Mental health is something I’ve been open about on my blog for a while now, and something that I really want to continue talking about to break down the stigma surrounding it. I’ve taken different medications now for almost 10 years with different results and effects on my body – sometimes it takes a while to understand what is right for you and that’s nothing to be ashamed of.

Most people use vitamin and mineral supplements to improve their physical health but they can also be great for mental health too. Deficiencies of certain vitamins and minerals can have a big impact on your mental health and if you can’t get enough of them from your food, taking supplements is a good way to boost your levels and improve your mental wellbeing.

Today I’ve rounded up some of the best supplements for mental health which will hopefully help you if you’re having issues.

Folic Acid

Folic acid is a supplement that’s well known to mothers because it’s recommended during pregnancy, but it has so many other benefits as well. It plays a big part in creating neurotransmitters in our brains; the chemicals that encourage communication between nerve cells, which has a big impact on things like mood and our sleep patterns, and let’s face it, as a nation, we’re always tired.

Proper sleep is vital to good mental health and if you aren’t getting enough folate in your diet, you’re far more likely to have poor sleeping habits too. Studies into the effects of folic acids found that a lot of people suffering from depression have a deficiency so it’s being explored as a potential treatment. You can get folic acid from foods, but if you’re struggling to get enough in, supplements can really help.

Magnesium

Magnesium is one of the most important minerals in the body and it has so many amazing health benefits. It helps with bone health, reduces your chances of developing diabetes and keeps your heart healthy. On top of all that, it can reduce the number of stress hormones in your body which relieves the symptoms of mental health problems and helps to stop them from developing in the first place.

Again, you can get magnesium from food, particularly leafy vegetables, but taking supplements is the easiest way to make sure that you’re getting enough. https://www.focussupplements.co.uk/ have a great range of magnesium supplements that you can take daily. Magnesium is so effective because aside from reducing the stress hormones, it improves your overall physical health which has been shown to have a knock-on effect on your mental health.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D levels are a key factor in maintaining a healthy immune system and deficiencies have been linked to increased chances of developing depression. That’s a big problem for us because studies show that around 50% of people may not be getting enough. The major reason for that is we simply aren’t going outside as much. Longer working hours are a major cause so you should make an effort to get outside during the work day and consider walking instead of driving etc.

Have a read of this article for more tips on getting natural sunlight especially if you work in an office. Always remember though, you need to wear suncream to protect yourself from the negative side effects of sun exposure, even in the UK. Even if you use these tips to get outside more, you might still be lacking in Vitamin D so it’s best to take some supplements as well.

These supplements are all great for combating mental health issues, just remember that you should always consult your doctor before starting any new supplements.

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.

xx

 

If you are new to my blog, you might not know about my history with mental health. It’s not something I like to openly talk about, but it is something that I have mentioned on here in the past especially when it comes to wellness. Last year I wrote this post about my anxiety at the time, and although things have changed, for better and worse, no two days are the same.

Mental Health as a whole is still quite a taboo subject, and although more and more people are admitting to being a sufferer (celebrities included) there is still so much that can be done to encourage people to take the steps they need. World Mental Health Day is a good start to raise awareness for people suffering in silence to get the help they deserve.

Since finishing Uni, I’ve found that a lot of people in the world of work shy away from talking about Mental Health because its seen as a difficult topic to approach: I’ve had managers who really didn’t get it, team members who knew exactly what I was going through, colleagues who spoke openly to me about it and others that had no idea. All in all I’ve had a mixed bag of experiences.

To me, anxiety really is a funny one. It can creep up on you when you least expect it, or can be there day in and day out, which can be completely overwhelming and exhausting. Sometimes things make it better, and sometimes things make it worse. It can encompass you as a whole making you feel like you can’t escape, yet make you feel so empty inside.

Like I said, it’s odd.

I’ve found that during my adult life my anxiety has been very up and down, not for any particular reason, but I almost feel as though because I have so many distractions – my job, my blog, my friends, my family, my relationship etc – I shouldn’t have the time to feel anxious, yet I still do.

These last few months I have had a really bad time with anxiety attacks through what has happened in my personal life, and that has made me feel quite trapped in a vicious cycle of up and down emotions. Maybe if you met me now, you would never think I was an anxiety sufferer; perhaps thats a good thing? but it is something that I deal with on a daily basis. Sometimes it stops me from doing things; other times it gives me the kick I need to break out of my comfort zone… but it is always lurking there.

A lot of people I know aren’t aware of the fact that I suffer from mental health issues (unless you have been reading my blog for over a year) which can sometimes make me feel as though they don’t know the real me, the full package (but that’s probably me overthinking it). I know in my day to day life I can be full of energy and raring to go, but other times I just want to stay away from everyone, which is the side a lot of people probably aren’t aware of.

I’ve heard a lot of times that life is too short to feel anxious, and in a way, I do believe that’s true especially if it stops you from living your life to the fullest. I won’t lie and say that I live every day by that rule, but I know in my heart of hearts that there are people out there who are willing to help me and listen when I need them the most, pick me up when I’m down and I find real comfort in that. Some of my closest friends suffer from anxiety, and some don’t, yet I know I could turn to any one of them for support and they would never judge.

I don’t feel as though my life will ever be free of anxiety, and that’s something that I’ve come to terms with (I’m sure a lot of people would agree) but I’m a firm believer that you should never suffer alone – life is hard enough as it is!

One thing I will say is although is there is no magic cure, and I can’t click my fingers and make it go away, don’t ever think your problems are meaningless and don’t be afraid to open up.

If you’re looking for a healthy way to get more vitamins into your diet too, why not try MyJuicer for an easy way to make changes to your diet.


Where to find help & answers;

Anxiety UK
Mind
NHS