22 May / The ‘Work’ Thing

So would you believe, I have two job interviews coming up(?!). They’re both part-time, one in an admin/receptionist role and the other as a care assistant in a dementia/elderly home.

The idea of work is still absolutely terrifying, my heart is beating and my breath is short, as I’m writing this. (Here’s where a lot of my anxiety about work has come from.)

I have been offered a ‘work coach’ through the job centre as I’ve recently started claiming Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) and have an assessment with him on 31st May, this is to talk about what I think my needs are and the help that I want.

Obviously I’m really torn as this has all come at once, but I’ve a good feeling about the admin job in particular. That is a huge step in itself, because I do apply for jobs and wholeheartedly so, but if/when I get an interview I panic because it makes it that much more real. I panicked at first, but after a few days to think it over, I think I’m feeling better.

The place itself offers ‘chakra puncture’ for anxiety which is a good sign I guess?

The reason I’m so afraid of going back to work is because I’m scared of getting overwhelmed. I don’t adjust to new situations very well emotionally and often find my emotions ‘crash’ when I push myself too much, so I need a lot of down time to rest my mind. I really don’t want that to happen and then I just end up crying at work all the time and get too physically anxious to go to work again. (My physical symptoms of anxiety often include vomiting, numb limbs, shortness of breath and uncontrollable crying.)

I’m not sure how to help myself though. I am on a waiting list for Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) but God knows how long that will be before it starts.

I’ve really no idea how this is going to pan out because I find my moods and decision making very sporadic and I could change my mind about a lot of things at any given moment. But, we shall see how it goes – I’m trying to think positive!

If anybody has any advice on returning to work and handling overwhelming emotions, please drop me a message!

Note to self:

giphy (8)

Product Review: Aromatherapy with Stress No More & FitAir

As part of Mental Health Awareness Week Stress No More are offering 20% off all Aroma Diffusers with the code AROMA20 – don’t miss out. (Offer ends 14/05/17.)

I was lucky enough to receive a FitAir Eden Ultrasonic Aroma Diffuser with FitAir Aromatherapy Oils with Carved Wood Storage Box from the lovely Stress No More to try for myself – so, thank you very much!

IMG_7543

If you’ve read previous posts from my blog you may know that aromatherapy is something I rate highly with management of my anxiety and stress levels. After purchasing a diffuser starter kit last year, I fell in love. I could hardly wait to get into bed each night, put together a new blend of oils and relax.

After getting in touch with Stress No More, who have been very supportive of me, they recommended trying this set of oils and diffuser (which they use in their office!) and I was delighted at the opportunity. Anything to do with essential oils and you can count me in!

First impressions with these products; the diffuser is compact, simplistic and portable. Unlike a lot of diffusers, you are able to charge this one (providing up to 50 hours with each charge) and put it where you like. It actually fits in my handbag, which is great! I’ve always wanted to take my other diffuser away on holidays but it just takes up too much suitcase space!

The size takes nothing away from the effectiveness of the product itself, as rather than diffusing with water, you diffuse the oils alone. So, you literally screw a bottle inside the diffuser and you’re away. You can use a standard 10ml oil, but they also provide you with an empty bottle to make your own blends. 10/10 for convenience!

The technicality of the product is great. It comes with different intensities and you use these depending on the size of the room that you’re in. You can also set a timer for up to 1, 2 or 4 hours, so if you’re going to bed you don’t have to worry about turning it off or wasting any of your oils. If you enjoy convenience and are looking for a high quality product, I would 100% recommend this diffuser.

The oils themselves are 100% Pure and you can buy them individually as well as the set. As well as diffusing, you can use them for massage with a carrier oil or pop a few drops in your bath.

IMG_7545IMG_7548

In the box you receive the following 6 oils (as quoted on each bottle);

  • Energise & Revitalise; an energising mix of citrus and uplifting pure essential oils. Containing Lemon, Scotch Pine, Rosemary and Lime.
  • Strength & Harmony; combining clearing Eucalyptus, Rosemary, Pine, Peppermint and Tea Tree to banish Winter blues.
  • Sensual & Arousing; combining the juicy aroma of Sweet Oranges, sensuous Ylang Ylang, Patchouli and sweet floral Palma Rosa.
  • Focus & Concentration; to help keep you on top form and a great companion during exams or when working. Combining Rosemary, Basil, Peppermint and Pine.
  • Relax & Mindfulness; to leave you feeling relaxed. Containing relaxing Lavender & Marjoram, balancing Bergamot (FCF) and calming Petitgrain.
  • Invigorate & Inspire; to kick start your day. Containing uplifting Orange & Lemon oils, comforting Mandarin, stimulating Pine and reviving spearmint.

