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Jada Sezer on Looking After Mental Health Post Lockdown

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POPSUGAR UK columnist Jada Sezer, is the definition of a multi-hyphenate. The British model and social media influencer is also an actor, content creator, writer, and equality advocate — with a master’s degree in child psychology and over 290K followers on Instagram, a platform she uses to inspire, empower, and talk about important issues such as gender, sexuality, body positivity, mental health, and child well-being. Sezer runs marathons — in her underwear no less — hosts podcasts, poses for top brands like Adidas, Mango, and L’Oréal, works with UN Women UK as an ambassador, and, most recently, launched a YouTube docuseries titled Instant Fame. Ahead, she shares how she’s looking after her mental health whilst adjusting to the new “normal”, as lockdown restrictions ease around the UK amidst the coronavirus pandemic.

As the world starts to open up during the coronavirus pandemic and the lockdown rules loosen, so will your behaviour. It’s easy to slip back into your old routine — the returning to the long slog to and from work, running on nothing but coffee all day. But I personally refuse to go back to the old way I ran my life. Here are some important new habits I’ve picked up before in an effort to take care of my mental health but have now reformed and made a priority to practice fully as I step back into the soon-to-be fast-paced world again.

1. Connecting with the people I love more often.

This pandemic has shown me how fragile life is, which has led to more intimate conversations and closeness with my friends and family. Taking the time to fully invest in deeper, more meaningful relationships with people you love and trust will give you a greater sense of security that lots of surface-level friendships won’t. Having a strong support network who can offer trusted advice helps you to thrive in a world where so much is uncertain.

2. Reclaiming a work/life balance.

Many of our productivity levels rose whilst working from home because we could make lunch instead of wasting time wandering to the local supermarkets. We weren’t tired from the long commute, and if we wanted a quick midday siesta or wait in for a parcel, we could! As most of the world ground to halt, many of us clocked off at 6 p.m., and the weekends were ours. For many of us, our overall quality of life increased because it hasn’t felt like Groundhog Day, all day every day. We had Friday nights for Zoom catchups or takeaways, and then a full rest and reset on Sunday. This much-needed variation has allowed me to show up and dedicate my full attention rather than being half-hearted or feeling rushed or tired.

3. Falling in love with the simple moments.

Whether it’s been cooking your favourite dish, or having a cinema night under the duvet, we’ve all spent much more time at home and have a new found appreciation as our homes quickly became our safe bubble. I, for one, have grown my own crops and transformed my small little outdoor concrete patio into a slice of heaven — my little safe haven. In this safe zone the simple moments held an even more powerful sense of appreciation. When you put love, time, attention, and energy into something, you can definitely feel it.

4. Maintaining boundaries.

People know this is my favourite word because its sets the tone for most things going forward, including how you want to return back into the world. Delivering a clear “no” when the world starts opening back up and as more duties fall into your lap will allow you to manage and maintain control of your life without feeling too overwhelmed of burned out before doing so.

5. Walking in nature.

My daily walks were my special, sacred one hour a day that I valued so much. When you’re not absentmindedly walking past the world in a rush to the next destination but rather stretching it out because you don’t want to return home quite yet, it gives you the chance to really soak in nature and your surroundings. It also provided me with a sense of calm and perspective, that even in a pandemic the trees will grow and life goes on.

6. Supporting my local community.

As travel wasn’t permitted and cooking at home increased, my local grocery store saw me more then my own family. Not only did we build an affiliation but equally I was also putting my pennies into independent stores that are on the brink of extinction from the giant conglomerates. Win-win. Shopping locally, I also discovered new shops in my area which I would have walked past before. As the lockdown eases and we start to shop again, take time to explore and vote with your money.

7. Keeping Up With Hobbies.

During lockdown, I fell back in love with art, painting, and sketching. I created care packages with carefully crafted cards of joy for all of my friends. Drawing was my escape and a hobby that I didn’t make time for before, but it’s meditative and gets you out of your head (not to mention helps time fly!). Having a hobby and blocking out structured time for it also helps maintain that ever elusive work/life balance.

8. Taking stock.

It’s easy to be busy for busies sake, but do we ever stop to think, ‘Is this really what I want to be doing?’ For me, hitting pause allowed for a long moment of clarity and a chance to refocus on my goal and my purpose. This reset time allowed me to reassess where I am going and if there are any changes I want to make with my current situation. This is a practice that is especially hard to do when you have a packed schedule and constant distractions but one I will carve out time for regularly in the future, so that I am wisely focused.

9. Letting go.

We have all grieved during this pandemic, whether for a loved one or a life we once knew. The pandemic has swept us off our feet, and there’s nothing we could really do about it. Letting go allowed me to accept and lean into the uncomfortableness of the unknown, which then let there be space for something new to enter. For example, instead of worrying when I would work next, I rolled with the tides because that’s all I could do.

10. Honouring your needs.

This sounds obvious but the pandemic, and the resulting virus, has shown us more than ever that our bodies — and in turn, our responses — are considerably different from person to person. This also means we will all be responding to reentering back differently, too. Feelings of guilt, pressure, angst, and fear may be true for you yet not for others, this is fine. We have just spent nearly four months in lockdown — this new lifestyle will take time readjust to.

Image Source: Jada Sezer



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FITNESS

Nutritional Facts, Health Benefits, and Potential Drawbacks

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Cashew, a significant member of the family of nuts, is native to Brazil, South America, and was brought to India by the Portuguese, who took it to Goa. Produced on a tropical evergreen tree, these nuts are sweet in taste and have a creamy consistency. Raw, roasted, salted, unsalted, you can find cashews in any of these forms. This nut also manages to find its way into a variety of dishes, some of which are an inseparable part of Indian traditions and festivals, be it curry, kheer, biryani, or even kaju katli! Aside from being an easy addition to a wide spectrum of dishes, these tree nuts have been used to make certain dairy alternatives like cashew milk, cashew butter, and cashew cheese too.

In addition to having a variety of health benefits, like helping with stomach and abdominal illnesses, Cashews, also ensure that you have hair and skin that is desirable. Furthermore, through this post, we will dive deep and have a better look at the nutritional structure of cashew, its health benefits, and some of its possible drawbacks.

