Image Dysmorphia: A Real Issue That Affects Influencers

image dysmorphia

Image dysmorphia” is a form of a depression caused by low self-confidence. Its definition describes an imagined reality where our reflection in the mirror or a photograph doesn’t match what’s actually there.

For example, we could be bullied for years because of our image, work very hard on improving it (not that we need to at all!), only to imaginarily see the person we were still staring back at us.

Sometimes, it goes beyond who we were, it could even be a case of seeing a different image entirely… Our loved ones may tell us “you look great”, but we sadly just won’t believe them.

image dysmorphia

Image dysmorphia is a very real thing, particularly in the influencer world.

Although most cases are brought on by a low self-confidence (stemming from bullying), there’s evidence to suggest it can even develop from social media, plastic surgery and image-editing apps.

I’m sure that I went through image dysmorphia at some stage… How else would you explain me editing my headshot selfies to the point of unrecognisable and getting fillers in my lips!? In those days, FaceTune and YouCamMakeup were my best friends!

Honestly, I’m just glad that I didn’t (and still don’t) know my way around Photoshop. Had I learned, it would’ve opened a whole other Pandora’s box that would’ve been harder to close.

Recognising Image Dysmorphia

🌟 The taking of / posting an excessive amount of selfies on social-media frequently is a sign of image dysmorphia

If we’re not happy with ourselves, we’ll try to convince ourselves and others to be, by taking & sharing countless selfies as a way of gaining gratification. We may even go as far as editing them to fit the ‘influencer’ mould – which is counter-intuitive, leaving us open to more criticism.

DISCLAIMER: INFLUENCERS DON’T EVEN LOOK LIKE THEIR PHOTOS! THEY’RE OUT HERE DOING IT TOO!

It’s fair to mention that influencers aren’t entirely to blame… Before we point the finger, we need to remember that they’re under a lot of pressure as it is. The media has an image to portray, and the influencer has to adhere to it if they want to earn a living. So, you see, the fault predominantly lies with the media for creating and continuing this false narrative.

There’s so much pressure from the media, and social-media in particular, to act or be a certain way! The world has lost all authenticity.

image dysmorphia

🌟 Getting addicted to fillers or plastic surgery is another sign of image dysmorphia

As I explained above, I went through a phase where I was getting lip fillers quite regularly. It got so bad that I had to over-line my lips to disguise the botched job on them... After a few years, I decided to get them dissolved, vowing never to get them done again.

The problem with fillers or plastic surgery is: once we start, it’s hard to stop… It’s as if our mind gets programmed to see other flaws each time, the end result being: we lose sight of who we are!

TOWIE and country-music star Megan McKenna has also talked about the links between lip fillers and image dysmorphia… She too ended up removing her lip fillers, and now regrets ever getting them.

Curing image dysmorphia

Half the battle of curing image dysmorphia is realising that you have it in the first place. You can’t cure something until you notice the signs and admit there’s a problem.

Once you’ve identified it as an issue, try to train your mind to think positive affirmations… Speak them internally while you’re doing routine things like: brushing hair. It’s best to look in the mirror for this one.

Also, try talking to a therapist, ask for CBT [Cognitive Behavioural Training] is proven to treat image dysmorphia. I speak to a counsellor regularly, and it helps me a lot.

Counselling should be an affordable and standard human right in today’s society… It’s not enough to merely just tell people to “open up” without offering them an opportunity to do it! Point them in the right direction, give them the option at least.

Another way to cure image dysmorphia is by waiting to see if it’s a passing phase/fad… This isn’t ideal, and certainly not a recommendation for those who may need urgent care. However, in my case, I grew out of it. I learned to love myself!

The only other ways I can think of is praying if you’re faithful/spiritual and meditating on the word. I meditate a lot. “#AllMeditationEverything” is my mantra and chosen way of dealing with anything!

Want to share your thoughts on the topic? Hit me up in the comments!

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Loving Yourself First This Valentine’s Day

loving yourself

Whether you’re single or in a relationship, ultimately you need to be loving yourself first. Celebrate the beauty of who you are, and what makes you, you…

Like I said in a previous post, Valentine’s Day isn’t just about spending it with our significant others (of a romantic nature). They can be spent with the girls, the guys or even alone.

Before I go any further, I wanted to state something very important: ‘being alone doesn’t mean lonely’… In fact, it just means people don’t have time for drama or toxic relations.

So, let’s look at ways you can start loving yourself this Valentine’s Day… What can you do for you?

loving yourself

Read self-help books

Self-help books are a great way to improve yourself. At the end of the day, no-body can help us if we’re not willing to be helped.

My recommendations would be Fearne Cotton’s Calm and Happy. These books helped me most because they’re written by someone I could relate to, and who isn’t a mental health professional.

