Category: Blog

Mental Health and Mindfulness

Mental Health and Mindfulness

Mindfulness is a lot about being in the moment. Something that people with anxiety or depression might struggle with is those moments of peace and calm that come from being mindful. It is a great practice to get into. But where do you start and what impact can it have on your mental health?

Well, we have all had times in our lives when things just haven’t gone according to plan. From losing people, we care about, to finding ourselves with an addiction we just can’t kick. Before starting out on a journey, you should have a think about what you wish the outcome to be and what type of help is going to be the best option. Sometimes you need talking therapy and medication, other times you might need to seek out a sober living for men establishment. Don’t be worried or feel guilty for needing support – we all need it from time to time.

Meditation

Meditation is a great way to introduce mindfulness into your daily life slowly. You might opt to have guided meditation sessions using youtube, the Calm app or the Headspace app. Or you might even head out and visit a class.

Perhaps all of that sounds a bit too much right now. You can start by picking some relaxing music, sitting in a comfortable position and setting a three-minute timer. When you feel intrusive thoughts begin to float into your mind, gently dismiss them. Focus on your breathing, how the floor feels beneath your feet and the sensation in your fingertips. Anything that you feel will keep you present.

 

Making Notes

When we are in the middle of some situations, it can be very easy to lose track of all of the fantastic things we have, and the beautiful people we have around us. Each day take a few moments to write down 5 positive things. It could be that you had enough butter for your toast, or that you managed to ward off an anxiety attack. Whatever it is, celebrate it in the fullest by keeping a note of it.

 

Green Therapy

Getting outside might seem a little overwhelming, so maybe you can start this one slowly. PLants, trees, grass and rolling hills can do wonders to restore a sense of peace and calm in us. If you have somewhere that you can walk to, and relax in – try and go once a week. If heading outside is not currently an option for you, invest in some pictures of landscapes and a couple of houseplants and place them where you spend the most time.

 

Relax

This is easier said than done. Most of us are walking about with a clenched jaw, stiff shoulders and neck. Take a moment and try to relax your face from the top of your head, down your face, wiggle your jaw, roll your shoulders and breathe it out a bit. Try to do this a few times a day to stop the tension building up and become too much to handle.

 

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How To Support A Friend With An Eating Disorder

How To Support A Friend With An Eating Disorder

It’s heartbreaking seeing a friend in pain, and when you are sure they have an eating disorder, it can become especially difficult. If you know they are starving themselves, or if you see them purge after binge eating, you might feel as if you are on the outside looking in; seeing destructive behaviour, but not sure how to help.

You might be tempted to tell your friend off for harming their body in such a way. Or you might say nothing at all, hoping that the problem they are suffering from will somehow go away. Neither option is useful.

So, what should you do?

First of all, know that the issue isn’t with food. As we suggested in our article here, https://dr-julian.com/blog/how-is-your-mental-state-affecting-your-physical-health/, it is a person’s mental state that can affect their physical wellbeing. In the event of an eating disorder, it is usually brought about by stress-related issues in the person’s life, and/or because of a faulty mindset about their body and weight. When trying to help, therefore, you need to understand that there might be issues around their mental wellbeing that you may not be equipped to deal with.

However, there are three important things you can do.

 

  1.  Talk to them

Express your concerns and let them know that you are there for care and support. Be aware, however, that many people with an eating disorder try to keep this part of their life a secret. They can feel guilty and ashamed about their behaviour, and this can affect their already fragile mental state. They might not open up to you straight away, although you might still be able to get an insight into what led them to their eating disorder. Stay calm and patient, and whether they talk to you straight away or not, affirm your friendship to them. When speaking to them, don’t judge them on their behaviour. They already feel bad enough. And be careful not to make any glib comments, such as ‘you need to eat more,’ as you may cause them to react angrily. Instead, listen, seek to understand, and ask them if there is anything you can do to support them.

