D is for Depression

This blogpost was originally posted on The Pandora Box Gift Company website.

Something a little bit different today. I tried writing a post about depression, whilst not feeling great. Instead of my usual full blogpost, all I could manage was this. I feel that it shows how depression can effect you.

Depression drowns and drains you.

Rids you of yourself.

Self confidence becomes a thing of the past.

Colours and light darken and grey.

This world is not meant for me.

It’s a place where everyone else is happy.

Usually I’d say I don’t deserve this,

But lately I don’t feel like I deserve anything.

No-one can get to me

I’m lost in this dark silent void

But don’t worry my friend,

there is still hope.

A little light that shines dimly in the distance

it shows me the way out of this.

Eventually I will make it.

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C is for Christmas

– This post was taken from the blog from The Pandora Box Gift Company’s A-Z on Mental Health series –

Christmas, other holidays or special events can be great. They bring people together, they’re full of fun and activities and they give us something to look forward to. However there is another side to it all. Special events and holidays can prove to be tough on your mental health in multiple ways. We’ve listed how holidays and special events can effect your mood and how to help yourself.

Added pressure

There can be a lot of extra pressure placed on someone around a special event which can lead to extra stress and anxiety or increase different aspects of poor mental health. This can come from organising and bringing people together or trying to make sure that nothing goes wrong on the day.

Tips to help:

  1. Organise everything into lists: Make sure that you put only attainable goals on daily lists and place them in order of importance. Sometimes the best thing to do is to put lots of little tasks that you know you will definitely get done amongst other larger tasks. This way you’re guaranteed to complete some tasks and make you feel like you’re getting somewhere.

  2. Take some time for yourself: Make sure that you set time aside for yourself within your schedule. Take a bath and relax, read a book somewhere quiet or just take some time to chill out in front of the TV.

  3. Get enough sleep! Make sure that you get as much sleep as you need. Not getting enough sleep will leave you more susceptible to poor mental health.

Guilt

When your mental health is poor in the holidays it can lead to feelings of guilt and frustration. You may start to ask yourself why you can’t just be as happy as everyone else around you and why you can’t enjoy an event that is meant to be fun. You may also find that you get constant questions from those around you if everything is OK or your self confidence drops because you don’t feel like you’re ready to socialise.

Tips to help: Just remember that it is not your fault that you’re feeling this way. Unfortunately poor mental health doesn’t go away just because it’s Christmas or someone’s birthday. Relax, and tell yourself that you don’t have to force yourself to be as happy and cheery as everyone around you. As long as you try and make yourself feel the best you can feel at the time, it is fine. If that means taking some breaks away from the celebrations, writing feelings down or excusing yourself early, so be it.

Loneliness

Sometimes your situation means that you won’t have people to meet with when it seems like everyone else does. Or you have people to meet with but you feel disconnected and lonely even though you’re in a crowd of people.

Tips to help: If you find yourself alone during the holidays read this great guide by Stand Alone, a charity that help those estranged from their families and communities.

http://standalone.org.uk/guides/festive-guide/

If you’re feeling lonely when you find yourself amongst a crowd try writing these thoughts and feelings down. It’s a great way to try and establish why you’re feeling lonely, whether it’s the company around you or whether it’s your mental health. If you feel comfortable and confident, reach out to someone around you. Let them know how you’re feeling.

Alcohol

When it comes to celebrating, alcohol sometimes plays a major role and we can get caught up in the celebrations and overindulge. Alcohol is a depressant and can effect your mood, causing swings or susceptibility to a decline in mental health.

Tips to help: If you find yourself in a position where the alcohol is constantly flowing, make sure that you limit yourself and consider how much you can handle. Consider drinking only one or two drinks a day with meals and make sure that you have plenty of water and other soft drinks throughout the day as well.

***This advice is not for anyone whose medication states that they shouldn’t drink alcohol. If this is the case we suggest indulging in some of the many tasty non-alcoholic versions or drinks or making some lovely juices, smoothies or virgin cocktails. ***

Lack of exercise

When you’re busy getting together with people or resting for the holidays, exercise can be the last thing on your mind. Whether you have a usual exercise routine or never consider it, the holidays can be a great time to do some casual exercise.

Tips to help: Make sure you get a little walk in every couple of days. If you have people round or are meeting in a group, it may be a great time to suggest group sports or exercise. You’ll be surprised how many people may miss being active over the holidays or would love to do a bit of group sports!

We believe that if we all look out for how the holidays can effect our mental health, we can help each other and ourselves and reduce the effect that they have on us. Look out for our Christmas campaign that launches November 25th! It’s all about making sure we take extra special care of ourselves and others over Christmas.