Loving yourself begins when you decide to make a change.

loving yourslef

Invest in yourself

Invest in yourself to better your life. Whether that means putting money aside each month for counselling, or virtual yoga or pilates classes, it’s worth it. Loving yourself comes at a cost, but make it worth your while!

loving yourself

Cut yourself some slack

Don’t be too hard on yourself. Understand that you’re a work in progress and don’t be afraid of failing/asking for help. Above all, be kinder to yourself.

Start by switching just three negative thoughts into positive ones. That’s how you change your mindset.

Have I missed anything? Let me know what works for you in the comments…

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Rose Quartz: The Power of Love in Healing Crystals

rose quartz

Those who know me, know I love healing crystals… Don’t ask me why, I just do!

Aside from being pretty to look at and unique in their patterns, they’re incredibly intuitive, calming and soothing when used correctly.

In keeping with my ‘love’ theme, I bring you a post about: rose quartz.

This crystal promotes all kinds of love, be it self-love, romantic love, friendship love or even family love.

rose quartz

What are the properties of rose quartz

Rose quartz is the stone of unconditional love. It’s said to radiate strong vibrations of love, which support emotional & relationship healing, and building compassion.

What does rose quartz symbolise?

Its meaning varies from culture to culture, but generally its pale pink aesthetic represents gentleness, love, and fertility.

rose quartz

What chakra does the rose quartz work with?

Rose quartz is a stone associated with the heart chakra. So, wearing it as a necklace is most beneficial if you want to feel it working.

How to use a rose quartz?

Meditate by placing a piece on your heart, close your eyes and breathe deeply…

You can even speak soft and loving affirmations to yourself as you’re meditating… Alternatively, just imagine that you’re surrounded by a pink light of love.

If you do this every night, studies have found that it can clear any built up of negativity or frustrations from the day, leaving you refreshed for a new one in the morning.

Top tip: cleanse it after every use by running it under cold water or leaving it on the windowsill (with your blinds/curtains open) particularly on the day or night of a full moon.

Another top tip: you have to believe in it. Nothing works without belief.

rose quartz

How does rose quartz help?

In reiki and energy work, rose quartz is used to reset the heart chakra. From a health perspective, resetting the heart chakra basically means removing any blockages – releasing stress, improving blood circulation and overall skin health.

Choosing the right crystals for you

There are two ways, either by buying a mystery box, or by going in store with an open and clear mind, ready to be drawn to one.

The mystery boxes are really intuitive. I’ve been shocked by how right they’ve been each time. If you’re new to it, xThePeaceProject might be more your thing.

There’s also a quiz you can do to find out which one’s best for you.

Are you into crystals? If so, which ones? Comment below!

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21 Goals to Stick To In 2021

2021

Happy New Year! 🥂🍾 🎉🎊

New Year’s resolutions? Who actually sticks to them for longer than the first two weeks? If you’ve managed to, you’re a hero who deserves to be celebrated.

Before I go any further, here is a true story… In 2018, I had the bright idea of doing Veganuary, so I went cold-Turkey on meats (include the pun) and just lived on quinoa and plant-based foods.

Fast forward to a fortnight, I’m struggling to get out of bed, dizzy as anything and suffering from vertigo. At the doctors, I was told I “should’ve phased it in as opposed to just quit it entirely overnight”.

Therefore, due to the evident fact that I simply cannot stick to New Year’s resolutions, I’ve decided a different tactic: goal setting.

Here are a list of 21 goals that I will be “phasing into” my life this year, and you’re welcome to, too…

goals

Make learning a new skill one of your goals

Whether it’s cooking, crochet or anything else that starts with a ‘c’ (other letters in the alphabet are available), get started…

If you have a passion for it, watch how it’s done and put it into practice (within reason, and excluding crazy things that you shouldn’t be trying at home!)

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Creating a monthly budget is actual goals

It’s true that we’ve been saving a lot in lockdown, since working from home… But the reality is, I’ve actually been spending money on ridiculous things because I’m “bored” or depressed. This is NOT a good thing to be doing.

So, rather than continuing to do that – I’m going to set a budget and stick to it. For example, I will only be spending money on my outgoings (and things I need such as food) in a bid to save more “wonga”.

goals

Read 12 books

12 books? That’s one book a month! It’s doable where ‘goals’ are concerned – especially when choosing shorter books (if you’re not into reading much).

Sorry to those who are regular readers of my blog, I may be repeating myself here… The thing I love about reading is you can get lost in the book, and feel as though you are on the journey with the character.

Of course, it’s not for everyone, but then again – I’d definitely say that if you’re feeling this way, it’s because you’re not reading the right books…

goals

Start a side business

At this point, my blog should probably be called “Side Business” as it seems to come up in my posts a LOT! 😂

That hobby of yours, start charging and offering it as a service! The extra money you make from it can either be used to boost your savings, or spent on a holiday/experience post-pandemic.

goals

Create a morning routine …and Stick to it

If your morning routine includes reaching for your phone first thing, you have a problem – one that I have too!

