Advertisements

#RandomActOfKindnessDay

medium_go_be_kind_art.jpgSunday 17th is #RandomActOfKindnessDay or #RAKDay.

Have a look at the Random Acts of Kindness Foundation website for more.


I found this awareness day particularly interesting because we take being kind for granted.

In my life, I know I know I do it too.

medium_be_kind_hh_dalai_lamaI might be grateful for someone being kind to me, but I forget to show them how thankful I am, and how much I appreciated it.

Or I might do something kind for someone and not realise how big of an impact I might have made on them.


This post really, is to think about and consider how much we can impact someone’s life with one good word or action.

It doesn’t have to be expensive or cost anything at all.

It doesn’t have to take hours or encroach on our already busy schedules.

one_note_to_selfSome kind things to do that won’t put us out of routine or what we need to do for ourselves:


smile at someone

buy a homeless person a bite to eat

listen to someone’s story (sometimes listening is more than enough!)

compliment someone

be happy for someone else’s achievements and show them how happy you are for them

call someone that you know might feel lonely

one_coffee

invite someone for a cuppa

bite your tongue when something not nice wants to come out (find your therapist or vent about it in another way)


What other things have you done or have you had others do to you that have been kind?

Let me know in the comments!

 


Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.


one_compliment

Advertisements

How to talk about mental health stigma #TimeToTalk2019

tea-twitter-01This week’s post was prompted by Time to Change, who take the lead in the fight to end mental health discrimination and stigma. So today, I want to join in the movement by writing this blog post, as well as sharing on Social Media to get even more attention placed on this important topic.

Heads Together, a charity set up by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry, is also active in working on removing the stigma around mental health.

There are many other charities and organisations that also deal with this very important topic. Here are links to three of them.


Mind

Scattergood Foundation

MentalHealth.Org

#timetotalk   #TimeToTalkDay


tttd-2019emailbanners01


It takes guts to accept to ourselves when we are not feeling quite right with our mental health. It is even more difficult to accept it to our friends, family or even a therapist.

Drop in the added bonus of being looked at as [insert negative adjectives here] and also discriminated at work or your local community because your illness isn’t visible and you are probably exaggerating or making it up anyway, right?

 

    • Frees us to be authentic, honest and real with ourselves and others about how we are really feeling and what we are willing to do about it.
    • Challenges others to view mental health problems in a different light, and allowing more conversations to happen
    • From the two above stems the fact that relationships can improve and become more supportive as a result of these difficult conversations
    • Helps challenge the stereotypes that exist when someone mentions mental health problems
      • People with mental health problems are unpredictable
      • People with mental health problems are dangerous
      • People with mental health problems are incompetent
      • You are to blame for your mental health problems
      • There is no hope for recovery
      • (click here to read more) http://www.scattergoodfoundation.org
    • The chance of recovery increases significantly once the person is honest with themselves, and the support system is in place – more understanding family, friends, employers, and seeking professional help even if for a short time.

      tttd-2019facebook820x31203


  • Seeing someone talk about their mental health problems in an open and honest way will help normalise what ill mental health actually means
    • “if my friend has it, and I’ve known him/her all my life, then mental health can affect all of us.”
    • “actually I’ve felt my mental health dwindle in the past but have been afraid to have the conversations”
    • “I know him/her and wouldn’t say they’re unpredictable, dangerous, incompetent or that they brought it on themselves, or that there is no hope for recovery. My friend’s mental health problem challenges my view on mental health.”
  • tttd-2019screensavers07Mental ill health should be a topic of conversation as simple as physical ill health topics of conversation.
    • It is much easier to call in sick at work and say something like “I broke my leg and will need some time to recover” than “I feel so anxious today that I’m unable to get up from bed”.
    • It probably hurts just as bad – physically, psychologically and emotionally – to break your leg than to feel anxious or depressed.
      • The difference is one is quantifiable and visible, whilst the other isn’t.
      • It doesn’t mean that one exists and the other doesn’t or that one should be taken more seriously and with more compassion than the other.

tttd-2019emailbanners02


I feel blessed to live in this day and age where, even though mental health stigma and discrimination still exists, it is easier for it to be challenged and views changed about it. There are even laws and white papers created that protect people with mental health issues from being discriminated (See The Mental Health Act 1983 and The Equality Act 2010).

