Category: Blog

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.



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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.



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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Mental Health Myths Busted

Mental Health Myths Busted

Even though a lot of research and studies have shown that many myths surrounding mental health are untrue, there is still a high proportion of the public who still believe these misconceptions. Because of this, they may hold stereotypical views of mental health sufferers which aren’t true, and they could end up judging sufferers unfairly. As a result, many people with mental health issues are still stigmatized and struggle trying to approach anyone for help and support.

As you can probably tell then, it is critical that we help to educate people and put an end to some of the most common myths regarding mental health. Here are a few of the usual suspects.


Children Don’t Suffer From Mental Health Problems

Many people still think that mental health problems do not affect children and teenagers. However, recent studies show that this isn’t the case at all. In fact, in today’s day and age where more children are online and comparing their lives to others on social media, they are a lot more likely to develop anxiety and depression. So, if you have a child who seems to be down a lot of the time, it could be worth talking to them and encouraging them to open up to you.


Mental Health Sufferers Are Unable To Work

Another myth is that people with mental health issues are too unstable to be in the workplace. Thankfully, this just isn’t true. In fact, quite a few studies show that continuing to go to work with a mental health issue can actually be beneficial as it gives the sufferer something to focus on and take their mind off their problems.


You Can Just Snap Out Of It

There are many people out there who have never experienced any mental health problems that think it is something that you can just snap out of. Anyone who has ever suffered will know this isn’t true. Sometimes, it can take months of treatment or talking to a specialist, such as the therapists at Meridian Psychiatric Partners, to start to feel better. If you do start to struggle with your mental health, you should always seek professional help before you start to feel any worse. Don’t just try to let the problems run their course.


You Can Never Fully Recover From Bad Mental Health


Another misconception that is widely believed by the general public is that it is impossible to fully recover from mental health problems. If you ask most people, they will say that once you develop them, they stay with you for life even if they do become manageable. It’s true that some mental health conditions are long-term, but, thankfully, it can be possible to stop feeling depressed and treatment can help with issues like OCD and other compulsive disorders. This is one other reason why it’s necessary to seek expert help.


These are just a handful of common myths. Unfortunately, there are still a lot more mental health misconceptions that still need to be busted!

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Is on-line counselling right for me?

Is on-line counselling right for me?

In today’s world everything is available on-line, from dating, to shopping, to learning. Every aspect of society, is having to remodel in order to satisfy the ever increasing demand for on-line options. There is no exception, not even in the world of mental and physical health. The world is changing at an unrecognisable speed and many who are not on board the e-train, are frightened of being left behind.

In today’s digital era, kids are almost arriving from the womb with a tablet in hand, ready to check out Duggie or watch a peer open a Kinder egg. It is quite acceptable therefore, to presume that the Millenarian generation and younger, are adept at working their way around the latest app or programme. However many adults feel that there on-line skills are inadequate, when it come to fulfilling their needs.

On-line Therapy is a fantastic addition, to the more traditional therapy options. It not only offers video counselling but also secure instant messaging and email, depending on the needs and preference of the client. It can make counselling accessible to those, who otherwise, may not be able to avail of it, due to disability, phobias, location or time constraints and can be offered as a stand alone platform for therapy or in conjunction with face to face.

Suitability of a client is determined by their sufficient ability to use internet technology, a secure internet connection, a reasonable internet speed and that they have privacy in their chosen location. Without these factors, it is possibility that communication will be hindered, which may interrupt the smooth running of the sessions or compromise the confidentiality of the therapy. This may leave clients feeling over or underwhelmed and possibly in a more negative place than when they started.

It is also, not necessarily the best model for very serious Mental Illness unless the chosen therapist has competence and experience in these areas from working face to face. An ethical counsellor, has a duty of care to their clients and will have protocols in place to ensure their clients safety. However this may prove difficult, if the client is not wanting to be located, as unlike face to face therapy, the client is not physically with their therapist hence the problem in safeguarding them. Therefore, a indepth assessment must carried out before work would begin. Assuming then, that the client is proficient on-line and the therapist is competent in working with serious mental illness, can on-line counselling be effective?

Numerous studies have been done, to suggest that on-line counselling is as effective as face to face, given the proficiency of the counsellor and the skills required by the client. But how can we determine whether or not a counsellor is skilled at working in this medium? Various on-line counselling courses are offered to someone wishing to incorporate this medium into their practice, ranging from £25 to thousands and varying from as little as two online hours of video watching, to many months of monitored work. This can make it difficult to know exactly, how much training your chosen counsellor may have.

Working on-line is a relatively new platform for therapy, there are presently no regulations requiring counsellors to have undergone a minimum standard of training. There is however an association for therapist and counsellors who work in this medium. ACTO requires all its members to have completed a recognised course and adhere to strict ethical guidelines. It is, at present, the only such organisation in the UK.

