Tag Archives: recovery

Ultimate Mental Health Gift Guide For Christmas

Christmas is just around the corner. If you’re looking for that perfect, special gift for a loved one having a tough time you’ve come to the right place. The gifts included in this guide are perfect for anyone struggling with their mental health – whether they have a mental illness or not. Anyone can be having a tough time and it can be hard to find ways to help them through it. You don’t have to wait for Christmas, but if you’re loved one doesn’t like being made a fuss of or you don’t want to seem overbearing, Christmas is the ideal time to show someone you care.


Self care items.

It doesn’t have to be anything fancy or expensive. Some ideas include bath bombs, shower gels, body lotions, candles, face masks. Basically anything that makes someone feel good or taken care of. It’s important to take time out for yourself, look after you mental health and feel good in yourself.


Weighted blanket.

Weighted blankets have many benefits, and people suffering from anxiety, depression and other mental illnesses have found them useful. They can improve sleep, help with stress, and help someone feel safe when everything is crumbling around them.


Positive quote necklaces.

I recently purchased one of these for my best friend and she loved it. She even said it helps get her through in times of heightened anxiety or stress. It can give someone something to focus on, a quote to help them through or remind them of how far they’re come. I brought this one from PennyBlackDesigns on Etsy. They are beautifully made and also very affordable.


Positivity items.

One of the hardest things to do when you’re struggling is staying positive. It can be helpful for some people to receive little things to keep them going in times of need. There are so many places that sell positivity quote items in many forms – badges, fridge magnets, original artwork and so much more. One of my favourite places to shop for this kind of thing is Art Is My Therapy – it’s run by my friend Liv, who makes handmade items and sells her original artwork. She also sells pick me up boxes with a range of items to help someone through a tough time. I highly recommend her shop – you won’t be disappointed.


Make them a crisis box.

This is the perfect gift if you’re stuck for ideas. It’s great for letting someone know you care and it’s something they can use all year round. I did a full post on how to create your own here, if you need some ideas and inspiration.


Sensory items.

Sensory items are great because they give someone a way to ground themselves if they are suffering from dissociation/flashbacks, or to help anxiety when they are in stressful situations. Sensory items include but are not limited to squishies, candles, body/room sprays, slime or tangles.


What other things come to mind when you think of mental health gifts?

How To Make A Self Care/Crisis Box (Ideal Christmas Gift)

If you’re struggling to find a meaningful gift for your loved one this Christmas why not make them their own self care or crisis box? It’s the perfect gift for a loved one suffering from a mental illness, going through a rough time or anyone who might need a pick me up. Everyone needs self care to get through life, in whatever form that may be. You can even make this box for yourself, and it’s great for birthdays too.

A self care box is exactly like the title says – a box full of items to inspire looking after yourself. Self care tends to be seperated into 6 types; physical, emotional, practical, mental, social, and spiritual. When creating your box it’s ideal to look at the 6 types and try to find items that fit into them. However, many forms of self care are not item based (for example – taking a walk, seeing a therapist, or seeing a friend) so an idea might be to write lists (or find them on Pinterest and print them out) to put into your box so they’re ideal to refer to when you’re in need.

A crisis box is a collection of items to be used when someone is in a state of distress. This might be if someone has self harm urges, suicidal thoughts, or needs grounding from dissociation or flashbacks etc. Something to keep in mind when creating a crisis box is to make sure you don’t put anything in that could potentially be used to hurt yourself/your loved one with, for example – candles, sharp items etc.

Although, a self care and crisis box are quite similar they can be quite different. Self care tends to be to keep yourself well, for example – if you’re feeling deflated or low and need a pick me up. Crisis boxes are for use at crisis point, when trying to prevent yourself getting to a point where you do something to harm yourself.

This is by no means an exclusive list and is designed to give you ideas and get you started. You can add things or take things away. It’s a great gift and allows you to personalise it to what you/your loved one finds helpful or enjoys.


Nurturing.

These are general items used to look after and appreciate yourself. Sometimes it’s easy to get caught up in life and forget to look after yourself. Small things can make all the difference.

Ideas text with baby pink heart

  • Hot chocolate/coffee sachets.
  • Tissues (it’s ok if you need to cry!)
  • Chocolate or your favourite snacks.
  • A card/letter to show them you’re thinking about them (if you gifting it to someone else) or one you’ve recieved in the past that makes you smile to look at (if its for yourself)
  • Mug
  • Face masks
  • Body lotions
  • A soft toy

Distraction.

Distraction items are great for both boxes. Whether you need distracting from urges, thoughts or memories, or want to do something you enjoy, it’s a great tool to busy your brain and focus on something positive.