Table of Contents

Nutritional Facts

Just like any other important nut, cashews are a storehouse of energy and essential nutrients. They help your body in significant ways and work towards making you a healthier individual. To have the exact information about the nutritional contents of cashews, the measurements of 1 serving of cashews (28.35 grams/ approx 18 cashews) is given below:

  • 157 calories
  • 8.56 g of carbohydrate
  • 0.9 g of fiber
  • 5.17 g of protein
  • 12.43 g of total fat
  • 1.68 g of sugar

Other Nutrients include:

  • 10 mg of calcium 
  • 0.62 mg of copper
  • 1.89 mg of iron
  • 1.64 mg of zinc
  • 83 mg of magnesium 
  • 168 mg of phosphorus
  • 187 mg of potassium
  • 3 mg of sodium

Apart from these nutrients, one can also find Vitamin B and C in cashews. They are also a great source of proteins in one’s diet and contain good amounts of unsaturated fats.

7 Health Benefits of Cashews

This festival-favourite nut appears to be a source of nutrients that can mitigate many health conditions. We will take a look at a few top health benefits here: 

1. Great for natural eye-protection

Improves natural eye protection

With Indian cities ranking amongst some of the most highly polluted cities across the world, we know how bad the environment has become for us. From the never-ending traffic jams to the harmful UV rays and our screen time increasing every day, the stress on our eyes is getting a lot. Cashews contain a strong antioxidant pigment that is directly absorbed by the retina. This helps in the formation of a layer on our eyes which protects us from harmful UV rays. 

The strength of our eyes deteriorates with age (specifically macular degeneration), but certain studies have shown that a regular intake of the antioxidant provided by cashews can help slow that down too!

2. Helps prevent blood diseases

Cashews are a rich source of copper, which helps in combating any infection and maintaining your immune system. It is widely known that copper, along with iron, helps the body in preparing red blood cells.

3. Boosts and helps prepare a healthy heart

Boosts and helps prepare a healthy heart

It has been proven by multiple studies that nuts, such as cashews, are full of nutrients like protein, antioxidants, fiber, vitamins, minerals, and unsaturated fatty acids. These help in providing anti-carcinogenic, anti-inflammatory, and heart-protective characteristics. Adding to this, inflammation and vascular reactions are also kept in check with a regular intake of the nutrients provided by these nuts. Cashews also contain unsaturated fatty acids that help keep cholesterol levels in check, thereby, reducing any hazards like stroke, cardiovascular diseases, and heart attacks.

4. Aids in weight loss

Regular intake of cashew nuts can regulate weight loss and even make it faster. They contain Omega 3 fatty acids that can boost a person’s metabolism. This helps in getting rid of any excess fat. Cashew nuts provide rich fiber and protein content with lesser calories, helping you stay full for long.

5. Improves the health of skin and hair

Healthy skin and shiny hair

Cashews are rich in selenium, iron, phosphorus, zinc, and magnesium, which can be wonderful for your skin. It is also a source of proteins, antioxidants, and plant-based chemicals that aid in keeping your skin healthy and avoid any wrinkles. As it contains antioxidants, cashews promote new cells to grow to ensure that the skin’s elasticity remains intact.

According to various experts, eating cashews and applying cashew nut oil to one’s scalp can help in the production of a pigment known as melanin — the copper present in cashews aids with this. There are also certain oleic and linoleic acids present that lend a silky finish to the hair and improve hair colour.

6. Boosts your gut

Cashews are rich in dietary fiber which helps in the digestion process and also provides food for the gut-friendly bacteria. This helps in good gut health and prevents intestinal issues.

7. Strengthens your bones

Improves Bone Health

In addition to calcium, magnesium is also extremely crucial for healthy bones. Both of them in balance can help in bettering nerve regulation and muscle toning. Magnesium keeps calcium in check, and cashews can act as a great source for it.

Potential Downsides of Cashews

While we have praised cashews immensely for being a storehouse of fantastic nutrients, there are some possible downsides to their consumption.

  • Raw cashews that have not been processed at all can be risky to consume as they have a toxic substance (usually found in poison ivy). If contact is made with it, one can be at the receiving end of skin reactions. Thus, it is best to choose dry roasted or raw cashew varieties.
  • Cashew nuts also contain phytates that can make it troublesome for your body to be able to absorb the minerals and vitamins that the nuts have. However, Soaking nuts can reduce the phytate content.
  • People who are usually allergic to tree nuts can be allergic to cashews as well.
  • Cashews have a noticeable amount of oxalic acid, and if not consumed in moderate amounts, they can be an issue for people who have kidney ailments, and those who are at risk of getting kidney stones.

Summary

All in all, cashew nuts are a super nutritious food that can provide you with amazing health benefits. Right from your heart to your gut, these kidney-shaped nuts seem to have taken care of a variety of ailments all by themselves. With just a regular intake of cashews, you can make sure that you receive many favorable nutrients. Stored properly in an air-tight container, you will be able to enjoy these tasty snacks throughout the year. Just remember that too much of everything is bad and one should keep a watch on their consumption. Other than that, these deliciously creamy nuts are the way to go!

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. Are roasted cashews better for one’s health than raw cashews?

A. Raw cashews are better than roasted, as roasting can destroy the good omega3 fatty acids which can lower cholesterol.

Q. Can vegans consume cashews in their diet?

A. Cashews are a plant food source and can safely be consumed by vegans.

Q. How many cashews should one eat in a day?

A. 1 serving of cashews is approximately 30 grams or about 15-18 cashews.

Q. Can cashews be bad for your health?

A. Since cashews are high in calories and fat, portion control is important. Also, the anti nutrient compounds in cashews may not be suitable for kidney patients if eaten in large amounts. Cashews are also not suited for anyone with nut allergy.

Q. Is it okay to eat a cashew apple?

A. Yes, cashew apples can be eaten raw or cooked but do not eat the nut attached to it as it contains a toxin. The nut needs to be dried before eating it.

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An ICU Doctor Speaks About Returning to NHS During Pandemic

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Dr. Sophie Shotter is an ICU doctor turned cosmetic doctor. Since leaving the NHS back in 2014, she has founded Illuminate Skin Clinic, and joined The Cosmetic Clinic in London to further hone her aesthetic skills. When the coronavirus pandemic reached the UK in early 2020, Sophie made the difficult decision to return to the public health system and take up her spot alongside frontline health workers, caring for patients affected by the virus. In June, Sophie spoke to POPSUGAR about what it was like to return to the NHS after so many years away.

POPSUGAR: Can you describe your prepandemic work life and how it changed during the pandemic?
Dr. Sophie Shotter: Prepandemic, I worked in the private sector. I run my own skin and wellness clinic, Illuminate Skin Clinic, and also work for The Cosmetic Skin Clinic in London. A typical day involves business management meetings and a busy list of patients. When the pandemic hit, we stopped offering all nonessential medical services at Illuminate Skin Clinic and operated as a not-for-profit private GP service. My background is as an anaesthetist and intensive care doctor, so I volunteered to return to the NHS for eight weeks. I worked at my local hospital, often doing 60 hours per week — returning to a mixture of long days and night shifts — while continuing to offer virtual skin-care consultations.

