5 Tips For Stress Reduction -Blogtober Day 19

Mental Health Ireland describe stress as ‘A feeling of being under abnormal pressure…caused by anything from an increased workload, to an argument with a family member, to financial worries.’

It’s something we’re all familiar with and we all cope with to varying degrees. Below are some ways to help reduce that stress and hopefully begin to feel a little better.

Exercise: We all know we should be getting daily exercise anyway but many of us don’t. Personally speaking, when I’m feeling down/unwell/stressed exercise is one of the first things to go out the window and that really shouldn’t be the case! If, like me, you struggle to stay motivated try to make your exercise something you actually enjoy doing – yoga, cycling, dancing, walking the dog, team sports, a group class, swimming…the options are endless! Figure out what works for you and your situation.

man running up steps

Write things down: If you can’t get something off your mind don’t just ruminate on it, get it out of your head. Sometimes you don’t want to share your stresses with a loved one but you still want to get them out. Try keeping a journal, write and write and write until all of those thoughts are out on a piece of paper. I find it much easier to organise myself and find clarity when I can see my thoughts written out in front of me. Maybe that could work for you too? Or even consider writing down all the things that are bothering you and then ripping up the piece of paper – it can be a nice little ‘f*** you!’ to whatever has been bothering you!

person writing

Laugh – There’s a reason people take part in those somewhat bizzare laughter yoga sessions! It’s been claimed that laughter reduces stress, boosts the immune system and even relieves pain. Why not give laughter therapy a go? Watch your favourite comedies, go to a show, do something fun with a friend (bonus points for spending time with a loved one!). Or maybe even check out that laughter yoga!

two women laughing

Spend time with others: Being part of a social circle can help foster a sense of belonging. Social support should never be underestimated, having someone you trust to turn to during difficult times can be invaluable. Most of us would be familiar with the old saying ‘A problem shared is a problem halved’. Often, it’s true but even just spending time friends or family can help you feel better, even if you don’t share. So, grab some friends and go for a pint, get a coffee, go to the cinema or have a night in – whatever suits!

group of friends

Change: If your stress is caused by your lifestyle consider making some changes. Would being more organised help? Could you delegate some duties at home or at work? Do you need to learn to say no sometimes? Do you need to find a way to get more sleep or downtime? Could your diet do with an overhaul? Maybe you need to change a few things. If it’s something really pressing obviously deal with that first, otherwise, start small. You’ll be more likely to stick to changes you make if you take your time and change in small steps. And remember, counselling isn’t just for those experiencing a mental health difficulty like depression or bipolar disorder. It can be for anyone who needs it so if you’re feeling overwhelmed consider some professional help.

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How have you reduced stress in your life? Share your tips below! 

My Mental Health Story Reaction & Update – Blogtober Day 15

Hi guys!

It’s been a few days since I shared my mental health story with you all. As I said, I’ve been blogging about mental health and wellness for quite a while now but I usually only focus on one particular issue at a time so I’d never shared everything before. Right now I am well and that’s been the case for the last couple of years so I haven’t had to think about some of the stuff in that post for quite a while. Writing it all out took three days because I found that I needed a couple of breaks and it took a few goes to make sure everything was in order and made sense. Part of maintaining wellness is knowing when enough is enough, it’s knowing when you need to say no to something or keep it for another day which is exactly what I did!

I’ve recieved some absolutely lovely messages since I shared my experiences with you guys. I’ve had friends sending on their words of encouragement, my usual Twitter gang offering words of support and even total strangers sharing their own stories with me.

One thing I do want to say is that you don’t have to share your experiences if you’re not ready or if you just don’t want to. Don’t be pressured in to sharing these things, it’s up to you to decide when you share that information and that’s if you decide to share at all. For me, it was a little draining and anxiety inducing which is why I hadn’t shared before now. When I first started blogging I probably couldn’t have handled writing that post, never mind sharing it! It wasn’t the right time then but it is now.

I had a super busy weekend so I haven’t managed to get back to everyone just yet but I promise I will. Tomorrow is a college day for me which I’m really looking forward to. Having the opportunity to study Mental Health is amazing. I’ve wanted this for a really long time but I put it off because other people were telling me that it wouldn’t be for someone like me and I listened to them. As a result, I wasted a lot of time and money trying to do other things that I just wasn’t passionate about. I did learn a lesson though – I should trust myself more.

Anyway, that’s me for now. Thank you again for all of your loveliness these last few days, I really do appreciate it.

If you need help/advice you can find a list of organisations and charities here.

This Month I’m Grateful For – September – Blogtober Day 12

Time for some reflection! Keeping a gratitude diary really helps me stay positive. Here’s a round up of some of the things I was grateful for last month:

  • The chance to catch up with a friend I hadn’t seen in a while – we message pretty much every day but nothing beats actually getting to spend time together.
  • A health scare that was nothing more – waiting for results is always difficult but thankfully everything is okay.
  • A good first day at college and meeting the lovely people there – I genuinely don’t think I’ve ever been part of such a supportive class before. It makes attending classes late on Tuesday nights and early on Saturday mornings a little easier!
  • The honor of being asked to be a bridesmaid at a friends wedding – it’s definitely anxiety inducing, I’ve turned down the opportunity to be a bridesmaid and a godmother before but it’s a while away so I have time to figure out how to deal with it.
  • Learning – because I’m a nerd! I’ve always loved learning new things and I always want to know more. Learning keeps me well, I like to feel like I’m using my mind. Going back to college, some new books and great Twitter chats have led to me learning a lot in September.

