Mental health recovery is possible

Hi guys

welcome back!

I want to start off by saying recovery is possible. It may seem like a far fetched idea at first, but honestly it can happen if you put in the work. Recovery is not an easy journey. It is gruelling work and it is going to take a lot of effort to get better.

What is recovery? Recovery from mental disorders is a process of change that an individual undergoes through:

  • improving their health and wellness
  • striving to achieve their full potential
  • living a self directed life

Recovery is a lengthy process, it takes time. It does not happen overnight. You are going to have bad days but not all of those days will be bad. You will go through a trial of ups and downs. There will be moments where you feel like you have messed up. There will be other moments where you feel like you’re doing well. And that is okay. We are all allowed to feel these emotions. It is how we get back up again from our downfalls that make us all great and unique individuals.

To have an overall better recovery, we need to consider these factors:

  • To have a stable and safe home to live in. It is important to have an environment where you know you can succeed in and be truly happy in. if not, change it. Your recovery journey will be off to a rocky start otherwise.
  • Make healthy and informed decisions about your mental, emotional, physical health & wellbeing. Take part in wellness activities that you enjoy and are able to do. Do it with friends, everything is better with friends. The more, the merrier.
  • Have a purpose. Participate in activities that is positive for your mental health and good for your physical health. Indulge in hobbies you enjoy and join clubs that will enable you to make new friends and meet new people.
  • Be a part of your community. Volunteer for a community run program or get involved in workshops at your local youth centre.

If you are really struggling with your recovery, make a plan.

  • Write down weekly/monthly small achievable goals and targets that you are able to reach. Tick them off as you go.
  • Write down what your triggers are, it is important to know these and include them in your plan. So you know to avoid such places or people who trigger you.
  • Include daily activities that are a part of your short and long term goals.
  • And lastly make sure you track any changes in your mental health issues.

I hope this post was helpful. If you have any other suggestions, feel free to add them in the comments below.

Thank you for reading. ❤ 🙂

Coping Strategies for better mental health

Stress is the main cause of our problems mostly. It is a physical response to heated situations. Stress affects the way we think and act. It affects our day to day living. We all have our days where we feel down, sad and we cannot get out of bed. We all have days where we feel like we cannot do anything and we lose interest in the things we love the most. And no one is to blame for that at all.

We are allowed to feel our emotions, whatever we maybe feeling at the time. You may want to seek space form loved ones during this time or you may want to vent to somebody about how you’re feeling. In the end, it is how we manage and react to the stress that is the most important of all.

Mental illness and mental health go hand in hand. Mental illness can be a factor in how someone copes with their day to day life. Making sure you are progressing to a better recovery route in order to get to a place where you have an improved mental health, should be the main focus and priority. This means knowing your mental health and planning a few ideas around coping strategies in order to achieve that particular end goal of a better mental health and recovery.

At times, coping with stress can be challenging. You find yourself doing things that are out of character, you lash out and you push loved ones away. You purposefully self isolate and that can be detrimental to your wellbeing if it continues on a long term basis. This is certainly not the way to handle things for the long run.

Instead, find a healthier way to cope with your stress. Make a plan, write down methods of how you’ll cope. Therefore, next time when this arises, you know what to do. When planning for coping strategies with your mental health, make sure you take small steps at a time. Steps you can manage & handle and take it from there.

  • Be aware of how you and your body reacts to stress. Every time you react to your surroundings and the people around you due to your stress, write it down. This is not a reminder for how badly you hurt others. But it is there to help you acknowledge that this is just a reaction because you are going through a hard time.
  • Find ways to reduce your stress. Write down some things that help you ease the pain that is causing you stress. For example; writing in your journal could help you to express emotions, going out for a walk with music in your ears could help get your mind off things or participating in sports activities could help you feel better and lighter.
  • Find the time to rest and relax. Sleep is very important to your mental health and wellbeing. If you can, take an hour or two nap during there day. If you’re like me who can’t nap regardless, sleep early that night so you can feel fresh and better in the morning.
  • Take care of yourself. This is something that we all forget from time to time. It is important we indulge in activities that we enjoy like watching a movie, decorating/rearranging your room or painting. Do something that helps you to relax and be calm.
  • Find regular implements that will help you to manage your stress when you feel out of sorts. Meditation, yoga, exercise, positive affirmations etc. Whatever floats your boat 🙂
  • Create an airy and uplifting space. Stick up posters, quotes, reminders on your wall. Anything that reminds you of positivity. Open your windows, blinds to the let the light and air in. Buy a few plants, place them around your room. Make your bed every morning and work on a few things at your desk if it helps. Whatever helps you to create a healthy and positive space for you.

