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The Mindset VITALS to ensure good mental health

Mindset Matters

Our mental and physical health are intertwined – how we’re feeling can have a direct result on our physical wellbeing and vice versa. The World Health Organisation (WHO) defines health as: ‘… a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.’ Mental health is clearly an integral part of this definition. Mental health is more than the absence of mental illness - it is vital to us all as individuals, families and societies. The WHO describes mental health as: ‘… a state of well-being in which the individual realises his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to his or her community.’ In this positive sense, mental health is the foundation for wellbeing.

If we’re feeling stressed, anxious or sad, this can manifest itself in a number of ailments such as high...

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With this new normal, keep a handle on your mindset – make it work for you.

Getting back out there

I’ve just popped to the shops to get some gifts for Father’s Day. I ordered my husband’s gifts some time ago – after consultation with my children otherwise I’d have been in big trouble for buying without their input – however, the presents will not arrive in time. Most frustrating when I felt quite smug that I’d ordered in advance. What I had not factored in was COVID-19 and the delay in deliveries this is causing. So, I needed back-up bits and bobs. My husband wouldn’t have worried if his pressies were delayed but our girls would be most upset. I decided I’d put a hamper together – a smorgasbord of his favourite snacks and beverages. In a basket. With raffia and cellophane wrapping. That means about three different shops. This back-up idea was taking more time than the main event present!

I haven’t been to a shop since the weekend before Lockdown so, armed with a mask my Mum has made me, off I...

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My advice for a younger self

Older and wiser per chance…

In 1997, Mary Schmich, a columnist for the Chicago Tribune wrote a hypothetical commencement speech for a graduation. The essay, entitled: Advice, like youth, probably just wasted on the young which later became the basis for the Baz Luhrmann Everybody’s Free (To Wear Sunscreen) hit in 1999, aimed to dispense advice to the young, to help them to be happy and to not worry about what they might see as life’s irritants. I get goosebumps every time I hear the song and I have the poster of those words on my cloakroom wall – for all to ponder in their quiet moments…

The older we get, the more nostalgic we can sometimes be about our past, perhaps how we might have done things differently, if only we knew what that different thing was back then – 20/20 vision and all that... There’s no room for regret though – that’s a waste of time because you can’t turn back the clock. It’s about the wisdom you...

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Why it’s good to find the gift in every situation

Rip it up and start again

Weddings, milestone Birthday celebrations, children’s Birthday parties, introducing your precious newborn, holidays, retirement plans, Proms, GCSE and A Level exams, SATs, Year 6 leaver celebrations, business plans, house moves and all manner of things have either taken place in a diluted form of what was intended, or not taken place at all this year – shelved for another day, a date as yet unknown.

There are great expectations for events such as these, much planning and excitement (maybe not in the case of the exams, but certainly when they’ve finished!), so it’s understandable that when they don’t take place, there is disappointment and frustration.

However, it is crucial to know that the situation inherently cannot cause you to feel these emotions. If it could, we would all feel exactly the same, to the same degree about everything. But we don’t. Some people shrug it off and know it’s down to circumstances beyond...

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Why it’s important to aim, rather than tame those ‘negative’ emotions

Focusing the energy

This week, the funeral of a friend took place. Due to this wretched COVID-19 situation, I couldn’t actually attend but instead played a part with friends and family, by lining the route of the final journey my friend took. Understandably, the day was full of heightened emotions.

Emotions such as sadness, frustration, anger and disappointment are often described as ‘negative’ but that shouldn’t detract from the fact that they are valid emotions and need to be felt. People often say it isn’t healthy to feel those emotions and children are told not to be so angry and ‘don’t take your mood out on me’ but would we tell them to hide away their excitement, joy and happiness? Of course not, we positively encourage them to feel those emotions; in fact, we’ll do all we can to ensure they have those feelings. But the negative ones, not so much. We perhaps, maybe with good intentions, try to discourage them – tell...

