How today’s society is fuelling eating disorders

Eating disorders affect around 1.25 million people in the UK and unfortunately this number is rising everyday. This year for eating disorder awareness week rather than giving tips and advice, I wanted to write in a more formal manner about my thoughts on eating disorders (ED’s) and why they are on the rise.

As you know on this blog page, I am extremely passionate when it comes to talking about ED’s and it’s something I continue to educate myself about. As much as it may just seem like an issue with food to some people, ED’s result in death more than any other mental illness in the world.

As much as ED’s are not necessarily caused by one single external factor, I believe that the factors we are creating in society today are fuelling these disorders even more.

The culprit, AKA, Social media-

As much as I love social media and think it’s an amazing asset to the modern world, it is so damaging to people’s minds and perceptions. Filters, angles, lighting, photoshop, the list is endless. All of these things listed create a misconception. Under one lighting you may have cellulite, yet under another lighting it disappears. Which one are you going to pick for social media? Of course the one in which you look better. But over time this choice of lighting turns to slight editing, more filters and before you know it you are trapped in the cycle of “Instagrammable photos”. We are victims of it all.

A good example of this is the new update on the iPhone. As you can see below. The first picture is one I took on my camera, unedited. My OWN iphone has suggested that I change it to this in the second photo👇🏻clear skin, brighter eyes, more “flawless”.🙄Even my phone is suggesting I should just “edit” as few things. And this is where the cycle begins. Social media makes us believe we need to change.

As a child I remember Instagram being a really nice platform. I would be able to stay in contact with other kids id met on holiday, I could post photos of me and my friends out at the weekend and I could post silly quotes about being heartbroken when I’d not even had a boyfriend yet (lol). But over time it evolved. People don’t post memories anymore. People post photos that they know will get likes. Photos of themselves in a bikini because a photo with their boyfriend won’t get as many likes. This is the world we live in. People now create fake lives online, posting only the good days and only the good angles, basing their worth off how many likes they receive.

With all of this comes comparison. Why don’t I look like her in a bikini? Why don’t I have as big muscles as him? How do they afford all these luxury holidays when I can’t afford food this week? We have created a monster. Comparison and unrealistic realities lead to self doubt, a knock in confidence and worst of all a misconception of what life, your body and relationships should look like.

Now I’m sitting here writing all this and I know that all of these things have affected me before. But right now I feel like they don’t bother me, and this might be the case for you. But without even realising…every click, every scroll and every image will be acknowledged subconsciously and can affect you without even realising.

Social media has led us to question our own bodies and has given us unrealistic standards of beauty.

You Tube

YouTube is one of my favourite platforms. I think it can be so positive and informative and it gets me through a lot of bad days. Some YouTube creators create content which is perfect for recovery. However in more recent years it seems to be more “food” based than ever. I’m not saying this is a bad thing at all, I think it’s great that creators show how to have a positive relationship with food and it often really helps me, however it still needs to be addressed as a possible trigger point. In lockdown a lot of us spent time watching YouTube, I know I did, and it seemed the majority of these were food based. “The 10,000 calorie challenge”, “what I eat in a day”, “eating like a Victoria’s Secret model”, the list is endless. It seems YouTube and tik tok trends are hugely food based and unfortunately this is bound to have some sort of affect on its young viewers today.

Diet culture-

We are in 2022 yet we still haven’t moved away from diet culture. Britain is obsessed with new fad diets and what you can and can’t eat each week. We also haven’t moved away from eyeballing celebrities for weight change. We all know that as soon as someone gains 10 pounds it straight in hello magazine…yes even in this modern day!! One prime example was when Adele lost loads of weight. Papers, magazines and social media were more interested in her weight loss than the new music she had released. The photo shown on the right went viral, everyone wanting to know how to lose weight like Adele and everyone became obsessed with her “transformation”. The truth is, she was always beautiful, and her music is what should be making the papers, not how much weight she lost.

