Showing posts with label blogger. Show all posts
Showing posts with label blogger. Show all posts

Tuesday, 14 November 2017

The Steps to Self-Care


Steps to Self-Care

Self-care is something that should be taken so seriously.  It’s as important as our need, and right for food and water to sustain us.

Self-care is not about ‘looking good’ as social media may suggest. You have to actually enrich the energy that resides within you.
Our society glorifies ‘busy’, and it’s a trend that we’re all trying to keep up with, much to the detriment of our mental health and overall wellbeing. We’re simply not taking the time out that we need, irrespective of whether or not we think we deserve it. 





The fact that ‘Replenish: Acting on Mental Health’ is just under a year old and yet booked by numerous companies and businesses to deliver ‘Mental Health in the Workplace’ workshops is suffice to indicate that the need for, and recognition of, self-care is becoming more prevalent.  After all, how can a business be prolific in its output of services and goods if its workforce isn’t in optimum health?





On a Personal Level

For myself personally, self-care is a sacred factor in maintaining my wellbeing. Living with a mental health disorder alongside being a therapist means that it’s not a choice, but a necessity. 
After all, “You can’t pour from an empty cup”. 
So whilst I am on medication for my mental health, AND as knowledgable in the field of mental health care and support as I try to be, I still am very conscious of the fact that my mental health can still be quite precarious and inclined to deteriorate if certain steps are not taken and efforts maintained.
So a few of the Replenish team have compiled a list of the steps that we all should take to ensure optimum wellbeing because mental health wellbeing isn’t dependant on ‘one solution’, unfortunately. It’s the realisation that wellbeing and recovery is comprised of smaller pieces that accumulate to make up a customised and personalised jigsaw of wellness.   




As I go through these steps you’ll see why ‘Replenish’ is made up of various professionals of various fields that are conducive to acting on mental health.

Each steps is written by a professional within Replenish and you will be able to contact as they've listed their contact details below. 

To begin with, Yasmin will detail the importance of her role as an Occupational Therapist in developing a lifestyle conducive to good mental health.





Occupational Therapy

Yasmin Leake ||Occupational Therapist ||
Helping you Balance

As an Occupational Therapist, one of our main focuses is understanding the importance of and creating a balance between a human’s occupations. 
Occupational balance is a way of being, cultivated by a multitude of self care, productivity and leisure occupations.  Balanced engagement in such occupations should promote feelings of positivity, satisfaction and achievement. 
I am therefore a firm believer in working with my clients to review their current daily routines and find strategies that will achieve a balance in their daily routine. 
By investing time in balancing your self care, productivity and leisure occupations, you are likely to benefit from an increased sense of well being and able to manage stress more effectively. 
There is no quick fix to managing your mental health, instead focus on making your whole health a priority every day and you will see positive changes. 
One of my favourite habits I practice every day is going for a 30 minute walk. I try to do this in the morning time when I first wake up, it’s my ‘me’ time, it allows me to be in nature and calm my mind before my working day commences.  It could also be an idea to incorporate an after dinner walk in the evening as an opportunity to unwind and distress from the day. 
If you would like any additional tips/help in creating an occupational balance please contact me at:
yasmin.leake@gmail.com   


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Step 1
Medication

Michelle Harkin || Pharmacist||


Taking medication for mental health is only one of many tools. It can help reduce symptoms enough to enable a person to pursue and receive benefits from lifestyle changes, support groups and counselling. As a pharmacist,  I am aware that most people don't particularly want to feel that they need medication for any illness, but if appropriate, taking care of yourself in the best possible way is always a good thing and is not a sign of weakness.
---- 





What Caroline has to say...


Medication isn’t for everyone. It’s not needed by every person who has anxiety and or depression because depending on the severity of your condition, you can manage it without pharmaceuticals. However, I have a clinical diagnosis of O.C.D, the “tenth most debilitating disorder in the world” according to the World Health Organisation. So basically, I need my medication to help me function and to live a ‘normal’ life. 

When I think a client could benefit from an natural aid to promote calm I always recommend ‘C.B.D. oil’. I wish I had this oil when I was a teenager rather than the placebo of ‘Kalms’ and ‘Quiet Life’. 

So what is CBD OIL?
CBD hemp oil is from the Cannabis plant, however it is legal because it doesn’t have THC, which is the psychoactive ingredient that gives that ‘high’. 