 

  1. Educate yourself

There are lots of myths about eating disorders, so you need to differentiate facts between fiction. Go online to do your research, and read articles such as this one, https://www.verywellmind.com/eating-disorder-myths-and-truths. While you can’t force your friend to change and stop what they are doing, you will be able to gain some understanding of the condition they are living with. And if you also have an idea of why they are doing what they are doing, you might be able to offer better care and support, and that will go some way towards their eventual recovery.

 

  1. Encourage them to get help

If your friend is resistant, then you should let them know that you might need to ask for support on their behalf. Tell them it’s because you care and because you love them, and hopefully, they will start to see sense. A doctor is the best person to assess their needs, so when possible, make the appointment with them, and offer to go along with your friend for moral support. The doctor will then point your friend to the right place for treatment, which could include counselling services such as ours, as well as hospitalisation in a specialist medical centre.

For further advice on how best to help your friend pre and post-recovery, there are helplines you can call. Take a look at this site, https://www.beateatingdisorders.org.uk/, and speak to somebody for professional advice. Especially when your friend is resistant to getting help, a qualified professional will guide you on the best steps to take. They are also available to talk to your friend should they be open to the suggestion.

After taking advice, and seeking help, your friend should then get the help they need.

 

Finally

It might be a long road to recovery, but as a friend, be with them every step of the way. They should have received expert advice about the recovery process themselves, so ask your friend what you can do to support the steps they are taking. Educate yourself too, looking for advice online about the recovery process, reading articles such as this one, https://tapestrync.com/crafting-anorexia-recovery-meal-plan/. By doing so, you will be in a better place to offer continued help.

With time and care, your friend will come through. Stick with them, affirm your care, and continue to look for eating disorder signs later on in the event they suffer a relapse. Hopefully, however, they will return to their normal self and way of thinking, and part of this will be because of your invaluable friendship.

 

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Help For Those Who Want To Stop Drinking

Help For Those Who Want To Stop Drinking

Help when you are giving up alcohol is more important than you may first think. Drinking is such an ingrained part of most people’s lives that it can start taking over without you even noticing. The effects are not just physical, but also social and emotional. Alcohol leaves very little of your life unaffected.

There are probably very few people who have woken up after a particularly heavy night and haven’t uttered the magic words ‘never again.’ But several glasses of water, a big breakfast and two paracetamols later, you start to feel human again. The next time you go out, it’s like the words were never spoken. It’s as if your brain has become hardwired into thinking that you cannot have fun without alcohol, and in some ways that is exactly what has happened. It makes the very idea of really giving up alcohol completely unpalatable. One of the reasons you need help with making, and more importantly sticking to, a decision to give up alcohol for your health is because you need to retrain your brain and change its relationship with drink. That’s not easy.

Help with how to stop drinking can take many forms, from others not drinking around you to having people to share your successes and your down times with. There are also organisations that can help, like Silvermist Recovery. It could involve having access to online communities where you can see you are not the only one, or you can pick up hints and tips on distracting yourself if you get hit by cravings The important aspect about whatever help you get is that you are not alone in facing this challenge.

 

Things To Do Instead Of Drinking

Giving up is not about willpower; it’s about creating new habits. So, how about starting some new pastimes and activities to go along with those new habits? When considering how to give up alcohol, it is important to remember that you are making a positive lifestyle change that will improve your physical, mental and emotional wellbeing over the long term. When you feel like a drink, why not take a long relaxing bath instead, or get in the shower and have an extended pamper? It works just as well for men as it does for women. If that’s not for you, then how about catching up with friends or family? Pick up the phone instead of the alcohol, using an online video app, or even writing a letter, which works just as well.

Exercise is also a good way to take your mind off the drink and increasing the health benefits that come with implementing your how to stop drinking regime. You could take the dog for a walk, go swimming or even break out the push bike. If you prefer to be indoors or working out with others, then get to your nearest gym, or join a local five-a-side team. It’s just as important to keep your mind busy, so you could find a course that you are interested in, or take up a new hobby. And the options don’t stop there – there are any number of voluntary organisations and charities crying out for volunteers with time on their hands.

 

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Mental Health at Christmas.

Mental Health at Christmas.