As a mental health practitioner, I value the conversation about mental health and overwhelming life situations that stop us on our tracks and/or hinder our everyday life. It is a privilege to listen to people’s stories and help them work through their difficult feelings, thoughts and behaviours that, so that eventually (sooner than later – it all depends on each person’s individual journey and process) they can get their lives back on track.

tttd-2019screensavers06Whether I see clients for 6 sessions, 3 months, a year, two years, three years or more, I trust that they have the strengths and resources within them and within their support group to help them get back on track. I trust in the therapeutic process and that together in the counselling room we can work through, process, understand, feel and think what needs to be worked through, processed, understood, felt and thought of so the person can move forward.


I believe in allowing our feelings to come out – I often use the phrase “out is better than in”, which is definitely applicable for getting your anger, sadness, upset, and any other feelings, out. Keeping them in might make us mentally ill but also physically ill or make it difficult for us to heal our emotional and psychological wounds.


tttd-2019facebook820x31201


Something that I find is useful for certain things but not as a therapeutic tool, are mental health diagnoses. I don’t underestimate a diagnosis (such as depression or bipolar disorder), but I won’t treat my client as a depressed person or a bipolar person. I will treat the person as a whole, and talk about whatever they bring on a particular session. I find this is more helpful and has felt like a relief to some clients. Yes they keep their diagnosis and the medication they might be taking, but they are not treated like a part of themselves or like the only thing they are is that depressed or that bipolar side of them.


There are a few things that definitely won’t work and will do more harm than good when talking to someone that’s telling you about their difficulties with their mental health:

  • “go have a nap or a bath, you’ll feel better after”
  • “I’m sure it’s not that bad, you’re a bit dramatic”
  • “Aw, just get over it”
  • “you are just doing it for attention”
  • “you have mental health problems, therefore you are weak and broken”
  • “it could be worse”
  • “someone is worse off than you”
  • “I know exactly how you feel”
  • “go do something to distract you”
  • “stop being lazy”

tttd-2019facebook820x31204


I want to end this post on a positive note. So, how can you support someone with mental health problems? It doesn’t have to be a massive thing. As you can see above, words can have a massive impact. Try these:

  • “you are not alone, I’m here for you”
  • “I’m listening”
  • “what can I do to help”
  • “have you tried talking to a counsellor”
  • “I understand if you want to be on your own, but I’ll be here when you’re ready to hang out”
  • “I believe you, I believe you are struggling”

I hope this post has been helpful and has challenged you in regards to mental health stigma and discrimination. Do share this post and the links I’ve left around the post, so others can have this conversation as well!


Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Mystery Blogger Award

20170810_114447I’ve been nominated By Dr.Tanya for a Mystery Blogger Award and I’m very happy and honoured!

It’s nice when things like this pop into your inbox and it’s one of the first things you see when you wake up in the morning.

Dr Tanya writes about a variety of topics that affect or touch us all in one way or another.

Go check out her blog and find out more about her amazing posts!

 


mystery-blogger-award-bookmark.png


What is the Mystery Blogger Award?

‘An award for amazing bloggers with ingenious posts. Their blog not only captivates; it inspires and motivates. They are one of the best out there, and they deserve every recognition they get. This award is also for bloggers who find fun and inspiration in blogging; and they do it with so much love and passion.’

