Cycling the Planet for Suicide Prevention

Anglia Counselling was honoured to be asked to help promote and share this wonderful mission being planned and undertaken by Breifne Earley.

“Breifne Earley set off from his home in Leitrim on 22 February 2014 for a worldwide trip to help raise awareness of depression, mental health and suicide prevention, cycling through Ireland, Wales, England, France, Belgium, Luxembourg, Germany, Austria, Slovakia, Croatia, Hungary, Serbia, Bulgaria, Greece, Turkey, India, Malaysia, Singapore, Australia, New Zealand, America, Mexico, Costa Rica, Northern Ireland, Spain. At 34, he is now back home and happy to share his new life adventures and experiences with you.”

Breifne also entered the 2014 World Cycle Race to spread the message “It’s OK not to feel OK” and won! He then went on to release his book Pedal The Planet in 2016.

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5 Tips to Reduce Anxiety as a Busy Parent

One of the biggest issues with parenting is not the stress that comes from parenting itself. Rather, it’s the difficulty that parents have coping with general life stresses that affect all men and women regardless of their family status. So, this is a very welcome guest post from author, Ryan Rivers.

Long term stress is believed to be one of the key factors in anxiety development beyond genetics. As a working parent, you deal with minor amounts of stress every day. From trouble with your boss at work to worrying over the kids at home, there is a lot going on in your life and little time to find relief. After a while, that long term stress can turn into an anxiety problem – an inability to control that anxiety even during days that are otherwise stress free.

While you may be a busy parent, dealing with your anxiety is incredibly important for your short and long term mental health. Untreated anxiety has the potential to cause depression and significant emotional distress, and yet parents that stay too busy often have little time to control that distress. For those suffering from anxiety and don’t feel they have an opportunity to reduce it, consider the following tips for controlling your anxiety and improving your current overall wellness.

Anxiety Reduction Tips

  1. Be “Selfish” – Parenting is about living for someone else. You want to be attentive, and always in the best mood to manage your child’s wellbeing. You need to be able to be kind, and attuned to your child’s needs. Unfortunately, stress has a way of altering emotions, and can make it much more difficult to be the parent you hope to be. That’s why, while you may feel “selfish,” finding some time to be alone and reduce your stress is actually in your child’s best interests. While you may feel like taking some time out to yourself means that you’re ignoring your child’s needs, the truth is that by finding that time to reduce your stress, you’ll have an easier time paying attention to your child and giving them the love and affection they deserve, because your mind won’t be scattered and your emotions won’t be fluctuating as a result of your anxiety.
  2. Avoid Any Unhealthy Coping – Avoiding drugs and alcohol may seem like no-brainers for any good parent. But the key is to realise that even a small amount of any unhealthy coping habit in your spare time is problematic for your ability to deal with anxiety, as unhealthy coping strategies don’t help you recover from stress – they are simply a quick method to dull it. A large part of dealing with anxiety is simply overcoming your anxiousness with your mind – learning how to control your thoughts and emotions from becoming negative even when faced with a stressful situation. If you depend on unhealthy dulling strategies, then you will be less likely to overcome the stresses and may find that you depend on those coping strategies more and more in the future.
  3. Fast Relaxation Tips – You’re on a busy schedule, so spending 5 hours in a local park is probably not possible. The good news is that there are rapid relaxation strategies that can help, such as progressive muscle relaxation, visualisation, and meditation. Deep breathing, another strategy, is likely the most time efficient and very effective. Deep breathing is when you sit with your back straight in a chair and breathe in 10 times slowly. Take about 5 seconds breathing in through your nose (fill your stomach first, not your chest), hold for 4 or so seconds, and then breathe out through pursed lips for about 7 seconds. Deep breathing calms the body by slowing down your breathing habits. It also re-trains your body to breathe more efficiently, something that is often necessary for those with anxiety.
  4. Exercise – Always, always exercise, especially aerobic exercise. Running after your kids is not enough (although running with them is more than acceptable). Exercise genuinely creates a better mood, by releasing endorphins and burning away stress hormones. 30 minutes of running is great for your mental health in addition to your physical health, and most people can fit in 30 minutes of running into their busy schedule. If running isn’t a possibility, or you cannot find 30 minutes a day to exercise, try to fit in as much movement (whether it’s walking, lifting weights, etc.) into your day as possible. A body that’s moving is less likely to have as much tension.
  5. Make Time to Socialise – Many people with busy schedules and active children feel that they can’t handle another person or two coming into their home, so they stop calling their friends and family. But some socialisation is crucial for maintaining good mental health, as social support has a strong ability to reduce anxiety symptoms. So even if it’s a bit stressful to have guests over or go over to someone else’s home with your children, try to find a way to be social. Video chat if you have to, or see if there are people you can talk to on the phone more often. The time you spend with people whose company you enjoy can be invaluable to your anxiety and wellness.

