Happiful August 2019

Create successful ePaper yourself

Turn your PDF publications into a flip-book with our unique Google optimized e-Paper software.


FREE<br />

BOOK OF<br />



Tired of not<br />

being able<br />

to sleep?<br />

Rest assured, we've<br />

got the solution p24<br />

Packed with<br />

AUGUST <strong>2019</strong> £4.00<br />

WILD<br />

ABOUT<br />

GRACE<br />

Taboo-smashing &<br />

filter-free: this is<br />

Grace Victory<br />

PLUS!<br />

Aldo Kane<br />

Exploring<br />

mindfulness<br />

& living for<br />

now<br />

sensational<br />

summer<br />

ideas<br />

08<br />

YOU'VE<br />

GOT THIS<br />

Go with the flow. Period.<br />

The secret to making your menstrual cycle an easier ride<br />

9 772514 373000<br />


SELF<br />

CARE<br />


Put wellbeing on your holiday packing list<br />



Tune in to you<br />

We all do it: push ourselves to breaking point, trying<br />

to spin all the plates, hold all the hands, juggle all the<br />

metaphors.<br />

We plough on, feeling the strain, trying to stay strong<br />

and measure up against some indeterminate bar the<br />

world will hold us to. We see our value measured by<br />

how many boxes we’ve ticked off on the ‘life goals’<br />

list, rather than by what the intricate calibrations<br />

our personalities add to the world, and connections,<br />

around us.<br />

But, the question remains, who are we working<br />

ourselves into the ground for?<br />

As we approach summer, we want you to soak up<br />

some of that vitamin D – and feel the self-acceptance<br />

in the air. It’s time for a breather – from the pressures<br />

we put ourselves under, the dreams that have to<br />

be achieved today, and the feelings of guilt and<br />

inadequacy that weigh heavy on our shoulders.<br />

Feel empowered this <strong>August</strong>, as you hear from our<br />

incredible cover star Grace Victory, who broke the<br />

wheel of her life in order to start a new cycle of<br />

healing. Discover the concept of ‘sisu’; you’ve almost<br />

certainly displayed it before, but is it healthy going<br />

forwards? And put things into perspective with<br />

insight from professional adventurer and ex-Royal<br />

Marine Aldo Kane.<br />

A quote from Albert Einstein really captures the spirit<br />

of this issue: “Strive not to be a success, but rather to<br />

be of value.”<br />

When we tune in to just how<br />

valuable we truly are, the<br />

external milestones, accolades,<br />

and applause can wait. It’s just<br />

white noise in the symphony of<br />

our multi-tonal glory.<br />

Listen. Your true self is calling,<br />

We love hearing from you, get in touch:<br />


happiful.com happifulhq @happifulhq @happiful_magazine

40<br />

The Uplift<br />

8 In the news<br />

13 The wellbeing wrap<br />

14 What is 'sisu'?<br />

Is this Finnish tradition the key to getting<br />

through hard times?<br />

83 Hospice Biographers<br />

The incredible charity ensuring life stories<br />

of people with terminal illnesses live on<br />

Features<br />

16 Grace Victory<br />

The 'internet’s big sister' opens up about<br />

healing from abuse, breaking taboos, and<br />

empowering others to live their best lives<br />

26 Put it in writing<br />

The story of how poetry became an outlet<br />

for one woman living with BPD<br />

44 Go with the flow<br />

Get to know your menstrual cycle and<br />

stop periods from cramping your style<br />

73 Anna Williamson<br />

Love, life lessons, and 'Loose Lips' with<br />

the 'Celebs Go Dating' mind coach<br />

73<br />

Life Stories<br />

36 Jenny: the long run<br />

Following the breakdown of her<br />

relationship, Jenny was fearful of what<br />

the future held until she found solace<br />

in reconnecting her body and mind<br />

52 Vikki: discovering who I am<br />

Every day was a struggle for Vikki<br />

after she developed chronic fatigue<br />

syndrome following a viral infection. But<br />

things started to look up when she took<br />

time to reassess what mattered to her<br />

Culture<br />

49 What's on in <strong>August</strong><br />

57 Editor's picks<br />

From self-care to sliders, discover what our<br />

Editor's is loving this month<br />

66 Your summer reading list<br />

Nine page-turners to enjoy in the sunshine<br />

90 Quickfire: MH matters<br />

78 Suz: breaking free of guilt<br />

Intrusive thoughts plagued Suz's<br />

life for years, as her mental health<br />

spiralled out of control. It was when<br />

her self-esteem was at an all-time low<br />

that she finally found the strength to<br />

78 58<br />

reach out

32<br />

16<br />

Lifestyle and<br />

Relationships<br />

31 Summer lovin'<br />

Five ways to make the most of this summer<br />

32 Aldo Kane<br />

The explorer and broadcaster reflects on<br />

how he manages to find calm moments in<br />

an adrenaline-fuelled lifestyle<br />

70 Life after divorce<br />

With 42% of UK marriages ending in<br />

divorce, what is the emotional impact?<br />

86 One step at a time<br />

How walking saved the life of<br />

psychotherapist Jonathan Hoban<br />

FREE<br />




Print<br />

£57<br />

£40<br />

For 12 print issues!<br />

Pay for 10 months, get 2 free<br />

<strong>Happiful</strong> delivered to your door<br />

before it hits the shelves<br />

UK post and packaging included<br />

Competitions and prize draws!<br />

Digital<br />




FREE<br />

Completely free online<br />

Same great content as in print<br />

Exclusive offers<br />

Competitions!<br />

Food & Drink<br />

58 Up in your grill<br />

Refresh your BBQ with these delectable<br />

vegan recipes, perfect for summer<br />

60 Endometriosis explained<br />

It's the second most common<br />

gynaecological condition in the UK, but<br />

how does it relate to what we eat?<br />

<strong>Happiful</strong> Hacks<br />

24 Stop counting sheep<br />

40 Sew good for you<br />

50 Archive inbox anxiety<br />

76 Thrive through illness<br />


For every tree we use to<br />

print this magazine, we will<br />

ensure two are planted<br />

or grown.<br />

Prices and benefits are correct at the<br />

time of printing. Offer expires 19 September<br />

<strong>2019</strong>. For full terms and conditions, please<br />

visit happiful.com<br />

Visit happiful.com


Meet the team of experts who<br />

have come together to deliver<br />

information, guidance, and insight<br />

throughout this issue<br />


BSc (Hons)<br />

Sonal is a nutritional<br />

therapist, health tutor, and<br />

director of Synergy Nutrition.<br />


BA ANLP<br />

Zeenat is a life coach<br />

specialising in building<br />

resilience with clients.<br />


BA MA NLP Mstr<br />

Rachel is a life coach<br />

encouraging confidence<br />

and motivation.<br />


MA MBACP<br />

Beverley is a psychotherapist,<br />

columnist, and lead partner<br />

at The Practice, London.<br />


MBACP (Accred) BACP Reg Ind<br />

Graeme is a counsellor<br />

working with both<br />

individuals and couples.<br />



Ros is a solutionfocused<br />

clinical<br />

hypnotherapist.<br />


MA Dip RGN MBACP (Accred)<br />

Lindsay is a counsellor,<br />

psychotherapist, and<br />

registered nurse.<br />

OUR TEAM<br />


Rebecca Thair | Editor<br />

Kathryn Wheeler | Staff Writer<br />

Tia Sinden | Editorial Assistant<br />

Keith Howitt | Sub-Editor<br />

Beverley Hills | Expert Advisor<br />

Amy-Jean Burns | Art Director<br />

Charlotte Reynell | Graphic Designer<br />

Rosan Magar | Illustrator<br />


Lucy Donoughue, Kat Nicholls,<br />

Bonnie Evie Gifford, Becky Wright,<br />

Ros Knowles, Maxine Ali, Lydia Smith,<br />

Fiona Thomas, Ellen Hoggard, Sonal Shah,<br />

Lindsay George, Anna Gaunt, Gemma Calvert,<br />

Jenny Richardson, Vikki Cook,<br />

Suz Yasemin Selçuk<br />


Paul Buller, James Gardiner, Krishan Parmar,<br />

Lo Dias, Susan Hart, Graeme Orr, Rachel Coffey,<br />

Georgina Batt, Zeenat Noorani, Libby Palmer,<br />

Sophie Lee, Simone Ayers, Lyzi Unwin,<br />

Claire Baker<br />


Lucy Donoughue<br />

Head of Content and Communications<br />

lucy.donoughue@happiful.com<br />



Libby is a remedial and<br />

sports massage therapist<br />

based in London.<br />



Susan is a nutrition<br />

coach, food writer,<br />

and vegan chef.<br />

Amie Sparrow<br />

PR Manager<br />

amie.sparrow@happiful.com<br />


Aimi Maunders | Director & Co-Founder<br />

Emma White | Director & Co-Founder<br />

Paul Maunders | Director & Co-Founder<br />

Steve White | Finance Director<br />


Our two-for-one tree commitment is made of two<br />

parts. Firstly, we source all our paper from FSC®<br />

certified sources. The FSC® label guarantees that<br />

the trees harvested are replaced, or allowed to<br />

regenerate naturally. Secondly, we will ensure an<br />

additional tree is planted for each one used, by<br />

making a suitable donation to a forestry charity.<br />

<strong>Happiful</strong> is a brand of Memiah Limited. The<br />

opinions, views and values expressed in <strong>Happiful</strong><br />

are those of the authors of that content and do<br />

not necessarily represent our opinions, views or<br />

values. Nothing in the magazine constitutes advice<br />

on which you should rely. It is provided for general<br />

information purposes only. We work hard to achieve<br />

the highest possible editorial standards, however<br />

if you would like to pass on your feedback or have<br />

a complaint about <strong>Happiful</strong>, please email us at<br />

feedback@happiful.com. We do not accept liability<br />

for products and/or services offered by third parties.<br />

Memiah Limited is a private company limited by<br />

shares and registered in England and Wales with<br />

company number 05489185 and VAT number GB<br />

920805837. Our registered office address is Building<br />

3, Riverside Way, Camberley, Surrey, GU15 3YL.<br />

<strong>Happiful</strong><br />

c/o Memiah, Building 3, Riverside Way<br />

Camberley, Surrey, GU15 3YL<br />

Printed by PCP<br />

Contact Us<br />

hello@happiful.com<br />

For feedback or complaints please<br />

email us at feedback@happiful.com



If you are in crisis and are concerned for your<br />

own safety, call 999, or go to A&E<br />

Call Samaritans on 116 123 or email<br />

them on jo@samaritans.org<br />

Head to<br />

happiful.com<br />

for more services<br />

and support<br />


SANEline<br />

SANEline offers support and information from 4.30pm–10.30pm:<br />

0300 304 7000<br />

Mind<br />

Mind offers advice Mon–Fri 9am–6pm, except bank<br />

holidays: 0300 123 3393. Or email: info@mind.org.uk<br />

CALM<br />

The Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM) is a line<br />

for men, and is open from 5pm–midnight: 0800 58 58 58<br />

Switchboard<br />

Switchboard is a line for LGBT+ support. Open from 10am–10pm:<br />

0300 330 0630. You can email: chris@switchboard.lgbt<br />


p16<br />


Help is out there. Search your postcode and browse counsellors<br />

in your area at counselling-directory.org.uk<br />

p26<br />


For those living with BPD, as well as their family and friends,<br />

bpdworld.org offers information, advice, and an active and<br />

supportive community forum.<br />

p78<br />


A charity that's run for and by people with OCD, OCD UK offers<br />

a huge library of information on their website ocduk.org, and<br />

a support line you can call on 03332 127 890<br />

p83<br />


Offering support and advice, you can call Cruse Bereavement Care's<br />

helpline on 0808 808 1677 if you're in England, Wales, and Northern<br />

Ireland, or for Scotland call 0845 600 2227<br />

p86<br />


Get advice on how to find free walking paths, uncover routes<br />

near you, and join walking groups at ramblers.org.uk

The Uplift<br />


Photo series<br />

explores mental<br />

health, makeup,<br />

and masculinity<br />

In an empowering look at the topic<br />

of masculinity and mental health,<br />

model and activist Hélène Selam<br />

Kleih has collaborated with makeup<br />

artist Athena Paginton to create the<br />

anthology HIM + HIS.<br />

Designed with the aim of sparking<br />

conversation about men’s mental<br />

health, the book shares stunning<br />

imagery of male contributors<br />

decorated with makeup and<br />

face paint. A vital component<br />

of the series, each contributor<br />

collaborated with Athena on a look<br />

that reflected their personality and<br />

the mantras they live by.<br />

Considering the power of the<br />

portraits, Hélène explains that<br />

she wanted to create a project<br />

that showcased men being<br />

unapologetically themselves, which<br />

in turn she hopes will help erode<br />

the mental health stigma that can<br />

hold them back.<br />

“I want readers to hold HIM + HIS<br />

as a journal of hope,” she explains.<br />

“A platform to speak honestly,<br />

however dark – a means to continue<br />

a discussion in a meaningful, albeit<br />

light-hearted, way. HIM + HIS is not<br />

about taste, but about expression.”<br />

Find out more, and order copies of<br />

HIM + HIS, from himandhis.net<br />

Writing | Kat Nicholls<br />

Makeup | Athena Pagington, Photography | Piczo<br />

8 • happiful.com • <strong>August</strong> <strong>2019</strong>

ARTS<br />

New research reveals creativity<br />

helps with three key areas<br />

Even a little creative indulgence can significantly improve<br />

our sense of wellbeing<br />

Great news for budding creatives,<br />

recent research commissioned by<br />

BBC Arts has revealed that even<br />

a short length of time spent on<br />

creative activities – like singing,<br />

crafting, or sketching – can<br />

have a significant impact on our<br />

wellbeing.<br />

The online survey of nearly<br />

50,000 people across the UK<br />

revealed that creative activities<br />

can help us manage our stress<br />

levels, face new challenges, and<br />

explore new solutions to everyday<br />

problems.<br />

Produced in partnership with<br />

University College London, the<br />

Great British Creativity Test<br />

asked participants which creative<br />

activities they enjoy taking part<br />

in regularly. Researchers then<br />

identified three key ways that<br />

we use creativity: first as a way<br />

to distract ourselves from stress;<br />

second to help us contemplate as<br />

we reassess problems and make<br />

plans; and third as a tool for selfdevelopment.<br />

No matter what your level of<br />

skill, trying new creative activities<br />

can positively impact how you’re<br />

feeling. So if you’ve been thinking<br />

about going along to an evening<br />

class, or giving a new hobby a try,<br />

this is your sign to go for it!<br />

Take the creativity test yourself<br />

by heading to nquire.org.uk and<br />

searching for ‘The Feel Good Test’.<br />

Writing | Bonnie Evie Gifford<br />

LGBT+<br />

‘Transgender’<br />

no longer<br />

classed as a<br />

mental health<br />

disorder<br />

In one giant step forward for<br />

equality, the World Health<br />

Organisation (WHO) will no longer<br />

class transgender health issues as<br />

a mental health disorder. In their<br />

global manual of diagnoses, issues<br />

related to gender will now be placed<br />

within a chapter on sexual health.<br />

Considered an outdated diagnosis<br />

by many, reproductive health expert<br />

at WHO, Dr Lale Say, explains: “It<br />

was taken out from mental health<br />

disorders because we had a better<br />

understanding that this was not<br />

actually a mental health condition,<br />

and leaving it there was causing<br />

stigma.”<br />

Graeme Reid, LBGT+ rights<br />

director at campaign group Human<br />

Rights Watch, has spoken out about<br />

the changes, saying they will have<br />

a “liberating effect on transgender<br />

people worldwide”.<br />

In a joint statement, nine<br />

organisations working on gender<br />

identity declared that while the<br />

move to the sexual health chapter<br />

was by no means perfect, they<br />

remained optimistic for the future.<br />

“Today, we know that full<br />

depathologisation can be achieved,<br />

and will be achieved in our<br />

lifetime.”<br />

Here’s hoping future strides are<br />

quick and plentiful for the LGBT+<br />

community.<br />

Writing | Kat Nicholls<br />

<strong>August</strong> <strong>2019</strong> • happiful.com • 9

Reading gives us someplace<br />

to go when we have to<br />

stay where we are<br />



Library lends<br />

‘bags of wellness’<br />

to support<br />

community<br />

mental health<br />

Recognising the unique power that<br />

libraries have in their communities,<br />

North Yorkshire County Council has<br />

begun offering ‘bags of wellness’ to<br />

locals in a bid to boost mental health<br />

across the district.<br />

The bags – which service users can<br />

borrow using their library cards –<br />

include self-help and colouring books,<br />

recipes, puzzles, and a relaxation CD,<br />

along with information and advice.<br />

The scheme came about following a<br />

Dragon’s Den-inspired exercise where<br />

staff had the chance to pitch ideas to<br />

improve the service, the hope being<br />

that the bags will make simple wellness<br />

activities accessible for everyone.<br />

“Libraries play an important part in<br />

wellbeing, and form the hub of many<br />

communities in North Yorkshire,” county<br />

councillor Greg White tells <strong>Happiful</strong>.<br />

“There are very few places that can offer<br />

people of all ages a place to explore an<br />

interest in books, take up a new hobby,<br />

discover new information, and meet<br />

like-minded people. Regardless of age,<br />

background or income, libraries have<br />

something to offer everyone.”<br />

With studies showing that mindfulness<br />

exercises increase activity in the area<br />

of the brain associated with positive<br />

emotion, this fantastic initiative puts<br />

North Yorkshire County Council straight<br />

in our good books!<br />

Find out more at northyorks.gov.uk<br />

Writing | Kathryn Wheeler<br />

<strong>August</strong> <strong>2019</strong> • happiful.com • 11

Take 5<br />

Is there anything quite as satisfying as cracking a puzzle? We don’t think so. This month,<br />

experience the mood-boost for yourself with these two confounding challenges<br />

Diagonal suduko<br />

Like a normal suduko, but with a<br />

transversal twist. Fill the empty boxes so<br />

that the numbers one to nine appear once<br />

in each row, column, diagonal, and box.<br />

1<br />

9 1 6<br />

5 4<br />

2 9 1<br />

How did you do?<br />

Search 'freebies' at<br />

shop.happiful.com<br />

to find the answers,<br />

and more!<br />

3 9 6 7<br />

9 4<br />

2 1 8 7<br />

3 6<br />

6 5 8 7 1<br />

Movie emoji-nary<br />

Use the emoji clues to work out the title of these famous films.<br />

️️<br />

️️ ️ ️

Going up<br />

Champagne<br />

& chips<br />

apparently it's the<br />

perfect pairing<br />

T'ai Chi<br />

is helping anxious<br />

kids find calm<br />

around exams<br />

Periscope<br />

glasses:<br />

great for gigs, or a<br />

glaring mistake?<br />

The<br />

wellbeing<br />

wrap<br />

An 'ace' campaign<br />

Amateur tennis player<br />

Robyn Moore spent June<br />

hitting 200,000 tennis balls<br />

to raise awareness of<br />

the mental health<br />

benefits of sport.<br />

The Breakpoint <strong>2019</strong><br />

challenge was lauched<br />

with former British #1<br />

Tim Henman. That's one<br />

love to mental health.<br />

Force Blue is an<br />

organisation recruiting<br />

veterans in Florida<br />

for diving missions to<br />

help local coral reefs.<br />

Scuba diving can<br />

be therapeutic for<br />

those with PTSD and<br />

depression, so one<br />

thing springs to mind:<br />

just keep swimming!<br />


Itchy eyes, runny nose – the dreaded hay fever<br />

season may be in full swing, but soothing those<br />

sore eyes could come in the form of tickling<br />

those tastebuds. Asthma UK have noted that<br />

while drinking alcohol such as wines and beer<br />

can make symptoms worse, gin has a relatively<br />

low histamine content, so could be your perfect<br />

alternative to unwind! G&Ts all round.<br />

100% my type on paper<br />

New research has found that we do indeed have 'types'<br />

when it comes to relationships. This isn't about looks<br />

though, it's the personalities that have similar traits, and<br />

while we might look for something different in a partner<br />

post-breakup, our understanding of how to work with<br />

that type of personality could be a reason we keep going<br />

back – we've already developed strategies for connecting.<br />

#SaveTheOcean<br />

In an innovative move to<br />

protect our planet, Ocean<br />

Mimic have created swimsuits<br />

from recycled plastic, and for<br />

every $10 spent on a product,<br />

they collect 1kg of trash<br />

from oceans and<br />

beaches!<br />

A test of<br />

honesty<br />

In a study<br />

spanning<br />

40 countries,<br />

researchers put the<br />

public's honesty to the<br />

test by dropping 17,000 wallets with<br />

varying amounts of money in, and<br />

seeing how many were reported. In a<br />

surprising turn, the more money there<br />

was inside the wallet, the more likely<br />

people were to return it!<br />


Roll up, roll up! The circus has<br />

come to town, but it's like nothing<br />

you've seen before. To make a stand<br />

against the mistreatment of animals<br />

in the industry, Circus Roncalli<br />

in Germany has started using<br />

holograms instead of live creatures,<br />

which fill the entire arena. The<br />

special effects spectactular set the<br />

founder back more than £400,000,<br />

but has lit up social media, and is<br />

going down a storm with audiences.<br />

The futuristic development is a win<br />

in the fight against animal cruelty –<br />

something to definitely cheer for.<br />

Emojis | emojipedia.org<br />

Plastic bags<br />

Boots are ditching<br />

them in favour of<br />

paper ones<br />

Vape break<br />

San Francisco has<br />

banned them until<br />

FDA approval<br />

Going down<br />










AND THEN . BUT<br />





Delivery service Just Eat have launched a 'BBQ Rescue Service',<br />

in the build-up to a summer where Brits are predicted to ruin 58<br />

million BBQs. Their research discovered that 66% of us have had<br />

either over or undercooked food at a BBQ, and 75% admitted to<br />

eating before going to a BBQ for fear of the food on offer!<br />

“<br />

66% of us have had overcooked BBQ food<br />

It seems part of the problem is hosts struggling to meet the dietary<br />

needs of friends and family, with 16% of vegetarians noting<br />

they only have one option (a bun and a salad), while 10% of<br />

vegans get nothing at all. If you don't want to rely on a backup<br />

takeaway this summer, check out our vegan recipes to<br />

make your BBQ a success on p58 – now we're cooking!

