I guess I first started ‘journaling’ when I was a teenager… Inspired by my mum who kept a daily diary, I started to do the same, but found it soon turned from an account of the things I’d done that day to how the things that had happened that day made me feel.
It was something I continued on and off for most of my 20s and 30s, finding it a good way to offload, vent, celebrate achievements, and feel sorry for myself, all without involving anyone else. I found it very therapeutic, but didn’t really know why.
It was only when I started my counselling training in my late 30s that I realised how important journaling had become to me, and how beneficial it really was to my mental health.
And now I'm hoping to inspire you start writing too.
Staring at a blank piece of paper (or screen) can feel daunting though, so here are some tips to help you begin:
Remember, it’s not a test! Write as little or as much as you want.
It doesn’t have to go anywhere, it doesn’t have to be full sentences, and it doesn’t need to end of a positive note.
It’s not for everyone, but I invite you to give it a go and see how you get on. It isn't a substitute for professional counselling, if that's what you need, but it can be an invaluable when it comes to processing thoughts and feelings on a regular basis.
Until next time...
A bit of stress at work can be motivating – a little pressure can make you more productive and give you a sense of achievement. But what happens when that stress gets too much?
Here are 5 indicators that work-related stress may have become a problem:
1. Having negative thoughts
You feel unhappy, sad, or even depressed, the majority of the time and find it difficult to see the positives in a situation, both in and out of work.
2. Trouble sleeping or sleeping more
You’re finding it hard to get to sleep and thoughts and worries go round and round your head, or you wake up in the middle of the night and find it hard to get back to sleep. Conversely, you could be sleeping more, but wake up feeling tired and groggy.
3. Feeling irritable
You’re snappy with family and friends, or find it hard to relax or sit still for any period of time.
4. Change in eating/drinking habits
You’re eating too much (comfort eating) or eating very little because you’re feeling too sad or irritable, or you may be drinking alcohol more than usual.
5. Physical health symptoms
You’re experiencing headaches or feeling sick, or maybe experiencing dizziness, or feeling so run down you catch every cough/cold going.
This list is far from exhaustive, but if you are experiencing any of these, then it’s time to do something about it… This could be talking to your manager about your workload, finding ways to switch off after work (see my blogs on self-care and anxiety), or seeking professional help such as consulting a doctor or seeing a counsellor.
Remember, experiencing work-related stress is nothing to be ashamed of. Everyone is unique and has different responses to pressure and stress. You deserve to happy and healthy at work, both physically and mentally.
If you would like to talk more about how work-related stress is affecting you and find out how counselling could help, then drop me a wee line via my contact me page.
We’ve all felt anxiety at some point – the sweaty palms before a job interview, the butterflies before a first date, the dry mouth before making an important phone call, but for some of us, anxiety can be something we live with every day and can be so debilitating if can stop us from living the life we want to.
I have anxiety myself – not a claim you’d expect a counsellor to make, but I’ll telling you this to let you know that it can affect anyone at any time, and there is no shame in it. It’s not a guilty little secret we need to keep hidden. In fact, the more we talk about it, the more normal it becomes, because it is a normal response when we are unsure, uncertain, or not feeling in control.
As I write this, in May 2020, we are currently in lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Life as we knew it has changed for the vast majority of us, and if there was any time to be unsure, uncertain or not in control, then this is it! So it should come to no surprise that a lot of us are feeling anxious at the moment.
So, we’ve acknowledged we’re feeling anxious, now what can we do about it?
Well, as anxiety can occur when we feel we’re not in control, we can help lessen the effects of anxiety by finding things in our lives that we can control.
Here are some things you could try:*
*Disclaimer alert! This is by no means a definitive list, and I’m not saying that if you do all the things on the list, you will be ‘cured’ of your anxiety! It is merely a list of suggestions that may help reduce your feelings of anxiety to a more manageable level.
As I said in my disclaimer earlier, this isn’t a ‘do this and your anxiety will disappear’ type of list, and if you really are struggling with your anxiety, then I recommend seeking help from your GP and/or a counsellor.
And if you are in crisis, call NHS 24 (111), the Samaritans (116 123), or Breathing Space (0800 83 85 87).
So, have any of these things on the list helped you? Or maybe you have your own suggestion to add? Leave a comment and let me know.
And if you have a more specific/personal question to ask, head over to my contact page and drop me a line: https://www.beckystokes-counsellor.co.uk/contact-me.html
© Becky Stokes 2021