24 September 2017

How to help someone with SAD

How to help someone with SAD

Seasonal Affective Disorder (aka SAD) impacts a great number of us, and starts to kick in around this time of year. Seasonal Affective Disorder is a term used to describe a condition in which you feel low in mood, and in which existing mental health problems become more intense during the winter months. 

SAD is such a natural thing to be inflicted by. As humans, we're used to living in a circadian rhythm, which essentially refers to the idea that we rise with the sun and go to sleep with it too. We also used to spend the majority of our time outside, hunting and gathering and all that kinda jazz. With modern work days often forcing us to leave the house in the dark and come home in the dark, our bodies are totally out of sync with their natural rhythms, and as a result, our mental health suffers. 

Whilst it feels like so many people are welcoming Autumn in with open arms, the start of this season can bring with it a heightened anxiety in people suffering from SAD. So, here are a few things you can do to help a friend or loved one suffering, or yourself!

1.) Keep in touch. Summer seems to be the time for lots of activities and get-togethers, and it can make Autumn/Winter feel a little more lonely. Give someone a ring, Facetime them or just catch up with a message on Whatsapp. Remind them that you're thinking about them, and that the start of darker evenings doesn't mean that you can't hang out or have fun.

2.) Make your home more hygge. This obvs is one to help someone you're living with rather than a friend. Get all the cosy throws out, pop fairy lights around the place and take time out of your day together to have a hot drink and mull things over.

3.) Talk about SAD itself. Read up on what it is and the symptoms of it. If your friend/family member seems to always get really low in mood, tired and irritable around this time of year, talk to them about the possibility that they may be suffering from SAD, and whether they would benefit from visiting a doctor.

4.) Buy a SAD lamp or Lumie light. This isn't a #spon (although I wouldn't be adverse to the idea because I LOVE my Lumie clock). SAD lamps are a form of light therapy that can help sufferers to boost their mood. Me and my partner have a Lumie light and it's wonderful for fighting that feeling of utter dread when you have to force yourself out of bed on a dark winter morning. You set yourself an alarm (which FYI you don't actually have to have a noise for, which I adore), pop it on each evening, and in the morning the light will start to get brighter half an hour before your alarm is due to go off. In this way, it mimics a sunrise and helps you wake up a little perkier because your body feels as though it's getting a proper rhythm of waking up as the day gets brighter. You can also do the opposite in the evening to mimic a sunset. 

5.) Open all the curtains/blinds in the house. This is such a tiny thing that you can do, but it makes a massive difference. Days are getting shorter, and the more natural light you have shining into your home, the better. 

6.) Let someone be sad. This is sad as in unhappy this time. It's okay to feel shitty over the next few months. Let your friend, partner, co-worker or whoever it is cry it out with you. Be that shoulder to lean on, have a cup of tea and watch a cute film. Whatever you can do to help, even if it's just being there to make sure they get up in the mornings, do it.

7.) And then help them to change things. Mental illnesses are tough and unavoidable, but there are things you can do to improve things. Whether it's actually going to see what a GP can do to help, or joining a club that they've been wanting to join for months, see exactly what your friend would like to do to make things a little easier.

Do you suffer from SAD? What do you find helpful?

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23 September 2017

Trying out LUSH's Soak and Float solid shampoo

Trying out LUSH's Soak and Float solid shampoo

Trying out LUSH's Soak and Float solid shampoo

Dandruff has been the absolute bane of my life for the past few months. It started off with a lil bit of scalp sunburn and never really recovered. Brill. I've been desperate to try anything and everything to help out with it (hmu with your suggestions) and have finally found that using this solid shampoo and a weekly coconut oil hair mask improves the situation, even if it doesn't totally get rid of it.

I've been trying to cut down on my plastic waste recently too, so for the past six months or so now I've only been using LUSH solid shampoos. Soak and Float is their one that targets dandruff, which is obvs what I really need. It's full of cade oil to nourish the scalp as well as marigold and rose petals to soothe redness. 

