My Top 5: Ways of Coping with the Bad Days

Now, a lot of people have a wonderful variety of coping strategies with the days that are just that little bit harder to get through. When I did some research for my degree- there’s a lot of different healthy ways we find that suits us due to our personality traits and personal preferences. For example, folk who are naturally creative love to use art in different mediums to feel better and in others they use music, physical exercise or experiencing the outdoors. Screen Shot 2016-05-17 at 14.31.50

As long as your coping strategy is not harmful to you or others, and you can feel better by exploring your coping strategies in a safe and healthy way- then there is no wrong way of doing it. You’re doing what is best for you my lovely!  Mind have a wonderful section on their site about self-care which I extremely recommend on checking out.

Here are my personal Top 5 that I feel help me the most, and perhaps they can help you too! Be gentle with yourself ❤

  1. Ecotherapy – otherwise known as the great green outdoors. Spending time away from distractions, the city life or just by getting out of the house into a natural environment can be so helpful. It is quite a mindful experience, and for me it clears my head. I’m very thankful to live in Yorkshire, and living right next to the woods. Find your place and go there as often as you can. Be one with nature and enjoy it.
  2. Reading – now this doesn’t have to be books on self-help or mindfulness, but a genre or type of book you really enjoy. Love a bit of adventure? Get your Tolkien game on! Like a bit of a classic? Flick through a good Jane Austen! Whatever floats your boat, give it a read. But I will say, be gentle with yourself. You’re doing this for you, remember! Some books with graphic content may be triggering to your wellbeing. My favourite book for the past year has been ‘Just Kids’ by Patti Smith. As a naturally creative person, and I feel I’m having a block/ bad day- I read her book and her prose.
  3. Playing an instrument – I know some folk don’t have musical instruments, but this is one of my personal favourites. I was fortunate enough to be given a classical guitar by my Mum’s friends years and yeaaarrss ago that I still have. You somehow get lost in it, and its just the combination of making sound and feeling the movements. If you don’t have access to anything like that, my next coping strategy is…
  4. Listening to music – Boy can music change your soul. Whatever clicks with you and makes you feel good give it a listen. Pop your headphones on, lay back and shut off the world. You can listen to your favourites/most played or go for super funny songs like ‘I’ve Got A Pocket Full of Sunshine’ by Natasha Bedingfield or the Flashdance Soundtrack (soooooo groovy)
  5. Art- This encompasses everything to scribbles, writing, doodles and full blown commissions for me. It gets me in a nice groove that I can focus on. Controlling the way the pencil moves, or shading in something can be a very mindful experience. Allowing yourself to get lost in it, and only think of what you are creating really helps me get in a good headspace. Also, I write a hell of a lot  when I feel down. I’ve kept a diary for years that I always tend to look back on. Sometimes I don’t know how I feel, so I write whatever is going on in my lil brain down. It’s very cathartic, even if its just in bullet points of things that are bothering me. It also allows me to check in with myself and see what’s affecting me, or what I could highlight as something that needs to change.

 

I hope my Top 5 may help, or perhaps gently give you the smallest ideas of ways to cope. From knitting to running or reading and playing monopoly, there’s so many healthy ways of coping with the bad days.

You are not alone. You are here, and you are enough.

It’s Mental Health Awareness Week!

Hi there folks. Hope you are all doing well! Here in the UK, it’s mental health awareness week. Already on the news bright and early this morning there were speakers and wonderful content on mental health- and a highlight of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge starting the ‘Heads Together‘ campaign aiming to end the stigma surrounding mental health. mhaw-tile-relationships

It’s just as important as physical health, and it affects each and every one of us. In my opinion, I feel we’re making progress. Maybe that’s because I’m actively doing things surrounding wellbeing and mental health, but a lot of organisations, non profits, charities, as well as some amazing individuals are starting to speak up and fight for better MH education in schools, as well as fund their mission to break the stigma and provide support. It’s truly amazing to see, and that means we are reaching more people of all ages about taking care of ourselves and each other.