Ideas text with baby pink heart

 

  • Books
  • Puzzles
  • Colouring books
  • Craft sets
  • Knitting/crocheting (wool etc)
  • Notebooks
  • Art supplies
  • Planner supplies
  • Puzzle books (dot to dot, wordsearches, suduko, crosswords etc)

Grounding.

Grounding is useful for many different reasons – it’s mainly used during flashbacks and/or dissociation, and aims to ‘ground’ you back to the present moment. Often it uses the 5 senses – sight, smell, touch, taste and hearing, (‘What can you see? What can you hear? etc).

Ideas text with baby pink heart

  • Vapour rub (for smell and touch)
  • Freeze spray/gel (for the cold on skin)
  • Squishies (touch)
  • Tangles (touch)
  • Sour sweets (taste)
  • Slime (touch)
  • Pictures of happy memories (sight)
  • Instrument (touch and hearing)
  • Favourite CD (do people even have CD’s anymore?!)/calming music (hearing)

Useful books/items.

There are a variety of useful things you could pop in the box such as books on mindfulness, happy/gratitude journals and books containing bright positive or inspirational quotes. You can also get bands that have quotes on them such as ‘you matter’ or ‘keep fighting’ etc which can be useful to wear on your wrist to remind the person of how far they’ve come/that they’re ok etc.

The three wristbands in the picture are from Stickman Communications, they’re useful to wear either as a visual reminder for yourself that you’re struggling (and so to be extra kind to yourself), or doing good. Or to let other people know how you feel (such as people you see regularly or live with) so they’re aware of how you’re feeling without you having to explain it – we all know how difficult that can be.

Ideas text with baby pink heart

  • Mindfulness books
  • Happy/gratitude journals
  • Books with colourful positive/inspirational quotes
  • Wrists bands with meaningful quotes on
  • Notebooks/pens

Remember this isn’t an exclusive list and things can be added or took away, it’s really up to you! Just have fun putting it together for yourself or someone else. 

Have you got any other ideas of what someone can put into a self care or crisis box?

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6 Helpful iPhone Apps For Managing Your Mental Health

Hey everyone and welcome back to my blog. Today, I’m going to be sharing 6 apps that are great for managing your mental health. I have personally tried out all of the following apps and I have seen the potential they have in making it easier to manage your illness. I hope these apps are useful and you find something new to help you along…

(All app titles link to the App Store).


Think Ups.

Price – Free.

This is a lovely little app I discovered by accident. It contains 6 mini activities – happy taps, habit maker, mindset, positivity, breather and illuminator. All of them are based around positive thinking, good habits and mindfulness. My favourite game is positivity, which is a word search game. You are given words revolved around positivity and you have to find them in the grid.


Three Good Things.

Price – Free.

What I love about this app is how simple it is. Everyday you receive a notification to input 3 good things that happened to you that day. It’s a great way to try and pick out the positives of the day, even if it’s been a particularly tough day.


Cove.

Price – Free.

This is one of most unique apps I’ve ever come across. Cove allows you to express how you’re feeling through music. You pick an emotion and it then allows you to add a base, melody and percussion to create a song. It’s great if you’re struggling to express how you’re feeling or you can’t find words to describe it. This app is also working with NHS (you can read more about this here).


Stigma.

Price – Free with a pro option.

Stigma is an app that allows you to track your mood and add journal entries. It also has a pen pal option – where you can connect with other people in similar situations to yourself. I haven’t tried out the pen pal aspect but I can imagine how helpful that could be to someone’s support system. One of my favourite aspects of the mood tracker is you can add a visual representation of how you’re feeling, which you can track over a certain period of time (daily, weekly, monthly).


Quit That.

Price – free.

I’ve added some examples to show you how it works

This is a very simple app that allows you to track habits you want to quit. It isn’t necessarily a mental health app, however, it’s great if there are bad habits, possibly related to your illness, you’d like to stop doing. It also allows you to input if the habit costs anything per day, and it will then show you how much you’ve saved since you’ve quit, which I think is a great motivator.


Clementine.

Price – free.

This is an app that uses hypnotherapy to help you deal with the struggles you may be facing. It includes several audios to listen to in the categories sleep, confidence and de-stress. It also allows you to add mantras (or choose the surprise me option) and the app will send you reminders throughout the day to remind you of them, which is think is a lovely touch.


What apps do you find helpful in managing your mental health?

7 Common Misconceptions You Should Stop Believing About Eating Disorders

Like all mental illness – eating disorders carry stigma leading many people developing misconceptions. This can be extremely harmful to sufferers and can lead to them being treated in a way that is detrimental to their recovery. Here I’m going to talk some about some of those misconceptions and the truth behind them..