Both products are rated 5 Stars on the website and I can see why. They’re convenient, simple to use and great for aromatherapy beginners. If you don’t want to get caught up in which oil does what, and what oil blends best with another, this set of oils is definitely the way to go.

Overall, I’m very pleased with these products and they work brilliantly together. I enjoy being able to carry this around with me and use it when I wish!


Find out more about Essential Oils – #MentalMovement / How Essential Oils Could Improve Your Mental Health

Check out my product review of The Beurer TL60 Right Light for Stress No More – #MentalMovement / The Beurer TL60 Bright Light: How Light Therapy Changed My Mornings

 

 

Film Review: Disney Pixar’s Inside Out

Inside Out is a Disney Pixar movie based inside the mind of an 11 year old girl named Riley, rated 8.2/10 by IMDb.

The movie begins with an introduction of five emotions that are physical characters inside of Riley’s mind; Joy, Sadness, Fear, Anger and Disgust.

giphy (1)
They navigate Riley’s mind and reactions through a control panel in a space age looking ‘headquarters’. Memories are created that form in the shape of glass balls, colour coded by emotion. These balls are then fed through a big tube into Riley’s mind from headquarters.

giphy (2)We are then introduced to the ‘islands’ of Riley’s mind, these are created by ‘core memories’ which look similar to memories, but glow brightly. The islands build up Riley’s personality; Honesty Island, Hockey Island, Family Island, Friendship Island and Goofball Island.

The storyline itself surrounds Riley’s big move to a new city from Minnesota with her Parents and the emotional challenges this can cause a young girl to have. Whilst Joy seems to be the dominant emotion at the beginning, trying very hard to keep Riley happy, the trail of events invite the rest to the forefront of Riley’s mind. giphy (3)

After an accident happens with Joy and Sadness, they are both, along with the core memories, sucked through the tube that takes memories into Riley’s mind. This causes the islands to be ‘down’ and Riley’s reactions to be turbulent with just Anger, Fear and Disgust left at headquarters.

With no clear route back to headquarters for Joy & Sadness and challenging events happening in Riley’s life left, right and centre, the islands begin to fall and are forgotten.

Joy and Sadness traipse through Riley’s mind experiencing their own challenges, but eventually make it back to headquarters along with the help of Riley’s imaginary friend from her childhood, Bing Bong, who they find amongst her memories.

Joy and Sadness get back just as Riley is running away from home. And, instead of Joy taking control of things she lets Sadness take the reins for once, telling her “Riley needs you.”

Once Sadness takes hold of the controls, Riley returns home. Joy passes the core memories to Sadness who puts them back where they belong. With Sadness’s touch they turn blue, encouraging Riley to feel sadness for these memories and tell her parents that she misses home.

Sadness pulls Joy to the control panel and they press a button together whilst Riley hugs her parents. This creates a new core memory which is coloured both happy and sad, bringing back all the islands. With this new experience new islands form and they expand their control panel to allow all the emotions to take control at the same time.

giphy (5)

I found this ending to be very profound for a children’s’ movie, but it really made me think. Instead of living for one emotion at a time or trying to feel Joy 24/7, it encourages you to allow all of your emotions to be felt to have a healthy mind and reasonable reactions. This allowed Riley’s mind to expand and form more ‘islands’, building on her personality and wisdom. I thoroughly enjoyed this movie and the message it conveyed and I hope that children understand the moral of the story.

Twitter Self-Care Giveaway

Follow me on Twitter and RT the above Tweet to be in with the chance of winning over £60 worth of my favourite self care items including;

Ends 4th April!

X

The Willoughby Book Club / Subscription Box Review

“A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies. The man who never reads lives only one.” – George R.R. Martin

Reading is an absolutely fantastic way to escape your thoughts, distract your mind and discover new worlds. Which is why it’s my favourite thing to do when times are hard. What better way to take a break from life than by living someone else’s through your imagination?fullsizeoutput_877

I am a massive fan of subscription boxes as I love surprises, and when I discovered The Willoughby Book Club I was so excited and had to have get my hands on a sample! See, I love reading, but I can just never pick one book. Put me in Waterstones and it’ll take me a good half an hour at least to pick a book to take home. (My poor boyfriend.) So knowing that part will be done for me is just grand!