– Okoto Enigma, Creator of the Mystery Blogger Award


Some general rules:

1. Put the award logo/image on your blog.

2. List the rules.

3. Thank whoever nominated you and provide a link back to their blog.

4. Answer the 5 questions from the blogger who nominated you.

5. Mention the creator of the award and provide a link as well.

6. Tell your readers 3 things about yourself.

7. You have to nominate 10 – 20 people.

8. Notify your nominees by commenting on their blog.

9. Ask your nominees any 5 questions of your choice; with one weird or funny question (specify).

10. Share a link to your best post(s).


directory of services (1)3 things about myself


 

  1. I am very passionate about life and the things I enjoy doing. I will give it my all and make sure it’s the best it can be. I strive to do this in every area of my life, whether it’s work, having down time, or spending time in nature or with other people that mean a lot to me.
  2. I am from Guatemala, but also have German heritage which comes out now and then even though I’ve never lived in Germany before! I have recently become British, due to the current situation, but it’s nice to have the nationality of the place I now call home.
  3. I enjoy doing many things, so I’ve decided to incorporate them into a lifestyle and businesses – tutoring, content creation, counselling, supervision, writing (books and blogging), self-care coaching. I don’t like to just put all my eggs in one basket, and I am happy developing the different areas I’ve chosen to work on in self-employment. I also do part-time care work with kiddoes with special needs and autism, which is great and rewarding. I am doing much less of that as my businesses are growing, but I still enjoy it.

Dr. Tanya’s Questions to me


1. What was the main motivation behind your blog?

The main motivation for writing my blog was using my writing skills to add value to people reading and looking for information and tips about mental health, self-care, supervision, and more.

2. How do you see the future of blogging? Do you think blogs will still be around in 2025?

As with anything, blogging will change. We are already seeing VLogs appear (video versions of blogs, which I’m going to start getting into soon too!). I do hope the written word doesn’t get bypassed or forgotten.

Writing is a creative endeavour and it is also a therapeutic way of expressing what is inside of us, what we love and what we want to share with others that might not come out the same in any other way.

I think blogs will still be around in 2025, I just don’t know what the arena will look like yet. Things are moving quicker and quicker. It’s only 6 years away but technology moves so quick and trends do also.

3. Are conventional/printed books becoming obsolete? Am I the only dinosaur who does not possess a Kindle?

Book Cover

I love the smell of books! I still own some books, but I have to admit that I’ve started buying more kindle books lately. It saves up space and prevents clutter, but I’ll always have books around. They are comforting and great treasures!

There’s a different feel between reading a physical book to reading a kindle or online book. My book (a product of blogging) is in both Kindle and Paperback versions. I couldn’t let go of the paper version, still old fashioned like that I guess!

4. If you were a cartoon character, who would you be? (funny/weird question).

Oh the toughest question 😉

I wasn’t born in Britain so missed out on The Gruffalo and The Gruffalo’s child. So having read both recently, and watched both films on Christmas day, I’d say I’d love to be the mouse!

He’s feisty and doesn’t think his size limits his ability to be in the world. I love that!

5. What kind of blog posts, and of what length, do you like to read?

Anything that’s well written, informative and interesting. I don’t like them to be that long (my posts are between 700-1000 words, so possibly around that length too!)


My Questions


  1. Where do you get your inspiration from to write?

  2. How does blogging add value to your audience?

  3. What superpower would you choose if you had the chance? (Funny, weird question)

  4. What puts you off reading a blog post?

  5. Where do you see your blog in 5 years time?


I Nominate these bloggers whose work I admire:


Josephine Hughes at The Good Enough Mum

Jane Travis at Grow Your Private Practice

Sandra Wilson over at Get Social with Saz – Therapist’s Social Media Coach

Karin Sieger, Therapist and Writer

Erin Stevens, Therapist and Blogger

Nathan Gould, Therapist and blogger

Ian Pittaway, Therapist and Vlogger

Paula Newman, Therapist and Blogger

Becky Stone, Therapist and Blogger

Hannah Paskin, Therapist and Blogger


Some of my favourite posts


Relationship Success Series 

Autism Series

Supervision Series

In Therapy Series

Blog posts en Español: En Terapia, procesando


Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

 

Christmas Meditation

Christmas meditation


Hi, and welcome to the Christmas edition of my blog!

Christmas means many things to different people.

I’m not going to try to figure it out as there are many, many different ways to celebrate and ponder on this time of year.

Instead, I’ll leave you with a few words, their meanings (from Google Dictionary), and a quote (in the image) for you to meditate on.


2

Peace 

 

 

Freedom from disturbance; tranquillity.

 

Mental or emotional calm.

 


3

Love

 

A strong feeling of affection.

