Happy volunteers’ week

As some of you will know it is Volunteers' week this week. I love all the organisations I volunteer for and I have made many good friends along the way. I think everyone who can should volunteer as it is so rewarding, it is good for your health, you are normally doing something worthwhile in your community and you make new friends, what more could you want? My favourite organisation to volunteer with, (though I use the term loosely as it is simply organised fun with friends old and new), is the brilliant North London Cares and I would recommend anyone near Camden and Islington get involved. I have made some of my best friends there and I get to see them at least once a month at the wonderful North London Stories and often in between too for long lunches and I know my life would be poorer without them and I would never have met them otherwise. I know...
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Mental Health Awareness week 14th – 20th May 2018

This week is Mental Health Awareness week and the focus is on stress. Sadly life isn't always easy and so stress is something we all experience at some point. However, like many things associated with our mental health we are not always good at talking about it and thus don't always get the help we need. Sometimes stress is good for us and can motivate us to do something however when it builds up it can have a detrimental effect on both our physical and mental health.  I have talked previously about some of the things I do to look after my mental health, including listening to music, talking to friends and sharing a nice cup of tea with a loved one.  I would love to know what works for you. Sometimes when working with children I will get them to write down the things that make them happy and we call this their happiness plan. I encourage them to place this...
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Happy International Day of Happiness 2018

I hope you are all well and that you are prioritising having some fun most days. I know it isn't always possible but it is so important for your wellbeing and is part of the self care revolution we are now seeing. I have had a lovely day catching up with a friend. We both took the day off work and met up for a yummy brunch and chat, no better way to spend International Day of Happiness. I am blessed with the most amazing friends who never cease to amaze, inspire and amuse me and they always feature in my gratitude list. I also know not everyone is as lucky as me and that we are in the midst of a loneliness epidemic at the moment. However there are numerous brilliant organisations out there trying to change this. One of them that I am extremely proud to volunteer for is the wonderful North London Cares. Volunteering for them doesn't feel...
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Happy National No Smoking day

As we know there is an awareness day for most things these days so it is no surprise that there is a national No Smoking Day. Obviously smokers are well aware of the damage they are doing to their health, their finances and to those they smoke around so I am not going to repeat all that here. From talking to my clients who want help stopping smoking it is clear it is an addiction and a habit that is hard to break. Most smokers have tried to give up previously and sometimes successfully for a bit which makes it all the more frustrating for them that they can't stop permanently. However we need to remember that for many it is stress relief and part of their social life and identity so they will need support to stop smoking. What I would like to tell you about is the benefits of breaking this habit. Clients I have helped have done it because...
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University Mental Health Day

Today is University Mental Health Day which is part of a campaign to support better student mental health. Obviously going to university can be an amazing experience but it can also be really hard and isolating. You might be far away from home, your friends and family. It may be the first time you have had to be self sufficient. It can take time to make friends. And so the list goes on. On the campaign website they talk about how time at university coincides with the peak age of onset for a range of mental health conditions which is obviously going to make things even harder. Reading this made me think about my time at university & what helped me get through it. I was lucky I met people in halls in my first couple of days that became great friends and still are 20 years later. I had a school friend at a different university in the same city as...
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The power of gratitude

Happy New Year to you all.  I hope 2018 sees all your dreams come true and I wish you great health, happiness and lots of amazing adventures and friendships. I hope you enjoyed the festive season and are not finding the return to work and dark, cold days too depressing. Everywhere you look there is talk about resolutions and whether they are a good idea or not. I shall leave that up to you as you know yourself best. However, if you are looking for a new habit that will benefit you physically and mentally I do recommend you consider the power of gratitude. I have already written about the benefits of gratitude in my mental health week blog post but I feel so strongly about the benefits that I feel it warrants its own blog post. There is a plethora of evidence out there that shows taking time each day to write down 3 things that happened that you are grateful brings a...
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Help save a life

As some of you will be aware the Zero Suicide Alliance has recently been launched. This is a great campaign aiming to reduce the amount of suicides in this country. In order to do this they are encouraging us all to talk more about it and are offering training. You can find more information at http://www.zerosuicidealliance.com  I would encourage you all to make yourselves a nice cuppa and sit down for 20 minutes and do this training which can be found at https://www.relias.co.uk/zero-suicide-alliance/form In the training you will learn how to recognise the warning signs in someone contemplating suicide and keep them safe. It will also give you the confidence to start a difficult conversation. I have sadly seen the devastation left following a suicide and I have also supported people feeling suicidal and I know how hard it can be for them to talk about how they feel. We mustn't let people suffer in silence as that is when they might choose a permanent...
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Happy World Mental Health Day

We all have mental health but for some reason there is a stigma around talking about it, though thankfully that is improving. No one really thinks twice when they talk about their physical health and what they do to stay fit. However, people often don't talk about what keeps them mentally fit or when they are struggling and this needs to change for all our sakes. The things I do to keep myself mentally well include listening to music, talking to friends about things that make me happy and sad, sharing a nice cup of tea and some chocolate digestives with a loved one, going for a walk and meditating. Anyway, you get the gist. These are all simple things that don't cost much if anything, but the benefits are massive for both me and the people I care about. Today's World Mental Health Day is focusing on workplace wellbeing, something I have always been passionate about. We spend so much...
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I believe in you

It is amazing what one person's belief can do to another. I have seen this first hand over the years. From A-Level results day when a friend called me after calling his family to tell me he got an A in a subject he had really struggled with and I was thrilled for him. To which he replied, “you were the only one who believed in me, my family told me to stop messing and tell them the truth”. How sad and damaging that could be & it rather spoilt his day. Other times with friends and staff it has been giving them the confidence to go for something they felt was out of reach and delighting in their success and being thanked for my belief in them. I have also been lucky to have friends and family who believe I could do things I could easily have talked myself out. So a big thank you to all of them,...
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Mental Health Awareness Week

We all have mental health and just like our physical health we need to look after it. However sadly for people with mental health issues there can be a real stigma around talking about it. This can make it harder for them to get the help and support that they need. It is also ridiculous. If someone said they had broken a limb or had a serious physical illness people would offer support and show concern.  It is therefore strange that when someone is feeling depressed they get treated as weak or told to pull themselves together. Thankfully there does seem to be a real shift and things are improving. This week is Mental Health Awareness Week so there is a lot of information out there at the moment. To find out more I would recommend looking at the following websites: https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/campaigns/mental-health-awareness-week  https://www.headstogether.org.uk It is important that we encourage everyone to talk to someone about how they feel. This could be to a friend, or family...
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