What does it do?
All humans have what is called our ‘Endogenous Cannabinoid System’  that regulates our mood, sleep, appetite, hormone regulation, pain, and immunity response.
However our lifestyles can cause stresses that interfere with our mood, sleep and all those other important elements of health. So taking CBD oil regulates any imbalances in our already existing cannabinoid system. 

Buy CBD oil HERE

 What else can it be used for:
Whilst I myself use if for hormonal times, it’s often used by many to help with:

- Anxiety
  - Epilepsy    
      - Cancer pain
       - Chronic pain






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  Step 2
Diet & Supplements

Ríadh Egan || Nutritionist||

Nutrition and supplementation for your mental health

Like an expensive car, your brain functions best when it gets premium fuel. This is why adequate nutrition is so important for our mental health. Eating high quality food that contains lots of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants nourishes the brain and protects it from oxidative stress - the “waste” produced when the body uses oxygen, which can damage cells. 

Your brain can be damaged if you ingest anything other than premium fuel. If substances from “low premium” fuel (such as those you get from processed foods) get to the brain it has little ability to get rid of them. Diets high in sugar are harmful our brain and promote inflammation and oxidative stress. 


Vitamin Supplementation 

Vitamin B complex 

The B complex vitamins include 11 vitamins essential to mental health and well being. They cannot be stored in our bodies therefore we must depend on our diet to supply them. They can be destroyed by alcohol, refined sugars, caffefine and niacatine. 

Oral contraceptives in women can deplete the body of vitamins B6. this particular nutrient is needed for normal mental health functioning. In such cases vitamin B6 can improve mood. Deficiency in vitamin B12 can cause depression and in B6 can disrupt the formation of neurotransmitters in the brain.

According to a study reported in neuropsychobiology, supplementation of nine of these vitamins improves mood in both men and women. This mood improvement was particularly associated with vitamin B2 and B6.


Folate 
When we hear folate or folic acid we usually think of women in pregnancy or trying to conceive. But actually it is something I recommend for individuals with a mental health illness. 

It has been observed that people with depression have blood folate levels, which are, on an average, 25% lower than healthy controls.
Low levels of folate have also been identified as a strong predisposing factor of poor outcome with antidepressant therapy.

 Folic acid can enhance the effectiveness of antidepressant medication according to studies. 




Vitamin D 

Also known as the Sunshine Vitamin as we get it from the sun. Living in Ireland or any other country that really only sees the sun a couple of months in the year, means that the majority of the population can be deficient in Vitamin D. 

Buy 'The D' Here HERE 


Vitamin D receptors have been found in many parts of the brain.
Some of the receptors in the brain are receptors for vitamin D, which means that vitamin D is acting in some way in the brain. These receptors are found in the areas of the brain that are linked to the development of depression. For this reason, vitamin D has been linked with depression and with other mental health problems.


Exactly how vitamin D works in the brain isn’t fully understood. One theory is that vitamin D affects the amount of chemicals called monoamines, such as serotonin, and how they work in the brain.5 Many anti-depressant medications work by increasing the amount of monoamines in the brain. Therefore vitamin D may also increase the amount of monoamines, which may help treat depression.



Feel Good Foods for your Mental Health 
 Spinach 
Avocado 
Strawberries 
Pineapples 
Green Tea 
Almonds
Tomatos 
Dark Chocolate 
Asparagus 


Should you need any information on nutrition or supplementation please free feel to get in touch. 
Phone: 0863529366

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Step 3
Yoga

Sophie Dechant || Yoga Instructor ||

Are you really Breathing? 
I know you’re breathing .. about 25,000 times a day. 
But are you really aware of all these breaths you take? 

Stop Right Now

  • Place both hands gently on your belly EXHALE all of the air out of  your lungs through your nose.

  • Now inhale (through your nose) slow and strong right down deep to your belly, pushing your hands softly outwards.

  • Exhale again. 

  • Inhale thoroughly. Keep moving your hands with your breath. Up and down. Up and down.
-
                                           
 Now you’re breathing. 
This is abdominal breathing, the first way yoga students are taught to breathe.
Breathe properly and you send oxygen flooding into every cell of your body...yes, your cells breathe. Breathing is important because our cells need a constant supply of oxygen so they can produce energy. Without oxygen cellular function is impaired and and cell death is possible.
So we can see that breath is the very essence of life. In yoga we call it Prana, which is known as 'life force'.
Breathing calms the autonomic nervous system and induces a sense of calm and relaxation. 
It helps us deal with unnecessary impulsive reactions and reduces our stress levels.
Starting with simple abdominal breathing will benefit you physically and mentally


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Step 4

Self-Respect and Self-Awareness
Natasha Clyde Mulhern || Counsellor ||

When I feel low & anxious I feel worthless, like I have nothing interesting to say to my friends, family, colleagues. Especially colleagues & customers - the people who least know me. The paranoia is relentless & persistent & exhausting. The internal dialogue - 'they think I'm boring/stupid, they wish I'd hurry up, they think I'm weird because I don't go on work nights out or drink, I'm the only one who makes mistakes' and on and on the list is endless.

