I am always looking out for new ways to spread mental health awareness and I think fiction is an area I often glaze over. However, I’m starting to see just how beneficial reading fiction can really be. Recently, I was invited to take part in the book tour for ‘The Year I Didn’t Eat’ by Samuel Pollen – my interest was sparked by both the focus on mental health and the fact that the target audience is young teens…
One of the great things about Christmas is the fact that it falls right before January – the time in which I usually feel motivated to rekindle creative projects. This year, I knew I wanted to step up my bullet journal game; this, of course, required a little renovation of my art supplies and a haul of stationery as a Christmas present. Here is what I got and have had a chance to experiment with over the last few weeks…
December, as it usually is, has been an exhalation: of stress, work, chaos. I spent the first week up at university, catching up on lectures and bits of reading I missed throughout the term, before enjoying a couple of days in London with some friends. From there, I headed back home to be with my family for Christmas.
We did the typical yuletide activities – making a wreath for the door, going on cold woodland walks, shopping for and wrapping presents, baking festive-flavoured things – and ate lots of yummy comfort food. It was a blessing to be able to use a proper food processor to make vegan nicecream again – I miss it so badly when I’m up at uni with just my cheap smoothie blender to rely on.
We have reached that reflective point in the calendar, a week in which lots of us cast a thought back over the previous 12 months and linger on the good and the bad the year had to offer. I thought I’d take a moment to wrap up by looking back on the goals I set way back in January.
I wanted to spend lots of time outside and move more in an effort to improve my general wellbeing. I think my success with this varied over the months but I did get out the house quite a bit and I did give basketball, yoga and running a crack. Through these activities, I attempted new things and overcame old anxieties; I’d say that’s a win even if exercise did fall off my radar as the year toppled into the colder months.
When I was first contacted by Thrive, a company that develops therapeutic software, my curiosity was spiked by the sheer breadth and depth their app Feel Stress Free seems to promise. Allow me to explain: having used various tools for managing stress and anxiety before, I’ve often headed down a path of declining interest, as I get stuck in a rut of repetitive activity. However, Feel Stress Free’s unique characteristic seems to be the huge variety of ways it offers for managing stress and anxiety – which have actually been created by psychologists/psychiatrists and are clinically proven to be helpful. I thought this could be a remedy for my tendency to lose that spark of interest.
The other main advantage I can see from the layout of the app is the possibility for personalising the ways of dealing with stress and anxiety, which is something I feel passionate about. I don’t think all methods work effectively for everyone, but that’s not a problem here; I picked up on five key areas of managing negative emotions that Thrive are striving to help with. I thought I’d outline these below and talk about how you can implement these things in your own life – both with and without the help of your phone.
Well it looks like we can all breathe a little easier as this post is going to be a lot more positive than May’s Reflections: otherwise known as the episode in the series in which disorder is the star of the show and no one knows where the plot is heading next. I would say head on over to check out why May was like rooting for Germany in the 2018 World Cup (on paper it looked like it was going to be a celebration but in reality it was a stressful disappointment) but that post is pretty depressing. For that reason I’d recommend sticking with this one (which has been more like the Russian football team: everything surprisingly and impressively pulled together in the end, and no matter what happens now no one can deny the excitement and success so far).
If football references aren’t your thing – and believe me, they’re not really mine either, that’s just what happens when you spend a month travelling with a football fan – then don’t worry as that was the last of them.
If you’re attempting veganism this year, or focussing on cutting down on dairy, then great news – there’s a huge, and I mean HUGE, variety of milk alternatives out there. But here comes the bad news: switching from a taken-for-granted singular option of cow’s milk to a baffling array of new options which all seem equally unusual/weird/exciting/*insert your own adjective here*, can be overwhelming to say the least.