Podcast Ep 41 – Bullying is Not OK

Today, I talk about bullying, following an article on The Mighty about  10-year-old Seven Bridges who died by suicide after being bullied.

Bullying is never OK, and I discuss some of the things you can do to get support and help if you are the victim of bullying.

There are also many charities such as Young Minds, that offer advice and support.

If you are being bullied, please speak to someone.

Podcast Ep 40 – Mental Health on the Agenda at Davos

Today, I talk about mental health because it’s on the agenda at the World Economic Forum in Davos.

It is great to see mental health issues being raised by people such as Prince William. However, it is also vital that this doesn’t get drowned out by other topics on the agenda.

Let’s work together to get mental health trending at Davos on social media.

Please subscribe and comment on the podcast.

Podcast Ep 39 – How Can You Make Anxiety Easier at Work?

Having a bad anxiety day is bad enough, but when you have to be at work as well, it can be even worse. 

Today, I talk about how to make your anxiety better in the workplace. I also talk about the stigma surrounding people who can’t work. 

As always, please comment and subscribe to my podcast. Also, tell your friends about the show if you think it can help them. 

Podcast Ep 38 – For Many Blue Monday is Not Just One Day

Today is supposed to be Blue Monday, when statistically, most people feel low mood and depression. 

On the show today, I talk about how for many people, Blue Monday isn’t just one day a year. I also offer some tips on how you can help to raise your mood, whatever day it is. 

If you are feeling low, have depression, or anxiety, try to talk to someone who you trust, or speak to someone from one of the many charities that can help you. 

I have a list of charities on my website that you can contact for help and support. 

Podcast Ep 36 – MS and How it Can Affect Your Mental Health With Guest Kathy Young

and mental health with guest kathy  young.

Your mental health can be affected in many ways, especially when dealing with a difficult diagnosis such as MS. 

On today’s episode, I talk to podcaster and blogger Kathy Young about how being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis affected her mental health, and how she now helps others. 

You can find Kathy’s podcast and blog on her website FUMS.com, and you can also sign up to her latest project, Patients Getting Paid

If you have any questions about this episode, please let me know, I hope you find it helpful.

Podcast Ep 35 – Should You Take a Time Out From Technology?

Should you take a time out from technology

I love tech, but sometimes, being constantly connected to everyone else can become draining. 

Today, I discuss whether it’s a good idea to occasionally take some time out, and turn off those mobile phones. Can being off the grid help your mental health? 

I also have a promo for a great podcast called Mouse and Weens, you can check them out and their podcast on their website

As always, please leave a comment on my website, and leave a review and a rating on your podcast platform. 

Podcast Ep 34 – Do You Find Blogging Therapeutic?

Do You Find Blogging Theraputic_

Today, I talk about how blogging has helped me as a type of therapy, to tell my story and how it has evolved over the years.

I also talk about how popular blogging has become, and what you can do to become a blogger if you think you have a story to tell.

Please spread the word, and tell at least one person about this podcast. Help me to raise the awareness of mental health and reduce the stigma.

Ep 33 – Mental Health in History

The way that mental health and conditions such as depression and bipolar disorder have been improved through research and greater understanding, is wonderful.

It is even more amazing when you consider how doctors and therapists used to treat such conditions.

I talk about how mental health treatment has changed, and how new technology and research has also eliminated some stigma.

I also take a look at the role of the asylum, and how it dealt with people with mental health problems.

Please feel free to leave a comment, and also rate and subscribe.

Podcast Ep 32 – How to Avoid Germs in Public Toilets

Public toilets are often places you try to avoid unless absolutely necessary. However, if you do need to use them, what can you do to avoid getting germs? Some people even ask if you can you get an STD from a toilet seat.

Please support Rethink Mental Health Charity by donating on my website.

Please also leave a comment or a rating on the platform you are listening on, it will be much appreciated.

Thank You!

Podcast Ep 28 – Are Facebook Groups Bad For Mental Health Support?

There are a lot of Facebook Groups that are there to support people with mental health problems. However, are they always the best way to get the support you need? With so much in the media about social media and mental health, what are the dangers of Facebook?

Please leave a review of my podcast, and check out my website for ways to subscribe to your favourite platform.

Podcast Ep 27 – What Are the Natural Alternatives to Antidepressants?