I know that there’s a lot of factors can lead to an eating disorder and not one factor is solely responsible, but I do personally feel today’s society is making the situation worse. Please just remind yourself that social media is not always real. It’s important to take breaks from the world sometimes and realise what really matters. Love yourself a little extra, speak positively to yourself and speak positively to those around you. Be mindful of what you post and be mindful of what is good for your soul and what isn’t. If anyone needs support for an eating disorder, here is a useful helpline that you can contact🥰-

BEAT eating disorders- 0808 801 0677

I also just want to make people aware of the signs of symptoms of an eating disorder-

Signs can also include-

-Feeling guilty after eating

-Obsession with weight- whether that’s yours or other people’s

– Feeling like you have to “earn” your food

– Obsessive calorie counting

– Starvation/ Binging

– Avoiding certain “bad” foods

– Anxiety around food

– Anxiety about eating in front of others

Remember it doesn’t matter what weight you are or how “ill” you feel. Everyone deserves to recover from an eating disorder and you are just as worthy as everyone else. I send my love to anyone struggling…the world is tough out there but you are tougher. Fuel your body and take on the world. Thanks so much for reading, love to you all.❤️

Random act of kindness week

Hey guys!! Happy Thursday. Sorry I haven’t blogged in a while, I’ve had some time away to recuperate and spend time with friends and family. Anyway I’m back this week with a blog all about “Random act of kindness week”. RAOK week is a week that encourages individuals to carry out an act of kindness, whether that is giving to charity or helping a friend with a project.

I wanted to acknowledge it on my blog page because kindness is such an important thing. By kindness, I don’t mean buying a present for a loved one. Kindness is in the small things, like smiling at a stranger down the street, calling a friend who is struggling, or offering to help someone when they are busy.

These small acts of kindness are the most powerful and we underestimate how important they can be. A small act of kindness may be the only nice thing in a persons day, and you could bring a small glimmer of light into someone’s dark day. Imagine if your small act of kindness this week changed someone’s life. What if we did that every day for the rest of our lives? The world would be a much better place.

So let’s start spreading some joy. Here’s some ways that you can spread the world with kindness this week-

1). Message an old friend- As a world, we’ve been through so much in the past couple of years and unfortunately a lot of people are still struggling, so keeping in touch is more important than ever before. Remember to appreciate the technology we have…we can practically message anyone within seconds. We watch each others Instagram stories yet don’t actually ask how someone is doing. What’s stopping you? Message an old friend and see how they’re doing. It might really make someone’s day (in fact I KNOW it will).❤️

2). Give to charity- Rather than just giving to any charity, spend time this week finding a charity that you would really really like to help. Maybe it’s one you are already aware of that is close to your heart, maybe it’s a small charity you haven’t heard of before, or maybe it’s a friends fundraiser on Facebook. Whatever it is, make sure you feel good about where your money is going…and remember it doesn’t have to be a lot.🥰

3). Compliment someone– I don’t mean force a compliment or make an effort to, but if you think someone looks nice or you like their outfit, tell them!!!! Don’t hold in your kind thoughts, spread them. On a day where I feel rubbish or down in myself, a compliment goes such a long way. But also remember, a compliment doesn’t have to be image related…tell someone they’re doing a great job, let someone know you really appreciate their exsistence or tell someone how far they’ve come.

4). Be kind in the smallest of ways– By this I mean instead of choosing to carry out a grand gesture this week, simply show it in the small ways. Be more patient when driving and let other cars pass first, say a little more when speaking to a shop assistant, make your co worker a coffee even when they haven’t asked, or say hello to the woman you run past on your morning run. However small, it could be powerful and will definitely be noticed.

5). Give your time to someone– It’s not always a grand gesture people need, it’s just time. Have you spent enough time with loved ones this week? Offer your time to someone you love this week, maybe it’s just a little walk or maybe it’s a trip to the cinema. Whatever it is, it will go a long way.❤️

Not only is it important to be kind to others, it’s also extremely important to be kind to yourself. Sometimes we get so caught up in helping others, we forget about ourselves. So here’s my tips on how to be kind to YOU this week too!-

1). Plan something you’ve always wanted to do– Once again, this doesn’t have to be something grand like a holiday abroad…maybe it’s just watching a film you’ve always wanted to see or maybe it’s a gym class you fancy trying out. Do something for you this week that you will enjoy. Bring some self love into your week.❤️

2). Compliment yourself- A lot of people struggle with this one but it’s so important. Instead of being hard on yourself like you always are, love yourself this week. Write down 10 things you love about yourself and try to speak kind words.