 

A great interest and pleasure in something.

 

 


4

Grace

A short prayer of thanks said before or after a meal. Smoothness and elegance of movement.

 

(In Christian belief) the free and unmerited favour of God, as manifested in the salvation of sinners and the bestowal of blessings.

 


5

Faith

 

Complete trust or confidence in someone or something.

 

A strongly held belief.

 

 


6

Forgiveness

 Stop feeling angry or resentful towards (someone) for an offence, flaw, or mistake.

No longer feel angry about or wish to punish (an offence, flaw, or mistake)cancel (a debt).

Used in polite expressions as a request to excuse one’s foibles, ignorance, or impoliteness.

 


I hope you enjoyed thinking about and meditating on these words.

See you next week for the last post of the year!


Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.


Christmas meditation

Human Rights Day – Monday 10th

human rights day


Today is #HumanRightsDay and I’d like to talk about some rights that I believe should be respected in the realm of our personal and professional relationships.

I found this quote in the United Nations Human Rights Day page, and thought I’d share it with you here:

2

This quote talks about the exact thing I was thinking about before sitting down to write this post.

It’s in the small places, close to home, that we most need our humanity and our rights respected.


Here are five rights to consider upholding for yourself in your relationships, and possibly helping others enforce them in their own lives.


3

1. The right to set boundaries 

If you’ve been following my posts, you will know boundaries are a big topic for me.

We sometimes have to learn to set them after a major incident with someone.

Other times we are better at setting them because we had a good example through our relationships growing up.

The main thing is that we learn to set them and stick to them. In my book, I talk about how to set clear boundaries and plan ahead when someone challenges us.

It’s important to stick to what we know is right for us, and what will help us have good realtionships with ourselves and others.


42. The right to personal space

We all have different ways of measuring a safe physical and emotional distance from others.

We also gauge this as each relationship develops. We might enjoy being closer to some people, but might want to put a bit more distance with others.

We need to respect this fact within ourselves so others will also respect it. If we set the example, we will communicate clearly what our boundaries are in regard to personal space, and we will be listened to.

If we’re not, then we can decide whether to set an ever bigger distance with some people.

If we are, then we know we can feel safe being close to some others.


53. The right to shelter and food

I walk past so many homeless people. I sometimes ask them if they want some food and get it for them.

Other times, I might not have enough time or money. But walking past them, I feel a sense of anger and feel that it’s so unfair that they are in that situation.

I’ve spoken to some homeless people and they are fantastic, profesionals and creatives that find themselves in a horrid situation due to relationship breakdowns, losing a job due to mental health issues, and more.

I find it appalling that this is happening in a First World Country. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think it should happen in any country, but it is a reality.

These lovely people still have the right to shelter and food. There are things to do to remedy this (I won’t get into politics, you know where this was gonna go if I did!).

I do know that there are cafe’s and churches and other places that support and provide food and shelter to rough sleepers and homeless people, which is great as they are acknowledging these people’s basic needs.6

Nobody should be denied the right to a warm bed or a warm meal.


4. The right to healthy and safe relationships

We all have the right to healthy relationships where we feel loved, appreciated, respected, safe and understood.

We also have the choice to leave a relationship when it’s not healthy for us.

Sometimes this is made difficult as the person we’re trying to get away from is toxic, aggressive, and we might be scared to leave.

It might feel like you are trapped in a relationship, but there are lots of places that help you find refuge and support. You don’t have to suffer any longer!


75. The right to happiness and preserving our wellbeing

We all have the right to pursue happiness in any way we find works for us, as long as it doesn’t break any laws or impinge on the rights of those around us.

One aspect of this that is very important to me is doing what I love to do as my profession and job.

I’ve never stayed in a job that I didn’t enjoy anymore. I defy the idea of staying in the same job for the rest of your life even if you’re miserable.

We spend a lot of time at work so it makes sense to enjoy what we do. I love being self-employed and working in my businesses. I wouldn’t change them for the world!

Another way in which we can pursue happiness is by keeping those people in our lives that are good for us. Those that provide positive vibes and those that support us when we need it most (it works the other way around as well!).