‘Sisu isn’t about climbing the whole<br />

mountain, it’s just about finding the<br />

strength to take the first step’<br />

Exploring<br />

Sisu<br />

Never give up, keep fighting, always do the best<br />

you can. If you’ve ever had to dig deep and find a<br />

strength you never knew you had, you’re already<br />

embracing sisu<br />

Writing | Becky Wright<br />

Illustrating | Rosan Magar<br />

It’s a term that dates back hundreds of years in Finnish<br />

culture. But, like many Scandinavian words, sisu<br />

doesn’t have a direct translation in English – which<br />

means it’s quite problematic for me to try to explain.<br />

But it’s a trait you’ve undoubtedly experienced before at<br />

some point in your life...<br />

14 • happiful.com • June <strong>2019</strong>

To help, we can look to<br />

the origins of the word<br />

for a little more clarity.<br />

‘Sisus’ literally means<br />

‘internal’, which is why it is<br />

sometimes translated to ‘guts’<br />

or ‘inner strength’, and is often<br />

used synonymously with grit,<br />

determination, and resilience.<br />

But, perhaps better than these<br />

clumsy attempts at translation,<br />

there’s a popular song lyric that<br />

I think sums up sisu perfectly:<br />

‘When the going gets tough, the<br />

tough get going’ – thank you,<br />

Billy Ocean. Basically, when life<br />

becomes difficult, your inner<br />

strength comes out to meet the<br />

challenge.<br />


The Finns believe that everyone<br />

has a certain amount of sisu within<br />

them; it just may sometimes lie<br />

dormant or be blocked by fears or<br />

uncertainty. Of course, we all face<br />

times or situations that are more<br />

difficult than others. But sisu is<br />

about facing a challenge head-on,<br />

despite any doubt or insecurity you<br />

may be feeling.<br />

In Scandinavian culture, sisu<br />

is viewed positively as the art of<br />

courage – in fact, for many, it’s<br />

a part of being Finnish. And it’s<br />

not only Finland that embraces<br />

a gritty element to their national<br />

character; the Japanese have their<br />

own version, ganbaru, which<br />

means to slog on tenaciously<br />

through rough times. And, if we<br />

look a little closer to home, there’s<br />

the concept of the British stiff<br />

upper lip.<br />

But, is it just me, or do these<br />

concepts feel a little reminiscent of<br />

wartime resilience? Should we still<br />

strive for this level of resilience in<br />

the world we live in today?<br />

In search of an answer, I spoke<br />

to Zeenat Noorani, a resilience<br />

and wellbeing coach.<br />

“I believe that having balanced<br />

elements of perseverance, grit,<br />

and resilience allows us to<br />

achieve desired outcomes when<br />

facing adversity, without costing<br />

our mental health. The key to<br />

resilience, in order to achieve<br />

success, is having a positive and<br />

healthy balance in mindset,<br />

empathy, and compassion.”<br />

Perhaps, then, it’s the element<br />

of compassion where modernday<br />

resilience comes into its own.<br />



Finnish mountaineer Veikka<br />

Gustafsson once said: “The<br />

biggest obstacles are between<br />

our ears; what we tell ourselves.”<br />

It’s often true that the biggest<br />

challenges we face are the ones<br />

in our own minds, which is why<br />

combining compassion alongside<br />

sisu is incredibly important.<br />

Sisu isn’t about ignoring or<br />

suppressing emotional pain,<br />

and it’s certainly not about<br />

continually pushing yourself to<br />

the ends of your capabilities,<br />

day in, day out. It’s about<br />

acknowledging difficulties<br />

(whether they are coming from<br />

within your own mind or are<br />

imposed from the world around<br />

you) and doing what is needed to<br />

rise above them.<br />

“It is our own thoughts, feelings,<br />

and behaviours which will,<br />

or will not, enable us to reach<br />

desired goals. We each need to<br />

consider our own limitations<br />

and capabilities, and reflect<br />

on whether these bring us the<br />

results we truly want,” says<br />

Zeenat.<br />



The tricky part about mental<br />

strength, grit, resilience, sisu<br />

– or whatever you want to call<br />

it – is that we know little about<br />

how to build it. Although we can<br />

all recognise what these traits<br />

represent, the meanings and<br />

behaviours that accompany them<br />

can be personal to each of us.<br />

Zeenat explains: “I assist my<br />

clients to foster their skills in<br />

resilience and grit through<br />

evaluating their own behavioural<br />

patterns, and exploring their<br />

strengths and weakness. By<br />

acknowledging their strengths and<br />

weakness, clients can implement<br />

resilience by breaking negative<br />

patterns, and replacing these with<br />

positive thought patterns.”<br />

So, whenever you’re going<br />

through a tough time, take a<br />

moment to show yourself some<br />

kindness. Recall moments in<br />

your life when you embraced<br />

your inner strength. Overcome<br />

that critical inner voice by<br />

remembering past times when you<br />

exceeded your own expectations<br />

in order to get through.<br />

It’s not all about what you can do<br />

yourself, or training your internal<br />

thoughts, though. One important<br />

factor in embracing sisu is that<br />

it requires an action-oriented<br />

mindset. Particularly when you’re<br />

struggling, one of the best ways to<br />

access support is to reach out to<br />

others. Having the courage to ask<br />

for help is perhaps one of the best<br />

indicators of strength.<br />

Whatever struggle you’re facing,<br />

in whatever aspect of your life, you<br />

can embrace sisu. It isn’t about<br />

climbing the whole mountain, it’s<br />

just about finding the strength to<br />

take the first step.

A M A Z I N G<br />

Grace<br />

A refreshing burst of energy, enthusiasm<br />

and authenticity, Grace Victory has<br />

gone from ‘the internet’s big sister’, to<br />

a woman who is not only stepping into<br />

her own power, but is emphatically<br />

encouraging everyone to do the same.<br />

Her honest and genuine nature has<br />

helped start many crucial conversations,<br />

and empowered others to open up, seek<br />

help, and know that they’re not alone.<br />

Now, after starting a new chapter in<br />

her own life, Grace tells <strong>Happiful</strong> about<br />

changing course, the role therapy plays<br />

in her life, and finding ‘the one’<br />

Interview | Lucy Donoughue<br />

Photography | Paul Buller<br />

“ Unexpected” is Grace Victory’s<br />

response when I ask her to describe<br />

<strong>2019</strong> to date. She’s cradling a cup<br />

of tea in her hands, as we’re both<br />

cosied up on the sofa in the corner<br />

of the photography studio, while the unseasonal<br />

summer rain pounds down outside.<br />

This scenario immediately feels like a chat<br />

with a friend rather than a formal interview –<br />

and that’s a very good thing.<br />

Grace’s ability to be instantly at ease<br />

with other people, and to talk openly and<br />

authentically about her life experiences, is a<br />

talent that has contributed to her incredible<br />

success and popularity. >>>

18 • happiful.com • June <strong>2019</strong>

Top | ASOS, Jacket | Pretty Little Thing<br />

Blazer and Jumpsuit | Monsoon, Shoes | Aldo, Earrings | Freedom @ Topshop<br />

She’s been an online presence<br />

since 2011, gaining the title of ‘the<br />

internet’s big sister’ due to her<br />

honest, relatable, and authentic<br />

approach.<br />

Over the past eight years,<br />

Grace has amassed a loyal and<br />

global following for her work.<br />

She’s a TedX speaker, the author<br />

of No Filter, presenter of the<br />

highly acclaimed BBC Three<br />

programme Clean Eating’s<br />

Dirty Secrets, and she’s created<br />

a plethora of content across all<br />

her channels; covering topics<br />

from plus-size fashion and<br />

beauty, to sex, trauma, therapy,<br />

relationships, periods, and<br />

spirituality. She is a woman of<br />

great style, and great substance.<br />

“I knew that things<br />

had to change, but I<br />

don’t think anything<br />

prepares you for the<br />

change that therapy,<br />

self-development,<br />

and self-awareness is<br />

going to bring you”<br />

This year, however, and its<br />

“unexpected” nature, came after<br />

2018 saw Grace questioning her<br />

life direction and choices.<br />

“Last year was the beginning<br />

of my world literally turning<br />

upside down,” Grace explains. “I<br />

describe my life like a map – there<br />

are roads, train journeys... it has<br />

all kinds of stuff. And I took a<br />

hammer to the whole map.”<br />

Grace left the relationship she was<br />

in, stopped producing some of her<br />

content – specifically on YouTube –<br />

and began working with a therapist<br />

again.<br />

“I knew that I needed to heal<br />

deeply. I knew that things had to<br />

change, but I don’t think anything<br />

prepares you for the change that<br />

therapy, self-development, and selfawareness<br />

is going to bring you.”<br />

Working through traumatic<br />

experiences Grace had as a child was<br />

part of that self-development, and<br />

she’s candid about the impact the<br />

therapeutic work had on her, as well<br />

as its importance in her healing.<br />

“It was f**king hard! I think if<br />

you’ve experienced trauma of any<br />

kind, but specifically continuous<br />

childhood trauma, you develop<br />

really false perceptions of what the<br />

world is like. As a kid, I had to learn<br />

how to manipulate situations so<br />

that I could keep myself safe. If you<br />

haven’t gone to therapy before, you<br />

don’t know how to unlearn that.”<br />

Grace worked with a male<br />

therapist because, she says, “how<br />

can I learn to trust men if I’ve never<br />

had a male therapist?”, and as well<br />

as addressing the past, Grace had<br />

the realisation that she needed to<br />

explore her adult relationships<br />

too, acknowledging her challenges<br />

around vulnerability and intimacy.<br />

“I remember having this light bulb<br />

moment,” she shares. “I realised<br />

that with sex, I used to always<br />

perform. It was never really like<br />

true, like authentic. And I pride<br />

myself on being authentic.”<br />

After a month of therapy, the first<br />

unexpected life-shift happened.<br />

Grace met Lee, the man she now<br />

describes as being her “soulmate” –<br />

although the first time they spoke,<br />

she was left in tears… >>><br />

<strong>August</strong> <strong>2019</strong> • happiful.com • 19


We’re delighted to announce that<br />

Grace Victory is <strong>Happiful</strong>’s new –<br />

and first ever – columnist. Be sure<br />

to check out our September issue<br />

for Grace’s first column with us –<br />

available from 15 <strong>August</strong>.<br />

“I think more<br />

women should<br />

believe that they<br />

deserve to be<br />

happy and ascend<br />

in their power”<br />

“I met this guy on Bumble,” she<br />

smiles broadly. “I literally knew<br />

within a second that he was ‘the<br />

one’.”<br />

Lee and Grace took the<br />

conversation from online, to<br />

phoneline and: “After we had our<br />

first conversation, I panicked. I<br />

cried. I actually cried! I was like:<br />

‘I’ve just met my soulmate, the<br />

other half of me. And now I’m<br />

sh*tting it!’<br />

“I’d made all these plans to<br />

work on myself, and be single to<br />

work on myself, which I’m still<br />

doing, but the universe works<br />

in wonderful ways and it was<br />

obviously time that we met.”<br />

Earlier this year, Grace left south<br />

London and moved in with Lee,<br />

in north-west London, where, she<br />

says, the energy feels positively<br />

different, and there is a massive<br />

sense of community – something<br />

that pleases her, as a self-professed<br />

homebody.<br />

Moving in with Lee has also<br />

signalled a different type of<br />

‘homecoming’, and Grace is<br />

reflective about their new<br />

beginning together. “I feel like I’ve<br />

worked so hard to have this life,<br />

and it’s slowly forming in front of<br />

me. This is what I always wanted as<br />

a kid.”<br />

In true Grace style, she’s keen<br />

to point out that there have been<br />

learnings along the way. “I believe<br />

in astrology and I’m a Virgo, so I’m<br />

very organised and a clean freak<br />

– I like things in their places,” she<br />

laughs. “Whereas Lee is a Pisces<br />

– the complete opposite – just<br />

spread out and doesn’t realise how<br />

much work it takes to have a nice,<br />

clean, tidy home. So it’s been a<br />

journey and we’re learning how to<br />

compromise, and to show up for<br />

each other, but also for ourselves.”<br />

Despite their differences around<br />

domestic issues, Grace is clearly<br />

deeply in love, and watching the<br />

two of them chat on her recent<br />

YouTube post, it’s obvious that the<br />

feeling is mutual.<br />

The fact that Lee had started<br />

therapy prior to their meeting<br />

is an important factor in their<br />

relationship, according to Grace. “I<br />

think it’s really weird that Lee had<br />

just had his first session of therapy<br />

before meeting me! I always said<br />

I couldn’t date a man who’s not in<br />

therapy. I think it’s because I’m so<br />

self-aware and healing, and I need<br />

a man who’s doing the same.”<br />

She’s deeply respectful of Lee and<br />

his experiences of counselling.<br />

“I’m really proud of him for going<br />

to therapy; I think mental health<br />

for men is such a minefield –<br />

it’s even more taboo than it is<br />

for women, especially being a<br />

black man. In the Jamaican and<br />

Caribbean culture, it’s so taboo<br />

and under the radar.”<br />

Lee’s transparency around<br />

mental health support has had<br />

a ripple effect, too, opening up<br />

the possibility of counselling to<br />

members of his family, friends,<br />

and colleagues within the music<br />

profession. “Talking about mental<br />

health, especially for black men in<br />

that industry, it’s just incredible,”<br />

Grace enthuses. “I’m so proud of<br />

him. I just love him – he’s the most<br />

incredible man I have ever met.<br />

He’s just like this beam of light.”<br />

Grace has an amazingly positive<br />

energy. She says what she feels –<br />

and she says it with gusto. She’s<br />

passionate about mental health<br />

and wellness, and is committed<br />

20 • happiful.com • <strong>August</strong> <strong>2019</strong>

Playsuit | New Look, Shoes | Kurt Geiger<br />

to spreading the word about the<br />

power of therapy, and promoting<br />

the type of self-belief she<br />

demonstrated when she changed<br />

her own life-direction last year.<br />

And for cynics who might feel that<br />

self-belief is easier for someone<br />

who has the success Grace has<br />

now? They would do well to look<br />

at her journey to the place she is in<br />

today. “It’s a privilege for some not<br />

to have self-belief,” Grace asserts.<br />

“I think that if you go around<br />

life and you get things handed to<br />

you, you’re obviously not going to<br />

believe anything bigger than that,<br />

because it’s just normal to you.<br />

“Whereas me, I had to believe<br />

that I was going to get out of my<br />

family situation, the home town I<br />

grew up in, I had to believe that,<br />

otherwise life would have been<br />

really f**king sh*t. So, I have great<br />

self-belief because I think it can get<br />

you places nothing else can.<br />

“I haven’t gone to university,”<br />

Grace continues. “I wasn’t<br />

particularly academic. I just lead<br />

a really incredible life because I<br />

believe that I deserve it. I think<br />

more women should believe that<br />

they deserve to be happy and<br />

ascend in their power.”<br />

Embracing her own power, and<br />

championing others, is important<br />

to Grace. She has started a new<br />

must-listen podcast, ‘The Sister<br />

Space’, with good friend Simone<br />

Powderly, to address everything<br />

from surving childhood sexual<br />

abuse and learning to be without<br />

trauma, to changing careers,<br />

sex positivity, spirituality, and<br />

body love. It’s full of honest talk,<br />

emotional vulnerability, and<br />

women supporting, and proudly<br />

celebrating, other women. >>>

Dress | ASOS

In addition to her podcast, Grace<br />

is now training to become a trauma<br />

therapist. She is constantly curious<br />

about the world around her, both<br />

the physical and spiritual, and talks<br />

enthusiastically about discovering<br />

astrology, crystal healing, and<br />

using the gift of intuition. Power,<br />

for her, is knowledge of her own<br />

mind, body and soul, as well as the<br />

greater universe. “I’m a sponge,”<br />

she says, explaining her love and<br />

need to continually learn.<br />

Grace lists the books and theories<br />

that have helped her, alongside<br />

therapy, crediting The Secret by<br />

Rhonda Byrne, for focusing her<br />

thoughts on the spiritual laws<br />

of life, manifestations, and the<br />

vibrations within the universe –<br />

love being the highest, and shame<br />

being the lowest. The way we<br />

speak to ourselves, she says, has<br />

the power to raise our own loving<br />

vibrations and generally improve<br />

our health.<br />

However, A Return to Love by<br />

Marianne Williamson, was the<br />

book that changed her life and<br />

relationship with her inner self.<br />

“It sparked everything, and I<br />

started learning more and more.<br />

I recognised the internal change<br />

that was happening for me, which<br />

lead to thinking about what we<br />

put in our bodies – not necessarily<br />

food, but what we read, what we<br />

say about ourselves, the products<br />

that we use – and the big one for<br />

me was contraception.<br />

“So, I came off the pill and my<br />

womb went into meltdown. I<br />

bled every day for about a year,<br />

and was getting thrush every<br />

month. I was in therapy and<br />

talking about sexual trauma,<br />

and I wondered whether there<br />

was a link between women,<br />

wombs, and pain? I started to do<br />

some research and came across<br />

information about manifesting,<br />

and how your womb is your<br />

second heart; it has its own beat<br />

and it’s silenced by false periods<br />

and contraception.<br />

“The GP had no idea what<br />

was happening, so I just kept<br />

on researching, used essential<br />

oils, massage, meditation and<br />

breathwork. I was Googling<br />

‘womb meditation’ and ‘how to<br />

heal your womb naturally’, and<br />

from the outside I must have<br />

looked crazy – but it worked.”<br />

“You don’t have<br />

to be unhappy,<br />

you don’t have to<br />

live an ‘alright’<br />

life, you can lead<br />

a wonderful life if<br />

you believe that<br />

you are worthy<br />

of it”<br />

Grace was relieved to find that her<br />

periods returned to normal, the<br />

thrush disappeared, and she felt<br />

more grounded. “It was all because I<br />

was looking inside of myself. It was<br />

about being curious and knowing<br />

that we are powerful beings. That’s<br />

why I think I’ve healed so much; I<br />

wasn’t just thinking about my mind<br />

or my body, I was thinking about<br />

my soul.”<br />

Grace wants to share all that<br />

she has witnessed and learned<br />

about being well and working on<br />

ourselves, with her audiences. “I<br />

know that people who follow me,<br />

in terms of maybe class or race,<br />

don’t always have access to this<br />

language, this mental health and<br />

wellness education.<br />

“The wellness industry can be<br />

quite privileged and whitewashed –<br />

and its really sacred. The wellness<br />

industry, their beliefs are coming<br />

from African and Greek mythology,<br />

so I want to talk to my people<br />

in the language that I, and they<br />

understand.<br />

“It seems to be what I’m meant to<br />

do, to make healing accessible, and<br />

to let people know that you don’t<br />

have to be unhappy, you don’t have<br />

to live an ‘alright’ life, you can lead<br />

a wonderful life if you believe that<br />

you are worthy of it.”<br />

“I want to tell them that<br />

everything you need to do that<br />

is inside of you,” Grace smiles.<br />

“It’s just about remembering how<br />

powerful you are without anything<br />

else – just you.”<br />

Follow Grace on Instagram<br />

@gracefvictory, and read more from<br />

her at graciefrancesca.com. The<br />

‘Sister Space’ podcast is available<br />

now, and you can listen to Grace<br />

on <strong>Happiful</strong>’s podcast ‘I am. I have’<br />

from 22 July.<br />

Styling | Krishan Parmar<br />

Hair and Makeup | Lo Dias using<br />

Morphe, NARS, and YSL<br />

<strong>August</strong> <strong>2019</strong> • happiful.com • 23

How to get a<br />

good night’s sleep<br />

Anxiety, stress, noise, or even your phone or computer, could be coming<br />

between you and eight hours of delightful rest. So here are some simple<br />

steps that will get you blissfully back to the land of dreams<br />

Writing | Ros Knowles Illustrating | Rosan Magar<br />

We all know we<br />

feel great after<br />

a good night’s<br />

sleep – we wake<br />

feeling refreshed<br />

and ready for the day! However,<br />

it is not always easy to achieve,<br />

and many people suffer from<br />

insomnia.<br />

There can be various reasons for<br />

this, such as noise, disturbance,<br />

or pain. But the usual cause<br />

is often anxiety or stress. As a<br />

hypnotherapist, I regularly work<br />

with people to reduce their anxiety,<br />

in order for them to feel calm, and<br />

to sleep well again.<br />

If we are suffering from anxiety,<br />

this will typically make us wake<br />

in the night feeling miserable,<br />

and leave us unable to get back to<br />

sleep, often with negative thoughts<br />

constantly going around our head<br />

in a loop.<br />

While we’re asleep, our brain has<br />

periods of rapid eye movement<br />

(REM) sleep, when our brain<br />

processes thoughts, emotions, and<br />

experiences, moving them from<br />

the subconscious to the conscious<br />

part of our mind, so we can come<br />

up with solutions to problems. So,<br />

‘sleep on it’ is great advice!