3). Forgive yourself- We often forgive other people a lot quicker than we forgive ourselves for things. Stop holding onto all the bad things, and let them go. You deserve peace within yourself. No human is perfect…remember you are doing your best. Be kind.❤️

Thanks so much for reading this weeks blog and remember to be kind!!❤️

How to deal with gaining weight (ED Recovery)

A big part of eating disorder recovery is gaining weight. Gaining weight in recovery is the body’s way of becoming nourished the way it needs to be. Although it’s a great step in recovery, it can be one of the hardest parts for the individual going through it.

I understand this struggle and thought I would give my tips on how to come to terms with and deal with gaining weight🥰-

1). Wear baggy clothes- Definitely don’t cover yourself up forever but for the time you are coming to terms with gaining some weight, wear clothes that make you feel comfortable. Wearing baggy clothes gives you time to feel comfortable with yourself again.

2). Avoid looking in the mirror all the time– As hard as it is, really try to avoid analysing your body for long periods of time. Give yourself the time you need to get used to your new body but in a rational way. Don’t become obsessed with every inch of you, give yourself the time you need to really love your body. By looking in mirrors all day it keeps our brain reminded of all that we’re going through, don’t let your day be consumed by food and weight gain, fill your mind with other happy thoughts🥰

However, one thing I would recommend for eventually using the mirror again are these affirmation stickers👇🏻

Sometimes a little quote is all we need to remind ourselves that we are beautiful and enough. These ones shown above are from etsy, there’s loads of different options on there and all at a great price.❤️

3). Love yourself a little harder- When gaining weight it can test our relationship with ourselves even more. It can become harder to be nice to ourselves at times, but at this time more than any, we need all the self love we can get. Practice being kind to yourself, hug yourself, remind yourself of all the things your body has got you through and remember you are worthy. As well as affirmations and positive self talk, take more time for yourself too. Take things slowly, get more sleep, have more self care evenings and do what makes you happy. Love yourself a little extra through this period of change.🤍

4). Trust the process- Remember to trust the process. Our bodies change everyday for all different reasons. Some days you are bloated, some days you are not. Some days you hold water retention, some days your stretch marks are more visible. Take all of these things into account and accept whatever your body has to go through today. What your body looks like today, isn’t what your body will look like forever. Although our body changes each day, make sure you love it and accept it through each step, each process and each day. Our bodies are very clever and will settle at a weight they feel healthy and happy, till that day comes, love each step.

5). Stop looking at the past and be present It’s really easy to get stuck in the past, but it only ever makes things worse. Whilst going through this process try not to look at photos of yourself from the past. Whatever your weight has been in the past, it doesn’t matter. Be present. Be in the now and remember that every day is different and we are living for today. Be proud of where you are right now, because that’s truly what matters. Being healthy and happy in this very moment is what matters. Your past doesn’t need you anymore…but your future does!🤍

I hope these 5 tips can help at least one person struggling with weight gain right now. I know it’s hard, but it’s all worth it. Remember you are beautiful, amazing and worthy of everything you dream of. Thanks for reading, and keep smiling!🥰

My new year blog

I started writing an essay but decided short and sweet would do the job. I just wanted to make it clear that, you don’t have to change this new year. All the talk of ‘new years resolutions’ can bring so much anxiety, I know they do for me. But remember that setting small realistic goals throughout the year is what works…not making an extreme resolution that you might only stick to for a few weeks. I also hate that we even think we have to change, we’re all on different journeys, going at our own pace and are exactly where we need to be right now. Don’t think you should change your current progress because of the date on the calendar, move at your own pace.

Also, let’s be honest, not every year of our lives will be trips to Bali and job promotions. Accept every year for what it is and remember it is part of your beautiful journey and will be a helpful lead in your next chapter. Don’t mount to the pressures of ‘how good you year was’, just take each day as it comes.

Finally, I hope you all have an amazing new years eve, remember the first of January is just another day and it will be a great one!