SO which form of therapy is best for you? On-line or face to face? Like any decision, it depends on your needs and your constraints. Do you prefer the strength and reliability of the traditional Stem train or are you wanting to climb on-board the new high speed bullet? Whatever the decision, sit back, have faith in the process and enjoy the journey to your chosen destination.

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What To Do When Insomnia Is Taking Over

What To Do When Insomnia Is Taking Over

Although the recommended average amount of sleep for adults is 8 hours per night, it’s probably fair to assume that most people aren’t hitting this consistently.

Whilst the odd sleepless night is generally not a big deal if you’re getting close to the recommended average and having a rested sleep when you do doze off. Yes, it can be annoying and inconvenient, but most people know how to deal with it and will just catch up.

However, when you’re not able to sleep at all and this is happening on a regular basis, then it’s most definitely a real cause for concern and you could be suffering from insomnia.

Aside from the frustration of not being able to sleep and the exhaustion that follows that, people who suffer from insomnia are at far higher risk of illnesses and accidents, so it’s something that should absolutely be taken seriously.

Insomnia, when left to go on can massively affect your life in all areas. As well as your physical and mental health being at risk, it can also have consequences in your work and even relationships.

In this post, we’re sharing some tips for you when it comes to dealing with insomnia and stopping it from taking over your life.


Don’t Self Diagnose:


Whilst insomnia is actually a huge problem that affects millions of people, it’s also important to recognize that even if you’re not able to sleep, you may not be suffering from insomnia, and your inability to drift off may actually be down to lifestyle and once these things are identified and eliminated then you could be able to sleep normally.

Although it’s easier than ever to just type your symptoms into Google and have what is believed to be a diagnosis appear on your screen, self-diagnosing is a risky thing to do and Google should only be used for gathering information.

If your lack of sleeping is affecting your life, then you should see a doctor who can look into the possible causes of this.

As mentioned above, there can be simple lifestyle factors at play that are easily changed, and there could also be an underlying issue with something like your back or neck causing you to lie a certain way, so your doctor will discuss things with you like choosing a correct mattress, or even the benefits of chiropractic adjustments that can really make a big difference.


Cut Out The Caffeine:

Like most things, caffeine is fine in moderation – whether it’s your morning cup of coffee or just some to give you a little boost during the day. Though, caffeine is a stimulant and it does take a while to leave your system, so although you should never drink a cup of coffee before bed if you’re expecting to sleep, you should also limit it throughout the day, and actually stop drinking overly caffeinated drinks around 6-8 hours before you normally go to bed.

It’s also important to note that, although black tea contains far less caffeine than coffee does, it is actually caffeinated, and this includes some green teas. Even hot chocolate contains caffeine, plus the sugar content in it doesn’t make it the best thing to be drinking a lot of.

So, if you’re looking for something to sip on before bed, then you can try various types of herbal and fruit teas – you can even get some that are specifically made for helping you wind down and relax. Other hot drinks include warm milk and turmeric tea.


Watch What You Eat:

What we eat affects our health and bodies in so many more ways than we’re aware, and it’s not just about what you drink before bed, but also what you eat.

For example, if you’ve ever tried to get to sleep after eating something really spicy or greasy, you’ll know that it’s not the easiest of tasks and what you’ll probably you’re dealing with is a long and painful night of heartburn.

Also eating a large meal too close to bedtime will really affect your sleep, so if you must have a late dinner, then try to opt for something light instead.

Certain foods, such as almonds, bananas, turkey, kiwis, and fatty fish do contain sleep-aiding properties, so try to include these in your diet when possible if you’re having trouble with your sleeping routine.


Set The Stage:

Just as our diet and lifestyle can have a huge impact on our ability to get a good night’s sleep, as does our immediate environment. Take a quick look around your house – specifically your bedroom and see if it’s really supporting your ability to sleep or if it’s actually hindering it.

Is there lots of clutter, bright lights and general stimuli everywhere? If so, then this can really affect your sleep. When you go to bed, you may like to have some white noise in the background, especially if you struggle with anxiety, however, having a blaring TV is probably not going to help you sleep or help your anxiety.

Instead, try a white noise machine, have all the lights off, or dimly lit soft lights or candles – though, remember to never fall asleep with candles on.

Using an oil burner with some lavender oil is a great way to promote a calm and relaxing atmosphere to help you drift off, as is relaxing music or even a guided meditation.

We hope that these tips have provided you with some useful and good ideas to help you get into a better sleeping pattern. Having trouble sleeping is very common, so it’s definitely something you can get help with.

Whether you choose to take medication to treat your insomnia or go for a more holistic approach it’s really a decision that only you can make, and if you do decide to try medication then always discuss this with your doctor first so that you can get the right treatment for you and that you don’t take anything that could cause you any problems in the short and long-term.

Sleeping pills can definitely be effective, but like all medication, they do carry risks, and your doctor is the best person to ensure you’re taking a safe dosage that will actually help you.

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