Month: March 2019

Mother's Day

Mother's Day

Today we celebrate Mother’s Day. It’s a day that, for most, is filled with joy with gift giving and general festivity. However, Mother’s Day can also be extremely difficult for some people. For those who have lost a mother or for mothers who have lost a child, those who have faced difficulty during motherhood, same sex parents who may face discrimination for raising a family without a traditional mother figure, parents who may have struggled to conceive along with many others . So, on this day, we want to extend a hand to anyone who may be struggling, whether it be related to this holiday or for another reason. At Dr Julian, one of our motos is “you are not alone”. It’s a simple three-word phrase, but it can have so much strength when delivered to someone in need of strength. It’s easy for negative feelings to be amplified on holidays, making the world seem to be an even more dark and scary place, but having someone to walk alongside you and help you through can be a real saving grace. With Dr Julian, the ability to choose when you want to speak to some and do so in the comfort of your own home means that you really aren’t alone. Sometimes making the first move can be scary, and many feel this way, but our team of friendly and qualified therapists are waiting to help you in whatever way you need. Download the app today or create an online account and take the first step towards a happier future.

 

No matter what your situation, we hope that you have a lovely day.

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Gratitude Journals

Gratitude Journals

For those of us who struggle with mental health, the world can often feel dark and scary. It’s incredibly easy for negative thoughts and feelings to overpower the good things in our lives. Part of dealing with mental health issues it to try and re-train your brain into thinking in a different way. One of the ways that we can do this is by keeping a gratitude or happiness journal. While it sounds a bit complicated it’s really not, and it doesn’t have to be expensive either. There are a whole range of books on the market, designed to help guide users through writing tasks to help realise the good things about day to day life, but using a standard notebook or an app on your phone can work just as well. It’s all about finding what works for you. The aim is to write 3 things you’re happy about in your life, 3 times a day. For example, you might write: a comfy bed, a good TV show and a really yummy pizza. It can be anything you like as long as it’s something you’re happy about.

 

This isn’t just a habit created by book makers to try and make you buy their products. There has been scientific research that shows that in completing this task, the brain begins to change and view the world in a more positive way. This is an incredible result from such a simple act.

 

We challenge you to keep a gratitude journal for the next few week and let us know how you get on! Your stories could help others to take the next step to improve their life!

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Nutrition and Hydration Week

Nutrition and Hydration Week

Today marks the end of Nutrition and Hydration Week. Your diet can have a lot of effects on your body, but most importantly for us at Dr Julian, it can have a massive effect on your mental health.

 

How can diet help my mental health?

 

People who struggle with many forms of mental health problems often report symptoms such as tiredness, lack of self-esteem, over/undereating alongside many more. While these symptoms are heavily associated with mental health conditions, there’s a lot that diet can do to help keep them manageable. Here are just a few examples of how changes to your diet can help boost your mood!

 

Tiredness

 

Being tired is not fun! It can prevent you for doing many things from going to work to socialising with friends (both very important aspects of life). However, it may be possible to increase your energy levels with small changes to your diet.

 

Iron is a mineral that all humans need and a lack of it in the diet can lead to extreme tiredness. Iron can be found in meat, beans, nuts, wholegrains, most breakfast cereals and dark leafy vegetables just to name a few! Iron supplements can also be purchased from most pharmacies.

 

Having a balanced diet can also help with low energy levels. Processed or fast food is often quick to make, tasty and satisfying. Individuals struggling with mental health often gravitate towards these foods, whether it be because of lack of energy to make fresh food, lack of interest in food or other reasons. However, processed and fast foods are usually very low in nutrients and lead consumers to feel bloated, heavy and tired! By switching to a diet rich in fresh fruits and vegetables, you’d be surprised at the boost in energy that comes with it!

 

TOP TIP: When cooking, batch cook items like pasta sauce, curries and stews. Put excess food into containers and freeze for a later date. This will save both time and money and will give the convenience of fast food with the nutrition of fresh food.

 

Over/undereating

 

It’s not uncommon for people struggling with mental health conditions to over/under-eat. A general disinterest in food often leads to a lack of routine when it comes to meals and replacing set meals with snacking (whether the snacking is limited or excessive). Your body likes routine in a lot of aspects of life such as sleep and food.

 

TOP TIP: Try eating three meals a day, every day for 7 days. Try to eat foods that are nutrient rich and make sure the meals are of a standard size while leave the snacks in the cupboard. Your body will thank you for giving it a set routine and you should start to feel hungry approaching meal times and satisfied in between.

