Easy Things You Can Do to Improve Your Mental Health

Mental health issues are thought to affect as many as 1 in 4 adults in the UK at some point in their lifetimes. Despite the prevalence of mental health issues, however, there is often quite a poor understanding amongst the general population of how to maintain good mental health, and what to do if they suspect that things aren’t going well in that regard.

While neglecting our mental health is unfortunately all too easy to do, and the potential consequences are severe, the good news is that there are a number of simple things that we can all do in order to ensure our day to day wellbeing is maintained.

Many people have an understandable fear of the idea of developing a mental health issue, although in the majority of cases being diagnosed with such a condition is the first step towards restoring a healthy and happy lifestyle in individuals who have found themselves struggling more than usual.

In this article we have pieced together the very best words of advice from doctors and patients who have experience in dealing with mental health issues. These are all simple things that any of us can do in order to ensure that we stand the best chance possible of avoiding developing a mental health issue.

Exercise

The importance of exercise to our physical health is widely understood, we all know that if we don’t get enough exercise, then we run the risk of developing a number of health issues, including obesity. Along with a well-rounded and carefully planned out diet, exercise is an essential component for maintaining our physical health. But fewer people are aware of the important role that exercise plays in ensuring that our mental health also remains intact.

Exercising encourages us to go outside, this in itself is often very helpful in dealing with mental health issues. Many mental illnesses, such as depression and anxiety, strongly deters sufferers from setting foot outside, but the isolation that this creates is a problem in and of itself, and one that needs to be addressed as soon as possible.

When we exercise, our brains release endorphins and dopamine, both of which are associated with better moods and a sense of wellbeing, this underscores just how intimately linked our psychological and physical health is: when one of these things is neglected, the other will inevitably suffer too.

Reducing Stress

Unsurprisingly, those who suffer with mental health issues often experience higher general levels of stress in their day to day lives. The effects of stress play out in both the short and long term; in the short-term, stress can deter us from exercising, socialising, or engaging in our day to day routine. The cumulative long-term effects of this are an overall worse quality of life as well as a higher susceptibility to both mental and physical illnesses. Minimizing the amount of stress in our lives is one of the most important things we can do to protect our mental health.

As mentioned above, exercise is a great way to reduce stress, but there are a number of other things we can do. For example, there is a growing body of evidence that suggests that listening to music whose tone fits with our current emotional state can help us to work through those emotions. This is why many people reach for sad songs when they themselves feel sad. Far from wallowing in their own pity, they are in fact administering an effective cure for their condition.

Seek Support

Tackling mental health issues alone is an approach which is doomed to failure. Sufferers of mental health issues should no more treat their own mental illness than they should treat their own broken leg! It is important that if you suspect that you might be suffering from a mental illness that you inform your doctor as soon as possible in order to discover treatment options.

Many people with a mental illness find that they struggle to find stable employment; for these individuals, there are benefits which they can claim. The government runs an access to work scheme which is designed to help those with a mental illness find their way back into the world of employment and Mental Health and Money Advice have information about this on their website.

Support can also come from friends, family, and healthcare professionals. It is entirely up to the patient who they feel most comfortable reaching out to for support and it is important that they are not pressured into revealing more about their condition than they feel comfortable with.

The rates at which mental health issues occur appears to be on the increase. This might have more to do with our improved ability to diagnose them, but whatever the cause, adults in the UK are more likely to face mental health problems than ever before. It is important that when they occur, sufferers understand what support they can seek out and how to do so.

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Christmas Doesn’t Have To Be Expensive

If you have a big family, the Christmas can be the worst time of the year money wise. Everyone demands a million and one things, especially the kids. It can often lead you to be spending so much money trying to please everyone. But it doesn’t have to be this way. Christmas should be about spending time with your family more than anything. But we know all too well that everyone looks forward to opening their presents and eating their Christmas dinner the most. So, if you’re worried about spending an absolute fortune, read on to find out how you can help yourself out.