The brain and the body are<br />

very busy while we rest – they<br />

restore and rebuild cells,<br />

and fight off infections. The<br />

brain cleans itself, removing<br />

the debris of the day. Sleep<br />

also provides the brain with<br />

time to embed memories,<br />

so reinforcing what we are<br />

learning.<br />

REM sleep is also a time when<br />

we can replay and process<br />

stressful events in a peaceful<br />

environment, and these can<br />

appear to us as dreams.<br />

So it comes as no surprise<br />

that a good night’s sleep can do<br />

wonders. Here are five top tips<br />

to help you get that essential<br />

peaceful night:<br />



Have breaks away from<br />

your desk to help you<br />

reduce anxiety. It is<br />

tempting to keep going,<br />

but you need to ease off<br />

the pressure, relax, think<br />

about something else, and<br />

let your brain process your<br />

thoughts – frequent breaks<br />

are good for you, and help<br />

you to find solutions and ideas.<br />

Decide to forget about work in<br />

the evening. Choose a cut-off<br />

time when you stop looking<br />

at emails and messages, and<br />

focus on relaxing instead. You<br />

deserve time to rest!<br />


Allow time for enough sleep.<br />

It’s easy to be tempted to stay<br />

up late, but give yourself a<br />

reasonable chance to get eight<br />

hours of rest.<br />

Since the advent of electricity,<br />

we no longer set our daily<br />

routines to our natural<br />

circadian rhythm, where we<br />

would sleep when the sun went<br />

down, and rise when it came<br />

back up again.<br />

In the past, people would have<br />

had segmented sleep, a pattern<br />

of four hours sleep, two hours<br />

awake, and then another four<br />

hours sleep before morning.<br />




The blue light from devices<br />

can suppress the production of<br />

the sleep-inducing hormone<br />

melatonin. This hormone<br />

makes us feel naturally<br />

drowsy, so we need it to work<br />

for us, and take us into sleep.<br />

If you have a bedside clock<br />

with an LED display, it might<br />

be a good idea to change it to a<br />

more conventional one, as the<br />

light could interfere with your<br />

sleep. Remove devices with<br />

screens from the bedroom to<br />

avoid temptation! If you read<br />

before you go to sleep, choose<br />

a ‘real’ book where you can.<br />



The bedroom should be<br />

designed for relaxation and<br />

rest, so remove anything that is<br />

not necessary, such as laundry<br />

or anything work-related.<br />

Keep the lighting soft, choose<br />

curtains or blinds that keep the<br />

light out, and make sure the<br />

room is dark when you go to<br />

sleep. Decorate it with restful<br />

colours, with beautiful artwork,<br />

objects, and accessories, to<br />

make it a room you enjoy, that<br />

feels like a sanctuary.<br />

Many people find the smell of<br />

lavender helps them relax; try a<br />

few drops of lavender essential<br />

oil on your pillow.<br />

5 FOCUS ON THE<br />


If you suffer from anxiety,<br />

remember to focus on<br />

what has been good during<br />

the day, rather than any<br />

problems. It is too easy to<br />

dwell on what went wrong.<br />

Remember the things that<br />

were good, that made you<br />

happy, however small or<br />

big. This is a good habit to<br />

acquire, as we often don’t<br />

notice the nice things. Get<br />

used to enjoying the happy<br />

moments!<br />

Just before you go to sleep,<br />

think of at least three good<br />

things that happened that day<br />

– you may think of more.<br />

Sleep well!<br />

Ros Knowles is a clinical<br />

hypnotherapist practising<br />

solution-focused hypnotherapy,<br />

helping people to make positive<br />

changes in their lives. Visit<br />


Writing for<br />

change<br />

Diagnosed with borderline personality disorder in her early 20s, Rosie felt ashamed, isolated<br />

and confused. The stigma of BPD has silenced people for years – but she’s had enough.<br />

Through her poetry, Rosie is leading the way for change, and showing that everyone<br />

deserves love, support, and most importantly, a voice<br />

Writing | Maxine Ali<br />

Mental illness can<br />

often feel like a<br />

silent struggle.<br />

Finding and<br />

sharing the right<br />

words to capture<br />

the confusion and emotion of life<br />

with a mental health condition<br />

is no mean feat. It is especially<br />

challenging because these feelings<br />

are not always visible to the<br />

outside world.<br />

Even with various efforts being<br />

made to end the stigma, silence<br />

remains an experience for many<br />

when it comes to discussing our<br />

own mental health.<br />

For Rosie, silence was a defining<br />

part of her early experiences as<br />

she navigated life with a mental<br />

illness. “In the beginning, I felt like<br />

I had no one to talk to,” she says. “I<br />

felt extremely ashamed, isolated<br />

and confused.”<br />

Rosie was diagnosed with<br />

borderline personality disorder<br />

(BPD) when she was 23. “For years,<br />

I carried my BPD around like a<br />

dirty little secret,” she recalls. “Any<br />

attempt I made to say the words<br />

‘borderline personality disorder’<br />

made me want to vomit.”<br />

BPD, sometimes called<br />

emotionally unstable personality<br />

disorder, is characterised by<br />

affective dysregulation, disturbed<br />

patterns of thinking or perception,<br />

and impulsive behaviour.<br />

These characteristics are believed<br />

to emerge as adaptive, defensive<br />

strategies from the chronic<br />

trauma, interpersonal violence,<br />

or emotionally-unprotective<br />

environments often experienced by<br />

people with BPD.<br />

Chartered psychologist Kimberley<br />

Wilson says: “People with a<br />

diagnosis of BPD can often feel<br />

under siege by their own thoughts<br />

and emotions, and become<br />

sensitive towards any hint of<br />

rejection from those around them.”<br />

Rosie adds: “I would describe<br />

a BPD episode as a moment<br />

of emotional agony. In those<br />

moments, I am deafened by<br />

my thoughts and drowning in<br />

emotions.”<br />

Unfortunately, BPD is a condition<br />

layered with myths, stereotypes<br />

and misrepresentations. Many<br />

people with BPD recall being<br />

dismissed as ‘over-dramatic’ and<br />

‘attention-seekers’, feeling coerced<br />

into silence and secrecy for their<br />

own self-preservation.<br />

The sanctions of silence<br />

surrounding BPD were<br />

immediately apparent to Rosie.<br />

“The psychiatrist who diagnosed<br />

me told me it would be better if<br />

she didn’t record my diagnosis<br />

in my medical notes,” she says.<br />

“Essentially, she was telling me to<br />

hide my BPD.”<br />

Individuals with BPD tend to be<br />

treated with less compassion than<br />

those with other mental health<br />

26 • happiful.com • <strong>August</strong> <strong>2019</strong>

concerns. Misunderstandings<br />

about the term ‘personality<br />

disorder’ drive a lot of aggression<br />

toward someone living with BPD,<br />

due to the belief that it is the<br />

person’s own identity that is to<br />

blame for their condition.<br />

People with BPD are sometimes<br />

cast as ‘difficult patients’, and<br />

become the target of frustration<br />

from under-resourced and<br />

overstretched clinical teams. This<br />

rejection and hostility can intensify<br />

the punishing effects of BPD by<br />

confirming the worst fears of the<br />

person living with the condition.<br />

Rosie set out to show that people<br />

with BPD are caring, kind and<br />

loving. She wanted to demonstrate<br />

I would describe<br />

a BPD episode<br />

as a moment of<br />

emotional agony.<br />

In those moments,<br />

I am deafened by<br />

my thoughts and<br />

drowning in emotions<br />

that a diagnosis doesn’t have to lead<br />

to a life of shame, guilt and silence.<br />

Rosie began to chronicle her<br />

experience through poetry, and<br />

started her now award-winning<br />

blog, ‘Talking About BPD’. These<br />

outlets were a way for her to talk<br />

about her life when she felt there<br />

was no other way to communicate<br />

honestly.<br />

“Writing is a tool which helps me<br />

bear these strong emotions,” she<br />

says. “It creates a space between<br />

myself and my thoughts. In these<br />

spaces, I can choose how to act,<br />

rather than reacting on impulse<br />

out of fear and anxiety.”<br />

Commanding the language of<br />

one’s own mental health can help<br />

create a sense of autonomy and<br />

personhood, a potent tonic for<br />

any experience that leaves you<br />

feeling invalidated and out of<br />

control. >>><br />

<strong>August</strong> <strong>2019</strong> • happiful.com • 27

As Kimberley Wilson says: “I think<br />

it’s always helpful for patients to<br />

have some agency over how they<br />

and their condition are described.<br />

Receiving any health diagnosis can<br />

be a dehumanising experience;<br />

your personality and personhood<br />

can disappear under the weight<br />

of the label, and this can be felt<br />

even more acutely when your<br />

personality is diagnosed as ‘the<br />

problem’.”<br />

Poetry provided a channel for<br />

Rosie to write about the things that<br />

hurt the most, and turn them into<br />

an ‘object’.<br />

“It’s hard to convey the intensity<br />

of the highs and lows I feel,” she<br />

says. “But poetry gives me a way of<br />

communicating these extremes.<br />

“Describing myself as an electric<br />

eel, and accelerating the rhythms<br />

and frequency of the rhymes, can<br />

portray a rush of hypomania. I can<br />

capture my loneliness by likening<br />

myself to a prawn crawling around<br />

on the seabed, or convey the terror<br />

of an episode by repeating ‘help<br />

me’ seven or eight times.”<br />

Rosie’s voice became one of<br />

representation and solidarity,<br />

letting others know that even in<br />

their most difficult moments, they<br />

aren’t alone.<br />

“The first time I read my poem<br />

‘Bear’, which is about an eating<br />

disorder, a woman said to me that<br />

my poem had said the things she<br />

wanted to say but didn’t know how,”<br />

says Rosie.<br />

Though a powerful tool to help<br />

translate the reality of living with<br />

a BPD diagnosis, self-exploration<br />

isn’t all that the spoken word can<br />

achieve. Poetry can function as<br />

a platform for promoting social<br />

justice, an opportunity to act<br />

against the unfair treatment that<br />

emerges from misunderstandings<br />

and misrepresentations of mental<br />

illness.<br />

It enables people to leave behind<br />

the spectator role that separates<br />

us from the perspective of others,<br />

and gain insight into mental health<br />

as a personal experience, felt by<br />

someone with a past and a future<br />

worth caring about.<br />

Rosie says: “Self-expression can<br />

be a form of activism. After all,<br />

the personal experiences we have<br />

are shaped by the world we live<br />

in. Mental health doesn’t exist in<br />

a vacuum. There is a clear link<br />

between social exclusion and<br />

marginalisation, and mental health<br />

problems.<br />

“More than anything, I want<br />

people going through emotional<br />

distress to be seen, heard, and<br />

cared for, with respect and<br />

compassion,” Rosie says. “Lots<br />

of people experience BPD as a<br />

diagnosis of exclusion from mental<br />

health services, and it’s never OK<br />

for someone to be left without<br />

access to support.”<br />

Rosie’s words aren’t a call to action<br />

to talk, as she acknowledges that<br />

not everyone wants to, or feels safe<br />

doing so. It is an effort to mitigate<br />

the guilt and shame so often<br />

enveloped in a diagnosis of BPD.<br />

Rosie says: “When reading my<br />

writing, I feel compassion towards<br />

myself. My writing bears witness<br />

to moments of pain, and as a result<br />

becomes proof of my survival too.”<br />

28 • happiful.com • <strong>August</strong> <strong>2019</strong>

More than<br />

anything, I want<br />

people going<br />

through emotional<br />

distress to be seen,<br />

heard, and cared<br />

for, with respect<br />

and compassion<br />

For Rosie, poetry is empowering<br />

her to reclaim her BPD<br />


She should not apologise<br />

for the trauma<br />

that formed her.<br />

Or for the fire that warmed her,<br />

burned her, turned her to ashes<br />

and reignited her in the same breath.<br />

Follow Rosie on @talkingaboutbpd or<br />

visit her blog talkingaboutbpd.co.uk<br />

Maxine Ali is a health and science<br />

writer, and linguist specialising in<br />

body talk and body image. Follow<br />

Maxine @maxineali or visit her<br />

website maxineali.com<br />

Kimberley Wilson is a dialectical<br />

behaviour therapy-trained chartered<br />

psychologist. Find out more at<br />

monumentalhealth.co.uk<br />

Or for the million lives<br />

and billion deaths<br />

she fledged and shed like feathers.<br />

Or to the divers whose<br />

knees bled on stones.<br />

It’s not her loss to console.<br />

Maybe she is not one woman<br />

but many women.<br />

Maybe the way to understand her<br />

is through her anger.<br />

Her shipwrecked depths<br />

don’t require your anchor.<br />

By Rosie Cappuccino<br />

<strong>August</strong> <strong>2019</strong> • happiful.com • 29

<strong>Happiful</strong> Hero<br />

Photography | JoelValve<br />

“<br />

The future belongs to<br />

those who believe in the<br />

beauty of their dreams<br />

30 • happiful • December 2018 – ELEANOR ROOSEVELT

Squeeze the most out of summer<br />

When it comes to British summertime, we need to take advantage of every<br />

sunny day we get. Here are some ideas to help you do just that<br />

Writing | Kat Nicholls<br />

Kew Gardens | kew.org<br />

1 Head out for a picnic<br />

One of the easiest and most<br />

wholesome summer activities,<br />

who doesn’t love a picnic? Grab<br />

yourself a blanket, some snacks<br />

and sun cream, and get yourself<br />

to your nearest green area (yes,<br />

that includes your garden!).<br />

Celebrate with some peace and<br />

quiet solo, or rally up some<br />

friends, kick back, and enjoy.<br />

Looking to step up your picnic<br />

game? We love the Beachcrest Home<br />

4 Person Wicker<br />

Picnic Basket,<br />

1<br />

£35.99,<br />

available at<br />

wayfair.<br />

co.uk<br />

2 Go<br />

stargazing<br />

Summer nights<br />

usually mean clearer<br />

nights, making it<br />

ideal for a spot of<br />

stargazing. Find your 2<br />

nearest ‘dark sky site’ and<br />

take in the vast expanse of a<br />

starry night sky. If you want to<br />

learn more about what you’re<br />

seeing, download the SkyView<br />

Lite app, and point it towards<br />

the sky to identify stars,<br />

constellations, satellites and<br />

more. To find a dark sky<br />

site near you, or to attend a<br />

stargazing event, take a look<br />

at gostargazing.co.uk<br />

3 Explore some Great British<br />

Gardens<br />

If there’s one thing the<br />

UK is good at, it’s<br />

gardening. While<br />

away a summer<br />

afternoon with<br />

a trip to one,<br />

and take in<br />

the beautiful<br />

3<br />

views. We love<br />

Kew Gardens in<br />

London, which houses<br />

rare plants, wildflower<br />

meadows, and tropical<br />

glasshouses. Alongside<br />

standard guided tours,<br />

Kew Gardens provide<br />

monthly British Sign<br />

Language (BSL) tours, and<br />

bimonthly sensory<br />

tours that allow<br />

visitors the<br />

chance to<br />

explore smells<br />

and textures.<br />

If Kew Gardens<br />

sounds up<br />

your street, find<br />

out more and plan<br />

your visit at kew.org. To<br />

explore other gardens, check out<br />

greatbritishgardens.co.uk<br />

4 Take your mindfulness<br />

practice outdoors<br />

Whether you love meditation,<br />

yoga, or a mindful walk, if you<br />

have a mindfulness practice,<br />

4<br />

taking it outside can add a<br />

new dimension. Listen to the<br />

birdsong, notice the warmth<br />

of the sun on your skin,<br />

and take in the glorious<br />

scent of cut grass and<br />

BBQs on a warm<br />

summer breeze.<br />

For inspiration, we<br />

love mindful.org<br />

who share new<br />

meditations<br />

to try.<br />

5 Enjoy<br />

some<br />

movie magic<br />

Cosying up on a<br />

blanket and watching a film<br />

under the stars is a perfect<br />

way to enjoy a balmy summer<br />

evening. There are plenty of<br />

companies that run outdoor<br />

screenings, so have a Google<br />

to see where your nearest one<br />

is, and get ready for some<br />

serious summer vibes. Oh, and<br />

remember to pack an umbrella...<br />

just in case (this is British<br />

summertime we’re talking about<br />

after all). The Luna Cinema<br />

have outdoor showings<br />

across various<br />

locations in the UK,<br />

and offer accessible<br />

facilities. Find out<br />

what’s showing<br />

at thelunacinema.<br />

com/<strong>2019</strong><br />


Right here<br />

and now<br />

Continuously embarking on dangerous expeditions for his work, Aldo Kane leads an<br />

adrenaline-fuelled lifestyle. However, as he tells <strong>Happiful</strong>, a sense of calm and<br />

appreciation is always available to you when you learn to live in the moment<br />