Happy new year ALL!! I can’t wait for 2022 and all it may bring🥰🥂🙌🏻❤️

A quick Christmas message…

Just a quick check in before Christmas. I just want to thank everyone who has read my blogs this year, it means the world to me that people take time to read my writing. I hope that at least one of my blogs has resonated with you in some way this year. I also wanted to pop on here to say that over the holidays my email will be open to anyone, it’s not an easy time for everyone and I am fully aware that mental health doesn’t stop for Christmas. So please remember that this page is a safe place and is a place where you can talk without judgement.

MERRY CHRISTMAS and have a good one everyone! There will be one more blog before the end of the year so look out for that.

Best wishes, Louise.❤️

What to do when you’re having a panic attack

Your hearts racing out your chest but for no reason. Heat is rising through your body. You feel like the world is actually closing around you. In fact, this might be you dying.

If you’ve experienced those feelings, then you’ve had a panic attack. Panic attacks can rise out of nowhere and are often a way of our body outletting anxiety. The human body hasn’t caught up with modern day yet and therefore we still have our caveman “fight or flight” ready at all times. We are always ready with adrenaline to run away from a lion. But what if you’re just on the bus and this kicks in?

Here’s what to do when you’re having a panic attack-

Now first of all, I’m not a professional but with 10 years of suffering from panic attacks, I seemed to have worked out what works for me and what doesn’t.

1). Acknowledge what is going on- The first step is to remind your mind and body that everything IS okay and you are NOT dying. Despite the physical symptoms you are feeling, remember it’s just a panic attack. Remember that your mind and body are connected so tell your inner self there is no need for a reaction right now. This is step one.

2). Use an “ocean breath”– Now the supposed way to overcome a panic attack is to take deep breaths, but personally, this only leads to more panic and makes me feel light headed. The real way to help your breathing it to use an “ocean breath”. This is where you constrict the back of your throat and make a noise as if you are very quietly snoring. It’s something I learned in yoga and it really helps to bring my mind and body back to the ground. If you research “ocean breath” you will find lots of information on it. I hope this works for you too.

3). Distract your mind with something completely different- When having a panic attack it can be really easy to think about everything bad in the world that makes you panic. You catastrophise everything and think of anything and everything bad that could happen. It’s important that you stop this. Try to think about something different that you can get your mind into. Think about your favourite day out. Where would you go? What would the weather be like? Who would you go with? What would you eat in the day? Or something which I often do is think about what presents I’ll get people for Christmas. It’s random but it means I’m thinking deeply about something completely unrelated to panic. It’s a type of mindfulness and for me, it really helps.

4). Think rationally about your next steps– For me, one thing which would trigger my panic attacks was the tube. Being underground on a train and knowing I couldn’t just run off when I needed to was my worst nightmare. So I would think rationally about what was next.

Okay, so my next stop is ….. after that there are only 2 left. After that I will walk off and be in the fresh air. If things get really bad, I can get off the next stop and walk.

Another scenario. You are in a meeting and start having a panic attack.

So I have 15 minutes left. That’s okay. After that I can leave and get on with my day. If things get worse in the next 2 minutes, it’s okay because I can leave, I am in control. If anything bad did happen there are people here to help.

As hard as it is at the time, try to BE as RATIONAL as you possibly can. You will slowly find yourself feeling less panicked.

5). Look after yourself for the next 10 minutes– Remember your body has just gone through a lot. Get a glass of water, sit down and just compose yourself for a few minutes. Don’t waste your breath talking/explaining yourself. Don’t get your heart rate up again for no reason. Just take 5 minutes to sit and be calm. This is key.❤️

So there’s my 5 steps on how to cope with a panic attack. Please remember that there is not always a reason for a panic attack, it just happens. So don’t waste your time worrying about how and why it happened. Look after yourself and please try to go through my 5 steps. Also whoever is suffering with this right now, please understand that it gets better. It has done for me and it will do for you. Thanks for reading and lots of love.🤍

How to enjoy Christmas without any pressures

For most people Christmas time is good. It’s full of joy, eating lots of food, seeing family, watching TV, socialising with friends and receiving and sending exciting gifts. But for some people Christmas is a hard time.

I try to be really positive on this blog but I feel a massive responsibility to address the struggles that come with Christmas, as well as the good things. I want to help those struggling and bring back some light to at least one person’s Christmas this year.❤️

Anyway, today’s blog is all about how to enjoy Christmas, despite struggling with the pressures it often brings.