Maintaining Healthy Stress Levels

You should also consider seeing a counsellor if you feel your stress is out of control, and consider talking to your partner to ensure that you both receive healthy breaks from the stresses of the day. It’s important to remember that the best thing you can do for your mental health is care. Make sure that you do treat your anxiety as someone that’s worth fighting. Parents that can successfully manage their anxiety are better parents, because they are less prone to rapid emotional shifts, make better decisions, and are far more attentive to their children. Your mental health and happiness are genuinely important, and will help you raise your child in the best environment possible.

What is Bipolar Disorder?

We ask ‘What is Bipolar Disorder?’ Our guest author, a writer and blogger from the UK explains.

My History and a Little History

Whilst in my early twenties, I was diagnosed with Bipolar Affective Disorder, a psychiatric mood disorder. Females like myself, generally begin presenting with symptoms in their early twenties, whilst males a little earlier, usually during late adolescence. However, though I may have presented with symptoms of mania in my twenties, I had been dealing with severe depression since I was fourteen years old. [Read more…]

5 Signs Your Loved One Has a Drug Problem

Drug addiction can be a tough topic to address. This is particularly difficult if you feel that your loved ones may be suffering from a certain type of addiction. Guest author, Tess Young, is a freelance writer and blogger and her writing covers a wide range of different topics. She also writes for Pyramid Healthcare on topics such as alcohol and drug treatment programs.

Drug issues can happen to anyone, and contrary to popular belief it is not just illegal drugs that are causing this. Addiction to prescription medication is also an issue. Drugs can end up being both psychologically and chemically addictive, and addiction can end up governing a person’s entire life. As a result, it is a good idea to check for the signs that may indicate a dependency problem. Some of these signs are quite difficult to pick up, but by looking closely you may be able to find out what the issue is so that you can get it sorted as soon as possible. [Read more…]

Different Ways to Give Back

Everyone is bombarded every day by commercials, panhandlers, charities and a plethora of very good, worthy causes where we can reach out to balance the inhumanities. All you need to do is give back a little. Giving, whether it’s of your time, money or ear – feels good and even a little bit can help tremendously. Guest author, Jason Harter, is a school counsellor who discusses the importance of giving back to the community with his students. [Read more…]

Living with Disability – Transitioning to a New Life

It’s very common to consider a new disability as the end of life as one knows it. However, nothing could be further from the truth. Living with a disability means just that – you are LIVING.

Guest author, Pam Johnson, is a physical therapist who obtained her degree from one of the Online Therapy Degrees and she highlights that this new chapter in your life’s story doesn’t have to be a dark one. With this in mind, there are many ways to help yourself transition to living with a disability. Depending on the nature of your current condition, some of these ideas might help you out more than others.

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As the Kids Arrive, the Sleep Leaves

This is a guest post I provided for Helen Neale at KiddyCharts.

I’m unsure at what point this was ever part of the plan! Yes, of course I wanted a family, and yes, I knew it would be tough… how tough though, when sleep deprivation occurs for us – and our children.  We do get lulled into thinking that once our baby passed through the milk demolishing, nappy destroying and sleep hating stage; surely, the worst is over?

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