Having hobbies and likes that make us smile is also a way to pursue happiness and keep us feeling well.

Finally, exercisng and eating healthy meals is also something that will help us keep healthy, well, and happy.


What other ways can you think of to keep your (and others’) human rights?


Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.


human rights day

How to avoid breaking the bank this Christmas!

1


Hi, and welcome to this latest entry, where I’ll be talking about Christmas and how to keep safe and within budget.

I won’t be giving you number-crunching ideas, or maybe I will a bit – I do love an Excel Spreadsheet!


2

What I want to focus on is on giving you some food-for-thought about the usual societal expectations and how to break them without feeling guilty, or break them and have a better time this holiday season!

If you’ve read some of my past posts, I do love to challenge society and the unrealistic and sometimes unachievable expectations they place on us.

I like to free myself and those around me from those impositions… or at least prompt some thoughts so people can make up their mind!


Book Cover

You can read these previous posts here:

Blog Series: Looking after yourself

What to do with the should/must/have-to’s

A Don’t Do List

 


This Christmas, don’t break the bank. Avoid yourself some heartache by trying out some of the following:


3

  • Think of your priorities

It’s tricky to get the balance right when we are bombarded with adverts to buy the latest phone or gadget.

There’s also adverts selling you yummy looking food and drinks.

What I want you to think about is:

Do I really need this and that?

Can I afford this or that?

Will they get upset if I don’t get this or that?

Can I live with their reactions?

Will I thank or resent myself for buying stuff that is neither necessary or a priority?

Do I want to treat myself and splurge with this one thing? 

Think about the answers that came up for you as you read them.

If you get that awful feeling in the pit of your stomach, you have your answer.

You might also get an excited, nice feeling. There’s your alternative answer!

Go with your gut and your priorities.


  • Keep track of your spending 4

One of the easiest ways to keep within budget is to keep track of your spending.

You don’t have to be fantastic at Excel to use it, or you can just tally your totals on a sheet of paper.

Whatever works for you, as long as you know how much you’ve got going out and how much you’ve got to last you until the end of January (we generally get paid at the end of the month if we are employed; if you are self-employed, consider the gap in earnings for the holiday period and keep that amount on the side or in your savings, just in case).

It would be great to hear what you do to keep track of your spending, leave your comments in this post or if you found it through social media, retweet or comment in that post. Or both!


How to avoid breaking the bank this christmas.jpg

  • Come up with creative ways of giving gifts

In order to keep with the “don’t break the bank” theme, using your creativity to your advantage will work well for your budget and your bank account.

My husband and I love to travel and have meals out so we tend to save up our money for that.

They are great rewards for us after working hard for a while. It gives us a bit of a break from cooking or work life, and we can reconnect with each other without any distractions or responsibilities.

For Christmas we tend to get each other presents within a budget of £10, £15 or £20. We then pick a street in our town, or the shopping centre, and stick to that area to find the presents within one hour.

We meet after to exchange (no waste on wrapping paper!) and have lunch or dinner together.

As you can imagine, not many things cost these amounts these days, so it’s a great opportunity to get each other fun and quirky stuff that we wouldn’t usually get for ourselves.

I’ve got a Pirate Umbrella (I fit right in in Brighton – I’ve actually seen someone wearing a pirate outfit and there was no obvious reason for it. love it!), a Bauble Pillow, a Harmonica (no idea how to play it!) a book holder, and other bits that make me smile.

5

So, think about whether this is something you can do with your family members (maybe change the rules a bit if there’s many of you, or lower the maximum price…)


  • Say no to societal, family and friends’ demands when you feel like saying no.

I am big on setting boundaries as you might have read in other posts or in my Self Care Book.

Saying no to people is hard enough outside of the Christmas holidays, but it seems to get harder during this time of the year.

We are bombarded with requests to attend parties and other social activities, all which cost money.

Now I am not saying don’t go to any of them. What I’m saying is: listen to your gut.

Your gut will tell you whether you’ll feel good about going or whether you’ll later regret going.

If you do go, consider your budget and see what you can afford without feeling embarrased or put on the spot if questioned.