1). Stop trying to “Be happy on the day”- I don’t know about anyone else but when you live with anxiety, a massive, exciting event can become stressful. Not because of the organisation but because of the pressures to meet the “ideal” in your head. It HAS to be the perfect day, you HAVE to be happy all day and you HAVE to look your best. STOP trying to make this happen. Once you surrender to what will be, the day will become even better than you imagined. Relax, be excited and remember that Christmas Day doesn’t have to be perfect and you don’t have to be perfect either. If you are feeling a bit anxious or low, that’s okay. If you burnt the turkey or are late to your family gathering, that’s okay too. Let the Christmas period be what it will be and you will have an even better time than you imagined.🥰

2). Don’t do things that make you unhappy because it’s “Christmas”- By this I mean, if seeing certain family members or friends is bad for your mental health, don’t force yourself to see them. Just because it’s Christmas it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t put yourself first. Do what’s best for you this Christmas and every other day of the year.

3). Don’t think you have to be recovered in time for Christmas- It sounds silly but honestly the world puts so much pressure on us all around this time of year…New Years resolutions and “what have you achieved this year?” But please don’t pay to attention to any of this. We all go through life at our own pace and recovery is a unique journey for everyone. Don’t ever rush your story, take each day as it comes because you are right where you need to be right now. There are no deadlines.❤️

4). Remember that you don’t have to be “Merry” all the time– If Christmas is a hard time for you, that’s okay. You might be going through a tough time right now, so look after yourself a little more. Don’t feel like you have to be jolly all the time, if you’re struggling, ask for help and remember that it’s okay not to be okay all the time.

5). Don’t stress about presents- Christmas shouldn’t be about gifts. The right people in your life won’t expect extravagant gifts. If it’s stressing you out then take a step back and remember what Christmas is really about.🥰

And that’s all for today guys. Short and sweet. Thanks so much for reading! I really hope this Christmas period is good for you and is filled with joy. All the best, and MERRY CHRISTMAS!❤️

How to cope with an ED at Christmas

Hey all! Hope everyone is doing okay. It’s been a couple of weeks since I last blogged as last week was crazy busy. I had my graduation which was amazing and had some other exciting things happening too so I decided to miss blog day last week.

Anyway, I hope this week is being kind to you and I hope you’re feeling good. If I’m going to be honest, things with me recently have been really good. I feel in a good place right now, stable and happy and I am grateful for that every single day.

Enough about me…let’s get on with today’s blog.

This blog is a really important one for me and I hope someone struggling can take something from it today.❤️

First of all, as most of you will know by now, the term ED stands for an “eating disorder”. Having an ED is hard every single day but as I understand, it is especially tough at Christmas time. Imagine your worst fear being unhealthy food, gaining weight and eating around others….basically Christmas is our worst nightmare. Lots of fear foods, lots of gatherings surrounding food and the immense pressure to “enjoy” ourselves whilst we slowly struggle under all the anxieties. It’s a tough one. But I’m here to let you know that you will be okay…and here’s how.🙌🏻

1). Try to remember the reasons you are celebrating- Christmas is about a lot more than food and it’s important that you remind yourself that. Christmas is a religious holiday, it’s about doing good, spreading kindness, making memories and spending time with loved ones. There’s a lot of special things about Christmas, and food is not the most important one. Try to remember to reason you are celebrating, it reminds us that there is a lot more important things in life than how we look and what we eat.

2). Be mindful and present in the moment– When our minds are consumed by food, it’s all we think about, especially when there’s a room full of it. It’s a constant “Can I eat that, am I allowed?”, “What if I can’t control myself? I need to take this food away”, “Are people looking at me and thinking I’m fat?”. Take a step back and silence the noise. When you are chatting to someone, listen and process each word they say. When you are playing board games, concentrate on each move. When you are watching a Christmas movie, listen to each note of the background music. By becoming mindful and present in the moment, we distract ourselves from the anxieties in our mind. Remember, it’s time to enjoy yourself, so take back control.

