Modern Day Girl

All About Mental Health Inspiration For Women

Month: November 2017

[VLOG] Anxiety Question and Answer With a Special Guest!

Vlog feature where we helped raise money for local charities and projects across the East Midlands. Enjoy!

Hello hello!

Today I have a special video to show you. It’s taken quite some time to produce but it was well worth it!

As I know many of you like YouTube//video, this is an edited version of a Facebook Live I did recently. This time though we have a special guest! As it happens, my special guest is also called Jess. We’ll call her Jess DS for now!

If you’re in a rush and can’t watch the whole video, this is what we cover:

  • Do you go down the medication or natural route?
  • What helps us cope with our anxiety
  • General chit chat along the way!
Don’t want to miss the live versions?
You have two options as I tend to do live videos in both areas:

Join the private Facebook community I run:

Anxiety support group for mental health advice

Like the Facebook Page:


 

 

 

 

There we go.

Now, enjoy the video!

How To (Well and Truly) Get a Better Night’s Sleep, Despite Anxiety

Getting a good night’s sleep when you have anxiety can be hard work. Here are some top tips to helping you sleep better, despite anxiety!

Anxiety is very good at affecting our sleeping patterns. Some nights you’re wide awake, other nights you’re so exhausted that you’re in bed for 6pm. It’s a roller coaster ride of long naps to sleepless nights, and I’m sure you can relate.

But first, let’s take a look at why we should be getting proper sleep. Some of us can get away with just a few hours a night, while others need a full 8 hours to feel normal (–> me). But, studies show that we should all be getting between 7 and 9 hours sleep each night (Sleep Foundation) as a healthy adult.

Getting a good night’s sleep when you have anxiety can be hard work. Here are some top tips to helping you sleep better, despite anxiety!

Any less than that and our mind and body starts to suffer.

Here are just a few problems caused from not getting enough sleep:

Stress on your internal organs from lack of sleep

Poor sleep can increase anxiety levels for sure. But it can also impact your body, both internally and externally. We’re talking everything from your immune system, to your skin.

Lack of sleep can also affect your digestive system, too

The mind and the digestive system are very closely connected, with some going as far as saying they should be viewed as one system (Harvard researchers – Live Love Fruit). I’m probably not the only that suffers from stomach cramps during periods of high stress and no sleep.

Feeling lethargic and unmotivated

According to our very own NHS, “Psychological tiredness is far more common than tiredness that’s caused by a physical problem”. This means that daily stress and worry contributes significantly to our lack of sleep.

In actual fact, the NHS also goes on to explain that nearly a third of our population is sleep-deprived. That’s a pretty high number if you consider that our population is around 60 million.

So it probably goes without saying that lack of sleep can leave you feeling exhausted, lethargic and definitely unmotivated.

Not sure where to go for the best mental health articles? Here is a roundup of the BEST mental health and anxiety articles around now!

Poor memory

For those who are pretty forgetful normally (–> me again), lack of sleep can seriously impair out memory, too. Consider this quote from Harvard Health Publishing:

How might sleep affect memory? People who are persistently sleep deprived are more likely to have high blood pressure, diabetes, and narrowed blood vessels. Each of these can decrease blood flow inside the brain.

This quote makes a really good point if you think about it. All of the above physical impacts of not getting enough sleep lead to less blood to the brain. This equals a lower performing brain overall, and poorer memory as a result.

**yay… I now have a good enough reason to go to bed at 7pm each night!**

Possible weight gain

Another aspect to consider because of lack of sleep is binge eating. I know that when I’m knackered, all I want to do is eat chocolate and quick, easy meals. The last thing I want to do is nibble on carrots and cook an almighty meal.

You’re more likely to reach for the strong cups of tea/coffee, skipping the gym and getting a takeaway. It’s a viscous circle that can be really hard to shake.

Let's have a little fun. Here are 20 of the best memes, GIFs and videos that sum up anxiety and mental health perfectly!