As a society, we are constantly bombarded with images of the ‘right’ way to spend Christmas and the entire holiday season – constantly euphoric with our loved ones.

However, it is really not that easy for some people. It can even be the complete opposite.

One in ten people feel unable to cope at this time of year, according to research by the charity Mind.

For those who have been affected by grief, Christmas can be a painful reminder, and this time of year can be incredibly lonely and difficult.

For those suffering with mental health, the holiday season can also be extremely tough.

Christmas can additionally cause anxiety and stress to those who don’t usually suffer, for a number of reasons, but financial stress is the most common – around 41% of people surveyed by Mind in 2015 reported getting into debt – which can trigger or increase anxiety.

We also tend to overindulge and drink more alcohol, which can worsen mental health symptoms, while overexerting ourselves socially – which can leave us tired and anxious.

 

Look after yourself this Christmas!

Here are some steps for how to do so:

Plan Ahead.

Sticking to routines as much as possible can help prevent Christmas feeling overwhelming. Planning ahead is a great way to save stress, time and money. Making manageable lists for jobs to do, presents to buy and food, helps to organise your thoughts, stops you from forgetting anything, and makes it easier to budget.

Stick to your budget.

Sticking to your budget will ease the financial stress at Christmas, and alleviate financial issues in the New Year. If you have a large circle of friends and family, the list of gifts to buy seems endless, perhaps try a Secret Santa, or set a limit on the price to be spent on each gift. Remember it really is the thought that counts, don’t spend excessive amounts when it isn’t needed.

Lower your expectations.

Let’s face it, Christmas in real life is nothing like you see in the movies or even hear in the Christmas songs! Christmas tends to illuminate any pre-existing stresses. Try and accept this and don’t expect the perfect day. It is after all, a day like any other, except with heaps of pressure. Therefore, arguments may be had, things may go wrong, and that’s fine and absolutely normal! Once this is acknowledged, you should feel less pressure and will hopefully enjoy your day in a realistic manner. 

Take some time for yourself.

 If you find Christmas a particularly difficult time, try to take time out to do something you enjoy, whether it’s reading a book, painting, crafting, phoning a friend, relaxing or doing physical exercise.

It’s key not to feel guilty for doing something unrelated to the festivities – and especially important to remember it’s absolutely okay to say no to an event if you feel you have too much going on – prioritise your mental wellbeing.

If you find spending time with lots of people overwhelming, know that it is okay to take breaks to clear your head and replenish any negative thoughts or emotions.

Everything in moderation.

Of course it’s the season to treat yourself, but overdoing it, especially with alcohol, can have a vast negative impact on your health and wellbeing.

Try to choose fruit and vegetables whenever you can, and limit the amount of alcohol you consume over the festive period.

Look back – and forward.

The end of a year can bring mixed emotions, particularly if you’ve experienced difficult or disappointing times. If this does cause you distress, try to focus on the positive outcomes of the past 12 months, and view the new year as a fresh start and a chance to make the changes you desire.

Help others.

Volunteering, or a performing a random act of kindness is a known way to improve your mental health, and will lift spirits especially at this time of year.

 

Look out for one another – especially if you know this time of year is hard for someone around you.

Steps to do so.

Let people know they are not alone.

Be sure to regularly check on someone who may be suffering – phone them to ask if there is anything they need and if they would like any company. They may prefer to be alone, but please do check as they may instead want someone to lean on, or to distract them from any pain.

Recommend films to watch, or books to read.

If you can’t be with a loved one around Christmas, but want to remind them you are there – recommending films or books will help them feel like they are with you whilst watching or reading your choices. Try especially hard to recommend uplifting ones which don’t involve any triggers.

Send a gift.

A small sign of care and love can really help lift somebody up – showing you were thinking of them and they have someone who loves them. Even if it’s just a little card with a kind message inside.

Give the gift of therapy – to yourself or a loved one.

 Dr Julian logo

At Dr Julian, we offer therapy packages that you can buy for yourself, or treat a loved one to, as a gift this Christmas. Our therapy is a video-call service which can be taken place in the comfort of one’s home – making the whole process a lot more pleasant and less daunting.

