World Mental Health Day – Awareness.

 

World Mental Health Day

The 10th of October 2018 – we have dedicated this day and date to increase and spread knowledge and awareness towards Mental Health, worldwide.

What is Mental Health? The functioning level of psychological and emotional well-being considered healthy from the absence of any mental illness due to the right balance of behavioural adjustments.

Simply put, having a clear state of mind at all times. Is this even possible, during these times that we live in? Has there anyone who has not been affected by mental illness during their lifetime?

It has somewhat become apparent to put ‘Us’ aside and prioritise externalities.

We see changes happening around us, every day and certain behavioural patterns on our colleagues at work, mates in school, closest friends and even at home by family members. Most often, we choose to ignore because we do not understand what exactly are the reasons behind these dramatic changes in their behaviours. Or our own.

Mental illness affects everyone – from that one person who is suffering silently or loudly, to their loved ones supporting them, young and old, poor and rich, educated or not! Because it comes without warning. Because it does not choose its’ victims by a voting poll but the situations and the way we handle it, is what causes the long-term damages.

The following are some of the common types and signs and symptoms of mental illnesses that affect children from ages 8 to 12, teenagers, younger and older adults.

What are the common Mental Health illnesses?

  1. Depression – feelings of severe despondency and dejection; also the most common mental illness which is always the first and at the top of the list.
  • overwhelming emotions, extremities in projecting feelings, silent or talkative
  • breaking down in tears, not having a reason to cry, despaired and hopeless
  • feeling pessimistic and hostile of their situation, defensive and irritated
  • extreme lethargy and fatigued, not interested in any daily activity, discouraged
  • suicidal thoughts and risky actions that cause self-injury and harm

 

2. Anxiety – feelings of worry, nervous and agitated without any particular reasons.             Usually a reaction of feeling uneasy to one or more phobia and/or a result of isolation and withdrawal.

  • Social anxiety, fear of meeting people, communicating and even travelling either alone or public transportation
  • Childhood traumas that cause a lifetime of an unhealed wound, post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Emotionally unable to express themselves freely due to bitter, fear and loneliness.

 

3. Obsessive – Compulsive Disorder ( OCD ) – a mental illness which in itself has two parts and the person usually will experience one or the other, and at most times both.

  • Obsession, constantly disturbed by repetitive thoughts which are unwanted. This does not necessarily be a focus on one thing that is particular, it could be anything and changes from one obsession to another.
  • Lack of focus and attention. Easily distracted by their own thoughts.
  • Compulsion is what the person does to control their obsessive thoughts. This is something the person has a slight control of since they know what they are doing like arranging and ordering things in a certain way, cleaning and tidying to keep one busy

4.  Eating Disorders – abnormal and extreme eating habits due to concerning body shape and size. Affects both men and women and the particularly the younger

  • Anorexia Nervosa is an emotional and psychological disorder which causes the person extreme weight loss of the constant fear of weight gain.
  • Starving themselves to lose weight and the body suffers malnutrition due to lack of essentials
  • Bulimia Nervosa an emotional disorder which due to their obsession to lose weight, bouts overeating and forcing themselves to vomit and purge
  • Also exposing their bodies to extreme health risks

 

As a woman who has suffered depression and obsessive-compulsive disorder ( OCD ), I can tell you that it was never easy to be me, to be in my head. But I managed and took control of my mental health by focusing on my overall health and surroundings.

A person is not fully recovered from these illnesses but with the right guidance, support, and care any long-term damages could significantly decrease and kept under control.

How do we do this? By identifying the symptoms of Mental Health illnesses.

What are the symptoms of Mental Health illnesses?

  • Mood disorders – unpredictable and rapid changes in moods throughout. E.g: Bipolar Disorder, Depression, Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorders in women, Anxiety.
  • Personality change – a dramatic change in projecting themselves as in their appearances, opinions, actions and exaggerated emotions.
  • Hopelessness and overwhelmed – portraying to have given up or given in to the situation, not seemed to have control of the situation, good and bad.
  • Withdrawal and Isolation – staying aloof from the outside world, anxious and nervous, changes in self can cause fear and confusion.
  • Poor self-care and risky behaviour – alcohol and drug abuse. Ignoring their health, hygiene, well-being. Could also be threatening to others due to their indulgence of illegal substances.