There are many different types of eating disorders, and so someone suffering from an eating disorder may not always be underweight. One of the biggest misconceptions is that if someone isn’t underweight then they aren’t suffering or their illness isn’t doing any harm to their body. This is far from the truth. The sufferer can be doing huge amounts of damage to their body regardless of what weight they are.


Yes, there are sufferers who fast for long periods of time but that isn’t the case for everyone. Even someone with anorexia might eat at times – that is why it’s called restrictive eating. One of the most annoying things I experienced at my worst was I would get judgemental comments about my lack of eating. Eating in public or around other people was a no go and there were times I’d fast for days. However, on most days even though I wasn’t eating enough, I was still eating.


Contrary to popular belief the increase in skinny film star/model/singer media photographs is not the cause of eating disorders. These issues are deep rooted. They burrow down into someone’s self conscious and rip apart their self esteem. Suffering from an eating disorder does not mean someone wants to look like a supermodel. Most of the time it’s not even about being skinny – it’s more about the control, and/or emptiness and these things manifest in the rules and rituals around food.


Recovery is a process – just like with any illness or disorder. Sometimes that process can take years. Even after someone is weight restored or their eating habits are healthier, it doesn’t mean their eating disorder has gone away. Learning to eat again, putting weight on, balancing out eating habits is only half the battle. Battling the thoughts and the way you feel about yourself is a longer battle that no one but the sufferer can see.


Eating disorders can affect anyone – regardless of their gender or sex. They don’t pick and choose who they affect, just like any other illness.


If only this was the case then so many beautiful souls would never have been taken before their time. Eating disorders are complex and serious mental illnesses that have the potential to cause life threatening complications. Sufferers do not choose to behave the way they do.


Eating disorders do not develop as a way to get attention. Obviously the worry and concern over someone’s eating habits or low weight can lead to the sufferer receiving more attention, but that isn’t the reason why they develop. Eating disorder sufferers will in fact go to great lengths to hide their behaviour and will possibly be in denial they have a problem.

Eating disorders are also not dramatic. Most eating disorder sufferers don’t end up in hospital like you see in the movies. They are secretive and the worst battles occur in someone’s head.


What misconceptions about eating disorders do you wish people would stop believing?


6 Things I’m Learning About Eating Disorder Recovery

I’ve always been a fussy eater – but it wasn’t until I was around 12/13 years old that I developed an eating disorder. Everyone’s illness is triggered by different things – but mine stemmed from a lack of control in my situation and the things that were happening to me. In 2012 – I started my recovery and although it’s been a slippery slope of ups and downs – I’m doing ok. Here I wanted to share some of the most important things I’ve learned during my Eating Disorder recovery.


Everyone is different – and it’s the same in Eating Disorder recovery. The way in which someone recovers and the time it takes is different for every single person. One of the worst things you can do is compare your recovery to other people’s, easier said than done I know, but recovery isn’t a one size fits all.


You have to work at it everyday. You have to wake up every morning and choose recovery. It would be wrong of me and other people to assume my eating disorder has gone away just because I’m weight restored. The biggest challenge in my recovery has been accepting my body and fighting the thoughts – and this for me is still an on-going process.


Like seriously, I love to eat. For so many years I wouldn’t let myself enjoy food – food was the enemy. There were so many foods I would never, ever touch with a barge pole, let alone consume them. During my recovery I’ve tried so many new foods (with regular encouragement from my best friend).


This is an on-going process but what I believe to be true isn’t always the truth. And it’s important to listen to your loved ones when they’re telling you something. When you’re in that mindset it’s hard to believe the things someone is telling you. Especially when you’re feeling particularly anxious or self conscious about the way you look.


This one is so hard to work with because of the amount of media there is out there telling you what’s good and bad for you. Everything in moderation – that’s what I’ve learnt. One of the things that’s really helped with this is my best friends journey with Slimming World. One of the things the consultant told her when she started was she didn’t have to cut anything out and that you can still eat foods like chocolates and takeaways – just in moderation.


Anyone who develops an eating disorder didn’t choose that life for themselves. Just like any other mental illness like depression or bipolar disorder – the sufferer can not control their eating disorder or how it makes them act. That being said – recovery is a choice and you have to make that choice every single day you wake up to fight another day. However recovery is in no way easy. You have to make a series of choices everyday – to not get on the scales, to follow your meal plan, to not obsess over your body in the mirror. It’s messy, scary and exhausting. But everyday you make recovery choices – the closer you get to a life without your eating disorder. There will be bad days and good days and it’s all about riding the waves. Some days you’ll feel like you’re drowning, other days you’ll be on top of the world, most days you’re just alright. And that’s ok. You’re doing the best you can – keep going.


What are some of the things you’ve learnt in your recovery – whether it’s from an eating disorder or another mental illness?