Get up, wash you face, brush your teeth, have a shower THEN go on your phone. I feel like this will speak to me more than anyone else! 🙈

goals

Get rid of a bad habit

Bite your nails? Just do what I did (or not), and bribe your mum into buying you an iPad if you stop… Then, stop – only to later feel guilty about it, and buy it yourself! (In my defence, I was a teen at the time, and my mum was sick of me biting them)

In all seriousness though, that bad habit you have? Kick it to the curb! You’ll feel so great afterwards.

There is no denying that some habits are harder to quit than others, but – my point is: reward yourself after quitting with something you’ve always wanted.

goals

Keep a gratitude journal

Make a list, check it twice to find out if you’ve been grateful or not, because ‘Blessings’ are coming to town! 🎶

goals

Spend less time online

Here is another one written specifically for me… I have an addiction to my phone, and social media specifically.

There is a cool hack I’ve discovered which is also rather embarrassing, called Screen Time.

& OmG is it the wake up call that literally no-one wants… Finding out that you’ve spent a ludicrous amount of time on your smartphone, who TF wants that!? 😭

Taking it right back to the point at hand, Screen Time enables you to lock your phone after you’ve reached the limited number of hours you’ve allocated a day.

goals

Eat healthier

Those five-a-days? Eat 10 of them. Get healthy and achieve those curb-cravings goals!

goals

Create a fitness routine

No-one expects you to run a marathon or represent your country in the Olympics after starting your fitness journey…

Honestly, just go for a jog, whack on a fitness DVD or stream it on your TV in lockdown. It is sure to give you a spring in your step.

goals

Travel to a new place

Lockdown called 📞 , it said “stay at home”. In that case, I assume this means just go to a different room (or a different park)…

After lockdown, travel to a new place in your country for a staycation (if you can’t travel abroad – as it’s probably wiser not to).

goals

Declutter your home

Think of it as the ‘spring cleaning’ before Spring itself aka: ‘middle of winter cleaning’.

Research shows that a cluttered home makes for a cluttered mind. Start afresh.

goals

Meditate every day

When people think of meditation, they expect it to be for 30 mins or an hour… Who made that a thing?!

Every time I mention it to someone who doesn’t do it, they’re always like “I don’t have time!” 🤯

Newsflash: if you’re doing it right, you could feel the same benefits of meditation in just five minutes.

goals

Keep a diary

I bought a five year diary in 2020. & what a year to invest in one! 😂

Last year was filled with “Lockdown Thoughts”. Let’s see what the other four have in store…

goals

Drink more water

Stay hydrated. If you’re struggling to, you can download an app that can tell you when to drink water – or even buy a smart-water bottle.

Alternatively, just follow Twitter accounts dedicated to drinking water and turning your notifications on.

goals

Make time for self-care

Do something for yourself each week/fortnight or month. Whether that’s running a bath, putting on a face mask , whatever it is: give yourself that well deserved “me time”.

friends

Reconnect with friends

If 2020 has taught us anything, it’s that life’s too short. Surround yourself with loved ones.

goals

Set a bedtime and stick to it

A good sleeping habit is so important. A set time for your body to rest is healthy for your skin, your hair, your organs – everything. The body repairs itself while we sleep, so a regular sleeping pattern is vital for wellness…

If you’re like me and suffer from insomnia, practice sleep hygiene.

goals

Push through with your career goals

There’s no time like the present when it comes to revisiting old career plans, goals or dreams. Rise and grind!

Whether it’s a career change or a promotion, work towards it. Take action!

goals

Create An Emergency Fund

Covid has certainly messed up our economy, no-one knows what the future holds.

Be grateful for the now and put some money aside for emergencies. Your savings will come in handy one day (hopefully not in an emergency setting).

goals

Give to charity

Last Christmas, I felt guilty – big time. The fact that I had everything I needed, and there are people that didn’t really didn’t sit right with me. So, I was thankfully in a position where I could donate a little more than I usually do each month.

You don’t have to just donate, you can fundraise or volunteer too!

Charities I’d recommend in the UK are:

1) Crisis – for those in a crisis who need support

2) Samaritans – a comforting and listening ear for those who need to talk

3) Age UK – supporting the elderly

4) RSPCA – rehoming and saving animals from cruelty and neglect

5) GOSH – there for children who are ill and need treatment

6) Shelter – tackling homelessness

7) Trussell Trust – for underprivileged people and families living on the breadline

8) NSPCC – protecting children from abuse and neglect

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29 Items To Tick Off Your Bucket List Before You Turn 30

bucket list

I’m turning 30 in the coming year, so I thought a list of 29 bucket list must-ticks before turning 30 would be apt.

bucket list

Bucket list tick #1: Start Saving

If you’ve yet to set up a savings account, do so. It doesn’t even need to be a large amount, a simple £50 each month away for a rainy day – it all adds up.