Charity Shops

These are hidden gems that people tend to steer clear of. Just because they have the stigma that someone else has used or worn it before, people tend to not like to buy from there. But there’s so many bargains to be had from a charity shop, and it’s all going towards a good cause at the end of the day. Toys in particular are usually found in abundance at the shops. Most of them aren’t even used. They’ll be presents bought for people that they really don’t like. So instead of throwing them away, some families prefer to donate. So a toy that you might find yourself spending a fortune on in a normal store, you could get for a couple of pennies in a charity shop. The same goes for clothes etc. but make sure you know they’re definitely going to like it and it’ll fit. There’s no returns or getting your money back!

Annie Spratt

A Helping Hand

Sometimes you do just need that helping hand to get you through the Christmas crunch. If you’re one of those people who has to have one of the best for everyone, then you’re going to end up spending a fortune, even if you don’t mean to. There are a couple of tricks that could help you out. The first being stores that allow you to put items on a card, and then pay the balance at a later date. If you’re already short on cash, these can be a life saver, but some of the do come with expensive charges, so be careful of how much interest you might end up paying. Another way of saving yourself a little bit of money in the short term is by taking out a short term loan. It’ll again, like the store card, help to take the edge of the Christmas crunch. Companies such as New Horizons can help you with any advice, and show you some of the best deals that they offer to help your through the holiday season. It’s up to you which method you chose, both mainly have their pros, so explore your choices wisely!

Just two ways of helping you make Christmas less expensive could save you a fortune, there are plenty more ways out there, you just need to make sure you’re being as frugal as possible. But most of all, make sure you enjoy the Christmas season!

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Top Decor Touches that Finish Off a Space

Have you recently renovated a room in your house and still feel as though it’s missing “something”? Often, people spend a lot of time, money, and focus renovating the major things such as flooring, paint color, and furniture, but forget how important the little things can be too. It’s those small décor touches that can actually work to tie a space together and help create a flow throughout the house.

So, if you’re unsure of what your room needs and what it’s missing, you will want to check out these top décor touches that work to finish off a space.

Don’t Shy Away from Artwork

Art is one of those things that can often scare people off simply because they assume it will be expensive and they may not know much about it. In reality, artwork can be very cost-effective when you know where to find it.

Take a look at the paintings available through Fine Art America as an example. You’ll find watercolors, acrylics, and more in originals or prints. If you’re on a tight budget, opt for a print that you can frame. You’ll still get the effect that you’re after but at a fraction of the cost.

Now, as you select your artwork, it’s important you focus on what calls to you, what works with your color scheme and design style. There’s no need to worry about who the artist is, the history behind the artwork, etc. Just keep things simple and go with what you like.

Bring the Outside Indoors

Another tip is to bring the outdoors in by adding accessories such as potted plants and flowers in the space. Fresh greenery helps to liven up a space, act as decor and helps to add drama to a room. You can purchase different varieties and sizes of plants and place them on the floor, shelves, a table, etc. Just be sure you are mindful of the lighting conditions in your home when selecting plants. Most plants will need at least a bit of natural sunlight.

Throw Pillows and Blankets Add Elegance and Interest to a Room

If the room you are finishing is a bedroom or family room, then it’s an absolute must to grab some decorative throw pillows and blankets. With these, you can be a bit creative and mix textures, colors, paintings, and prints. This helps to create drama, interest, and even elegance in the space. Of course, there is also a functional aspect to these items since they make the space so much more comfortable.

Add a Personal Touch

The final tip is to make sure you complete the room with a few personal touches. This could be family photos, your own paintings, drawings, family heirlooms, a special collection, the list goes on. Anything that is special, unique, and personal to you. This injects your own personality and tastes into the room, making it different from anyone else’s space.

The Special Touches are What Make the Room

It’s these special touches that truly end up making a room and giving it that unique feel.

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Making the Most of Unexpected Windfalls

We’ve been saving for our first home’s deposit for a while now, and whether we use the personal loan we secured while we wait for my savings to pick up, or for the inheritance to come in, or by the time we are able to get a suitable property we can cover it on our own again, we’re finally ready to make the deposit and realise our dream.

