Mental Health: New Years’ Resolutions

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It’s that time of year again. Tinsel and fairy lights adorn houses and trees, Christmas songs blare from the radio, mulled wine is served and not to mention advent calendars and nativity plays. This time of year is a time to be with family and friends, whatever faith you are.

This can mean that the Christmas period can be a challenging time for those suffering from mental ill health, due to isolation and loneliness or the overtly social time frame.

If you are feeling like this, the best thing to do is to either talk to someone you trust, phone a helpline or charity if you need, speak to a psychotherapist or use other coping mechanisms. These include journalling, mindfulness, deep breathing or relaxation CD’s.  Whichever works for you, make sure you don’t bottle things up.

Being that it is coming to the end of the year and looking ahead to 2018, I thought I would share some new years resolutions for positive mental health that you can implement in your life.

1) I will invest in self-care this year.

Self-care means I will actually take time out of my day to check in with myself and decide what I need. This isn’t selfish, it is vital to survival of the bleak winter period in particular.

Each day, I will invest in self care, whether its running a warm bubble bath and soaking for half an hour, journaling out my negative feelings and replacing them with positive ones, colouring for relaxation or just getting some much needed down time in front of the TV in my PJs. I will make sure I invest every day in self-care activities.

2) I will make sure I go outside more.

In the winter, I am definitely more prone to curling up like a doormouse and hibernating inside, in the comfort of my warm home, chatting to friends on the phone and computer. I am also a sucker for my blanket and a warm mug of hot chocolate.

While this is good some of the time, I know that I need to push myself out more into the cold and bright mornings.  So, my resolution is to make sure I go out and get enough light and Vitamin D to boost my mood and health and enough exercise to keep my mind and heart healthy.

3) I will make sure to be present.

A friend of mine gave me this tip when she said –‘Stay in the Now and Enjoy the Moment’

I definitely need to do this more and not worry myself too much.  Staying present means that the only moment is now – try and focus on something positive in the present and not worry too far ahead.

4) I will try not to worry what others think and not beat myself up.

Easier said than done, this resolution had come about due to having people-pleasing tendencies.  I hate upsetting people.  This means that I will often overthink or worry about others and what they think.  This year I want to spend less time fretting and not beat myself up over small things that make a mountain from a molehill!

5) I will have a more positive mind-set.

I will not be ashamed of how I am feeling and feel bad because of it.  I will be more accepting of my feelings and needs.  I will know that even if I am at rock bottom, ‘This too shall pass’ and I will find a way to get through adversity and be positive.  I will actively think positive thoughts and push myself to achieve my goals.

If you are suffering from depression, anxiety or any other mental illness please reach out for help.  Contact The Brighton Wellness Centre.  Phone sessions, online (Skype) sessions and face-to-face sessions are available.

Looking forward to a happier, healthier 2018 and wishing you a Merry Christmas and Happy Chanukah!

 

Let’s talk about sex: Sex in the 20th Century and why Brits won’t talk about it.

Think about the first time you ever had sex. Was it a good experience? Was it an awkward experience? Was it a very ‘brief” experience?

I have heard many stories recently about people’s ‘first’ time whether they are stories about the first time they masturbated, the first time they had an orgasm, the first time they had sex with someone and so on.

So many thoughts were flying around in my mind about sex, orgasms and connecting with people. We are an open generation when it comes to sex, how we label ourselves as well as not being ashamed to what we currently get up to.  People call themselves gender fluid, gay, straight, bi, trans…  Whatever terminology people use to explain how they like sex- it’s been defined and out there. And, that is so good for people. We live in a generation where we don’t have to feel judged for the things we get up to under the sheets.

But with all of this non-judgement why do we find ourselves feeling unsatisfied in our relationships? We are allowed to communicate openly to our partners, but yet we fall short of being satisfied between the sheets. We find it difficult to open up and be vulnerable when we love and make love.

Do our egos get in the way when it comes to sex and relationships? Do our insecurities damper the love connection? What is it about men and women that just don’t connect? Or do we connect… but we put too much pressure on things that we don’t have or things that are not that important. What is it about sex, that when you ‘do it’ with someone it changes everything? Does social media get in the way of communication? Does porn ruin everything for us ‘regular’ girls? Does porn ruin everything for the ‘average’ kind of man? These are just a few of the questions that crossed my mind when reflecting about sex in the 20th Century.

