New Year's Resolutions

I decided to have a look at what the most popular New Year's resolutions were in the UK, and make a post with a few tips and tricks to help you guys on the right track with each!

Loose weight, healthy eating and more exercise

These three resolutions combined made up 50%!! That's a crazy percentage, and all three things go hand in hand in having a healthier lifestyle. 

To start off I have made this Pinterest board full of home workouts, yoga poses, as well as health and fitness tips. It might also be worth investing in a health tracker such a Fitbit (especially in the January sales with any Christmas money you might have got!), which also monitors your sleeping as well as tracking your activity and weight. I'd also advice in getting the Nike+ Training app available, with pre planned fitness routines, and a tracker for when you go running.

This time of year there are also plenty of gym membership discounts, but ALWAYS read the terms and conditions, and choose a plan where you pay monthly and can opt out any time, unless you know that you will commit to going for the whole year. I've always found it cheaper to go to local, non-chain gyms, which can be annoying if you travel around the country a lot, but perfect if you tend to spend most of your time in one area.

If gyms aren't your thing, there are plenty of home workout dvd's (my favourite is the Ministry of Sound Chillates) or there are so many amazing YouTube channels dedicated to fitness, such as Carly Rowena and Blogilates. If home workouts aren't your thing either, and regular run of the mill sports like football or netball aren't your thing either, it might be worth looking at trying a more obscure fun sport, like roller derby, laughter yoga, aerial yoga, hula dancing, horse riding, aqua aerobics, ice hockey, the list goes on!! Or you could even sign up to something like The Colour Run or Tough Mudder.

To help with having a healthier diet, I have made this board of Pinterest recipes which are all vegetarian and vegan (it has been proven that a plant based diet is better for your health, even switching to have meat free Mondays makes a big difference) where most are healthy and hearty dinners. You could even start by doing something as simple as swapping out unhealthy snacks like crisps and chocolate, with healthy snacks such as mixed nuts, fruit, nakd bars, propercorn, or smoothies. Another huge factor is portion control, you could be having really healthy dinners but not notice a change in health or weight, which probably means that you are eating too much of a good thing! A handy tip to help combat this is to use smaller plates and bowls when eating, so it tricks your brain into thinking you are eating more as your plate is more full.

A common misconception, is eating healthily costs lots of money. And yes this can be the case if you buy really fancy health foods from Wholefoods or Ocado (they are yummy though!), which is why I really love the 'Living on Less' series that Plant Based Traveller have made on YouTube, giving handy meal plans on how to eat nutritiously as vegans on a low budget.

Another huge factor of staying healthy, which usually is overlooked (I know I SUCK at this), is staying hydrated. A great way to do this is to buy a water bottle and refill it at certain times of the day. Below I have included nine bottles of varying styles and price points, but you can find some really lovely ones in TKMaxx if none of these take your fancy.

1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9

A good way to stay healthy, is to notice patterns in you're eating, and try to correct those unhealthy patterns, such as eating lots of fatty foods when hormonal or feeling stressed, or doing the opposite and not eating anything. The best way to do this is to write a food journal. This can also be helpful if you are having health issues which could be caused by certain food intake; I've done this in the past when trying to find triggers for having migraines. Personally I just wrote down in a weekly planner what I ate day to day, but there are also apps available which make this easier. If you are doing this to loose weight then an app like Kudolife may be good for you, where it calculates your calorie and intake of each food group, and gives you tailored food plans to increase or decrease your intake of certain groups. If you are doing this maybe as CBT for recovering from an eating disorder, or to prevent one from happening/worsening (which I have done myself, there is no shame in being open and honest with your doctor or a close friend if you are struggling to take care for yourself) then an app like Rise Up is great for tracking your progress, and how you are feeling each time you eat.

Drink less alcohol

A great way to start this new year's resolution is to do something like Dry January or Dryalthlon, and use raising money for a good cause as a motivator to keep you going. And once you have completed the month drink free, try to limit your intake, as you know that you can do it, and this articles list of health benefits are unreal. 

If alcohol consumption is more of an addiction issue, it is important that you get specialist advice from a doctor, or contact a charity such as Alcoholics Anonymous. If you're unsure if your drinking habits are normal, the Don't Bottle It Up quiz will let you know, as well as pointing you in the direction of specialist help in your local area. The NHS website has lots of information and advice, as does the Alcohol Concern website. Drink Aware have a log in section where you can track your alcohol intake, and they will give you tailored advice and support on how to cut your intake down.