If you are taking antidepressants or you are thinking about what alternatives you can find, then this is the podcast for you.

In this episode, I talk about some of the alternatives you can find, and how they can help you.

*I am not a trained doctor or medical person, I am simply trying to give others the tools they need. You should seek professional medical advice if you have any concerns or questions about your antidepressants*

Please take a look at my Facebook Group for those who want to be part of the Walking With Anxiety Community.

https://universityhealthnews.com

https://www.mind.org.uk

Podcast Ep 25 – Helping Others and Yourself

Everyone needs a little help now and then, and there are many charities out there all trying to do just that. Today, I talk about trying to raise funds for mental health charities and how we can all get together to help each other, and those less fortunate.

I have set up a Patreon page to help me gain the support I need to build my podcast and help as many people as possible.

https://patreon.com/walkingwithanxiety

Please subscribe and listen to the podcast version available below.

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Please take a look at my Facebook Group for those who want to be part of the Walking With Anxiety Community.

Ep – 21 Coughs and Sneezes Spread Diseases

In winter there are many viruses out there, so why not make things easier for everyone by keeping them to ourselves? As someone with health anxiety, winter can be particularly problematic. Lots of people with auto-immune issues would also appreciate the thought I am sure.

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Did You Know I’m now on Daily Motion?

Ep 19 – Boxing Day and Sales Anxiety

 

Well, Christmas Day has passed, but there are now the Boxing Day sales that can cause a problem.

Today, I talk about planning your sale day trips so you aren’t overwhelmed. Please, listen to the podcast version available below.

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5 Ways to Calm Your Anxiety at Christmas

Christmas can be a struggle for some people, so here are 5 ways that you can try to calm your anxiety and find peace in the chaos.

This episode is also on YouTube.

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5 Things Someone With Health Anxiety Worries About a Stomach Bug

Health Anxiety 5 things

This particular devil has descended upon our house. So far it has only hit my wife, but just the fact that it is within these four walls is enough to start my health anxiety rising. 

1. No Touch Policy

This is one of the first things that goes into action when a bug hits the household. There is an immediate no touch policy and this doesn’t just affect the person. I also enforce no touch of any part of the bathroom, bed or any possible surface that may have been touched. This can be quite a large area, but my super alert mind can remember the exact location of every place my wife has touched.

2. Quarantine

Of course, there is an immediate quarantine area that anyone not affected must not enter. This area usually includes the bedroom, bathroom and the hallway in between. It means I spend the contagious days in the spare room wearing a gas mask and chanting against evil spirits. I also anoint myself with hand gel. 

3. Decontamination

The level that this goes to is only limited by what I can get away with. In an ideal world, every plate, glass, bedding, clothing, and bathroom visited by the ill person would be placed into a sealed container and dropped into the nearest active volcano. What actually happens is the clothes and bedding go on a boil wash (there is no volcano setting on our washing machine). The plates and glasses go on an extra long dishwasher setting, and anything eaten by the person 24 hours before is tested and analysed. 

4. The Mind

Goes into Overdrive All of a sudden, I become not only a leading forensic detective, but I also develop an amazing sense of self-preservation. I liken it to the 70’s show Joe 90, it’s as if I put on glasses and I suddenly know the incubation period of any bug ever discovered. I also overthink any possible contamination or infection. I worry for the whole period of quarantine as well as a good three days after. 

5. Guilt

This is a big part for me because I feel very guilty for these feelings and coping strategies. I know that my wife understands, but I feel as though I should be helping. I do all the housework and looking after Bea of course, but It still feels like it’s not enough. 

I have actually been very good for writing this as I usually can’t type or mention that which can’t be mentioned (no, not Voldemort).

Can ASMR Videos Help People With Mental Illness Relax and Sleep?

Can ASMR Videos Help People With Mental Illness Relax and Sleep

I was reading some stories related to mental health and I came across an interesting article on The Conversation website about how people are using ASMR type videos on YouTube to help them relax and get to sleep. 

I have to be honest and say that I had never heard about ASMR before, or their effect on people with anxiety and mental health problems. However, I was interested to see if this could be a way to help me relax and get to sleep, mainly because that is a problem I have had for a while. 

I then thought about my daughter, and the number of videos she watches on YouTube every day. These videos are not necessarily calming and designed to relax you, but because she has autism, maybe this is a subconscious way she has developed of relaxing?  