PS: Are you familiar with the concept of vicarious trauma as a health worker? And if so, do you believe vicarious trauma or PTSD is a common experience among health works?
SS: Yes, this is something I’ve been very conscious of in my career and was part of the driving force behind my decision to leave the NHS in 2014. I’m an empath and struggled, at times, to disassociate from other people’s pain and trauma. I knew that long-term it would have a negative psychological effect on me, so I chose to remove myself from that situation.

I think it is very prevalent but also very under recognised. We’re with patients and their families at often the most traumatic times in their life. Unless you are a robot, it is impossible to switch your own feelings off completely, although we learn to cope (to varying degrees). I know many medical professionals who have chosen a different career pathway, partly because of the impact of the emotional traumas they have been involved with.

PS: How does being a health worker impact your mental health in a positive and/or negative way, and has this changed during the pandemic?
SS: Being a healthcare worker is rewarding in a way that not many careers are. In the pandemic, for me, it has been a huge positive for my mental health because I got to go out and work, be around people, and to have a purpose. That made dealing with eight weeks in lockdown immensely easier. Yes, there were some extremely tough times — things that are horrendous to see, do, and feel — but for me, the positives outweighed this.

PS: In my experience, a lot of health workers don’t believe they require (or perhaps, deserve) psychological support or assistance for “simply doing their jobs.” What is your experience with this, and has your perspective changed since the pandemic began?

“We carry other people’s pain, suffering, and loss home with us. Although it isn’t our own, as an empath, I often still felt it very acutely.”

SS: I would agree with that. If I told you the things that made up my normal life as a healthcare worker, it would be beyond most people’s comprehension how I’m OK. My last weekend before I left the NHS (to return to my clinic), we lost a baby in a Caesarean section and a 21-year-old to a horrific drug overdose. I took that home with me, I cried, I offloaded onto my parents. But I never got proper help. We carry other people’s pain, suffering, and loss home with us. Although it isn’t our own, as an empath, I often still felt it very acutely.

Last year, I stopped at a road traffic accident and looked after the airway of a young 22-year-old who later died. I was the first medical person on scene. I stood up afterwards, covered in blood, having lost the patient. That hit me hard and made me realise that it’s normal and OK to be upset by these sorts of things, but when they’re your every day rather than your “once in five years,” you cannot afford to let each one affect you so heavily. The NHS has made psychological support available to healthcare workers postpandemic, but I’m not aware of anyone who has used it.

PS: Were you offered psychological support, and is there any service you wish you had been offered to cope better during the pandemic?
SS: It was offered on posters in the coffee room but never formally. I’ve never been offered psychological support from my employer. The only thing that would have made it easier was better PPE, in all honesty, and a better resourced health system. If we knew that we had access to the best quality PPE and that supply wasn’t a problem, then I think we would all have felt much easier about the situation. Nothing can be done to prepare you or train you for this, so I don’t feel training would have been helpful for me.

PS: Throughout the pandemic, health workers have been hailed as heroes and were compared to soldiers going to the frontline of a war. How did this make you feel?
SS: I hated that terminology. I was so proud of how the NHS pulled together — its people are its biggest strength. These are people who have essentially taken a pay cut over the last five years due to inflation, who do an incredible job in very difficult circumstances. It’s OK for a hero to die — soldiers die at war, healthcare workers die in a pandemic. Cynically, I believe maybe this is why the terminology was used — to make it more acceptable when some of us died. If people want to do something positive for healthcare workers, then say thank you, and also lobby your MPs for a very well-deserved pay rise. The fact that the House of Commons had only a handful of MPs in attendance last week when a pay rise for NHS staff was debated is, to me, very telling.

PS: Do you think the work you have done during the pandemic will affect you long-term, psychologically, or in a different way than your pre-COVID workload did?
SS: It will be something I always remember and never regret doing. There will be images in my head that I will probably never see in front of me again, and the memories of it will always be emotive. Probably, for me, the most difficult part was actually before I went back — I was under no obligation to return to help, I had friends in the NHS telling me not to do it as it was too dangerous. I spent two weeks seriously afraid, having dreams that I was going to die of COVID and feeling like I was voluntarily putting myself forward as a lamb to the slaughter. That feeling will never leave me, but I’m very proud of what I did.

This conversation is an excerpt from an article titled Coronavirus Shone a Light on Health Workers’ Mental Health, but Their Struggles Aren’t New, which tells the stories of five more British and American health workers who’ve been working in hospitals during the pandemic.

Image Source: Supplied by Dr. Sophie Shotter



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Causes and 7 Foods that will Help Rev It Up!

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Are you among the many men who feel tired when completing even the most basic tasks? Trust us when we say you are not alone in this. Today, increasing number of men, both young and old, have started to experience low energy levels. And this chronic tiredness doesn’t just mean that you can’t jog the 3km that you used to. When you lack energy, you may not be able to concentrate or may feel sleepy all the time leaving you unproductive, extremely demotivated and unhappy in life.

Luckily, low levels of energy don’t ‘just happen.’ There are always reasons behind it, and once you know the cause, you can come up with a well-planned solution to fix the problem.

Table of Contents

Reasons Why Men Feel Low on Energy: 

1. Your Diet Could Be Off Kilter

offtrack on diet

Your diet dictates your strength – remember that! A healthy diet plan should include proteins, minerals, and vitamins present in the right proportions. While the odd cheat day won’t mess up your energy levels, a diet that is entirely devoid of these nutrients could cause a host of problems, beginning with a feeling of fatigue. Additionally, a bad diet doesn’t just refer to a lot of junk food. Therefore, it is always advised that you discuss your diet plan with a certified dietitian before restructuring your food regimen.

2. Low Testosterone Levels

As you grow older, the amount of testosterone present in your body reduces drastically. Testosterone is a male hormone responsible for maintaining your sex drive, bone density, weight gain, self-esteem levels, and so on. A drop in your testosterone levels could lead to several issues such as weight gain and insomnia, which could result in low energy levels.

