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Professional BACP Registered Counselling and Therapy Service across Winchester Romsey and Salisbury

Counselling and Therapy where I offer a safe and confidential place to talk. About your life. About confusing things. About painful things. About uncomfortable things. This gives you the chance to make choices about the changes you want to make in your life.

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Coping With Loneliness and Depression at Christmas

As the festive season approaches, it’s easy to forget that some people find this an especially difficult time of the year, and can quite often have feelings of loneliness, depression and despair. Whilst the festive season is a ‘wonderful time of the year’ for many people, others feel less enthused about the holidays, and in many cases, feelings of anxiety and depression are all too familiar.

Here at Then Change, we are familiar with such feelings and can help you with anxiety, sadness or any type of negative sensation you are experiencing at this time of year. Christmas is wonderful for many, but it can also feel suffocating for others, and the thing you need to understand is help is always available, no matter how uncomfortable or troubled you become.

What causes feelings of depression and loneliness at Christmas?

There can be many factors that affect people at this time of the year. For some, the fear of spending time in large, crowded places where company parties are being held can feel overwhelming, and they instantly want to shut themselves away. In other cases, feelings of abandonment or a sense of loss for family members can be crippling at a time when families traditionally spend time together, leading to sadness and the overriding sense that one is alone.

We’re expected to be jolly and happy at this time of year

There’s also a huge sense of people having fun at Christmas, and one is expected to be in a happy mood most of the time as tree lights twinkle and festive songs play on the radio, but this is not always the case. If you feel sad and lonely at Christmastime, feelings of resentment can quickly build, adding to the stress of the festive period. Plus, there is added pressure at Christmas to spend time with extended family members, and you might not necessarily be looking forward to this, making you feel uncomfortable and awkward at social gatherings.

It’s important to look after your wellbeing over the festive holidays

Life can often feel like it is more complicated at Christmas, and if you feel anxious, worried or simply dread the build-up to the festive period, and don’t know why this is, reach out to somebody and explain to them how you are feeling right now. If the depression is serious, get expert help and don’t try to contain the feelings of sadness, loneliness or anger on your own, there are people ready to listen.

If you are suffering from depression at this time or any time of the year, the team at Then Change are here to help. Please don’t live with these feelings in silence, call us today for confidential and discreet advice on 0774 888 1404, or don’t hesitate to send us a private message online.

The Effects of Politics on Wellbeing

Since Brexit, and heightened by the election of Donald Trump in the US, pubs, offices and homes have been in shock, trying to make sense of what went wrong and despairing at the world falling apart. Britain has turned into an unrecognisable dystopia people don’t understand, causing thousands to move and families and friends are being torn apart. Here at Then Change, we’ve seen a dramatic increase in the levels of anxiety and depression since the referendum, but why has Brexit affected us all so deeply and how can we take care of ourselves in such dark times?

Brexit is inherently about identity and relationships with others, including migration, Europe, politicians and experts. Primitive anxieties about our border with Europe led many people to fear the destruction of that border, and with it, the destruction of Britain.

So why has Brexit affected so many people so negatively?

The European Union was established to provide respite and protection from the extreme nationalism of the mid-20th century and has remained as a great force for stabilising otherwise selfish and nationalistic party politics. The fact that people voted to leave this ‘safe haven’ is seen by many as a betrayal of all that is good, in favour for inwards-looking isolation and a crueller, smaller world.

The uncertainty of Brexit is damaging everyone

The result of the Brexit referendum has mainly brought uncertainty, with both Remainers and Leavers becoming increasingly worried about the lies told by the Leave campaign, and it is this uncertainty that is massively attacking wellbeing. Uncertainty is an extremely difficult thing to deal with, and all too often it can lead to fear and blame – which in turn can cause mistrust, hatred and animosity.

What can we do to ensure our wellbeing?

It can be all too easy to let the uncertainty of our current political landscape lead to despair, hopelessness and self-destructive behaviour. We need to give ourselves time to mourn our exit from the EU (in addition to other recent political events, such as the election of Donald Trump in the US), and find the beauty still in the world by reconnecting with our family and friends.

If you’re suffering from depression or anxiety due to current events and the national and international political landscape, the team at Then Change are here to help. For confidential and discreet advice, call us today on 0774 888 1404 or send us a message online.

The Delicate Act of Bringing Balance to your Life

Modern life is complicated and unfortunately comes without any set of instructions on how to feel balanced and at peace. There are times when we all feel unbalanced and out of sorts, which can exacerbate our fears, insecurities and anxieties but by understanding ourselves and being aware of ourselves, we can minimise the imbalances in our lives. It can be difficult transitioning from knowing to doing, but here at Then Change, we’ll help you to implement Changes that will see you ‘being’ rather than ‘doing’.

Incorporating simple mindfulness techniques into your life may seem strange and difficult at first, but they’ll soon become part of your routine and part of yourself.