When I'm having a 'bad day' I see no point in anything, there's no colour, everything is messy & dis-organised. I just want to stay in bed. I feel like I am merely going through the motions, functioning at the lowest level necessary, existing - NOT living.
That is what anxiety does to you. It robs you of your personality, robs you of your confidence and robs you of your identity. 


My only thought can be HOPE. Recovering from the way I feel on those 'bad days'. I can tell those of you who feel like this that your emotions do come back in recovery. Your confidence and personality gradually return in little strips, building up in layers, until eventually you feel like the person you were before you became ill.

It takes commitment & tenacity. It takes speaking up, confiding in your 'tribe', being honest with yourself & with them. Totally honest. If you can't say it out loud, technology is your friend - put it in a text, just start the conversation.

Everyone's self-care is different. For me it's taking quiet time out, detaching, re-charging. My work is busy, both physically & mentally demanding, so quiet time is vital for me. I like to spend time with people who are close in my circle, people I feel safe with. Movies, pamper time, naps, meditation - these are all things I enjoy & make time to incorporate them into my life. It's absolutely vital for me. 

I read a lot about anxiety & obsessive thoughts. Meeting Caroline has been an absolutely pivotal part in my recovery. Finally I felt like I could speak about how I was feeling, without fear. It was absolutely liberating. I drove home exhilarated after my first group session - I WAS NOT ALONE.

One thing I've read & utilise now on the daily is this :
"Never say yes when you mean no, and never say no when you means yes"
'




Simple but effective. Try it. I was a people pleaser even to my detriment on most occasions & now I realise I also need to please myself. 
I've started challenging negative thoughts when I have them and try to list facts to support the thoughts - the majority of the time they are unsupported.
I am the most impatient person, this I know. With everything in my life, not just wanting to be well. Recovery, I am told, will come in time. There is no time limit or magic cure. Everybody is different and some people will recover more quickly than others. Medication & therapy which works for one person might be totally ineffective for you - as I've discovered. Yes, it's frustrating - please trust me, just be patient and your body will take care of itself in its own time.
Remember this - you deserve to BE WELL. If you are struggling to be taken seriously by health professionals then be aware that you can take an advocate with you to help speak with you. I took Caroline with me to get the ball rolling. It started my journey towards reclaiming good mental health & has given me confidence to speak up to my GP since.

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Please feel free to join our Replenish group for more vital information on how you can Act on your Mental Health:

Work with us: Replenish
 



Wednesday, 22 April 2015

The Sting


On sunny mornings I’ll usually stand in my garden and breathe in the smells of the new Spring.
This morning, following this routine, I walked out into my garden and saw a huge bumble bee sitting on the garden table. I walked on, and then stopped in my tracks, stopped by some force of nature, and returned to where the bee was.
I instantly remembered about the time I wrote an article for local magazine, Local Women, for the Valentine’s edition. In my unconventional way I didn’t write about romance or love, well love in the traditional way. I actually wrote about how St Valentine is the patron saint of Bee Keeping also.  In the article I chat about how bees are integral to the existence of mankind. No bees, no pollination, No food. 

Albert Einstein once said “If the Bee disappears off the surface of the Earth, man would have no more than four years to live.’’

Upon remembering this reverence for the bee, I owed St Valentine, I had a duty.
So I looked. The Bee, not moving at all, was quite possibly dead. The cause of death? A mystery.
Standing in the dewy morning in my mis-matched pyjamas, and a child-like freckly face to match my child-like curiosity, I bent down and observed the situation in my Sherlock inspired inspection pose. I suddenly remembered that I heard somewhere that bees can become exhausted and to give them sugared water to revive them. With excited anticipation to see if the theory worked (my own little scientific experiment) I went into my kitchen, got sugar and some water and put it on a teaspoon. I went back out and sat the teaspoon down right in front of the bee. No movement.
I pushed the spoon further towards the bee and poured out some of the liquid onto the table. A tensed few seconds passed under my held breath.