What things were you grateful for in September? Share them with me below!

 

How to get a good night’s sleep – Blogtober Day 5

The average person spends roughly one third of their life sleeping.* Why do we have so much difficulty with it considering we do so much of it? Maybe we’re not great at switching off, I know I’m not! Here are my top tips for a good night’s sleep:

Reduce blue light exposure at night – Switch off the gadgets or at least put them away and unless it’s an emergency, do not check your phone if you wake in the middle of the night.

phone charging beside bed

Take time to wind down – It’s likely you’ll struggle to fall asleep if you’re not taking time to unwind from the stresses of your day. For some people practicing mindfulness or meditation works (though caution should be taken for those who have experienced trauma**), for others it’s reading a book , writing a journal, or listening to music. Find the thing that works for you and go with it.

Avoid heavy meals and caffeine late in the evening – Sleeping on a full stomach can lead to indigestion or generally feeling sick and the caffeine will keep you awake^. I love coffee and have some most days but I’ve learned the hard way that I shouldn’t have it after 5pm!

coffee

Make a sleep schedule – Try your best to go to bed and get up at the same time every day. Our bodies quite like routine, going to bed and getting up and different times every day deprives our bodies of the chance to get in to a routine.

No naps in the evening – If you need a nap during the day try to make sure it’s before 3pm and no longer than an hour so it doesn’t disrupt your night time sleep schedule.

Go outdoors – Try to get outside every day and exercise while you’re there. There are lots of ways to fit in a little time outdoors so find one that works for you and your situation. Both exercise and natural light exposure in the day will help you sleep^^. Personally, I find that taking the dog out for a short walk helps, sometimes fresh air and a break from my phone/tablet/laptop is all I need!

people outside

Make your bedroom a place that invites sleep – I think it’s unrealistic to say don’t have a tv in your bedroom because so many people already do but try to switch it off a good hour or two before you need to sleep and do something that doesn’t involve a screen. Ideal sleeping conditions are cool, dark and quiet!

If you don’t fall asleep after twenty minutes of lying in bed get up and go to a different room if you can. Do something relaxing but don’t go on your phone or watch tv! When begin to feel sleepy go back to bed. Lying in bed awake for hours on end isn’t healthy and won’t do you any favours!

 

*www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21056174

**http://trauma-recovery.ca/recovery/mindfulness/

^www.sleepeducation.org/news/2013/08/01/sleep-and-caffeine

^^www.sleep.org/articles/exercise-affects-sleep/

 

Do you sometimes find it difficult to sleep? What helps? Share your tips below!

Hope is… – Blogtober Day 3

The Oxford English Dictionary defines hope as ‘A feeling of expectation and desire for a particular thing to happen.’

But hope is so much more than that…

 

Hope is sunshine on a crisp morning,

it’s watching my nephews and niece learn something new,

it’s listening to my favourite songs,

it is watching Great British Bake Off with my mam.

 

Hope is a bunch of fresh flowers,

a nice smelling candle,

car journeys with my dad,

watching Marvel movies,

my dog resting his head on my lap.

 

Hope is a good cup of coffee,

having my family together for birthdays,

the smell of a new book,

laughing at a stupid joke my boyfriend told me,

a nice email, tweet or comment.

 

Hope is yellow,

it’s crunchy leaves in Autumn,

a walk in the park,

peanut butter cups,

waking up at 3am and knowing I still have hours left to sleep.

 

Hope is being grateful for both the big things and the small ones.

Hope is knowing that there will be more of them.

Hope is believing that bad days won’t last forever.

Hope is the thing with feathers, that perches in the soul, and sings the tune without the words, and never stops at all..._

 

What does hope look like for you? Share it with me below! 

 

For help, advice and information click here.

 

This month I’m grateful for…

Practicing gratitude has a multitude of benefits, from improving optimism and happiness to helping people feel less lonely.* Personally, I feel more positive when I practice gratitude. Every week I try to think of a couple of things that I am genuinely grateful for. This stops me from getting too focused on the things that maybe didn’t go right that week.

I thought I’d share a couple of the things I’ve been grateful for in August.

  1.  Having such a tight knit family in difficult times. None of us are great at answering our phones and nothing is exempt from having a joke made out of it but my family are always there when it matters.
  2. My friend Aoife for encouraging me to keep going after my goals and for always being there to share in the happiness when they work out or to offer support when they don’t.
  3. Getting tickets to see Panic! at the Disco in Manchester next year – shoutout to Ian for this one! Going to gigs is one of my absolute favourite things to do and I was really disappointed to see that Panic! didn’t include an Irish date on their Pray For The Wicked tour but I’m delighted that I’ll get to see them anyway.prayforthewickedtour
  4. The return of cooler weather. I couldn’t cope with that hot weather at all! I’m just need made for heat. I think I was the only person in the country who cursed the heatwave every morning! I love cooler days, cozy evenings, the leaves turning and even the lashing rain.
  5. The arrival of A/W fashion and homeware. If it’s not already clear, I’m an A/W baby, it’s my favourite time of year and seeing all of the new stock like boots, hats, scarves, throws, cushions and candles arriving in store is so exciting!
  6. Getting shortlisted in the Irish Blog Awards in the category of Blog Post – Personal Blog for my ‘I Own It’ post. Blog-Awards-2018-Alebrije-MPU_Short-List
  7. Getting accepted by UCC to study Mental Health in the Community. I’m happy beyond words to have the chance to study something I’m so passionate about.

 

*https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/why_gratitude_is_good

 

Join in! What things were you grateful for in August? Let me know below!