Book Review: Depression in a Digital Age

Book Review: Depression in a Digital Age

I feel like I haven’t written a book review in a while so to start the year off on the right foot I’ll be reviewing Fiona Thomas’ book, Depression in a Digital Age.

This book has everything you need from Spice Girl references to Fiona’s rambling thoughts that help ground you and make you feel a little less alone.

Depression digital age
Taken from Fiona’s Instagram

I really felt like I was taking a journey with Fiona while reading this. I felt sympathy for her when she went through her mental health breakdown and couldn’t work.

I myself have left countless jobs for mental health related reasons which has led me to a life of freelance work.

I completely emphasized with how she felt so overwhelmed with her workload and there’s a chapter in the book that really spoke to me.

Fiona talks about taking a break from work because it’s making her so stressed. However, she also stresses out when she takes a much needed break, worrying that people will miss her and need her.

I really resonated with this when I took a week’s holiday from freelance work to go to Morocco in November. Although I was so glad to get away I was worrying about money, about whether my clients had sent me thousands of emails, etc. Turns out when I got back and switched my work phone on, I had one email, and it was a promotional one. I felt a little disappointed no one had needed me and I’d wasted precious time on holiday worrying about my workload.

I think a good lesson to take away from Fiona’s book is that you can stress as much as you like but it won’t change the outcome or how quickly you can complete a task. Take a step back, breathe and relax. Everything will get done in the end.

Overall, Fiona’s book taught me it’s okay to let others help you. It’s okay to speak out about your mental health and not everyone wants the same thing.

Depression digital age
Taken from Fiona’s Instagram

While some people are perfectly happy working 9-5 and getting home to get ready for the next day, not everyone feels the same. Sometimes our mental health stops us from doing the mundane tasks. Sometimes it prevents us from working on ourselves.

Not everyone’s journey is the same and that’s what I’ve learnt from Fiona. While our paths may be different, we share one thing in common. We just want to be happy. We want a life full of adventures. We don’t want to be bound by our mental illnesses. And that’s why Fiona’s story is so inspiring; she used her mental illness to help others.

In the book Fiona also talks about feeling like an imposter. That she isn’t qualified to do her job. The thing is, as a child I always thought I would grow up to feel so big and confident, like I could do anything. But I’m still little old anxious me. That won’t go away. We grow up to think adults have their shit together, when really we are all in the same boat, trying to paddle upstream to get to where we want to be.

Have you read Fiona’s book yet? She is currently writing another book all about being freelance which comes out later this year and I can’t wait to read it.

You can follow Fiona on her socials:

Instagram: @fionalikestoblog

Book: Depression in a Digital Age

Twitter: @fionalikes

6 Coping Techniques To Use For Panic Attacks

6 Coping Techniques To Use For Panic Attacks

We’ve all been in that situation where we suddenly experience a panic attack, whether you’re expecting it or not, it’s always a shock to the system. Everyone’s panic attacks are different. Mine usually consist of vertigo, a lump in the throat, sweaty, breathless, palpitations and more, depending on the situation I’m in.

I’ve noticed over the past few years that I tend to experience more panic attacks while travelling. When visiting my boyfriend in London he would have to meet me just outside the barriers and come with me on the tube. I was terrified of being alone without anyone to grab onto for support. An incident happened where my partner was ill and I needed to see him. However, he obviously couldn’t come with me on the tube and take me back to his parent’s house. I had to make the journey alone. This seemed impossible. But I think it’s one of the best things I have done for my mental health.

I managed to get on the tube by myself, albeit having a few wobbles. I got to his house by myself and it was such an accomplishment. From then on, my partner told me I would be making the journey by myself. I was angry with him. I wanted my security back. After two years of travelling on the train and meeting him on the other end, that would disappear and I would have to make the journey alone. But I did it. For over a year until I moved in with him.

I still get panic attacks when travelling alone but my anxiety has improved so much; I’m a completely different person to who I was before meeting Oliver.

So now that I’ve rambled on – and if you managed to read all of that – let me give you some tips on how to cope with panic attacks. These are a few techniques and remedies I’ve used but please be aware that not everything that worked for me will necessarily work for others.

Use the Tapping Technique

I read a while ago about a tapping technique, also called EFT tapping which is used for people with anxiety and PTSD to help relieve tension and trauma from negative events that have happened. You can read more on the technique and how to practice it here. This technique can help ground you but also take your mind off the situation by giving you something else to think about.