 

What better way to spend the Christmas period than healing yourself and your mental health?

 

Therapy will assist you to enter the new year replenished and ready to combat anything that comes your way.

If you know someone suffering, and want to help but don’t know how, this could be the perfect answer.

 

 

Visit our website for more information:

www.dr-julian.com 

 Read our blog 

 

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How is Your Mental State Affecting Your Physical Health?

How is Your Mental State Affecting Your Physical Health?

Research has clearly established the link between mental and physical health- so when you’re unhappy in your mind, it often leads to feeling unwell in your body too. Anyone with a mental health condition knows that it’s no fun whatsoever, but what can make things worse is without the right treatment, you put yourself at risk of many other ailments and issues too. Some of these can even be life threatening. Here are some examples of how your mental health can lead to poor physical health, how to avoid this, and why it’s so important to seek help.

 

Poor diet

When you’re struggling with your mental health, it can cause you to make bad decisions when it comes to food. Some people find that food is a comfort, eating too much and gaining a lot of weight. In the long term, this leads to all the associated risks of obesity- heart disease, stroke, diabetes and cancers. Others go the other way and struggle to eat much at all, and can become malnourished and weak. Conditions like anemia and vitamin deficiencies are common in this case. According to health professionals like United Medical, a poor diet can lead to diseases of the esophagus, stomach, small intestine, large intestine and rectum. Poor diet over many years can lead to weak bones, poor hair and skin health and so much more. As humans, food is our fuel. We’re complex creatures and need the right balance of vitamins and minerals to thrive, a lot of people already struggle with this as it is- so throwing a mental health issue into the mix is always going to be problematic.

 

Lack of sleep

Some mental health conditions can lead to a lack of sleep. Anxiety in particular is known for keeping people up at night, when you can’t stop worrying and your mind is going at a hundred miles an hour. Chronic lack of sleep has many of the same risks as obesity, leading to heart attack, stroke and other illnesses. Because people who don’t get enough sleep have trouble controlling their appetite (due to hormones controlling hunger not being properly regulated) obesity and weight gain is another risk.

 

Not enough exercise

When you’re tired from not enough sleep and sluggish from the wrong foods, chances are the last thing you’ll want to do is exercise. This can form a vicious cycle, as it can then lead to further weight gain and more poor sleep. Exercise is a natural mood booster, helps you burn calories, regulate hormones and can improve sleep. Getting your mental health in check will help to give you the energy and motivation you need to get that workout done.

 

Poor grooming and dental habits

Finally, another area of your health that can suffer when you’re struggling with your mental health is your teeth. Again, lack of motivation and poor daily habits as a result will be the cause. You’re less likely to take care of your hair and skin too, which can go on to cause low self esteem. Addressing the underlying mental health problem can help you to get all of these things sorted.

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Health At Any Age

Health At Any Age

Have you been putting off that check-up? If you know things aren’t quite right then it’s time to take your courage in your hands and go for your annual medical.

Far from being a terrifying experience, most medical professionals work hard to put you at ease. Besides, you and your health are worth it.

As we age we should expect to see some wear and tear on our body, it’s entirely natural and there’s plenty we can do to slow down and alleviate some of the symptoms associated with this process.

If you’re over 50, here are some of the more common ailments you might recognize and some tips on how to deal with them.

 

Higher Blood Pressure

As we age our body’s blood carrying system comes under greater stress and this can go some way to increasing our blood pressure. Common sense is the best cure for this issue. Eating a diet that doesn’t impact your weight negatively, getting regular exercise and finding effective ways to deal with stress and anxiety will all help.

 

Mental Health Issues

Mental illness is not a second-class citizen, pay attention to how you are feeling and what’s going on in your life that might be making you feel less than great. Age is no guard against depression, stress and anxiety. Chances are you’re still working in some capacity, so if your working life is causing you to feel anxious it’s time to make some changes.