I hope this post was helpful. If you have any other suggestions to add to this that I have missed out on, feel free to add in the comments below.

Thank you for reading. ❤ 🙂

How to help a friend with depression/anxiety

Hi guys

Welcome back to my blog.

It is not easy going through each day with depression and anxiety. It is a constant battle to just keep going, to stay positive and not get inside your own head. Not everyone experiences depression or anxiety in the same way. Symptoms can vary for each person.

if you have a friend going through this struggle everyday, here are the symptoms to look out for, they:

  • seem sad or tearful
  • talk about feeling guilty, worthless, empty
  • withdraw from activities they used to enjoy
  • get easily upset or irritated
  • feel more fatigued & have less energy
  • seem to be forgetful or have trouble concentrating
  • eat more or less than usual
  • have trouble sleeping
  • talk about death or suicide often

If your friend displays these signs, always listen to them. Don’t give advice. Ask open ended questions and validate their feelings. Show empathy and interest through body language.

Your friend may not want to talk to you straight away, but informing them that you care all the time will help them feel at ease. Ask them open ended questions without being pushy and express your concerns.

Help your friend seek support. Your friend may be feeling unsure or not know they’re going through depression or anxiety. Even though they may know therapy will help, it is a daunting process for them to find a therapist and make an appointment. Showing encouragement and support to make an appointment is the best way to help a friend in need.

A friend might need support throughout their therapy, so showing them that you are there for them when they need you is how you can help them. If your friend feels like canceling their appointment, encourage them to continue to stick it out through the sessions.

The same goes for medication. if your friend stops taking them because of side effects that are unpleasant, be there for them. Don’t be rude or obnoxious. Encourage them to talk to their therapist/psychiatrist about changing their medication or getting off medication entirely.

And make sure you take care of yourself too. Set boundaries. Let your friend know they can reach you after work, at the end of the day. If you’re concerned they cannot reach you, set up a contingency plan with them that will enable them to contact you during the work day. This might involve giving them a number to a hotline they can call for help or you can both set up a code word amonst yourselves, so your friend can text you if they are in a crisis.

Practise self care. Taking a lot of time out with a loved one who has depression or anxiety can take a toll on you emotionally. Know what your limits around them and difficult emotions, and make sure you take time to recharge and relax. If you need to let them know you won’t be around for a while, you might say something like, ”I won’t be able to respond until x time. Can i check on you then?”.

Lastly, learn about depression and anxiety yourself. Read articles and journals online that are written by professionals. Read up on symptoms and causes of depression and anxiety. Everyone’s symptoms vary and the cause of depression and anxiety also varies amongst people. So it helps to learn about the general terms and key words that are related to both mental illnesses.

I hope this post has helped a lot. The reason why I wrote this post because I know what it is like for people to not know how to help me when it comes to my anxiety or when I experience a panic attack or anxiety attack. This has caused for a lot of my friendships to die down just because my friends didn’t know how to help me. And there aren’t a lot of posts out there dedicated to informing and educating people on how to support their loved ones with mental illnesses.

So writing this post felt very personal to me. I know what it is like not to be helped. And sometimes it isn’t their fault. We cannot blame people for what they do not know.

Thank you for reading. ❤ 🙂

Improving access to mental health at work

Hi guys

And welcome back to my blog!!

Today, I want to discuss mental health in the workplace and how employers can make mental heath and wellbeing a priority at work.

A lot of employees in this day and age find it difficult to get help in terms of their mental health at work. That is due to a lack of knowledge on the employers part, on how they should provide for employees in terms of their mental wellbeing. This also also means that there is also a lack of support for mental illnesses as well as there being very little care to follow up on that.