Think about it, *amount you’re willing to save* x *amount of months* x *the years away you are from retirement* = a somewhat large number.

You never know what the future holds, so start now.

Also, for those of you planning to get onto the mortgage ladder, the sooner you start saving, the quicker it’ll be to have enough money for a deposit…

bucket list

Bucket list tick #2: Learn to Cook More & Better

As much as we love pasta and ready-meals, it’s not sustainable for a lifetime. Especially if you plan on having a family of your own one day. Learn to cook, either buy a cook book or scour the internet / check out YouTube for some awesome new recipes.

‘Health is wealth’, and so is giving our body the nutrients it needs by cooking our own meals. What’s more, it might even work out cheaper to buy the ingredients – because more often than not, there will be a surplus of ingredients to make a second batch with.

bucket list

Bucket list tick #3: Fundraise For a Cause and Volunteer for Change

I absolutely love fundraising &/or volunteering. I’ve been doing it since I was a teen and I can categorically say it’s shaped me as a person.

I’ve matured beyond my years and experienced things that others my age might not have.

Also, that feeling after you’ve given back is unmatched. It’s a rewarding, liberating feeling that comes with volunteering which not much else really offers.

Fancy it? Choose a cause that you care about, or one close to your heart and find out how to get involved in your local community.

Now more than ever is the time to do it… Even if means getting an elderly couple at the end of your street some shopping and leaving it at the door. That’s helping.

bucket list

Bucket list tick #4: Strengthen Your Political Awareness

For the sake of your children and your children’s children (or even just our generation), research politics and delve deeper into it.

I’m not saying that you need to go as far as becoming a minister, or that politics isn’t filled with lies and a whole heap of crazy – but being able to choose a party to support – and having your reasons based on your core values is important.

If possible, choose a party that offers you or the people of tomorrow a better life. Alternatively, just choose the one you deem a lesser of two evils.

bucket list

Bucket list tick #5: Be At Peace With Yourself

By now, you’d have made your fair share of mistakes and wrong decisions… But, rather than looking back in shame, accept them and more importantly: yourself.

Be at peace with who you are because you’ve made it this far, and life’s too short to be anything but content with that.

bucket list

Bucket list tick #6: Social Media Isn’t Real

Nothing on social-media is real. For the most part, social-media is oversaturated with people pretending to be living ‘the life’, but there’s more to that. There’s a lot that goes on behind closed doors…

Also, celebrities typically filter/photoshop themselves in pictures, so it’s a far cry from what they look like in real-life. The effects of filtering/photoshopping can lead to a really awful case of body/image dysmorphia. I’ve definitely learned my lesson and don’t use filters anymore.

bucket list

Bucket list tick #7: Make a List of Stuff You Want to do Before You’re 40

Apparently, our 20s are supposed to be a ‘dress rehearsal’ of our 30s, so make your 30s count by writing down a list of stuff (which are achievable) that you’d like to complete before you turn 40.

Look back on them every so often in the lead-up, so you don’t lose sight of them.

bucket list

Bucket list tick #8: Plan An Awesome 30th Birthday Celebration

If you turned 30 during Covid lockdowns, I am so sorry! Plan to turn 30 again post-Covid, everyone else in the same boat will be… 😆(It might be the case for me next year too, tbh – so I won’t say too much.)

However, in the ideal world – make it memorable. It’s a huge milestone!

bucket list

Bucket list tick #9: Stop Living in the Past

Stop with the regrets, ‘shoulda coulda woulda’ BS. At the end of the day, life doesn’t always go our way. We could plan our whole lives out and God will pull out a “checkmate” on our lives, and change it.

Not everything is in our control. But one thing’s for sure: it will all make sense afterwards, and the outcome is better than we’d ever have planned.

The present day, minute or hour is on more powerful than our past – because that’s what determines our future.

bucket list

Bucket list tick #10: Keep Your Close Friends With You No Matter What

You will meet loads of people on this journey of life, but sadly not all of them will stick around. Only the ones most meaningful will. And, more often than not, you’ll only be able to count those type of people on one hand. True friends are few and far between, when you find them – keep them no matter what.

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Bucket list tick #11: Attend A Concert, Festival or Sport Game

Do this, attend an event maybe not during Covid times as it’s definitely not safe (or even happening unless it’s outdoors) but I truly recommend it.

I’ve never been to a festival but was planning to this year and then… Yeah, exactly! So, when things go back to normal, I definitely will be.

