Breakthrough Counselling

The healing power of nature: why green spaces are good for you

Do you wish you could spend more time in the Great Outdoors? With the demands of modern life and the distractions of our phones and TVs, we spend far less time in green spaces than we used to. But research has shown we still have a strong connection with nature.

While being stuck in unpleasant environments (like a harshly-lit office or a busy store) can make us feel anxious, irritable or even helpless, just a short amount of time in a natural environment can lift our spirits again.

In fact, spending time in nature actually has a host of benefits for your mental and physical health. Whether you’re visiting woodland, a lake or a city park, studies have found visiting natural environments can boost your wellbeing – especially if you’re having a difficult time. 

Read moreThe healing power of nature: why green spaces are good for you

Overcoming addiction: 8 tips to get on the road to recovery

Are you worried you might have an addiction? You’re not alone. Addiction affects thousands of people every day. In fact, the charity Action on Addiction estimates a third of adults in the UK could be addicted to something.

The good news is addiction is treatable, and recognising you have this condition is the first step on the road to recovery.

In this guide I’ll explain what the symptoms of addictive behaviour are, and dispel some myths about addiction. I’ll give you a summary of the best steps you can take to overcome addiction, and at the end of the article I’ll list some organisations that will support you as you recover.

What is addiction?

Many of us associate addiction with substances like drugs, nicotine or alcohol. While these are some of the most common addictions, actually anything that has an effect on your mood can be addictive. Gambling, sex, self-harm, social media, shopping and work can also be addictions.

Read moreOvercoming addiction: 8 tips to get on the road to recovery

Creative ways to stay connected during lockdown

The New Year has brought the welcome news of the COVID-19 vaccination programme, and much-needed light at the end of the tunnel for everyone. But it’s also brought pressure of another lockdown at a time when many of us are flagging from being isolated for so long.

Most of us are cut off from people we care about; we might also be spending a lot more time with people who share our home, which is putting a strain on relationships. Some of us are experiencing ‘digital fatigue’ from so many video calls.  

If you’re having trouble connecting with others, or struggling with feelings of loneliness, this article is for you.

Read moreCreative ways to stay connected during lockdown

12 Simple stress-busting tips to make your day better

Feeling stressed out? You’re not alone. Today’s increasingly isolated lifestyles are putting a strain on our mental health, and at the moment many of us are feeling under extra pressure because of the ongoing effects of the pandemic.

Some people might be worried about their health, or the health of loved ones. Some of us are adapting to life changes imposed by the second lockdown, facing redundancy or job uncertainty.

It’s not surprising stress levels have been on the rise!

While some stress is actually good for us and helps motivate us to overcome new challenges, being under stress for a long time can cause physical and mental problems. So in these challenging times, it’s ideal to have a personal strategy for coping with stress.

The good news is there are lots of simple stress-busting techniques you can use when needed, and I’ve listed these below. Try out these techniques, and you can overcome stress, calm your body and mind, and become more resilient under pressure.  

Read more12 Simple stress-busting tips to make your day better

How to nurture hope in difficult times

Seedling emerging from inhospitable environment.

The last few months have been stressful or even traumatic for all of us. We’ve had to deal with unexpected change and loss as a result of the pandemic. Some of us have lost loved ones. Some of us are struggling with the financial consequences of the pandemic. Some of us are recovering from the demands of a challenging and potentially dangerous workplace.

More recently, events in America – including the death of George Floyd at the hands of white police officers – have left some of us feeling shocked and exposed to a world that’s much less fair and just than we imagined; for some of us they’re a horrifying reminder of prejudice and persecution that occurs on a regular basis.

In times like these, it can be tempting to feel hopeless. But it’s times like these when you need hope most. Because hope is powerful. Hope will help you heal. Hope will help you succeed, and while it can’t put the world to rights, it will foster kindness and tolerance.

Read moreHow to nurture hope in difficult times

Feeling stuck in life? Here’s how you can move forward

Do you find yourself feeling stuck in a rut, trapped in the same routines instead of looking forward to the year ahead? Feeling stuck can have a big impact on our mental health; it can be frustrating, but at worst it can lead to a sense of powerlessness, which can give rise to anxiety or depression.

Perhaps you’re bored or unmotivated at work. Or perhaps you desperately want your life to change, but you’re also scared of undermining everything you’ve built so far.If this sounds familiar, the good news is there are ways to break free of your rut – whether you’re stuck in your career, relationships or something else.

Read on to discover key strategies to help you move forward. Everybody is different, so you may want to choose the options you feel drawn to and leave the rest for another time:

Read moreFeeling stuck in life? Here’s how you can move forward

7 ways you can beat the winter blues

Are you feeling down with the onset of the colder months? If so, you’re not alone. The shorter days and gloomy weather take their toll on our wellbeing, and while the festive period is a time of joy for many of us, the high expectations to be happy can sometimes cause stress and loneliness.

Many people feel a bit low and lethargic over winter, but if the change in weather is having a severe impact on your mood and affecting your daily life you might have seasonal affective disorder or ‘SAD’. This is a type of depression that’s triggered by certain seasons and weather conditions.

Whether you’re struggling to cope with the festive season or the cold weather has left you feeling depressed, the good news is there are things you can do to boost your spirits. Read on for the best self-care tips to help you stay positive over winter.

Read more7 ways you can beat the winter blues

How to recover from an abusive relationship

Leaving any relationship can be difficult, but ending an abusive one takes a great deal of courage. If you’ve left an abusive relationship, give yourself credit for taking the hardest – and most important – step. You’ve freed yourself. And if you’re considering leaving an abusive partner, give yourself credit for recognising the truth of the situation. You have the strength to leave, and there are resources available to help you.

Recovering from an abusive relationship takes time and effort. You might feel like you’ve lost your identity because your ex has convinced you that you’re worthless, though this isn’t true. You might feel frightened and unable to trust other people. But you won’t feel this way forever. With patience and self-care, you will begin to heal and remember who you really are. Your life will get better.

Here are some steps you can take to rebuild your life after an abusive relationship:

Read moreHow to recover from an abusive relationship

9 tips to help you get a better night’s sleep 

Do you struggle to get to sleep? We’ve all had nights where we can’t switch off, or wake up frequently. But if you’re regularly not able to sleep well it’s called insomnia, and it can affect your daily life. You might find it difficult to concentrate or remember things, and have more negative thoughts. Disturbed sleep can also impact relationships and make everyday tasks challenging.

Insomnia can have lots of possible causes, and worrying about not sleeping can itself make it harder to go to sleep. But there are things you can do to help relax your mind and body so you can drift off more easily, and sleep better through the night:

Read more9 tips to help you get a better night’s sleep 

Going through a tough time? Here’s how to boost your resilience

determined child wearing boxing gloves

Life has a habit of throwing obstacles in our path, often when we’re least expecting them. Loss and misfortune may impact your life, but you can control how you react to these events.  Whatever challenge you’re facing, boosting your emotional resilience can help you weather the storm.

What is emotional resilience?

Resilience isn’t about pushing yourself to get over adversity before you’re ready. And it doesn’t mean you should cope with difficulties without being affected by them.

Actually, being resilient means you’re able to acknowledge your emotions, and respond in a constructive way. With self-awareness and self-care, you can adapt to challenging situations without being overwhelmed.

Read moreGoing through a tough time? Here’s how to boost your resilience