Tag: mental health

Natural ways to manage mental health

It’s Mental Health Awareness Week here in the UK and it’s so important that we continue to have these important conversations about mental health and wellbeing.   I know what it’s like to be depressed, anxious and have that feeling that you’re never going to […]

Alcohol and anxiety.

It goes without saying, but of course I’ll say it anyway: Everyone’s anxiety manifests in different ways and you might be that unicorn that reads this and says, eh, this isn’t relevant to me. Great! I applaud you!   For everyone else: let’s have a […]

What I’m Reading: Anxiety For Beginners

anxiety for beginnersIn my usual pre-flight mad dash through the airport, I did a sweep of WH Smith for my standard holiday pile of magazines (I find reading fashion magazines like Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar so relaxing on holiday! I don’t really know why, though? 🤔) and decided to pick up a couple of books as well.

I spotted this book, Anxiety for Beginners, mainly due to its Roy Lichtenstein cover image riff and although not light reading, thought it might be interesting to dive into this topic a bit more while I had some more headspace before my exam.

The author, Eleanor Morgan, has suffered from anxiety and depression since her late teens, culminating in several breakdowns and rounds of antidepressants. She decided to write the book as a way of educating herself and others about one of the fastest growing illnesses in the UK.

As a fellow anxiety sufferer, I read this book with a lot of interest, hoping to get more insight into how other people were handling the day to day management of the signs and symptoms of the disease. What really struck me was how common anxiety is, how many different ways it manifests itself and how it really cuts through all walks of life.

The author told a fascinating story about re-connecting with the most popular girls in her school years later during the writing of this book. She discovered that what she had thought was her old friend’s ‘cool girl aloofness’ was really her way of trying to manage her anxiety in the best way possible for her – holding everyone at a distance. It made me realise how quick we are to judge others, without really knowing what’s going on in their lives. Personally, I know that I can appear withdrawn and a bit cold at times, especially when my anxiety is at its peak and social interaction with new people can all be a bit too much.  A bit more compassion is needed all around, going back to the old adage: don’t judge a book by its cover.

Overall, I thought this book was a good overview into anxiety, with a lot of the author’s personal experiences interspersed throughout. What I found disappointing was how little she discussed the effects of the various food and drink we put into our bodies  and how they can exacerbate and ameliorate anxiety symptoms. The author took a very medicalised viewpoint, emphasising the benefits of anti-depressants. Obviously, given my nutrition background, I would’ve like to see more discussion about tryptophan food and the effect they have on producing serotonin, as well as the role of gut bacteria in supporting serotonin production.

The root causes of anxiety and depression can be complex and vary per person, but it stands to reason that if you treat your body like a garbage dump, filling yourself with foods that aren’t nutritionally dense and cause blood sugar spikes, your anxiety can be worsened.

I’ve written a bit about the foods I eat to help manage my anxiety here.

Life with anxiety.

I’ve written a bit about anxiety on the blog before, but never really told my own story. Since it’s Mental Health Awareness Week, here in the UK, it’s time for me to share. I recently ‘outed’ myself in a consultation with a friend at nutrition […]

Eating to improve anxiety

Anxiety seems to be a growing problem these days, especially amongst young people. Various pressures – societal, economic, physical, technological, emotional, political – mean that people are being pulled in many directions, increasing their day to day anxiety and decreasing their ability to cope.   […]

Stop telling me to be nice.

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I wrote this on Instagram this morning and wanted to expand it out a little.

In the last three days, I’ve been seeing many posts talking about the need to ‘be nice’ to others as we all process the result of the US election. These posts frustrate me.

What I wonder is – how does it help, in moments of grief, of anger, to hear calls to ‘be nice’, to ‘turn the other cheek’?  It strikes me that these calls to ‘be nice’ are a way for people to hide their discomfort with what’s happening around them. It can be hard to grapple with an uncomfortable conversation about the true beliefs and inherent biases in those that surround you, to hear challenging words, words that may challenge core beliefs and biases.

Rather than ‘being nice’ and sweeping things under the rug, I’m a firm believer that people need an opportunity to process their emotions, especially in these macro moments of shock and horror. Let them feel what they need to feel as long as they’re not hurting anyone.

When you see the increase in racism and xenophobia, it’s hard to hear ‘be nice’. People are suffering and we need to take care of each other.

We need to try and to understand each other more. Let’s constructively challenge assumptions and build new understandings, that are based on truths. Change is messy, uncomfortable and not very nice. But it can be incredibly effective, life-changing, even. Let’s try.

Stories I loved this week.

The news of Prince’s death hit me like a tonne of bricks. It’s hard to describe how much his music has been a part of the key moments of my life. I Would Die 4 U helped me recover from a major emotional blow, Purple […]

Stories I loved this week.

We’ve had a few warm days in London this week and now I’m itching for summer. London is so great in the summer, with the many parks, rooftop patios and riverside pubs. My husband and I had a day off this week for his birthday […]

Stories I loved this week.

Beautiful farm vista

Photo by Richard Smith

A sick child for me, usually means, lots of cuddles and lots of down time. I have to accept that I’m not going to get a huge amount done and I have to slow down.

Here’s what I wrote on my Instagram:

“I don’t tend to post many photos of myself on this account, primarily because I want to focus on sharing my adventures in food, health, fitness and wellness. My little boy has been really sick today and I’ve been either holding or laying down with him all day. I’m not really one for resting as I’m always focused on the next thing I need to tick off my to do list – the next chapter to read in my textbooks, the next meal to cook, the next blog post to write, the next outing to plan, the next freelance gig, and so on. Today, I’ve been forced to stop, focus on the present and just be with my son. And I appreciate it. I’m not saying I’ll change because I have a lot on my plate right now. But it’s nice to just be in the moment. #realtalk”

Little J is finally back to his sprightly self and we’ve got an adventure filled weekend – Winter Wonderland, Christmas tree shopping and of course, trimming, visiting friends and the first of a few carol services. What are you up this weekend?

Would you join an alternative book club? I love the idea of a walking book club. (Guardian)

The health effects of loneliness. (The Atlantic)

Have you seen The Man in The High Castle yet? Great television from Amazon Studios. (Amazon)

Could you spend ten days without speaking? This writer went on a 10-day silent meditation retreat. (Summer Tomato)

Can’t wait to see Sisters. (New York Times)

Being mixed race with Afro hair texture, I totally related to this author’s reticence at cutting her long hair. I’ve done it twice in my life and cried / regretted it both times. (The Pool)

We’re also in the middle of potty training (what a fun week, right?!) and I stumbled upon this very funny and true list of thoughts all parents have whilst potty training. (Buzzfeed)

Stories I loved this week.

Photo by Austin Schmid Thursday was my last day at my freelance job and I feel like the person in the picture. Jumping for joy and ready to take on new challenges. I’m looking forward to taking the time to find a new contract, getting a […]