3). Remind yourself of the child within- A lot of people mention this and I never knew it worked until I tried it myself. Over Christmas when you feel like speaking negatively to yourself and dismissing yourself of Christmas treats….try to imagine how your smaller/younger self would feel. Would the 8 year old you be worrying about their weight or thinking they are ugly? No..they would be so excited for Christmas and so happy that they are allowed to eat all the gingerbread in the world. Find that excited little you, and know that they wouldn’t want you to be sad at Christmas.

4). Let your family support you- The key to recovering from any disorder is to do it with people supporting you, because it’s much harder when you’re alone. Even if it’s just one person, let them know you might be struggling for the next couple of weeks and need a bit of extra support. When you are sat deliberating at the dining table, a little glance from that person can mean everything. That little “it’s okay, you’ve got this” look. You need that. Don’t suffer alone this Christmas.

5). Make plans– Make sure you have some exciting Christmassy plans this year. Don’t sit alone with your thoughts this Christmas. Go out with friends to Christmas markets, go out for a walk in the snow or go ice skating with your family. Keep those horrible thoughts at bay and keep that mind of yours busy with only GOOD things.

6). And finally remember that…This is not a relapse– Thinking we have gone back a few steps can make the cycle even worse. But just because recovery might feel a bit harder, it doesn’t mean you have gone downhill. Christmas is a hard time for people with an ED, whether they are recovered or not. There’s more triggers than ever so give yourself a break and remember that this isn’t a relapse, it just might be little tougher than usual. (Or you may not be affected by Christmas whatsoever. Everyone is different🥰).

Please also remember to buy yourself a little gift this Christmas. By doing a physical act of kindness, it reminds our brains that we need to be kind to ourselves mentally too. Trick your brain into loving yourself again, because you truly deserve it.

Okay guys…now let’s get excited for Christmas and make it the best one yet!!! You’ve got this💪🏻You are NOT ALONE.❤️

How to deal with those “bad days“

Happy Thursday!! It’s blog day…again. There’s been two this week as last weeks was a bit late but life gets in the way sometimes.❤️

Anyway, today’s blog looks at those “bad days”, and you know what I mean by that. Those days that our demons get on top of us, we feel completely out of control, and as stone roses would say….it’s a “stop the world I’m getting off” kind of day. These days are tough and often feel like the hardest fight we’ll go through….but I’m telling you you will get through today, and here’s how.

1). Get out of bed and get ready- I don’t care how long it takes or how hard it feels, get out of bed and get ready as soon as you wake up. Because if you don’t take control of the day straight away…the day will control you. As much as it doesn’t feel like it, getting up and getting ready makes us feel so much better. Laying in bed on our phones or overthinking is only going to make things 10 times worse, and the longer you stay in bed, the harder it will be to get out. Take this first step and then we can think about the second.

2). Eat something- If you’re anything like me, anxiety goes straight to your stomach, and the last thing you want to do is eat. But trust me, your body is a car and you need to refuel to keep driving. Our brains struggle to work properly without food, so grab something to eat and remember it’s only going to make you feel better.

3). Distract yourself– This is always key when trying to ignore those horrible thoughts and irrational brain. Calm your anxiety by taking your mind off your worries. Watch your favourite programme, call a friend or go for a drive and listen to a podcast. It’s good to have time away from the hustle and bustle in our minds. Really try to focus on something other than your worries for a while.

4). Be honest– I think this one is most important. Don’t struggle alone on the bad days, let a loved one know you’re struggling a bit today. You don’t have to explain or go into detail, just let them know you need a little extra love today. Being honest always relieves the load a little. Don’t struggle alone.❤️

5). Exercise– Exercise is my answer to every bad day. Doing something physical takes your mind away from everything, acts as a catharsis for stress, and releases hormones that make us feel good. It doesn’t matter what type of exercise you do or for how long, it’s whatever makes you feel better. Do it for yourself and for your mind.🥰

6). Remember that you will get through this- Remember those days you didn’t think you’d survive, well guess what…you survived them and you will survive this day too. I hope you find hope, peace and happiness so very soon. Keep going because better days are coming. There’s always tomorrow.🙌🏻🤍

Thanks so much for reading today’s blog. It’s a short and sweet one but I really hope it can help someone struggling right now. Keep going, because everything always turns out okay in the end.🙌🏻

Health anxiety- my experience and how to deal with it

Blue and Gray Stethoscope

Hi guys, it’s Thursday and that means only one thing…a new blog! I hope you’re all as excited as I am. I’ve really been finding that blogging has been helping me mentally at the minute, It gives me a drive in the day, It gives me an outlet and it also allows me to come away from life for a while. So to you who’s reading, thank you so much for taking the time to read how I feel. And I hope you can take something away from today’s blog. Anyway, let’s get started.

