Depression · Mental Health

Helping A Depressed Loved One

Depression is a real menace to a lot of people all over the world, and it’s the kind of thing that we all need to try and understand as best as we can. There is very often going to be a time when someone in your life is depressed, and you might feel a natural urge to help them get through it as best as you can. As it happens, there are a lot of things to bear in mind here, and it might be easier than you think to do this, but remember too that you are not always the sole solution. Nonetheless, here are a few potential ways to help a depressed loved one through their dark time.

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Be There

One of the simplest and most powerful things you can do is to simply make sure that you are there for them. In other words, show that you are happy to speak with them and to be a shoulder to lean on, should they need it. Just showing that you are happy to do that can make a huge difference to how they feel, and could mean that they get through their depression a lot quicker than you might have thought possible.

Buy Them A Gift

Sometimes when someone is depressed, they will often feel as though nobody cares for them – so anything you can do to show them you do care is really going to help a lot. There are a lot of ways to do this, but one simple way is to buy them a gift of some kind or another. Whether you buy a CBD gift hamper or a care package of some kind, or just something that you know they will enjoy generally, it’s going to really help them out in a big way.

Don’t Try To Fix Everything

In a depressed state, you don’t really want or expect anyone to fix your problems – you are much more likely to just want someone to show they care. So if your loved one is depressed, don’t tell them you are able to fix it for them – just be there for them in the ways we have already outlined above. If you try to fix their problems, they may well resent this, and you could end up actually making them feel like more of a lost cause, which is obviously not the idea you are going for.

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Provide A Comforting Environment

If your depressed one just wants to curl into a ball, then it’s actually often best to just let them – and to provide them with a comforting and relaxing environment in which they can do so. Again, you can’t simply force them out of depression, but what you can do is to give them the space to be depressed, until the depression naturally passes of its own accord. You might find this helps them a lot more than anything else you might be trying to do for them, so it’s certainly worth thinking about.

Mental Health · Personal

Summer’s Here – It’s Time For A More Positive Outlook

There aren’t many people who can say they’ve enjoyed the past year. The pandemic has been hard, and has had a huge impact on most people’s mental health and wellbeing. 

But with things looking more positive at the moment, it’s also time for you to start looking on the brighter side, ready to enjoy a great summer and get your health back on track.

Shake off the past year with the following tips for ensuring a more positive outlook this summer.

Image Credit: Unsplash under Creative Commons

Make plans

After a year of not being able to make many plans, it’s time for plans to come back on the menu! Keeping busy ensures you don’t stay at home moping, and instead gives you the chance to go see friends and family as well as enjoy different experiences. Spend time with positive people who make you feel good about yourself. Check out some great things to do this summer and start making plans!

Get outdoors

Spending time outdoors is good for your mental health. It can help you feel a lot more positive after spending a long, wet winter indoors. From going for walks to dining al fresco, there’s a lot to love about spending time outside. If you want to boost your fitness this summer, you can also check out some outdoor workout ideas to keep you busy. Get that vitamin D and spend some time in the sunshine – don’t forget your sun protection!

Think about your future and your goals

The past year might have meant that some of your plans have been put on hold, but that doesn’t mean they have to stay on hold forever. Start setting some goals for yourself that will help give you motivation, serving as a positive way to move forward. You might want to consider going down a more spiritual route with Psychic Lights and see what your future holds. If you’re feeling particularly lost or unsure of your future, you could also consider speaking to a life or career coach, who could help you think about things differently.

Prioritise your mental health

Your mental health is important, but like your physical health, it needs taking care of. Find ways of reducing stress so that you can enjoy life, and making sure that you don’t bottle up your feelings. Don’t put pressure on yourself and make sure you take enough opportunities to relax – isn’t that what summer is all about?

If you are struggling with your mental health for whatever reason, make sure you speak to someone or seek help.

Summer is when a lot of people will feel more optimistic and hopeful. The longer, brighter days can work wonders for your wellbeing, as well as help you get out and about more. Give more time to yourself and let go of all of your negativity so that you can really make the most of the summer months.