Balance is an ongoing process, not a goal

Balance isn’t reaching a state of permanent relaxation, calmness and contentment, but often only lasts for a few moments at any one time. By thinking of yourself as practising balance through mindfulness, you’ll find that the times you feel balanced increase and last for longer. Take for instance the saying, “it’s good if you fall because it means you were trying”, as long as you keep practicing finding balance, you’ll find it. You may lose it again at other moments in your life, but you will find it again.

Prioritise your ambitions and goals

By figuring out your goals and deciding which are the most important to achieve, you can start working towards achieving them first – it’s impossible for everyone to do everything at once. The problem that many people have is deciding which goals are more important, even with smaller decisions such as talking to a friend for the third time in a day or taking time out for a soak in the bath at the end of the day. By regularly re-examining your priorities on a regular basis, you’ll achieve more balance in your life as you can then focus on achieving each goal.

Have both short and long term goals

Your short term goals should help you work towards achieving you larger goals and ambitions. For example, if your long term goal is to be a successful writer, a smaller goal may be getting something published in a national newspaper and in order to achieve that you may think about even smaller goals such as writing for half an hour every day, joining a writing group or starting an online blog.

Ensure your goals are specific

Vague concepts such as ‘quality time’ sound great but aren’t very helpful when it comes to achieving balance in your life, as you can’t quantify whether you’ve achieved what you’ve set out to do. For example, rather than trying to commit to ‘eating healthily’, you can create more achievable balance by including kale in three dinners every week, you’re going to run half an hour every Tuesday and Thursday evening.

It’s easier achieving balance with another person

It’s far easier to achieve balance with not only your own strength, but working with the people in your life. Interactive support involves taking and giving with other people to achieve harmonious and balanced relationships that will benefit everyone. It won’t be perfect all the time, as mentioned before, but by surrounding yourself who offer interactive support as well as you providing it for them, you should find that your social relationships become far more balanced and easier to navigate.

Here at Then Change, we help people to find the balance they need in their lives in a holistic and positive way. For more information, call 0774 888 1404 or contact us online for a confidential chat about your needs.

Eating Mindfully has an Amazing Effect on your Mind & Body

It’s well known that how we look physically has a significant effect on how we feel about ourselves, and maintaining a healthy weight can have a significant positive impact on your emotional and mental well-being. Research has shown that people who eat mindfully, on average, are less likely to be obese and don’t use food as a way to alleviate stress and boredom. Food is delicious and we all love it, but with increased mindfulness, we can avoid using eating to combat frustration, stress, boredom, anger and more.

So, the question is how can we learn to eat in a mindful way?

Mindfully eating may seem like a daunting prospect, but it’s about giving thought to what we’re eating and thinking in the moment about the looks, smells, and textures of the food – and this is before we even start to eat!

When we are eating it, it’s about thinking how it tastes, how it will nourish our bodies and strengthen our mind. These mindfulness techniques will help you to pay attention and beat your cravings for unhealthy food.

Practice mindful eating following these simple steps

Practice gradually – By starting off practicing mindful eating for just one meal or snack a day will help you on your path. Whilst it may feel a bit strange and unfamiliar at first, you’ll soon get used to it and can build up the frequency.

Listen to your body – When you go to grab something to eat, take a moment to think about your body and what it’s telling you. Are you eating because you’re genuinely hungry, or are you bored, stressed or upset? Are you just eating because food is in front of you? By taking a moment to think about why you’re about to eat, you can disrupt the automatic nature of mindless eating.

Learn to enjoy the experience – When you’re eating, pay full attention to the process, observing without analysing or judging yourself. By fully engaging with the full experience of eating, you’ll find you need less food to feel satisfied.

Pay attention to the way you feel physically, emotionally and mentally after eating – Do you eat without feeling regret or guilt afterwards? Can you stop yourself or do you end up binge eating? How do you think you’d feel if you stopped? One way you can practice thinking about these things is to wait just a few minutes before you pick up the comfort food or take a second helping to see if your thoughts, emotions and physical sensations differ.

Don’t multitask – Try eating without the distractions of your phone, the internet or the TV. This way, you can really focus on eating mindfully and truly enjoy food on a level you may not otherwise.

Food is delicious and it’s only natural that we love to eat, but mindless eating can easily turn into vicious cycles of binging and addiction. By thinking about our food as we eating it and the experience of the process, we can avoid relying unnecessarily on food. We can still eat things that we adore, but we can make choices that will help us to maintain our physical, mental and emotional health.

For more information about how Then Change can help you with your mindful eating, simply phone 0774 888 1404 or send a message for a strictly confidential chat.

Journaling is a great way to maintain your mental health

Journaling is an excellent way for you to identify and control your emotions, helping you to maintain your mental health, making it a particularly helpful activity to engage in if you suffer from anxiety or depression. There are a number of benefits to taking some time out with your journal to improve your mental health and help you achieve a happier state.

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