DIY Ways to Diminish Your Depression

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While, if you’re struggling with depression, you should certainly make seeing your GP a priority because a combination of medication and therapy has shown to be the most effective treatment for depression, there are a number of things you can also do for yourself to help you recover faster.

Here are some simple  DIY ways to diminish your depression that you might want to try:

Take Some Time Off

Work can be stressful at the best of times, but when you’re depressed, it can be torture. So, if you’re struggling, don’t be afraid to ask time off, it could make all the difference, especially if work is a contributing factor to your depression.

If you’re worried about the money side of things, remember you should be entitled to sick pay, and take a look at this statutory sick pay guide to put your mind at ease. Getting your depression under control should be your first consideration, and it may be harder to do that when you’re working.

Exercise

Believe me, I know it’s the last thing you feel like doing when you’re suffering from clinical depression and just getting out of bed in the morning is a cause for celebration sometimes. However, on your better days, when you’re able to get up and about, doing a little exercise, even if it’s only walking around the block, will do you the world of good. It’ll get your endorphins pumping, and if you exercise in nature, it will sooth your stress too.

A Little Ray of Light

If you get depressed in the winter months when the days are short and the nights are long, it could be that the lack of sunlight and the lack of vitamin D that it results in could be causing your depression. If that’s likely, investing in a light therapy box and sitting in front of it for 15-20 minutes each morning might help to diminish your depression.

Keep a Mood Diary

Keeping a mood diary is another one of those things, like exercise, that you scoff at when it’s suggested to you, but which really can make a big difference and ease your depression more quickly than medication and therapy alone.

To keep a mood diary, all you have to do is keep track of your positive moods, writing down as many positives as you can find. You might also want to write down negative thoughts and issues and then look at ways of reframing them so that they aren’t quite as troubling to you. If this sound like something that could be helpful to you, you might want to look into CBT. You can also find mood diary apps online and via your smartphone.

Acupuncture

There is some controversy surrounding acupuncture and whether it’s effective for treating anything, let alone depression, but there is one study from the University of Arizona that seems to suggest that acupuncture can lead to remission in depression symptoms 64 percent of the time, in women at least. This was a small study, but you have nothing to lose and if nothing else I can guarantee you’ll come out of your session feeling a lot more relaxed, which is great for depression in itself.

Join a Support Group

Again, please don’t throw anything at me! I understand the idea of spending an hour every week in a room with other depression sufferers spilling your guts sounds like a nightmare right here on earth to a lot of people, but going to a support group – check out this support group guide for more info-  is actually a really good way to get support from people who really do know what you’re going to. The social aspects of support groups are great for depression sufferers who often tend to isolate too.

Omega-3

Omega-3 oils, which are most commonly found in fish oils, but which veggies can get from flax and algae supplements, may be able to prevent mood swings and low moods. If you add them to your diet, it may give you the boost that you need to take on your depression with gusto, but you may have to wait a week or two before you start feeling the effects.

Meditation

There is a lot of promising research around meditation, specifically mindfulness, and its ability to help people suffering from depression. A technique called mindfulness-based cognitive therapy has helped countless people to tackle their negative thought patterns, stop ruminating and reach somewhere approaching equilibrium AND it has been shown to be as successful as antidepressants in some studies at least.

Yoga

I didn’t include this with exercise because, although yoga is certainly a good way to keep fit, that doesn’t have to be the main focus of this ancient technique. In fact, yoga’s combination of long slow stretches and calming breathing techniques are perfect for relieving stress, getting more in tune with yourself, sleeping better at night and, yes, managing your depression more effectively, according to many people who have tried it.

Arts and Crafts

When you’re depressed, as you will probably know, you can be prone to rumination. You can spend hours and hours thinking about that stupid thing you did five years ago, or telling yourself that you’re worthless. It’s a symptom of the illness and something that can cause your efforts to get better fail.

One thing that is pretty effective at taking your mind off the constant barrage of negative thoughts your brain is subjecting to you is arts and crafts. Things that require a little focus, like crocheting and painting, which also give you something physical to do provide a great distraction which will give you the space you need to start getting well.

St. John’s Wort

If you’re the kind of person who only ever takes prescribed medication as a last resort, try St John’s Wort. It’s a natural supplement that is actually prescribed for depression in Germany, and which has been found to benefit sufferers of mild depression without any nasty side effects.

If you’re interested in taking St John’s Wort, you should always see your doctor first because, although it’s pretty safe, it can react with other medications.

Fighting your way out of depression is rarely easy, but if you see your doctor, take their advice and try out some of the DIY suggestions above, you may find that your depression starts to diminish faster than you thought it would, or could.

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Amazing Benefits of Adding Lemon Water to Your Diet

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We all know the importance of drinking a substantial amount of water on a daily basis. But have you considered adding a few slices of lemon to the mix? Not only will this make it easier for you to consume your required eight glasses per day, but also there are many health benefits associated with drinking lemon water:

  • Help fight viral infections – Warm lemon water is one of the most successful methods for getting rid of viral infections and the subsequent sore throats that follow.
  • Helps to cut out the caffeine – Are you guilty of indulging in one too many cups of coffee while at work to get through the day? If so, you should consider replacing your morning coffee with a cup of hot lemon water instead. A lot of people aren’t optimistic about this switch, until they try it. Not only will you feel refreshed, but you won’t experience the jittery nerves that are associated with caffeine, and you will avoid the pesky afternoon crash that happens way too often.
  • Energy boost – When lemon juice enters your digestive tract, it provides your body with energy, which is great for getting through the day ahead. Not only this, but it helps to reduce depression and anxiety too.
  • Reduces inflammation – The acidity in your body will decrease if you drink lemon water on a frequent basis. This is where disease states occur. In fact, one of the main causes of inflammation is uric acid in your joints, and this is something that lemon juice will remove.
  • Gives your immune system a boost – Lemons are full of Vitamin C, which are like jumper cables to your immune system. If you are feeling stressed, extra vitamin C can help to improve your mood.
  • Lose weight – Adding lemon water can help you to lose weight in a number of different ways. Of course, by drinking lemon juice it means you are drinking less fizzy drinks and other drinks that are bad for you. Not only this, but you are likely to experience less hunger cravings by adding lemon water to your diet. This is because lemon water contains pectin fibre.
  • Excellent potassium source – Lemons are also an amazing source of potassium, which is good for nerve and brain function, as well as heart health.
  • Keeps your skin blemish-free – Lemon water can reduce wrinkles and decrease blemishes thanks to the antioxidants that are present. Your skin’s radiance will be maintained because lemon water detoxifies the blood.
  • Freshens your breath – When giving up smoking, lemon water is a must. While an e cigarette starter kit is widely considered the best way to stop smoking, it can not eradicate the negative effects of smoking that have already taken hold, for example, a smoker’s breath. This is where lemon water comes into place, as it will help to freshen your breath.
  • Cleanses your system – Last but not least, lemon water will enhance your enzyme function, which stimulates your liver to help flush out the toxins in your body.

Caring For Your Mental Health: A Complete Guide

Whenever we talk about health, it’s usually centred around physical issues. We talk about ensuring we remain healthy, and it’s normally accompanied by advice such as exercise a lot and eat foods that are good for you.

The problem is, we focus so much on our physical health, we end up neglecting our mental health. This is a real issue as mental health problems affect millions of people up and down the country, and billions all over the world. They’re serious issues too, and many people die because of mental health problems every year. In the UK alone, around 6,000 people commit suicide every year as the result of deep mental health issues. So many of these deaths could’ve been prevented if individuals cared more about their mental health and understood how to handle any problems.

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That’s what this post is going to talk about today. I want to help you learn how to keep your mind healthy, which will ultimately lead to a much healthier you in general. If you feel like you have some issues going on up there, then I implore you to carry on reading this guide. It will help you understand what your problems are, and the best course of action to keep yourself healthy. Even if you don’t have issues, it’s important to know all of this in case you start to develop them one day or you have friends/family suffering that need your help.

So, without further ado, here’s a complete guide to caring for your mental health:

Accept That You Have An Issue

I think the biggest problem with mental health issues is that no one likes to admit they have one. We can talk all day about the stigma of mental health that’s really been created by the media and mainstream TV. We’ve almost been led to believe that if you have a problem with your mind, you are insane and will be crazy.

No. This is not true at all. There are multiple issues that develop over time and are common in so many people. Things like anxiety, depression, split personality disorder are all common problems and don’t turn you insane. They’re health issues just like a dodgy knee or obesity, the only difference is they affect your psyche rather than your physicality.

So, the first step in caring for your problems is accepting you have one. Realise that you’re depressed, that you’re suffering in some way, and make a commitment to improving your life and dealing with it. Don’t be afraid of acceptance, things are a lot worse if you’re in denial.

Try And Find The Cause Of Your Problems

If you have a physical problem that’s causing you pain, what do you do? You try and figure out what’s causing your pain, and it will help you solve the issue and return to full health. It’s the same with mental health problems. A lot of them are triggered by an event or circumstances in your life.

The issue is, it’s sometimes a lot harder to pinpoint the cause of mental health problem compared to a physical one. But, there are some examples of common causes. I think one of the top causes has to be divorce. If your parents split up when you’re quite young, it could have an effect on your mind and lead to mental health issues down the line. Mainly, this is because you bottle up your emotions and never speak to them about how you feel. As is the case with a lot of the causes, such as feeling left out of your friend group. You feel left out, you get lonely, and you retreat into your shell which causes anxiety and depression.

A big cause of mental health problems is a severe or critical event that happens to you or that you witness. The best example of this is an army veteran that saw horrible things when in the service, and it plays with their head. But, you could also develop mental health issues after a car crash or if you’re mugged, etc.

It’s important to try and trace back the start of your mental health problems to the main cause. In doing so, you can maybe confront it and help figure out ways to cure yourself.

Get Professional Help

As I’ve already mentioned, there are parallels between mental and physical health problems. When you’re physically in bad shape, what do you do? You call up your doctor and book a consultation right away. Often, they help you in ways you couldn’t yourself, and you recover quicker.

Again, it’s the same with mental health problems, you need to get professional help. Sometimes, this means calling your doctor, and they’ll refer you to a psychologist or another qualified professional with experience in this field. You should also speak to your bosses at work if you’re suffering as they may provide you with a professional service to help you cope. I know there are companies like Health Assured that some businesses work with for this exact reason. It’s especially important if some of your stress and anxiety comes from work too. You need the professional help and guidance to help get through it and combat your issues.

Looking for help doesn’t make you weak, it makes you strong. It shows you’re facing up to your demons and really want to change the way you are.

Talk

My final tip is simple; just talk. Talk about your problems with a professional counsellor or with friends and family. Write about your journey in a blog or film it and upload it to YouTube. Just make sure you speak about it as much as possible, it will really help you.

Most mental health problems are aggravated when you bottle everything up and don’t express your feelings and talk about what’s wrong. Don’t let this happen to you, speak out, and speak loudly too, it will help you as well as others too.

I really hope this guide helps many people out there suffering from anxiety, depression, or any other mental health problems. Take my advice on board, and you can start breaking free and feeling more healthy.

Sure Signs You Need To Make Some Changes

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We all want to b perfectly healthy, and yet achieving that can be incredibly difficult. Partly what it so tricky about it is keeping up with our own bodies. Trying to stay in tune with your body is one of the most difficult things you need to do – but it is likely essential if you want to improve your health. In this post, we are going to look through some of the most common telltale signs that you are in need of some health-related changes in your life. As long as you are looking out for the following, you should stay on the right track for as long as you need to, or would like to.

Aches & Pains

We all get aches and pains from time to time, but if you are getting any that seem to be unexplained, or they persist for a long time, then you will want to have it checked out. Although they can be benign and nothing to worry about, it is also always possible for aches and pains to be symbols and indicators of something more serious. Aching limbs could mean the start of a flu, for example. Or worse, if you have chronically aching limbs, it might be that you are developing a serious illness like meningitis or something similar. Make sure you keep an eye out for any aches and pains, no matter where they might crop up in your body. You need to ensure that you are doing everything you can to keep illnesses at bay, so this is hugely important.

Tiredness & Lethargy

Being tired is quite common these days, especially in our culture. However, this doesn’t mean that it is a healthy state to be in. As it happens, we are all far too tired far too often these days. Mostly this is down to the nature of our work, which often seems to be designed to make us as sleepless as possible. If you find that you are excessively tired, however, you should consider taking some steps towards fixing that.

There is fortunately a lot you can do to improve your overall sense of tiredness. For a start, you should stop relying on caffeine to get you through the days. Caffeine can affect your ability to sleep up to twelve hours after taking it, so if you want to sleep better you should cut it out immediately, or at least cut down on how much you have. It is also true that screens affect our ability to sleep. This happens because the light from screens inhibits the body’s production of melatonin, the chemical which informs your body clock that it is time to sleep. So if you want to sleep better, you should seriously think about reducing the amount of time you spend looking at screens throughout the day, and particularly in the evening.

Another common problem is that the bed is simply not comfortable enough. There is no reason not to have a comfortable bed, so you should make sure to treat yourself to only the very best that you can afford in bedding. That way, you are much more likely to get a decent amount of sleep each night, and that will hugely affect your overall health in a number of positive ways, as well as ensuring that you feel much less tired on the whole. Sleep is an essential – make sure you get enough.

