Lizzy posts

Establishing a routine: Approaching big life changes with stability and mindfulness.

It’s no secret that major life changes can be a struggle for our mind to process. These changes can come in many shapes and sizes: moving to a new country, a bereavement, changing jobs, graduating from university, or even something as minor as taking on a new hobby, project or interest.

When changes like this happen, it’s important to be aware and conscious of the potential toll it can take on our mental health. With a mindful attitude, we can gently introduce these changes into our routines so that they don’t put our coping mechanisms out of whack.

Let’s get into the nitty gritty of this somewhat abstract idea. Take graduating University as an example – this is a major shift in day to day life: moving back home, often back in with parents/family members, and most importantly no longer having something to work towards, deadlines to meet or a routined lecture timetable to follow.

While on the surface this freedom is exciting, our minds can struggle with the lack of purpose that we feel in this limbo between education and working life. The same goes for the feeling of being in between jobs, or in a brand new place – the well practiced and deeply internalised routines and daily goals that we are used to are totally shifted.

It can take some time for this to sync in and for us to start to feel a little lost, which is why whilst our routines and norms are changing, it is important that they are not lost altogether. Being mindful of the changes we are going through can go a long way towards benefitting the way in which we cope with them.

To go back to the University example, upon graduation, despite not needing to wake up at a good time, get dressed and go to class, it is important to establish a different routine. For example, we must still maintain a healthy sleep schedule, wake up at a good time to start the day and set daily goals, whether it be go for a walk, read a chapter of a book or apply to one job per day.

What must not be lost is the determination to accomplish something every day, no matter how small. If you’re feeling a bit lost and unsure of what your daily goals are, try making a to do list for each day, ticking things off it can give a sense of achievement and purpose for the day.

Overall, it’s important to be fully aware of the impacts that big changes can have on a smaller scale, if we become capable of acknowledging these impacts, we also become capable of changing our behaviours so we are better prepared to cope with them.


Lizzy posts

Excersise isn’t just for your body: Escapism and literature

The first post on healthy escapism is on reading, and this is purely because it is without a doubt my favourite way to distract myself from any of my own worries, as well as calm myself down and ground myself.

Often, the most common suggestion made to people suffering from mental health issues is exercise, fresh air, “get out and about!” or “you just need to get your blood pumping!” are things that can often be heard over and over again.

The problem is that when people are in the midst of a mental health crisis, getting out of bed can be an Everest size climb in itself.

Literature is a beautiful way to escape intrusive thoughts from the comfort of your own home. Research has found that one of the main psychological benefits of reading is the ability it gives one to be able to relate to others, and different ways of looking at the world.

In the midst of a mental health crisis, changing our outlook can be incredibly helpful and can often move us a step closer to lifting the fog and realising that the way we are thinking right this minute is temporary and will pass.

Personally, I find it easiest and most enjoyable to escape into non-fiction books, specifically autobiographies. Reading the autobiography of a person who interests you, for whatever reason, can be a form of comfort and can, in a strange way, make one feel slightly less alone.

Getting lost in somebody else’s story, whether fictional or non-fictional for a while can allow us to get out of our own, even if just for a short while. Even better is when we are able to relate so closely to a character that in some way we are able to find answers to our own problems in their stories.

Besides from reading a book, for somebody in the go podcasts are a fantastic way to fit a bit of escapism into a busy routine. My favourite at the moment is Maya Jama’s ‘When life gives you melons’ but there is a huge variety of E-books, documentaries and interviews available on the internet.

Podcasts can be integrated into walks, waits in queues, public transport or even a lunch break in a way that sometimes books cannot, but their distracting and comforting effect is very similar.

On a more practical note, integrating reading into your daily routine can improve sleeping patterns. Specifically reading a couple of chapters of a book before bed (not from an e reader as bright screens) can help us to wind down, and as we all know, a healthy and long sleep can do absolute wonders for our mental health.