This subscription box works with your reading preferences and interests to handpick books that you’d like to read. So you can get a new, surprise book every month that’s tailored to you!

There are different packages including; Young Adult, Contemporary, Bespoke, Classic and more. The subscription itself comes in 3, 6 or 12 monthly subscriptions with varied prices.fullsizeoutput_878

“Reading gives us some place to go, when we have to stay where we are.” – Mason Cooley

The book arrives carefully packaged for you to unwrap (just like a present!) with a badge, sticker and bookmark as extra little gifts.  It also comes with a slip saying ‘This book belongs to…’. Nice touch WBC, I like that.

And if the whole idea wasn’t lovely enough, for every subscription sold they donate one new book to Book Aid International, which supports the vital education and literary development work that the charity performs in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Overall, I absolutely love the personalised feel, making you feel as though you’d been sent a real gift. If you’re an avid reader looking to broaden your bookshelf, I would definitely recommend getting a subscription!

giphy (6).gif

Your Sweet Anxiety / I Have A Voice / Submission #6

I Have A Voice

It couldn’t have chosen to present itself at a worse time. But is there a good time, really? It was twelve years ago; I was rehearsing for a live show. That evening, eight million people would hear me sing. And that’s exactly when I first heard it – as tiny as a hiccup, but as big as a mountain in my mind. I went to sing a note and something didn’t work, there was a kind of constriction. I got through the show, of course, without much nervousness for the television audience, considering, but something had inexplicably changed in me.

From that point it spiralled. Further and further it dragged me until I was a nervous wreck before I had to sing. I tried to ignore it, but it didn’t go away. It got worse and worse – sounds just didn’t come out, my body ached from the effort of trying to get my voice the way it used to be.

Six years on from that first point of recognition, I couldn’t speak. I had a voice, but couldn’t speak. For two weeks I went to make sounds and I was strangled, muted and terrified. It came back eventually, in its own way and some days I sound almost normal to the unsuspecting ear.

Two years ago I was finally diagnosed with an anxiety condition – hyperventilation syndrome, or a breathing pattern disorder. More simply, I suffer with anxiety and depression. This has presented itself more in the last few years and I can very clearly see I have suffered since being a teenager, bullied throughout my entire school life.

So where does that leave me now?  

It leaves me with hope. Hope that somewhere, underneath, I have a voice. Right now I can make sounds that are like words, sometimes they come out well and sometimes they don’t. They are the words I say to quickly end a conversation, or the only words I can struggle to get out. The things I often really want to say are held inside me like prisoners, staring through the bars, longing to be on the other side. I know exactly what I want to say I just can’t get the words out.

And I can sing. I can sing without the great effort it now requires. Somewhere underneath it all I don’t become paralysed in my stomach, chest and throat when I sing, and I can get through more than a couple of lines of a song. I can do the thing I used to love doing more than anything. The thing I was good at, the thing that is a natural part of my being.

I’m lucky; I love my life, my beautiful family and my work. For whatever reason we sometimes have to learn to take a different path for an undeterminable length of time. I don’t believe in regrets – life is too short for that. But I do believe in hope.

Sarah Wilkinson, 31


Sarah blogs about alternative education, check out her work on the links below!

https://sarahmwilkinson.wordpress.com/
https://sarahmichellewilkinson.contently.com/ 


If you’d like to submit a piece to Your Sweet Anxiety check the details out here!

#MentalMovement / Neal’s Yard Remedies: Creating a Beauty Routine for Self Care

When I’m having a depressive episode, the first thing that goes down the drain with me is my hygiene and self-care. Suddenly, brushing my teeth is the equivalent to climbing Mount Everest. Twice. And, showering? Not in a million years.

I have found a huge way of combatting that and pushing through the wall, is by creating a beauty/self-care routine that makes me feel good and that I promise myself to follow.

Even when getting up and out of bed is last on the list of things I want to do; I push myself to get up and begin this self-care routine. By doing so I jump start my self-esteem and positivity and set myself up for a good day.

I wouldn’t be without my beauty products which sculpt my self-care routines leaving me feeling great, inside and out!


Check out my go-to beauty products and the full post here!

X

Your Sweet Anxiety / ‘I just wish it didn’t hold me hostage.’ / Submission #5

You would think that working in a massage clinic, I would be anxiety free. I am much the opposite. My anxiety is constantly at my throat. I don’t exactly know how it started, or really when it got this far.