First concert I’ve been to: Capital FM’s Summertime Ball

First football game I’ve been to: Man United

First basketball game I’ve been to: LA Lakers

First theatre performance I’ve been to: The Lion King

bucket list

Bucket list tick #12: Learn How To Be More Organised

Organisation skills aren’t a light switch. They don’t turn on when you turn 30…

Do the work before you get there, because trying to learn new tricks at 30 is going to come with its own challenges that’ll leave you with little time for manual self-development.

Any self-development you’ll be doing in your 30s will most likely happen due to life experience – because the older we get, the harder it is to create new habits that we stick to.

bucket list

Bucket list tick #13: Read More

The more you read, the more you’ll grow. Honestly, reading is so freeing.

Make a list, and work your way through it. It’s really that simple. Oh, and – if you come across a book that you lose interest in once you’ve started, put it down and start reading the next one.

If you’re reading the right books, you’ll learn what all the fuss is about and why most people love it so much.

bucket list

Bucket list tick #14: Try To Learn a New Language

Sort of like tip 12, if you don’t do this during your 20s, you’ll have less time and patience for it in your 30s. It’s not easy though, so choose a simpler one – and if you master it, you’re my personal hero.

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Bucket list tick #15: Get Fit

Our bodies start to change as we go into our 30s apparently, so try to stay fit and active to avoid sluggishness.

Find a fitness regime that works for you and stick to it. Similarly to tip 14, if you manage to do this – you too are my hero!

bucket list

Bucket list tick #16: Try Living in A Different City

I haven’t done this personally, but I did work in different cities before.

In a previous job, I ran events in the states so would be out there every couple of months.

But, I’d recommend living in a different city post-Covid for sure. There’s a sense of independence tied with adventure. It’s great.

bucket list

Bucket list tick #17: Travel Alone

Again, I was due to do this for the first time this year but it didn’t end up happening.

I’ve travelled alone before, but never done the whole trip alone.

I’ve heard from people who have done it that it’s a mix of lonesome but also fun. It’s ‘fun’ in the sense that you get to do what you want to do all the time, without others there.

I’d do it for the experience but I doubt I’d prefer it to being on a trip with others. I love social interaction aspect that comes with exploring. It also helps that I’m flexible when it comes to excursions.

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Bucket list tick #18: Try To Delve Deeper Into Your Family

If you haven’t done one of those ancestry tests, I’d highly recommend it. It’s so interesting! You’ll find out so much. Alternatively, if that isn’t your style, do more with your actual (immediate or extended) family, i.e. get to know them more.

bucket list

Bucket list tick #19: Try New Things

“Variety is the spice of life”, or so they say… Try new things. If there’s been something you’ve always wanted to do, cease the day (again after Covid, if it’s not social-distance dependent)! Get it done.

Whether it’s skydiving or swimming with sharks – whatever it is, YOLO (You Only Live Once) but also keep safe & be well!

bucket list

Bucket list tick #20: Get Rid of Bad Habits

Like I said earlier, the older we get – the harder it is to quit bad habits. If there’s something that annoys you about yourself, quit or change it. ‘Trying’ is the first step to overcoming.

bucket list

Bucket list tick #21: Buy Something You’ve Always Wanted

I love this one, it really offers a sense of accomplishment. Set yourself a goal and promise yourself that you will purchase whatever it is as a reward for your achievements.

bucket list

Bucket list tick #22: Don’t Hold Grudges

Life is way too short to carry negativity with us and drag it out over long periods of time. Forgive and forget, it’s more peaceful that way.

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Bucket list tick #23: Get A Tattoo

I have two and wouldn’t change them for the world. I have 0 plans on getting more, though.

There’s only a couple of pieces of advice I’d offer regarding this… Only get a tattoo if you want to, and if you’re 100% sure that you’ll still like the look of it when you’re old, wrinkly and grey.

You don’t want to regret it and have to pay for it to be laser removed – it’s more painful than getting the tattoo itself too, apparently.

bucket list

Bucket list tick #24: Binge Watch The Most Popular Films & Series

When you’ve got kids and a livelihood, you’ll have less time for binge watching movies and TV shows that your friends keep going on about…

My advice would be get as many as you can before your 30s as that’s when (on average) an advanced sense of responsibility kicks in.

bucket list

Bucket list tick #25: Go On A Road Trip

I had always planned of doing a road trip around America. It’ll definitely happen in my 30’s as it hasn’t so far!

bucket list

Bucket list tick #26: Start Keeping A ‘Good Memories’ Diary

There is nothing better than looking back on all the good times, and not having to be reminded of them solely by pictures on your social-media archive…

I wish I’d kept a diary of the good stuff I’ve experienced in my 20’s… Might start when I’m 30. You heard it here first… 30 is the new 20. 😂

bucket list

Bucket list tick #27: There Are Some Things They Don’t Teach You In School

School is home to some of the best memories I’ve ever had. Honestly, we always miss it when we leave.