At the moment, there is a wealth of mental health literature emerging that can be really directly helpful, but aside from that there is a whole world of escapism waiting for you. My next post will discuss how music can be a healthy form of escapism in much the same way as reading can.



Summertime and Healthy Escapism

The blog’s theme for the summer is going to be healthy escapism. Escapism is a word that means so many different things to so many different people, so I thought it would be a nice wide theme to explore throughout the summer months.

Summer is a time when many of us want to get active, travel, have some time off from work/school/university and channel our energies into something new.

Of course, when you’re suffering with ill mental health getting out of bed takes more energy than you feel your capable of producing in a lifetime. Which is why a conversation needs to be had about what escapism can mean for everybody.

So often we hear that people will ill mental health need to ‘get outside’, ‘leave the house’ or ‘get active!’. At the risk of sounding patronising – duh! don’t you think they know that staying in the house 24/7 does bad things to our minds?!

When going downstairs to get the post is somebody’s equivalent of climbing Everest, we need to talk compassionately about baby steps that we can take to engage our minds in something other than negative and intrusive thoughts.

As well as getting out and exercising, which is no small feat for a lot of mental health sufferers, there are many outlets that have much a similar effect but perhaps engage us on a slightly less mentally intense level.

Over the summer this blog will be exploring outlets like art, music, and literature as a form of escaping and engagement of the mind from the comfort of your own home, for people who perhaps aren’t at the stage where they are able to willingly get out of the house far less start an exercise programme!

Lizzy posts

Help to keep us open!

Over the past year, the Rainbow Heron Cafe has helped many people throughout Sheffield and the surrounding area with issues surrounding mental health. As I know from my visit to the cafe, many members said that Rainbow Heron had filled a void that existed in Sheffield, being one of the only cafes of its kind in the area.

Rainbow Heron is a safe space for people to feel comfortable discussing their thoughts and experiences with understanding and like minded people. There have been many opportunities for expression through art, movement, discussion and many other outlets throughout the time the cafe has been open.

We are now looking to you to help us to keep doing good work. We want the opportunity to keep helping the people who have been visiting us, and to remain an active member of the Sheffield Community.

If you could spare anything you have to our just giving Just Giving Page it would mean the world and will help a charity so close to the hearts of many people in the Sheffield Community.

Thank You!


Lizzy posts

Social Media: Cleanse Your Newsfeed, Cleanse Your Soul

Everybody knows that too much social media is bad for our mental health. We are constantly told that, especially by patronising adults, but realistically nobody is deactivating their Facebook or Instagram any time soon.

Right now we are more connected to one another than we ever have been at any point in the history of time, and this can be a great thing. I for one love being able to keep up with the lives of my family who live in many different countries across the globe by sharing pictures and videos.

The toxic side of social media, however, cannot be ignored. The rise of Instagram has also led to the rise of the ‘Influencer’. People who influence their followers by convincing them to shop with a certain brand or drink a certain tea, or even suck a certain lollypop (Kim K followers will know what I’m talking about) in order to live a perfectly filtered life.

In my opinion, even the most confident and headstrong characters would struggle not to compare their own lives to these perfectly filtered, skinny green tea drinkers. This is where the problems lie. Even on a subconscious level, comparing yourself to completely unrealistic images will inevitably impact your self esteem.

As I said, I know from experience that reading blogs like this won’t suddenly inspire you to take yourself of the grid, but there are small steps you can take to cleanse your feed. I was first told by a friend to unfollow all the ‘Influencers’ who’s pages or posts I wasn’t genuinely interested in (e.g. because they fought for a cause, or posted interesting photos).

This is a small thing you can do that I think can make a big difference. If we’re going to spend hours a day scrolling we can at least be scrolling through inspiring and informational pages.

I’m not saying purge your entire social media account, just take steps to consider how you feel when you see different types of posts. There are loads of people out there using social media for good, interesting and inspiring causes and I’m telling you from experience that seeing things like that every day makes me feel slightly less guilty about the amount of time I spend scrolling.