Want to read more blog posts like this one? Go to http://www.thepandoraboxgiftcompany.com/#!blog/czwt. Don’t forget to also check out the range of Gift Boxes, Postcards and Greeting Cards that have all been designed for people with poor mental health. http://www.thepandoraboxgiftcompany.com/#!gift-boxes/c3yu

B is for Bad thoughts

– This post was taken from the blog from The Pandora Box Gift Company’s A-Z on Mental Health series –

Sometimes our thoughts can turn against us and make us feel worthless, guilty, anxious or depressed. If this is happening to you, I advise you to look below. Whether you choose them all or only one, read the words, repeat them to yourself and don’t stop until you believe them. Sometimes all you have to do to get rid of the bad thoughts is to shout over them some good ones.

I am awesome.

I can do it.

I will get better.

I deserve to be happy.

I will not give up.

I am not my bad thoughts.

I am kind.

I am smart.

I am important.

I matter.

A is for Anxiety

—– This post is from The Pandora Box Gift Company Blog A-Z on mental health series —–

Welcome to the first of our A-Z blog posts on mental health. Each week our founder Lisa will cover a different topic on mental health and her personal experiences, while trying to cover every letter of the alphabet.

A is for Anxiety

For me, anxiety is one of those things that has always been there. Over the years it has twisted and morphed itself into different forms but has always bred the same underlying emotions and feelings. I felt it was quite an apt topic to start this blog series off with because, ever since launching this website, my anxiety has hit me with full force.

Anxiety can be debilitating. It can stop you in your tracks and shut you down. It can prevent you from doing every day things that you take for granted. It can get into the very deepest part of you and make you question yourself and everything around you.

So, how can you reduce your anxiety? Like everything in mental health, there’s no simple answer but lots of little steps that, when put together, can help you immensely. If you are suffering from anxiety and feel like you can’t do many of the steps listed below, don’t worry! Do not, I repeat do not!, take that as a way to consider yourself a failure or feel like the anxiety will never go away. You just have to attempt these steps over and over again. One day you might be able to do it, the other you might not. But eventually you will get into a pattern or routine that will become automatic when you need to help yourself.

10 ways to help reduce anxiety

  1. Go for a walk. Getting outside and going for a walk can help exercise your body and distract your mind. I find that when I’m outside there are so many things to look at and distract myself with, after a while my anxiety will have reduced. Too anxious to go outside? Walk around your house. Yep. Just keep walking in circles. I do this sometimes and the repetitive nature of just walking and walking seems to help sooth me.

  1. Talk to someone. Whether it’s online, over the phone or in person, talking to someone can help reduce the anxiety. You may get a different view to a situation that’s making you anxious or you may end up figuring out what is actually making you anxious in the first place. Even having a simple conversation about something completely random can help make you feel more at ease.

  1. Watch a film that you know you like. For me this is usually an animated film of some kind. Make sure you’re comfortable, have snacks and enjoy the film. A guaranteed distraction for at least an hour and a half.

  1. Get creative. Draw something, doodle, write something, do a puzzle, anything! Being creative not only means you get to have a bit of fun but you end up distracting yourself from your anxiety.

  2. Play a game. Console, computer, cards*, all help distract your mind for a little while. You can also add a social element by playing with friends or people online.

  3. Breathe! Purposefully slowing your breathing down and taking longer to inhale and exhale can help slow your heart rate and reduce the feelings of anxiety. This technique is best done in a space where you feel comfortable and by yourself with little distractions. If anxiety strikes whilst you’re away from home, try to find a public toilet or a quiet space outside where you can quietly sit and focus on your breathing.

  4. Squeeze a pillow. If you have a 6ft teddy bear or human that is willing to get squeezed then by all means go ahead. Failing these two items, a pillow is perfect. Just grab it, hug it and squeeze it until you can’t squeeze any more. Remember to then relax and, if you need to, start over again. This process helps to relieve the tension that usually builds when you’re feeling anxious.

  5. Have a bath. People underestimate the power of a warm bath. The warmth of the water relaxes you and your body and gives you time to just float for a bit and daydream. Make sure to add some scented bath salts** or bubble bath for that extra relaxing touch! I recommend lavender.

  6. Make sure you get some sleep. Anxiety can have you up into the early hours of the morning. It’s important to try and get an early night as this will help keep you from feeling run down and prone to anxiety attacks. Having trouble sleeping? Having a warm bath and then putting a few drops of lavender oil** on your pillow before you sleep can help you get a good nights sleep. If this doesn’t work, there are plenty of over the counter sleep remedies you can get from a pharmacist.

  1. Go to the doctor. Talking through your anxiety with your doctor can open the channels of communication with professionals who will be able to provide more focussed advice for your situation. Whether it is talking therapy or medication, there are lots of different options out there.

* You can find this item in our Puzzle Set Gift Box.

**You can find these items in our Bath Set Gift Box.