often over-looked, breathing and relaxation practices form the basis of most anxiety-management techniques. When you find one that you like, make sure that you practice every day – it’s a bit like playing the piano in that the more you do it, the better you’re likely to get. Start practicing somewhere quiet and calm, so that it’s not too difficult to notice when you’re starting to feel less anxious. When you’ve started to be able to regulate your breathing in order to calm yourself down, you’ll be able to do it in different situations, such as in a busy supermarket, or on an airplane. You don’t need to practice relaxation for hours at a time either – two or three minutes of diaphragmatic breathing, two or three times a day, is enough to start to feel the benefit after a few weeks.

I hope this blog has given you some ideas to manage your anxiety when travelling. Travel safely, and enjoy!

If you liked this blog, you can read more of my work at www.clinpsychsarah.com/blog

You can also find Sarah over on Twitter at @academiablues

 

World Mental Health Day

World Mental Health Day

Every year, on 10th October, it’s World Mental Heath Day. I believe we should be aware all year round, but to celebrate this day, I and a few guest bloggers will be writing about Mental health throughout the month. They will be sharing with you their advice, stories, tips and much more this month so keep a look out!

What Is World Mental Health Day?

World Mental Health Day is all about bringing awareness to the stigma surrounding mental health and making sure we’re there for our loved ones who suffer with these illnesses every day. It’s also a time for people to speak up about their work and what needs to be done to change the way we see mental health. You can read more about World Mental Health Day here.

What Can I Do To Help?

There are so many things you can do to help beat the mental health stigma and some of these include but are not limited to:

  • Fundraising
  • Talking about mental health openly
  • Researching to understand mental health illnesses better
  • Donate to mental health charities
  • Be there for friends/family who are struggling with their mental health

There are lots of ways to get involved and to have your voice heard!

Look out for my guest posts coming throughout the month…

Book Review: Margot and Me

Book Review: Margot and Me

I read Margot and Me by Juno Dawson earlier in the year and fell in love with Margot and Fliss.

About

Margot and Me is about how Fliss moves up to Wales to be with Fliss’ grandmother while her mum is in remission from cancer. Fliss has to leave all her friends behind, including a potential love interest. She can’t stand the thought of moving away from London to a tiny town in Wales.

But fortunately for Fliss, she finds her grandmother, Margot’s, diary from the time of the war. She unveils secrets she never knew and discovers it’s not that easy to move away from home. But it does have its perks.

From YA prom where I met Juno!

Review

From the start of the book, I didn’t know what it was going to be about at all or who it was aimed at.

I was excited that Fliss and her mum were moving to Wales because I love it there.

The characters were so likeable, especially Margot (not at the start). I loved Fliss’ mum and Fliss’ gay friend Danny who lives at the Chinese his mum and dad run. Her other friend, Bronwyn is also quite sweet, although a tad odd! Dewi was a personal favourite, a big softie. I wish he would have got more time in the book! (Juno, please write a book for Dewi!)

I felt like I could relate to Fliss, apart from her confidence and sassiness. She worries a lot but is also a kind soul. She has her opinion and sticks by it, regardless of what others think. But ultimately, I loved Margot the most. You could see her character develop from the person in the diaries to who she is now, and it’s not surprising she’s so cold hearted when you look at what she’s gone through.

There was so much crammed into this book that I didn’t know which direction it was going to go in.

The writing was beautiful, especially the parts where we’re reading Margot’s diary. It felt so accurate and made the story come alive. It was like reading a story within a story.

I felt like I was actually in Margot’s farm, watching Fliss resist the urge to eat bacon and seeing her sneak into her bedroom to read more of Margot’s diary.

This book is such a heartfelt read but also a heartbreaking one. Be prepared to cry, laugh (a lot, Fliss is such a diva) and smile. If you want a family oriented read full of laughter, ballet, piglets and more, then read this now!

10 Boss Lady Quotes To Motivate You

10 Boss Lady Quotes To Motivate You

Here’s a list I’ve compiled of 10 Boss Lady quotes that are going to motivate you to get your little hinny out of bed and get shit done.

1. Go for it girl!

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2. You were born to stand out

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3. You don’t need no man to be successful

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4. Don’t give up on them dreams. Work hard

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5. There’s always time to start over

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6. Wake up and make that dream a reality.

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7. Spoken by a true #Girlboss

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8. Start living, don’t just exist.