I also like to watch videos and movies before I go to bed, as I find that it helps me to wind down, though evidence suggests that this type of activity should keep you awake rather than help you sleep. 

I have always chastised by daughter from watching too much YouTube before bed, but she never has any problems sleeping, so perhaps the ASMR is working on her? 

It seems from the article I read, that more research is needed as apparently, not everyone experiences the tingling sensation that it is supposed to trigger. 

I thought I would do a quick search on YouTube to see what came up, and, well, you have to see it to believe it. There are hundreds of these ASMR videos with people doing everything from ‘virtually’ cutting your hair to whispering to you down the microphone. My personal favourite was the lady who was licking false ears. I have embedded the video for your delight. 

I’m in two minds about this really, but for the sake of experimentation, and to see if it helps me sleep, I will give it a try. But I won’t be watching the ear licking one..sorry nice lady. 

An Anxious Man

 
AnxiousMan
I’m an anxious man,
Living to anxieties plan,
When you see me wringing my hands,
I’m trying hard to give a damn,
But, I’m an anxious man.
 
I’m an anxious man,
I try to walk the dog when I can,
But I don’t like shit on my hands,
So I use fifteen poopy bags,
Coz I’m an anxious man.
 
I’m an anxious man,
People say that they understand,
But I don’t think that some give a damn,
They just think that it’s all a sham,
But, I’m an anxious man.
 
 
 
 
 

Anxiety v Motivation – Who Shall Win?

Memory
The past few days has been a little turbulent for me, not because I have had bad anxiety, but because I have had a motivational battle. I guess I’m a little ambitious about what I want to achieve, like anyone who does something they love to do. However, even though I have achieved a few things that I wanted, there are other goals that I have set myself.
If you read my other post on watching TED talks, you would know that I am trying to motivate myself to do more with my writing than I currently am. I spent a good couple of hours yesterday looking for sites that I might want to write for, but the same thing kept popping into my head. That either the application process was too long and arduous, or they were too particular and wouldn’t want my writing.
I know that this is my anxiety talking, that it is trying to undermine my ability to get things done, but even though I know this, it is difficult to silence. Also, it is extremely persuasive which can be the most annoying part. On the few occasions I have managed to overcome this voice, I have done things that I never thought I would. You would think that this would be enough to get me past this, but every time it resurfaces as strong as ever. That little anxious voice says that I have achieved what I wanted, I don’t need to go any further.
Although this battle is something you can’t really understand unless it happens to you, it is important to try and not let it win – well, not all the time.
 

Musical Reflections #10 – Ideal World

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When people ask me about my musical taste, I usually say that it is varied. I am sure that if you have read the rest of my Musical Reflection series you would agree. (Apart from having two songs from ‘Wings’ which surprised me.)
Normally, I might like one or two songs from a group or singer, and this next song is the same. When I first heard ‘Ideal World’ by ‘The Christians,’ I thought it was a lovely song so I listened to more of their tracks. Apart from one or two others, this was my favourite. It’s full of thought provoking lyrics that can mean many things, although it speaks mainly of being oppressed because of colour, it can also mean oppression in general.

To me it speaks many meanings including those misunderstood or mistreated for a variety of reasons. Although an ‘Ideal world’ might be too much to ask, perhaps just a more understanding and tolerant one will be achievable.

300 Posts Later, How Has My Blogging Changed?

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It is funny that I am sitting here writing my 300th blog post on this site. I have had other sites in the past, but this one has been the one that has kept me fulfilled and also been a cathartic way of expressing my anxiety and my struggles with it.
I thought it only fitting that I use this post to reflect on my blogging life and style. It is true to say that I haven’t always been a prolific blogger, especially when I have been having bad spells. However, I have always felt at home writing about my problems, and I hoped that they might inspire others to seek help or to know that there are others out there suffering in the same way.
When I first started writing on here with my first post I wasn’t exactly sure what I wanted to say or how I wanted to say it. It was more a case of just posting random things about my day and my health, which was good, but not exciting I guess.
Although I have done the occasional ‘list’ blog post, I don’t usually like doing them. I know they are popular and they are informative, but I never really started this blog to make money or do what everyone else does, it was more a case of saying what I wanted to say.
I have changed styles a little I think, I have recently started a musical reflection series and an anxious mind series, and I love doing them both. I don’t have a lot of time to blog these days, but I enjoy writing them just in case anyone reads them and likes them 😉
As you might also know from my site, I don’t usually write long posts, I don’t think people want to read a long piece about me or something I’m doing, they just want the edited highlights.
So, what next? Well, I want to carry on writing and doing this blog because it has become more than just a blog for me now. I also see this as a little piece of me that my daughter can look back and read. My dad did it with cassette recordings that I still have, and I hope that this will still be around somewhere when she gets older.