Writing | Lucy Donoughue<br />

I’ve caught Aldo Kane in a<br />

rare moment of quiet. He’s<br />

back home, in London, in<br />

the middle of a round of<br />

interviews and photoshoots,<br />

before preparing for his next<br />

exciting expedition to Thailand,<br />

Laos, and Vietnam.<br />

As a former Royal Marine sniper<br />

and current-day TV adventurer,<br />

explorer and presenter, Aldo is<br />

used to spending long periods<br />

away from the UK, exploring the<br />

world. In the past two years alone,<br />

he completed a world recordbreaking<br />

row from Portugal to<br />

Venezuela with Team Essence and<br />

long-time pal Jason Fox, spent<br />

three months in South America<br />

filming Meet The Drug Lords:<br />

Inside The Real Narcos for Channel<br />

4, worked with Steve Backshall<br />

on Undiscovered Worlds, had two<br />

stints in active volcanoes for<br />

Expedition Volcano, and worked on<br />

National Geographic’s One Strange<br />

Rock with Will Smith – and the list<br />

of adventures goes on.<br />

To say that Aldo has experience<br />

of negotiating extreme and<br />

hostile situations, both on and off<br />

camera, is an understatement.<br />

“I’ve been living like this since I<br />

was 16,” he says, referring to when<br />

he went into the armed forces.<br />

“Although I’ve probably been in<br />

more hardcore and high octane<br />

situations since I left the Marines.”<br />

I can only imagine...<br />

With physical strength and a high<br />

state of awareness being so hugely<br />

important for Aldo’s work, it’s<br />

hard to picture what he does in his<br />

downtime, away from the cameras<br />

and pulse-racing activities.<br />

“I always need to be mentally<br />

and physically fit for the next stint,<br />

whatever that might be, so when<br />

I’ve got two weeks off between<br />

jobs I’m not sitting around eating<br />

donuts!” Aldo laughs.<br />

“I’m in the gym, doing crossfit<br />

training, because my body needs<br />

to be prepared to run away from<br />

danger, to escape, fight, whatever<br />

is needed in the moment, and<br />

my brain needs to be ready and<br />

working together with my body to<br />

help me achieve that.”<br />

This marriage of mental and<br />

physical is a recurring theme<br />

as we chat, along with Aldo’s<br />

love of the outdoors. “The<br />

most important thing for me,<br />

My body needs to<br />

be prepared to run<br />

away from danger,<br />

to escape, fight,<br />

whatever is needed<br />

in the moment, and<br />

my brain needs to be<br />

ready and working<br />

together with my<br />

body to help me<br />

achieve that<br />

mentally,” he adds, “is being<br />

outside and being active. It’s so<br />

crucial to get out in nature at least<br />

once a day. It’s there for everyone,<br />

and it’s free.”<br />

Despite the breathtaking, farflung<br />

locations Aldo has filmed<br />

in, he still finds that it’s the UK’s<br />

capital where he regularly gets<br />

the most benefit from open air<br />

exercise – as it’s the place where<br />

he doesn’t have to be “hard-wired<br />

into the environment”, as he does<br />

on location.<br />

32 • happiful.com • <strong>August</strong> <strong>2019</strong>

Whether it’s living in solitary<br />

confinement, without access to<br />

sunlight or other people, or facing<br />

life-changing situations with<br />

dangerous criminals, I imagine<br />

this mental aspect of Aldo’s work<br />

could take more of a toll on him<br />

than the physical demands. How<br />

does he deal with the permanent<br />

extreme focus required to ensure<br />

the safety of himself, and others,<br />

when working?<br />

“When I go into a new situation,<br />

I am initially hypervigilant. I<br />

am aware of everything, the<br />

surroundings, people, potential<br />

issues – all of the things that I<br />

need to be thinking about,” Aldo<br />

says simply. “You need to be aware<br />

of all elements of risk – but then<br />

It’s so crucial to<br />

get outside and<br />

in nature at least<br />

once a day. It’s<br />

there for everyone,<br />

and it’s free<br />

you have to put that to the back of<br />

your head. But when something<br />

does happen, you’ve done all that<br />

thinking and planning in advance,<br />

so you’re not in a panic mode.”<br />

It’s hard to reconcile Aldo’s<br />

lightness of approach, and his<br />

calm nature, with the projects he<br />

undertakes. However, it’s clear that<br />

working on his mental strength as<br />

much as his physical state is vital<br />

to him. Practising mindfulness<br />

plays a major role in this, although<br />

it’s not a term that Aldo was aware<br />

of until a couple of years ago, even<br />

though it was a presence in his<br />

everyday life. >>><br />

<strong>August</strong> <strong>2019</strong> • happiful.com • 33

Living in the UK, you<br />

have more opportunity<br />

than probably 95% of<br />

the rest of the world<br />

“Looking back, mindfulness is<br />

something I’ve practised for a<br />

long time. When I was still young<br />

and in the Marines, I used to<br />

lead expeditions and take groups<br />

of students across the world. I<br />

remember sitting on top of a<br />

waterfall in Guyana with about 15<br />

kids who just weren’t interested in<br />

being there.<br />

“I asked them to sit with their<br />

legs dangling over the edge of the<br />

waterfall, close their eyes and<br />

imagine they were back at school,<br />

worrying about exams. Then, that<br />

they hadn’t received the grades<br />

they wanted, or were finding it<br />

hard to get work. I asked their<br />

future selves to think back to this<br />

beautiful, wonderful moment and<br />

wish they were here again. Then<br />

I told them to open their eyes,<br />

look out and really appreciate the<br />

experience.<br />

“That to me is mindfulness.<br />

Being in the moment, soaking it<br />

up and learning from it.”<br />

Cherishing the moment is<br />

equally important when it comes<br />

to his romantic relationship. “I<br />

appreciate my fiancée Anna,” he<br />

smiles. “We spend a lot of time<br />

apart. She’s a producer, and we’ve<br />

had times where I’ve been away<br />

for months and have two days at<br />

home, and then she’ll be away for<br />

three weeks, but those two days we<br />

have together are so special, and<br />

so full of everything you would<br />

want to have.”<br />

The pair won’t have long to<br />

wait until another very special<br />

day, with their wedding planned<br />

for September this year. Yet<br />

while they’re in the middle<br />

of organising their nuptials,<br />

they still have no less than five<br />

working trips between them in<br />

the months before their wedding.<br />

Aldo doesn’t seem at all fazed by<br />

this, but then wedding planning<br />

must be an enjoyable exercise<br />

for someone who has been<br />

used to negotiating the extreme<br />

challenges he has.<br />

When it comes to these<br />

challenges, Aldo is aware of the<br />

importance of monitoring his own<br />

mental health and resilience. After<br />

leaving the Marines, he proactively<br />

sought counselling to ensure that<br />

his experiences in the Services<br />

didn’t come back to impact him<br />

negatively later on in life.<br />

And now? “I make sure I<br />

exercise, I keep my brain busy, I<br />

talk to people who understand<br />

my situation.”<br />

Aldo is consistently quick to<br />

point out the positives in his life,<br />

after speaking about some of the<br />

more testing times he’s endured,<br />

including his time in West Africa<br />

in the middle of the Ebola crisis.<br />

“With the travelling I do, I come<br />

back and it can be wonderful to<br />

just see green grass, or walk into<br />

a shop and just be able to buy<br />

something…<br />

“My perspective is that,<br />

generally, living in the UK,<br />

and in particular London, you<br />

have more opportunity than<br />

probably 95% of the rest of the<br />

world. Anna and I are good<br />

at not complaining, because<br />

we’ve seen those other life<br />

experiences.”<br />

As our conversation ends, I am<br />

left with the sense that Aldo is<br />

someone who has seen the very<br />

worst that human and mother<br />

nature can offer, but he’s also a<br />

person who remains dedicated<br />

to seeing the beauty in life,<br />

who embraces movement and<br />

strength, and celebrates his<br />

connection to other people.<br />

Aldo truly knows what it means<br />

to appreciate each moment,<br />

and live for the here and now –<br />

something we can all do, in our<br />

own way, every day.<br />

34 • happiful.com • <strong>August</strong> <strong>2019</strong>

Photography | Joseph Sinclair<br />

This July, Aldo will front the BBC2<br />

Horizon documentary ‘Britain’s<br />

Next Air Disaster? Drones’, and will<br />

appear alongside Steve Backshall in<br />

‘Expedition’ on Dave.<br />

Follow Aldo on Instagram<br />

at @aldokane

I will certainly keep on<br />

running, pacing forward,<br />

finding my rhythm

The healing<br />

power of a<br />

marathon<br />

Heartbreak sent Jenny<br />

spiralling into negative<br />

thoughts and doubts, but<br />

the mindfulness of putting<br />

one foot in front of the other<br />

helped her to rediscover<br />

her rhythm<br />

Writing | Jenny Richardson<br />

Tick tock. The clock counts up<br />

the seconds as I count down<br />

the miles. It’s September 2018,<br />

I am 58, and I’m running the<br />

Loch Ness Marathon.<br />

Sweat runs into my eyes. I blink away<br />

the tears, the fears, the years. Today, this<br />

is what I am: sinews, muscles, a furnace<br />

burning fuel. My breath and feet keep<br />

rhythm with my pumping heart. This<br />

heart that was breaking.<br />

Running is my way into mindfulness.<br />

I need an extended stretch of steady<br />

pacing to find a rhythm, to let my<br />

thoughts ebb and flow, while feeling a<br />

part of my surroundings.<br />

Five years ago I progressed from being<br />

an occasional jogger to a regular runner,<br />

and I was finally able to come off the >>>

‘I am grateful for all I have – my wonderful sons,<br />

family, friends, and freedom’<br />

The beautiful Highland setting was the perfect location for Jenny<br />

to reconnect with herself<br />

antidepressants that<br />

had helped to keep my<br />

equilibrium for 13 years.<br />

The recent downturn<br />

came about after I ended<br />

a year-long relationship.<br />

My mind told me this was<br />

the correct decision, but<br />

I was unprepared for my<br />

gut response. I felt lonely,<br />

hollowed out, and full of<br />

doubt about the future.<br />

After several painful<br />

months, the only solution<br />

I could come up with<br />

was to train for and run<br />

a marathon – my third<br />

– which would, out of<br />

necessity, put me fully in<br />

the moment, and thereby<br />

halt the obsessive spiral of<br />

doubts.<br />

The race starts on high,<br />

exposed moorland, and<br />

heads largely down for<br />

the first six miles to reach<br />

the lochside. At once, I<br />

feel the childlike thrill of<br />

running downhill, and<br />

have to hold myself back<br />

from taking off too fast. I<br />

look at my fellow runners,<br />

intent and focused. There<br />

is a quiet solidarity in our<br />

pounding feet.<br />

At this point, Douglas<br />

firs tower to the left, and<br />

scrub and heather to the<br />

right, allowing views<br />

over the moors and the<br />

mountains.<br />

At the village of Foyers<br />

we get some welcome<br />

encouragement from<br />

spectators, and then are<br />

out on the open road<br />

again. Loch Ness comes<br />

into glorious view ahead.<br />

The tagline for this<br />

marathon only slightly<br />

exaggerates: “If you’re<br />

going to put yourself<br />

through hell, you might<br />

as well do it in heaven.” It<br />

really is heavenly. It is also<br />

of this earth, bringing us<br />

into intimate contact with<br />

one beautiful part of this<br />

planet and, for me, helping<br />

to put life into a more<br />

balanced perspective.<br />

My break-up had thrown<br />

me off kilter. But this was<br />

a short-term reaction and<br />

could not be compared to<br />

my situation in 2000, when<br />

I found myself bringing<br />

up my two boys alone in<br />

England, while their dad<br />

lived in America.<br />

An acrimonious divorce,<br />

constant anxiety about<br />

money and work, and my<br />

fear of failing my children<br />

sent me into a downward<br />

spiral of depression,<br />

sleepless nights, and<br />

panic attacks. I tried<br />

counselling, but talking<br />

didn’t change the facts,<br />

and the passive listening<br />

I felt hollowed<br />

out, and full of<br />

doubt about<br />

the future<br />

made me angry rather<br />

than relieved.<br />

My kindly GP, who had<br />

tried to avoid putting<br />

me on pills, eventually<br />

prescribed SSRI<br />

antidepressants when he<br />

realised how bad things<br />

had become. These saved<br />

me. They quelled the<br />

despair and the overthinking,<br />

enabling me to<br />

get on with life, and my<br />

most important job: being<br />

a parent.<br />

In true Scottish form,<br />

the weather turns in an<br />

38 • happiful.com • <strong>August</strong> <strong>2019</strong>

instant, and sunshine<br />

gives way to icy rain.<br />

Every inch of my body<br />

is awake, feeling pain it<br />

is true, but my physical<br />

senses are alive. The clock<br />

is ticking on, and so am I.<br />

But now I ground myself,<br />

literally. I think down<br />

to the soles of my feet,<br />

burning on the tarmac,<br />

pacing onwards, one foot<br />

then the other. These legs,<br />

mighty with their bones,<br />

pulleys, veins and strings,<br />

pushing me on.<br />

I look at the runners<br />

around me. They are<br />

amazing. We are amazing.<br />

Ordinary mortals pushing<br />

ourselves to do more than<br />

we need to, much more<br />

than is comfortable and<br />

easy. We are not heroes;<br />

we are devourers of life,<br />

using the talents given to<br />

us by nature, the universe,<br />

God, however you see it.<br />

This world is so complex<br />

and unpredictable, illness<br />

so random that, while<br />

I can, I must live fully<br />

with my whole intact<br />

heart. I am grateful for<br />

all I have – my wonderful<br />

sons, family, friends, and<br />

freedom.<br />

Somewhere between<br />

miles 23 and 24, in another<br />

freezing downpour, my<br />

joints are seizing up, and<br />

setting at acute angles like<br />

a wooden puppet. I pull<br />

over to unlock myself. I<br />

stretch my arms and they<br />

click. I bend painfully<br />

forward and cannot touch<br />

my toes. My knees crack.<br />

“I feel your pain,” says a<br />

passing runner.<br />

That is comfort. We<br />

do all share a common<br />

understanding. But I am<br />

sure we all have our own<br />

particular pain.<br />

In spite of the effort,<br />

the overall effect of<br />

running is to make me<br />

feel wonderfully well. It is<br />

as though by getting my<br />

heart pumping, the blood<br />

surging round my cells,<br />

my whole body is being<br />

cleansed and replenished,<br />

my mind made clear and<br />

my emotions balanced.<br />

Add to that the<br />

camaraderie of running,<br />

I see why this is a<br />

prescription that works.<br />

The antidepressants got<br />

me through, and allowed<br />

me to feel joy in my<br />

children. As they left the<br />

nest, I braved coming off<br />

the tablets (something I<br />

had tried and failed to do<br />

on previous occasions).<br />

I had already started<br />

running regularly, and<br />

its positive effects meant<br />

a seamless change to my<br />

now being a pill-free zone.<br />

I reach the 25-mile<br />

marker, and suddenly<br />

I start wheezing. I am<br />

gasping, momentarily<br />

struggling to breathe.<br />

I look to the sky, white<br />

clouds racing, to the river<br />

gleaming and patient.<br />

Whatever is going on, I am<br />

not dying. I run on, stiffly.<br />

These last and hardest<br />

minutes become a race<br />

against myself. I am<br />

We are amazing. Ordinary mortals<br />

pushing ourselves to do much<br />

more than is comfortable and easy<br />

Jenny found mindfulness in<br />

running – and set a new PB!<br />

dangerously close to my<br />

previous time. I hear the<br />

the crowds cheer as I push<br />

on, tired and in agony. I<br />

have achieved my aim, to<br />

think of nothing else but<br />

this moment.<br />

And I win, too, in my<br />

private race. I have beaten<br />

my time from three years<br />

ago by four minutes,<br />

finishing in 3 hours 50.<br />


The cheers are for<br />

everyone. The tears are<br />

from me. I stagger and<br />

sob, not from heartbreak,<br />

but from pure exhaustion.<br />

I must look as wrecked as<br />

I feel, because the woman<br />

handing out T-shirts<br />

makes all the other<br />

runners wait while she<br />

gives me a huge hug.<br />

I’m thankful for this<br />

supportive community,<br />

and the good health<br />

that’s enabled this lateblooming<br />

marathon<br />

career. I needed this 26.2<br />

therapeutic miles to build<br />

my heart back up, to break<br />

the cycle of obsessive<br />

thoughts, and to embrace<br />

life again. I’m not sure I’ll<br />

do any more marathons,<br />

but I’ll keep on running,<br />

pacing forward, finding<br />

my rhythm.<br />

Life often feels like a marathon, and Jenny saw this<br />

from a whole new perspective. She used that sense of<br />

achievement to heal her life, and realised how being in<br />

the moment could help her through the pain and doubt.<br />

Jenny chose her marathon well! Yes it would be tough<br />

– but beautifully so. While we all have far to go<br />

at times, maybe the secret is in choosing a route<br />

that will allow us space to breathe on the way.<br />

Rachel Coffey | BA MA NLP Mstr<br />

Life coach looking to encourage confidence and motivation<br />

<strong>August</strong> <strong>2019</strong> • happiful.com • 39

How<br />

can support your mental health<br />

Unpicking the craft of needlework; how it can help you switch off, improve your<br />

mental health, make new friends – and even save the planet<br />

Writing | Lydia Smith Illustrating | Rosan Magar<br />

Most of us can feel<br />

overwhelmed by the<br />

relentless demands<br />

of the digital world.<br />

Endlessly scrolling<br />

through social media, replying to<br />

emails, and checking apps, can<br />

make it difficult to switch off.<br />

Mindful practices are a popular<br />

antidote to this. And sewing, as<br />

well as knitting, is increasingly<br />

recognised as an effective way to<br />

help with anxiety and depression.<br />

The concentration these demand<br />

not only helps to calm the mind,<br />

but learning to repair clothing<br />

helps tackle the environmental<br />

impact of fast fashion, too. Here’s<br />

a quick look at why you might<br />

want to explore the world<br />

of needlework.<br />


Engaging in a mindful activity like<br />

sewing can help us pay attention to<br />

our thoughts and feelings, which<br />

can improve our mental health.<br />

“Being creative is incredible for<br />

your wellbeing,” says Aliss Oxley,<br />

a sewing lover who set up the<br />

Workshop Sewing Cafe, in Leeds.<br />

“It gives you an outlet to<br />

focus energy, but can also give<br />

you an enormous sense of<br />

accomplishment, which is a great<br />

way to support your mental health.<br />

“People say sewing can be almost<br />

meditative. You concentrate on<br />

what you’re making, and the<br />

process of your construction,” she<br />

says. “It means your focus is solely<br />

on the activity<br />

of stitching.”<br />



When you’re crafting, you’re giving<br />

your mind a break, too. One study,<br />

which introduced knitting to the<br />

lives of patients with anorexia,<br />

found 74% of participants<br />

described feeling distracted or<br />

distanced from negative emotional<br />

states, as well as more relaxed.<br />

James McIntosh began to knit<br />

when he was struggling with<br />

depression. He recently wrote a<br />

book called Knit and Nibble, which<br />

explores knitting, cooking, and<br />

mindfulness.<br />

“The fear,<br />

anxiety, panic<br />

Starting to sew<br />

• Search #memadeeveryday or #selfishsewing<br />

on Instagram for ideas.<br />

• Visit thefoldline.com, which offers a database<br />

of patterns, and try YouTube and Pinterest<br />

for tutorials and inspiration.<br />

• Try sewing classes, such as Sew It With<br />

Love, in London, or Ministry of Craft, in<br />

Manchester. There are sewing schools all<br />

over the UK.

and sadness, was too much. One<br />

day I found two chopsticks in my<br />

flat and some string, looked on<br />

YouTube, and started to cast on,”<br />

he says. “Before I knew it, I had<br />

knitted ‘something or other’.<br />

“I noticed that each stitch became<br />

a breath, each breath a feeling, and<br />

the stitch was a tangible sign that<br />

my feelings were worth something,<br />

that I was worth something.”<br />


Loneliness has huge implications<br />

for our health, and social isolation<br />

is growing in the UK, with 2.4<br />

million adults feeling lonely,<br />

according to the Office for National<br />

Statistics. Joining a sewing group<br />

– which you can often find on<br />

Facebook – is a good way to meet<br />

people.<br />

Issy Woolford-Lim is an avid fan<br />

of needlecraft. “I go to a weekly<br />

group, which gives me social<br />

contact and encourages me to get<br />

out of the house, even when I’m<br />

down,” she says. “We’re all very<br />

positive and encouraging with each<br />

other, which I love.”<br />

“Try to find your local<br />

haberdashery or fabric shop,” Aliss<br />

says. “The sewing community is<br />

incredibly friendly,<br />

and they<br />

should have some great advice to<br />

get started – from sewing meetups,<br />

to fabrics and patterns. They’ll<br />

point you in the right direction.”<br />



Creating something with your<br />

own hands provides a sense of<br />

accomplishment that can boost<br />

mental health. In studies of people<br />

with depression and other chronic<br />

illnesses, textile crafts were<br />

found to increase self-esteem and<br />

improve the sense of wellbeing.<br />

James struggled to find<br />

fashionable knitting patterns<br />

for men, so he started creating<br />

his own. “The first time I put<br />

on something I had knitted, I<br />

felt proud of myself again – an<br />

intimate and personal feeling,”<br />

he says. “I was knocked badly<br />

by homophobia in my native<br />

Northern Ireland, which triggered<br />

the depressive episode, and a stitch<br />

at a time helped me to realise that I<br />

was worth something.”<br />



Our clothes are fast, inexpensive,<br />

and mass-produced, which<br />

enforces cheap labour and<br />

generates a huge amount<br />

of pollution. Global textile<br />

production creates 1.2 billion<br />

tonnes of carbon emissions a<br />

year, according to research by<br />

the Ellen MacArthur Foundation<br />

– more than international flights<br />

and shipping. Repairing clothes<br />

instead of throwing them away<br />

can prevent fabric ending up as<br />

landfill, and lets you know you’re<br />

doing something positive to help<br />

our planet.<br />

<strong>August</strong> <strong>2019</strong> • happiful.com • 41

Ask the experts<br />

There are many benefits to<br />

massage therapy, and the<br />

practice is much more than a<br />

pamper. Here, Libby Palmer,<br />

massage therapist and Therapy<br />

Directory member, answers<br />

your questions<br />

Q<br />

I suffer regularly with headaches. I<br />

have a demanding job and relaxation<br />

is something I struggle with. I know<br />

taking some time to really unwind will help,<br />

but is there a particular type of massage you<br />

would recommend?<br />

A<br />

Massage has two roles in treating tension headaches:<br />

relaxation, and trigger point therapy.<br />

A regular massage can help the body maintain an<br />

optimal level of relaxation. In order to find the correct<br />

therapist for your needs, you need one who understands<br />

your condition and is adequately qualified to meet your<br />

needs. A clinical massage therapist, with a level five or six<br />

qualification, will have studied anatomy and physiology, as<br />

well as massage techniques.<br />

The second role in treating tension leading to migraines<br />

and headaches is to relieve tension in trigger points<br />

located in the neck and shoulders.<br />

For relaxation and general wellbeing, consider shiatsu,<br />

aromatherapy, or Swedish massage.<br />

In order to get a rounded treatment, offering both<br />

relaxation and trigger point therapy, it’s important to<br />

discuss your condition prior to treatment, so that the<br />

therapist understands the problem fully, and can tailor a<br />

treatment to your needs.<br />

Q<br />

I’ve recently<br />

moved away<br />

from hormonal<br />

contraception, but<br />

after years of taking<br />

the combined pill, I’m<br />

suffering with PMS.<br />

Friends have told me<br />

certain types of massage<br />

can help ease symptoms,<br />

can you tell me more?<br />

A<br />

Massage is an effective<br />

treatment for PMS as it relaxes<br />

and soothes aching muscles, while<br />

treatment on the abdomen and<br />

lower back can relieve bloating<br />

and tension. Massage is a wellknown<br />

effective treatment for<br />

fluid retention, allowing fluid to be<br />

moved towards the lymph system<br />

and naturally removed by the body.<br />

Massage is also a good way of<br />

lifting your mood, with clients<br />

reporting feeling lighter, less stress,<br />

less bloated, and more energised<br />

after a PMS massage.<br />

Many places may not offer a PMS<br />

massage on their treatment list, but<br />

once you’ve discussed your needs<br />

with the therapist they’ll be able to<br />

tailor a treatment to you.<br />

For optimum results, consider<br />

getting a massage two days<br />

before your period is expected, or<br />

when PMS rears its ugly head, so<br />

approximately every four weeks.<br />

You can find more information about Libby on therapy-directory.org.uk


Brought to you<br />

by Therapy<br />

Directory<br />

Q<br />

After watching the<br />

London Marathon<br />

for years, I’ve<br />

decided to finally take<br />

up running. The first few<br />

weeks have been going<br />

well, but the pain in my<br />

shins is taking its toll. I<br />

don’t want to stop, and<br />

have heard that sports<br />

massage can help with this?<br />

A<br />

I’m sorry to hear you’re<br />

experiencing pain in your<br />

shins – you’re not the only one.<br />

Many people get this problem,<br />

called shin splints, when they begin<br />

to train seriously.<br />

The problem will likely get worse<br />

as you increase your mileage, so<br />

will need managing in order for<br />

you to continue running. Book an<br />

appointment with a clinical sports<br />

and remedial massage therapist.<br />

They will assess your injury, and<br />

your biomechanics, in order to<br />

identify why you are experiencing<br />

this problem. A common cause of<br />

shin splints is over-worn trainers, so<br />

take your shoes with you.<br />

Expect to need at least two or<br />

three appointments to treat and<br />

monitor your injury. Once the<br />

condition is under control, consider<br />

getting a regular sports massage to<br />

keep your muscles in good, flexible<br />

condition, and allow you to train for<br />

your marathon.<br />

Therapy Directory is part of the <strong>Happiful</strong> Family | Helping you find the help you need