Take time to talk, to set up a therapy appointment if needed and at the very least let friends and family know you’re struggling. It’s not a path you need to walk alone.

 

Eye Health

Along with your hearing, our eyesight is probably one of the things we notice changes in.  Not all eye problems are related to advancing age, diseases such as Keratoconus, or a changing in shape of the cornea part of the eye, is diagnosed most often in young adults and teenagers. But there are eye diseases that are largely associated with older people and if you have noticed any loss of vision, flashing or moving shapes in your line of sight, then don’t delay in getting a check-up.

 

Obesity

It’s well reported that obesity is on the rise in the developed world but often this problem is exacerbated as we become less mobile. Carrying extra weight in your body has the knock-on effect of putting more pressure on your internal organs and your skeletal frame that supports you. Talk to your doctor about a change in lifestyle that will suit you and become a natural part of your routine. Avoid crash dieting and fad diets. Though they promise almost immediate results, they are hard to maintain and studies show crash dieters almost always regain far more over time than they lost.

With today’s increasingly effective treatments our everyday common ailments can be treated effectively and swiftly. Get a once over and show yourself and your loved ones that you’re fighting fit.

 

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Kwick Tips To Improve Kidney Health

Kwick Tips To Improve Kidney Health

We all know that we need to keep our heart in good condition. And I’m sure that most of you know the steps that you need to take to ensure your heart stays healthy. But if someone asked you how you try to keep your kidneys fit and healthy, would you know how to answer them?

The truth is, very few people know what steps they need to take in order to help improve their kidney health. As a result, lots of people are diagnosed with kidney disorders each year and there is a backlog of people waiting for transplants. So, it’s in your best interest to do everything you can to maintain good kidney health. Here are a few tips to help you do that.

 

Get Yourself Tested

First of all, it’s worth going to your doctor and getting an overall health test. This should flag up any issues with your kidneys that might need to be looked into further. If you are showing certain symptoms then your doctor might just test your kidneys. Your doctor might refer you to Jim Plante’s Kidney Research Foundation if he believes you need specialist help or a transplant. Even if you don’t show signs of serious kidney ailments, your doctor will still be able to offer you plenty of advice on maintaining good kidney health.

 

Stop Smoking

Hopefully, you stopped smoking many years ago but if not, it’s necessary to do so now. Regularly smoking can greatly increase your risk of developing a kidney condition. If you continue to smoke, then your kidney will likely harden, which will then lead to kidney disease. If you struggle with stopping smoking, you might want to see your doctor to see if they have any resources that can help you.

 

Get On Top Of High Blood Pressure

Do you suffer from high blood pressure? If so, it’s worth trying to bring that down as sustained high blood pressure has been closely linked to kidney disease. Your doctor will be able to prescribe you some medication that can help with this. It’s also worth reducing your sodium intake so that water can easily leave the body. Any blocked water could quickly lead to a kidney infection.

 

Eat A Balanced Diet

Following a balanced diet can improve so many different aspects of your health, but especially when it comes to the kidneys. Ideally, you need to stay well away from any processed foods and instead cook from scratch using fresh vegetables and whole grains. It’s also necessary to reduce your intake of fats as this can lead to high cholesterol levels which are known to increase the risk of kidney disease.

 

Work Out As Much As Possible

It’s always good to stay active. Not only does this help you stay fit, but it also reduces the amount of fat in the blood so your kidney has to do less work.

If you follow all the tips above, then you should enjoy good kidney health for some time to come!

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Holiday Health Risks You Should Know

Holiday Health Risks You Should Know

The Christmas period is supposed to be a fun and relaxing time to spend with family and friends. However, as Grinch-like as this may sound, it can actually prove to be one of the most hazardous times of the year for your health. The massive array of foods, the constant string of parties, and even your own loved ones can all pose a risk to your mental and physical wellbeing. If you want to make it to New Year in one piece, then you need to learn to help yourself. With that in mind, here are ten holiday health risks you should watch out for and how to manage them.

