Going Out? Make Sure to Monitor Your Anxiety Levels.

With the re-opening of shops and parts of the hospitality industry, we are entering a new phase of the Coronavirus pandemic, which will have further implications for our mental health.

I’m not going to sit here and tell you not to do things, not to go to the pub, or go shopping, because it would come from a very biased view, one that is very much based on my own fears and anxieties (which are sky high at the moment).

What I would like to say is to make sure that if you are going out, that you become even more aware of your anxiety levels, as well as the levels of those you are with. 

“pace yourself, be kind to yourself and to others; you wouldn’t expect your body to be able to sprint a marathon, so don’t ask your mind to do it.”

Everyone’s mental health has taken a bit of a battering recently, and now is just another stage that we have to try and adapt to, and this can be really challenging for the brain. Read more

Speaking About Mental Health.

The path to achieving my goals is constantly moving, and it’s a journey fraught with challenges, barriers and frustrations.  I constantly feel like I am not getting anywhere, and that I’m drowning in an endless storm.

Having said this, there may be some calmer waters ahead….. or at least a boat to help ride the waves.

Last year I did a talk about the basics of anxiety at a local school, and I really enjoyed it; I hoped that I could do more, but nothing seemed to materialise, and to be honest, I didn’t really know how to move forward with it; so it ended up being added to the pile of  what I class as ‘failures’. Read more

Mental Health Awareness Week: Kindness & Self-Compassion.

This week is Mental Health Awareness Week, and the theme is kindness.  While a lot of the focus will probably be aimed at being kind to other people, I would like to focus on Self-kindness and the positive effects it can have on our physical and mental wellbeing.

In my last blog, Why Now May be a Good Time to Start Meditating, I highlighted how dangerous negative thoughts and emotions, such as anxiety, can be for our health. 

The further we traverse into the uncharted territories that this pandemic is presenting to the world then the more important actions such as kindness are.  As people become more afraid and stress increases, words such as kindness, love and care seem to get forgotten, replaced by anger, frustration and an urge to find someone to blame.

Numerous studies have shown that emotions such as anger and hatred can be a significant cause of premature death.  Dr Redford Williams at Duke University, and Dr Robert Sapolsky at Stanford University have conducted studies that showed how anger, rage and hostility are particularly damaging to the cardiovascular system.  Read more

Strange Days….. Dealing With Self Isolation, Fear & Panic.

“Panic is a sudden desertion of us, and going over to the enemy of our imagination.” – Christian Nestell Bovee

The current situation with Coronavirus has probably given a lot of people an insight into panic, and how our brain and body reacts to situations of immense stress and fear.

The well used phrase ‘panic buying’ sums it up perfectly.  As soon as we are confronted with fear, we go into fight or flight; this is our primeval reaction that has been hardwired into our brains during prehistoric times (Understanding Anxiety, Panic & Depression: Part 1 – Anxiety).  This is just another example of where this built-in response isn’t really suited to the modern world.  It is natural to want to protect ourselves and our loved ones, hence why some people have turned to stockpiling food, but this has a negative effect on the communities that we live in. Read more

Time to Get Outdoors, Whatever the Weather….

I guess it is stating the obvious to say that the weather has a massive impact on our mood.  When the sun shines we generally feel better than when it is wet windy and grey.

Normally I don’t mind a bit of rain and wind; after all, us Brits are used to it (sniggers from my friends and relatives in South Africa) but the last couple of months have been a real struggle for me.  It seems as though every day I have had to battle through high winds, and wade through sticky, gooey mud.  I battle depression anyway, but I find that the worse the weather, the lower my mood.

One of my neighbours recently saw me walking down the road with Leo in the rain; he smiled and said “that’s why I have a cat….” can’t really argue with that.

This year the storms seem relentless, and the normal, cold crisp, frosty days of winter that I really love, have been very scarce. Read more