6 Coping Anxiety

Use Rescue Remedy

When I remember to bring it with me, I use Rescue Remedy to help relieve my anxiety. I have the liquid but I’ve also used the pastilles which I find better. I tend to eat a lot and like something to chew so chewing gum or pastilles really help. You can purchase Rescue Remedy here. Please be aware this is an affiliate link and any purchases you make through this link will benefit me and my blog! You won’t pay any extra, it just allows me to make money from the sale!

Scroll Through Your Phone

When I’m nervous I tend to want to do something with my hands so grabbing my phone is an instant relief for me. Try downloading some games onto your phone. When I travel, to take my mind off what I’m doing I hop onto Bubble Shooter.

6 coping anxiety

Take Yourself to a Safe Place

If you’re really struggling to keep it together and need somewhere quiet to go, you should try and find somewhere that makes you comfortable. Whether that’s going to a public bathroom and shutting yourself in a stall like I do, or grabbing a coffee and sitting down in a quiet corner, there’s always somewhere to calm down and collect your thoughts.

Call Someone to Distract You

I have a few friends I feel I can call upon when I’m anxious or having a panic attack. I usually call my friends or my partner who are able to calm me down. It really helps to distract me from my surroundings and grounds me. If you have someone who can be that person for you, that’s great! If you don’t, try texting someone or writing your worries down on paper or your notes app. It helps to write down your feelings so you can calm down.

6 coping anxiety attack

Get Yourself a Fidget Cube

Fidget cubes are a great way to distract yourself because you can fiddle around with buttons, switches etc. Even a Rubix cube or something small you can put in your bag may help you calm down and think about the task at hand.

I hope these were somewhat helpful tools for you to use in stressful and anxiety inducing situations! Let me know your techniques and what works for you in the comments.

5 New Year Goals to Improve Your Mental Health

5 New Year Goals to Improve Your Mental Health

This time of year is always a weird one for me and a lot of people I know. As someone with anxiety, it’s even worse. Not only do I not know what day it is but I also feel an overwhelming amount of dread about the New Year and what it will bring.

5 New Year Goals to Improve Your Mental Health

When you think about it, it seems so stupid to worry because time is a concept we’ve created and really it’s just another day. However, with everyone making New Year resolutions, I feel even worse.

A lot of people I follow on Twitter and Instagram have been sharing what they’ve accomplished this year. Compared to them I feel I have accomplished very little. Some have bought a house, had a baby, got married, traveled the world. I feel like my achievements are small compared to theirs. However, deep down I know that’s not true and I’ve had an extremely lovely year living with my partner, going on holiday and working hard to save for a home.

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One thing I want you to take away from this post is that you should not compare your journey to others. Your achievements matter, you matter. Everyone has a different version of what success means to them and it doesn’t always have to mean having a house, baby and marriage.

So without further ado, I’ll get on with my list of New Year goals you could set yourself and your mental health.

Cut Out Toxic People

One thing that happened to me a couple of years ago that involved a falling out in my family was actually a small blessing in disguise. Although I’m deeply hurt by what has happened, I feel like I can be my own person now. I haven’t cut my family or friends out of my life but I do limit what I say and how long I talk to them for so I don’t feel anxious or depressed. 

If you feel like you have toxic friends or a family member in your life that is affecting your mental health, speak up. It may be hard if it’s your immediate family but talking it through with them and voicing your concerns is the first step to a better relationship for everyone.

Limit Time On Social Media

Now this may seem like a difficult one to do. It definitely is for me considering I’m a social media manager and blogger. However, I do think it’s important to limit your time staring at screens because it tends to keep you up at night and whenever I’m on my phone at midnight my head is whirring with ideas and worries.

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Set yourself a timer; there are plenty of apps which allow you to set a limit for social media time. Some phones even have this in their settings.

What I usually do is set myself a goal if I’m desperate to grab my phone. I’ll read three chapters of my book, spend ten minutes on my phone and then go back to reading a further three chapters and so on.

Take Up A New Hobby

Taking up a new hobby or skill is a great way to channel your anxiety into a new project. You could attend a weekly group, pay for a college course such as a photography course or take up a hobby at home such as crafting or writing a short story.

Keep A Journal

Your journal could be like a diary or it can be a bullet journal where you can let your creativity run wild. There are loads of bloggers and YouTubers that create blog posts and videos for inspiration. It’s a great way to release some anxiety while getting creative.

5 Mental Health New Year Goals

Create A Self Care Box

I’ve seen a lot of bloggers and YouTubers create self care boxes for times when they feel really low. They can have anything from practical things such as nail clippers and bath bombs to trivial things such as magazines. There are so many things you can put in a self care box. You just have to find out what makes you happy when you’re feeling down. It may contain your favourite book, an emergency chocolate stash or some candles and face masks.

