Modern Day Girl

All About Mental Health Inspiration For Women

Self-help

Don’t Make Resolutions, Make Goals That You Will Stick to

Set goals, not resolutions! Follow these tips to get the most out of your goals, and set goals that you’ll actually stick to. Read more here!

There’s something about resolutions which don’t stick. Or maybe that’s just me – haha!

But on a serious note, how many times have you made new year’s resolutions and not stuck to them? I know there have been a lot of them. Things like ‘lose some weight’ or ‘get more exercise’ – it never works.

So today we’re going to look at setting realistic goals, and not new year’s resolutions. By the end of it, you’ll be able to set yourself some achievable goals and hopefully much more motivated afterwards!

Set goals, not resolutions! Follow these tips to get the most out of your goals, and set goals that you'll actually stick to. Read more here!

Why set goals?

Goals help you clarify your thoughts and ideas, and make it much more likely to achieve your dreams/aspirations. As humans, we naturally strive for more from our lives and are always on the lookout for bigger and better things.

Goals cater to this in many ways. Having a clear plan is exciting, and knowing that you can reach your goals is satisfying. When you reach your goal you’ll also have a feeling of accomplishment. There’s nothing better than that!

How to set effective goals

So now you know why goals help, let’s look at how to set effective goals. As mentioned above, there’s no use setting goals that don’t have any substance to them. Without some thought and a plan, you’ll probably never stick to them.

The SMART method

Some of you may have never heard about the SMART goals setting method, but if not, don’t worry. I’ll be explaining all below!

Smart goals are set using a specific set of measures. The more detailed and descriptive your goals are, the more likely you are to achieve it. Using the smart method is helpful as it keeps you on track in terms of setting your goals, as well as helping you produce detailed goals.

Set goals, not resolutions! Follow these tips to get the most out of your goals, and set goals that you'll actually stick to. Read more here!

Each of the letters in ‘SMART’ stand for:

S – Specific

Goals that are specific will help you achieve your goals. Being specific with your goals means adding as much detail as possible to them.

So let’s say that you want to do more exercise. That goal in itself is too vague. How are you going to do that? When are you going to do it? Where are you going to get more exercise? Why exactly do you want to achieve this goal?

These are all good questions to be asking yourself in making your goal specific. So, rather than just getting more exercise, something like, “I am going to exercise three times per week at the gym for an hour each time” is much better. Your ‘why’ might be to lead a healthy lifestyle or tone up.

M – Measurable

Measurable goals mean that you can truly see the results of your efforts. This doesn’t have to just relate to numbers, either. Your goal might relate to a certain feeling.

For example, if you did want to tone up, measure how you feel within yourself instead of measuring the amount of weight lost. It doesn’t have to be regimented – some of us just want to feel well and avoid getting ill so much. This is absolutely fine, too.

What do you do when things get tough? Where do you turn when the last thing you want to do is take care of yourself? Create a kit of your own with these tips!

A – Attainable

Setting goals also mean that they should be attainable. This means making sure your goals are reachable and realistic. There’s no use setting goals that you just won’t reach. This is important as if not, you may end up giving up, and this feels much worse.

But this doesn’t mean your goals shouldn’t be too easy, either. Setting a goal that is realistic is important for both being too easy or too hard to reach.

To put this into perspective, an example of this could be that you want to become a millionaire by the time you’re 40.

Breaking this down into an amount to earn per day makes it more attainable, but make sure you take into consideration any costs involved, too. Being a millionaire by 40 means you need to take into consideration what your actual profit is, and that makes your goal unreachable.

R – Relevant

The other aspect to take into consideration is whether you actually want to reach your goal or not. There’s no use striving for something that isn’t relevant to you and you’re just not that bothered about it.

Ask yourself questions like whether you truly want to reach this goal. If you’re not bothered, you probably won’t reach it. Will your goal truly make you happy?

What do you do when things get tough? Where do you turn when the last thing you want to do is take care of yourself? Create a kit of your own with these tips!

T – Timely

The final but not least section of setting a goal is to ensure that you set yourself a time to reach it by. There’s no use having a goal that has no end date as you’ll not feel the push to get there.

So let’s say that you want to tone up and your goal is to go to the gym three times a week. How quickly do you want to feel the changes in yourself? 6 months? 3 months?

Make sure that you set a timeframe that is reachable, but not too extreme either. It’s important to make sure your goal time frame is not too easy, but not too hard.

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!

In the end

As you can see, setting goals is actually quite an in-depth process. Don’t be put off by this though! Having clear goals is exciting and gives you something to look forward to. It gives you a reason to get up in the morning.

But on the flip-side, if you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed, keep your goals simple. Use the SMART method bit don’t overload yourself with pressure. Goals are there to keep you motivated but not to make you feel overwhelmed.

Let me know what you think in the comments below!

6 Very Good Reasons Why Biscuits Are Great For Your Mental Health

Biscuits are good for your mental health. That is all. But seriously, here are six reasons why you should probably eat more of them!