So, as you can imagine, it’s important to look after ourselves, and make sure we get a good night’s rest. I know that anxiety can make this VERY difficult, so here are some really useful tips to help you along the way:

Opt for reading/writing rather than TV before bed

Okay so I know that some of you reading this might not feel like you’re the writing/reading type but hear me out. The main thing to consider when you’re trying to get a better night’s sleep is to avoid anything screen-related.

The light given off by laptops, TVs, phones and tablets trick our brain into thinking it’s daylight. This is seriously not good when we’re trying to get a good night’s sleep.

See, screens give off something called blue light. Wavewall explains:

Exposure to blue light at night time mimics the effect of the sun and tricks the body into thinking it should still be awake. It stops the production of melatonin, the hormone that makes us feel sleepy and regulates our circadian rhythm (our body clock).

So, if reading or writing isn’t your thing, pick something to do before bed that doesn’t involve screens. Maybe you like painting or colouring? Or maybe crosswords or puzzles?

This all helps in promoting a good restful sleep, no matter your anxiety.

Want to know how to conquer your anxiety? Here are some of the best tips that actually work. Forward: these aren't easy but so worth it!

Avoid processed foods and eat healthy fats + proteins

There’s much research into the effects of fatty and processed food on our sleeping pattern. Sleepjunkies explains that:

Fatty foods over stimulate the production of acid in the stomach. This can lead to heartburn and indigestion. Sugary junk  foods, including soda, rapidly crank up your blood sugar levels. You might fall asleep easily (the “sugar crash”), but during the night when your blood sugar plummets, your body will sense this chemical imbalance, disturbing your sleep cycle, possibly waking you up.

I know from personal experience that I can REALLY suffer when it comes to eating crap. Not only do my bowels (TMI?!) suffer, but I feel sluggish and highly unmotivated. So if there’s anything you can do to help improve your sleep, it’s cutting down a bit.

Oh and before you berate me for being cliché, I’m not saying getting rid of your indulgences. You’re never going to be happy if you did! It’s all about moderation.

Avoid caffeine after a certain time each day

My own research into this subject is one that doesn’t come easy. I like my caffeine – coffee, fizzy drinks, you name it. But I also know that such drinks any time near bed time are seriously not good for your sleep.

Following this research, I found a really useful tip that I’ve already implemented myself. It’s avoiding caffeine at a certain point of the day. I’m not talking 7pm. I’m talking more like 2pm! Thing is, caffeine stays around, even after you’ve crashed. So by cutting the caffeine at a certain time, you’re increasing your chances of a better night’s sleep.

Making this small change to your routine might affect you temporarily, but it’ll most definitely help your sleeping.

Watch the Facebook Live video I did recently on the page. I discuss the best tips and tricks which help you deal with anxiety. Enjoy!

Get your vitamin D during the day

According to Bulletproof.com, vitamin D deficiencies lead to sleep disorders. Until I started writing this very post, I didn’t know this either.

So, based on this, it’s really important to make sure you get your daily vitamin D. How do you do this?

  • Get outside. No matter what the weather is, you still get your daily vitamin D intake.
  • Eat oily/fatty fish/food with vitamin D in – I’m talking tuna, via supplements and even fortified cow’s milk.

Get some black out curtains

Although this might seem a minor change, black our curtains are just great when it’s summer. If you can’t do curtains, you can also get black out blinds, too.

The thing is, when the sun is shining through your window each morning, especially in summer, you’re up. Not only this, but if you go to bed early you need something to keep the light out.

Black out curtains cost more than normal curtains but they are definitely worth it. I know it’s harder to do when you rent a place but it’s definitely worth a shot. Your sleep will thank you for it.

Pulling yourself out of a bad time is hard, especially when all you want to do is sleep. Read this for tips and help to get yourself going!

As always, avoid using any devices before bed, or download a blue-light reduction app

At the time of writing this (8pm) , I am using my laptop. Laptops emit blue light just like mobiles/tablets and computer screens do. This blue light mimics daylight which is no good when you’re getting ready to settle down for bed.