Being able to locate treatment as well as having a supportive employer who has educated themselves on mental health is very important in creating a safe space for employees to work in.

There are now more employers who are raising awareness about mental health by being more proactive with support groups and posters. But it remains to be a challenge for employers to encourage their employees to seek the help when they need it. Mainly due to shame from previous employers they used to work for and friends as well as family.

The more access to mental health that is given to employees, the better the workplace will become in terms of performance and productivity.

It can come at a cost for employees to seek the help with mental health and illness from hospitals and it can also cost the employers for bringing in professional counsellors and therapists to the workplace. Either way it costs money. And it can be very costly.

If as an employer you haven’t got any methods in place to support your employees mental health and wellbeing, here’s a few cheaper and more affordable ideas on how to:

  • Create a voluntary support group within the workplace where an employee volunteers to run the group on a weekly basis and they communicate outside of work as well.
  • Do a ‘once a month’ workshop to educate yourself and other employees about mental health and all types of mental illnesses.
  • Create your own awareness week for any each type of mental illness (it doesnt have to follow real yearly national awareness weeks) and stick up ‘Facts about….’ posters on the walls about it for the week.
  • If your workplace is full of emplyees who don’t know one another, connect them by creating a work group chat so they can get to know one another also in an outside of work setting as well.
  • Hold a ‘once a month’ mental health check in meeting and use this as a chance to gather all your employees together in one room.
  • Host network events for work related purposes.

These are just a few ideas. If you have any other suggestions on how to improve access to mental health services in the workplace, your thoughts are always welcome. 🙂

Thank you for reading. ❤

The best way to help is to just listen

There are many ways that we can think of that we believe will others through their pain and mental health. We think we know what is best for people and we tell them what they should do. But the truth behind that is….that doesn’t work.

The best way we can help someone is to just listen. Don’t give advice. Advice is the last thing someone wants to hear. Just simply having a conversation and hearing someone out while they vent is often the way to go in helping others that are suffering.

Listening empathetically and without judgement is the best thing you can do for someone who is finding it difficult to cope. They have chosen to communicate with you, that should be enough for you to just think that all they need is for someone to listen, not to give advice or not tell them to ‘just get over it’.

Always provide a safe place for someone to go to, you’d rather that than for them to feel that they have no one and go through with suicide. Always make sure they are okay, help them vent and express themselves. Never say anything bad.

Personal connections and being listened to by those close to you is the best thing that can happen to you. That is why it is crucial to keep the people you trust in your life. They could be there for you at a time of need and vice versa.

Loneliness kills and can destroy your inner self. It doesn’t help to be in isolation. It might not be done purposefully at times. But for whatever reason as to how you became lonely, it is always better to be a part of something. A part of a social group, a group that does your favourite hobby/past-time. Something to keep you occupied. whatever helps you pass the time, whatever helps to keep your mind occupied from those running thoughts of suicide.

Surround yourself with the people you love and trust, who you know will provide a listening ear when you ask. Do what is best for you to avoid loneliness. If you don’t have anyone within reach, call the samirtans which is a UK 24 hour helpline for people of any age. They’ll listen when you need them, any time of day.

If you really need help with your mental health, seek professional help from your local doctor.

Thank you for reading. ❤

How to support mental health at work

Hi guys and welcome back to another post.

I know I haven’t been consistent as of late due to changes in my daily routine and I’ve been feeling unwell recently. So please be patient with me.

In this post, I want to discuss how mental health can be supported at work by other employees and employers.

For a lot of people, work is a part of the daily routine. It’s the place where we make most of our friends and where we make our income. Going to a job you enjoy and are passionate about can be good for your mental health and wellbeing.

However, there are times where life gets in the way or gets on top of us. Sometimes it can be related to the stresses that come along with the job such as deadlines or travel. Other times it can be personal and private matters such as relationships with significant others or relatives that can cause you stress. Either way, when life hits us with stress and/or life-changing situations, there is no way around it but to deal with it head-on.

There is a lot of value-added to every economy by people who have had or currently have mental health issues or mental illnesses. And that is worth protecting at all costs. We must protect them by addressing the mental health issues that are faced by employees at the workplace daily.