Know that you are not alone, my sweet. We as people are always going to have good and bad days. We’re not happy all of the time and for some of us, that can be a challenging thought. We always think people have it better off, but in fact its just not the case. We’ve all got something that gets us down, and sometimes we don’t know why we feel so upset.

Check out the helplines on my site and take a peep at what they’re up to this week for Mental Health Awareness. I’ll be doing more posts for MHA week about what I find good for ways of coping with the bad days, plus more about how our wellbeing affects us in such diverse ways.

Be gentle with yourself, and as always – keep real! ❤ ❤

p.s if you’d like to have a chat in a confidential manner, do not hesitate to email me at kimmykeepreal@gmail.com

Emma’s Story: Navy to Never Giving Up

Emma’s Story: Navy to Never Giving Up

Hey folks! I had the pleasure of interviewing the very inspirational lady Emma Macdonald, who is embarking on a new journey after her time in the Navy. Through her personal struggles, she is aiming to set up her own coaching business called ‘Seize the Day Performance’ working with individuals who struggle with self-esteem and mental health issues. A story of true determination, resilience and over coming personal experiences ❤

Hey Emma, please tell me a little bit about yourself!

Allow me to introduce myself… My name is Emma MacDonald. I grew up in small village outside of the city called Perth (East coast of Scotland). School was a little bit of a challenging time in my life, not really knowing who I was, or what I wanted to do with my life. I also still carry a belief around that I wouldn’t amount to anything due to not going to university, Crazy right?? I also found myself growing up really fast, being introduced to drinking & drugs at very early age (15). I worked in retail for the majority of my time selling phones for o2, up till I joined the Navy at age 22.

What inspired you to go into the Royal Navy?

My inspiration for joining the navy was that I had enough of living in the same town I grew up in, doing the same un-fulfilling job, heavy partying. I was just wasting my life… So on the 3rd March 2010, I joined HMS Raleigh to start my training for the navy. From here, I joined a ship in 2011, which was a type 23 frigate called HMS St Albans. We were tasked to do a 6 month deployment of the gulf, patrolling areas where drug trafficking was rife, at threats of piracy to container ships was also a threat.

What were your highlights of your career?

I have managed to visit some incredible places with my time on board St Albans. Dubai, Greece, Lisbon, Malta, Iceland, Hamburg, the list goes on…

Tell me about your experiences concerning mental health.

In late 2012, after being attached to St Albans for nearly two years, I was playing football when I incurred an injury to my right knee, rupturing ligaments and tendons.  This was severe injury, so I was then taken off my ship and landed shore side. While I sought medical treatment & rehab, during this time I have to say I had bit of a breakdown. Many things came to my head, which had been building for quite some time. I became very withdrawn, sleeping a lot, drank a lot, thoughts of killing myself. I knew this was only going to get worse unless I sought out help.

I was referred to the Defence Centre of Mental Health. This is where I underwent treatment for my then diagnosed depression. For around 6 months, it only involved talking therapy, which I kept to myself.  As you know yourself, the stigma involved in mental health, is not something I wished to talk about with others back then. During this time, I resisted going on medication. After 6 months of some mild improvement, I was told that medication alongside therapy is the best chance of my recovering from my depression.

For many years during this time, I must admit I was going to pursue a career in the navy as a Physical training instructor.  I came up against massive amounts of resistance, and lots of hurdles I had to jump through. This went on for a few years, all with still being injured due to my knee and mental health. I eventually had surgery in March 2014 to repair my damaged ACL (Anterior Cruciate Ligament).

With this added stress and uncertainty regarding my future, all the added worry of gaining weight while recovering (not being able to exercise fully) I developed what you might call an eating disorder…

As someone who was seen to be fit and healthy on the outside, this was a very hard thing for me to get on board with. I fought the system hard believing that there was nothing wrong with me, it was just who I was…

After some time now, I have come to realise that some of my behaviours are not normal, then what’s normal? Who wants to be normal!!! As my current condition does not fit with in military life, I will be discharged in June 2016. If I am going to be completely honest, this is something that my psychologist and I have agreed on. I have had the most incredible life changing experience while being in the navy, I just feel it is time for me to know move on, and pursue my passion…

Tell me about your passion!

