Showing posts with label mental health. Show all posts
Showing posts with label mental health. Show all posts

Wednesday, 23 January 2019

Yoga Weekend Retreat at Redcastle Hotel || January 2019






I received an email early one morning from Redcastle hotel inviting me to experience their yoga retreat for an entire weekend. A holistic weekend at a 4* hotel in one of the most beautiful parts of Donegal? You bet! I replied immediately accepting the offer.

I was even more delighted to be able to invite my friend and fellow yoga enthusiast, Yasmin. Yasmin has been integral to the growth of Replenish, and she was the first person who came to mind when I was told I could bring a friend. Yasmin has experienced Yoga in all its glory when she was travelling through South East Asia, so of course she was exactly the person who would appreciate this retreat as much as myself.

The retreat was guided by Tara O'Rourke, founder of SaolBo Therapies and Training based in Fitzwilliam Square, Dublin. The first word that comes to mind when I think of Tara is 'gracious'.  She was passionate about every single person's experience during the yoga retreat and became a friend to everyone. She has the most calming presence and soothing voice. Tara is also a Wellness Therapist, Homeopath and Meditation teacher as well as being a Yoga teacher.



I received the itinerary and I patiently waited for Friday to come.




I practice yoga often as you'll see on my Instagram . Whilst I'm very flexible, I like to work on my strength and balance as having inner ear problems can inhibit my balance in general. Yoga is part of my 'Replenish Lifestyle' that I lead, and encourage others to lead in order to yield optimum mental health and wellbeing.

From the first Yoga practice on the Friday until the very final practice on Sunday morning, I had never felt more at peace, both physically and mentally.

Tara educated us in every aspect of the various types of Yoga we were practicing.  Her passion for what she was teaching enlightened me just as much as the learning of the importance of 'Pranayama Practice'. Prana is 'life force' and the sources of Prana are vital to our wellbeing, whether that is through our food, air quality and environment. So, Yasmin and I decided to go a walk in Moville for some good quality Donegal Prana after our practice on Saturday.

I also thoroughly enjoyed our 'Mantra with Intentions' session as I had never experienced doing anything like that before. We did Chakra Meditations with Mudras and Mantras and by the end of the session I felt relaxed yet, re-engerised.

For two mornings and two evenings Redcastle hotel provided the utmost quality of food that I found enhanced our experience even more. We sat, as a group, along the tables provided for us and we exchanged stories with each other, laughed and truly enjoyed each other's company.


View from our hotel room

Ready for Yoga

There WERE strawberries...but I ate them.

Our Yoga room for the weekend

Yasmin getting ready for some flow




There's my balance away...






A walk in Moville

Dinner Time

Don't pretend like you don't run for dinner as well




                           
Breakfast View









Tea by the Sea


"Bye Room'


The Group


Even if Yoga isn't your 'thing', just to experience a weekend in Redcastle Hotel is enough to help you unwind.

Thank to you Tara for making me feel renewed and to The Redcastle Hotel, and of course Feleena, for your unprecedented service and care.

Keep an eye out on The Redcastle website for their next retreat and offers:
The Redcastle Hotel & Spa


Tuesday, 28 August 2018

How Taking a Psychobiotic Has Changed My Social Life...

I’m alway curious about the latest research and findings regarding how our gut affects our brain, more specifically, our mental health. So I’m always asking questions to Paul, the pharmacist of Inish Pharmacy. Recently he mentioned ‘Zenflore’ to me. Zenflore is a psychobiotic.But first, let us get our heads around the Brain-Gut axis.





Understanding the Gut-Brain Connection


We feel our emotions in our stomach. We get feelings of nausea when we’re scared and ‘butterflies’ when we’re nervous. It’s also makes sense why people with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) have flare-ups when they’re stressed or under pressure. Anxiety and Depression affect our stomach, and our stomach health can affect our mental health. They’re inextricably linked. However, this doesn’t always mean your mental health is the sole reason to why you may have stomach/digestive issues; there are other reasons why you may have digestive issues. Harvard Medical School state that “the gastrointestinal tract is sensitive to emotion. Anger, anxiety, sadness, elation — all of these feelings (and others) can trigger symptoms in the gut."