Getting to this point hasn’t been easy, but it’s so worth it to build our family home together and create something really solid for the children. While we’ve put away a little from each pay packet and I’ve added varying amounts to the pot depending on what my month was like, Steve’s inheritance is also a major help, and we’ll use it to fund the deposit if my savings haven’t picked up.

If you get a windfall like this, I encourage you to also put it towards something worthwhile. You might not be looking to buy a home, but there are always good investments to be made when a large chunk of money that you weren’t expecting fortuitously lands in your lap. It could even be winning the lottery, and after you’ve dealt with the logistics of that actually happening, you’ll need to make decisions about what to do with your windfall.

Settle Your Debts and Decide Your Priorities First

Of course, the first thing to do is pay off any debts that you have. After that, there are some good tax planning decisions and investment options that can help you make the most of your money. The biggest things to look at when you’re deciding what to do is how long you have to leave your money untouched, and how much you’re investing in the first place. I’ve given you some ideas here, but anything higher (lucky you!) and you should consider consulting a professional financial advisor.

Christine Roy

Investing Windfalls

With smaller, but still sizable, sums of money the best thing to do is take medium-risks over a period of at least 10 years. In my research, the best experts I found suggested a portfolio with 40% in UK stocks and 20% and 15% in US and Europe stocks respectively. For emerging markets like Asia and Japan, invest 5% in stocks but before you do this, make sure you’ve put 10% of your windfall into absolute return funds. These are funds run by experts, who use different strategies to ensure profitable returns.

In terms of tax planning, if you can afford to leave your money alone until you’re at least 55 you should think about putting it into a pension fund that you get a 20% basic taxpayer relief and 40% higher tax payer relief, and are now allowed to spend on anything you’d like. You can also make use of your and your partner’s $15,240 ISA allowance. A low-cost FTSE Tracking Account is a good idea for £5,000, since they can average 5% growth per year after inflation.

I am excited to be prepared and know what I would do with a sudden financial blessing. What would you do?

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The Best Ways To Shop Online For A Bargain

If you love to shop online, you’re certainly not alone. Thank to the internet, so many of us can order the things we really need in life, and have them with us the very next day. We often do it with life’s little luxuries too. However, when you are shopping online, you can often find that the availability and accessibility of just about everything makes you want to just buy it right away. And that can start to get you in trouble before long. So, you may find that it’s better to start bargain hunting online instead. Because when it comes to the internet, there’s always a bargain to be had. You just have to know how to find it!

Shop Around First

First of all, you need to make sure that you always shop around. It’s so easy to just buy the first thing you see. But you have to learn to bide your time. You will find that, by comparing prices, you’re always able to get a better deal than what you first find. Sometimes, you will find a cheaper alternative that saves you a significant amount of money. And it will turn out that you’re happier with the alternative anyway. But you won’t be able to take advantage of this if you don’t shop around.

Oli Dale

Use Comparison Sites

For some purchases, it’s going to be far too much work for you to look through every single site in the market. And fortunately for us all, we don’t always have to – thanks to comparisons sites. For this link home or van insurance, holidays, or even branded items, you can compare prices on set sites or search engines. Then, you know you’re always getting the product you want at the best price.

Look For Discount Codes

Whenever you buy anything online, you should also look out for a discount code. Not every single site will accept them, but many will. If there are things you want to buy, then you don’t always have to go for it right away. Be patient and see if there is a discount or coupon currently available. Then, you will always be able to bag a bargain.

Don’t Discount Used Items

At the same time, you shouldn’t always look to cross off used items. Sometimes, you can save a lot of money buying from eBay rather than buying brand new. You may even find that an item has only been used a few times or is in perfect condition. Then you’re going to be saving a huge percentage off of the RRP just for buying used.

Get Cash Back Each Time Too

You’re also going to want to think about getting cashback each time you shop too. By using a cashback website, you will earn a percentage each time you shop. It will store in your account and you can then withdraw it to your bank account or in the form of vouchers. You’re effectively getting more money back, just for making a purchase that you were planning on making in the first place.

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