Mental Health

Online Counseling and Other Ways to Care for Your Mental Health

Taking Care of Your Mental Health During Lockdown
Photo by Dylan Ferreira on Unsplash

Whether you’re back to normal and going out and about, or still trying to isolate as much as possible, there’s little doubt about the fact that lockdown had an effect on the mental health of many people. As humans, we’re usually social creatures who need to feel a sense of togetherness and community, even if it’s something as simple as a chat to the other school mums in the morning, or a cheery hello from the person serving you in your local shop.

With this in mind, I’ve been thinking about ways that we can galvanise our mental health, especially if we have a second wave incoming, and I’m sharing them with you today:

Be Active

Besides doing various exercises that help keep the mind active, there are other ways to be active mentally. You can choose a book of your choice to read. Reading a book regularly can help keep your mind alert and active throughout. But, reading a book can sometimes be boring, and this might make you slack. The best thing to do is to set a reminder and schedule time to read. You can also challenge your memory. You can do so by playing chess or learning something new.

To remain active, it would also be best to partake in online racing games. They can improve your brain functionality when you think critically about how to finish a certain level. They can also help reduce stress and improve your decision-making skills. Additionally, engaging yourself in stimulating talks can help keep your mind active. In a group or with a friend, you can choose to discuss a topic that will challenge you to think globally.

Find a Counselor

Never underestimate the amount of mental wellbeing a counselor can offer, and thanks to technology, you don’t even need to be face to face. BetterHelp offers online counselling services, and can match you to the right mental health professional for you. Booking yourself in for a weekly chat to vent your frustration and fears can have a profound effect on your mental health.

Find a Hobby

Unless you live in a house which is equipped with all sorts of entertainment areas, the chances are, you were bored at least once during lockdown. Boredom can be devastating to your mental health and the overthinkers amongst us can dread time alone with their thoughts. Finding a new hobby can really help to combat this – I’ve taken up cross stitch since lockdown began and it’s something that’s really helped to give me a focus and a distraction.

Depending on your likes and interests, some hobbies are easier to do at home than others are. If you’re good with your hands and you love solving puzzles, consider hobbies like picking a lock, jewelry making, pottery (if you have the space), or even calligraphy. You can certainly pass the time picking up new skills or discovering new things.

Get Some Exercise

Keeping your body healthy can have a really big knock-on effect on your mind, not least of all because you release endorphins, the “happy hormones”, when you work up a sweat. It’s difficult with gyms being shut, but there are lots of exercise tutorials on YouTube. If that’s not your cup of tea, simply stick some headphones on and go for a walk.

Have a Spa Day

You don’t need to leave the house to treat yourself to some spa treatments – there are plenty of things you can do at home which will make you feel like a new person! Face masks, hair masks, long baths and even self-massage can all help you to feel like you’ve been pampered and nurtured, and taking the time to care for your physical appearance is vital to better mental health.

Do Something Nice

You’d be surprised at the mental boost you can get from doing something nice for someone else. Write a letter, send a box of chocolates in the post, you could even just mow an delderly neighbour’s lawn without being asked. The glow you get from doing something nice for someone else can really bolster your mental wellbeing.

Health · Mental Health

Five Signs of Anxiety a Counselor Will Spot

Five Signs of Anxiety a Counselor Will Spot
Photo by Tonik on Unsplash

Anxiety is one of the most common forms of mental illness, with an estimated 1 in six people suffering from some sort of anxiety. For many of us, anxiety os something that we live with on  day to day basis, barely recognising the varying symptoms that we’re dealing with. However, knowing the different ways in which your anxiety manifests itself can be half of the battle in dealing with it, so I’ve put together a list of five of the most common signs of anxiety that your BetterHelp counselor will spot, even if you don’t:

Hyperactivity

While you may just think you’re being motivated and getting things done, going on a sudden overactive kick of doing something could be a sign of anxiety. Cleaning the house from top to bottom, overexercising or even talking too much can all be ways that we try to distract ourselves while dealing with the excess energy that anxiety can produce.