I hope these were helpful! Let me know what your mental health goals are for the year!

Why I Don’t Vote

Why I Don’t Vote

Before anyone jumps on the blame train, I’d like to make this clear. It’s perfectly fine to vote, it’s fine if you don’t vote and it’s okay if you’re confused and conflicted. This is completely my own opinion and if you don’t share that, then that’s fine too! I’m pretty sure all I’m trying to get across here, is you do you.

Here’s a list of reasons why I decided not to vote.

Confused

It can’t just be me who’s confused and conflicted about parties. On the one hand, I have always been brought up never to vote Tory (I come from Norfolk which has a very heavy Green Party and Labour background) because my whole family are working class and it was always made out that you could never think otherwise. It’s just where you come from. Second of all, I wouldn’t vote Labour because of Jeremy Corbyn. A lot of people I know want to vote for him because of what he’s promised, and that’s fine, I completely understand it’s like picking one of two evils, especially if you’re on the fence like I am.

I have read articles about Jeremy Corbyn and the past he has had. I don’t agree with his views and honestly I think it’s all propaganda, but that comes with every party, right?

Scaremongering

I have seen a lot of people’s articles, tweets, Instagram and Facebook posts stating that we were lied to about the referendum. However, the only party that seems to take the blame are Tories. Doesn’t every party use scaremongering tactics to win people’s votes? All parties lie about what they’re bringing to the table, so for me, I didn’t want to vote for the wrong party.

Pressure

There is so much pressure on everyone to vote now, which I completely understand because this is such an important vote. However, I’m tired of being made to feel guilty whenever I say I don’t want to vote. I won’t argue with you, your points are valid no matter what party you choose to vote for, but I won’t tolerate being pressured into voting and receiving a biased opinion.

Guilt

Basically, whatever you do, you’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t. For me, I’m not very political so I don’t want to make an uninformed decision and regret it later. I am not a fan of any of the parties, so to decide based on what I already know would be improper. I don’t want to vote for the wrong one and then end up complaining when the country goes to shit, because, it may be selfish, but I don’t want to regret it.

Do you vote? If you don’t,what are your reasons why? I think we should be giving people the facts, not giving them our own opinions which could sway or pressure them into doing something they aren’t sure or know little about.

Guest Post: Surviving Winter

Guest Post: Surviving Winter

This week’s guest poster is Jo who writes at her own blog, My Anxious Life. All her links will be put down below. Happy reading!

The weather has turned, Autumn is upon is. It gets lighter later, darker earlier, everything is a dreadful shade of worn concrete – and let’s not even mention the rain. Even if you don’t suffer with SAD, there’s no doubting that the Autumn and Winter months can have a negative affect on our mental health.

Personally, this time of year leaves me in a near constant state of exhaustion. I struggle to get out of bed at the best of times but in winter, when it’s still so dark in the mornings, it feels like a crime to leave the warmth and safety of my bed – and once I’m up, I begin the bedtime countdown almost immediately. I strongly believe that I’m some kind of evolutionary throwback with my intense desire to hibernate come winter!

I become sluggish, start comfort eating and claiming that red wine is medicinal. I get grumpy and, because I do like to get out and about, being cooped up indoors means I start to ruminate and overthink (even more than usual). If you’re like me and aren’t careful, these are all things that can lead you right into the hungry jaws of depression.

So I’ve put together some ideas to help you avoid the winter mental health slump and stay sane until spring.

Don’t Let Your House Be a Prison

If you’re going to be spending a lot more time indoors because of bad weather, cancelled activities or general winter malaise, avoid feeling anxious and trapped by making sure your home is a lovely place to be. You could do a bit of spring (winter?!) cleaning but personally, I’d rather stick to the fun stuff. Try experimenting with some seasonal accessories to liven up the place or buying extra blankets and cushions to make your pad super snuggly. If you have children, you could even invest in a teepee so nestling inside on a rainy day can be a fun game instead of a depressing bore.

Take Up a Hobby

Keep your mind active and avoid letting it wander by taking up a hobby – preferably an indoor one! It doesn’t have to be anything expensive or complicated, it could be as simple as experimenting with pencil sketching or trying crochet (you can now buy starter kits with everything you need in one box and it’s supposed to be an excellent pursuit to aid mental health).

There are loads of great YouTube channels to help guide you in activities like yoga or meditation – you could even do an online course.

Or, if you’re like my husband and have a garage full of equipment from a variety of abandoned hobbies, try getting back into something you already started. Your other half will thank you for finally getting some use out of that glue gun.

Get Out When You Can!