 

Self- esteem

 

Many people don’t like certain parts of their bodies, it’s normal. However, these feels can often be accentuated in individuals with mental health conditions. A healthy diet can help individuals to feel better about themselves and can help to boost self-confidence.

 

This being said, there are some conditions where diet can be used in a way that can harm the individual. If you notice damaging dietary behaviours in yourself or others, such as restricting food, disappearing to the toilet after eating or any other behaviours that you are worried about, please contact someone who can help. We are here to support you no matter what.

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Period Poverty - A Step in the Right Direction

Period Poverty - A Step in the Right Direction

March 8thmarked the celebration of International Women’s Day and we at Dr Julian would like to use this blog post to show our support for gender equality and celebrate everyone who identifies as female.

 

Following International Women’s Day, on March 9thit was announced that the government has made the decision to provide all secondary schools in England with free sanitary products for all anyone who faces financial troubles and cannot afford sanitary products as a result. Around 1 in 10 women aged 14-21 reported that they’re unable to afford sanitary products, making ‘period poverty’ a hardship affecting a large proportion of UK women.

 

How does this relate to mental health?

 

Many people across the world have experienced negative attitudes towards periods at some point in their life and while in this country attitudes are a lot better than some, we have a long way to go before periods are accepted as part of life and are no longer considered a ‘taboo’ topic. There are still many areas of the world that believe that periods are dirty and as a result, women and young girls are banished from their towns until the period has ended. In this country, many young people who have experienced period related struggles have faced these issues in school, with teachers refusing to allow them permission to go to the toilet and then being too embarrassed to say why they need to go or simply not having access to the products needed to continue with their school day comfortably. Allowing student to bleed through their clothing is not only wrong, but it takes away their dignity.

 

In January of 2019, one particular case hit the headlines when an 11-year-old school girl was repeatedly denied access to the toilet and as a result, bled through her clothes. The girl was “humiliated” and as a result did not want to attend school while on her period. Similarly, girls who cannot afford sanitary products often miss school in order to avoid the “humiliation” of bleeding through their clothes resulting in poor attendance and therefore lower achievement than they are truly capable of.

 

The government’s decision to provide schools and hospitals with free sanitary products for those who need them acknowledges the necessity of these products. They’re not luxury items but instead items that are required in order for individuals to feel comfortable, confident and allow them to achieve their full potential.

 

Skipping school and being bullied as a result of periods is not okay, and we’re glad that things are starting to change. If you or anyone you know has experienced negativity as a result of period related incidents and want to talk to someone about it, we’re here for you.

 

Featured Image curtesy of Periods in Poverty (https://www.facebook.com/pg/PeriodsinPovertyCardiff/photos/)

 

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Mindfulness Would Do Anything For Your Mind, But It Won't Do That

Mindfulness Would Do Anything For Your Mind, But It Won't Do That

At this stage, we’ve all heard about a little thing called mindfulness for mental health. There are apps about it, programs which focus on it, and shelves in the bookstore dedicated to this topic alone. If we aren’t meditating, we’re all trying to be more aware in our daily lives. And, the results of this simple act on our mental health are astounding. In an age where more of us are suffering from issues such as anxiety, mindful actions can get us back to mental health in no time.

But, it’s important to remember that mindfulness can’t do it all for your mind. While it’s an effort worth taking, it very much deals with the emotional aspect of brain function. And, we all know that there’s more to mind health than that. In fact, an estimated 5.5 million people now suffer from mind-based problems like Alzheimer’s. That’s 1 in every ten people over the age of 65. And, this is an issue which no amount of mindful practice can put right. Still, paying ample attention to the risks may well be our best chance at keeping these issues clear, too.

Sadly, many sufferers of conditions like these end up in an Alzheimer’s care facility or relying on loved ones. That’s because this is a degenerative condition which can obliterate our ability to care for ourselves. And, it’s something that most of us would do whatever we could to avoid. Luckily, while mindfulness can’t keep this issue at bay, certain other pursuits can. By all means, get into an evening meditation routine to keep mental health in check. Then, take care of the following to keep your brain ticking away nicely in other areas, too.

Whole-body exercise

We all know that exercise can take care of our mental health. But, did you know that going to the gym can help your mind in many other ways, too? According to a study done by the Department of Exercise Science at the University of Georgia, even twenty minutes of exercise can work wonders for information processing and memory functions. This happens for a few different reasons, including hormone production and increased blood flow to the brain. Studies also suggest that exercise promotes growth in some regions of the brain. Add all this together, and you could argue that gym sessions make you smarter. They also help to keep future issues such as Alzheimer’s at bay. If you’ve struggled to get around to this until now, then, it might be time you bit the bullet. Even if you don’t think your body is worth it, your brain certainly should be.