Musical Reflections #7 – Band on the Run

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I have mentioned before that my memory isn’t good, especially around my younger years. There are only a few things I can remember, and some I’m not sure are real memories, or those created from stories my mum told me.
One thing I do remember is when my brother Neil Daws was heavily into film making. For those thIMG-20180507-WA0000.jpgat are not old enough to remember pre-mobile days, it was a lot harder to make a movie than it is today. You couldn’t just film something a watch it back there and then, it had to go and be developed and then you had to physically cut and paste it together to make the movie.
The one movie my brother made that I still remember clearly is a music video for the song ‘Band on the Run’ by the band ‘Wings’. Here is a passage my brother wrote to explain the story behind it.
 

Dad loved technology and the family had been filmed by him on his compact cine camera during many family holidays. I inherited his cine camera after his untimely death, a time when I was becoming interested in movie special effects, especially through sci-fi, and upgraded to a flashier cine camera. The early 1980s would see an explosion of music videos so I decided to experiment. I liked the band ‘Wings’ and chose one of their songs, ‘Band on the Run’, because of the many IMG-20180507-WA0001.jpgnamed characters in the lyrics such as ‘county judge’, ‘jailer man and sailor Sam’, ‘rabbits on the run’, and ‘undertaker’. It gave me the opportunity to create costumes for them and build sets, e.g. a coffin in a chapel of rest, prison cell, etc. Filming on location and in sets built at home, cutting and splicing on a hand-wound editor, syncing a sound track and replicating the overlaying of two different shots (using my friend and I as actors in front of a projection screen) was enormously challenging on 8mm cine film. That said, the whole enterprise was great fun, the final effect was actually pretty good and the whole enterprise remains a treasured memory.

My memory of this song is tightly linked to this movie, which unfortunately I cannot share as it is still in pre-digital 8mm cine film.

It is great that I still have such memories of fun and excitement from that part of my life, and I even made the odd cameo in these movies. I wonder what my brother would have created had YouTube and modern technology been around then?
 

Dad, Can You Help Me Please?

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It is a question that every father hears at some time in their lives. The desperate call of their child asking for help with complete confidence in their father’s ability to deal with whatever it may be. So, this is the question that echoed up from downstairs as I was on the computer. The rest of the conversation went like this.
Me: What’s the matter?
Daughter: I’ve dropped my dolls arm down the toilet!
Me: Oh dear
Daughter: I don’t know what to do?
Me: Just flush it
Daughter: I can’t do that, it’s plastic it will end up in the sea!
Me: No, it won’t, just flush it
Daughter: Can you get it out for me?
Me: Can’t you reach it?
Daughter: Yeah but there’s poo in there I don’t want to touch it!
Me: What!? Well I don’t want to touch it!
Daughter: But it’s my favourite dolls arm (sob)
Me: How can you have a favourite dolls arm!?
Daughter: Please?
Me: (sigh) Ok then……is there much poo?
Daughter: No, just a little
She lied! The was a large poo staring up at me when I looked in the bowl. And close beside it was the small arm of a doll. In a moment of genius, I thought that I would use the long tweezers that we used for the fish tank. However, the tweezers were not as long as I had remembered, I still came perilously close to the yellow water with my fingers (yes there was pee too). I managed to grab it with the very end of the tweezers and lift it into the sink. I told my daughter to wash the arm while I tried to scrub the skin off my hand. Of all the dad help requests, this will haunt me forever.

Musical Reflections #2 – Glad All Over

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For those that don’t know, I am that Crystal Palace fan, and I have heard this song played many times since I first saw them play.

