5 Ways to Stay Positive

  1. Set up an Anti-depression playlist

 

Setting up an Anti-depression playlist can be time consuming on the surface but it can also be fun as well as a mindful exercise too. This is because while setting it up you will be deliberately listening to songs and focusing on how they make you feel which can have some interesting results. You may find that listen to heavy metal or punk works or maybe not. The point is when doing this you should really think about the songs and how they make you feel. Don’t let anyone tell you what should or shouldn’t be in your playlist. After all it’s your playlist it should be designed to help you.

 

2. Create a Vision Board

 

Vision boards are a great way to visualise your goals and dreams but they are also useful when it comes to mental health. Having a board with motivational and funny quotes and images can be very helpful. But remember if your limited on room or don’t want others to see it you could always try making a private one online instead.

 

3. Water

 

I know this one has probably been done a thousand times and you’re probably tired of hearing about it. But water is so important and not only for our physical health. It is shocking how dramatically dehydration can affect our mood and our performance. Personal I take water with me everywhere!

 

4. Self-Care Kit

 

At home two out of the three draws in my bedside table contain self care ‘stuff’. And when I’m out and about I have a special section in my bag full of ‘stuff’ which I use fairly regularly. So don’t be embarrassed about carrying round things you might need; be it headphones, painkillers, an adult colouring book if you need it take it.

 
5. No Phone Time

 

Taking time away from electronics is important particularly at night or right before sleep. So maybe set aside some time before bed for reading or other none electronics based activity. However if like me you struggle with no electronics rules then maybe it’s time to invest in a twilight app. These apps help to limit your exposure to blue light which as we all know is bad for your melatonin production.

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5 Tips for Going to a Support Group


So with New Year still burning bright so of you may have resolved or think going to a support group maybe a good idea. Here are some tips to get you started.

  1. Ask Around

It’s important that the group you go to works for you. So ask around and get a feel for what a group ‘do’. So will be more structured than others and it will help if you already have an idea of what you are looking for in a group to help you.

  1. Message the Organizer

These days it is so easy to contact people regardless of how well you know them. Most groups will have a Facebook group if not a phone number or email registered somewhere online. So do get in contact that way if you have any questions or want to get information on how this particular group works.

  1. Take Someone with You

Feeling nervous? Not sure if you’ll fit in? Then by all means take someone along with you. Most groups are very welcoming anyway and have a the more the merrier attitude so this shouldn’t be a problem.

  1. Meet a Friend Afterwards

So maybe taking someone with is difficult. Maybe it clashes with their schedule or maybe you’re not sure about talking to them about mental health? Then why not try meeting up afterwards? That way you can tell them as much or as little as you like, but still have the comfort of a familiar face.

  1. GO!

This is the most important tip of all. You can plan and organise as much as you like but at the end of the day you have to physically go there and see how it is for you. Remember though it’s ok not to like it and don’t keep going if it isn’t the right fit for you.

5 Tips for Finding Support Groups

1. Online

When looking for a support group one of the best places to look is online. Try typing in the name of your local town with phases such as ‘support group’ or ‘mental health support’. However make sure you check the date when the article was published as you could be reading about a group that was around several years. If in doubt or if your just feeling particularly anxious about going email the organize and they will be happy to help.

2. Doctor’s Surgery

Another good place to try is your local doctor’s surgery as they sometimes have information about support groups in the local area. However if going up and asking the receptionist or your doctor is too much try scouting out their notice boards. Often support groups will advertise themselves with fliers and posters so keep an eye out.

3. Ask Around

Unfortunately some of these groups aren’t very good advertising their presents and rely solely on word of mouth to attract new members. So if this is something your comfortable doing then it might be worth speaking to friends, family, doctor/other professionals, local priest (or religious figure). There are of course other organizations you can reach out to such as the Samaritans and Mind.

4. Community Centres

The good community centre may have seen a slump in funding and support from the government but they are still thriving with the support of local people are religious groups. Community cafes are a growing trend and are great place to find out what’s happening local as well as supplying excellent coffee. Some even host support groups themselves so definitely worth checking out.

5. Can’t find one? Start one!

Sadly not all places have an established support group ready and waiting. If that is the case for you why not start one of your own? Afterall you already have some good tips on how to attract members and after all the walking and talking you’ve done I’m sure you can think of a suppible venue. So why not?

A Poem

Leaden Heart

Feelings flashing all around.

And I can barely make a sound.

I grope in the dark, at things unsaid.

And yet I feel my heart slowly turn itself to led.

It grows heavy in my chest.

A lump of coal. A Darkness. A dread.

And yet I walk around.

And you’ll rarely see me thrown.

A happy Mask is pulled on instead.

It grips so tight, pressing the flesh to my bones.

And stopping the flow.

But hey that’s how I get my youthful glow.

5 Tips for Surviving Universal Credit Meetings

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When you arrange a meeting with your back to work Coach you should be given a chose a dates and times. Personal I prefer to have mine in the afternoon as mornings are very difficult for me and so far this has not been a problem. Note: you may not always be able to get the exact same slot but it is possible to get consistency if that it what you prefer.

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I like to get to things early as this helps me to manage my anxiety. However sitting there waiting to be called, is another huge trigger. So I recommend meditation for a number of reasons, firstly it means your nice and calm when you go into the meeting. Secondly it means you still have to get there early (so no sanctions for being late). And thirdly it’s just a good habit to get into.

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So I don’t know about you guys but my back to work coach is always setting me things to do on my Universal Credit account. Now I am a fairly computer literate person, however I find that system…challenging at times. So whenever she asks me to do something on it I always ask her to show me how to do it. This has the added advantage of getting the task done there and then and her witnesses that it is done.