I included this video in my How To Cope With Mental Health Issues During The Holidays blog post, but for anyone who missed it and may need to watch it, this video from Lucy Moon on her Alcoholism is a very good watch.

Learn new things

There are SO many things that you guys could want to learn, so I don't really know where to start! Pinterest, Skillshare and Twitch (especially Twitch Creative), are my three go to websites for learning new skills. If you are wanting to learn skills with other people in workshops or events, then websites like Eventbrite or Meetup are great. I imagine one of the main skills people want to learn are languages, for that you can't really beat lessons with real tutors, but these days apps like Duolingo, get pretty close.

Career focus

Casey Neistat really is the god at career focus, and this video below has motivated me so many times.

Other than that, the Career Girl Daily blog has lots of insightful articles, or I have a Pinterest board full of creative business and blogging tips that I go back to when I need that extra help.

Relationships

I wasn't really sure what this resolution meant, but I imagine it covers toxic relationships, being scared to start new relationships/ building confidence to start dating, being okay being single, making a struggling couple stronger or rekindling friendships/connections with family members. And these are such personal and vast things to give advice on. If you would like a whole post on this then please let me know!

Quit smoking

The first thing to do with quitting smoking, is slowly limit your intake per day, and get yourself to a point where you could visit a pharmacy to discuss which stop smoking aids may be suitable for you. Boots has a great section on their website about this. The best online resource I've found for this is, Smokefree through the NHS, where they offer guidance in whichever way suits you, and everything is tailored to your needs to make it as easy as possible.

Travel

The first step to travelling more, is saving enough money to do so. The Money Saving Expert has loads of great money advice, and this is an article especially on saving money for a holiday.

It may seem obvious, but looking on websites like Wowcher, Groupon or Lastminute, save you lots of money if you're happy to go at strange times of the year and have a package holiday. Hostelworld is also amazing, please don't be put off by the word hostel, I have stayed in a few now, and each time had my own private room and bathroom and breakfast included, and I honestly couldn't recommend it more. If there are specific hotels you wish to stay, it might be worth trying to get a good deal on travel, such as getting an Interrail Pass or using a search engine like Google Flights to get the best deal.

Charity

The most obvious way to help charitably, is to volunteer, either for the charity itself, or maybe at one of their events or charity shops. If you don't have enough time to do that, maybe consider donating some of your old clothes or books or homeware to a local charity shop, or donate your hair next time you have a hair cut, or donate a couple pounds a month to a charity you want to support. Another way to be charitable, is by spreading love, sharing important links on social media, signing petitions you believe in, going to peaceful protests you strongly believe in, or just being a part of your community.

 

Whatever you choose to do this year, please take care of yourself and set realistic small achievable goals as well as long term goals which you can slowly work towards. Good luck, and Happy New Year!!!

How To Cope With Mental Health Issues During The Holidays

Hello lovely human, this year may have been rough for you, and when it is this time of year the pressure to be happy and jolly is at it's highest. Each video on here will be suitable for different people really, I have tried to cover as much as I can, and as many different attitudes and sensibilities as I can too, as we are all so different and respond to different things better.

I thought I would start off with this video, it is beautiful visually, and really motivated me when I was in a big slump. I know it isn't as easy as just saying "fuck all that" and moving on, trust me I totally know that, but some people work well having that attitude as a motivator and it definitely has helped me to have it when I've been anxious to post work online, or meet up with friends I'm nervous to see, or even when I've needed a little push to leave the house. 

Along this same track, having a motivating playlist can really help, I have been loving listening to this Spotify playlist when working, but can imagine it could be great when feeling nervous commuting or exercising.

This next video is for those of you perhaps on the opposite end of the scale. This beautiful video covers feeling lost and homesick, feeling guilty about feeling self-centered when struggling, especially when so much is going on in the world at the moment (this problem really hit home with me), loneliness and comparing yourself to loved ones. These problems can definitely be more prominent over the holidays, seeing friends and family you may not have seen all year, and having to hear how well everyone is perhaps doing, and everything they have been up to. It can be so hard to deal with these thoughts at the best of times, and Candice really words these raw emotions so eloquently, and made me stop to think for a long while after finishing the video. It made me pause to question those five words she speaks about, and what I would use to describe myself and how that may have changed since I first became an 'adult', and how those five years (for me anyway, I'm 23), have seen my personality and character change so much.

This video by Holly is a really interesting one, on how she bounces back from set backs, this case it is illustration related, but it's just an interesting video to watch if you feel like something has knocked your confidence and you need that little nudge to get back on track. 