I won’t say how old I was, or the team I saw as I honestly cannot remember, one of the problems of having anxiety for so long. I do remember, however, spending many match days watching the team from the Holmesdale Road end with my friends. At the time, this was a standing area with no roof, which meant you had to keep your eyes out for pigeons. They used to fly from one floodlight pylon to the other, dropping their droppings as they went. It was an unlucky day for you if they managed to hit your meat pie.
My most fond memory, and one that involved this song a lot was the 1990 F.A Cup Final against Manchester United. My brother and I had agreed to travel up by official coach from the ground, along with hundreds of other fans. The driver started the journey with Glad All Over which immediately got everyone singing. However, he continued playing it about every 15 minutes so by the time we reached Wembley I was getting a bit sick of it if I’m honest.

My Memory Has Just Been Sold

Memory
Yeah I know the title is a little odd, but when I was thinking about this post, the song Centerfold by J. Geils Band popped into my head. For those who may be too young to know what I’m talking about, I provide the video for you.

I was laying awake in bed the other night unable to get to sleep when I thought about how Belicia would think about my blog. She knows I have one, though she has never read it. I thought that it would be a good way for her to get an insight into her dad and his slightly odd sense of humour. I also though that it would be a good way to remember facts and events that happened to us as a family.

My dad recorded tapes of me and him for a couple of years, talking about Christmas and birthdays, and my first day at school. I like hearing them now, and listening to the things that were happening then. My memory of my childhood is patchy at best, some doctors have said is was the trauma of my dad dying that blocked out a lot of it, but I am sure some of it would have returned by now.

If I think back, I get a few images of dad and I playing football in the back garden, and of the games nights we used to have, but there is little detail about anything. I am amazed how some people can recite almost all of their teachers from when they were a kid, I have to say that I cannot remember any name at all. I remember my science and PE teacher at secondary school, but only their faces, no names.

There is actually only one teacher I remember, Miss Stop. I think the reason I remember her was because of an unfortunate event that happened in her class at junior school circa 1979. I remember sitting there in the lesson and asking her the totally honest question “Are you pregnant Miss?” I never received a reply from her, I was just told to sit in the corner. I never did find out if I had offended her because it was too personal, or if I accidentally body shamed her. However, that event has forever sealed her name into my mind. If by some remote chance, a relative of Miss Stop, who worked at Kingsley Junior School in Croydon is reading this, I am sorry for the offence caused.

A Year of Reflection and Contemplation

2017
The year 2017 has been a year of firsts in many ways, some of them good, others not quite so much. However, one thing has remained throughout, is that family and friends are a vital part of survival.
On a personal front, 2017 has been the first full year without my mum who passed away just before Christmas 2016. It has meant that we have had to deal with events such as her birthday for the first time. I am conscious of the fact that she would have been proud of Belicia and how she has done this year at school and in her concerts and that gives me comfort.
Our daughter has started her secondary school this September, which was something my wife and I have been worried about for some time. She isn’t always good with change and such as big change as this we thought would cause issues. However, with the massive help of her new school, including a number of orientation days, she has started well and is loving the new environment. She has also been allowed to do swimming with us once a fortnight, which has given me the incentive to use the gym while my wife and her swim.
From a professional point of view, I have been trying to do more on my blog site as well as do the things I love such as writing and spending time with my family. Thankfully, I have been able to do both which I never thought would be possible a few years ago. I haven’t always done great projects, but they have given me the experience and portfolio to do better work.
So, what about next year? Well, I want to be more prolific in my blogging and aim to get my desire for better knowledge of mental health to those who can do something about it. One person can make a difference, and I know that there is always the opportunity to reach people, especially in our connected world.
I also want to continue this period of relative calm that my anxiety has found. Yes it is medicated, but it is still stable and that is the best its been for some while. I have also grown increasingly inclined of late to make my life and that of my family as straightforward as possible. One thing that has been most clear to me is that I want to do things that make us happy and give us positive memories. Of course, that isn’t always possible, but it means removing those things that upset us or have a negative effect on out lives.
 