3. Iron deficiency

Iron deficiency

Iron deficiency anemia is a common condition, and while pregnant women and women with heavy periods are more prone to it, men can also experience it. With men, iron deficiency anemia is caused due to problems with the stomach and intestines. These problems could be caused due to ulcers and the overuse of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS). The type of fatigue that could be experienced here is more towards the motivational side. You will find yourself not wanting to do anything, and even when completing a task, your muscles will feel tired and heavy.

On the flip side, a large amount of iron in your body could also lead to feelings of fatigue. This condition is known as hemochromatosis and is referred to as an iron-overload disorder. This condition is a rare inherited one and is said to affect men between the ages of 30-60.

4. Sleep Apnea

sleep apnea

Sleep apnea is a condition wherein the individual experiences small interruptions in their breathing cycle when they sleep. There are different kinds of sleep apnea, and obstructive sleep apnea is the one that is most commonly experienced. Here, the upper airways collapse on themselves for a few seconds, which causes the brain to jolt you awake. This condition is often characterized by snoring, and it can cause the individual to feel tired the next day.

5. You Don’t Exercise Enough

you Dont exercise enough

It is common for men to notice a decrease in energy levels if they don’t exercise for a long time. Exercising is good for losing weight, but it also increases the adrenaline levels and energy in the body. Without exercising for a long time, your muscles will get weak, and you will notice an increase in fatigue and the inability to perform even the most basic tasks without tiring.

6. You May Have Thyroid Issues

The thyroid gland is a hormonal gland that is required for one’s development. These hormones also regulate various body functions and even provide one with the energy to complete their day-to-day tasks. Hypothyroidism or reduced levels of the thyroid hormone in the body is a condition that is usually caused by an autoimmune disease. An autoimmune disease is one that causes the immune system to attack the individual’s thyroid. While women are more prone to experiencing this condition, men can also be affected by it. Moreover, a lack of thyroid in the male body could also lead to the reduction of testosterone, which could result in a reduction of energy.

7. You Could Have Coeliac Disease

celiac disease

This condition is one that lasts a lifetime and occurs through the reaction of the individual’s immune system to gluten. Gluten is a mixture of proteins that are found in different grains, as well as cakes, cereals, and bread. One of the main symptoms of coeliac disease is low levels of energy. Other symptoms include diarrhea, anemia, bloating, and a loss of weight.

7 Foods Men Should Add to their Diet to Rev Up Energy Levels

A great way to solve your fatigue problem would be to add the following foods to your diet. 

1. Bananas

bananas

Bananas are a fantastic source of energy and contain a ton of vitamin B6, potassium, and carbohydrates. Each of these nutrients works towards boosting your overall energy levels. In a study conducted by David C Nieman and the team, it was proven that eating a banana was as efficient as drinking a shake filled with carbohydrates.

2. Honey

honey

Low levels of testosterone could lead to fatigue. As such, it is essential to include foods that directly improve your energy and eat ingredients that increase your testosterone levels. Honey is one of these ingredients. Packed with boron, honey is an amazing product that works towards improving your testosterone levels while also strengthening your bones and muscles.

3. Fatty Fish

fatty fish

A proper diet should include a daily dose of vitamin B12 and omega-3 fatty acids. Vitamin B-12 and folic acid work together to improve the work done by iron in the body. On the other hand, Omega-3 fatty acids can significantly reduce the inflammation of the body, which could cause fatigue. Fatty fish, like tuna or salmon, are excellent sources of both vitamin B3 and Omega-3 fatty acids, so you should try consuming it as much as possible.

4. Almonds

almonds

Almonds contain biotin, commonly known as vitamin B3. This vitamin helps boost one’s metabolism, which is required to create energy from food, which, in our opinion, beats a bag of chips any day.

5. Garlic

garlic

Can you think of an Indian dish that doesn’t have garlic in it? We can’t! Garlic contains a component called allicin which is known for its ability to reduce one’s cortisol levels. The same gland produces cortisol and testosterone, and when you’re stressed, it can negatively impact different body functions, including the production of testosterone, which could cause you to feel tired. By adding garlic to your meal plan, you are sure to keep your testosterone and metabolism checked.

6. Brown Rice

brown rice

It has long been proven that brown rice is healthier than white rice. This type of rice is not as processed as white rice is and has a more substantial nutritional value. Additionally, brown rice contains fiber and manganese. Manganese helps break down the proteins and carbohydrates and converts them to energy. In contrast, the fiber content helps regulate your level of blood sugar and steadies your energy level throughout the day.

7. Oatmeal

Oatmeal

Oatmeal contains fiber, protein, and calcium, all of which are required for boosting your energy levels. It is an excellent addition to yogurt or can be used to create an energy bar as well. Therefore, not only is it delicious to eat, but it is also incredibly healthy and will fill you up for hours on end.

Summary

Be it, man or woman, it is imperative that we put our health and well-being first. Although men and women go through different kinds of stress levels and energy fluctuations, we all must make sure to eat right, sleep right, and exercise regularly. Adding the above-mentioned foods in their diet can especially help men in maintaining good energy levels, stamina, and overcome daily stress-related problems.

So, if you are among the many men going through tiredness, fatigue, or any other discomforts with regards to your energy levels, then make sure to add these foods in your diet and exercise regularly, for a healthier and fitter tomorrow.

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Does a Weak Pelvic Floor Cause Lower-Back Pain?

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Woman, Surfer, Badass

Pelvic-floor function might not be spoken about as often as, say, getting sculpted abs, but we’re here to tell you that it’s very important. In fact, if you regularly suffer from lower-back pain, it may be caused by pelvic-floor dysfunction.

But what is the pelvic floor? Dr. Helen Bernie, a urologist at Indiana University Health, told POPSUGAR that “the pelvic floor consists of all the muscles, ligaments, connective tissues, and nerves that support our pelvic organs and helps them function”. She explained that the pelvic floor acts like a hammock to support the bladder, bowels, rectum, uterus, vagina, and prostate. “We use our pelvic floor every day in the way we walk, move, sit, go to the bathroom, engage in sexual activity, and more.” The pelvic floor is extremely hard working and important for good abdominal health, and honestly, it deserves a lot more credit.

Of the four experts I spoke to about the pelvic floor — a combination of gynaecologists, urogynaecologists, and physical therapists — they all agreed that pelvic floor dysfunction can cause lower-back pain which, as we all know, can be a debilitating condition. There’s a logical reason for this, according to Dr. Sarah Collins, urogynaecologist at Northwestern Medicine Central DuPage Hospital in Illinois. “The pelvic floor is part of the all-powerful core, which is made up of the abdominal muscles, back muscles, pelvic-floor muscles, and the diaphragm,” she said. “When there is a problem with one part of the core, all other parts are affected.”