I am in process of setting up my own coaching & mentoring business called  ‘Seize the Day Performance’.  The name comes from my thought process of being in tune with the here and now. This is because all we really have is this moment. If you can do the best you can today then tomorrow will be even better, so seizing today, tomorrow etc.  It’s all about making this day count, however small that little triumph is!

My coaching business is aimed at people who have or are still suffering with mental health issues. Empowering others, to then empower themselves through sound nutrition, movement and mind-set… These three key elements have helped me get where I am today, stronger in body and mind. I truly believe that if these three things are not practiced, you will have a very slim chance of recovering from mental health issues…

Do you have any advice or guidance for people struggling with these issues?

My advice to others would be…

I have been on such a journey, I have been in some very dark places, so I know what it feels like to feel you have no one or nothing to live for. As I gradually introduced these practises in to my life, things began to change.  I didn’t bombard myself with trying to juggle as many habits as I could. I slowly implemented small sustainable habits, which have now led to me feeling like the person I am today. Things like reading for 15 minutes a day (mindset books), implementing protein & vegetables in to one meal at a time until I was eating protein/vegetables with every meal.

Also if, you can afford the investment hiring a coach or mentor to hold you accountable, to give you guidance a help hand, I also highly recommend this investment. This is something I have been undergoing for nearly two years now, being coached & mentored by Wildepreformance.. I could go on and on!

The key is small changes, Small daily changes = big results!

What are your aims after your time in the Navy?

My aim within the next 5 years, is to help as many people as I can, get unstuck from destructive behaviours, for them to see that life doesn’t have to suck. There are ways and means together, and we can aid you back to becoming the awesome self you once were.

 

Check out what Emma’s up to on her social media platforms (Check out here Instagram account)! She’s going to be some amazing and inspiring work, and I wish her all the best for the year! Go Emma!

 

Josh’s Story: The Tartan Explorer

Hi there folks! I wanted to share a story with you, as I’ve been following Josh’s journey on Social Media for quite some time. He is otherwise known as ‘The Tartan Explorer‘ who is based in Scotland (note the tartan!). After a personal experience of suffering with depression, and surviving a suicide attempt last year, he is aiming to spread the word of mental health to the world. Which is absolutely incredible. His aim is to travel to a staggering 80 countries promoting mental health awareness, setting himself challenges at each destination.16648f_1c1b208779fe431d9cb1167ce490f079

‘Over the years we’ve all lost friends or family through suicide, because there’s so much stigma around mental health and people are scared to ask for help or support. So I decided I wanted to go public with my story, to help other people who are suffering and encourage people to start talking about mental health. Not everyone will be as lucky as I was and it’s time we done something about it.’

Here’s his story, and the challenge he has set himself. Please do take a look, he is such an inspiration- and a real strong advocate for mental health.

Also, you can see his video for his challenge here, which has over 100,000 combined views!!

You can also follow him here on Twitter, Facebook and Youtube.

Good luck Josh, on such a wonderful journey – thank you for letting me share your story on my blog! ❤

Mental Health Attitudes Are Improving!

Slowly but surely attitudes are changing for the better. Time to Change launched it’s findings from the National Attitudes to Mental Illness survey. The survey shows that people are becoming more understanding of people with mental health issues. Nine inTTC RGB ten people (91%) agreed that we need to have a more tolerant attitude towards people with mental health problems in society, and 78% agreed that people with mental health problems have for too long been the subject of ridicule.

This is absolutely fantastic, a step forward in mental health! However, there is room for improvement, especially in the workplace concerning the stigma and discrimination of employees. Although 40% of people said they would be comfortable talking to their employer about their mental health problems, nearly half (48%) said they would feel uncomfortable.

Even though there is still a long way to go, 2.5 million people’s attitudes have changed. Change is happening!