Irritability

Most people associate feelings of aniety with fear and worry, but for many people, aniety can actually look like irritability and snappiness. This is often due to the racing thoughts and feeling on edge that the excess adrenaline in your system causes. If someone close to you seems snappy and less tolerant than usual, try to remember that it’s not your fault and could be due to their anxiety.

Hoarding

We’ve all seen the “Extreme Hoarders” programmes on TV, where people live in houses which are so full of stuff that they have to climb over a virtual assault course just to get to bed, but hoarding doesn’t always look like this. Often, people who are hoarding because of anxiety will pick one item which is significant to them and hold onto it because it gives them some sense of comfort.

Dissociation

Dissociation is a feeling of being disconnected from your thoughts, feelings, memories, and surroundings. Often, when people are dealing with Dissociation, they don’t even realise that this is what they’re dealing with, and it’s only when they explain their feelings to a mental health professional that they realise thi is what’s happening. It sometimes resolves itself, but seeking help from a counselor is vital. 

Physical Symptoms

There are many physical symptoms which can result from having anxiety, and it’s not uncommon for sufferers to belive they’re having a serious health problem, such as a heat attack, when these symptoms occur. Sweating, heavy and fast breathing, hot flushes or blushing, dry mouth, shaking, hair loss, fast heartbeat, extreme tiredness or lack of energy, dizziness and fainting, and stomach aches and sickness are ALL symptoms which can result from anxiety and can all make you believe you have a physical sickness.

Happiness · Mental Health

The Healing Power of Looking Forward

The future seems bleak right now. The present ain’t so rosy either. Yet, even the darkest clouds has a sliver of silver lining. We just need to be of the right mindset to be able to see it. Every time we turn on our TV or scroll through our social media feeds, we’re met with images of tragedy and prognostications of doom and gloom. In this context is it any wonder that we’re all cooped up feeling depressed, anxious and frustrated? We’re naturally inclined to catastrophise- to jump to the worst case scenario and feel despair. Believe it or not, it’s a psychological defense mechanism. However, I think we can all agree that it’s not a terribly helpful instinct under the current circumstances.

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We can acknowledge the troubles of the present while still keeping a hopeful eye on the future. Indeed, a healthy sense of anticipation can actually have a profoundly positive effect on our mental state. Having something to look forward to can make your outlook and disposition much cheerier. It can help you to focus on positive outcomes rather than getting dragged into despondency. Here are some things you might want to concentrate on looking forward to…

Helping out in your community

All over the country, we’re seeing a revived sense of community. This is our opportunity to be the best versions of ourselves and help our neighbours, our vulnerable and the NHS. From picking up shopping or medicine for eldely neighbours to sewing scrub bags for nurses, there are lots of ways in which you can help out.

Making improvements around the home

Another thing we can get excited about is making some improvements to the home which might have been put off under different circumstances. Rather than bemoaning how long we have to spend at home, we can focus on making our homes the best they’ve ever been!

Planning your next holiday

One thing’s for sure, the next holiday you take as a family will be the most satisfying and exciting you’ve ever taken. Whether you’re planning on jetting off to a far flung country or simply considering taking the family for a weekend by the beach, the air will smell that much sweeter, the food will taste that much better and your memories will be that much more vivid as a result of your prior quarantine.

Buying a new car

While, of course, we shouldn’t rely on material possessions to make us happy… there’s no denying the satisfaction of treating the family to a big purchase. And looking forward to buying a new car may be something that the whole family can get behind. Head on over to Choosemycar.com to look at car finance deals. You may be surprised by how many great deals there are, even if you don’t have outstanding credit.

Having a fun day out as a family

Finally, it’s not just the big things that we’re all missing. It’s the little things too. We’re all looking forward to spending a day in the park without wondering if we’re spending too long there. Or heading to the cinema on a rainy Saturday afternoon. Or enjoying a meal in a restaurant together. All the little things that make for treasured lifelong memories.

Having something to look forward to doesn’t mean you’re burying your head in the sand or refusing to acknowledge the severity of the situation. It simply means that you’re choosing to hope. And that can make a huge difference to the person you choose to be right now.