There it was, the movement I had been scanning for.

The Bee, faded and slow, began to soak up the sweet water with what looked like a long straw and a little tongue bobbing in and out on the end of it. 





I had never been so close to a Bee before.
The Bee sucked at the sugar particles, and at that I remembered ‘Honey, we have honey’.
I ran back into the kitchen to retrieve the honey and brought it back out, put a dollop in front of the Bee and stared in amazement at how this bee reacted to the honey as if it were a drug he was in withdrawal from.


Not five minutes after giving the bee the honey, my close observance was interrupted with the instant buzzing of the bee. He moved, stretched his legs, tested his wings, and at that he flew off…
When the bee flew off I felt a sense of happiness that I was able to help this creature revive and continue its path in the course of nature.




It also made me think of something else. It made me think of people. It made me think of the people in my life who I’ve given my help, time and love, just as I had given to this Bee. And like the bee, they leave.
We have people in our lives, some come and stay and others go. This bee today, upon leaving me could have stung me, but it didn’t. Some people, upon leaving our lives, do sting us, without us previously never knowing that they could have such a poisonous sting.
Why, if we give love, the rich sugar and water of our lives to these people, do they hurt us and leave? Why do these people, on this Earth, stop by in our lives, take of us our resources, what they need and then just unexpectedly leave?
What do we do?
People who are stung and hurt are often left feeling foolish for investing so much time and love. They feel that they are empty because they’ve no longer the sweetness or vitality that they once had, because they shared it with someone who was no longer there.
What should we learn about such circumstances?

We need to learn that it’s not a shame to have dedicated your best self to another, it’s indicative of the kind and sweet soul that you are. The shame lies in the person who stung you.

Learn that just because we are stung, it’s not necessary to sting back. It’s more necessary to stay as the person you are, the giver of the sweet life that revives.

I’ve learned that upon feeling the pain and hurt from a sting, I found myself being revived by another sweet and pure soul who invested their time in me.

I’ve learned that I could never sting a person who revived me, because I know all I need is already in front of me.
I’ve learned to stay true to myself, and the right people will come into your life to stay.

Sunday, 21 December 2014

Nuremberg Markets

Coming to Nuremberg makes me I feel like part of me is coming home. Whether it's due to the fact that my boyfriend lives here or because the city of Nuremberg is surrounded by historic walls, just like my home city of Derry, I think it's a very rare, but a beautiful thing, to have a sense of familiarity in a city I've only visited a couple of times. Perhaps I lived here in a past life?

I'm currently perched on the edge of the Rudolf red sofa in my boyfriend's apartment, right in the middle of this picturesque city of Bavarian Nuremberg, and I'm so content. I've had the most relaxing long weekend of napping, eating, snuggling and of course, soaking up the atmosphere of the infamous Nuremberg Christkindlesmarkt. So before we head back home to Derry for Christmas I just want to share with you a little insight to our festive weekend.


 
The tiniest tea-sets for a doll's house.



Camel at the Nativity Scene




Enjoying our Glühwein (Mulled Wine)





I hope you've enjoyed this little peek into what it's like in Nuremberg during this time of year.

Thank you for reading.

You can also find me on:

Instagram: instagram.com/red_dutchess 
Facebook: Facebook.com/thereddutchess
You Tube: Youtube.com/TheRedDutchess

Monday, 24 November 2014

Days in Dublin

After the massage, which you can read about here, we went back to the hotel and had a little nap as we were both in a relaxed trance. Of course, I woke a little earlier to do my makeup whilst watching Gossip Girl on Netflix and enjoying a cup of tea (No wonder it takes me so long getting ready).

 Vast hotel hallways always makes me want to run down them... yeah, I'm like that.



Click!

Hotel Selfie

Click!

When we were ready we walked from our hotel through the scenic Ballsbridge to St Stephen’s Green and mingled amongst the Christmas Markets, eating Marshmallow Popcorn (yes! You read that right, marshmallow popcorn- which was beautiful may I add), mulled wine and enjoying all the crafts on display. I couldn't help but stop and look at the quirky jewellery as I love my rings.

 

There was such a Christmas spirit received by everyone on that Saturday in Dublin. We proceeded to walk up Grafton Street that had been captured with a web of Christmas lights.
The street was dotted with Grafton Street’s signature buskers and the crowds, surrounding them, were forgetting the bite of the cold and their worries as they stood entranced by the music that seduced them.