Dr. Bernie agreed, explaining that many people who have lower-back pain, also have pelvic-floor dysfunction, and vice versa. “Back pain and pelvic-floor dysfunction are closely related because all the muscles that support and protect the spine must also work to support the pelvic floor,” she said. “They are all interrelated and impact our core stability, gait, movements, and bodily functions.” In practical terms, it means that “if someone has chronic back pain, they might compensate by unconsciously altering the way they stand or walk, which can affect the balance of the pelvic muscles, said Dr. Karyn Eilber, MD, a urologist at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in California. “Also, if someone has lower lumbar or sacral spinal disease like spinal stenosis or a spine surgery, the nerves that go to the pelvis can be affected and pain and/or dysfunction can ensue,” added Dr. Eilber.

When I asked Jenna Walton, physical therapist at UCHealth Steadman Hawkins Clinic in Denver, whether she believes there’s a link between back pain and a weak pelvic floor, she answered, “Absolutely!.” “In fact, there was a recent research study done in Canada that found 95.3 percent of nonpregnant women in their sample with chief complaints of low-back pain also had undiagnosed, underlying pelvic-floor dysfunction,” she said. “In this study in particular, the most common pelvic floor impairment was weakness.”

This isn’t all to say that you should immediately start doing kegel exercises everyday to strengthen your pelvic floor — in fact, if performed incorrectly (or unnecessarily), it can lead to more troubles. “When the pelvic floor muscles are in an overly contractile or ‘tightened’ state, they become weak,” said Dr. Bernie. “When we think of strengthening our pelvic floor, oftentimes we associate that with ‘tightening’ our pelvic floor muscles. As with any muscle, you want to contract or tighten the muscles, as well as teach them how to relax and elongate.” Just like all medical problems, it’s recommended that you see your general practitioner (GP), who can refer you to a specialist who’s trained in pelvic-floor health for treatment.



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Living Alone? Here are 6 Ways to Handle Self-isolation Like a Pro

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Ever since the Coronavirus pandemic gripped the world, self-isolation has become a norm and people are being asked to remain in the security of their homes to break the chain of transmission. But for social animals, such as us, staying apart from our loved ones for long, can be a traumatic experience. 

Feelings of anxiousness, sadness, depression, frustration, and loneliness can seep in and affect your mental health and overall wellbeing. There are many ways how you can move past the loneliness phase, and try to embrace the current changes in your life, without letting any negative emotion get to you. Once you put aside your doubts and indulge in some of the tips mentioned here, you’ll find that coming out of loneliness or even embracing this time is beneficial for you. But, before that let’s get ourselves to understand what negative effects of self-isolation would be like –

Negative Effects of Self-isolation

Negative Effects of Self-isolation

To ensure that you go through this pandemic without suffering any kind of mental illness, we are here to tell you what are the negative effects loneliness could bring to your life, and how you can fight the situation and come out victorious in the face of adversity. 

  • Living alone or feeling lonely can lead to episodes of anxiety and depression, which can either have short-term or long-term effects
  • Lack of adequate sunshine and outside air due to self-isolation might also result in increased hair fall, changes in the menstrual cycle, and higher instances of irritation and short-temperateness
  • Loneliness also leads to declining immunity, which in turn would invite several diseases and illnesses that are not right for any person living in the Corona time
  • Overall, self-isolation that turns into loneliness induces behavioral, biological and psychological changes, which impacts your immunity and wellbeing 

6 Ways to Self-isolate Without Feeling Lonely

We know that self-isolation in the time of COVID 19  is necessary. No matter how much you want to venture outside, if you want to stay healthy and virus-free, you’ll have to put up with isolating yourself and maintaining social distance. But staying away physically need not turn out to be keeping an emotional distance from your friends and family. On the contrary, make use of mobile phones and video calling features to connect with your family and friends. Share your stories and ask them theirs because social distancing does not mean emotional distancing.

Here are all the ways you can handle self-isolation like a pro without beating yourself up:

#1 Indulge in a hobby

Indulge in a hobby

In this fast-paced world that is constantly moving, stopping to experience your hobby is quite impossible, but self-isolation is a good option to take out those painting brushes or that unfinished book. You must be feeling pressured due to continuously working from home and not knowing when you’re completing your office work, and when you’re transitioning to a homemaker. In such times, indulging in your hobby, be it craft, reading, dancing, or exercising is good for your mental and physical well being.

#2 Organize your thoughts

Living alone can be quite exhausting when you have to manage household and office work. Eventually, the tiredness would get to your mind and body. But one way to tackle such exhaustion is to keep a journal and write about your day. It has always been considered good practice to organize your thoughts and write them down to get it out of your mind.

#3 Eat healthily

Eat healthily

While many don’t believe that eating influences our mental health, in reality, it does. Eating oily, spicy, or any kind of junk food often leads to drastic changes in hormones thereby affecting our mood. Hence, for a better part of your self-isolation duration, eat fresh fruits and a protein-rich diet to ensure that your body’s hormonal balance is maintained.

#4 Connect with your loved ones

Connect with your loved ones

We always blame technology for tearing us apart from real life, but when you’re in self-isolation, technology is what will bring you closer to your family and friends. Make a video call and conference with your family members. Show them the new painting you made or the new dish you tried. Make video calls to your friends and siblings, and reminisce your old days together until you meet them again. This way you not only beat the feeling of negativity but also feel connected and in-touch with your loved ones. 

#5 Travel virtually

Travel virtually

The most affected area due to Coronavirus and social distancing is travel. We understand that all the past trips with your friends and family are making you nostalgic. So, we recommend that you try going on a virtual trip with them. Explore the deepest of mountains and the highest of space with your loved ones through the computer screen. Share past stories and drink your favorite beverage while you virtually travel the world with your family and friends. 

#6 Soak in the sun

Soak in the Sun

One of the worst scenarios of self-isolating is staying away from the sunlight for a number of days. As the primary source of Vitamin D, sunlight keeps our skin, hair, and other internal organs nourished with Vitamin D. We recommend you enjoy your morning tea/coffee in your balcony to soak in the sunlight of the new day. You can also go for a short walk on the terrace of your home to avoid crowded places or outside environments.

Summary

Self-isolation can be quite a daunting and exhausting experience when you’re not staying with your family or friends. Not only would loneliness take shape in such situations, but negative thoughts, anxiety, and depression could also come to light. However, there is no reason to give in to such thoughts. You can always turn to your trusted people, loved ones, and family members to take the load off your mind and talk to them whenever you feel down.