Those marigold and rose petals? Yes, they get in the way a little when you're trying to rinse your hair but oh my god they smell AMAZING. As in full on dreamy. Using this shampoo bar feels like an absolute treat because it makes my hair smell like some sort of goddess' locks after I use it. 

I won't lie, it hasn't had any sort of 'miracle' effect on my dandruff. But, it has made my scalp stop feeling tight and itchy, which is a massive win in my book. So, if you're suffering from dandruff I'd definitely recommend giving this a go to help treat your scalp. But, in terms of a complete remedy for it? I'm still on the hunt ....

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22 September 2017

Dealing with a parent remarrying

I've been putting off writing this all day. I've cleaned my pets out, cooked a full on from-scratch kinda dinner, searched for a new place to move to and finally resorted to a bath to relax and actually do something enjoyable with my Friday night. 

My parents' breakup is something that I've never spoken about on this blog. To be quite honest, I'm not sure if I ever will talk about the ordeal itself. I've waited a long time to allow myself to be rational and fair with my thoughts on the matter. Today's post has been plaguing me for months, but until I experienced the 'big day' and had time to think about it in a detached manner I didn't want to write this. Ultimately, I'm writing this post so that young people going through this will have some tips on how to handle it; me writing this post from a negative space wouldn't help me and it wouldn't help anyone else either.

So, last month one of my parents got remarried. It's something that you never envision yourself attending. I mean, I've always thought about my parents being at my wedding, but the idea of going to one of theirs was just something that I never dreamed of.

At first I had no idea how to react. In all my wildest imaginings, I never thought up a protocol of what I'd do if this happened. Which is strange because my little anxious mind thinks up a protocol for everything. I assume this event seemed so out of the sphere of reality that it never occurred to me. But, all of a sudden it was a reality and I had to face it

None of my closest friends have gone through this as an adult, and I felt so isolated when I was trying to come to turns with it. Everyone's advice was something I just wanted to bat away because they couldn't understand if they hadn't been through it. Luckily for me, I have a sister that I'm incredibly close to who knew exactly how I was feeling and who was there to talk things through with. 

This post is here for everyone who doesn't have someone going through a parent remarriage with them, and who has no idea how to handle it. Here are some things that I've found useful over the past few months, or have learnt to avoid. 

Discuss what exactly is happening with the parent who's getting remarried. This is a major one. I kept my feelings about the whole situation hidden for months and it finally wore me down until I felt downright miserable. Tell them how you're feeling: are you happy, or concerned about how your life might change because of it? Let them know how it's impacting you. Think about what you want from the day: do you want to be involved or in the background? Give them something to work with so that they can make the day better for everyone.

Bring a close friend, partner or family member with you on the big day. It's so nice to have part of your support network with you. It means that you won't be left alone to dwell on things that you may find upsetting, and you've got a shoulder to cry on, or someone to celebrate with if you need to.

Avoid surprises. Find out the colour scheme, plan of the day, etc, for the wedding. Things can go downhill so quickly if what you've emotionally prepared yourself for isn't actually what's going to be happening.

Wear something that makes you feel hella-confident. Whack out your favourite makeup, prettiest dress and even your lucky pants. That little extra pep in your step might be exactly what you need. 

Don't cause a scene. If you think drinking might make you a bit more feisty, then avoid it. If something's upsetting you about the day, speak to your parent privately. In the end, you don't want to remember the day as being one where you publicly spoke out against something you actually agree with now.

Take some family photos. It's a tough day, and you might be finding it a bit hard, but it's one of your parent's best days ever. Let them have that photo together, and every time you look at it it'll remind you that you put their needs first when it mattered and supported them. 

Remember that it's okay to get upset. Before the wedding, during the wedding or after. It's absolutely fine. It's a life-changing day for you in which your family structure is changing forever. Allow yourself to grieve for the way things used to be. 

I really hope this helps any of you going through this, and if you ever want more advice on the topic then feel free to drop me a DM on twitter! 
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