As somebody who suffered from an eating disorder for many years in the past, one of the questions I get asked most is, ‘Do you believe you can fully recover from an eating disorder?’ My answer to this is undoubtedly, yes. Whilst at their worst eating disorders can be fatal, people can and do recover from them. This blog aims to cover some of the top tools and tips that helped me in my personal recovery as well as discussing some of the most widely used techniques and treatments.
Eating disorders are serious conditions that involve sufferers becoming overly focused on their weight, body shape and food. This leads to dangerous eating behaviours that can have serious detrimental effects on the body, mind and ability to function in other areas of life such as work and relationships. Whilst eating disorders often have extreme physical symptoms, they are classed as mental health conditions. Eating disorders are not just about food, but are often a way of coping with stress or difficult emotions. They can help sufferers to feel in control of one area of their life, often at times when other areas may feel out of their control. This blog is the first of two on eating disorders and aims to cover some key signs and symptoms. In parts this is also related to my personal experience with anorexia and orthorexia, which I suffered from at varying levels of severity for around 10 years.
If you’re somebody who prefers fiction books with a good story to lose yourself in, there is no reason to miss out on the wisdom and magic of the personal development/self help genre. Many of us find ourselves to be much more engaged with stories and characters as opposed to facts and theories and so some of the books below may be more suitable than those in the previous blog to ease you into this genre. These books range from classics to more modern options, but the one thing they all have in common is potentially life changing lessons and perspective changes, all wrapped up in stories that will have you eagerly turning the pages until the very last one.
Whilst Winter, like all seasons, brings plenty of things to look forward to, many of us find that some aspects of these months affect us negatively. Dark mornings and evenings, colder temperatures and cravings for comfort aren’t always conducive to optimal physical and mental health. Some people even suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), sometimes referred to as winter depression. Other people may not suffer from the condition fully but may notice some of the symptoms discussed below having a negative effect on their everyday life. This blog highlights some of the ways this coming season can affect our health and wellbeing and discusses ways to help deal with these potential obstacles.
The terms ‘mindfulness’ and ‘meditation’ are often used interchangeably and have become somewhat ‘buzz words’ in the last few years. They are becoming increasingly recognised for their benefits within the field of mental health and are very popular due to their simplicity and accessibility. Anyone can practice mindfulness and meditation with no special equipment, training or guidance required but it’s always good to arm yourself with a few pointers when trying out a new skill and so if you’re interested in giving them a go or finding out what they can do for you, read on…
What is a vision board and why should I try one? A vision board (or dream/goals board) is a collection of images, words, ideas or other items that represent our desires for our life and our future. It can include examples of things we’d like to have, be or do and can help to inspire and motivate us to work towards these dreams and goals in our everyday life. Vision boards can support the practice of visualisation as explained in the previous blog for those who prefer to see physical images rather than simply imagine them.
What is visualisation? In the context of this blog, visualisation describes the use of our imagination to form mental images of an event, situation or anything else that we desire. Visualisation can also be described as mental rehearsal, where we create images in our mind of us having, being or doing something that we want for ourselves in the future. Whilst on one level we may know it’s a mental trick, the mind and body react similarly whether something is real or imagined and so visualisation can have real physiological effects. You can see this in action for example when we remember something funny that happened long ago and can’t help but laugh, even though it’s not happening now and is just in our mind. Similarly, if you think of an amazing meal you once ate and imagine the smell, taste, texture and use all of your senses, you may start to salivate or even feel hungry. The body can react as if a situation or object is real simply from what goes on in our mind.
What does your average working day look like? Whilst this will be different for each of us, chances are it’s changed in the last year and may soon be due to change again. Whether where you work has changed, how you do things at work or simply your routine before and after work, it’s thrown many of us from our usual habits and schedules which can feel like low level chaos at times! This is certainly something I’ve struggled with whilst working from home and this blog aims to highlight some things I’ve found useful or know that others have done to help make their working day as healthy as possible. This can also apply if you’re still going out to work or when you go back, although some are more socially acceptable to do in a work setting than others (dance party anyone? I reckon my colleagues would be up for it to be fair!) Taking regular breaks can help to keep our physical and mental energy topped up so that we’re more focused and productive. Below are some ideas for mini-breaks to slot into your days to support the happiest, healthiest you possible even when you’re working hard!
As if life isn’t full enough of ups and downs and complications at the best of times – this last year has provided additional challenges for most, if not all of us. With constantly changing rules and regulations, limited social contact and additional stressors such as home schooling, loss of income, health anxieties and so much more, it’s no wonder that so many of us have found our mental health to be affected. Mental health and physical health often go hand in hand and so it’s essential that we do all we can to take care of them both. Whether you’re after a little or a lot more support with your mental health at this time, this week’s blog offers some things you can try straight away which may help to lighten the load and support you in looking after yourself in these challenging times.