When the crisp, sunny winter days do make an appearance, get out and enjoy them! Walking in the forest is one of my absolute favourite things to do at any time of year – it’s great for grounding, which can help reduce stress, improve circulation and inspire calm and tranquility. And the fresh air, Vitamin D and feeling of being surrounded by nature works wonders.

They might end up being a washout, but also look out for local outdoor events like apple harvests, scarecrow festivals, guided foraging or star gazing. Sometimes getting out with a group can do you the world of good and help you make it through the particularly dreary days.

winter self care anxiety

Create a Self-care Box

Through the winter months, the chances are there will be fewer social engagements and trips out, so it’s the perfect opportunity to take care of yourself and get into good habits so that your self-care routine continues to stay on point well into the new year. Get a nice box or basket and fill it with everything that makes a special evening for you. It doesn’t matter what it is, and it’s not for anyone else to judge. All that matters is that when you come in from work, soaking wet, after a particularly bad day, your personalised kit is ready to take the edge off. Just make sure you have a Do Not Disturb sign for your door…

Self care

Experiment with Some of Those Wellness Techniques You’ve Been Reading About

You’ve spent most of the year reading blogs and magazine articles about all these things you should be doing to aid your mental health and overall well-being, but you’ve been so busy you’ve barely had a chance to scratch the surface with any of them. Well now’s the time.

Get stuck in with anything that might have caught your fancy. Try creating your own personal affirmations, starting a diary, or practicing meditation. Do some research into any holistic therapies that you’ve found interesting, like essential oils, crystals or CBD. Start a gratitude journal, set personal goals or just explore the benefits of taking a nap.

By using this time to experiment, you’ll figure out exactly what works for you – and what doesn’t – by the time spring starts to bloom.

Get into Reading

I love a Netflix binge as much as the next person, but it’s probably not the best thing for our mental health to just take shelter in a box set until next April. Reading can help reduce stress, improve our memory and inspire relaxation. But perhaps most importantly, it gets us away from the pull of our phones and TV’s and the blue light they emit, which can have a negative effect on our sleep and circadian rhythms.

If you’re not sure you can commit to a novel, you could always try magazines like Happiful, In the Moment or The Happy Newspaper to bring some much-needed sunshine and mindfulness into those dark winter days.

Get Creative in the Kitchen

If you’re anything like me, the onset of Autumn leads to insatiable hunger and major carb loading. But whilst it might be comforting, acting like we’re storing nuts for the winter isn’t good for our mental (or physical) health.

winter food surviving self care anxiety

You might associate all the most colourful and delicious foods with spring and summer, but loads of gorgeous and nutritionally rich fruit and veg come into season September-December. And because of the season, they tend to be nice and hefty..! So whether it’s apples and pears, or beetroot, cabbage, kale and swede, you’ll be able to create a variety of soups, stews and pies that will fill you up and warm the cockles without the junk food comedown afterwards. Whether you’re a seasoned cook or struggle not to burn cereal, the winter months are a perfect time to start experimenting.

What are your top tips to surviving the winter slump?

Jo writes the blog My Anxious Life, where she talks with honesty and humour about her personal experiences with mental ill health, and her journey towards self-development, wellness and happiness.

Her Links:

Twitter

Facebook

Instagram

What is SAD?

What is SAD?

Trigger warning. This post contains talk of suicide and depression.

SAD is short for Seasonal Affective Disorder. 29% of adults will experience SAD during the Winter months, especially when the clocks go back – 1 in 3 adults now experience and suffer from SAD.

Have you felt that your depression worsens in the colder months? Or that you have no energy whatsoever and no motivation to get up and do anything? This is how I’ve been feeling for the past few weeks. I asked my Twitter followers whether they experience Seasonal Affective Disorder and I was surprised at the amount of people who responded with yes or offered to collab on a blog post. Therefore I took them up on the offer and I asked them to write a short paragraph on what SAD means to them.

@chloemetzger at Chloemetzgear.com

 

@chloemetzger at Chloemetzgear.com (2)

 

Symptoms of SAD

Here are just some of the symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder. Have you experienced any of these?

  • Low energy
  • Feeling depressed most of the day
  • Losing sleep
  • Feeling sluggish or irritated
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Feeling worthless or guilty
  • Thoughts of death or suicide
  • Changes in appetite or weight

Do you have any symptoms that aren’t listed on here?

Did you know there is such a thing as Winter and Summer depression? There are different symptoms for each one. Such as Winter, you may experience oversleeping, weight gain, tiredness or appetite changes. Whereas in the Summer you may find yourself experiencing these symptoms: insomnia, loss of appetite, weight loss and anxiety.