6You are the only one in charge of your finances, and therefore you decide what to do with them!

Same goes for your time.

Saying no when you feel like saying no will help you stay happy with yourself and your relationships with those that accept your “no” will be better.

Saying no keeps resentment and regret at bay.


  • Do what feels right for you – Celebrate  your way (or don’t celebrate at all)

Christmas is not necessarily a happy time for everyone.

We might have lost loved ones around this time, and it therefore makes it hard to celebrate.

If this is you, it might be an idea to process the loss in therapy or with someone you can talk openly with.

I find that when I work with grief in my sessions, clients usually benefit from finding a way to keep the memory of their loved one at the forefront rather than the pain of the loss.

They also learn to acknowledge when that pain is there, and befriend it. This helps them work through it and move forward without feeling guilty of doing so without their lost loved one.

Another think you could do is save on decorations!

Who are you competing with? Are you decorating because you enjoy it and enjoy seeing the faces of relatives and friends when they come to your house? Or are you decorating because it’s the done thing?

7

Think about it and decide whether you’re going all out, or keeping it low-key this Christmas. The choice is all yours!

I don’t decorate out of personal choice, but it doesn’t mean I don’t celebrate Christmas in my own way.

Watch out for my Christmas post on the 24th of December to get some more insight in what I believe Christmas is all about.

I hope you enjoyed this post. Do leave comments about what your savings ideas are at this time of year!


 

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.


2

Why do we need black friday?

Why do we need black friday.png


Hi, and welcome to this week’s blog post, where I want to explore the “madness” that is Black Friday, and give you some food for thought.

I’ll leave you with some tips and take-home message at the end.

(Other opinions also available! Don’t kill the messenger…)


2I am not a big shopper, I buy what I need when I need it, and am sensible about how I spend my money – my downfall is when my favourite band is on tour, but also then I curb my enthusiasm and give myself a limit.

I prefer shopping on a weekday when it’s quieter and avoid the shops on weekends when it’s busier.

I can’t deal with it all!

…And I don’t need to deal with any of it, so I don’t…


The title for this post is a bit of a play on words.

My title question should have the emphasis on the word “do” – why DO we need this day in our lives?

Let me rephrase: Do we really need Black Friday?


Let’s look at some positives and negatives of Black Friday


3

Positives

  • It’s a social activity that everyone can comment on and join in with (read on for the counterpart of this social activity)

  • We can get good deals on some things

  • If you are a business – it might boost your sales!


Negatives

  • Social activity gone-wrong: it can bring the worst out in people – aggression is part of it as people fight over the same TV set or pair of shoes!

  • 4

    Discounts are not really discounts – they just change the tag to make it look like you’re getting a great deal, but in reality you are paying the usual price or more!

  • Pressure to buy stuff that you might not really need – shopping guilt might set in, or you might have needed the money for something else more pressing.

  • Stress, anxiety and other “symptoms” might arise from trying to get there first and get the items we are after – they are most likely on a limited time or quantity.


5It is within each of us to decide what is best for us. If Black Friday works for you, then go for it and enjoy it!

I will stay within the quiet, calm and safety of my home and assess when I need things and whether they are absoulutely necessary right now, or can I wait to get them when I’ve saved up for them.

I prefer to save my hard-earned cash to go on holidays and meals out with my husband.

Making memories and eating good food is my priority over shopping for the latest gadget or joining on on popular shopping days like Black Friday.

Black Friday can work for some people, but not for others (like me!)


6The take-home message I would like to leave you with in this post can be summed up in these bullet points:

  • Do what feels right for you.

  • Look after yourself by having your priorities clear and acting accordingly.

  • Curb your enthusiasm in regard to “shiny objects”, but if you really want said shiny object, then go get it! You only answer to yourself.

  • Have a budget.

  • Set boundaries with others but also with yourself, this will keep you from resenting yourself for an unnecessary purchase or doing something that you don’t want – learn to say no!


To end this post, I’d like to leave you with some articles to read about Black Friday. I found these interesting and light reading!


Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Why do we need black friday.png1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

%d bloggers like this: