I loved this Pause for Thought on Radio 2 last week about self care. This is a subject that comes up frequently in therapy, as well as amongst friends. Some people seem to think that self care is selfish. But as Kate Bottley (from Gogglebox) eloquently says, we can only help others if we are ok ourselves.
<Pause for thought on self care>
Living with depression
I caught this brilliant interview with Gary Lightfoot from Snow Patrol yesterday about living with depression and alcoholism. He speaks so eloquently yet in a down to earth way, I wanted to share it with you. The full interview isn’t available yet but here is a link to a clip interview with Gary Lightfoot. He talks about the importance of reaching out to family and friends as well as how helpful therapy has been for him. He’s written a beautiful song called ‘Heal me’ about his experiences Heal Me.
The Greatest Showman
I know this film has been really hyped up and is very commercialised. But it is a truly wonderful film, with really important message. It highlights the importance of and challenges involved in tackling difference. Sadly, changing attitudes towards difference remains as difficult now as it was over 100 years ago. It seems to me that this is highlighted by the current issues around Brexit amongst other things. I realise there is a great amount of artistic license and the film has been criticised for this, and that many may be unhappy that those who were seen as 'different' were turned into spectacles for the financial benefit of one man. But maybe, sometimes, it's OK to take a film like this at surface value and embrace the 'feel good' factor and the messages it sends.
The soundtrack is brilliant, and the song 'This is Me' seems especially pertinent. To send a message that it's OK to accept and love yourself as you are (warts and all), and to expect others to do the same, is a wonderful thing, Especially in a world where there is so much emphasis on perfection, photo filtering on selfies and so on. I certainly hope that this is something that my clients can, through therapy, aspire towards.
The healing effects of nature
Last week I was lucky enough to have some time off, and spent a few days enjoying the sunshine and getting outdoors. It made me think about the restorative nature of spending time in nature - whether in the woods, the countryside, or by the sea. Somehow being in a natural environment, away from the stresses and strains of everyday life (including the TV, tablets,and phones) seems to restore an equilibrium, makes me feel rested and peaceful in a way that nothing else can. This time of year is especially beneficial - the first glimpses of sun after a long winter, the emerging of spring flowers, all seem to fill me with hope and expectation of what the summer months may bring.
So if you've been hibernating over winter, I encourage you to find a way to connect with nature when you can!
A friend of mine shared this photo on Facebook and I thought I would share it with you. It's from a book called 'Reasons to Stay Alive' by Matt Haig. It describes so many of the reasons why a number of my clients present with anxiety and depression. The world seems to constantly tell us we are not enough, that we should be, or have, more. Imagine a world where everyone was happy with who they (and others) were, and what they had. Therapists would be out of a job! I'm a big believer in the benefits of mindfulness and meditation and truly believe it can help us to be calmer, more accepting people. And therefore less anxious and depressed. And all it takes is 10 minutes a day. There are a number of apps you can download on your phone, which makes it really easy to do. A basic app is often free, with the option to pay to extend it's function. Through welldoing.org, I am now able to offer clients a 2 month free trial (worth £18) with one of these apps, Calm. So go on, download that app, give it a go. And book an appointment with me to get your free 2 month trial.