If you can recognise any of these changes and symptoms on somebody or even yourself, it is time to seek help.

There are many campaigns and programmes which are readily available in your country. Your local medical and general practitioners are there to give you all the information that you need to identify, diagnose and help you take the first steps for recovery.

These are just some forms of help that you or your loved one could be receiving right now to tackle Mental Health illness:

Cognitive Behaviour Therapy ( CBT ) a concept which is based on your thoughts and mind, emotional and physical energy and senses, that works with the positives that could help you keep negative and destructive behaviour from your life.

You get to share and talk about your troubles, worries, problems. Someone who will listen to your fears and help you rediscover and improve.

Prescribed medications for certain disorders such as:

Antidepressants – Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs) and Selective Norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitors (SNRIs) to treat depression, anxiety and insomnia.

Anti-anxiety – Benzodiazepines for general and social anxieties, panic attacks.

Antipsychotics – Antipsychotic pills prescribed to treat Schizophrenia and Bipolar.

 

Neurosurgery for Mental Disorder ( NMD ) – a type of brain surgery which is only used in extremely rare cases where the small area of the brain tissue contributing to the mental disorder is destroyed.

 

There are solutions and cures for every problems and illness. But we can together prevent major damages that are caused by lack of knowledge to these issues by simply educating yourself and using these to get the help we need.

Together we can create awareness of the importance of Mental Health.

Norway, the Worlds’ Happiest Country.

Just over a month ago, I visited Norway.

It all began with me Google-ing away adventurous holidays  – hiking adventures, mountain climbing and polar bear encounters, whale watching and all the crazy fun stuff!

Since looking up places for an adventurous holiday was in the cards for me, I wanted to make sure I did it right, do my research and homework. It’s got to be something a little different, something a lot more unusual to the normal holidays that I am accustomed by.

I read blogs and articles, reviews on Tripadvisors, checked for holiday packages within the budget because I want a holiday that does not break the bank. This was my responsible duty for the next few days – just reading! Not complaining about it as I love reading.

Only when I stumbled upon an incredible blog by Silvia Lawrence ( the link below ), on Norwegians and the country, Scandinavian culture and architecture, the breathtakingly beautiful sceneries of the Fjords, that intrigued me to further my research on Norway.

Please check in her blog —   https://www.heartmybackpack.com/norway/helpful-norwegian-scandinavian-habits/

I was enjoying my read so much and it made me very excited that I knew that instant, my next holiday had to be – Tromsø, Norway.

Tromsø – situated at the north most of Norway and close to the Arctic Circle, is and has been a major tourist attraction for nature lovers, wildlife enthusiasts and hunters of the Aurora Borealis or Northern Lights in winter and also the Midnight Sun during summer.

So, holiday and apartment booked along with a long list of to-dos!

I can tell you about the adventures that brought me a new perspective on life and the way it opened new opportunities. But then, where is the fun in all that without some visual actions? See, you smile and agree.

Go on. Check in to the photographs of my panoramic adventures; a 5-hour Fjord cruise and wildlife watching, my first ever mountain climbing experience in Kvaløya, hiking and a rocky climb to the Lyngen Alps and Blåvatnet ( Blue Lake, which lived up to its reputation).

It has been weeks since I came home from Tromsø this summer, yet the memories are as ethereal and bright as the midnight sun which I enjoyed day and night.

I still have more of Norway to explore. And I will go back again and again. Till then, these photographs will capture its beauty in my memory.

 

The Rower.

The most difficult of cardio for me – rowing machine! But, it is a great exercise equipment which targets the whole body and a must do for weight loss, toning up and to build muscles in your body.

Ever since I started gymming, the rowing machine has played a massive role not only on the above mentioned for its benefits, but also to build stamina, increase energy and build endurance.

As I suffered knee pain due to weight gain years ago, running and cycling was not an easy task. I often skip the treadmill and bikes fearing the pain it caused during and after my workouts.

Since my fitness journey was all about weight loss, muscle gains and toning up – I was introduced to the rowing machine by my Personal Trainer.

