It is possible to live most of your life asleep to the things that really matter.Modern life - life as we know it - works to prevent us from thinking deeply about anything. The pace, the activity, the busyness, the screens, the hustle, the consuming and our ever-expanding expectations conspire to shrink our attention span and distract us from spending any time pondering the important stuff.We are numbed from the big questions: why are we here? who are we? what does it all matter anyway ?And if it is not the speed of life that prevents us, we can find ourselves actively...

May is mental health awareness month. A time to share experiences and challenge stigma.And one thing you are sure to hear is someone to say: it is time to talk.Being vulnerable about your mental health can be beneficial and aid recovery, but to be brave and start a conversation often feels impossible.It did for me.My diagnosis with post-natal depression and anxiety took me by surprise. I didn't know what it meant. I felt ashamed and afraid of how others would react.Better to deal with this in private and keep my friends, than be honest and risk losing them, I thought.But...

Today I am delighted to introduce to you my friend Phil. Phil has agreed to share his experiences of dealing with anxiety as a middle-aged (his words!) man; how it was for him and what he did about it. Phil is fantastic, I know you'll enjoy what he has to say. I am very grateful to be able to share his perspective here:I’ve never been too concerned about my physical health.I cycle to work, clocking up about 40 miles per week, and apart from my vasectomy have never had more than a day off in 25 years of gainful employment. I’m...

Before you can love anyone else. Before you can care for anyone else. In fact if you want to be any use to anyone long term:You have to love you first.I used to think loving myself was selfish. I thought prioritising my needs was self-indulgent. Surely it was better to sacrifice what I wanted to make others happy?I was a classic people pleaser, believing I would be loved and accepted only if I behaved and performed as others' wanted me to. So I morphed and changed according to who I was with. I tried to keep a lid on any...

Last week I was tired. A combination of over-work, broken nights and an increase in the emotional needs of the kids had worn me out.I was physically tired, but more than that I was emotionally and mentally tired. My body and brain had been operating at more than full capacity for a while and I needed a break.There are times we have to over-exert ourselves; a busy patch at work, a friend or loved one falls ill and needs caring for, a house move or other circumstantial change. There are seasons when we all have to dig deep and work...

Many people I know choose a 'word for the year'.A word they hope to orient their year around. A word they hope when they look back at the end of the year they will find has been the cornerstone, the theme underpinning all they have done.I have a word for this year. It has crept up on me. I think it came back from holiday with me in my suitcase.This year is a big year for me. My goals are bigger, my hopes higher.On 1st January I wrote (on Instagram):"I am looking forward to this new year. I feel excited,...

In the morning when you wake the dread is already on your shoulder. You feel the panic rising and swallow hard to stop it. It all feels too much.  You pull up your big girl pants and give yourself the pep-talk you have well-rehearsed about just getting on, just doing it, not quitting, not stopping.Throughout the day you struggle to make decisions. You find yourself rushing from one thing to another, worrying about what won't get done. Your breath catches in your chest. You feel you are always dropping the ball. The other shoe is about to fall. You are...

I find change hard. I like familiarity and routine. I like tradition and rituals. These are the things that help me to orient myself in the world. To make sense of life's unpredictable moments.But if we know one thing we know change is the only constant. The only thing we can be sure will follow us.Sometimes life changes and we have no choice but to accept it even though it is devastating; we experience tragedy and have to learn to live with it.We lose a loved one, a friend moves away, we are ill, our job role changes, we experience...

Self care is not just for stressed-out grown ups. Self care is an important life skill we can and should be teaching to our children. And just in case you think I am going to be instructing you to spoil your child, to give them whatever they most desire all in the name of mental health, let me reassure you. My favourite definition of self-care (which makes it obvious it is a skill we all need is) - self care: proactively creating a life you don't need to regularly escape from*. Self-Care is about making sure we are able to enjoy our...