M E N S T R U AT<br />

Go with the flow<br />

I O N<br />

F O L L<br />

I C U L A R P H A S E<br />

O V U L A T<br />

I O N<br />


When it comes to our periods, most of us know about PMS. But, what<br />

you might not realise is how much our cycle affects us mentally.<br />

Here we take a closer look at the relationship between our<br />

menstrual cycle and our mental health<br />

Writing | Kat Nicholls<br />

Orginal artwork | Charlotte Reynell<br />

A<br />

notification from my<br />

menstrual cycle tracking<br />

app just popped up to<br />

tell me ‘PMS is coming’.<br />

While this may sound a<br />

little ominous, it’s helpful to know. I’m<br />

on day 26 of my cycle, and this week I’ve<br />

felt my anxiety peak – something that<br />

often happens in the days leading up to<br />

my period.<br />

Armed with this information, I know<br />

I need to take things a little easier<br />

over the next week or so. I can allow<br />

anxiety to make itself known in my<br />

body without judgement or fear, while<br />

ramping up my self-care to manage it.<br />

A couple of years ago, I didn’t know<br />

anything about my cycle, apart from<br />

the fact it brought a lot of pain, tears,<br />

and chocolate cravings. It wasn’t until<br />

I started tracking both my mood, and<br />

my cycle, that I noticed the pattern of<br />

anxiety spiking around the time of my<br />

period. And I’m certainly not alone<br />

with this.<br />

Many of us will notice a change<br />

in mood; we all differ in how<br />

severely we’re affected – some<br />

will barely notice a change, while<br />

others find themselves battling with<br />

premenstrual dysphoric disorder<br />

(PMDD, a condition that causes severe<br />

depression, anxiety, and even suicidal<br />

thoughts, around the time of your<br />

period).<br />

Before we explore the mental<br />

health side of things, it’s important to<br />

understand the different phases of<br />

our cycle:<br />

Menstruation<br />

This is when we get our period. Many<br />

people will notice a change in their<br />

energy levels, feeling more tired than<br />

usual, and withdrawn. The first few<br />

days of your period may involve painful<br />

cramps, and a general desire to hide<br />

under a duvet clutching a hot water<br />

bottle and a family-sized bar of Dairy<br />

Milk – just me?<br />

Around halfway through the period,<br />

oestrogen levels rise and our mood<br />

lifts. We start to feel more ‘us’, and pain<br />

generally eases.<br />

Follicular phase<br />

After menstruation, our oestrogen and<br />

testosterone levels rise, and our mood<br />

stabilises. Generally, at this point, you<br />

should feel calm, and as if all is right<br />

with the world.<br />

Ovulation<br />

When we start to ovulate, our<br />

testosterone levels spike, which gives<br />

us an increased sex drive. As well as<br />

feeling in the mood for love, you should<br />

feel more confident. By the end of the<br />

ovulation phase, your oestrogen and<br />

testosterone levels will drop. This can<br />

make you feel tired and you may notice<br />

PMS-like symptoms.<br />

Luteal phase<br />

If you experience PMS, this will be<br />

the week you’ll feel it. This is down to<br />

low levels of oestrogen. The hormone<br />

changes that take place throughout our<br />

cycles lead to the shifts in our mood. >>><br />

<strong>August</strong> <strong>2019</strong> • happiful.com • 45

Many women find that<br />

their mental health<br />

needs more attention<br />

on certain days of<br />

the cycle, and this<br />

awareness itself can<br />

literally save lives<br />

Claire Baker, women’s coach and<br />

menstrual educator, explains: “The<br />

rise and fall of female sex hormones,<br />

oestrogen and progesterone over a<br />

cycle, can affect mood, emotions, and<br />

mental health, because hormones<br />

change the chemistry of the brain.<br />

“This influence is complex and<br />

unique to the individual. It’s natural<br />

to feel a little different, week-to-week,<br />

as hormones shift, but very disruptive<br />

changes in mood and mental health<br />

might point to a hormonal imbalance.”<br />

So why do these hormone changes<br />

affect our mood? Two of the key<br />

hormones that fluctuate are oestrogen<br />

and progesterone, which regulate<br />

neurotransmitters serotonin (dubbed<br />

‘the happy hormone’) and gammaaminobutyric<br />

acid (which relieves<br />

anxiety).<br />

Oestrogen and progesterone levels<br />

rise during ovulation to prepare for<br />

pregnancy. If we don’t conceive,<br />

these levels drop to prepare for<br />

menstruation. This rise and fall<br />

takes a toll on us mentally.<br />



“The impact of menstruation<br />

on mental health is often<br />

greatly underestimated,”<br />

counsellor Simone Ayers tells<br />

us. “Experiences vary on a<br />

spectrum of mood changes<br />

– from increased stress and<br />

anxiety, to suicidal thoughts,<br />

and the use of self-harm to<br />

cope with the intense feelings<br />

that menstruation can cause.”<br />

For those who already struggle with<br />

their mental health, they may notice<br />

a spike in their symptoms, Simone<br />

notes. This is known as premenstrual<br />

exacerbation (PME) and can affect<br />

both mental and physical illnesses,<br />

including anxiety, depression, asthma,<br />

and inflammatory bowel disease.<br />

46 • happiful.com • July <strong>2019</strong>

Lyzi | Instagram: @being_little<br />

Using an app to track<br />

my moods, and<br />

remembering that it<br />

will pass, is helpful<br />

Blogger Lyzi Unwin shares<br />

how her menstrual cycle<br />

affects her.<br />

“Even though my cycle is pretty<br />

much like clockwork, I still find<br />

myself frustrated and confused as to<br />

why I feel so down every month.<br />

“A day or two before my period<br />

is due, I suddenly have an<br />

overwhelming, crippling bout of selfdoubt<br />

and anxiety. I am convinced<br />

that I’m awful at everything, the<br />

ugliest creature to have ever walked<br />

the earth, and that everyone hates<br />

me. Even if everything in my life is<br />

running smoothly, the thoughts are<br />

always the same.<br />

“I haven’t yet found anything<br />

to stop the thoughts, but using<br />

an app to track my moods, and<br />

remembering it will pass, is helpful.<br />

Having a quiet day, and an early<br />

night can be really beneficial, as is<br />

talking to friends who understand.”<br />

Lyzi Unwin blogs about mental<br />

health, fashion and lifestyle at<br />

beinglittle.co.uk<br />

“For those who need extra<br />

support to be able to cope with<br />

their menstrual cycle, it can be<br />

a long journey to find the right<br />

treatment – which may include<br />

any combination of hormonal<br />

treatments, antidepressants,<br />

talking therapy, and lifestyle<br />

changes such as moderated work<br />

schedules and dietary changes,”<br />

Simone says.<br />

OK, so the bad news is that our<br />

menstrual cycle can be linked<br />

to some pretty difficult mental<br />

health challenges. The good news<br />

is, with knowledge comes power.<br />



Cycle tracking may sound a little<br />

scientific, but it’s actually really<br />

simple. There are countless apps<br />

to help (we love Clue, Moody<br />

Month, and Flo), but you could<br />

also make notes in a journal.<br />

The key things to keep track of<br />

are the day of your cycle (the first<br />

day you bleed is day one) and how<br />

you’re feeling. Over time you’ll<br />

have a better understanding of<br />

your cycle, and how it affects you.<br />

“Menstrual cycle awareness<br />

helps people identify where their<br />

strengths and vulnerabilities lie<br />

in the cycle,” says Claire. “Each<br />

phase of the menstrual cycle<br />

may benefit from a different<br />

approach to self-care, work, or<br />

What is PMDD?<br />

relationships. Tracking helps to<br />

reveal how to live more in flow<br />

with this internal rhythm.<br />

“Many women find their mental<br />

health needs more attention on<br />

certain days of the cycle, and this<br />

awareness itself can literally save<br />

lives. I look forward to the day<br />

when our mental health systems<br />

integrate and prioritise menstrual<br />

cycle awareness.”<br />

So, what can we do when we feel<br />

our cycle impacting our mental<br />

health? Claire says it’s all about<br />

self-care.<br />

“At more vulnerable points in<br />

the cycle, the best kind of selfcare<br />

includes a combination of<br />

getting professional and personal<br />

support, taking some space, and<br />

having personal boundaries,<br />

moving slowly, drinking lots of<br />

water, and sleeping as much as<br />

possible. Knowing where our<br />

sensitivities lie in the cycle, and<br />

being tender with ourselves at<br />

these times, is excellent and<br />

transformative self-care.”<br />

Raising your awareness is your<br />

first step to gaining control, and<br />

if you think you would benefit<br />

from professional mental health<br />

support at any time, don’t be<br />

afraid to reach out.<br />

Learn more about Claire’s coaching<br />

services and menstrual awareness<br />

courses at thisislifeblood.com<br />

“Women living with premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) can<br />

experience a huge impact on their quality of life, due to the constant<br />

cycle of deep depression that lasts for extended periods each month.<br />

Relationships and work can also be affected due to social anxiety, and the<br />

debilitating effect of severely painful periods, which can also affect selfesteem<br />

and libido.”<br />

– counsellor Simone Ayers<br />

Simone is based in Hertfordshire, but also offers online counselling sessions and supports<br />

those with PMDD. Learn more and get in touch via simoneayerscounselling.com<br />

<strong>August</strong> July <strong>2019</strong> • happiful.com • 47

<strong>Happiful</strong> Hero<br />

£57<br />

£40<br />




Reader offer<br />

Get two months free on an annual subscription<br />

using code AUGHAPPI at shop.happiful.com<br />

Prices and benefits are correct at the time of printing, using code AUGHAPPI, which expires on 19 September <strong>2019</strong>. For full terms and conditions, please visit happiful.com<br />

48 • happiful • December 2018

Images | Once Upon a Time in Hollywood: Sony Pictures, Alexandra Elle: @alex_elle<br />


<strong>Happiful</strong><br />

TOP<br />

10<br />

365 Ways to<br />

Be Confident:<br />

Inspiration<br />

and<br />

Motivation for<br />

Every Day<br />

A welcome<br />

addition to Summerdale’s 365 Ways to<br />

series, this collection of self-care ideas,<br />

practical tips, and motivational activities is<br />

designed to boost your mood and build your<br />

confidence.<br />

(Out 8 <strong>August</strong>, Summerdale, £6.99)<br />


Superhero Series, Superhero Tri<br />

Head to Windsor for the UK’s<br />

only disability sports series, where disabled<br />

people can take part in challenges without<br />

worrying about cut-off times or restrictions<br />

on their equipment. Enter solo or with friends<br />

and family, and complete a swim, bike, or run<br />

stage, all three stages, or a mixture of two!<br />

(17 <strong>August</strong>, visit superheroseries.co.uk for more)<br />


Pillows made from recycled<br />

plastic bottles<br />

With plastic pollution at the front of a lot<br />

of our minds, the Eco Comfort pillow from<br />

Silentnight is another way that you can make<br />

sure that the things in your home aren’t<br />

harming the planet. Made from<br />

100% recycled materials,<br />

the pillows offer all the<br />

comfort of standard<br />

pillows, but with<br />

an eco-conscious<br />

bonus.<br />

(£30, visit<br />

silentnight.co.uk<br />

to browse the<br />

range)<br />

<strong>August</strong><br />

Broaden your horizons this <strong>August</strong> with a confidence-building read,<br />

an app to help you get creative in the kitchen, and the UK’s biggest<br />

celebration of drag culture<br />


4<br />

Jeff Wayne’s The War of<br />

The Worlds: The Immersive<br />

Experience<br />

You’ve read the book and listened to the<br />

score, now it’s time to jump into the cuttingedge<br />

immersive journey through the story of<br />

The War of The Worlds. With a combination of<br />

theatre, virtual reality, and holograms, travel<br />

through Victorian London and survive the<br />

Martian invasion.<br />

(Tickets from £49.50, dates throughout <strong>August</strong>.<br />

Visit dotdot.london to book your place)<br />


Magic Fridge<br />

5 If you want to cut back on food<br />

waste at home, this handy app will help you<br />

on your way. Simply add the ingredients<br />

you have left over in your fridge, freezer<br />

and cupboards, and the app will suggest<br />

delicious, simple recipes that you can whip<br />

up in 30 minutes or less.<br />

(Free from the Google Play Store & App Store)<br />

6<br />


Once Upon a Time in Hollywood<br />

In what’s already been called a<br />

‘masterpiece’ from writer and director<br />

Quentin Tarantino, a struggling TV<br />

actor (Leonardo DiCaprio) and his<br />

stunt double (Brad Pitt) set their eyes<br />

on big-screen fame and glory. In this<br />

celebration of unlikely friendships and<br />

the golden age of Hollywood, Once Upon<br />

a Time in Hollywood is right on track to<br />

become a modern classic.<br />

(In cinemas 14 <strong>August</strong>)<br />


Playday<br />

Duvet Days<br />

2 9<br />

WIN!<br />

Two Silentnight Eco<br />

Comfort pillows<br />

To enter, email competitions@<br />

happiful.com with your answer<br />

to the following question. What<br />

percentage of household<br />

waste is the UK’s target to<br />

recycle by 2020?*<br />

3<br />

7<br />

8<br />

LEND US<br />


Broadcaster Abby Hollick gets into bed with<br />

musicians and artists, including friends of<br />

<strong>Happiful</strong> Emeli Sandé and Jordan Stephens,<br />

to have frank chats about everything from<br />

burnout to activism.<br />

(Available to listen to on BBC Sounds)<br />


DragWorld London <strong>2019</strong><br />

Celebrate the artistry, talent,<br />

and glamour of drag at the<br />

UK’s biggest convention – this year<br />

partnering with mental health charity<br />

Mind. Browse stores, attend Q&As and<br />

tutorials, and witness fierce lip-sync<br />

battles.<br />

(17–18 <strong>August</strong>, tickets start at £35, Olympia<br />

London, visit dragworld.co.uk for more)<br />

10<br />


Alexandra Elle<br />

Be uplifted by the words<br />

of poet and host of the ‘Hey Girl’ Podcast<br />

Alexandra Elle, as<br />

she shares snippets<br />

of her work and<br />

snaps from her<br />

life, along with<br />

reflective captions<br />

that will inspire you<br />

to celebrate and<br />

prioritise yourself<br />

(Follow Alexandra on<br />

Instagram<br />

@alex_elle)<br />

Treat your inner-child, or spend time with the children in your life, as Playday <strong>2019</strong> celebrates<br />

the power of play, and encourages children and their families across the UK to get involved in<br />

community events. This year, the theme ‘Play Builds Children’ encourages us to look at how<br />

integral play is to children’s development. (7 <strong>August</strong>, find events near you at playday.org.uk)<br />

*UK mainland only, entries close 20 <strong>August</strong>.

(100)<br />

How to deal with<br />

inbox anxiety<br />

Do you feel constantly overwhelmed by the never-ending pile of messages<br />

in your inbox? You’re not the only one! But for every problem there’s a<br />

solution, and we might just have yours here...<br />

Writing | Fiona Thomas<br />

The average office worker<br />

receives more than 120<br />

emails per day – there<br />

are probably unwanted<br />

memos and meeting<br />

requests winging their way to<br />

you right now! You can try to look<br />

away, but it’s just so tempting.<br />

In fact, a YouGov survey found<br />

that 60% of people check their<br />

work inboxes while on holiday —<br />

even though 80% would prefer to<br />

‘completely switch off’ while away.<br />

Research by the University of<br />

British Columbia has shown a break<br />

could be good for us, revealing<br />

people experienced ‘significantly<br />

lower daily stress’ when their email<br />

access was restricted to three times<br />

a day, compared to unlimited use.<br />

But why does email make us so<br />

anxious in the first place?


FOR ZERO<br />


Do you insist on clearing out<br />

your inbox every single day? The<br />

problem here is that there’s no<br />

finish line, because as soon as<br />

you look away, the messages start<br />

piling up again. The glory of an<br />

empty inbox may be thrilling but,<br />

ultimately, it’s short-lived.<br />

Instead, make a list of the top five<br />

people who deserve your attention,<br />

and commit to responding to<br />

them within 24 hours. Go one<br />

step further by using three folders<br />

labelled ‘Today’, ‘End of Week’ and<br />

‘End of Month’ to help prioritise<br />

which emails need to be dealt with<br />

first. The rest can wait.<br />





In her book, Unsubscribe: How to<br />

Kill Email Anxiety, Avoid Distractions<br />

and Get Real Work Done, Jocelyn<br />

K Glei cites a 1930s experiment<br />

(albeit with rats instead of humans)<br />

which shows how addictive the<br />

random rewards system can be.<br />

Similar to rats pressing a lever to<br />

receive food, we hit that refresh<br />

button in the hopes of seeing a new<br />

email. Most of the time it’s boring<br />

junk mail, but every now and again<br />

there’s an exciting job prospect or<br />

event invitation.<br />

According to Glei, it’s these<br />

random rewards that make us<br />

want to “push the lever again and<br />

again and again, even when we<br />

have better things to do”. Replace<br />

this reward-seeking behaviour<br />

with a daily to-do list, or monthly<br />

goal tracker. Keep your goals in<br />

sight (literally on a noticeboard<br />

in front of you) and work towards<br />

a guaranteed reward, such as an<br />

early lunch break, walk in the<br />

park, or beauty treatment. Every<br />

time you find yourself knee-deep<br />

in pointless correspondence, bring<br />

yourself back to those goals.<br />




Without body language or tone of<br />

voice to pick up on, the written<br />

word can often be misconstrued.<br />

I spoke to psychotherapist Annie<br />

Cassidy — who works at private<br />

clinic Esher Groves — who says:<br />

“With email, there’s always this<br />

sense that it’s going to be bad<br />

news, and that can be really<br />

overwhelming for people. They<br />

can become obsessed, and check<br />

emails all the time.”<br />

She suggests allowing a cooling<br />

off period before responding,<br />

taking time and space to reflect on<br />

the context of the email. Instead<br />

of allowing email to control your<br />

mood, don’t visit your inbox until<br />

you’re emotionally ready. When do<br />

you feel most calm? Maybe it’s after<br />

lunch, or once you’ve exercised.<br />

Identify this part of the day and<br />

respond to emails during this time.<br />




If you receive an email outside<br />

of normal office hours, should<br />

you respond right away? Not<br />

necessarily. According to Annie,<br />

you’ve got to be the one to set your<br />

own boundaries so that people<br />

don’t get the wrong idea. “You need<br />

to identify what you can tolerate,<br />

and when those boundaries can<br />

be stretched. The onus is on you to<br />

monitor your own boundaries.”<br />

Make a rule that you won’t<br />

respond to work emails after<br />

hours, and delete the email app<br />

on your phone at the weekend.<br />

Even better, ask for a designated<br />

work phone that you can switch<br />

off after 5pm. Consider adding<br />

your working hours to the footer<br />

of every email to get the message<br />

across. Oh, and those random<br />

emails from someone you’ve<br />

never met asking for a favour? Get<br />

comfortable with ignoring them<br />

completely.<br />

60% of people who<br />

use email for work<br />

check their inboxes<br />

while on holiday<br />





Set a timer and work through your<br />

inbox for an hour each day, then<br />

call it quits. Minimise the email<br />

tennis which can go on for weeks<br />

at a time by picking up the phone,<br />

arranging a Skype call, or simply<br />

walking over to your colleague’s<br />

desk to move things forward. You’ll<br />

be surprised at how quickly things<br />

progress when you have a faceto-face<br />

conversation instead of a<br />

lengthy email thread.

I had done what so<br />

many people had said<br />

was impossible

From being<br />

diagnosed<br />

with ME, to<br />

rediscovering me<br />

Chronic fatigue syndrome<br />

shook Vikki’s life to the core, but<br />

it also prompted her to reassess<br />

what really mattered. Now,<br />

she’s determined to never take<br />

a moment for granted<br />

Writing | Vikki Cook<br />

Sitting at my desk, tears<br />

splashing on my keyboard,<br />

I avoided meeting the<br />

impatient sideways glares<br />

from my colleagues, and<br />

tried to pull myself together.<br />

For months I’d been struggling, aware<br />

of the gossip and rumours, and trying<br />

to stay on top of my work, but an<br />

important meeting had just fallen apart<br />

because of me. My brain fog had left<br />

me unprepared. I was humiliated, and<br />

couldn’t even summon the energy to<br />

walk to the toilets to sob in private.<br />

A year earlier, in December 2010, a<br />

vicious strain of flu left me with postviral<br />

fatigue syndrome (PVFS) – a<br />

condition that can leave the sufferer with<br />

a host of symptoms, from muscle aches<br />

to disabling fatigue. >>>

Hear more from Vikki on her blog,<br />

Life’s a Beach, at bit.ly/2Ywlckr<br />

The support from Vikki’s family helped her stay<br />

strong through her experience<br />

Graded exercise therapy was an effective treatment for Vikki<br />

In time my symptoms<br />

faded, but in January 2011<br />

I contracted chicken pox.<br />

The PVFS followed, but<br />

this time, after six months,<br />

I was diagnosed with ME<br />

(also known as chronic<br />

fatigue syndrome) and<br />

was warned I might never<br />

recover.<br />

Every day was a fight<br />

with my own body;<br />

tremors, headaches,<br />

painful muscle spasms,<br />

memory loss, noise<br />

sensitivity, and exhaustion<br />

so severe I could barely<br />

walk to and from the<br />

bathroom unaided. Day by<br />

day, the me I had known<br />

for 25 years slipped away.<br />

I spent two months<br />

off work, while my<br />

husband worked full-time<br />

and cared for me, but<br />

eventually I felt pressure<br />

from my employer.<br />

I began a phased return<br />

to work, fighting against<br />

my symptoms, barely<br />

aware of anything beyond<br />

my need to get home, cry,<br />

and fall asleep.<br />

When a supplier<br />

arranged a visit, I was<br />

asked to lead the meeting,<br />

as I had done many times<br />

before. I had tried in vain<br />

to clear my foggy head,<br />

but a misunderstanding<br />

with my manager, made<br />

worse by my confusion,<br />

had led to a meeting with<br />

none of the information<br />

required. After 20 painful<br />

minutes of baffled<br />

flapping on my part, I<br />

returned to my desk,<br />

tearful and ashamed.<br />

I had never felt so<br />

incompetent.<br />

My parents and husband,<br />

Rich, concerned by how<br />

ill I still was and the effect<br />

the stress was having on<br />

my mental health, insisted<br />

I take a six-month break<br />

from work to focus on my<br />

recovery. My request for a<br />

sabbatical was accepted,<br />

and everyone hoped the<br />

long rest would trigger a<br />

recovery. It didn’t.<br />

By November, I was no<br />

better, but I had realised<br />

something: my job and<br />

the environment I was<br />

working in was killing me.<br />

I had heard the rumours:<br />

I was faking the whole<br />

thing; I was using my time<br />

off for other activities; I<br />

was looking for attention.<br />

None of it was true, but<br />

the constant judgement<br />

stung. I handed in my<br />

notice, left the office, and<br />

never looked back.<br />

Relying on our savings,<br />

we searched for answers.<br />

I tried supplements,<br />

Day by day,<br />

the me I had<br />

known for 25<br />

years slipped<br />

away<br />

Chinese medicine,<br />

acupuncture, and<br />

attended an ME clinic. I<br />

spoke to fellow sufferers<br />

online, who all agreed on<br />

one thing: it was unlikely I<br />

would recover.<br />

In spring 2014, I was<br />

introduced to ‘reverse<br />

therapy’ – an approach<br />

based on the idea that<br />

illnesses like mine were<br />

the result of ignoring your<br />

body’s warning signals for<br />

too long. By reconnecting<br />

my body and mind, I<br />

could start to heal.<br />

54 • happiful.com • <strong>August</strong> <strong>2019</strong>

The therapist asked me<br />

to write a list of things that<br />

made me happy, and do<br />

some of them every day.<br />

I could think of nothing<br />

– and this was my first<br />

breakthrough. I’d been so<br />

overwrought at work for<br />

so long that I didn’t know<br />

what I liked doing. How<br />

had I let that happen? It<br />

sparked something inside.<br />

I didn’t care what anyone<br />

else told me; I would<br />

recover, no matter what.<br />

I read more, and began<br />

daily meditations. To keep<br />

my brain active, I started<br />

working towards a degree<br />

with the Open University.<br />

I cleaned up my diet, and I<br />

got outside more.<br />

I read about something<br />

called ‘graded exercise<br />

therapy’ – an NHSapproved<br />

treatment that<br />

follows a programme of<br />

steadily increased activity.<br />

Confident this could be<br />

the right approach for me,<br />

I began taking short walks<br />

nearly every day.<br />

The first walk, in early<br />

2015, only took me to<br />

the end of our road, and<br />

afterwards I cried with<br />

exhaustion. It felt like<br />

knives were stabbing my<br />

thighs as I walked, and<br />

once home I couldn’t even<br />

get myself a glass of water,<br />

but I did it again two days<br />

later. This time, it wasn’t as<br />

difficult. I quickly learned<br />

to recognise when my<br />

body had had enough, and<br />

within six months, I could<br />

walk well over a mile.<br />

Most of my symptoms<br />

gradually faded, and while<br />

the fatigue was the only<br />

remaining part, I started<br />

playing badminton.<br />

By early 2016, I was<br />

swimming and playing<br />

rounders once a week.<br />

We celebrated my<br />

progress with a holiday. In<br />

<strong>August</strong> 2016, we went to<br />

Rome, but I was nervous<br />

about how I’d cope. My<br />

husband reassured me<br />

that we didn’t have to do<br />

anything in particular, and<br />

could just relax.<br />

His optimism helped<br />

bolster my own, but I<br />

needn’t have worried. We<br />

threw ourselves into that<br />

holiday, and were amazed<br />

when my fitness tracker<br />

reported I’d walked 14,000<br />

steps one day. I did 11,000<br />

the next. I kept waiting<br />

for the fatigue to knock<br />

me off my feet, but aside<br />

from sore leg muscles, I<br />

felt great.<br />

The day after we<br />

returned home, I applied<br />

for a part-time job at a<br />

pet shop. Standing up all<br />

day was hard, but after<br />

a few weeks my body<br />

adjusted. In time I went<br />

up to working three days<br />

a week, continued my<br />

studies, and maintained<br />

my physical exercise.<br />

While ME will affect<br />

some people for the rest<br />

of their lives, in February<br />

2017, I declared myself<br />

recovered. It had been<br />

six long years of fighting<br />

every single day but, at<br />

At last, I had done what so many<br />

said was impossible, and I was<br />

determined never to take my life<br />

for granted again<br />

Vikki graduated in 2018, with<br />

first-class honours<br />

last, I had done what so<br />

many said was impossible,<br />

and I was determined<br />

never to take my life for<br />

granted again. I would do<br />

everything that made me<br />

happy, and work to spread<br />

that happiness to others.<br />

I now have a blog on this<br />

topic – Life’s a Beach.<br />


Our bodies tell us everything we need to know, but often we<br />

ignore the warning signs that something is wrong. Once Vikki<br />

reconnected with herself physically, the mindful healing began<br />

– what therapists call ‘working phenomenologically’. It’s terribly<br />

hard when you have an illness nobody understands;<br />

it can be a frustrating and lonely experience.<br />

Fortunately, Vikki had a good support structure, but if<br />

you haven’t, remember there is always help out there<br />

in the form of counselling. You don’t have to be alone.<br />

Beverley Hills | MA MBACP<br />

Psychotherapist<br />

Action for ME estimates<br />

17 million people around<br />

the world suffer from<br />

ME, and are often driven<br />

people who forget selfcare.<br />

It doesn’t surprise<br />

me. In a world that<br />

idolises success, it’s easy<br />

to sacrifice everything to<br />

be the best. I learned the<br />

hard way that success is<br />

nothing without health.<br />

In November 2018, I<br />

stepped on stage to collect<br />

my first-class degree<br />

with honours. As I shook<br />

the Dean’s hand, I was<br />

bursting with pride. I was<br />

surrounded by the love of<br />

family and friends who’d<br />

stuck by me, I’d earned<br />

my degree, and I’d done it<br />

all while battling a vicious<br />

illness that nobody truly<br />

understands.<br />

<strong>August</strong> <strong>2019</strong> • happiful.com • 55

<strong>Happiful</strong> Hero<br />

Photography | M T Elgassier<br />

“<br />

If opportunity doesn’t<br />

knock, build a door<br />

56 • happiful • December 2018 – MILTON BERLE

Editor’s picks<br />

Rebecca Thair<br />

I’m the dog-obsessed editor of <strong>Happiful</strong> – sorry for hounding you with<br />

pictures of pups! Outside of work, I can normally be found in the gym<br />

watching Killing Eve to feel like a badass, bingeing on a good box set, or<br />

getting out for walks around Virginia Water, with a quick pit-stop at a pub<br />