Practise makes perfect! And months after rowing and slowly introducing running, I lost a lot of weight! And I have a soft spot for this amazing machine.

If you’re looking to add more cardio in your workout routine, get straped to the rowing machine in your local gym and feel your heart rate increase the flow of oxygen in to your lungs!

Share with me your fitness goals and journey. Let’s get healthy together! 😊💪🏽

Prague, Czech Republic

Old Town Square.

 

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Bustling with tourists.

 

Your carriage awaits..

 

Charles Bridge.

 

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Letna Park view of the Bridges and Prague.

 

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Physical Activity.

Physical Activity simply means any bodily movement required to produce and expend energy.

Being physically inactive causes adverse health implications and increases the risks of many illnesses including coronary heart disease, stroke, metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes and even certain types of cancers!

It is highly recommended, for an adult to exercise at least 4 times a week, for 20 to 30 minutes, per day.

However, most people still struggle to fit in any kind of physical activity. The most popular reasons I hear – too busy, hectic schedules, chasing deadlines and running errands in and out of work i.e. no time for exercise!

Being complacent to – one is not overweight or unfit hence does not require to be physically active, is also another excuse not to incorporate exercise into your life.

Most illnesses begin at the workplace. A slight backache, ignored and soon develops and causes major injuries to the spinal code.

The key is to obtain good knowledge on the importance of an active lifestyle and addressing the benefits of incorporating exercises in your everyday life.

This is where as an employer, you step in to promote the health benefits and importance of physical activity at your workplace. You can easily access this information pertaining to health and fitness at your local medical centres, libraries, and the internet.

You can start by encouraging your employees to practice these simple exercises at work:-

Leg Extension –  While seated, grab the side of your chair for support and extend your legs straight so its parallel to the floor. Flex and point your toes 5 – 10 times. Relax and continue this repetition 3 times. This exercise works the legs and abs!

Chair Dip – Hold onto the edge of your chair with both hands whilst seated. Bend your knees, slowly slide off the chair and lower your body, with your arms supporting your body weight. Straighten your arms for a count of two and repeat 12 times. Works the triceps!

The Stair Master – Simply use the stairs instead of the lift. Try two steps at a time for a full body workout that strengthens, tones and sculpts your core muscles!

 

As an employer, it is your responsibility to acknowledge the risks of physical inactivity and bring awareness to your employees.

There are several ways you can engage your employees in physical activity:-

  • Lead by example – be a role model that your employees want to follow
  • Make being healthy and a fit lifestyle an essential job requirement
  • Practice simple office workouts as above
  • Invite your employees to participate in outdoor activities
  • Perks of being active – free memberships for your employees at the local gym
  • Allowances – Encourages cycle or walk to work with colleagues
  • Encourage employees to take swimming lessons to strengthen and correct posture to enhance their physical activity
  • Short distance jogging and/or power walking during lunch breaks
  • Encourage employees to use stairs instead of the lift

 

Many leading business corporations in the UK, participate in fun activities together for their local and charity events to bring health awareness to the public.

This is another way you can encourage your employees to lead an active lifestyle. It also highly benefits both you and your employees in achieving:-

  • A better public image – a great opportunity to play the role model to other companies
  • Increase in productivity – being physically active helps to de-stress and keeps the mind focussed which in turn allows room for innovative and creative ideas
  • Less absenteeism – helps prevent industrial injuries and staff turnover as employees are healthier and less prone to fall ill and helps them to recover sooner
  • Job satisfaction – working in a healthy environment contributes to happier staff and a positive working atmosphere, increasing self-esteem and confidence in completing their workload
  • Profitability – all of the above adds to the value of the organization as a whole, enabling to achieve company target through the workmanship of its now, healthier and fitter employees.

 

All it takes is a few minutes every day to be physically active, to make a huge difference that contributes to your health and wellbeing. And your body and mind will thank you for it!

DONT make excuses, Make Time for Exercise!

Musee du Louvre

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World’s largest Art Museum and Historical Monument. Another astonishing architecture that’s spellbound and envelopes you to the surrounding of this City of Love!