Addiction

The number of things which are potentially addicting is incredibly high. In a way, you can say that anything which relies upon or provides a dopamine rush can be potentially addictive. The quality of addiction is not necessarily anything to do with the substance or habit itself, but the dependence that the person feels upon it. If you ever start to notice that you are developing a dependence for something, it is a good idea to nip it in the bud as soon as you can.

Some addictions are arguably more damaging than others, and often these are the most common ones, simply because they are the most addictive. A good example in our culture is nicotine. This is the second most commonly addicted-to substance in the world (sugar being the first) and it is also incredibly dangerous when smoked in tobacco. If you notice yourself beginning to smoke more and more, you should think about curtailing it in order to get your health back on track as soon as possible. You might find it difficult, so using discount vape juice or nicotine patches is likely to make the transition easier on you. However you do it, you should aim to be rid of your addiction as soon as possible.

If you find yourself becoming addicted to something other than a substance, you still might want to think about kicking it. You might be addicted to social media, for example, and even this can negatively affect your health and your life as a whole. Remember: anything can b addictive, and it is up to you to decide whether something is becoming a problem or not.

Depression

It is often said that depression is the most commonly widespread mental illness in the world. If we think about the worst possible outcome of this affliction (death) we can see why it might be such a serious concern, and something which we should all learn as much about as possible. Depression kills people, and it is so important that you keep an eye out for any early signs of it in yourself and in your loved ones.

Depression is usually marked by a flattened affect, meaning a lack or loss of ability to feel emotions deeply. It is also usually accompanied by an intense sadness, but it can also just be a numbness. Sometimes, it comes hand in hand with a heavy dose of anxiety, and this can confuse the situation greatly. If you notice depression in yourself or anyone else, you should ensure that the proper medical treatment is sought immediately. It could be a life or death decision.

Easy Ways To Have Your Healthiest Summer Ever

Summer is a fun and celebratory time for many people. It can make us all feel more festive, happy, and hopeful. Schools are out, and the weather hots up (here’s to hoping anyway). So it is worth making our summertime be the happiest and best yet, by making sure that we are the happiest and healthiest yet too. Setting yourself some small goals to get yourself ready for summer can one the best things to do. It could also be time to make a few changes, in order to be healthier in time for the summer months. We haven’t got long! So here are some suggestions to make sure that your summer is the healthiest and best yet.

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Sort Out Your Sleep Routine

There is nothing worse than when it comes to summer and longer days, meaning it can be harder to get to sleep. So now is the time to think about your sleeping routine and if there is anything you should be doing to improve it. It might just be the case of getting blackout blinds. It might just be the case that you need to focus on getting to bed one hour earlier than you normally do. It might be getting out of the habit of checking your phone in bed. Whatever it is for you, it is time to make some changes.

Shift Some Weight

In order to be at your healthiest, then for many of us, losing some weight will help us get to our optimum weight. When we are lighter, we will be looking better, but more importantly, improving our internal health. So we can run, play, swim, and enjoy the sun of the summer all day long when you’re feeling much healthier and fitter.

Kick Bad Habits

All of us have some kind of vice that we lean on a little. It might just be that you’re a bit of a Diet Coke girl and love to have a can regularly. It might be other things that could be detrimental to your health like having too much wine on a daily basis, or you smoke a few too many cigarettes. If you want to be at your healthiest, then habits like this need to be kicked to the kerb. Otherwise, you might find that you are spending summer at an in patient alcohol rehab centre. So think about what makes you reach for your vices and then you can go from there.

Go with Grains

Whole grains are packed with goodness that we all need. They have protein and fiber, as well as vitamins and even antioxidants. When they are included as part of a healthy balanced diet, it could even help to reduce your risk of things like diabetes and coronary heart disease. So they sound like a no-brainer to add to your diet, don’t they? They can be eaten hot or cold once cooked, and work well with lots of fresh veggies. So they make a perfect option for eating over summer!

Operation Preparation: How To Get Ready For Hospital Procedures

 

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Whether you have a medical or cosmetic treatment, surgery and operational procedures can be an incredibly scary experience. There will be a lot that is racing through your mind but taking a few small, smart steps before your operation can help you approach the big day with confidence – and ensure a smooth recovery. Here are a few tips that will help you deal with and prepare for surgery.

Read the instructions!