Images | Sliders: ASOS, Twilight Spray: Lush, Emojis: emojipedia.org<br />


Sam Cooke – ‘Bring It on Home to Me’<br />



I deleted our internal messenger<br />

app from my phone – it’s<br />

important to set boundaries<br />

when away from the office!<br />


‘Sleepy’ body lotion from Lush<br />

(£16), or their ‘Twilight’ spray<br />

(£20). When I’m stressed, sleep<br />

is the first thing that goes out of<br />

the window, but these lavenderinfused<br />

products<br />

smell incredible,<br />

and really work<br />

wonders. Definitely<br />

worth a try when<br />

sleep evades you!<br />



For summer evenings, you can’t<br />

beat a bit of Top Golf. Some fresh<br />

air, fun with friends, and if you’re<br />

feeling frustrated, a great way to<br />

let off some steam.<br />


People using their Facebook<br />

status as a replacement for<br />

Google. This isn’t the place to<br />

request a quote on your new<br />

kitchen, Sharon.<br />


It’s all about The Handmaid’s<br />

Tale right now. No explanation<br />

required. If you’re not watching,<br />

catch up immediately.<br />

So we beat on, boats against the current,<br />

borne back ceaselessly into the past<br />

– F. Scott Fitzgerald<br />

From my favourite book, The Great Gatsby. While the message might be<br />

‘you can’t repeat the past’, and the futility of the American dream, I still<br />

see hope in it. The future can still be full of new possibilities, when we<br />

stop letting the past hold us back.<br />

ON THE UP<br />

Sliders<br />

Yes, I take office<br />

casual too far…<br />

In my defence,<br />

it’s summer.<br />


Office air con<br />

It’s roasting outside,<br />

but like the North<br />

Pole inside – the<br />

clothing dilemma<br />

is real.<br />


Give yourself a break.<br />

Sometimes self-care is<br />

treating yourself well,<br />

pampering, or going to the<br />

gym. But sometimes it’s<br />

letting yourself have a night<br />

off when you need it. To be<br />

lazy, to not do anything on<br />

your to-do list, and relish<br />

some meaningless<br />

downtime.<br />


Fajitas. All about that<br />

sizzle and spice.


BBQ<br />

Say goodbye to boring burgers, it’s time for a change<br />

Writing | Ellen Hoggard<br />

The UK may be used to<br />

a not-so-dry summer,<br />

but that doesn’t stop<br />

us from making the<br />

most of the warmer<br />

days and eating al fresco. While a<br />

BBQ typically involves meat, we’re<br />

mixing things up. We’re going<br />

vegan, and the food is so good<br />

that everybody will be asking you<br />

for the recipe.<br />

With Meat Free Monday and<br />

other initiatives in full swing, we<br />

want to inspire you this season<br />

with a delicious collection of<br />

recipes – ready to throw on<br />

your BBQ, rain or shine. There’s<br />

something so special about trying<br />

a new dish and running away<br />

with your imagination when it<br />

comes to cooking, and this is<br />

no exception. As always, our<br />

recipes are totally open to change,<br />

depending on your taste and what<br />

you have in the cupboard.<br />

So fire up the grill, it’s time to<br />

impress your guests.<br />



Makes 12<br />

Ingredients<br />

1 courgette<br />

1 yellow pepper<br />

1 red pepper<br />

2 red onions<br />

180g chestnut mushrooms<br />

200g cherry tomatoes<br />

50g ciabatta<br />

1 lemon, grated<br />

1 red chilli, finely chopped<br />

2 sprigs of rosemary, chopped<br />

Extra virgin olive oil<br />

Salt and pepper<br />

Method<br />

Soak 12 wooden skewers in water<br />

to stop them from burning on<br />

the barbecue. Chop the peppers,<br />

red onions, mushrooms, and<br />

courgette into large chunks, and<br />

place in a mixing bowl. Remove<br />

the crust from the ciabatta and<br />

cut into 2cm chunks. Add to the<br />

bowl, along with the tomatoes. In<br />

a small bowl, combine the chilli,<br />

rosemary and lemon zest. Add<br />

the olive oil, salt and pepper and<br />

mix. Add to the vegetables. Using<br />

your hands, toss everything<br />

together and leave to marinate<br />

for 30 minutes.<br />

Divide and thread the<br />

ingredients between your<br />

skewers. Add to the barbecue,<br />

cooking for 8–10 minutes,<br />

turning occasionally. Serve.<br />

58 • happiful.com • <strong>August</strong> <strong>2019</strong>


Serves 8<br />

Ingredients<br />

1 can kidney beans<br />

1 can chickpeas<br />

1 can black beans<br />

1 cup edamame beans<br />

1 cup green beans, chopped<br />

1/2 red onion, diced<br />

2 tbsp parsley, chopped<br />

Juice of half a lemon<br />

2 tbsp agave syrup<br />

4 tbsp white wine vinegar<br />

1 tsp extra virgin olive oil<br />

Salt and pepper<br />

Method<br />

Drain the beans. In a large bowl,<br />

combine the beans, onions,<br />

and parsley. In a separate bowl,<br />

combine the olive oil, lemon<br />

juice, white wine vinegar and<br />

agave syrup. Whisk. Add to the<br />

bean mixture and season with<br />

salt and pepper. Serve.<br />


Serves 4<br />

Ingredients<br />

1 block tofu, pressed<br />

10 tbsp BBQ sauce<br />

70ml orange juice<br />

70ml water<br />

1 tsp chilli powder<br />

1/2 tsp chilli flakes<br />

Salt and pepper<br />

Method<br />

Prepare your tofu by pressing it<br />

before use. When the moisture is<br />

removed, slice into large chunks.<br />

In a small pan, combine the BBQ<br />

sauce, orange juice, water, and<br />

dry ingredients over a low heat.<br />

Place the mixture in a bowl and<br />

add the tofu, coating both sides.<br />

Leave to marinate for two hours.<br />

Spray the grill with oil so the<br />

tofu doesn’t stick. Grill the pieces<br />

for 4–5 minutes on each side,<br />

brushing with additional sauce.<br />

Season with salt and pepper to<br />

taste. Serve.<br />

Find a<br />

nutritionist<br />

near you at<br />

nutritionistresource.org.uk<br />




All the colourful vegetables are<br />

bursting with health-giving fibre,<br />

to keep blood sugar levels stable,<br />

and antioxidants to boost the<br />

immune system. You could<br />

add garlic cloves to<br />

the skewers, giving a<br />

roasted garlic flavour<br />

and additional health<br />

benefits.<br />


This salad is really rich<br />

in low fat, low cholesterol,<br />

protein, and plenty of gut-friendly<br />

fibre. Fresh mint, coriander,<br />

tarragon, chives and basil could<br />

also be added for extra flavour, and<br />

to help boost the immune system.<br />

You may not need the sweet agave<br />

syrup, so taste the dressing before<br />

adding it, and if you like apple<br />

cider vinegar, consider using that<br />

in place of the white wine vinegar.<br />


Tofu is a great source of vegan<br />

protein, and is low in fat and<br />

cholesterol. It takes on flavour<br />

really well, so any marinade will<br />

work. You could make an Asianinspired<br />

one by using 10 tbsp black<br />

bean sauce, 1 tsp ginger garlic<br />

paste, 1/2 tsp chilli flakes, salt and<br />

pepper, and 150ml water. To make<br />

the cooking process easier, thread<br />

the tofu on to skewers before<br />

placing on the grill.<br />

Susan Hart is a nutrition<br />

coach and speaker. As well<br />

as delivering healthy eating<br />

advice to individuals, Susan<br />

hosts regular workshops and<br />

runs vegan cooking classes. Find<br />

out more at nutrition-coach.co.uk<br />

<strong>August</strong> <strong>2019</strong> • happiful.com • 59

What is endometriosis?<br />

With 176 million women across the world believed to have endometriosis, it’s a condition<br />

affecting a huge number of lives, and yet for many of us it remains a bit of a mystery…<br />

Here, nutritional therapist Sonal Shah, explores the symptoms to be aware of, possible<br />

causes, along with how diet could be key to managing the condition<br />

Writing | Sonal Shah<br />

The second<br />

most common<br />

gynaecological<br />

condition in the UK,<br />

endometriosis is the abnormal<br />

growth of cells that form in the<br />

lining of the uterus. Some of<br />

these cells may, instead of being<br />

expelled from the body during<br />

the menstrual process, actually<br />

end up continuing their cycle<br />

elsewhere. They then have no<br />

way of leaving the body, so the<br />

material builds up and may attach<br />

itself to other organs in the lower<br />

abdomen, such as the ovaries,<br />

fallopian tubes, or bowel.<br />

While endometriosis can affect<br />

women of any age, it is most often<br />

found in those in their 30s and<br />

40s. While it’s difficult to pinpoint<br />

the exact number of women<br />

who develop endometriosis,<br />

it’s estimated that one in 10<br />

women of reproductive age in<br />

the UK have it, and it costs the<br />

UK economy around £8.2 billion<br />

each year due to treatment, loss of<br />

work, and associated healthcare<br />

costs. So, understanding how to<br />

manage and reduce the impact<br />

of endometriosis on the lives of<br />

sufferers is essential, and the<br />

likelihood is you already know<br />

someone who is all-too-familiar<br />

with the pain and discomfort this<br />

condition can bring...<br />



When it comes to endometriosis,<br />

it really can be quite a unique<br />

experience for people. One thing<br />

to note is that the severity of<br />

endometriosis does not always<br />

correspond to the level of pain<br />

and discomfort experienced.<br />

Additionally, symptoms can vary<br />

from one woman to another, and<br />

some women may not experience<br />

any symptoms at all.<br />

For those who do, the classic<br />

symptoms to be aware of include<br />

pelvic pain, heavy periods,<br />

intermittent pain throughout<br />

the menstrual cycle, painful<br />

intercourse, painful bowel<br />

movements, fatigue, nausea,<br />

vomiting and constipation during<br />

menses, and infertility.<br />

One of the primary concerns<br />

with endometriosis is that it can<br />

cause fertility problems. While<br />

the reasoning for this is not<br />

fully understood, it is thought<br />

to be because of damage<br />

caused to the fallopian tubes or<br />

ovaries.<br />

Other issues which can<br />

arise include some women<br />

developing adhesions – ‘sticky’<br />

areas of endometriosis tissue<br />

that can join organs together.<br />

Ovarian cysts may also develop,<br />

which are fluid-filled cysts in<br />

the ovaries that can sometimes<br />

become very large and painful,<br />

and can be treated with surgery.<br />

For some women, the impact<br />

that endometriosis can have on<br />

their life can lead to depression,<br />

so it’s important to recognise<br />

symptoms, and look for support<br />

with managing the condition as<br />

soon as possible.<br />

If you suspect you may have<br />

endometriosis, it’s important<br />

that you speak with your GP. As<br />

symptoms can vary, it’s a good<br />

idea to keep track of them in a<br />

diary so that you can accurately<br />

describe them during your<br />

appointment with the doctor.<br />

60 • happiful.com • <strong>August</strong> <strong>2019</strong>


Unfortunately, the exact cause<br />

of endometriosis is unknown,<br />

and there is no definite cure.<br />

However, some possible reasons<br />

are outlined here, and the<br />

likelihood is it could be a result of<br />

a combination of factors:<br />

• One theory is that hormonal<br />

imbalances, such as oestrogen<br />

dominance, may play a role.<br />

Interestingly, the symptoms of<br />

oestrogen dominance are similar<br />

to that of endometriosis.<br />

Endometrial tissue produces<br />

an enzyme called aromatase<br />

which, in turn, leads to oestrogen<br />

production. Furthermore,<br />

oestrogen and progesterone both<br />

regulate phases of the menstrual<br />

cycle, and if a woman has gut<br />

and liver imbalances, the old<br />

hormones might not get cleared<br />

out soon enough. This can provide >>><br />

<strong>August</strong> <strong>2019</strong> • happiful.com • 61

the opportunity for the unwanted<br />

recycling of oestrogen, and high<br />

levels of oestrogen compared to<br />

progesterone.<br />

• Endometriosis and irritable<br />

bowel syndrome (IBS) seem to<br />

go hand-in-hand, with many<br />

women who have endometriosis<br />

reporting this. A recent study<br />

published in the European Journal<br />

of Obstetrics & Gynecology and<br />

Reproductive Biology found that<br />

IBS is five times higher in women<br />

with endometriosis, compared to<br />

women without endometriosis,<br />

prompting thoughts of a possible<br />

link.<br />

A bacterial imbalance in the gut<br />

can also impact the microbes and<br />

bacteria in the large intestine,<br />

small intestine and pelvic area.<br />

This could potentially cause<br />

inflammation that damages the<br />

cells and activates the immune<br />

cells in the body leading to a<br />

dysfunctional immune system,<br />

which is also a potential trigger.<br />

• In the 1920s, Dr John<br />

Sampson believed ‘retrograde<br />

menstruation’ could be one<br />

explanation behind the condition.<br />

He believed that endometriosis<br />

could be caused by menstrual<br />

tissue flowing in reverse through<br />

the fallopian tubes, and landing<br />

on the pelvic organs where it may<br />

stay and grow.<br />

• Another possible cause could<br />

be simply down to our genetic<br />

disposition – an individual might<br />

find their risk of developing<br />

endometriosis increases if it<br />

runs in the family. Additionally,<br />

hormonal developments like early<br />

puberty might be influenced by<br />

genetics.<br />


Given the importance of<br />

gut health, including the<br />

detoxification of hormones<br />

through the liver, it makes sense to<br />

investigate how improving our gut<br />

health could help to manage the<br />

symptoms of endometriosis.<br />

Because those with<br />

endometriosis are likely to have<br />

inflammation in the gut and pelvic<br />

area, the emphasis is therefore on<br />

an anti-inflammatory diet to help<br />

with this.<br />

It’s estimated that<br />

one in 10 women<br />

of reproductive<br />

age in the UK have<br />

endometriosis<br />

This would mean eating oily<br />

fish for their omega-3 content,<br />

or seeds, nuts and avocados,<br />

olive oil, colourful foods like<br />

dark berries, carrots, sweet<br />

potatoes, and leafy vegetables,<br />

which provide vitamins and<br />

minerals that help lower<br />

inflammation and strengthen<br />

our immune system.<br />

Green tea, cinnamon, ginger,<br />

and turmeric are also good<br />

at helping the body to fight<br />

inflammation. Cruciferous<br />

vegetables like broccoli, kale, and<br />

Swiss chard contain magnesium,<br />

along with a compound called<br />

indole-3-carbinol that assists<br />

the body in healthy oestrogen<br />

metabolism. Furthermore many<br />

of these foods (also beans and<br />

pulses) are rich in fibre, which<br />

can all help to restore hormonal<br />

imbalance.<br />


An anti-inflammatory green<br />

smoothie could be a wonderful<br />

addition to your diet, and help<br />

those with endometriosis<br />

symptoms. With smoothies, you<br />

can have this daily, and simply<br />

change up some of the fruit and<br />

veg you add for a bit of variety!<br />

Recipe:<br />

• 1 cup of dark green vegetables<br />

(spinach, kale, or watercress)<br />

• 1 cup of fruit (berries, mango)<br />

• 1/2 an avocado or 1 tbsp ground<br />

flaxseeds<br />

• 250ml dairy-free milk<br />

• Powdered turmeric (or ginger)<br />

Method:<br />

• Choose either spinach, kale, or<br />

watercress, and add to a blender<br />

with the fruit, to sweeten.<br />

• For a boost of fats, add 1/2 an<br />

avocado, or ground flaxseeds,<br />

which provide a hit of omega 3.<br />

• Pour in 250ml dairy-free milk,<br />

or use water if you prefer. The<br />

more liquid you add the runnier<br />

it will be, so experiment with the<br />

consistency you like best.<br />

• Add a pinch of ginger, or<br />

powdered turmeric. Blend it all<br />

together and enjoy!<br />

62 • happiful.com • <strong>August</strong> <strong>2019</strong>


Sources of omega 3 oil,<br />

1 which can reduce levels of an<br />

inflammatory chemical and slow<br />

the growth of endometrial tissue.<br />

If you’re on a plant-based diet, I’d<br />

recommend flaxseed oil daily.<br />

One size does not fit all when it<br />

comes to living with endometriosis.<br />

Consult your GP for support<br />

Try supplementing iron, as<br />

2 low iron is common with<br />

heavy menses. You can get your<br />

blood iron levels tested, and then<br />

supplement accordingly.<br />

Increase your omega 6 intake –<br />

3 Gamma-Linolenic Acid (GLA).<br />

Starflower oil contains more GLA<br />

than some other options, and<br />

has therapeutic benefits to lower<br />

inflammation, balance hormones,<br />

and reduce pain.<br />

Magnesium capsules can<br />

4 help strengthen bones, relax<br />

muscles, and reduce pelvic pain<br />

and abdominal cramps. Vitamin<br />

D3 should also be supplemented.<br />

A good multivitamin will<br />

5 contain B vitamins, vitamin C,<br />

along with minerals such as zinc<br />

and calcium to keep your body<br />

healthy. My favourite is Cytoplan’s<br />

Wholefood multi.<br />

Portraits | billie.com<br />

There are also things you can<br />

implement in your lifestyle, such<br />

as trying a sitz bath, which is<br />

considered one of the natural<br />

remedies for endometriosis.<br />

A hot bath helps reduce pain<br />

and cramping by relaxing the<br />

muscles in your pelvic area, which<br />

can be aided further by adding<br />

magnesium salts, Epsom salts, or<br />

magnesium oil. You can also add<br />

eight to 10 drops of lavender or<br />

rosemary oil.<br />

Sonal is a nutritional therapist and director of Synergy Nutrition.<br />

She specialises in sports nutrition, hormonal imbalances, and<br />

vegan diets. To find out more, visit synergynutrition.co.uk<br />

<strong>August</strong> <strong>2019</strong> • happiful.com • 63

<strong>Happiful</strong> Hero<br />

Photography | Svetlana Pochatun<br />

Photography | Max Andrey<br />

64 • happiful • December 2018<br />

“<br />

If you are positive,<br />

you’ll see opportunities<br />

instead of obstacles<br />


...and breathe<br />

Discover more<br />

about calming<br />

breathing techniques,<br />

and mindfulness for<br />

anxiety and stress at<br />

therapy-directory.org.uk<br />

Feeling stressed or<br />

anxious? Mindful breathing<br />

could be the answer<br />

We all experience<br />

stress and anxiety<br />

from time to<br />

time, yet for<br />

some, the feelings can seem<br />

overwhelming. If you find<br />

yourself stuck and unable<br />

to escape the cycle of stress<br />

and anxiety, there are simple<br />

tricks you can try to feel more<br />

connected and present in the<br />

moment.<br />

Therapy Directory member,<br />

Reiki master and energy healer,<br />

Julia Trickett, shares her advice.<br />

“Your body has its welldocumented<br />

fight or flight<br />

response. So how can you reduce<br />

stress? Pretending to blow up a<br />

balloon is one method. It helps<br />

to empty your lungs as breathing<br />

tends to get shallower when you<br />

are anxious.”<br />

Try<br />

Take a slow, deep breath in<br />

through your nose.<br />

Hold your breath for two or<br />

three seconds.<br />

Exhale slowly through your<br />

mouth.<br />

Pause for five seconds.<br />

Repeat.<br />

Therapy Directory is part of the <strong>Happiful</strong> Family | Helping you find the help you need