Besides, you can always turn to other factors, such as healthy foods, video calls, journal keeping, and many more, to keep your spirits up while you self-isolate yourself to others. With time, you can go back to your normal life, and enjoy being around people, provided you follow the rules to stay healthy and away from this deadly virus.

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9 Ways To Help Your Kids Manage Stress During the Lockdown

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With COVID-19 taking a toll on our lives, and social distancing, isolation, quarantine, vaccine, and other similar words becoming a part of our regular conversation, somewhere our kids are also going through a lot of stress like us, the grown-ups.

Helping Kids Deal With Stress During the Lockdown

Although isolation, physical, and social distancing is the new normal, it has led to immense physical and psychological pressure on the kids. Right from their academic calendar and summer vacations to the way of their lives, everything has turned upside-down. Plus, the introduction of online classes and restricted contact with their buddies and relatives have left them in a tough situation. As per the CDC (Centers For Disease Control and Prevention), small kids and teenagers are more prone to the Corona-induced crisis. 

We know that as a parent, understanding what your child is going through emotionally can be quite tricky because most kids either fail or ignore communicating their feelings. However, for every problem, there is a solution. And, when it comes to solving any issue, you need to get to the root of it and understand it in the first place. Here are the signs you need to notice to understand if your child is going to emotional stress – 

Helping kids deal with stress during the lockdown
  • If your child’s sleeping pattern seems irregular, if he/she sleeps more or less than usual, it could be a possible sign that he/she is suffering from stress.
  • Loss of appetite or increased craving for food is also a sign of depression. So, if your kid is not willing to have food, even his/her favorite one or his/her portion size has increased, he/she is more likely to be stressed.
  • Mood swings can also imply that your child is going through some tough deal deep within. If you find him/her showing a random outburst of emotions, it could mean that your little one is worried. It includes anger, sadness, fearfulness, tearfulness, irritability, and aggressiveness, etc.
  • Has your child become more conscious of his/her health? Is he/she looking for signs of illness in his/her body? Is he/she asking for frequent assurance about his/her wellbeing? If yes, then your child might be afraid of falling ill due to the pandemic.
  • Children, when in stress, prefer to be around people (mainly parents and siblings) with whom they feel safe and secure. So, if your son or daughter is exhibiting increased clinginess to you, he or she could be finding it hard to cope with the scenario of the health crisis. 
  • Isolation or disengagement from the surrounding is a way many kids react to stress and anxiety. So, it is crucial to monitor these traits and respond accordingly.
  • Easy distraction and lack of focus most of the time show that a person is worried about something. It applies to the kids as well. So, if you find that your little one is easily distracted or is unable to focus on any task given to him/her, your darling son or daughter needs help.

If you notice any of the above signs in your child’s behavior, you should know that it is time to talk to him/her and help him/her through the emotional mess.

9 Ways to Help Your Kids Manage Stress During the Lockdown

Here are some of the best ways to help your little ones to manage stress during the lockdown. 

#1 Talk to your kids

Talk to your kids

Many kids find comfort in being quiet and secluded. However, if you feel that their rhythm of conversation with you has dropped, all of a sudden, your child might be stressed and upset. Do not scold them for being that way. Talk to them proactively instead. Try to engage them in doing positive and creative things. Connect your kids to their friends and close relatives over the phone and video calls so that they do not feel isolated. 

#2 Make a structured routine

Make a structured routine

Kids are used to a particular routine owing to their school life. However, during this global pandemic followed by lockdown, this routine is somewhat disrupted. What you should do is schedule a daily routine for your kids. It will allow him/her to be in disciplined practice with less time to sit idle and do nothing. Make a structured routine for studies, games, physical activities, entertainment, meals as well as their sleep time. In this way, your child will feel relaxed and centered. 

#3 Feel their anxiousness and help them accordingly

Feel their anxiousness and help them accordingly

Is your son or daughter feeling anxious about the situation around them? For example, is he/she asking too many questions about COVID-19 or he/she get tense whenever you discuss this health crisis or your switch to the news channel? If so, then do not cover anything under the carpet. It can be overwhelming for them. It is crucial to handle this situation smartly. You can narrate the scenario to your kids with suitable filters so that they do not get depressed and Limit exposure to news and restrict to reliable sources than surfing each channel on television. 

#4 Keep a check on social media usage

Keep a check on social media usage

Social media is ruling the world right now. We seek out various social media platforms for our daily dose of entertainment. Our kids are also not indifferent to it. They are more into it instead. However, getting hooked to social media could be detrimental to both physical and emotional health. Plus, with easy access to information and news, kids can get information about anything and everything happening around, including the hoax and fake ones. So, you should keep a check on their social media usage, not forcefully, but tactfully.

#5 Your kids need you the most

Due to the pandemic, we are all locked inside our homes. It is indeed a tough time for all of us, including our kids. No matter if you are working from home or not, it is highly advisable to spend some time with your kids too. The more attention and care you give to your child, the better they will find to sustain this stressful condition. So, spend quality time with them, play with, help them with their studies and hobbies to make them feel better.

#6 Gear up and spend some time outside

Gear up and spend some time outside

Staying inside the home round the clock is stressful. And, on top of that, if it is some-deadly-disease-induced stay at home drill, then it can be mentally tormenting. However, you can spend some time outside your home with all your social distancing and sanitizing weapons ready. Moreover, you can also go and play with your kids in your backyard, rooftop, or go for small walks in the neighborhood, maintaining social distancing, if going outside is not possible. 

#7 Watch your behavior in front of your kids

Understandably, you can also get stressed due to all of these happening around. And, when we adults get tense, we often start using bad words and try to blame each other for the mishaps. Remember, this could be detrimental to your kids. Therefore, make sure to watch your words before speaking as it can decide what your kids get along. Also, COVID-19 is a viral infection, and it can happen to anybody. So, before making any uninformed comment on the same, getting your facts rights would be the best thing to do. 

#8 Allot fun tasks and assignments to them

Allot fun tasks and assignments to them

When you provide your kids with specific tasks, they tend to get engrossed in it, which in turn helps to eliminate their stress to a great extent. You can assign various household chores, like helping you do the dishes or clean the tabletop, or structure gameplays. All you need to do is create a fun and creative environment for them so that they stay away from negativities related to the pandemic. When their minds are into something creative and rewarding, they will be happy and relaxed.

Looking for fun ways to engage your kids and keep them happy, all at the safety of your homes? Then you must try out Healthify Studio sessions that are exclusively dedicated for them!