So today’s blog is surrounding a topic which is something I haven’t spoken about before. Health anxiety is something that I have suffered with since a very young age, and it’s something that, as I’ve got older, I’ve realised a lot of other people suffer with too. In fact, in a way I think it’s part of our human nature to be worried about our health, because let’s be honest, our one aim in life is to stay alive for as long as we can.

Now my journey with health anxiety or as others may know it, hypochondria, started from an extremely young age. I can remember crying before bed every night because I thought that I might die in my sleep. Sounds crazy, right? But at the time it was absolutely terrifying, especially for a 10 year old. From there, at the age of about 11, my panic attacks started, which actually came from the back of an illness that I had. Over the past few years, my health anxiety has really improved, and I’m definitely in a better place with it. However, my health anxiety worsened during the Coronavirus pandemic and I am aware that this was the same for others, even those that didn’t have it before. And that’s why today I want to raise awareness and give you all some tips on how to live with health anxiety.

1). Do not Google. I repeat, do not Google your symptoms. I know how hard it is and I know that you have that rising feeling of anxiety where you just have to click on Google to see what’s wrong with you. The thing is, Google doesn’t know who you are. It doesn’t know your age. It doesn’t know your circumstances, and it certainly isn’t a qualified doctor. Google will always tell you are dying or you have something extreme, but as professionals would tell you do not Google your symptoms, it will only make you more anxious and will be way far from the truth. No matter how tempting it is, please refrain from this and just sit with the anxiety until it passes. Distraction is key for this.

2). Have you considered that it might be psychological? The clue is in the name… health ANXIETY. Anxiety often comes with physical symptoms, even if you don’t realise it. Even if you have chest pains but you are not thinking or worrying about anything, you can subconsciously be stressed.Not only does anxiety come with chest pains and very common anxiety symptoms, there’s also a few physical symptoms that are never spoken about. For example, I was once put on antibiotics because the doctors thought I had bells palsy. It turns out the twitching in my face came down to anxiety. I was also put on daily tablets for my heartburn. I was on these tablets for a year until again the doctors found out this was down to stress. So before you go ringing 999, try to think if any part of you may be anxious and if deep down you are worrying about something, because the chances are it’s nothing serious.

3). Know your body- Anxiety makes us so irrational with so many things, however, it’s important that that very faint voice in the back of our head is heard sometimes, this is the rational voice. Remember that you are the only one that knows what every part of your body looks like and how you feel on a daily basis. You will know deep down in that rational voice, if you really do feel something is wrong. If you know you’re just being a bit irrational and a little bit dramatic then try to take a step back and listen to the rational voice and remember…is this normal for you?

4). Be realistic. I don’t know about you, but during lockdown and the whole coronavirus period I would be worried if I had a slight sore throat or even felt fatigued. But let’s be realistic here.

OK, so you have no energy and you feel tired…but did you get a good sleep last night and have you been to the gym today?

Okay, you have a sore throat, but did you go out drinking last night or have you had enough water today?

Maybe you do have a cough and a little sniffle, but the common cold is called this for a reason.It’s likely that we’ll all get one in a year, maybe even a few. But there’s nothing to worry about, and as long as you look after yourself and it doesn’t go on for long periods of time, you will be absolutely fine.

5). Try something physical– By working out physically, it really helps to connect both our mind and body. Maybe try some meditation or maybe try a workout at the gym. Whatever it is, find something that works for you to help both your body and mind focus. Know your body and know your mind.

Okay, that’s enough for today. I don’t want to bore you with too many tips, but I hope that’s really helped anyone suffering with health anxiety. I loved writing today’s blog and I hope you enjoyed reading it. Remember to look out for next weeks blog on Thursday. Have a great weekend guys, lots of love.🤍

Disclaimer- please remember that if you feel there IS something serious, then ring the doctors or call 999.🤍