SUMMER<br />

READS<br />

Whether you’re jetting off to sunnier shores, or planning a short staycation,<br />

summer is the perfect time for a little reading and relaxation<br />

Writing | Bonnie Evie Gifford<br />

For a bookworm, I<br />

was never a fan of<br />

summer reading<br />

lists. Filled with<br />

dusty old books with<br />

heavy-handed morals, I always<br />

preferred exploring my local<br />

library to see what new hidden<br />

gems I could uncover.<br />

With more and more books,<br />

across a wider range of genres,<br />

being published than ever<br />

before, literally thousands of<br />

new titles are expected to hit the<br />

shelves and digital platforms this<br />

summer. We share nine of our<br />

most-anticipated reads to help<br />

you (and your loved ones) get in<br />

the mood, feel inspired, and to<br />

make this summer your hottest<br />

reading season yet.<br />


You Can Change the World!<br />

By Margaret Rooke (Jessica Kingsley Publishers, £12.99)<br />

In a world often caught up with<br />

celebs, shopping, and social<br />

media, best-selling author<br />

Margaret Rooke highlights the<br />

inspiring stories of 50 teens<br />

from around the world. Sharing<br />

their experiences as volunteers,<br />

campaigners, social entrepreneurs,<br />

and more, these teens have helped<br />

change and improve the lives of<br />

others. From upcycling clothes<br />

for the homeless, to founding<br />

football teams for children with<br />

disabilities, help teens discover the<br />

power they hold when they have a<br />

goal worth fighting for.<br />

66 • happiful.com • <strong>August</strong> <strong>2019</strong>


Go Wild: Find Freedom and Adventure in the Great Outdoors<br />

By Chris Naylor (Summersdale, £16.99)<br />

Our modern lives see us shut<br />

away inside, hunched over<br />

screens for hours on end. When<br />

was the last time you got outside<br />

and just spent time enjoying<br />

nature? It’s never too late to<br />

rediscover the joy of the great<br />

outdoors. Check out activities<br />

and ideas for adventures in<br />

forests, woodlands, mountains,<br />

by the seaside, and more. Find<br />

inspiration to help you escape the<br />

everyday pace, find adventure,<br />

and go wild.<br />


Heartstream<br />

By Tom Pollock (Walker Books, £7.99)<br />

Delve into the world of<br />

influencers, social media,<br />

and obsession. How much<br />

of ourselves should we be<br />

sharing online? Amy, an online<br />

influencer, has broadcast every<br />

moment of her mother’s terminal<br />

illness. With the Heartstream<br />

app, her followers are able to<br />

experience every emotion Amy<br />

goes through. But on the day<br />

of her mother’s funeral, Amy<br />

discovers a stranger rigged with<br />

explosives in her kitchen...<br />


Camouflage: The Hidden Lives of Autistic Women<br />

By Dr Sarah Bargiela (Jessica Kingsley Publishers, £12.99)<br />

Camouflage is a graphic novel with<br />

a difference. Autistic women and<br />

girls are often misrepresented or<br />

overlooked. Thanks to Dr Sarah<br />

Bargiela, readers can gain a unique<br />

insight into the lives and different<br />

perspectives of these women.<br />

Using real-life case studies and<br />

charming illustrations, discover<br />

what everyday life can be like<br />

for women on the spectrum.<br />

From understanding metaphors<br />

and masking behaviours, to<br />

communication, social pressures,<br />

and managing relationships. A<br />

fantastic, easy-to-digest book for<br />

anyone hoping to understand<br />

how we can create a safer, more<br />

accommodating environment for<br />

women on the spectrum.<br />

<strong>August</strong> <strong>2019</strong> • happiful.com • 67


Cookie and the Most Annoying Boy in the World<br />

By Konnie Huq (Piccadilly Press, £10.99) Out 8 <strong>August</strong><br />

A quirky, geeky girl from a<br />

Bangladeshi family, Cookie feels<br />

like she never quite fits in. When<br />

her best friend moves away, Cookie<br />

sets her heart on getting a cute<br />

kitten to help fill the void. But the<br />

most annoying boy she’s ever met<br />

buys her dream kitten, and soon<br />

she discovers he’s not only in her<br />

year at school, but is moving in<br />

next door.<br />

Things aren’t all bad – if Cookie<br />

can just keep her cool, she may<br />

stand a chance of getting on her<br />

favourite TV show. All she has to<br />

do first is win her school science<br />

competition.<br />

Combining anarchic humour<br />

and a little sneaky STEM learning,<br />

Cookie and the Most Annoying Boy in<br />

the World is the latest must-read for<br />

kids aged eight to 12.<br />

Why Mummy Doesn’t Give A ****! is the perfect<br />

book to tide you through the long summer<br />

holidays while school is out<br />


Why Mummy Doesn’t Give A ****!<br />

By Gill Sims (HarperCollins, £12.99)<br />

From the Sunday Times number<br />

one best-selling author Gill Sims,<br />

comes the latest laugh-out-loud<br />

novel for mums everywhere.<br />

Mummy (Ellen) wonders how<br />

many more ‘phases’ she’s going<br />

to have to deal with before her<br />

children become civilised,<br />

functioning members of society.<br />

Now teens, instead of pestering<br />

her about who would win in a fight<br />

– a dragon badger or a ninja horse<br />

– they spend hours Snapchatting,<br />

communicating in grunts, and<br />

stropping around their tiny cottage<br />

(when not demanding Ellen acts as<br />

their all-hours taxi service).<br />

The country life she’s been<br />

dreaming of isn’t turning out quite<br />

as planned, but at least they can all<br />

agree on one thing: Barry the rescue<br />

Wolfdog may be the ugliest dog in<br />

the world, but he’s also the loveliest.<br />

The third hilarious part in the<br />

parenting blogger, author and<br />

illustrator’s Why Mummy series, Why<br />

Mummy Doesn’t Give A ****! is the<br />

perfect book to tide you through the<br />

long summer holidays while school<br />

is out.


After the End<br />

By Clare Mackintosh (Sphere, £12.99)<br />

A heart-breaking, page-turning<br />

novel from Sunday Times bestselling<br />

author Clare Mackintosh.<br />

Max and Pip are the strongest,<br />

most unshakable couple – until<br />

their son gets sick.<br />

As doctors put the question of his<br />

survival into their hands, for the<br />

first time, they can’t agree. Each<br />

wants a different future for<br />

their son. But what if they could<br />

have both?<br />

Explore love, marriage,<br />

parenthood, and the road not<br />

taken, in this unforgettable and<br />

emotional novel.<br />


The Little Book of Meditations<br />

By Gilly Pickup (Summersdale, £5.99)<br />

Have you ever wanted to try<br />

meditation, but weren’t sure<br />

where to start? Learn about the<br />

different types of meditation,<br />

discover how it can improve<br />

your sense of wellbeing, and get<br />

help to connect with the world<br />

around you. Offering guidance<br />

and practical advice, discover<br />

simple ways you can incorporate<br />

meditation into your daily routine<br />

to help reduce anxiety, increase<br />

positivity, and help you appreciate<br />

each moment.<br />


Pause: 100 moments of calm<br />

By Summersdale (£6.99)<br />

It can be easy to get caught up<br />

in the fast pace and day-to-day<br />

stresses of life. Taking time out<br />

for yourself, and finding ways<br />

to press pause, can be vital in<br />

reintroducing moments of calm<br />

to your routine. Combining<br />

mindfulness techniques, self-care<br />

ideas, with simple ways you can<br />

relax, this pocket-sized guide helps<br />

you to find moments of peace,<br />

calm, and reflection.<br />

WIN!<br />

We're giving away three book bundles to keep you entertained this summer. For your chance to win, drop<br />

us an email at competitions@happiful.com by 18 <strong>August</strong>, with your answer to the following question:<br />

What is J.K. Rowling’s full first name? Good luck!<br />

Open to UK residents only.

Getting through<br />

separation and divorce<br />

If your marriage is on the rocks, there’s<br />

plenty of legal and financial advice<br />

out there. But the emotional impact of<br />

a split – the anger, sadness, grief,<br />

confusion, and loneliness – needs to<br />

be tackled, too<br />

Writing | Lindsay George

An estimated 42% of<br />

marriages in the UK<br />

now end in divorce,<br />

with about half of<br />

these expected to<br />

occur in the first 10<br />

years of marriage. Alongside this,<br />

around 62% of women initiate<br />

divorce – it's said that they notice<br />

the problems sooner. Yet men<br />

remarry more quickly, as they are<br />

usually confronted with greater<br />

emotional adjustment issues.<br />

That said, 31% of all second<br />

marriages will also fail.<br />

These are truly sobering<br />

statistics, yet divorce rates are<br />

slowing down, year on year. So<br />

why is this? Divorce is not only a<br />

financial stress but emotionally<br />

damaging, and not a decision<br />

taken lightly.<br />

While the legal and financial<br />

processes associated with<br />

divorce are not necessarily easy<br />

to navigate, thankfully there are<br />

systems in place to help guide you<br />

through each stage.<br />

In contrast, the emotional<br />

journey of separation and divorce<br />

is all too often neglected. The<br />

impact on your mental health and<br />

wellbeing can feel overwhelming,<br />

as you attempt to adjust and adapt<br />

to changes that you may feel you<br />

have little control over.<br />


Once the decision to separate<br />

has been made, often the impact<br />

ripples out further throughout<br />

the lives of those involved. The<br />

stresses and strains can be felt by<br />

family and friends, which may in<br />

turn create additional pressure<br />

on your day-to-day relationships.<br />

It comes as no surprise, then, to<br />

learn that divorce is listed as the<br />

second most stressful life event,<br />

after the death of a loved one.<br />

Much of my work as a<br />

psychotherapist and counsellor<br />

is spent helping clients work<br />

through emotional issues in<br />

their relationships. When a<br />

person finally makes the difficult<br />

decision to separate, or divorce<br />

a partner, I am often asked how<br />

long the actual process will take<br />

for them to recover. Statistics<br />

show that it can take up to two<br />

years to get over a divorce or<br />

separation. However, we are all<br />

different, so for some this can<br />

take considerably longer.<br />

The significant changes that<br />

take place in your life during this<br />

period can often feel chaotic,<br />

traumatic, and filled with<br />

contradictory<br />

emotions. The<br />

Giving yourself time<br />

and space to<br />

understand what<br />

went wrong is an<br />

important step<br />

towards recovery<br />

process can at<br />

times feel much<br />

harder to adjust<br />

to than initially<br />

imagined.<br />

Some days<br />

you may feel<br />

hopeful, and<br />

even relieved,<br />

to be out of it,<br />

especially if your marriage or<br />

relationship has been difficult for<br />

a long time. Other days you may<br />

feel angry, sad, lonely, confused<br />

or anxious. These are all normal<br />

emotions and it is especially<br />

important that you take extra care<br />

of yourself during this time.<br />


Prioritising your own needs is<br />

vital, particularly if anyone is<br />

dependent on you. As difficult<br />

as this can be when you<br />

have so many overwhelming<br />

responsibilities, it is important<br />

to remind yourself that it will be<br />

harder to look after your children<br />

or pets, or other family members,<br />

if you don’t look after yourself to<br />

begin with.<br />

An important step towards<br />

recovery, will also be in giving<br />

yourself time and space to<br />

understand what went wrong, as<br />

is focusing on what you need to<br />

do to help you let go of the past.<br />

Looking forward to the future will<br />

help stop you feeling stuck, and<br />

more in control.<br />

That said, with the end of any<br />

relationship, it is natural that your<br />

self-esteem and self-confidence<br />

will feel at an all time low. When<br />

you experience hurt, it is normal<br />

to want to lash out and blame one<br />

another, which will cause more<br />

resentment and upset. It is all<br />

too easy to get<br />

trapped in a cycle<br />

of blame and<br />

fault-finding.<br />

However once<br />

you’ve agreed<br />

to separate, it<br />

might be more<br />

helpful to focus<br />

on what the<br />

relationship was<br />

lacking for both<br />

of you. While the answers may be<br />

upsetting, a better understanding<br />

of what these are will allow you<br />

both to move on.<br />

The following tips may help you<br />

to get through this difficult time,<br />

and face the future with more<br />

hope.<br />

1 Keep the lines of<br />

communication open<br />

Talking to your friends and<br />

family could help stop you from<br />

feeling isolated; it will also help<br />

to keep things in perspective. It<br />

is natural to feel that you are the<br />

only one with problems and that<br />

you are burdening others with<br />

yours. >>>

Learning to reach out and share<br />

your heartaches and worries<br />

will not only help you feel more<br />

supported, but will allow them to<br />

feel more connected and closer to<br />

you during this difficult time.<br />

2 Let yourself grieve<br />

It is normal to feel shock and<br />

disbelief when your relationship<br />

comes to an end. Endings can<br />

evoke a sense of loss in the life<br />

that we once knew, and the life<br />

we hoped for. The process of grief<br />

will play out differently for each<br />

of us and is said to have several<br />

stages. These include denial,<br />

anger, bargaining, depression,<br />

and finally acceptance. While you<br />

may enter each of these stages<br />

at any given time, it is important<br />

to remind yourself that these<br />

are neither neat nor linear. You<br />

may require some help to work<br />

through any one of these stages if<br />

you feel you are getting stuck.<br />

3 Dealing with anger<br />

Anger is often the stage that many<br />

people get stuck at. Holding on<br />

to your anger not only slows<br />

down your ability to move on, but<br />

retains an emotional connection<br />

with your ex. It may be useful<br />

to recognise that anger is an<br />

externalised version of sadness.<br />

Learning to let go and making<br />

time to de-stress will benefit not<br />

only you, but also those around<br />

you. Learning to relax is essential<br />

in helping you maintain your<br />

health and wellbeing.<br />

4 Feeling more in control<br />

You may feel demoralised and<br />

start to lack confidence. Setting<br />

yourself small, achievable goals<br />

will not only boost your selfesteem,<br />

but will help you feel<br />

more in charge and self-reliant.<br />

Completing even minor tasks can<br />

feel like huge wins, which will help<br />

you overcome self-doubt and give<br />

you a sense of moving forward.<br />

5 Healthy body, healthy mind<br />

While it is tempting to reach for<br />

high fat, high sugar, comfort<br />

foods, unfortunately they won’t<br />

provide you with the nourishment<br />

that you need to manage<br />

additional stress.<br />

I bet you didn’t know that 50% of<br />

dopamine and 90% of serotonin<br />

– those neuro-transmitting feel<br />

good chemicals – are actually<br />

produced in your gut! Therefore<br />

eating foods that are high in<br />

omega 3, such as oily fish, nuts<br />

and seeds, adding a variety of<br />

fresh fruit and vegetables to<br />

your diet, alongside a probiotic<br />

drink or yogurt four to five times<br />

per week, will not only promote<br />

better gut health, but will make<br />

you feel better, too.<br />

Setting yourself<br />

small, achievable<br />

goals will not only<br />

boost your selfesteem,<br />

but will<br />

help you feel<br />

more in charge<br />

and self-reliant<br />

Exercise also produces<br />

endorphins that make you feel<br />

good about yourself and will<br />

improve your resilience levels,<br />

which in turn help you to manage<br />

stress.<br />

6 Professional help<br />

The process of divorce and<br />

separation can often make you<br />

feel trapped, as daily life may feel<br />

like it’s getting harder. Talking<br />

to a professional counsellor<br />

will help provide you with the<br />

necessary support to work<br />

through and understand your<br />

feelings, so that you will be able<br />

to manage situations with a better<br />

sense of self-awareness and<br />

control.<br />

Whether you’ve chosen, or<br />

perhaps feel forced, to make<br />

this huge change in your life, the<br />

process is never easy. Looking<br />

after yourself and getting the right<br />

support will help you get your life<br />

back together again so that you<br />

can move forward with a clearer<br />

sense of direction and a chance to<br />

find happiness and a fresh start in<br />

the future.<br />

Lindsay George is an integrative<br />

counsellor and trained nurse, who<br />

works with adults, couples, families,<br />

and young people. She specialises in<br />

areas including depression, eating<br />

disorders, and relationships. Visit<br />

lindsaygeorge.co.uk<br />

72 • happiful.com • <strong>August</strong> <strong>2019</strong>


Life coach and broadcaster Anna Williamson shares the life lessons and perspectives on<br />

love, friendship, and being a bit silly from time to time, that help keep her on track<br />

Writing | Lucy Donoughue<br />

Multi-faceted’ ‘<br />

is a<br />

descriptor that<br />

seems to have<br />

been created for<br />

Anna Williamson;<br />

she is a woman<br />

of many talents – and many,<br />

many jobs. She’s a mind coach,<br />

podcaster, TV presenter, radio<br />

show host, author, columnist, and<br />

the list goes on... Alongside this,<br />

she’s an ambassador for Mind, The<br />

Prince’s Trust, and Childline, and<br />

is incredibly devoted to raising<br />

awareness of mental health.<br />

Anna speaks candidly about<br />

the mental illness she has faced<br />

herself, including crippling<br />

anxiety disorder earlier in her<br />

TV career. She’s also shared her<br />

experiences around the arrival of<br />

her son Enzo, explaining how the<br />

trauma of his birth, and the postnatal<br />

depression that followed,<br />

impacted her, and her relationship<br />

with her partner.<br />

Her open book approach to<br />

life’s events and the working<br />

of our minds, without a hint of<br />

airbrushing, is a breath of fresh air<br />

in the entertainment industry.<br />

Right now, Anna is putting this<br />

talent for straight-talking to great<br />

use. She’s in the middle of filming<br />

a new series of E4’s Celebs Go<br />

Dating (her second so far), and<br />

continues to produce the twiceweekly<br />

frank, funny, and very<br />

often naughty, ‘Loose Lips’ podcast<br />

with Luisa Zissman – and she’s<br />

feeling grateful about both projects<br />

for very different reasons.<br />

“Working on Celebs Go Dating<br />

really is my dream job,” she says<br />

enthusiastically. “I’m working<br />

with people who want to make<br />

changes; they aspire to love or<br />

a relationship, and they want<br />

to work on themselves. From a<br />

personal and psychological point<br />

of view, that’s really interesting.”<br />

Working with her colleague, Paul<br />

Brunswick, Anna helps to guide<br />

the celebrities through a new<br />

approach to dating, and she insists<br />

that the process has given her<br />

much to think about too. >>><br />

<strong>August</strong> <strong>2019</strong> • happiful.com • 73

people. What we love about the<br />

podcast is that it shows that it’s OK<br />

to disagree; you can stay friends,<br />

you don’t have to segregate<br />

yourself, or shun people because<br />

you don’t both think the same way.<br />

“There’s loads of stuff Luisa<br />

says that I don’t agree with, and<br />

she talks about me ‘banging on<br />

about mental health’ – a subject I<br />

think she struggles to get her head<br />

around. But we respect each other<br />

enough to agree to disagree, and at<br />

the end of it have a good old laugh<br />

– and that’s what its about.”<br />

Embracing this playful side is<br />

important to Anna. “I think in this<br />

day and age we lose sight of the<br />

Photography | Ruth Rose<br />

It’s taught me that<br />

everyone deserves<br />

love. And if people<br />

are willing to be<br />

open and show their<br />

vulnerable side,<br />

they feel better, and<br />

become happier<br />

individuals too<br />

“It’s taught me that everyone<br />

deserves love,” she explains. “And<br />

if people are willing to be open<br />

and show their vulnerable side,<br />

they feel better, and become<br />

happier individuals too. And it’s<br />

going to be another really eventful<br />

series,” she teases.<br />

And as for ‘Loose Lips’, what does<br />

that bring her?<br />

“Recording ‘Loose Lips’ is a huge<br />

release!” she says laughing.<br />

Anna and co-host Luisa Zissman<br />

met when Anna was the ‘psych’<br />

expert on Big Brother’s Bit On The<br />

Side, and have been firm friends<br />

ever since. Their friendship is<br />

one of the factors that makes the<br />

podcast such a huge hit; it comes<br />

through so clearly in their chat.<br />

“We’re just two girls, having<br />

a good natter and a catch up,<br />

taking the mick out of each other,”<br />

Anna explains when asked about<br />

their pod’s appeal. “It’s no-holdsbarred,<br />

and we speak openly and<br />

honestly.”<br />

It’s not always sweetness and<br />

light though – and that’s OK by<br />

Anna too. “We’re very different<br />

benefit of being a bit silly; we’re all<br />

too consumed with trying to look<br />

good on Instagram, and filtering<br />

the cr*p out of ourselves.”<br />

Whatever platform she’s on,<br />

Anna commits to being her<br />

authentic self – and this is what<br />

makes her so successful. She<br />

has a brilliant ability to inject a<br />

large dollop of reality into every<br />

conversation she’s part of, along<br />

with a lot of belly laughs.<br />

Being real is a value that Anna<br />

holds dear, and one acquired from<br />

personal experience. “I’ve been<br />

74 • happiful.com • <strong>August</strong> <strong>2019</strong>

through some hard stuff,’ she says<br />

plainly. “I’ve suffered with really<br />

bad mental health, and life has<br />

thrown some really challenging<br />

times at me – as it has with a lot of<br />

people.”<br />

“I’ve learned through these<br />

experiences – in therapy and then<br />

through professional training<br />

– that being authentic and true<br />

to yourself is actually the key to<br />

wellness and happiness.<br />

“So many of us feel we have to<br />

fit into a mould, people-please,<br />

or be something that we’re not<br />

sometimes, and I learned the hard<br />

way that I am who I am, and I<br />

don’t need to pretend I’m anyone<br />

I’m not.”<br />

So, in addition to keeping it real,<br />

how does Anna keep it all going?<br />

From the outside, she seems to be<br />

spinning a lot of plates...<br />

“There is a certain amount of<br />

juggling that goes on – but also,<br />

becoming a parent gives you so<br />

much perspective. You realise that<br />

you’re keeping a little person alive,<br />

and that their needs are more<br />

important than anything else.<br />

“I’ve become really disciplined<br />

since becoming a mum,” she adds.<br />

“Whereas before I could burn the<br />

candle at both ends, say yes to<br />

things that perhaps I shouldn’t, and<br />

I was teetering on people-pleasing.<br />

“All of that has gone, because I<br />

have a little boy who needs to go to<br />

bed at 7pm, or be picked up from<br />

nursery – so it’s really important<br />

for me to have a disciplined<br />

routine day-to-day.”<br />

However, Anna is aware that to<br />

stay well and mentally healthy,<br />

she also needs to make time<br />

for herself. “I plan ‘days of no<br />

obligation’,” she explains. “They<br />

are quite few and far between, but<br />

they are for me to do whatever I<br />

want to; whether that’s watching<br />

a box set, seeing a friend, or<br />

going for a massage. I treat those<br />

days like they are a doctor’s<br />

appointment, because they’re<br />

essential for my health.”<br />

Anna is also emphatic about the<br />

need to keep learning, and she<br />

continues to be deeply interested<br />

in mental health, psychology,<br />

and learning more about human<br />

interactions. She reads widely, and<br />

tunes into other people’s thinking<br />

on these subjects, as part of her<br />

own professional and personal<br />

development.<br />

Anna has therapy, too – in the<br />

form of supervision for her career<br />

and for herself, and she continues<br />

to be an advocate for the positive<br />

impact counselling and coaching<br />

can have.<br />

“I really feel that everyone should<br />

have someone to offload to, and<br />

therapy is such an important<br />

and cathartic thing to do,” she<br />

shares. “I would say to anyone<br />

reading this, please don’t wait until<br />

something is wrong.<br />

“To have someone, a counsellor<br />

or coach, to sit down and talk<br />

to, especially if you’re busy and<br />

you wear a lot of hats – parent<br />

hat, work hat, relationship hat<br />

– having someone that you can<br />

work everything through with,<br />

and prioritise your own happiness<br />

and wellbeing in that time, is<br />

extremely beneficial.”<br />

She pauses. “As well as carving<br />

out that bit of time for yourself<br />

and having a good old gossip<br />

with a girlfriend,” she laughs.<br />

“The power of that should not be<br />

underestimated.”<br />

Anna Willamson is a mind coach,<br />

TV presenter, podcast host, author,<br />

and a celebrity dating agent on E4’s<br />

‘Celebs Go Dating’. Follow Anna on<br />

Instagram @annawilliamsonofficial<br />

To find a therapist or life coach near<br />

you, visit counselling-directory.org.uk<br />

or lifecoach-directory.org.uk<br />

<strong>August</strong> <strong>2019</strong> • happiful.com • 75

6 ways to help<br />

your relationship<br />

thrive through illness<br />

The language of love is never simple, but for those with long-term illnesses there<br />