Reading

We couldn’t talk about brain health without mentioning reading, could we? As Joseph Addison said, ‘Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body.’ Perhaps he didn’t know about the mental benefits of getting fit, but that’s not the point. Reading works wonders for your brain. Unlike zoning out in front of the television, reading requires active participation. You need to literally flex your brain to both read the words on the page and bring that world to life. Reading can also work wonders for concentration. You’ll have no choice but to focus on that one task for the duration of this time. You won’t be able to pick up your phone or wander off to do something else without losing your place. If you do care about the emotional aspect of your mental health, it’s worth noting that reading is mindfulness of its own. We aren’t saying that you have to become a bookworm to feel the benefits of this, either. Even as little as thirty minutes to an hour of reading every few days can see your brain at its best for many years to come.

Brain puzzles

They do say that you lose it if you don’t use it, and there are few better ways to use your brain that through brain puzzles. While exercise can help mental function too, brain puzzles flex your neural functions. Whether you opt for crosswords or flat out brain teasers, these work wonders for lateral thinking. This is the part of our brains which allows us to look for creative solutions to the problems we face. And, this is often the part of our minds which we lose in later life. These is an effort worth taking when you consider that neurotransmitters die if we don’t use them often. If you’re never challenging yourself, you could lose the ability to think in this way altogether. So, don’t let it happen. At least a few times a week, set your brain a challenge like this. You needn’t even go out of your way to come up with clever riddles to make this work. Merely sitting down a Sudoku or even a Rubik’s cube would more than do the trick.

 

The right diet

We all know that diet plays a massive part in mental health and the whole mindfulness thing. But, it can also make a huge difference in other aspects of brain health. We’ve all heard of brain foods, after all, and these are more than just old wives tales. Fish is a big one and with good reason. Fish which is high in omega three fatty acids can work wonders for our minds. That’s because about 60% of the brain consists of fat, half of which is omega 3. When you eat fish, then, you literally feed your mind. Other foods worth looking out for include blueberries, turmeric, and pumpkin seeds. You may also be surprised to find that coffee can also decrease the risk of conditions like Alzheimer’s. That’s because of antioxidants and caffeine content. Instead of trying to cut out that daily cup, then, you have medical reasons to keep it up. Everything in moderation, as they say.

While there are no guarantees with anything, especially our brains, these steps could take you far. With a bit of luck, they’ll keep you compos mentis for the rest of your days.

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The Benefits of Holistic Health

The Benefits of Holistic Health

Everyone during their lifetime wants to make sure that they can be as healthy and fit as they possibly can. When it comes to our body and our mind, it is important that we pay attention to both of these as one because they work together to keep us fit and healthy all year long. Holistic health is a type of healthcare which is all about the personal as well as the symptoms, and it is a method which brings everything together to keep us strong. Here are some of the biggest benefits of holistic health which you will see this year.

 

It treats the mind

 

The main thing which can set apart holistic health from other types of medicine is the fact that it also looks at your mental health as well as physical health. This is an important thing for us because mental health can be something which is often neglected in every day life and as a result many of us will suffer from things such as stress and depression.

 

It looks at us as a whole

 

The reason why so many people choose a holistic style of medicine is the fact that it looks at us as a whole person rather than just a set of organs. The main benefit of holistic health is the fact that it is a lifestyle medicine and it looks beyond the symptoms of an illness and focuses on the cause too. This is great for many people because it gets to the root of a problem and this can make a huge impact on our ability to treat ourselves and live a healthier life. There are a lot of factors in our health and sometimes lifestyle factors such as our jobs and the way we spend our free time can impact our body and mind. Holistic health uses this information to come up with a solution and make sure that we are able to live in the healthiest way we can.

 

It’s natural, mostly

 

If you are always a little bit worried about medicine and the chemicals it contains, we have some good news for you. Because holistic health looks at us from wider view and takes more than just our body into account, it also means that it focuses on more than just pills and needles. Most holistic healing methods are natural and this will be in the form of exercise, lifestyle changes, diet changes and essential oils. It is a way of naturally changing the body without the chemicals and this can actually get to the root of the problem in a much more efficient way.

 

You’ll learn better habits

 

As part of living a more holistic lifestyle you will also learn some better habits along the way which can help you live your best life. For example rather than spending all of your time working and stressing out, a holistic change might be to take a break and enjoy time with your family instead. Small changes and modifications can be huge for your life and allow you to be happier and healthier.