What are Psychobiotics and how can they help my mental health?

Psycho- relating to  mind; mental; psychological

Biotic’-relating to or resulting from living organisms (in our gut in this case).



You’ll be familiar with those advertisements for Yakult or Actimel and their association with ‘good bacteria’. Psychobiotics are probiotics and prebiotics that can improve your mental  health by changing the mixture of bacteria in your gut.500-100- species of bacteria live in the gut and are collectively known as ‘microbiome’.Our brains are subsequently affected by these species of bacteria, and the quantity of ‘Good Bacteria Vs. Bad Bacteria’ can considerably shift our moods, feelings of anxiety, thoughts and feelings. Nowadays, with the amount of processed foods and herbicides, we’re all likely dealing with some kind of microbiome distress and feeling it in our moods.

Introducing Zenflore




Last month Paul sent me two bottles of  the psychobiotic, Zenflore. I gave a bottle to my friend. I gave them to this particular friend because he has quite a demanding job and I wanted a first hand account from someone who deals with stressful situations to see if he felt that the Zenflore helped mitigated the symptoms of stress. Since he has started taking Zenflore he has claimed that he feels more equipped to deal with the onset of pressure and feels he can go to the gym more often after work because there were times he felt he didn't have the energy to do anything after work.

Zenflore is a psychobiotic developed by PrecisionBiotics in “partnership with scientists and clinicians from one of the world’s leading centres of research on the gut-brain axis.”Zenflore claims that “modern life can be busy and often means feeling stressed.Combining this unique culture with specially selected vitamins, Zenflore provides a complete solution to help support a healthy mind and combat stress related fatigue.”

My experience of Zenflore

It’s been two days since I’ve run out of Zenflore, and I don’t know if I’m imagining it or it’s genuine, but I have that old familiar heaviness in my stomach again, my mood is a bit subdued and I could sleep on string…


Alongside taking Zenflore I also take
-Vitamin D,
-Vitamin B complex
-Magnesium  





I also take my usual mental health medication.

For the last few weeks I’ve had motivation that I’ve never had before. I’ve been feeling more ambitious and doing much more work. Usually, I have to be careful with the amount of work I take on because my mental health condition can be easily triggered when I’ve overwhelmed. For once I can fulfill my ambition and get productive without feeling like I’m about to fall apart. I was even out at the weekend and even stayed out until closing. If you know me personally you’ll know that I turned from a partier into someone who couldn’t even deal with late nights never mind drinking.I couldn’t believe the energy I had and the mental energy I had to talk, to socialise and to actually just enjoy being out dancing without yawning every second and watching my phone to see if it was time to leave.On Saturday night I didn’t want to leave. A first in many, many years.So, whether it’s a combination of all my vitamins and supplements AND the Zenflore or not, I know the Zenflore is definitely doing something.
I'll be starting to take it again.
I don't recommend things to my clients unless I've tried them.

I sincerely believe you'll notice a significant change in your mental health, and feelings of anxiety in your gut, when you begin taking Zenflore

You can get in touch with Inish Pharmacy on their website if you’ve any questions to ask Paul.