Addressing mental wellbeing at work increases productivity, teamwork and boosts morale. Good mental health and good management go hand in hand. And if one is bad, the other is also bad. So it is always best to make sure to avoid any conflict that can affect an employee’s mental health.

How to recognise a mental health problem?

There are a lot of signs to look out for when it comes to employee-facing mental health problems and it is affecting them at work. But it is always advised to seek professional help from your doctor or GP surgery if there are experiencing difficult feelings that are:

stopping you from getting on with life
having a bit impact on the people you work or live with
affecting your mood over several weeks
causing you to have thoughts of suicide

Signs to look for when identifying a mental health problem:

constant fatigue
make mistakes that are unusual
feeling unmotivated
short-tempered
timekeeping is not right
isolation
procrastination
feeling distracted or dazed
taking on more work than you can manage.

We may find it difficult to see these signs in ourselves but we can find it easier to see it in others. It helps to have colleagues who can understand that these signs are connected to mental health and would show concern if you or anyone else show these signs.

There are ways that as an employer you can cater to the needs of your employees if they have a mental illness. Such examples can be:

Changing your employee’s working pattern to support them in their decision to begin their day later or finish earlier due of the side effects of any medication they take or allowing them to travel the night before meetings and stay over to avoid early morning travel.

Providing an employee with a laptop and access to the software as well as permission to work at home on set days, or flexibly according to the severity of their symptoms (within a monthly limit).

Excusing someone from attending work functions and client events involving food.

Access to Work is a government-funded scheme that can help to fund equipment, software, and other support if the cost is an obstacle to making reasonable adjustments for employees.

I hope this post has helped you learn ways to make better decisions to take care of employees at work. Even as an employee, it helps to check up on other coworkers even if you are not that close. It lets them know that someone notices and understands that they are not themselves because fo their mental illness or problems related to their mental health.

Thank you for reading. ❤

How employers can help employees combat loneliness at work

Welcome back to another post.

i want to discuss a topic that I have experienced a lot over the years and sometimes still do, to this day. Loneliness.

As humans we are a social species, we have the utmost desire to have a connection and bond with others. We desire to belong whether that be in a group or just between two people, we desire to communicate and not be alone. Without a form of socialisation, we’d most certainly not survive as a species.

There are a number of reasons that can cause loneliness such as mental health issues, family issues or social issues. Technology is also another reason for some people’s loneliness as it has given us an easier way to communicate with others. So people get used to online interactions rather in person social connectedness. Whatever the reason, Loneliness is a factor that sadly, a lot of people experience in today’s day and age.

Loneliness can easily pull us away from face to face interaction with others and that is a growing concern for employers. As morale in the workplace, office productivity and health levels all go down and eventually is in jeopardy. Which is something the employers of the world do not want.

Loneliness is a common emotional response all humans experiences every once in a while. It is a response that can affect someone in the workplace in various ways. Like I said before, technology plays a part in the contribution towards why loneliness is experienced. But it is not the only factor.

On average, we spend Monday to Friday at work, but we do not usually consider colleagues as friends.This can in turn make a good workplace environment turn negative due to lack of good healthy relationships amongst coworkers within the workplace.

Factors that contribute to loneliness:

  • Teleworking
  • Personality differences
  • Lack of social support
  • Introverts and extroverts not getting along

These factors can lead anyone to a slippery slope down towards a weakened work performance, low morale and physical & emotional stress. Which isn’t good on anyone at all.

Tips for employers:

  • Evaluate your company’s social connection by asking your employees about their feelings, whether they feel valued or appreciated and whether social connectedness is supported within the office. This can help boost morale and build open (and in person) communication.
  • Build an understanding on all levels about healthy and high quality relationships at work between employees. Encourage team leaders and managers within your company to create bonds between themselves and other employees.
  • Strengthen social connections and make it your organisation’s top priority. Consider freeing up more time for employees to focus on in person connections by delegating tasks that require a conversation.
  • Encourage employees to seek help and for them to help one another. This will help build better and more positive relations amongst coworkers.

I hope this post has helped in one way or another. If I missed something, feel free to suggest in the comments below.

Thank you for reading. ❤

Listening well

So listening well is a skill we all need in life. A skill that would prove useful in our careers, the workplace and in social situations. And somehow we all have a struggle we face and some of us struggle to listen properly. Me included.