However, the reality is – it doesn’t teach us everything we need to know in our adult lives… For example: applying for a job, applying for and sorting out a mortgage, tax, childbirth, raising children, managing trauma, managing life, overcoming battles with mental health.

bucket list

Bucket list tick #28: Be Ready For Change

Life is fluid. So, be prepared to be shaped and moulded differently (without losing your key values).

When I mentioned being ‘shaped and moulded’, I don’t mean who you are as a person and your ideals or moral compass, what I mean is: being accepting of change and conforming to a different outcome, even if very different to the one you planned.

Stubbornness has never in its history stopped things from happening. So, we can be as stubborn as we like, but it won’t change the outcome.

Life begins at the end of our comfort zone.

bucket list

Bucket list tick #29: Meet More People

Don’t be afraid to meet new people, whether that’s friends or dating. I love my friends since childhood, and nobody will ever replace them but life brings new people into our lives all the time, that doesn’t mean we love each other any less. Having more than one friendship circle is healthy.

Now, we’ve come to the end of the post… 🎵 

Have you go any tips of your own you’d like to share? Comment below.

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Free Apps Providing Mental Health Services

Mental Health Services

Useful numbers for mental health support:

United kingdom 🇬🇧 116 123

United states 🇺🇸 1-800-273-8255

Canada 🇨🇦 1 800 456 4566

Ireland 🇮🇪 116 123

Philippines 🇵🇭 2919

Australia 🇦🇺 131 114

In light of the “Tier 4” – aka second full lockdown in the UK – I am back with a list of FREE apps providing mental health services to help manage mood, and suss out triggers before they spiral out of control into a full depressive/anxious episode.

I think mental health is just as important – if not more so – than physical health. Unfortunately, counselling is expensive, unlike physical health support, provided by the NHS.

(Yes, mental health support is offered by the NHS, but I can imagine that there are long waiting lists for this)

In a global pandemic, which is crushing the economy, less people are likely to afford seeking it privately.

So, I’ve scoured the App Store to bring you FREE apps that aim to support you through this pandemic, keeping you headstrong.

Mental Health Services

DISCLAIMER: Apps alone are not and should not be used as a replacement for actual therapy. Please arrange a doctors appointment, as only a mixture of medication, therapy and use of these apps below can successfully treat the problem.

Let’s dive in…

Apps that provide free mental health services

Mental Health Services

CBT Tools for Healthy Living, Self-Help Mood Diary

(FREE TO USE ON ANDROID)

This app offers users the opportunity to keep track of their moods by logging their information into a diary. As I explained above, this app is completely FREE and available on the Android Play store.

Downloaders of this app can monitor their moods and activities which could help to determine triggers for mental health blocks &/or emotional instability.

I think this app is vital for those who are looking to gain a better handle on their mental health, and to take back control. Yes, mental health is uncontrollable at the worst of times, but this app assists by allowing you to keep a record, which you can look back on in a bid to pinpoint triggers.

There are some great self-help tips to take advantage of on there also.

Mental Health Services

Side By Side by the Mind Charity

(FREE TO USE ON ANDROID & APPLE)

Okay, so lockdown is very isolating and depressing. For those who have tragically lost family members, friends and even jobs due to Covid, Christmas is going to be a very lonely time…

‘Side by Side’ is like that little light at the end of the tunnel. Although it’s not the same as face-to-face human interaction, this free app is a supportive virtual community brought to you by Mind Charity (one of the largest mental health charities in the UK).

Users can share their stories with the promise of being heard, whilst also listening to others’ stories. Users can bond over similar experiences, make friends and feel like they’re part of a community.

Best of all: it’s free to use.

Mental Health Services

MindShift

(FREE TO USE ON APPLE & ANDROID)

This is an anxiety-busting CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) app designed with young people in mind. Whether you’re a youth or young adult, this app has everything you need to get through the anxious phases we endure on a daily basis.

Anxiety wears many hats and has many faces, it comes in many different forms – sometimes we’re even unable to recognise it. Well, you can rest assured it can be treated with the right help. Starting with this app.

MindShift is a great stress-reliever, and a teacher of relaxation. It’s also packed with insightful tips to help us develop more helpful ways of thinking.

Sometimes, all we need is a list of strategies that we can re-visit at a later date, which will help us overcome our anxieties. A list of these are as follows:

  1. exam anxiety
  2. perfectionism
  3. social anxiety
  4. performance/work-related anxiety
  5. worry
  6. panic
  7. conflict

Rest in the assurance that if you’re suffering from any of the above, MindShift is the one for you.

Again: this is FREE to download onto your smartphone.