Causes of SAD

If you have sudden onset SAD, you may wonder why this is. Sometimes to relieve anxiety, it can help to know what the cause is. SAD can be brought on from a range of things such as:

  • Your biological clock. Because of how dark it gets in the evenings in Winter, this can mess with your internal body clock, therefore making you have depressive thoughts/episodes.
  • Your serotonin levels. Serotonin is responsible for your feelings such as happiness. Reduced sunlight can cause a drop in your serotonin levels which could trigger depression.
  • Melatonin levels. Melatonin plays a vital part in your sleep patterns and mood, therefore a change in season can make these levels unbalanced.

How to Beat SAD

If you experience SAD you won’t be looking forward to Winter. Which is why I have come up with a list of things to help you combat SAD and live your best life (as much as you can). Here are just some of the things you could do to relieve the stress of SAD:

  • As much as we all hate it –  exercise. I go swimming every week which helps release serotonin in the brain which essentially makes us happy. Even a walk in nature will do!
  • Wear warm clothes. It’s proven that being cold can make you feel more depressed, so wrap up warm, drink plenty of hot drinks and cosy up by the fire if you have one.
  • Eating healthy. As much as I love my chocolate it makes me feel depressed after I’ve eaten it. You don’t have to go around eating salads five days a week for lunch, but switch up your meals, do meal prep with your partner or friends and try something new.
  • It’s proven that having a light box or dawn simulator (can be bought on Amazon for under £30) can help improve your mood.
  • Take up a new hobby. It will help distract you from your SAD thoughts (get it? No okay) and help you concentrate.
  • Socializing is a great way of warding off SAD (all my fellow introverts out there, I feel you)
  • Join a support group, or any group for that matter!
  • Make sure to take your Vitamin D.
  • As hard as it is to sleep with SAD, going to bed and switching off your phone at the same time each night and waking up at the same time each morning will help your sleep schedule and make you feel less tired, which in turn will help your mood swings.

I hope this post has helped at least some of you! If you have SAD, what are some ways you combat it?

Sources:

https://getridofthings.com/get-rid-of-seasonal-affective-disorder/ 

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/seasonal-affective-disorder-sad/

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…

An Open Letter To My Former Employers

An Open Letter To My Former Employers

Dear Former Employers,

There’s been a lot of you, there’s no doubt about that. Some of you have been kind, some of you have been awful and a lot of you, I didn’t stick around to get to know.

Every single one of you taught me something about myself. My first, you taught me how to work in a busy environment and I’m glad you gave me so much work to do. But in the end, you’re still a condescending person.

One of you taught me to work hard but play hard too. Thank you for the late nights staying up behind the bar celebrating a successful night with all of us. Giving me that job let me spread my wings and fly the nest.

One of you was deceiving. You made me think I was delusional when I told you I was being bullied. But, I learnt to stand up for myself in the process. Ironically, being one of the worst jobs I ever had, I stayed there for seven long, tedious months through the bullying, hard family life and little pay.

My last employment, which lasted three short months taught me the most: I don’t want to work for anyone ever again. I decided to look for freelance gigs and left before I found anything else. After two months I found my full time freelance gig.

Thank you all for teaching me I can do whatever the hell I want and no one is going to stop me, not even you. Vee x

The Pros and Cons of Being Freelance

The Pros and Cons of Being Freelance

In some ways, freelance can give you a sense of freedom that you don’t get with being on a contract. However there are some downfalls…

Pros

  • You can manage your time better when you aren’t being nagged to do something by a colleague sitting right next to you. You can take your time and work on your own terms and hours.
  • You can sit in your pajamas all day if you really want to!
  • You can eat whenever you want without Susan sitting in the corner judging you for snaffling three twix bars in a row…
  • You can have as many clients/gigs as you can manage.
  • You’re effectively your own boss.
  • You avoid the commute in and out of work meaning you have that precious time to yourself.
  • You don’t have to work with people you dislike and who just watch you out of the corner of their eye.
  • You don’t have to worry if you’re a bit sick to go into work, you can probably work from home! (Unless you have the flu…)
  • You can take as much holiday when you want.
  • You can work however much you want with no cap.

Cons

  • It can get lonely being at home all the time.
  • You aren’t guaranteed to be kept on with some clients.
  • You have an uneven amount of money from working odd hours.
  • You don’t get paid sick pay.
  • You don’t get paid holiday or bereavement pay.
  • You have to work out all aspects of your business, including the dreaded tax.
  • Having multiple clients wanting things done at the same time.

Do you think the pros outweigh the cons? Would you consider going freelance or staying employed on a permanent contract? Let me know in the comments! Vee x