I will admit when I do listen, I listen to give a response not to understand. I interrupt when there’s a thought circling in my head that I desperately want to get out. And that is a weakness of mine I am currently working on.

New Routine: Changes & Adjustments

Hi guys

So the end of last week I have made some changes to my life by making my days more productive and worth while. I have made a new daily routine and with it comes along new changes.

I am starting to busy myself with things I never did before. I am keeping my mind busy throughout the day by setting myself daily tasks to keep my productivity levels high. Prior to this, I was on my phone 10 to 12 hours a day and I would be tired from being in bed watching Netflix all day.

Now I am beginning and ending my day differently, I am joining online groups to help me better my knowledge of my religion and I am physically exercising more often. It is too early to tell, but so far my new routine is going well. I have been feeling sore from all the exercise I have been doing in the mornings the past few days but it is definitely worth. No pain, no gain, right?

I have decided to start a new routine because a) my productivity levels were low, b) I was tired for doing nothing and c) I would forever be bored out of my mind. So I decided to make a few changes.

The benefits to creating a routine is endless. It keeps you busy, productive and occupied. And you end up looking forward to your free time more since you are working for it. If you work for something, you’ll want it more. Therefore, you keep going with the other chores or errands you are up to, to reach your end goal.

The more you do during the day, the more you’ll appreciate the time you do nothing and relax. It’ll be a time you cherish more and will hold forever dearly. These past few days, I have been using my phone less for entertainment & movies. And more for productivity & reading. I am exercising every morning and I walk several times a week in the evenings.

My routine has also helped me with my eating habits. I have changed the way I eat. I eat breakfast around midday and have lunch and dinner together around 5/6 pm in the evening. Throughout the day I have two snack times. And I have limited myself to just three snacks a day. One healthy snack and two unhealthy snacks.

I hope that in the coming weeks I stick to the new routine and keep it going. I have already lost 2kg since I started and I hope my progress continues to get better.

If you are almost always unproductive, here are some tips to change that:

  • Always find something to gain knowledge from
  • Find a new hobby
  • Join a group for a hobby you are passionate about like knitting or running or reading/books
  • Run errands
  • Do household chores
  • Visit/video call a friend or relative
  • Take new classes at your local gym/leisure centre
  • Go out for a run/walk

If you have any other suggestions, you are more than welcome to comment them below.

Thanks for reading. ❤

Spirituality, faith & mental health

Hi guys

So I don’t talk about faith a lot on here since it is a controversial topic. I’ve briefly discussed it before on my blog in a different post a while back. And it is a topic I want to revisit as it is of importance to me and mental health.

Everyone has their own belief system and we all have that right to believe what we strongly think is a correct way of living. There are times where we go through life changing events and that is a part of living life. We experience bad situations we never would wish upon anyone else. What gets us through these life changing situations is our belief.

For me, personally I am muslim and my islamic faith (as well as support from some family members) is what gets me through my bad days. Especially when my anxiety is at it’s highest and mental health is at it’s lowest. And a lot of people (like myself who are of otjer religions) share this idea with me that faith is their number one go to as a form of help to encourage them to feel better with their mental health. That includes prayer and having a strong connection with God or a higher power.

If you have no religion, that is okay too. And that is something that needs to be respected as well as respecting those who believe in God too. If spirituality and faith is not something you believe in, here are some suggestions to help you through your bad mental health days:

  • Confide in a trusted friend
  • Do a hobby you enjoy to get your mind off things
  • Listen to your favourite music with headphones on, on a daily walk
  • Take your dog/cat on a walk
  • If you want to get out of the house, visit a friend/ meet up with a friend for coffee and/or tea
  • Write your thoughts down in your journal
  • Write down a list of affirmations that you can revisit
  • Write down a list of small weekly/monthly goals you can look forward to achieving

Mental health is something that should be taken care of. It is a legitimate reason to stay at home. And it should be embraced more often in a way that people should not be judged when they are mentally not well. I hope this post has helped, even in a small way.

If there is anything else you want to add, or if I said something I should change, do let me know in the comments.

Thank you for reading. ❤ x

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