#9 Avoid forcing them to study all the time

Avoid forcing them to study all the time

Why are you wasting your time? Go to your room and study. Many parents use study-technique to control the minds of their children to keep them away from the talks about the global pandemic. It is advisable not to do this to your child. There are plenty of other ways to keep them engaged. Only study and no fun time will make them more depressed. Plus, they would lose interest from everything around them. Yes, we know that studying is also essential, but as said earlier, make a routine for your little ones and don’t force them into anything.

It shall pass, till then be patient and keep your child happy!

These are some of the best ways to help your child manage stress during the lockdown. And remember, we can fight Corona for sure. All we need is strong immunity and the knack of healthy living. The happier your kids will be, the stronger will be their immunity. 

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Team GB Gymnasts Claim Abuse and Bullying by Coaches

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England's Catherine Lyons with her medals from the Gymnastics during day Four of the Sainsbury's 2013 School Games at iceSheffield, Sheffield. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday September 15, 2013. Photo credit should read: Nigel French/PA Wire   (Photo by Nigel French/PA Images via Getty Images)

In a report by ITV News that aired on Monday, former elite gymnast Catherine Lyons claimed she was abused by her coach — both physically and emotionally — for years, until she eventually exited the sport at 15-years-old. “I had counselling for a year and a half and was diagnosed by a top child psychiatrist from a primary hospital with post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD),” Lyons told ITV News. Her claims include being physically hit, being locked in a store cupboard on her own as a child, being forced to train and compete while injured, and being pushed to the point of starving from as young as 10-years-old.

And Lyons isn’t the only former gymnast to speak out about alleged abuse. Former Olympian and Commonwealth gold medallist Lisa Mason says she has personally received messages from former and current gymnasts who were treated similarly to her and Lyons. “A couple have said to me that they want to be more vocal, but they’re concerned about their position,” Mason told ITV News. “And, like I said, we all know why . . . the Olympics is next year, and we don’t want to rock the boat and upset the people who make those decisions.” She also explained that training and competing through injury was very common, even if it meant taking regular prescription pain medication to get through a training session, from as young as 12-years-old.

A former welfare officer told Sky News that “a ‘culture of fear’ existed within the organisation where concerned coaches and parents were too scared to voice their concerns.” Multiple gymnasts — both former athletes and current competitors — have reported intense and horrific body shaming and gaslighting over serious injuries that have now developed into long-term issues.

Culture and Sport Secretary Oliver Dowden MP has responded to the allegations, saying that it is heartbreaking to hear about and that it must be investigated. British gymnastics has responded to the claims in the ITV News segment, saying they condemn “any behaviour that is harmful to the wellbeing of our gymnasts. Such behaviours are completely contrary to our standards of safe coaching.” The organisation has also urged gymnasts (past and present) to contact their integrity unit. The claims come shortly after the release of Netflix’s new documentary Athlete A, which exposes the deeply ingrained and insidious abuse that took place over many years in the Team USA gymnastics camp.

ITV News: Stars Allege Abuse at Heart of British Gymnastics




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Symptoms of Tight, Overactive Pelvic Floor Muscles

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A young woman experiencing pelvic discomfort, she is grimacing in pain.

When people think of pelvic-floor muscles, it’s usually in the context of pregnancy (or post-pregnancy), urinary incontinence, and the well-known pelvic floor exercise kegels. But, believe it or not, the pelvic floor has a very important job for all genders, regardless of whether you’ve given birth before. “The pelvic floor is a thin, bowl-shaped group of muscles that makes up the bottom-most portion of the abdomino-pelvic cavity,” explained Dr. Sarah Collins, urogynaecologist at Northwestern Medicine Central DuPage Hospital in Illinois. “It supports your pelvic organs, including your vagina, uterus, rectum, bladder, and urethra. The pelvic floor is so important for a number of reasons. First, your urethra, vagina, and rectum pass through it, and the function of those structures is affected by your pelvic floor.”

If all of this is new to you, you’re definitely not alone. The conversation around pelvic floor dysfunction has predominantly centred around having a weak pelvic floor, with the most common symptoms people present with being urinary or stool incontinence, or a heavy or bulging sensation in the vagina. But, it turns out that having overly tight, or “hypertonic,” pelvic floor muscles is an issue spoken about a lot less often, even though it’s equally important and comes with a whole other set of symptoms.

“The pelvic floor is so important for a number of reasons. First, your urethra, vagina, and rectum pass through it, and the function of those structures is affected by your pelvic floor.”

All the experts who spoke to POPSUGAR agreed that common symptoms of hypertonic pelvic floor muscles are: back pain, difficulty controlling your bladder or bowels, and pain or unpleasant sensations in the bowel or bladder during penetrative sex. On the last point, Dr. Helen Bernie, a urologist at Indiana University Health, added that “sex should never be painful. Pelvic floor dysfunction can cause painful sex, vaginismus, decreased or painful orgasms, as well as positional pain.”

Historically, the only thing we’ve been taught about our pelvic floor muscles is that tighter equals better, and weak is disastrous — but it turns out, that’s not strictly true. “Believe it or not, the focus on ‘strengthening’ and ‘tightening’ the pelvic floor muscles is usually misplaced,” Dr. Collins told POPSUGAR. “In most women with pelvic floor muscle dysfunction, the muscles are not weak but actually too tight, so they can become chronically contracted, losing their range of motion. Muscles that are chronically contracted do not work properly because they are unable to relax or squeeze well.” Dr. Bernie agreed, explaining that “our goal is to have a strong pelvic floor that can lengthen, elongate, relax, and contract as it needs to for normal body functions and support.”

“There are many causes of hypertonic (overly contractile, tight pelvic floor muscles), including emotional states such as high stress, anxiety, or fear,” Dr. Bernie said. “Many people carry their emotions in the pelvic floor, which can cause overly contractile, hypertonic states, leading to weakened pelvic floor muscles and dysfunction.” She explained that there are many causes for this, such as overusing the pelvic muscles (for example, going to the bathroom too frequently or pushing and straining too hard when you do), which eventually leads to poor muscle coordination.

Dr. Bernie also noted that overtraining your pelvic floor muscles with repetitive exercises such as kegels, which focus only on tightening the muscles, can also result in an imbalance in the pelvic floor. Dr. Collins seconded this point, explaining that “kegels actually are not right for most women as a form of exercise because, while it is important to be able to perform a pelvic floor muscle contraction (or kegel squeeze), it is at least as important to be able to relax the pelvic floor.”