-Inish Pharmacy (You can even talk to Paul on a Live Chat on the Website)

-Read more about Zenflore


* This post has not been sponsored or in any way affiliated with Zenflore 

Tuesday, 17 April 2018

The importance of being Emotionally Intelligent

I could portray a 'perfect' life. It's the social norm as of late, but I choose not to. I choose to be authentic.
There are things I could change about myself physically; My insecurities and flaws. But I choose not to. 
To be authentic, or at least endeavouring to be, means accepting yourself for the organic version of yourself in all its entirety without the sharp needle of ego, injecting you with notions that you too should be everything like those girls and guys parading a pseudo-idyllic life on social media. Their minds are as confined, changeable and flippant as the very boxes in which those euphoric scenes appear.  It's like a game of human tetris; you only fit in if you meet the criteria: Abs, Plastic Surgery, some kind of diet/protein product in hand, airbrushed, probably unfulfilled and chronically unhappy. Now, don't get me wrong. I do enjoy seeing what people wear, makeup and beautiful art and photography. However, I do think there is a distinct difference between content that is led by the want to share experiences, work and beauty and content that is led by ego for status, an X amount of 'Likes' and validation. 



Point is, anybody could feign this 'lifestyle'. Congratulations to those who choose to embrace their oftentimes not-so-easy-reality, you've unlocked the 'Emotional Intelligence' level. Game over for players who thought they could learn the 'cheats' and get ahead. Life isn't a game, there is no winner. 


I believe it take a great degree of emotional intelligence to not conform to an unrealistic lifestyle as well as being responsible with what you show on social media, especially to our impressionable youth. It's because of our youth and their naivety that we should be cautious about what we turn into 'trends' and 'normative' human behaviour. So, since there is a huge amount of irresponsibility, I only feel it's my responsibility to highlight the importance of living as real as we humans ought to, and that's with humility, control of ego and with a good conscience. Not to mention that choosing to be vulnerable and to show your true self is in fact liberating. 

So back to
Emotional Intelligence

The components of 'Emotional Intelligence' as given by Daniel Goleman is:

-Self-Awareness
-Moral Compass
-Intuition
-Empathy
-Self-Management

If we work on cultivating these aspects that are the definition of Emotional Intelligence then we can become better humans and create a better society. And it's possible because if you become aware of your inclination to 'think' a certain way then that's you becoming aware of your thinking styles and knowing which are helpful and unhelpful. For Example, I would have the tendency to 'Catastrophize', and so my 'meta-thinking', which basically means 'thinking about your thinking' allows me to work on developing another habit of thinking. I know this isn't easy, but it's possible. It's called neuroplasticity. It's where the brain physically "shapes itself according to repeated experiences"- Daniel Goldman 

This is important because it can prevent you from getting caught up in unhelpful cyclical behaviours that you may always find yourself in, but never really know why. 
 The more you become aware of your own thinking and feeling then the more empathetic you become towards other people. The more empathetic you become, the more compassionate and calm you become. You see? Developing your emotional intelligence equips you to be a better human. When you're more compassionate you think twice about what influence you have over others, especially our young people. You choose to do what's good for others instead of you and your ego. 


You'll find that people who have been through the wars with their mental health and tragic or negative life events are often the most empathetic people who care so much for others.

Being in the mental health field both as a blogger and a professional you would think  you'd find the most wholesome people, but it's is actually the opposite. Just like any other career or area there is competition. And to practice what I preach and remain authentic I'll tell you the truth; It's very frustrating.

However, whenever people do compete with me I've already outdone them from that very moment. How? Well because I don't reciprocate, because for me there is no competition. I'm in mental health because I was born with a mental health disorder and my own suffering has impassioned me to help wherever I can. Not to mention over a decade of training and experience.



To compete is to be led by ego and to need constant recognition, to support and collaborate is to be led by compassion and empathy for the people around you.

You can have self-satisfaction without seeking validation on social media. You are enough, just as you have always been enough in your most imperfect, authentic state. 

Having Emotional Intelligence helps to immunise you from being absorbed by this inane culture, a culture that only survive on ego and money. If you starve it, then we become a much healthier, compassionate and authentic culture. 


Monday, 15 January 2018

Just Another Manic Monday...