Decorating Accidents

The Christmas period doesn’t really start to feel festive until you put up your decorations. However, as beautiful as your lights and streamers may be, hanging them can be quite dangerous. In fact, thousands of people are injured every single year from falling while doing it. To keep yourself safe, you should make sure that any ladders you use are on level ground and that you don’t overreach. You should also avoid drinking before doing this, even if it is Christmas.

Christmas Trees

Unfortunately, it’s not just climbing that can cause problems throughout the festivities. Your Christmas tree can also be an issue, especially if it happens to catch fire. To prevent this, you should opt for a flame-resistant artificial tree, rather than a real one. If you do this, you’ll need to remember that your tree isn’t real and stop yourself from watering it. This may sound ridiculous, but it’s a mistake many people make each year, often resulting in an electrical fire.

Poisonous Plants

Mistletoe, pine cones, holly, and other vibrant, festive plants are often viewed as an integral part of the Christmas season. However, if you plan to have pets or small children around your home at all throughout this time, then it’s better that they’re not there. Although many use these plans as decoration, they are highly toxic to animals and little ones, even in small amounts. If you really wanted to add these to your winter decor, then look for artificial alternatives instead.

Food Poisoning

Cooking a huge meal, like Christmas dinner, for a big group of people can pose a challenge, which is evident in the large number of cases of food poisoning throughout December and January. To keep yourself and your guests healthy, you should take extra care when preparing seafood, eggs, meat, and, of course, poultry, and use separate chopping boards so that bacteria doesn’t spread. You should also cook your food properly and avoid leaving leftovers out.

Winter Weight

We all like to overindulge a little over Christmas, which leads many of us to enter the New Year with some winter weight. While this won’t cause many issues if you burn it back off again, left as it is, it can cause a number of health problems, including stress, high cholesterol, and more. To combat this, you should stick to your workout routine and consider remedies for your increased cholesterol, like these herbs. To avoid it completely, you should learn to control your portions.

Unknown Allergies

Christmas tends to come with a string of parties, all with new and exciting dishes for you to try out. As great as it is to experience new foods, it can also be quite dangerous if you discover an allergy that you weren’t aware of. For this reason, you should consider taking a food allergy test before the first party rolls around. This way, if you are allergic to anything, you’ll know about it, and can avoid any specific foods or ingredients that could cause you harm.

Choking Hazards

With most people gorging down on plate after plate of tasty treats, it should be no surprise that choking becomes a major risk during Christmas time. With that in mind, you should be more aware when you eat and make a habit of taking smaller bites. You should also chew slowly and carefully and avoid being distracted or talking with your mouth full. High-risk foods, like boiled sweets, hot dogs, and grapes should be eaten even more carefully than you normally would.

Family Stress

Stress can be a major problem throughout the holidays, as many people tend to overcommit themselves or agree to spend time with people they don’t particularly like. While small amounts of stress shouldn’t cause you too much worry, when it becomes constant, it can trigger other health problems. Thankfully, it is possible to have a stress-free Christmas. You just need to focus on the things that really matter, forget about timings, and ask for help when you need it.

Holiday Shopping

If your family and friends don’t cause you stress themselves, shopping for their gifts is sure to, especially if you spend more than you can afford. Actually going to the store can also cause problems, like back pain and exhaustion from walking and carrying bags all day. If money is your issue this Christmas, then try cutting down your shopping list or making the gifts yourself. To keep yourself from tiring out, you should take regular breaks or just shop for everything online.

Sleep Problems

Combined with the parties, shopping, and travel, the weird mixture of stress and excitement can keep anyone up over Christmas. The problem with this is that it can lead to many dangerous issues, including weight gain, lower immunity, and higher stress. It can also increase your risk of accidents and depression. Because of this, you need to make sleep a priority, by creating and sticking to a nighttime routine. You should also manage your stress to make sleep easier.

Christmas may be a magical time, but it’s also one full of risks, many of which can seriously impact your health. No one wants to be sick or injured throughout the festive period, but, to avoid this, you need to consider and manage the hazards around you. Hopefully, with the information and advice above, this is something you can now do.

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