I thought I would follow with Kiera's video, on a similar topic but from a different angle. In this video she covers what to do if your mental health was progressivley getting better, but has had a knock back and how to deal with people (friends/family/partners) not understanding why you suddenly can't do certain things again, when you were able to do them a few days ago. Mental health is a real rollercoaster, and can change day by day, we all definitly have good days and bad days. A really interesting and reassuring watch!

Stress is a huge factor that effects mental health, and holiday stress definitely can make it worse. This podcast style video from Anastasia is so easy to listen to in the background, and use as a little pep talk. Her voice is so soothing, and she is so understanding and talks so thoughtfully. Any of her 'videos' are worth having a listen to, and I have included another one of hers later in this post.

When I first watched this video by Dodie, it struck a nerve with me, it was so familiar to what I was feeling, but I was so in denial that my mental health was spiralling and getting worse that I just ignored it and tried to block out any memory of watching this video. About four months after watching the video for the first time, it popped back up in my recommended/watch again section in YouTube, and for some reason I clicked it, and it was just like, a sudden wave of realisation and relief that I was not alone. During those four months, my depersonalisation had been getting worse and worse, and when I first saw this video it was only in the early stages so I didn't fully relate with everything that was said. But by the second viewing it just hit me like a tonne of bricks, I finally knew what to label how I was feeling (I had never heard of depersonalisation or derealisation before, and would never have been able to pinpoint it as that without this video, unless I actively searched but I don't like self diagnosing) and it was so helpful to find someone else describing and explaining it better than my jumbled mind ever could.

After seeing Dodie's video for the second time, I had a little search for more videos on the subject to try and get some help with how to deal with it, and found Noah's channel. He is such a lovely human, and covers so many different mental health and health issue topics on his channel, and really goes into depth on his own experiences and gives really helpful advice and support. When I have felt the most lost, I always turn to his videos, and it makes me feel a bit less alone in all of this.

I personally find videos really helpful, seeing actual people talk about problems I'm struggling with, it's like having a friend who fully understands. What I also do though, is read through the comments, as often people will write about their experiences and leave helpful advice. However if you want to interact with other people a bit easier (the comments section on Youtube can make replying a bit confusing, for me anyway!), I found this really interesting mental health forum by Jacksgap

There are a lot of really helpful videos about anxiety on Youtube from various people, however I found this blog post about dealing with anxiety and panic attacks by Zoella, and found it the most helpful and in-depth. It was from this post that I started to recognise patterns in my behaviour which were anxiety related, and was able to identify my triggers and how to cope a bit better. 

If you are feeling desperate, and want to self harm or hurt yourself, then please please please reach out to someone you trust, and if you can't for any reason, here is a list of brilliant specialist charities, websites and helplines: Healing From Depression, No Panic, Anxiety UK, Supportline, Samaritans, Mind, Time To Change, Youngminds, Sane, Rethink Mental Illness.

If you are needing more intensive help, which most of us struggling will need, then it might be worth looking into online counselling, especially for those of you who have changeable schedules or currently struggling being independent or agoraphobic. When searching for online counsellors, Betterhelp had the best reviews. It is only free for a week though, so might be good for people on a waiting list for a counsellor through their doctor but needs help sooner if you don't have enough money in your budget for this.

I thought that next I would try to include a few videos which are related and interlinked with mental health, but not necessarily videos on mental health.

The first of these, is about alcoholism, made by Lucy. I think it is really rare for people my age to openly talk about this, but I think the patterns she talks about in this video can easily be related to any other unhealthy coping mechanism, such as eating disorders or drug use. It is so common to become overly reliant and dependant on these unhealthy habits, especially around christmas, when alcohol for example is more readily available, or you need an escape from family drama more than ever. It is so important to address if you think you may have a problem with any of these addictive habits, and reach out for suitable help. (Some helpful links: Alcoholics Anonymous, Beat Eating Disorder Charity, Action on Addiction)

I thought I would include this video from Sammie, as unhealthy relationships often can cause or worsen mental health, and I think this video could easily be related to toxic family relationships or friendships. Many people go through some form of domestic abuse, whether it is phycological or physical, and many don't address it as abuse and become in denial during the period that it is happening. If you are feeling trapped this Christmas, please reach out to people that you trust, and try to make plans to remove yourself from any dangerous situations. If you need further help from a specialist then here are some helpful links: Womens Aid, Refuge, Mankind, Napac, this article is helpful too.