The Force Was Strong This Christmas

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It was Christmas once again and this year, we seemed more organised than we had before. My wife had spent her time scouring Amazon for presents and had done almost everything by the beginning of December. I had to keep asking her if we were ready as I could hardly believe it, we even chose a small turkey crown instead of something the size of an emu.
The last week was extremely hectic, with my daughters concert at Canterbury Cathedral, a singalong with all of us involved at church, and a present exchange party. It made the arrival of Christmas day even more welcome, after a nice Christmas Eve afternoon at my brothers house.
We had decided to buy our daughter PlayStation VR for Christmas because she had been wanting one for a long time. We managed to save enough to do it and her expression on Christmas day was worth the sacrifice. However, it meant that we didn’t get to see any Christmas TV that day as she was on it from 9am through to 10pm. The Christmas meal went without a hitch thanks to our decision to get almost everything pre-prepared and in its own container to save time and washing up. We also reserved ourselves to an individual Christmas pudding as we never manage to eat a big one.
The only show I did manage to see was Doctor Who, which was good although it didn’t seem to offer much in the way of Earth threatening alien action. I was also entertained by all of the Tweets afterwards from Neanderthals who proclaimed that they were never watching Who again now a woman was the Doctor. They seemed to genuinely think that the BBC would give a turkey what they thought.
On the 27th of December, after a leisurely Boxing day, my brother, our friend and I, went to see Star Wars: The Last Jedi.  You can see my review of the film here (now come on, that was a great link, worth a look just for that surely?) It seemed to wrap up Christmas nicely and lead us into that abyss that is the Christmas to New Year gap.

Lights, Tinsel, Action

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I know that for retailers everywhere, Christmas starts just after the last pumpkin has been carved, but this trend is now starting to spread. Driving down the road in my village, I spied a couple of houses that has started to put up lights; this being the end of November.
Now that we have officially be dragged into December, the number of houses with Christmas decorations has blossomed. It is like they have had everything ready in their hallways, just waiting for the strike of midnight on the 30th November.
Now I must admit to thinking about expanding my own array of Christmas lights outside the house this year. My rose bush draped in blue lights was certainly a spectacle last year, but I want to go a bit further this year. I won’t go as far as having lights around the gutter as I don’t think I can handle the height, so it will have to be something a little nearer the ground. jean-michel-jarre-33
I have seen\ the newest decoration this year, the lights and symbols projected on the front of the house. Although it looks nice, I can’t help but think it will just make my house look like the venue for a Jean Michel Jarre concert.
I’m thinking that I might go a bit more tasteful and try a star in the window and two frolicking reindeer on the front lawn.
The one thing that will make its annual appearance is the front door wreath. It has adorned our front door for many years now and is still in good condition. It is funny how families have one thing that always comes every Christmas. For my mum it was an old bell with a music box inside that played ‘Silent Night’ at varying speeds every time you pilled the clapper. She also had an old cut-out Father Christmas picture made out of card, that I suspect was just an old Coca Cola advert.
At least with all the outdoor lights, the village looks really pretty. It will be something to look at until January the 1st when the hot cross buns go back on sale.
 
 

Podcast Ep 46 – Shout Out for Young Carers Day

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Today is Young carers day, and I wanted to give all young carers a big shout out. They do such an amazing job looking after their families, and they need to be supported as much as possible.

If you are a young carer, or you are a parent of a young carer, please ensure you are all getting the help you need. Many charities are there to offer support and advice.

Rethink

SANE

Young Minds

Podcast Ep 45 – Mental Health Problems Linked to Early Risers

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An article in The Guardian today mentions a study at the  University of Exeter. This study suggests those who get up early are less likely to suffer mental health problems. People who stay up later in the evening, but have to get up early in the morning are also more likely to suffer from mental health problems such as schizophrenia.

What are your thoughts on this? Do you find it easy to get up early? Is your mental health affected by late nights?

Please DM me on my Twitter with your thoughts.

 

Podcast Ep 43 – I Think Our Rabbit is Unhappy

Pet therapy is growing and for good reason. It provides a lot of emotional and physical support to people suffering from mental health problems. 

However, you don’t always realise when one of your pets is unhappy. My wife thought that one of our rabbits was unhappy with her new condo, so we decided to refurbish it. 

Podcast Ep 37 – How Not to Eat a Razor Clam

To say I am a fussy eater is a bit of an understatement, but when we went on a holiday to Spain, I thought I would try the local cuisine. 

Though the food was wonderful, I had a particularly difficult fight with a razor clam which I wanted to share with you today. 

If you suffer with food anxiety, or you simply don’t like seafood, then you will find this episode interesting. 

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