 Today is Monday! 'Blue Monday' apparently?!
Like, who actually comes up with these 'trends'? Well, to answer my own question, and hopefully yours, Blue Monday was actually part of a marketing plan from a 'Travel Company' as an incentive to encourage people to book holidays.  Relatively smart marketing yes, but a disregard for those of us who already struggle through tough, tarnished weeks upon weeks of mental torture.What about our hashtags and formulas?! Have you one for my O.C.D? Or my friend's P.T.S.D?
  This pseudoscience was argued to have been discovered through using a "scientific formula"...



"The formula uses many factors, including: weather conditions, debt level (the difference between debt accumulated and our ability to pay), time since Christmas, time since failing our new year’s resolutions, low motivational levels and feeling of a need to take action. (By some fella Arnall in 2006).


Let me introduce you to Natasha, Counsellor, Mother, Mental Health Warrior and part of the Replenish Tribe. 
Natasha speaks candidly about her struggle with her mental health and how she manages through all those days that nobody has a hashtag or marketing strategy for.


What Natasha has to say to you...

When I am having a 'bad day' (don't you just love that label by the way? How I wish it was confined to one day - I'd skip off to bed that evening, safe in the knowledge that tomorrow everything would be ok again), which sometimes turns into days & worst case scenario a week or longer, my confidence plummets.

When I DO find the courage to look in the mirror I mostly don't recognise the woman looking back at me. Where did my vibrant, assertive, funny, confident self go? The girl who loved concerts, nights out in the City, travel?
On the bad days those things mostly fill me with fear. How will I get out of a concert in a venue I'm not familiar with, if I need to? People on nights out who have consumed too much alcohol peak my anxiety as they can be unpredictable, argumentative, aggressive. Travel means airports, security, confined spaces. 

I can only manage it with people I feel 'safe' with.
When I feel low & anxious I feel worthless, like I have nothing interesting to say to my friends, family, colleagues. Especially colleagues & customers, people who know me the least.
The paranoia is relentless, persistent and exhausting. The internal dialogue usually goes something like '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 own experience caused me to feel as if my emotions and feelings had disappeared. I could not feel the highs of love that I used to feel, the intense happiness & excitement of seeing my favourite band, I couldn't grieve the loss of both my Aunts. Emotionless! This is exactly how I feel on a 'bad day'. Nothing anyone could do or say could make me happy. I feel numb and detached and there are times when I think I might never smile again.
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 and 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 and I 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, but now I realise I also need to please myself.
I often think to myself 'who am I kidding?'. I rarely stop thinking. I wonder about my internal dialogue. Would I speak to other people the way I speak to myself? Would I allow other people to speak to me the way I speak to myself? Absolutely not! Why then do I re-enforce the negative automatic thoughts? Example: 'You're useless/ugly/incapable/a laughing stock.....the list is endless'.
I've started challenging these thoughts when I have them and try to list facts to support the thoughts. The majority of the time they are unsupported.
I often feel tired of being tired. Obsessional thoughts are exhausting. Sometimes I just don't lend the energy to it. I concentrate on getting tasks done and nothing else. The more you learn to accept and let go, the more your body will respond to a new way of thinking.
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 and 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.
 Go easy on yourself x 



     



Remember

You do not have to be alone as you deal with your mental health. Replenish is developed by people with mental health issues who are compassionate about helping others who are similar to us.

Get in touch with us on:
or find out where your local 'Replenish Tribe' is.

Replenishyourmind@gmail.com


What the media doesn't tell us is how to manage those Blue Mondays after they've created a unnecessary hype.

However, it's a hype that does bring more global awareness to mental health.
See what we had to say in our YOUTUBE video/Podcast here: 

Monday, 18 December 2017

Making Waves

2017 was the most fulfilling year of my life. Period. 

I didn't earn any huge sums of money, I didn't invest in property and I didn't buy Bitcoin. 

My year was quite the opposite of the superficial meaning of 'success', actually.