All surgical procedures need you to do a few specific things before the big day. Your consultant or doctor will give you all the information you need to prepare properly, and it’s vital that you read it all and take it in. Many people turn up on the day of the op without giving their info leaflet a second glance, and it will just end up as a waste of your time – and the hospital’s resources.

Quit smoking

Every doctor will tell you to quit smoking, of course, but it’s even more important to do so – even if only temporarily – at least a few weeks before the big day. Patients that smoke are more complicated to deal with when they go under the knife, and if you want to avoid the prospect of complications, you’ll need to kick the habit.

Overcome your fears

Fear of surgery is a common issue, but it’s essential that you don’t let your anxiety cause you to cancel or postpone your procedure. Putting it off will just delay the inevitable, and if you are suffering from an illness, you will only be allowing it to worsen. Timing can be critical in some cases, and sometimes only surgery can reveal the full extent of your disease. So, if you have concerns about the op, speak to your doctor. They will be able to point you in the right direction for help, and ensure that you approach the big day with confidence rather than fear.

Be active

Be as active as you possibly can before your operation – but always chat to your doctor beforehand to ensure you are doing the right type of exercise. Going into a surgical procedure when you are fit and healthy will reduce your recovery time and have a positive impact on your outcome. Also, you might be spending a long period recovering on healthcare furniture and beds while you are in a hospital, and could be unable to exercise for a few weeks after the procedure. The fitter you are beforehand, the least impact your inactivity will have.

Arrange your follow-up care

Finally, make sure that your loved ones, family, and friends are all aware of your needs after the operation. Give the people in your life the time to learn new skills – maybe they will need to put dressings on or change your bandages, for example. Some people don’t like to make a fuss, and won’t ask for help – but a speedy recovery might rely on others giving you assistance.

The vast majority of surgical procedures occur without a hitch. And much of the success is due to how you prepare for your big day and plan for your recovery. Get these simple things right, and with a little luck – and a lot of skill from the surgeon – your op has every chance of success.

Four Great Rules To Live By That Will Truly Affect Your Appearance

 

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There is so much more to looking your best than dressing well and expertly applied cat-flick eyeliner, unfortunately. Not only do we have to consider our weight, hairstyle, and fashion, there’s all manner of seemingly innocuous things that will sneak up on us and make us look tired, old, or just plain drab. It can seem like a bit of a minefield, but there are four basic rules to follow.

  1. Prioritise a good diet

A bad diet can have a really detrimental effect on our appearance, and it’s not just our weight that suffers. Eating fatty or oily food in high quantities can make our hair limp, and our skin look dull or spotty. We also need lots of vitamins and minerals, protein and healthy fats in our diets to ensure strong hair growth, clear skin, and healthy skin rejuvenation. Water is also crucial for keeping skin looking clear, aiding weight loss, and just making us look awake. Yo-yo diets can also cause poor skin and lifeless hair, and even result in weight gain. The best way to look great and benefit from clear skin is to enjoy a healthy balanced diet and good hydration – easy peasy.

  1. Avoid bad habits

It might surprise people to know that there are so many bad habits that people associate with poor long-term health which can also have an immediate impact on physical appearance. Smoking, for example, not only compromises life expectancy and health, but it can seriously affect looks too. Lines around the mouth, skin discolouration, dull skin, and a bad odour are all almost immediate side effects of smoking. Drinking too much alcohol can also cause the skin to look dull and tired, and weight gain is also common.

  1. It’s called beauty sleep for a reason

If you’re a stranger to sleep, you’ll be no stranger to dark circles and maybe even other skin complaints. When we miss out on sleep, our bodies produce cortisol, known colloquially as the stress hormone, which worsens inflammation such as acne or psoriasis. Our bodies also rely on sleep to rejuvenate and create more collagen, which is essential for keeping skin plump and elastic. Missing sleep can even speed up the aging process, so don’t skimp on it!

  1. Consider your medications

Some medication can have side effects of skin problems, and it can be difficult to know what to expect before you start taking them. This is especially the case for contraception, as the use of hormones can have a significant effect on skin clarity. The two major types of contraceptive pill, the mini pill or the combined, such as the Yasmin pill, use different combinations of hormones, so will affect the body differently. On the plus side, if one has a negative effect, the other might work perfectly, so make sure you speak to your doctor if you think this could be a problem for you.

There are so many factors which affect our appearance, many of which we never consider, even though their impact can be significant. Just remember, if you’re worried about anything it’s really important to see your GP for advice.