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9. Go out and kick ass

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10. Live like there’s no tomorrow

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Where I See Myself In Five Years

Where I See Myself In Five Years

Hi folks! I was on Twitter asking all of you what you think I should write about on the blog and the lovely Simon suggested I do a post about where I see myself in five years time. So here it goes…

In five years time I’ll be 25.Which is scaryyy. I’m not sure what will happen with my career, but I know I want to continue freelancing for now. I’d love to eventually work as an editor, and maybe even a staff writer.

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In terms of my blog, I hope it’s still going strong and that I haven’t given up on it! I hope to eventually move to my own domain so hopefully by five years time I won’t be too stingy with those dollars.

In terms of my personal life… I’m hoping to patch things up with my family, but if they don’t believe the truth, it’s going to be hard for us to get along.

I always said I was going to have kids at 25 and to me that doesn’t seem very far away and that scares me. The whole idea of childbirth and parenthood terrifies me.

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I have no idea if me and Oli will be married by then, but whatever happens I know I want to be coming home to him at the end of the day. We have said we want to move to New York, but unless we win the lottery soon (which we won’t, we don’t play it), that won’t happen for a while. Maybe we will be over there by the time I’m 25. All I know is I don’t want to live in the UK forever. I’m starting to get stir crazy in this country!

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If we haven’t moved to America and I’m not a big shot editor working at the New York Times in five years time, then I can definitely see us having our own little flat somewhere near London and us still working hard to move oversees. And I can definitely see us traveling a lot. Hopefully in five years time I have ticked off the places I want to go to such as Italy and going to Africa on Safari.

I’m also hoping they’ll be some type of furbaby in the future…Probably not a dog though (insert crying face here). But definitely a hamster or rabbit. Possibly a cat.

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So… There’s my predictions(?) for 2024. Let’s see what happens…

Book Review: #Girlboss

Book Review: #Girlboss

I read #Girlboss earlier in the year because I’ve already watched the Netflix show twice and wanted to know more about Sophia Amoruso.

About #Girlboss

Girlboss was written by Sophia Amoruso after she created Nasty Gal and has turned her business into a multi million dollar company. She shares her top tips on everything from interviewing to talking with investors. There are Girlboss profiles interviewing amazing freelancers and Nasty Gal stylists.

She talks in detail about being different and how not having a business plan worked out. After all, she started on eBay and now look at her. She’s now the CEO and founder of Nasty Gal, and more recently, Girlboss.

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Review

I’ve wanted to read #Girlboss ever since I watched the TV series. The way Sophia rebelled against “working for the man” inspired me because I don’t want to be a cog in a machine for someone to get rich while I get naff all.

This book spoke to me, and not because I want to create my own eBay business or anything of the sort. I just want to kick ass and be a Girlboss in everything I do, from wearing clothes to working for myself.

Throughout the book, Sophia jumps around from her childhood to now, to the future. It would be confusing if I didn’t watch the show and if her points didn’t make sense in the chapters. But everything spoke to me and her words make me want to believe in myself. It’s so inspiring to think she made a business out of selling vintage clothes on eBay. Just think of what you could do!

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I love books like this because they motivate you to get out of bed in the morning and do something with your life instead of sitting around watching Jeremy Kyle all morning. After reading that I feel like I can do anything. Isn’t that the effect you want from books?

If you want to start you own business or just want to know how to be a Girlboss, then I urge you to read this!

Blog Tour: Meet Me In Monaco

Blog Tour: Meet Me In Monaco

I was kindly asked if I would like to be part of the Meet Me In Monaco book blog tour by Harper Collins. I was gifted the historical romance and I’ve been loving it ever since I started reading it!

I’m not very far into the story but what I have read so far has me captivated.

About the Book

MEET ME IN MONACO is a mesmerizing and meticulously researched new novel by New York Times bestselling authors Hazel Gaynor and Heather Webb, which transports readers to the glamour of the Côte d’Azur in the 1950s during Grace Kelly’s whirlwind romance and royal wedding to Prince Rainier of Monaco. In this page-turning novel of passion, fate and second chances, a young French perfumer and a British press photographer’s lives are forever changed by their chance encounter with a Hollywood actress who is about to become a princess.

Perfumer Sophie Duval is struggling to keep her beloved family business afloat. Running out of ideas—and money—she’s desperate, but fate intervenes when the Cannes Film Festival brings Grace Kelly into her life. In an attempt to dodge persistent British press photographer, James Henderson – a man who needs a professional win to keep his job – Miss Kelly finds herself in Sophie Duval’s boutique. There, she’s met with discretion and respect, and when Grace discovers Sophie’s extraordinary talents as a perfumer and falls in love with her scents, a bond is forged between the two women, setting into motion a chain of events that stretches across thirty years.