We then met a friend in Pull & Bros, which is a quirky little casual restaurant that is renowned for its pulled pork…it’s actually the place where my boyfriend took me on our first date where I was careful not to smack or make a fool of myself in front of the handsome guy who I was trying to impress. Forward on 7 months in the same place and I sit, unashamedly tucking into my food drowned in an excess of BBQ sauce. As one does!
After sitting longer than necessary at the restaurant, we decided that we’d finish our obscure conversations in Bewley’s Café. My parents love Bewley’s, and upon seeing it, I knew that’s where we’d go. I had Hot Chocolate with huge plump marshmallows bumping into each other on the surface whilst my boyfriend tucked into an over-sized wedge of Strawberry cheesecake whilst Conan, our friend, had a humble little muffin whilst enjoying the fact we had a beautiful foreign woman as our waitress.



 




After a while we departed from Conan and went browsing through the shops, one being COS which Stephen and I are a fan of. In fact, we love the chic tailoring and fresh Scandinavian edges of the clothes, particularly the coats.


We had decided we’d have a late dinner, but that was sabotaged by the idea to go see ‘Interstellar’ in the Cinema. We loved it and chatted about it right into the next day. On the Sunday we enjoyed another full breakfast consisting of fruit, pastries, cereal and good ol’ hot breakfast foods, of course this was all accompanied with copious amounts of tea.






We then parted and made our way home. We have a few exciting places booked, so keep an eye out for where we end up next.

Monday, 3 November 2014

London

I recently met up with my boyfriend in London. Having been to London before meant I didn’t really feel like touring the proverbial sites. My boyfriend and I just wanted to enjoy wander- lusting…and a little shopping of course.
I had the Friday morning to myself since my boyfriend had some work commitments. I immediately went into Whole Foods since having walked past it the night before. I've only ever heard about Whole Foods supermarket from American bloggers, so I was excited to see and explore one. Of course, in true American style, it had everything on the shelves. From the freshly laid out Technicolor fruit and vegetable stalls to the most delectable cakes, I was in supermarket heaven.





I then went for some breakfast in the oh so chic French ‘Aubaine’ where I had Eggs Benedict, and I thoroughly enjoyed every bite whilst also enjoying little intervals of sipping delicately fragranced ‘French Breakfast Tea’.  




I later met up with my boyfriend and we went exploring. I saw a double decker bus that served Afternoon tea. We also saw the Dutchess of Cambridge and Prince William leave the Royal Garden Hotel, but was unable to take photos due to the security surrounding the area.



We stayed in the gorgeous Drayton Court Hotel, and it was beautiful. It had a great rustic ‘Old English’ ambience with little subtle hints of 1920s Art Deco and a touch of modernism.  The breakfast in the mornings was a favourite as we were seated beside an open fire and treated like a King and Queen. They even had my favourite breakfast on menu, the delicious Spanish Omelette/Tortilla. 

Comfortable, Stephen?



Amazing breakfast
On the Saturday we walked outside our hotel and walked right into an Antique’s fair. As a vintage soul I had to indulge in a little dressing up and regression into the old centuries.
We stopped by the new department store, Liberty and browsed the luxurious items, especially the sunglasses. 








 
Liberty



How very chic

A personal favourite, and the sunglasses were nice too ;)

Stella McCartney sunglasses

Luxurious perfumes






We made our way to go see ‘Once’ in the West End, but not before making a little detour to Covent Garden to the renowned French Café, Ladurée, for some afternoon tea. As a lover of all things ‘Parisian’ and ‘Café Culture’ you can imagine that I was where I belonged, sipping tea and eating the most ornately created cakes and signature macaroons opposite of the most perfect gentleman, fitting for the occasion.                                









 After a beautiful time at Ladurée we made our way to the theatre.
 ‘Once’ is about modern bohemians busking on the streets of Dublin and the paths their lives take. It’s definitely worth going to see as well as watching the movie. The music in both the musical and movie is raw and real, and it reignites the audience’ appreciation for Irish talent and culture.  




My final, but important, stop was Victoria’s Secret. It recently came to London, and I couldn’t wait to find the store. After quite a chaotic walk amongst the Saturday evening crowds, I was so excited to see the precious three storey palace of the most coveted underwear in the world. 








Thank you to the Drayton Court hotel for being so accomodating, we can't wait to get back for a visit.

If you're planning to go to London be sure to stay at the Drayton, find more details on their website- The Drayton Court hotel

Thank you!

 
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