Mental Health Services

Mood Tools

(FREE TO USE ON ANDROID)

This app is great for monitoring our mood like all others before and after it, but one thing I also love about it is that users can test themselves by taking the PHQ-9 Depression questionnaire. This is the same or similar to the ones given out in counselling sessions. Although we hate taking them at the time, there’s no denying that they help in showing our progress.

I also love this app because it has a video section, pre-loaded with plenty of content of anything from mood-lifting to guided meditations and enlightening TED talks.

As with many other apps out there (many of which are listed in this blog), this app has a thought diary, manual activity tracking (help with identifying triggers), information on self-help – but also a Safety Plan – support with suicide prevention.

Mental Health Services

SAM Self-help for Anxiety Management

(FREE TO USE ON APPLE & ANDROID)

SAM helps to understand and manage anxiety better.

You’ll learn how to better pinpoint causes of your anxiety, whilst also discovering new self-help exercises that you can practice offline.

Social Cloud is a private and confidential social-media forum where you can anonymously discuss your mental health journey with others, in a safe space.

SAM is an app that was developed as a result of a project run by the research team of Bristol’s UWE.

Mental Health Services

Silvercloud

(FREE TO USE ON APPLE & ANDROID)

Silvercloud is brilliant too in its own right. This app offers an array of supportive and interactive programmes, whilst giving out free tools and practices we can implement to solve our behavioural health issues.

I know we shouldn’t do it, but I always have a favourite, and this app is mine.

There is a programme for everything on this app… Anything from:

  1. well-being
  2. life balance
  3. time management
  4. communication skills
  5. goal setting, relationship & communication management
  6. anger management
  7. stress management
  8. relaxing and sleep management
Mental Health Services

Happier

(FREE TO USE ON APPLE)

Introducing the app which is best at helping us live in the present. If you’re like me, and are stuck in the future (or like others can get stuck in the past), this app is the one for you.

This app has its fair share of motivational quotes that keep us going. Also, I absolutely love the Gratitude Journal feature on there. Record all the happy moments, and look back on them whenever you want.

This app is packed with mini-courses you can take to find the joy in today. An added bonus of this app is that you can sync it with your smartwatch to keep track of your fitness, as a healthy body helps lead to a healthy mind.

There’s also quizzes we can take to help calm ourselves, along with guided mediations. It’s an amazing app. If you have an iPhone, iPad or iPod, I recommend downloading it.

Mental Health Services

Daylio

(FREE TO USE ON APPLE & ANDROID)

Another one of my favourite apps, this is a private diary app that enables you to keep a record of your moods without having to write anything. Emojis and adjectives help to say it better than words.

This app is great because you can also add note etc and keep an old school diary.

The calendar feature lets you look back on a specific day to when you wasn’t feeling too good (or the ones you were). The format of this app is said to help understand our habits better. Keep up-to-date on your activities and create patterns that will help us to become more productive.

Mental Health Services

Catch It

(FREE TO USE ON APPLE & ANDROID)

This app is brought to you by the universities of Manchester and Liverpool. Like many other apps featured in this blog post, this app works as an ongoing diary. It’s helpful to note things down if you want to better understand our moods.

I like this app because it illustrates some key principles of psychology approaches to mental health and wellbeing, specifically CBT.

Free apps that provide mental health services for eating disorders

Mental Health Services


Stay Alive

(FREE TO USE ON APPLE & ANDROID)

Suicidal prevention app that is packed with a wide range of useful information to help keep us safe, preventing suicide.

Suicidal thoughts are not easy to deal with, and this app helps you combat them. This app is also beneficial for those who sadly know someone who may be at risk of suicidal thoughts.

You may not know this, but there are study finding that link a low mental health with eating disorders.

If you’re suffering from an eating disorder, that’s probably down to underlying issues that are going on in your mental health system.

Below are a couple of free apps you can download to support you on your journey to curing your eating disorder.

Recovery Record

(FREE TO USE ON APPLE & ANDROID)

Recovery from eating disorders isn’t easy, but you sure as heck don’t need to do it alone. This app covers o& supports rehabilitation from all types of eating disorders, whether it’s anorexia, bulimia, binge eating, obsessive eating, or compulsive eating disorders.

Keep track of your meals by keeping a record, and note down your thoughts and feelings. Set up notifications to be alerted of encouragement &/or affirmation messages and meditation images.

There’s a feature which lets you set up a meal plan, and an option to set up an alarm that alerts you.

Choose a treatment team, and share your recovery record with them, so they can support you, better understanding your behavioural trends and triggers.

This app is more like a community, you will be able to connect with hundreds / thousands of people who are also on a journey of recovery from eating disorders.