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Why we need to be the adulty adult right now and lead the way

All change

These are testing times. And the ramifications reach far and wide across every facet of our lives.

It’s challenging enough for adults to get their heads around what’s going on but how on earth are children and young people supposed to figure this all out in their heads – to try to make sense of it all?

They can’t see their friends (OK, with the easing of Lockdown, maybe you’re allowing them to see one friend at a time but how weird for them that they must remain two metres apart and depending on their age, can you trust them to do that?!), their education as they know it has come to a halt and a whole new way of learning has been introduced. They may have missed Prom, If they are GCSE or A Level students, maybe they worry about what will come of their grades. They cannot see extended family. All their clubs and activities have ceased to run and the simple pleasure of going to the park is no longer allowed.

If they are older, it’s...

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Why we find some people SO annoying!

To do or not to do…

With Lockdown easing there comes a change in behaviour. After seven weeks, people were bound to begin to feel a bit cooped up and with restrictions on where they could and couldn’t go having been so (understandably) strict, once those guidelines were altered (and some say lacking in clarification), is it any wonder that people were heading to beauty spots and beaches in their droves?

We had a dilemma in my house. My father-in-law lives on the coast, about an hour from us. He lives alone and has been going stir crazy during Lockdown. He’s a social fellow so has found the isolation very challenging. So, with the changing guidelines, we could go and see him. But could we? One person from one house could see another person from another house. So that meant we couldn’t all go and see him. Right? And as he lives on the coast, that’d be five of us trollying off to a coastal town and news articles had said tourism chiefs were urging...

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Why we need to tell our brain to step up

Warm and cosy in our comfort zone

I’m currently studying for a qualification. There are seven assignments in total to write and I’m one down. Six to go. Good math eh? (Unsurprisingly, it is not a maths-related qualification…). 

Completing the first assignment took blood, sweat and tears. I haven’t written an assignment for ahem, almost quarter of a decade, so this was way out of my comfort zone. So, passing the first one meant cartwheels and yee-hahs – well, almost. Since then though, it feels like my subconscious brain has been like: “Well done Kirsty, you’ve proved to yourself you can write and pass an assignment. You’ve been there, done that and got the t-shirt. So, shall we move on now?” And I haven’t done any further work towards a single assignment. Nothing. Nada. This is not good. 

For most people – bar the adventurous few – their brain doesn’t like change, nor being challenged – it...

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Always angry with the right person, for the right reason at the right time? That’s the challenge. So, what you gonna do about it?

Emotional vortex

A while ago, I posted a blog about how without realising it, we can misdirect our bad mood towards someone else. Now more than ever, I feel it might be helpful to re-visit this topic because I don’t know about you, but emotions in my house can run high at times during these strange strange times and that’s when it’s important to figure out what's at the root of it (obviously COVID-19 is the overarching issue but what is it specifically).

Sometimes, the person on the receiving end of our ire may not be completely innocent in the situation – maybe they know exactly how to press our buttons but quite possibly, their words or actions were what tipped us over the edge and all our wrath about something completely different, was aimed at them.

The situation we're in right now is surely a breeding ground for that kind of scenario to take place. There may be feelings of anxiety, frustration and disappointment and someone in the house does one little...

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How we can turnaround that Groundhog Day feeling…

Punxsutawney Phil’s shadow

Here we go again… The alarm goes off and it’s the start of another day, except it feels like the same day, over and over again. A scene from the film Groundhog Day, or our lives right now during  COVID-19?

I recently watched Groundhog Day with my family and my interpretation of the film’s message is that it’s not what you think about that matters, it’s the way you think about what you think about – sounds very familiar to me….! The main character, self-centered TV weatherman Phil Conner, gets stuck in Groundhog Day and it seems interminable with no way out. A bit like the feeling many have right now…

Desperately seeking something

The way we feel on any given day, at any given moment is a direct result of how we interpret the incoming data – i.e. people, events and situations; we become aware of something, we process it, too often with unconscious thoughts and the direct result is our...

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