Meanwhile, James Henderson cannot forget his brief encounter with Sophie Duval. Despite his guilt at being away from his daughter in London, he takes an assignment to cover the wedding of the century, sailing with Grace Kelly’s wedding party on the SS Constitution from New York to Monaco. As he sails across the Atlantic, his anticipation and excitement mounts, not for the royal wedding, but for the chance to see Sophie once more. In Monaco, as wedding fever soars and passions and tempers escalate, James and Sophie—like Princess Grace—must ultimately decide what they are prepared to give up for love.

Told from the alternating perspectives of Sophie and James in the 1950s and 1980s, and with enticing news articles reporting on Grace Kelly’s career, marriage – and later, tragic death – interspersed throughout, MEET ME IN MONACO is an evocative, engrossing, and marvelously told story of friendship, love, and tragedy.

About the Authors

HAZEL GAYNOR is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of A Memory of Violets and The Girl Who Came Home, for which she received the 2015 Romantic Novelists’ Association Historical Romantic Novel of the Year award. Her third novel, The Girl from The Savoy, was an Irish Times and Globe and Mail bestseller, and was shortlisted for the Irish Book Awards Popular Fiction Book of the Year. In 2017, she published The Cottingley Secret and Last Christmas in Paris (co-written with Heather Webb).

Both novels hit bestseller lists, and Last Christmas in Paris won the 2018 Women’s
Fiction Writers Association Star Award. Hazel’s most recent novel, The Lighthouse Keeper’s Daughter, hit the Irish Times bestseller list for five consecutive weeks. Hazel was selected by Library Journal as one of Ten Big Breakout Authors for 2015. Her work has been translated into ten languages and is published in seventeen countries to date. She lives in Ireland with her husband and two children.

HEATHER WEBB is the international bestselling, award-winning author of Rodin’s Lover, Becoming Josephine, The Phantom’s Apprentice, and Last Christmas in Paris (co-written with Hazel Gaynor), which won the 2018 Women’s Fiction Writers Association Star Award. Meet Me in Monaco will be followed by a fall 2019 release from Harper Collins in which Heather is one of six contributing, bestselling authors to Ribbons of Scarlet: A Novel of the French Revolution’s Women. Her works have been translated into over a dozen languages worldwide. Heather is also passionate about helping writers find their voices as a professional freelance editor, speaker, and instructor at a local college.

I’m so excited for you all to read it! It’s out now, so go and buy it and let your inner romantic free.

How To Promote Your Blog

How To Promote Your Blog

As you may know, I switched over to WordPress early on in the year from Blogger. I gained over a 1000 views in my first month and a half. I’m really happy with how my blog has grown and that I’m still doing it. I’ve never had a “hobby” last so long. So here are my top tips on how to promote your blog.

Platforms

Promoting on social media is essential if you want to gain an audience. I primarily use Twitter and Facebook now, and get a few views here and there from Instagram. A lot of my views actually come from WordPress Reader now though. Which means my followers are reading and liking and commenting on my blog. So I urge you to try to grow your followers as much as possible, as well as giving your blog its own page on Facebook and Twitter.

Facebook has hundreds of blogging groups, from promotion ones, to niches such as book blogging or travel. Sharing your posts to these groups will help you immensely when wanting to gain views.

Community

If it wasn’t for all my blogging friends, I wouldn’t be where I am today. They all help me and vice versa to promote my blog posts. From one retweet to commenting on my blog, it all makes a difference.

Make sure to interact with the people who have been through this blogging journey with you from the start. They will always have your back so make sure you get into the blogging communities on Twitter.

Hashtags

Hashtags aren’t just useful for gaining likes on an Instagram pic. They’ve helped me get into free events and receive goodies from publishing companies. I use the #Bloggerswanted hashtag on Twitter to get free products, free events and more. These give you great exposure because not only will product reviews or gift guides get your blog views, but if the company who gifted you something, share it on their website or social media, you could gain more followers and clicks.

Guest Posts

Guest posts always help me promote my blog because they will usually link back to your blog and social media handles. It’s a great way of making friends in the community while also gaining exposure. It also helps to host guest bloggers on your site because chances are they’ll want their followers to read what they’ve written and share it.

I hope these tips are useful for you, whether you’re new to blogging or a pro!

Why I Hate Apprenticeships

Why I Hate Apprenticeships

Now, I know a lot of people will disagree with me and that’s obviously perfectly fine, but this is my experience and it’s been a bad one. These are my reasons I hate apprenticeships.