“Our goal is to have a strong pelvic floor that can lengthen, elongate, relax, and contract as it needs to for normal body functions and support.”

Dr. Karyn Eilber, MD, a urologist at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in California, who has a subspecialty board certification in female pelvic medicine and reconstructive surgery, said that a common scenario is a woman who has recurrent bladder infections eventually developing hypertonic pelvic floor muscles. “Every time she urinates, she contracts her pelvic floor in anticipation of pain, and over time, her muscles can stay tight. Another situation is chronic pelvic pain due to conditions such as endometriosis. Similar to the woman with recurrent infections, because she is in pain, she clenches her pelvic muscles to help ease the pain, which actually makes her situation worse,” thus, resulting in muscles that are overly tight.

Unfortunately, the deeper you dive, the clearer it is that pelvic floor dysfunction is extremely common, so seeing a specialist if you suspect pelvic floor dysfunction is the best way forward. The first step is booking to see your general practitioner, who can then refer you to a urologist, urogynaecologist, or a specialist physical therapist. Dr. Bernie also recommended ISSWSH.org (The International Society For the Study of Women’s Sexual Health), which she said is a wonderful website full of information for women with sexual dysfunctions or pelvic floor dysfunctions.



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Free Mental Health Services and Resources in the UK

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Free Online Therapy

Caring for your mental health has never been more important than it is right now, in a year where most people have experienced multiple psychological traumas at once. The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has impacted our daily lives in immeasurable ways, and the fight for racial equality, which has led to widespread protests in almost every major city in the UK and around the world, has definitely taken its toll. There’s a lot going on, to say the least, and we understand that this year has been a tough one.

Thankfully, there are plenty of free mental health services and resources you can utilise today, if you need the extra support. There are a few different ways you can seek support, both for ongoing mental health support and for urgent care.

The list of mental health services ahead are a compilation of crisis helplines, live-chat services, and helpful online resources; however, if you’re seeking long-term support, teletherapy is the way to go. Adrienne Meier, PhD, and other therapists POPSUGAR has spoken to, do not consider crisis hotline services to be the same thing as teletherapy. Teletherapy is therapy sessions administered through phone calls or video sessions from a licensed professional. The same goes for messaging with a therapist on an app. It’s therapeutic, sure, and can absolutely be beneficial, but it’s not considered therapy in their eyes.

“If someone calls the hotline, we can provide them with support and listen and provide them with concrete coping skills to assist them in whatever mental health issue or crisis they’re experiencing,” Dr. Meier said. “It can still be really helpful to whoever’s calling in. It’s just a different type of help than we would perhaps offer in an ongoing therapy relationship.” Licensed mental health counsellor Sheina Schochet agreed. “It’s considered more of a one-time therapeutic consult as opposed to consistent therapy because you’re not getting the same therapist [each time] necessarily, and it doesn’t follow a consistent treatment plan.”

Ahead, see 10 free mental health resources that are available in the UK right now.

The NHS Urgent Mental Health Helpline

The NHS Urgent Mental Health Helpline service is a short, online quiz that helps you find the best mental health support in your area.

Every Mind Matters

Every Mind Matters is the NHS’s mental health initiative, which offers long-term support to those who need it. The first step is filling out the five-question quiz on the website, and from there, you’ll have a telephone consultation to determine the type of help you need. For example, some people may receive online resources for cognitive behavioural therapy to help combat anxiety, and others will receive a number of appointments with a clinical psychologist via video calls. Because this is a service offered by the NHS, it is extremely comprehensive and reliable. If you require urgent support, there are a number of recommendations on the Every Mind Matters website.

Mind Out

A mental health service designed to specifically support members of the LGBTQ+ community, Mind Out has an online instant messaging service that is completely anonymous and 100 percent judgement-free. Mind Out also offers peer mentoring programs and support groups to help you speak to people who have been exactly where you are.

ChildLine

ChildLine is a service for under 19-year-olds in the UK, offering a plethora of digital resources, including a “calm zone” and a detailed explanation of domestic violence, plus a step-by-step on creating a safety plan in these situations. Additionally, ChildLine has a portal for reporting underage nude photos, if you’re under 18 years old and learn that someone has shared a naked photo of you online, so they can be removed. You will be fully supported through this process by ChildLine.

Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM)

CALM is a general mental health service that’s endorsed on the NHS’s Every Mind Matters website, so you can count on the fact that the information it provides is extremely reliable and up to date. The hotline and web-chat services are open between 5 p.m. and midnight every single day of the year, but if you require urgent help outside these hours, CALM suggests calling the Samaritans or 999. According to the website, CALM is experiencing a higher volume of calls and web chats than usual, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, so there might be longer waits to speak to a professional. However, the CALM website also has an in-built search engine where you can search for support services that pertain to a specific concern.

Samaritans

Samaritans is one of the leading mental health services in the UK for people requiring advice. There are many ways to seek help with Samaritans, including by phone, email, handwritten letter (for nonurgent assistance), and the self-help app. The app is a fully self-guided process, where you can track your symptoms, create a safety plan to employ in times of crisis, and there is a catalogue of techniques so you can try to help self-manage your mental health at home. Due to the coronavirus outbreak in the UK, Samaritans have temporarily stopped their face-to-face appointments.

YoungMinds Crisis Messenger

YoungMinds is a support service with young people and their parents in mind. The YoungMinds Crisis Messenger is a free text service designed to provide emotional support for young people, whether it’s for a specific problem like bullying, coping with grief, or suicidal thoughts, or if you’ve noticed that you’re not quite feeling like yourself.

Mind Infoline

Mind is an online and telephone resource that doesn’t offer counselling but rather provides a safe space to anonymously discuss your mental health concerns. Mind will also help you find reliable information on where you can get help and discuss possible treatment options for long-term mental health solutions.

The Mix

A free mental health service for people under 25 years old, The Mix offers a range of short-term support options for getting help without ever leaving your home. Unlike many of the other resources mentioned above, The Mix has a telephone counselling option for under 25s and a one-to-one online chat service for 10- to 18-year-olds. Additionally, there is a crisis management text service that is free and available 24 hours per day, seven days a week.

Victim Support

Victim Support is a free service for children, young people, and their parents to help support children who’ve been affected by crime. In addition to a catalogue of written resources, there is also a virtual courtroom to help your child understand what to expect if they are going to be a witness in court; plus, there’s an interactive “Journey to Justice” tool that educates young people on what happens when a crime is reported and how decisions are made within the justice system. The Victim Support website also has information about local support teams, national phone helplines, and a live chat.

Additional reporting by Samantha Brodsky



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