For the first time in my 28 years on this planet I felt part of something. Here's why:

January 2018 will mark 1 year since I created Replenish: Acting on Mental Health,  my Mental Health organisation
I launched Replenish as a response to the lack of ground level and non-clinical mental health support and care that I experienced whilst growing up. The concept of Replenish was my way of creating just that exact kind of support. Replenish is a refuge for those enduring the crippling isolation that our mental health can bestow upon us, making us feel like we're in the barren wilderness.

I started as myself, just me, as it has always been.
Today, I have a team of professionals who work with Replenish to provide their care, advice and support. These are people who share the vision of Replenish. They help and facilitate people to 'act on their mental health'.

To illustrate how Replenish has grown exponentially, and exceeded all my expectations, let us go back to October 10th, World Mental Health Day.

For World Mental Health Day on October 2016 I created a documentary with the help of University of Ulster students looking at how mental health was perceived and understood in the city of Derry.
(Watch Here)

So for 2017 I knew I had to move up the scale and do something a bit bigger and a lot more effective.  And that we did.

We developed an output of speakers, advice and activities in a way that demonstrated how good mental health wellbeing and recovery isn't down to one solution, but many small accumulative actions. Oh, and we also made a short film, 'Unfiltered Water' (Watch Here)

We demonstrated action planning with an Occupational Therapist, a Yoga Session, Nutritional advice, Pharmaceutical information, Complementary Therapies, discussions and panels surrounding workplace mental health and maternal mental health, and the benefits from massage. We proved  how inclusive, uplifting and empowering acting on your mental health can actually be.



Yasmin, Occupational Therapist



Sophie Dechant of Pole Infinity Derry




Michele Jones of Shipquay Townhouse & Spa



Michele explaining her role as a Heartmath Practitioner. 

Michelle Harkin of MacCaffery's Pharmacy


George Hutton, Personal Trainer 


Riadh, The Feel Good Nutritionist

George, Emer and Myself. 'Unfiltered Water'


Megan Robinson of Pearl Healing Corner

Incredible Women, Emma & Natasha 

The Team 


What's your One Word?


Replenish 'Snapchat' Filter


You will see that it doesn't just take one person to make a change, it takes a lot of selfless people to contribute to making big changes and creating a revolution in mental health awareness and culture.

Since World Mental Health Day, October 10th 2017, I was able to take my existing 6 week Workshops and enhance them by incorporating the work of the professionals that you've just seen. They are now an integral part of Replenish and reason why we've been able to make waves, even in our infancy. We've been to Letterkenny, Buncrana, 5 times in Derry, Limavady, Sligo and in 2018 we're going further afield.

2017 saw Replenish deliver workshops in Workplaces and Schools and we are already booked for 2018, and we want you to get involved. Whether it's volunteering, sharing your professional expertise or simply being part of the Replenish movement, we would love to have you.



Speaking at The Villa Rose launch of 'V SPA'

Seasonal Affective Disorder article in The Belfast Telegraph 


The Derry Journal
Launching World Mental Health Day on the Radio

Speaking in Antrim at the Health & Safety Executive of Northern Ireland's 'Build | Health' conference. 


Speaking with the Youth at the Donegal Youth Service for the 'Shape of You' Body and Image Initiative. 


Derry Post


Speaking for the Endometriosis Association of Ireland in Dublin 


Speaking at St Mary's College



So you can imagine the excitement for Replenish 2018.

For now, we want you to know that we are developing a 6 Week 'Steps to Self-Care' programme that is specific to developing a plan that empowers an individual to act on their mental health with accessible, non-clinical and compassionate professionals.





To book the upcoming 'Steps to Self-Care' Workshops beginning in January please go to the  Replenish Wesbite or message me on Replenishyourmind@gmail.com


Thank you for supporting, taking part in, believing in and helping us in making waves in mental health.

To be part of the Replenish Tribes, which are support groups that are continued after the 6 week workshops, you can join here HERE

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