For me anxiety is a layered issue. A culmination of all the bad things that have happened in my life, that still haunt me. My home burning down. My parent’s divorce. My depression, and my brother’s. Both of our attempts at suicide. How all the people I trusted most turned against me at a vulnerable age. The car accident. My dad’s heart attacks. The threat that I may never have biological children because of my Endometriosis diagnosis. The list is longer still, and it fills my mind. It grips my throat, holding hostage the air I need.

I have always felt anxious, but the panic attacks didn’t start until I hit my late teens and early twenties. Strangely though, even when I meet someone else who suffers them, I’m not believed. Someone I was talking to would tell me of their anxiety and panic attacks, but when I told them I suffered the same they would ask me to describe my attacks to them. Their tone would be that of someone who thought I was mocking them, only changing it when I would tell them of my fear. All the while, forcing me to relive the sensations I would describe to them.

It’s limiting to me, as it keeps me from being able to drive. I’m 24 and don’t have a license because I have blacked out from a panic attack before while driving, and I don’t want to put others at risk. In his own way, my fiancé has tried to help, by trying to slowly expose me to driving again. That stopped when I lost my ability to see during a panic attack and he was in the passenger seat. He sat on the other side of the door when I ran to the bathroom hyperventilating afterwards, waiting for me. The look on his face, when I finally came out, was the same as everyone else who didn’t believe me. Guilt, that they should have believed me at first rather than forcing me to prove it to them.

I try not to let it keep me from doing normal things, like having a job, but even there I feel it’s grips. I often complain about how I can’t breathe deeply, and the tell of my speaking faster than the average Southern Girl shows up. Everyone says “Take a deep breath. You’ll be fine,” but they don’t understand telling me that does nothing.

The only calm I feel is when I’m reading, or writing. No real pressure, no need to force myself to fight it. It’s just forgotten for a little while. My mind isn’t focused on me. It’s focus on the characters, their plot and plight. Instead of my own.

I just wish it didn’t hold me hostage.

Jessica Loftus


cropped-small-town-girl-logo3

Jessica, 24, writes her own blog surrounding mental health and wellbeing. Check out The Road of a Small Town Girl!

Also check her out on Facebook & Instagram!

X

 

#MentalMovement / The Happiness Planner (And Why You Need One!)

happiness-1170x780

It’s no secret that my love for journaling, pretty notebooks and planning is second to none. I spend half my days scribbling something totally random down in any one of my 3,000 notebooks (seriously, I have a notebook dedicated to the populations of countries…) So, when I stumbled across The Happiness Planner I just had to have one!

When I received my parcel with the planner in I was so excited to open it. The planner is perfectly packaged in a box which is coloured corresponding to the planner. And as well as the planner itself, the box provides you with a pen, clips, and cute posters to reflect and plan the year ahead – just what I needed!

Happiness Tools

As explained by ‘The Happiness Planner’

Throughout the Planner you will be guided to create Your Happiness Roadmap and integrate that into your daily life. You will be prompted to:

  • Discover yourself
  • Identify your strengths and weaknesses
  • Integrate more of what makes you happy into your daily life
  • Plan to make changes to the things that make you unhappy
  • Set goals that you want to achieve and write down action plans
  • Start each day with an inspirational quot and an exciting thought
  • Pinpoint your focus for each month and each day
  • Rate yourself on your energy level and happiness level
  • Reflect on your day and see things from the positive side
  • Reflect on your month and set goals for improvement
  • Reflect on 2017

Read my full review here.

#MentalMovement / The Beurer TL60 Bright Light: How Light Therapy Changed My Mornings

bligh2-copy-1170x849

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a type of disorder that occurs seasonally. People suffer particularly in the Autumn & Winter, when the days are shorter and there is less daylight.

Symptoms of this disorder can include;

  • Low mood
  • Lack of motivation
  • Feelings of despair, guilt and worthlessness
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Loss of libido
  • Insomnia
  • Tiredness or feeling lethargic (lacking in energy)
  • Sleeping for longer periods and struggling to rise in the mornings
  • Craving carbs and gaining weight

Most people are affected by the change in seasons and experience improved moods when the sun is shining and the daytime is longer. But, those with SAD (1 in 20!), experience far more severe symptoms.

One recommended way of treating Seasonal Affective Disorder is with light therapy. This has been medically proven to improve symptoms of SAD within a week of exposure. The Doctor may also recommend it to you.

Whilst I don’t struggle specifically with SAD, I do struggle with the ‘winter blues’. This time of year is always a lot tougher for me, as my anxiety and depression really peaks. So – this year whilst struggling with my mental health, I decided to try light therapy.

Keep reading here.