This video isn't really along the same lines as the others, but I think it's too important to leave it out. It is a short film about Claire's adopted mother Mary, who was diagnosed with Dementia and it follows their journey, it is absolutely heartbreaking to watch and Claire was so brave. As Dementia is classed as a mental illness (although it doesn't fit into the mental health issues I was first just going to cover), I thought it needed to be included, as it is something I have no personal links or experiences with. What sets this video apart from the others I've shared in this post, is that this is in the viewpoint of a relative, and not the person suffering. Maybe you are reading this having never suffered with mental health problems and looking for advice for a friend or family member, or simply educating yourself, and if you are then thank you so much for taking time out of your day to do this, and maybe this video might represent how you're feeling a bit better. I have seen many friends and family members suffer with various mental health problems on varying levels of severity, and it is really difficult to help and sometimes deal with, even if you have been through similar and can empathise.

Now I've shown you some very specific videos, covering various issues, I thought maybe I would show some more broad self-love self-help style videos which could help anyone. 

The first is this really simple, but relatable, video by The School Of Life (please check out any of their books, other videos, workshops and everything else they do, as they are so so so good at wording such complex subjects and help give comfort and advice on pretty much everything).

As promised earlier, here is another video from Anastasia, this time covering self love. 

One thing we should all make an important part of our daily lives is meditation. I still haven't fully committed to it as I struggled for so long to find a guided meditation to start me off, which I didn't find too distracting or annoying. I've found that apps/websites like Calm or Headspace are really good, but this video below has been my absolute go to. He is so calming and patient, and perfect for beginners, giving gentle reminders, but not too often, on the three focus points. I am making it my goal to make meditation a priority for 2017. I think if these links aren't for you, to definitly try to find a meditation video or audio walk through which works for you.

This is possibly one of my favourite videos of all time, I think it may be the most inspiring thing I have ever seen. I've probably built it up too much now, but this little simple video has saved me so many times. When everything is just too overwhelming and I just don't have anything left in me, this is my last resort, and I cry and cry every single time. It is so easy, especially with social media being such a massive part of our daily lives, to compare yourself to other peoples perfect Instagram feeds, or Facebook check in updates. I often catch myself wondering why my life is so mundane or why I struggle doing such small daily tasks like simply making sure I eat or shower daily. These things can be real struggles, and it stings to see other people having the energy to be so 'successful', and like Candice spoke about in the 'Out Of Sorts' video I posted earlier, it can feel so wrong to be so jealous of other peoples happiness and success. This video really captures how your personality can be a success, how softness isn't weakness, how having a high paying job is just as equal a success as a child trusting you, or successfully growing a plant is. It puts life into perspective in a way that I had never truly appreciated before. 

This final video by Will Darbyshire was inspired by the book 'Reasons To Stay Alive', by Matt Haig, which I personally haven't read yet, but really want to, and is again visually beautiful, but quite a poignant note to end this on. Things do get better, of course it doesn't mean they will get better forever, and most mental health issues are ongoing and never truly fully go, but as you get older you understand yourself and your body better, you have stronger relationships, you become braver to ask for help and talk to people about things, you create healthy ways to cope. I hope you can find comfort in the fact you are not alone, it can sure feel like it sometimes, but there is ALWAYS somebody out there who will help you. Always. Trust me. I have dealt with mental health issues for almost a decade now, and it has been a real rollercoaster ride, but we can get through this.

I really hope that this post has helped you in some way, but if you have been effected by this and need someone to talk to, please drop me an email (sacha.frampton@btinternet) or message me on Facebook/Twitter/text if you know me personally, and I will try my best to reply. I hope you have a lovely few days, but remember to look after yourself and make sure you give yourself time to breathe. Have a bubble bath, go for a winter walk, read a new book, watch your favourite film. Big hugs <3

Charlotte Mei's Clay Club Overveiw

With Charlotte's next set of Clay Club classes having just started yesterday, I thought I would finally share the wonky ceramics I created! I was only able to attend five out of the ten classes as I was poorly, but still managed to have three making days and two painting days, and learnt a whole bunch of fundamentals for making ceramics. If you ever get a chance to do a pottery or ceramics class then I would one hundred percent recommend it, I went alone and found it so relaxing to just have a few hours to focus time on myself and learning something new. Also Clay Club had the sweetest and kindest bunch of people go along, of all abilities, and Charlotte is an absolute sweetheart and so helpful, I couldn't recommend it more if I could!