Today we have 664 words which explain to you why biscuits are good for your mental health.

Biscuits are good for your mental health. That is all. But seriously, here are six reasons why you should probably eat more of them!

We all love biscuits. Do you know anyone who doesn’t?! I don’t. Whether it’s a midnight snack, a staple with your cup of tea, or just something that makes you happy, biscuits are great. They fill the void when all you need is a bit of comforting.

Not only this, but there are tonnes of different brands, tastes and shapes to choose from. No matter what mood you’re in, biscuits are there for you!

So, in celebration of our favourite dunking snack, here are 6 of the best reasons why biscuits are good for us. I’m not just talking about your physical health either. Biscuits are amazing for your mental health too!

**please be warned. This is tongue in cheek, and should only be taken with a pinch of sugar (haha).**

They make you happy

There’s no denying that fact that biscuits make you happy. The great thing about biscuits is that depending on how bad you’re feeling, you can regulate your biscuit dose accordingly.

Been dumped? 10 biscuits for that. Had a bad day at work, why not keep it to 5?

Whatever situation you find yourself in, biscuits are right there with you to cheer you up. Your mental health can thank me later.

Biscuits are good for your mental health. That is all. But seriously, here are six reasons why you should probably eat more of them!

Biscuits bring people together

Personal experience of mine has shown that biscuits actually bring people together. As mentioned above, our crunchy friends make people happy. What better way to bring people together than by making everyone happy at once?

Sharing some biscuits means that people have to get out of their seat and approach you if they want one. This promotes chatter (only in moderation whilst you’re at work though, mind) as well as a minute amount of exercise, too.

The result of this? Better relationships at work improve, and you may make new friends because of it.

They give you a warm fuzzy feeling

Now that the nights are drawing in and it’s getting colder, biscuits help provide you with that warm fuzzy feeling. Instead of wrapping yourself up in a blanket, fill yourself up with biscuits instead!

You’ll no doubt feel all warm and fuzzy instead, much like the way chocolate does. Hey, that can’t be a bad thing, surely?

Biscuits provide much needed energy (via sugar)

My dad always used to tell me that I should always keep biscuits with me, in case my blood sugar levels dropped. Being prone to fainting, this is something I always remember. The last thing I want to do is pass out everywhere – it is most inconvenient.

Although carrying biscuits around might be impractical, keep them in a safe place at work or at home instead. This helps to give you temporary energy when you’re feeling lethargic. On the flip side, try to eat in moderation too.

After all, a health mind needs energy, too.

You feel empowered after eating biscuits

Speaking to a colleague about how biscuits make you feel, Dianne said she felt “revived and empowered”, just from eating biscuits. Now that is the kind of transformation I can get behind!

I don’t know about you, but I feel empowered after eating biscuits. I feel like I could just take over the world once I’ve nibbled on a few Digestives. Maybe it’s just the sugar content inside them, but I love ‘em.

You become a better person overall after eating biscuits

The final, but no least important, point for today is that once you’ve eaten biscuits, you become an overall better person. You are essentially levelling up your character to level 20!

“Why?” you may be thinking? Well, consider this.

You forget your worries which means you don’t take out your issues on those around you. Your energy levels improve, meaning less grumpiness all round. You meet new people and build up relationships. Need I go on?

“Basically, biscuits rock!” Said my colleague Nikki today. That, my friend, is what it boils down to.

Share if you agree!

 

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!

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?” »

Think In NG – Helping People Through Mental Health Difficulties

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

On my usual evening Facebook browsing’s, I made a snap decision to post this very blog on a local creative Facebook group. I’d joined the group some months back but didn’t think I’d ever post anything, mainly because it seemed more towards artwork than writing. I’d decided long ago that maybe I wasn’t suited to this group, after all.

I was wrong.

The thing is, I find that written work is often overlooked when it comes to the arts (or that it how I viewed it, anyway). Humans are visual creatures so we are more drawn to imagery than we are to text. The first thing we think about when it comes to art is usually paintings (again my own personal perspective).

But that decision to post this blog was probably one of the best decisions I’ve made for quite some time. I was invited to pop along to a local fundraiser which helps to raise awareness around mental health. The excitement was real!

The idea behind this event is that we would all watch pitches from people looking to raise funds for their projects. Imagine Dragon’s Den scenario. The winner would be given the £5 donations made by those who took part. We’re talking at least £500 worth. What a fabulous idea!

Well, as you can imagine, I jumped on the opportunity to take part in this. Not only do I feel strongly about ridding mental health of the stigma attached to it, but I am all for local projects and initiatives that help those affected by it.

The following video took me two days to edit and is my first production (go easy on me, okay?). I have to say I’m very proud! If you enjoy this video, I will be uploading videos to Youtube every week now, seeing as it’s so much fun.

Annnnnnd…. This is what happened.

THOUGHTS?