I think having sex with someone breaks down a barrier or wall. You become vulnerable. I mean please… you are having sex with someone and you make ‘that face’ you know… that face that is totally embarrassing! I mean having sex is quite a private, intimate and special thing for many. Not many people talk about sex and the do’s and don’ts.

I could remember the first time I moved to England and brought up the topic sex after having one too many white wines. I could remember my friend turning to me and saying ‘us Brits do not talk about sex, Jessica!’ It just was not the ‘in’ thing to do.

I didn’t understand why everyone thought talking about sex was so embarrassing and a faux pas. I mean I actually was very perplexed about this notion. And, secondly I thought… I am not going to make it in this country especially if people are so uptight and keep their thoughts to themselves. But was it like anything else that caused embarrassment such as uneasy feelings, negative feeling and often the truth that the Brits like to sweep under the rug. After all, that is where that saying ‘Keep Calm and Carry On’ comes from.. a post World War II coping mechanism that created a generation of passive aggressive culture that after a few pints start snogging each other excessively.

What is it about certain cultures and sex? Why do they make it so dirty? Why can’t people talk about it? How are we going to make it better if we can’t discuss it? I mean NOT ALL WOMEN ARE THE SAME! Just as NOT ALL MEN ARE THE SAME!  When doing the do!

I have read several articles on ‘how to’s’ and I am thinking to myself… actually.. that’s not true, you need to do it like this. So, there is a lot of information out there on sex and intimacy but everyone is different and there is no secret recipe. This is why talking about sex and communicating is so important.

What are your thoughts on the topic? Do you think people do talk about it sex in England? Are Brits too embarrassed to talk about sex? Would love to hear from you!

 

If you would like to talk about sex, marriage, divorce, orgasms or lack of please get in touch! http://www.brightonwellnesscentre.co.uk
SKYPE: JESSVALENTINE
@getwellbrighton

Beating Seasonal Affective Disorder: Setting Small Goals to Relieve Winter Blues

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It’s January. You may be feeling bloated or sluggish after the Christmas holiday period, the days are still getting dark early, it’s cold and frosty and so you feel completely demotivated. The glow of the holidays has gone leaving us still with several months until Spring. It is natural to feel low, unmotivated and a bit flat at this time of year.

So what can you do?

It’s always good at this time of year – a new year, a new start to put those resolutions into action, in a small way. It is best to break down goals into smaller ones, especially if you are feeling low.

At the start of each new week, it is good to think about what you would like to achieve, however insignificant it may seem to you. This could range from a small goal such as ‘Get out of bed an hour earlier each day’, ‘Do my laundry instead of letting it build up’ to wider health, career and relationship goals. Instead of making a goal vague such as ‘Exercise more’, it is best to set specific, achievable goals such as ‘Exercise for 1 hour this morning’. Specific goals tend to get better results.

I find that it is best to write down my goals in a notebook and to make them achievable for myself. Tick lists can be useful too, but the aim is not to overload yourself with how much you want to do, but to take each goal carefully and in its own time. Give yourself a day or time scale to do it in and don’t beat yourself up if you can’t achieve it, just make the goal more realistic and achievable next time.

Procrastination is my particular nemesis, as I know it is for so many people. However, if it becomes a problem you must ask yourself what is it about that particular goal that you don’t want to do. For example, if you fear something or struggle with motivation, try to reflect on its benefits and why you set that goal in the first place or what you can do to reach your goal.

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As always, the goal must be achievable. Achieving goals brings a great sense of satisfaction and boosts self-esteem. You can either make the goals on your own or with a therapist, life coach or family member.

It is important if you are suffering from depression not to beat yourself up if you aren’t doing as much as you would normally. Depression brings a whole host of symptoms including demotivation and despondency, however there are many things that can help you feel better.

If you are really struggling please see your doctor (GP), therapist or psychiatrist.

At Brighton Wellness Centre, Jessica Valentine helps people struggling with many health issues to feel better. Jessica runs therapy sessions to boost wellness, recovery and self-esteem. Contact Jessica here