It tricks your body into thinking that it’s still daylight and seriously messes with your internal body clock.

So, if you can at all costs, avoid using any devices that have a backlight. You might be thinking that I’m giving off serious double standards right now! But hear me out.

On newer laptops and mobiles/devices that can download apps, you can set/download your screens to reduce blue light. This very laptop automatically sets the screen to reduce blue light at 9pm every night. I’ve also downloaded an app on my mobile to do the same thing.

It gives the screen an odd orange-ish colour that is definitely not what I’m used to. But, it means it’s working. I’ve been testing the app out for a few nights now and I can say I have slept better the times I’ve used my phone in bed before sleep.

If you’re interested, the app I currently use is called Blue Light Filter on Google Apps.

This week's fundraising at Siemens for #MHAW, tips on looking after your wellbeing, and how you can get involved with you workplace. Enjoy!

Opt for a gentler alarm clock

My final but no least point for today is that oftentimes, our alarm clock is definitely unwelcome in the morning. A horrible alarm clock sound jerks you out of sleep making you feel tense and dreading the day.

So, opt for a sound (if you’re using your mobile as an alarm like I am) that is gentler than a foghorn. Not sure what a foghorn is? Google it – it’s a family phrase used when referring to bellowing sounds haha.

Anyway, bird songs usually work well, or wave sounds. Find a sound that it gentle, but enough to wake you. You won’t hate mornings so bad because of it.

Fellow wellbeing and mental health bloggers share their best tips on how to deal with stress and anxiety (including me!). Read more here.

Final points

As you can imagine, getting enough sleep is paramount for getting through the day. Anxiety makes it really difficult to get going. But with a good nights sleep, it won’t be so hard.

Do you have some thoughts on this? Let me know in the comments!

Panic at the Anxiety Disco #5

Anxiety tips, videos, images and fun

Another week, another Panic at the Anxiety Disco! We’re on week five now of this series and honestly – I love it! I’m all about fresh media and love discovering new ideas I can share with you.

Missed last week’s? Click here to go there now.

So, this poem is one that I discovered on a website dedicated to mental health poems. I discovered a love for poems on a previous edition where I shared a colleague’s poem. The poem I’m about to share touched me.

Although the poem is names ‘Mysterious Pain’, I could relate to the words written. For me, it describes my panic attacks and how it makes me feel. So, have a read and leet me know what you think!

Mysterious Pain

© Peggy Stewart

Published: July 2011

With her head hung low
and nowhere to go

She can’t explain
this mysterious pain

It comes on so fast
How long will it last

Her heart is just pounding, her head starts to spin
Please go away, she does not want you in

She’s uncontrollably crying
It feels like she’s dying

Her body is trembling, her hands start to shake
She feels so helpless with this horrible ache

Someone, please help her, make this go away
She can’t stand to feel this way one more day

Someone, please help her, she’s down on her knees
She’s scared and helpless and hopes no one sees

With her head hung low
not knowing where to go

She tries to explain
This mysterious pain

Source: https://www.familyfriendpoems.com/poem/poem-about-anxiety-disorder

Does Yoga Really Help with Depression?

Can yoga really help you when it comes to depression/anxiety? This article explains all. Have a read now!

Managing your depression requires constant effort, attention, and maybe even medication.

If you’re struggling with your depression, you need a toolkit of practices and activities to help you manage. In recent years therapists and psychiatrists have been recommending yoga, meditation, and exercise to those struggling with depression.

If someone has recommended yoga to you as

a tool for coping with your depression, you’re probably wondering whether yoga actually helps or is just a passing fad.

Although yoga has only been popular in Western countries for the past 30 years or so, it has been practiced and studied to a great extent for thousands of years.

This is no transitory trend, but a powerful and ancient technology that has been used for centuries to heal the body, mind, and spirit through physical postures, breathing exercises, and meditation.

If you’re feeling depressed and physically worn out, get on the mat for an instant pick-me-up.

Continue reading “Does Yoga Really Help with Depression?” »