 

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Eating Disorder Awareness Week 2019 - Hope's Story

Eating Disorder Awareness Week 2019 - Hope's Story

As Eating Disorder Awareness Week comes to an end, it seems appropriate to dedicate this week’s blog post to eating disorders and those who experience them.

 

What is an eating disorder?

While it’s true that the term “eating disorder” covers the more commonly known disorder, anorexia nervosa, there are a whole host of other disorders that are less frequently discussed in the public domain. The term “eating disorder” is defined as “a range of psychological disorders characterised by abnormal or disturbed eating habits”.  Currently the NHS recognise four classifications: anorexia nervosa, bulimia, binge eating disorder and other specified feeding or eating disorder (OSFED).

 

Why are eating disorders worrying?  

Individuals with eating disorders will often use extreme methods to achieve control over their diet, whether it be reduced food intake, purging after eating, use of laxatives, use of medication designed for another use among many other methods. These actions are damaging to the body and can have serious long term affects and in extreme cases can lead to death.

 

Why can’t individuals just go and get help?

Eating disorders, as defined above, are heavily psychological illnesses. The sufferer will often not recognise that what they’re doing is dangerous and therefore will not believe that they need help. There is also the issue of what often happens when individuals seek help…

 

Hope’s Story

One of the most thought-provoking articles I read during this week of awareness was a petition created by Hope Virgo. In her piece, Hope began by explaining that she was previously hospitalised for, and was nearly killed by, the eating disorder, anorexia. When she relapsed in 2016, she decided to seek help for herself in the fear of ending up back in hospital, inches away from death. However, after attending a London based eating disorder unit she was told that she “wasn’t thin enough for support”. This left her feeling like the clinic viewed her as “fake” and she felt suicidal.

 

What needs to change?

Hope’s petition aspires to change the way in which society and the government view eating disorders. While many sufferers are at a very low weight, this doesn’t mean that all are and to wait until they reach the weight required to offer help, clinics are essentially waiting until that individual is in crisis before offering support.

 

How can we help?

Dr Julian offers a range of therapies for eating disorders and with zero wait times we’re here to help YOU when YOU need help. Many eating disorder sufferers have discussed the issues with talking about their bodies and body image with healthcare professionals of the opposite sex. With Dr Julian, you can choose from our list of fully qualified therapists to find a therapist that suits your needs. You can ever filter by language of therapy to receive therapy in your home tongue if it’s what you would prefer. Eating disorders are sadly becoming more common, but we hope that with greater awareness individuals will feel they can come forward and talk about their struggles. Talk to someone. Talk to us.

 

Read more about Hope’s Petition here: https://www.change.org/p/eating-disorders-are-not-just-about-weight-dumpthescales

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How Not To Give In To Temptation

How Not To Give In To Temptation

As humans, throughout our lifetime there are many different things which may tempt us and lead us astray from our good habits. It could be a piece of cake when you are on a diet, the lure of a cigarette, or turning off your alarm and calling in sick to work: but all of these things can be bad for us. Today we are going to have a chat about how we can resist the urges and temptations we may face in life in simple ways, to allow us to stay in control at all times.

 

Understand the threat

The main thing you need to do if you want to avoid falling fowl to temptation is to recognise the trigger. If you can do this you have made the first step in beating the issue because you have identified the problem and realised that there is one. For example let’s say you have a little bit of a heroin withdrawal, if you see someone on TV smoking this might trigger you, and this is what you need to be aware of going forward.

 

Remove yourself

The best way for you to get away from temptation and not give into it is to remove yourself from its reach entirely. For example if you know that you are on a diet and someone has brought a load of cakes into work for the staff, go for a walk at lunch instead of sitting in the kitchen where the cakes are on full display. It is always better for you to get away if you will give in and this will help you stay strong.

 

Be honest

If you are struggling with something and you need help to stay away from it, don’t keep it to yourself. If you are trying to stay away from certain foods or drinks, tell the people around you and they will be able to keep these things away from you to help you not give into your temptation. It is a smart move and when you have people around you who know the issue; they can step in and take action for you.

 

Distract yourself

Don’t let yourself stay sitting at home doing nothing all the time because sooner or later you will end up thinking about your temptations and you may want to give into them. If you feel like you are starting to crave something, get out of the house or start cleaning, anything to distract your mind and your body for a while. It is a small step but it is incredibly useful.

 

Think of the consequences

One of the ways which you can stop yourself giving into a bad habit is to think about what would happen in the future if you did give in. If you keep eating fatty foods you will never lose weight, if you keep calling in sick for work you will likely lose your job… there are many things to consider and things which you need to do to make sure that you stay on track.

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