Mental health services

Rise Up +

(FREE TO USE ON APPLE & ANDROID)

Rise Up + Recover is a great app for those who struggle with body image. I’ve tried pretty much all the diets and can’t seem to stick to them, so this has helped me over the years.

Similar to Recovery Record, you can log your meals, set up notifications for motivational quotes and set custom reminders. This app also offers users of the app professional treatment and support available nearby.

Coronavirus and Mental Health: The Importance of Gratitude

Coronavirus

Another post about Coronavirus and the last that I will write…

So, right now, it’s tough. I’m not the first, nor the last person that will remind you of this. I mean, it’s the hardest thing to escape. The whole world is gripped by this pandemic. The whole world is at its feet, life as we know it has ground to a halt.

The purpose of this post is to take the shine away from the three biggest problems and highlight the millions of little blessings. It’s human nature to focus on our problems as opposed to the solutions… But, now it’s more important than ever to stop.

Research shows that a weak mental health has detrimental effects to our immune system. Of course, we need a high immune system to function and beat/prevent this virus.

Let’s start being grateful for the little blessings that [in the grand scheme of things] outweigh the three of our biggest problems… The world is being forced to acclimatise to a new way of living, so we might as well change our way of thinking!

Three problems we face because of Coronavirus

  1. Coronavirus fear of catching & spreading it.
  2. Being restricted from the outside world – bad mental health and/or being in a domestically toxic household.
  3. Not seeing our loved ones in person.

And now for a list of all the things we have to be thankful and grateful for, everyday blessings we forget to focus on or even take for granted…

Three things to be grateful for since Coronavirus

  1. Good health. We ourselves are not suffering from the complications of Coronavirus.
  2. Healthcare. First world countries have the best healthcare. The NHS in England is doing an amazing job all things considered… Also, it’s still possible for us to contact our GP and pharmacy via phone, or have things delivered to our home address.
  3. Waking up every morning. Think of all those not making it through the night, not just because of Coronavirus, but every other disease and/or natural causes.
  4. Breathing!? The people who are sadly and tragically suffering from the worst strain of Coronavirus and/or pneumonia can’t even do this unaided…
  5. A roof over our heads. Homelessness isn’t eradicated because of this virus… There are still people out there with no home.
  6. Food on the table. People in third world countries are suffering from hunger as well as Coronavirus. Our supermarkets might be limited, but there is still stock. It’s still possible for us to get the basics of what we need.
  7. Our jobs – even if furloughed. We can work from home or if not (in case of furlough) there is still money coming in. There are people out there that are sadly jobless.
  8. Technology. We live in a time when we can FaceTime our loved ones, and this helps us feel less alone.
  9. Home gardens/balconies. There are people out there that don’t have a garden at home and can’t enjoy the summer weather that the UK has been getting.
  10. Avoidance of natural disasters. Speaking of the weather, do you know how lucky we are not to be in a country that is being torn to shreds by bushfires, earthquakes, typhoons or hurricanes?
  11. Avoidance of war. Do you know how lucky we are to not be in a war-torn country while all this is going on?
  12. Having self-isolation buddies/housemates. There are people out there that are self-isolating alone, have nobody to speak to and watch TV or eat at the dining table with.
  13. Saving finances. We are all saving so much by not having to travel and get lunch at work. Also, any holidays, festivals or gigs we booked are being refunded or converted to credits to re-book at a later date.
  14. The ability to soul search. Now is the best time to do some soul-searching and self-discovery. There are no distractions.
  15. The ability to go out for walks to clear our heads. Most countries that experienced lockdown were locked in their houses, weren’t even allowed out for an hour or exercise. They had to carry an official note to say “leaving to pick up prescription / doctor appointment / buy items required from shopping list” or risk imprisonment or a serious fine.
  16. The free time. We have so much time on our hands to watch that boxset, read that book, study that course (more on this later), learn to cook, learn to clean, make more memories with those we live with but don’t see because of other commitments.
  17. Studying. The Open University is offering FREE courses to study anything from Maths, Science and English to Psychology, Languages and Finance in the comfort of your own home – online – at your own pace. Go find your calling!
  18. Free to do what we want, when we want (indoors). The saddest part of lockdown is that there are people out there who used to use the outdoors as an escape from indoor domestic violence. Do you know how lucky we are to be in a safe home where we are not made to feel victim?
  19. This is just temporary. This isn’t permanent. We will be reunited with our loved ones.

19 whole reasons to be grateful that I can think of… Three problems. Now do you see? Shift that thinking to change your life.

Final words on Coronavirus

Of course, there are some really awful drawbacks to lockdown that should never be ignored. Mental health and.. If you are victim of domestic violence, please visit:

UK: https://www.womensaid.org.uk/

Scotland: https://sdafmh.org.uk/

Wales: https://www.welshwomensaid.org.uk/

You are not alone.

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