Yesterday evening, I did something I never usually do – I took some time for myself. Work has been absolutely manic at the moment, so it really couldn’t have come at a better time for me personally and it was lovely to not have to worry about anything for an evening.

When you have a side hustle like blogging, you sometimes feel like you want to spend every moment you’re not at work being productive: Whether it’s pitching to brands, writing blogs or taking photos, sometimes it’s hard to switch off when its something you’re so passionate about – that’s how I feel anyway when it comes to this little piece of the internet.

I’m really lucky that I know someone who has just started doing treatments from his canal boat in the beautiful Cheshire countryside. When you first hear canal boat, you might be a bit sceptical about how this works, but I can assure you, the setting is an absolute dream, and as soon as I got out of the car I felt as though a huge weight was lifted.

The very aptly named business, take a breather with Chris, is the only one I know of it’s kind, but really, where better to switch off and relax with the sounds of nature surrounding you. Chris met me at the car park with his gorgeous little dog, Lola, in tow (a half pom, half shih tzu) and we walked up to the narrowboat which had his flag on the top – definitely unmissable. We caught up briefly and he showed me around the boat which is definitely a lot bigger than it looks from the outside!

I’d chosen to go for the Swedish massage as my treatment, as I’ve felt quite a lot of tension in my muscles over the past few months. As with most massages, I had a few questions to answer first about my lifestyle and if I had any medical issues. Chris provided me with a tub of warm water for my feet to start the relaxation process off, and it really did help. When he asked me about my stress levels, it was only when I answered that I’m feeling a 9/10 at the moment that I wondered why I hadn’t done anything like this sooner.

The treatment lasted an hour, and it was pure bliss. The sounds of nature and people sailing by outside helped me to totally relax, so much so that I actually fell asleep for a few minutes which was lovely. Switching off is something I find really difficult, even when I’m at home, so doing something like this felt like a real treat for myself, when in reality, it’s something I need to invest more time in to.

In our day to day lives, we can put so much pressure on ourselves to always be at the top of our game and constantly be achieving the greatest, when in reality, we all need time to relax and take a breather: Chris also specialises in at home visits and also corporate packages, which I could totally get on board with.

If this is something that you would be interested, I would highly recommend paying Chris (and Lola) a visit in their picturesque setting – you deserve it! xx

Someone asked me last week for advice on how to deal with anxiety for one of her clients, and seen as it’s been a while since I’d done a post relating to my personal story, and with the new start to the year, I thought this would be a great time to share some of my advice if you are suffering with your mental health.

January can be one of the best, yet one of the most overwhelming times of the year, which can ultimately lead to quite an anxious period for some, myself included. Hopefully, these tips and advice will help you if you’re feeling a bit lost at the moment and give you some reassurance that you are not alone.

1. Don’t Be Afraid To Talk

When I was younger, I never spoke about my anxiety, and instead tried to deal with it on my own. I used to mix up the feelings I was having with hormones and assumed that everything I was going through was normal. It was only when I started to open up to people that I realised that I was suffering from generalised anxiety disorder, which prompted me to speak to a professional – one of the best thing I ever did. There are also a lot of charities aimed at helping people with mental health issues, such as Mind, Rethink Mental Illness and Think Twice, who all offer free advice.

2. You Are Not Selfish

Sometimes an anxiety attack can come out of nowhere and the only thing you want to do is be alone – that is completely fine. I’ve cancelled plans, some of them quite big ones as well, because my anxiety got the better of me and I felt as though I needed alone time. Up until recently, I used to be wracked with guilt when I did this, but now I have come to the realisation that I am not a bad person for needing some alone time, or feeling as though I am not up to something.

3. Medication Is Not A Weakness

When I went through a very tough time about 18 months ago, my mental health was the worst it’s ever been and I was prescribed medication to help with my anxiety and depression. I had been on a prescription before, but this time it was a higher dosage that I was advised to take daily. For months I didn’t tell anyone I took medication because I always felt there was a stigma around it, but since then, I’ve learnt you should never feel weak for trying to make things in your life better. If you don’t want to talk to your GP about it, you can always visit sites such as The Independent Pharmacy, who will diagnose your symptoms and give you advice.

4. Know Your Limits

From day to day, this one might change, but it’s important to know what your body and mind can be put through. There is something called the spoon theory, which is a metaphor relating to people with an illness or disability, and states that as a sufferer, you only have a certain number of spoons a day. Every activity we do takes away a portion of our spoons, and once we have no more, we have no choice but to rest and replenish them for the next day.

5. Mental Health IS Important

Just because you can’t see what is happening when someone is suffering with a mental health illness doesn’t mean that it is not as important as a physical ailment. There is a lot more talk now about mental health, and I think that’s great, but also, there is so much more that can be done and said around the topic. At the moment there is a lot of grey haze around the subject but it is lessening much more.

I hope you found this blog helpful and if you would like me to do more on the subject, just drop me a line.