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When your on Universal Credit there is a one size fits all policy. This is rubbish everyone is different and will have different limits. Sadly you will have to really push to get them to accept yours. To this end having evidence such as doctors is critical. Don’t be afraid to take someone along with you to help. You do not have to attend the meetings alone, so grab a friend or family member if you need to.

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Make sure you take care of yourself after the meeting. For me this means having a long period of time (generally 30mins to an 1hr) to walk round on my own music in drowning out the world. But after this I try to meet up with a friend to talk things through a process what has happened. I also know that after these meetings I will not be able to do anything taxing so for this reason I make sure I have either already completed any pending tasks or have scheduled them for another day.

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5 Hot Drinks to Help You Sleep

 

 

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Malt drinks are one of the classic sleep aids and horlicks in particular is well-known for its yawning effect. Malted drinks contain high levels vitamin B, Iron and zinc as well as milk. All of which are well to relax the body and get it ready for sleep. It is also worth noting that drinking hot drinks will lower the bodies temperature which is thought to aid with sleep in any event.

Chamomile Tea can be used to treat many things from inflammation to anxiety, but is most commonly known as a sleep aid. The high levels of antioxidants found in Chamomile Tea are what produce the calming effect which is so useful before bed. There have been a number of studies done on the effectiveness of Chamomile Tea as a sleep aid and although further study is needed the results are positive.

Green Tea is one of my favourite sleep aids, which is strange as I was first introduced to it as a substitute for coffee. With this in mind it might be worth trying a caffeine free version if you are in any doubts. Green Tea is also a acquired taste as it is quite bitter but well worth the effort. Green Tea is known for reducing stress due to the high levels amino acid theanine found in it and it is this that contribe to soporific effect.

As mentioned in previous posts Hot Milk contains high levels Amino Acid Trytophan which the body uses to create the hormone Melatonin. Which our bodies then uses to regulate and control our sleep cycle.

Hot Chocolate is another classic drink used to induce sleep. Traditional Hot Chocolate would have always been made with milk Hence its effectiveness as a sleep aid. Though in my own personal experience, I have always found Hot Chocolate keeps me awake maybe it’s the sugar? Anyways each to their own, if it I works for you, then it works.

5 Ways to Improve Your Sleep

A hot drink before bed is considered the classic way to fight insomnia but did you know there might be method behind this old wives tale? Most of the classic drinks malt, hot chocolate and warm milk contain…milk which in turn contains high levels Amino Acid Trytophan. Once this has been converted by the body it becomes the hormone Melatonin. Our bodies uses Melatonin to regulate our sleep cycle.

As mentioned before on this blog sleep meditation are a wonderful way to gently drift into sleep or at the very least help you relax. This is partly down to the calming effects of the breathing exercises you go through as part of the process of meditating. However the natural relaxing of the muscles will help get you into the relaxed state needed for sleep.

Journaling before bed can help get whatever you are anxious or worried about out of your head. Sometimes knowing that you don’t have to remember everything can help you relax. Alternatively it can help you to draw a line in the sand and start the next day with a clean slate.

I know this is probably reminding you of the dreaded PE lessons and your probably thinking there’s no way stretching before bed will help but hear me out. The act of stretching has also been found to reduce stress, improve digestion and reduce anxiety. It helps to relief tension and increase blood circulation which in turn can lead to a better quality of sleep. And here’s the thing you don’t need to spend hours doing it to get the benefit about 5-10mins before bed is fine.

Getting comfy is important! So don’t be afraid to try new things. Maybe you don’t have the time or money to replace the curtains with blackout blinds but you can pick up an eye mask (or travel mask) the next time you’re in town. Maybe you’re the type of person who wakes up at 2am every morning desperate for some water and then can’t get back to sleep for hours. Take a glass of water with you. Try fluffier pillows. Maybe you don’t need the extra fluffy blanket. The possibilities are endless.
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5 Tips for getting Outside More

  1. Walking Apps

There are hundreds of walking apps available for download so you are sure to find one that suits you. Here are a couple of suggested:

Pokemon Go is hands down one of my favourite apps. Not only does it allow me to complete my childhood dream of being a pokemon trainer, but it’s also healthy to play as you can’t sit around while playing. If your not familiar with it never fear the game has in-built challenges so you don’t have to have a prior interest.

Zombie Run! In all honest I haven’t downloaded this app yet but it’s definitely on my to try list. The reason I haven’t done so already is more to do with my complete lack of interest in running then the app itself. But if your interested in that kind of thing this might be the app for you.

  1. Walk the Dog

If you have a dog then you already know how social walking them can be. Complete strangers will stop you in the street and if not talk to you, they will certainly talk about dogs! Don’t own a dog then why not offer to walk a relatives or friends or neighbours dog for them? And if you know absolutely no dog owners then head down to your local Dogs Trust (or animal charity of your chose) trust me their always on the lookout for dog walkers.

  1. Walk the Child

That’s right it’s time to grab your niece or nephew and head to the pack. Don’t forget your wellies though as you’ll probably be jumping in a lot of puddles and kicking the fallen leaves. Just make sure you get permission first…no one likes being accused of kidnap.

  1. Grab a Mate or Family Member

If you don’t like the idea of walking alone then grab a mate or a family member to have some alone time with. Even if it’s just a quick walk round the block or walking into town instead of getting the bus. Having someone to talk to can be a great distraction as well as good for our mental health.

  1. Go on a day Trip

We all have places near to home that we want to go to but never do. So make time and plan that trip. Take the family or a friend with you or do it alone whichever suits you. Just don’t forget your camera! Having things to look forward to is so important and combining that with some healthy exercise is ‘doubly good’.

Additional Tip: Join a local walkers club!

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