Salary

Let’s talk about salary. When I was working as an apprentice (I’ve been in three apprenticeships) I was getting paid £3.50 an hour. How ridiculous is that? I know apprenticeships are a great way of getting into work if you have or haven’t been to university. Some may say it’s better than volunteering since you get nothing with doing that. But when you’re working 40 hours a week for just over £500 a month, it starts to become shitty and tiring. I used to spend an hours pay just getting the bus so I decided to save my £3.50 and walk 2 hours each day. When we moved further away it was even worse but I still refused to use a bus.

On Fridays, although I felt guilty, I would buy myself a Costa and then get the train after work to Oliver’s. That was £40 each weekend. Basically, I couldn’t save hardly anything (although I did manage a little here and there thank god) and by the end of the month I was surviving on a tenner.

Apprentices do the same, if not more work than full time employers. My colleague was on three times more than me, even though she worked 3 days a week and I worked 5. How does that work? Oh that’s right, because these employers don’t give a shit. If you find an apprenticeship with nice people, average pay and a decent workload, then good on you. But I’ve never met someone who has.

If you want to earn respect from your employees, pay them enough so they can afford to buy themselves dinner.

Workload

In my first apprenticeship, I was given so much work to do but very little reward for it. I know a lot of employees do a lot of work, but expecting someone to manage everything for you while paying them £3.50 an hour is a joke.

In one apprenticeship, I overheard a phone call between my boss and my colleague. My boss said that he wanted me to be his PA (all five staff members left within the first two weeks of me being there). So I asked how much I would be paid and my colleague told me I would be a PA and admin on apprenticeship wage. When my boss found out what my colleague had said this to me, he was furious as he wanted me to be below minimum wage doing a PA job. I’m not that stupid I’m afraid.

Overview

It probably won’t surprise you that I never finished any of my apprenticeships. I always left, whether it was a boss being a dick, not getting paid enough or the place went bankrupt. I haven’t had luck with any of them jobs. If you do find one, I urge you not to take any shit. You’re below minimum wage doing a full time employee’s job. Take. No. Shit. Don’t do what I did and put up with it.

Fast Fashion: The Facts

Fast Fashion: The Facts

Fast fashion is the reason why I shop secondhand. From being the queen of Depop and eBay to charity shop diving, I am starting to get the hang of it.

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I went to an event in London where they were offering tips on how to be more sustainable and one thing I took away with me is that I know I could easily shop secondhand. After all, I had been doing it for months already. So I started following sustainable and Eco friendly accounts on Twitter and Instagram to get some more tips and follow like minded people. But when it comes to the fast fashion industry, what are the facts? We are always hearing how bad fast fashion is, but how bad actually is it? Let’s find out, shall we?

  1. It takes 2,700 liters of water to make one t-shirt. That’s how much we usually drink over a 3 year period
  2. Americans buy twice as many items of clothing than they did 20 years ago
  3. Extending the life of clothing by a further 9 months would reduce carbon, waste and water footprints by around 20-30% each
  4. It takes polyester 100 years to degrade on landfill
  5. Australians are the world’s second largest consumers of fashion. On average they consume 27kgs of new clothing and textiles a year and the average woman only uses 33% of her wardrobe
  6. Greenpeace estimates that around 20% of clothing won’t be worn a single time
  7. Around 40% of apparel in the United States is imported from China.
  8. 80% of garment workers are women aged 18-35 who have no access to maternity leave
  9. In 2018 fashion shoppers spent £3.5 billion on Christmas party clothing
  10. Asos sources more than 59 million plastic mailing bags and five million cardboard mailing boxes every year to deliver to their customers
  11. The fashion industry contributes £28 billion to the UK economy
  12. Over 100 billion garments are made each year and 40% of the items will be discarded or unworn
  13. Only 10% of donated clothes in charity shops and thrift stores ever get bought
  14. In the USA 10.5 million tons of clothing is sent to landfill every year. That’s about 30 times as heavy as the empire state building
  15. 1 garbage truck of clothes is burned every second which is enough to fill Sydney harbor every year
  16. Total green house gas emissions from textiles production are more than all international flights and maritime shipping combined
  17. The global apparel and footwear industry accounts for 8% of the world’s greenhouse gases
  18. There are roughly 40 million garment workers worldwide, the majority of whom make less than $3 a day
  19. In Bangladesh, garment workers make £44 a month which is 1/4 of a living wage
  20. 60% of garment workers in India and Bangladesh have experienced harassment, verbal or physical abuse

Aren’t these facts insane? Do you feel any differently about how and where you buy your clothes from? For me, I can’t buy anything from a retailer unless it’s an absolute necessity such as knickers and socks (haven’t found anywhere sustainable to buy these so if you have recommendations please send them my way).

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Sources:

The Guardian

Huffpost

Greenpeace

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