can be even more aspects to decipher. Love's labour's are not lost, though – with<br />

these tips you'll soon be fluent, and communication can flourish<br />

Writing | Anna Gaunt<br />

All relationships come<br />

with challenges, and<br />

some we can all relate<br />

to – the debate over<br />

who’s cooking dinner,<br />

taking the bins out, and who left<br />

their towel on the bathroom floor.<br />

But illness can bring with it a whole<br />

host of other relationship tests.<br />

With more than 15 million<br />

of us living with a long-term<br />

health condition in the UK, it<br />

can add another element to your<br />

relationship. From mental illnesses<br />

such as depression and anxiety, to<br />

physical illnesses such as arthritis,<br />

for those who are diagnosed, it can<br />

be scary and unsettling.<br />

Some might be afraid of how their<br />

partner will respond, and support<br />

them. It can also be difficult for the<br />

partner, who might not know how<br />

best to help.<br />

But while there may be tricky<br />

things to navigate, like any<br />

relationship, it can still thrive with<br />

a bit of attention and care.<br />

If you are worried about how your<br />

long-term health condition might<br />

affect your relationship, here are<br />

some ideas to help it thrive.<br />



It might sound obvious and key<br />

to all relationships, but honest<br />

communication is vital when you<br />

or your partner are struggling<br />

with an illness. Both physical<br />

and mental illnesses can be<br />

complex for somebody who isn’t<br />

experiencing them to understand.<br />

It can also be easy to make<br />

assumptions about how the other<br />

person is feeling. For instance, if<br />

you’re unable to do your share of<br />

the housework due to illness, you<br />

may assume that your partner is<br />

annoyed about it. If your partner<br />

is not talking to you because they<br />

are busy with the housework,<br />

they may accidentally portray<br />

that they are annoyed. Make time<br />

to honestly communicate how<br />

you are both feeling to help avoid<br />

misunderstandings.<br />


Receiving a diagnosis of a longterm<br />

health condition can be really<br />

hard. From feeling ill and being<br />

in pain, to feeling overwhelmed<br />

by appointments and treatments,<br />

and guilty for being unable to<br />

do the things that you used to.<br />

It is important that a partner<br />

recognises how difficult it can be<br />

to have an illness. However, it is<br />

also important to acknowledge<br />

how difficult it can be for a partner.<br />

Seeing their loved one suffering<br />

and being unable to help, while<br />

taking on the mammoth load of life<br />

errands for the both of you, can be<br />

hard, too. Trying to see things from<br />

one another’s perspective can help<br />

you to understand and support<br />

each other.<br />



As somebody with a long-term<br />

health condition, it can be difficult<br />

to accept support. You don’t want<br />

to lose your independence or be<br />

seen as weak. You don’t want to<br />

admit defeat. But pushing yourself<br />

beyond your limits, because you’re<br />

too proud to accept help, can be<br />

damaging to your health. Refusing<br />

your partner’s care and support<br />

can also make them feel helpless.<br />

They may not be able to cure you,<br />

but they can cook your dinner!



Spending quality time together<br />

is important, but if illness is<br />

preventing you from going on<br />

dates, don’t fret. Joy can be found<br />

in the little things, like laughing<br />

about that time you fell over in<br />

You will see that<br />

you’re deserving of<br />

love. You’re more<br />

than just a person<br />

with an illness<br />

Tesco, making bubble beards in the<br />

bath, or reading together. Having<br />

someone to do nothing with can be<br />

better than having someone to do<br />

‘something’ with.<br />


A lot of long-term health<br />

conditions fluctuate with periods of<br />

heightened symptoms, followed by<br />

periods of remission. When your<br />

illness is kicking you down, dream<br />

of what you’ll do when you’re<br />

feeling better. It can be<br />

as simple as making<br />

pancakes at the<br />

weekend, or as<br />

wild as<br />

imagining yourselves on a private<br />

jet to the Maldives. Dreaming can<br />

be the escapism you need when<br />

struggling with the daily realities of<br />

an illness.<br />


It’s a cliché that you can’t love<br />

anybody else until you love<br />

yourself, but self-love can help<br />

your relationship to thrive.<br />

Illnesses can contribute to a<br />

lack of confidence for numerous<br />

reasons, including side-effects<br />

of medication. But if you<br />

love yourself, you’ll see<br />

why your partner loves<br />

you, and be less likely<br />

to question why<br />

they would choose<br />

the challenges your<br />

illness can bring.<br />

You will see that<br />

you’re deserving of<br />

love. You’re more than<br />

just a person with an<br />


You deserve support.<br />

You deserve a moment<br />

of peace in your mind

Breaking free<br />

from my obsessive<br />

compulsive<br />

thoughts<br />

The reality of living with OCD isn’t<br />

a penchant for tidiness and order,<br />

it’s a debilitating condition where<br />

intrusive thoughts can terrorise<br />

your daily world<br />

Writing | Suz Yasemin Selçuk<br />

If you’ve ever suffered with<br />

obsessive compulsive disorder<br />

(OCD) and intrusive thoughts,<br />

chances are you’ve come across<br />

someone who has falsely<br />

diagnosed themselves with it. Not in a<br />

health anxiety way; someone who is ‘so<br />

OCD’ because they like a clean house, or<br />

are super-organised. But that’s where it<br />

ends. Somebody who’s decided it’s a fun<br />

word to describe someone’s silly, slightly<br />

annoying personality traits.<br />

When you live with OCD (and I say<br />

‘live’ because it never leaves you, like an<br />

uninvited, overpowering housemate,<br />

who doesn’t pay rent), you understand it<br />

isn’t a passing thought, or feeling. It’s a<br />

constant intruder in your mind, affecting<br />

your day from the moment you wake, to<br />

the minute you close your eyes at night. >>>

Suz [right] and her cousin<br />

Serra as children<br />

“My friend Dee helped me out<br />

of a really dark place”<br />

I’ve struggled with OCD<br />

since I was eight, and<br />

launched my blog in late<br />

2017 to raise awareness.<br />

There’s something about<br />

OCD that makes it seem<br />

more taboo than some<br />

other mental illnesses. For<br />

me, it’s because amongst<br />

everything else going on<br />

in my mind, this is the<br />

thing that makes me feel<br />

the most crazy.<br />

With OCD, we<br />

experience intrusive<br />

and mainly irrational<br />

thoughts. A lot of the<br />

time, we know they are<br />

irrational. But they still<br />

terrify us and consume us.<br />

According to studies, it<br />

takes most sufferers 18<br />

years to seek help. This hit<br />

home for me, as from the<br />

age of eight until I was 21,<br />

I stayed silent.<br />

My experience started<br />

in 1998 after a semitraumatic<br />

event at school<br />

– I wasn’t in immediate<br />

danger, but it deeply<br />

affected me and how ‘safe’<br />

I saw the world.<br />

I developed a fear of<br />

breaking things, and was<br />

plagued with thoughts<br />

that I was going to upset<br />

someone I loved. I would<br />

touch a door and panic<br />

that I had scratched it.<br />

I’d build up the worry<br />

inside until I broke<br />

down, distraught and<br />

inconsolable.<br />

This first stage of OCD<br />

lasted a couple of months,<br />

and then manifested into<br />

different things over the<br />

next 10 years. OCD has a<br />

way of strengthening its<br />

power the longer you are<br />

silent. Like a monster, it<br />

changes form so that it can<br />

rear its ugly head when<br />

you least expect it.<br />

When I was nine, my<br />

obsessive compulsive<br />

thoughts shifted into<br />

fears that something bad<br />

was going to happen to<br />

someone I loved. The<br />

ironic thing about OCD is<br />

that it brings your worst<br />

fears to the surface, in the<br />

format that you want them<br />

to happen. Many intrusive<br />

thoughts appear as ‘-insert<br />

name- is going to die’.<br />

So, guess what your next<br />

thought is? ‘You thought it,<br />

so now if it does happen,<br />

it’s your fault.’<br />

When I had intrusive<br />

thoughts, I’d have to<br />

perform an ‘action’ to<br />

protect the person. I’d<br />

touch the wall a certain<br />

number of times, or say a<br />

sentence in my head for 10<br />

minutes. Before bed, I had<br />

a ritual – recite the names<br />

of every person I cared<br />

about. If I missed anyone,<br />

I’d have to start again, in<br />

case something horrible<br />

happened to them.<br />

Over the years, obsessive<br />

compulsive thoughts<br />

manifested into phobias<br />

and health anxiety.<br />

When I started college<br />

in 2007, my health anxiety<br />

triggers ranged from using<br />

a new beauty product<br />

and panicking about a<br />

fatal reaction, to having<br />

an undiagnosed (usually<br />

terminal) illness. The<br />

panic attacks took over<br />

my life – the feeling of<br />

my throat closing up and<br />

not being able to breathe<br />

made me too scared to<br />

sleep in case I never woke<br />

up again.<br />

At uni, I even developed<br />

a toilet anxiety where I<br />

couldn’t go anywhere I<br />

hadn’t been before in case<br />

there wasn’t a loo. This<br />

added to the feelings of<br />

shame, making it harder<br />

to ask for help. I just<br />

couldn’t do normal things<br />

people my age were doing.<br />

After I finished university<br />

in 2012, the rituals, and<br />

constant state of panic<br />

had gotten too much to<br />

bear. I isolated myself out<br />

80 • happiful.com • <strong>August</strong> <strong>2019</strong>

For anyone struggling,<br />

remember OCD thrives on your<br />

silence. It forces you to feel guilt,<br />

shame and embarrassment<br />

about what’s going on<br />

Suz blogs to raise awareness of OCD at crazycreativecool.com<br />

of fear that something<br />

bad would happen while<br />

outside. But even at home,<br />

I would panic and end up<br />

hysterical if someone was<br />

late coming home.<br />

I never really talked<br />

to anyone about it, and<br />

my mind desperately<br />

needed an outlet.<br />

In 2014, I developed<br />

dermatillomania – a<br />

form of self-harm which<br />

involves the ritual of<br />

picking at your skin to<br />

generate feelings of relief<br />

from anxiety.<br />

The skin picking gave<br />

me another excuse not to<br />

leave the house, because I<br />

felt so disgusted in myself.<br />

My self-esteem was so low,<br />

I couldn’t find the joy in<br />

anything. I was convinced<br />

this was all my life would<br />

be, and then began to not<br />

feel anything.<br />

After reading an<br />

article on depression,<br />

I understood what the<br />

numbness meant. I’d spent<br />

years feeling trapped by<br />

my mind, but I suddenly<br />

had a stronger thought. I<br />

deserved to get better.<br />

In 2016, I found a<br />

therapist I connected<br />

with, started cognitive<br />

behavioural therapy (CBT)<br />

and began to feel hopeful.<br />

We practised exposure<br />

exercises, and I would be<br />

in tears, convinced there<br />

was no way I could do<br />

it. Each session I came<br />

back with news of my<br />

accomplishments – baby<br />

steps in battling my<br />

intrusive thoughts.<br />

Counselling genuinely<br />

changed my life. It helped<br />

me to be aware of my<br />

thoughts and not let them<br />

define or control me.<br />

For anyone struggling,<br />

remember OCD thrives<br />

on your silence. It forces<br />

you to feel guilt, shame<br />

and embarrassment about<br />

what’s going on. It controls<br />

and isolates you. I was<br />

constantly searching for<br />

someone else who was<br />

going through something<br />

similar. I didn’t find<br />

anyone for years – so<br />

many of us feel isolated<br />


For Suz, her OCD made the world around her feel<br />

unsafe and anxious. Ultimately, anxiety and self-harm<br />

overwhelmed her and she withdrew from life. Like many<br />

people, it took her years to ask for help, but in starting<br />

therapy, taking the difficult road did she began to release<br />

her from the grip of her obsessive compulsive<br />

thoughts. Through therapy, and learning not to<br />

be silenced by her experiences, Suz was able to<br />

reclaim her life.<br />

Graeme Orr | MBACP (Accred) UKRCP<br />

Reg Ind counsellor<br />

with OCD, and the irony is<br />

just that: so many of us.<br />

The most important<br />

thing to destroy the power<br />

OCD was holding over me<br />

was talking to someone.<br />

Help and support is out<br />

there, but you have to<br />

believe you are worthy<br />

of reaching out for it.<br />

You deserve support.<br />

You deserve a moment of<br />

peace in your mind.<br />

<strong>August</strong> <strong>2019</strong> • happiful.com • 81

Is mental health on your company agenda?<br />

We believe mental health first aid training should be given equal importance to physical<br />

first aid training in every workplace. If you would like to become a mental health first aider<br />

at work, <strong>Happiful</strong> can train you, and we've created this email template to help you explain<br />

the benefits to your boss<br />

Dear ,<br />

I'd like to become a mental health first aider for<br />

and I'm hoping you can help.<br />

Here are some of the reasons why <br />

will benefit from offering Mental Health First Aid training to our<br />

employees:<br />

1. Build staff confidence to have open conversations around mental<br />

health and break the stigma in the office and in society.<br />

2. Encourage people to access early support when needed. Early<br />

intervention means faster recovery.<br />

3. Empower people with a long term mental health issue or disability to<br />

thrive in work, and ensure that we are compliant with legislation in<br />

the Equality Act 2010.<br />

4. Promote a mentally healthy environment, and allow people to thrive<br />

and become more productive.<br />

5. Embed a long-term, positive culture across the whole organisation,<br />

where our employees recognise their mental and physical health are<br />

supported as equal parts of the whole person.<br />

6. Proudly share that mental health is on our company agenda and<br />

improve retention as a result of a reduction in staff stress levels.<br />

<strong>Happiful</strong> offers two-day mental health first aid training courses for<br />

individuals across the country for £235 + VAT per person, and they<br />

can also offer bespoke courses on-site at our workplace if we have a<br />

minimum of eight attendees.<br />

Yours sincerely,<br />

<br />

Did you know that stress,<br />

anxiety, and depression<br />

are the biggest causes of<br />

sickness absence in our<br />

society?<br />

Mental ill-health is<br />

currently responsible for<br />

91 million working days<br />

lost each year. The cost<br />

to UK employers is £34.9<br />

billion each year.*<br />

<strong>Happiful</strong> has partnered<br />

with Simpila Healthy<br />

Solutions to offer<br />

internationally recognised<br />

courses and training<br />

events in the UK.<br />

Each course is delivered<br />

by an accredited Mental<br />

Health First Aid England<br />

instructor and is delivered<br />

in a safe, evidence-based<br />

programme.<br />

Proudly working with<br />

*Source: MHFA England<br />


Healthy Solutions<br />

To register your company’s interest or to book an<br />

individual place, visit training.happiful.com or<br />

drop us an email at training@happiful.com

Hospice Biographers:<br />

Keeping the<br />

story alive<br />

In the depths of grief, and in the years that follow the<br />

death of a loved one, a familiar voice can offer the world<br />

of comfort. Hospice Biographers is the charity that<br />

grants terminally ill patients the chance to have their life<br />

stories professionally recorded. But the benefits of their<br />

work expand far and wide...<br />

Writing | Kathryn Wheeler<br />

When someone<br />

we love<br />

passes away,<br />

a million<br />

things may<br />

be running through our minds<br />

as we try to come to terms with<br />

the hole they left in our lives.<br />

But what if you could tune in<br />

to hear your loved one’s voice<br />

telling their story in their own<br />

words, and guiding you through<br />

their legacy?<br />

Barbara Altounyan was in her<br />

late 20s, and about to become<br />

a reporter for the BBC, when<br />

her family got the news that her<br />

dad didn’t have long left to live.<br />

Instinctively, Barbara borrowed<br />

a tape recorder, and set about<br />

recording her dad’s life story as<br />

a way to preserve his memory<br />

and celebrate his life.<br />

Sadly, Barbara’s dad passed<br />

away just a few weeks after they<br />

finished, but the experience<br />

inspired her to volunteer as an<br />

audio biographer at a nearby<br />

hospice. From here, she went on<br />

to found Hospice Biographers:<br />

the charity that records people’s<br />

life stories as they enter its final<br />

chapter.<br />

They want to<br />

feel that, after<br />

they die, they<br />

have something<br />

permanent for those<br />

that they know<br />


Each year, hospices around the<br />

UK support more than 200,000<br />

people with terminal or lifelimiting<br />

illnesses. For those<br />

who approach the Hospice<br />

Biographers, there is comfort<br />

and purpose to be found in the<br />

offer of a recording session.<br />

“They’re looking for a number<br />

of things,” Barbara says. “It may >>>

e catharsis; they’re looking for a<br />

way of expelling their frustrations.<br />

Or they’re looking for a way that<br />

they can put past events straight.<br />

“The most important one,<br />

though, is legacy,” she explains.<br />

“They want to feel that, after<br />

they die, they have something<br />

permanent for those that they<br />

know.”<br />

Many of us will be able to relate<br />

to the power of the stories that are<br />

passed down through generations,<br />

from grandparents, parents, and<br />

elders in our communities. Those<br />

stories simultaneously help us<br />

build a portrait of their lives –<br />

something we can celebrate and<br />

honour – and preserve their<br />

memory and spirit through the<br />

lessons they teach us, and the<br />

visions that we may share.<br />

And there’s an important<br />

reason why Hospice Biographers<br />

record audio only, with Barbara<br />

explaining that the format<br />

empowers people to tell their<br />

stories in their own voice, allowing<br />

them to be judged – not by their<br />

appearance or their ability to write<br />

a story – but as a person, and a<br />

human being.<br />


Of course, for the family and<br />

friends of those who have<br />

recorded their stories with<br />

Hospice Biographers, the gift of<br />

those recordings is priceless.<br />

“I’ve been chased down<br />

corridors,” says Barbara. “People<br />

come barging into my little<br />

makeshift audio studio at my<br />

hospice, and give me these huge<br />

bear hugs. They burst into tears.<br />

Oh gosh, they love it.”<br />

When she reflects on the people<br />

she has worked with over the<br />

years, there’s one woman in<br />

particular who stands out in<br />

Barbara’s memory.<br />

Suzanne Wallace was<br />

a superintendent in the<br />

Metropolitan Police before she<br />

was diagnosed with terminal<br />

breast cancer. She turned to<br />

Hospice Biographers to record her<br />

story of a life lived to its fullest.<br />

But Barbara’s role in Suzanne’s<br />

story didn’t end when the audio<br />

stopped recording. Before she<br />

died, Suzanne and her family<br />

asked Barbara to give a eulogy at<br />

her funeral.<br />

In a packed church of more than<br />

300 people, Barbara guided the<br />

congregation through Suzanne’s<br />

incredible life, using clips from<br />

the recordings they had done<br />

together.<br />

“People cried and people laughed<br />

because there was so much of<br />

Suzanne’s character,” Barbara<br />

reflects. “They laughed because it<br />

was so her.”<br />

84 • happiful.com • <strong>August</strong> <strong>2019</strong>

I’ve been a journalist forever, and I’ve seen<br />

all sorts of wars – and God knows what – in<br />

the world, but entering into a hospice, as I<br />

did for the first time, was a hell of a shock<br />

Find out more about Hospice<br />

Biographers by visiting<br />

thehospicebiographers.com<br />

For Barbara and all those<br />

involved in Hospice Biographers,<br />

these are the moments that they’re<br />

working towards; they’re found in<br />

the quirks of character that can<br />

become buried under the burden<br />

of terminal illness, but that are<br />

brought back to life through the<br />

recordings.<br />


But moments like this couldn’t<br />

be captured without the skill<br />

and sensitivity of the people<br />

who volunteer for Hospice<br />

Biographers, and it isn’t an easy<br />

thing to do. Volunteers have to<br />

resolve themselves to the gravity<br />

of what they are doing, and – as<br />

Barbara explains – be comfortable<br />

working in a unique environment.<br />

“I’ve been a journalist forever,<br />

and I’ve seen all sorts of wars<br />

– and God knows what – in the<br />

world, but entering into a hospice<br />

for the first time was a hell of<br />

a shock,” says Barbara. “The<br />

sensibilities, rules, and regulations<br />

are just very, very different.”<br />

In anticipation of this, Hospice<br />

Biographers pass on a job<br />

description to hospices, which<br />

is then shared among those<br />

already volunteering there, and<br />

all candidates are required to take<br />

part in a two-day training course<br />

prior to starting the interviews.<br />

“We do things on the art<br />

of listening, chronological<br />

interviewing techniques, use of<br />

audio equipment, downloading<br />

on USB, and safeguarding,”<br />

Barbara explains. “It can be quite<br />

emotionally draining; it’s very<br />

challenging.”<br />

Together, the volunteers and the<br />

people they are working with craft<br />

a recording that will be treasured<br />

for generations to come.<br />

But Barbara doesn’t want to stop<br />

at hospices. Identifying that there<br />

are those on the fringes of society<br />

who miss out on hospice care,<br />

she plans to expand the service to<br />

include people in prisons, those<br />

who are homeless, and people<br />

in the travelling community. The<br />

vision being to offer everyone in<br />

our society the same opportunity<br />

to build a legacy.<br />

Reflecting on this choice,<br />

Barbara’s reasoning is simple: “We<br />

just think it’s the right thing to do.”<br />


In the end, our lives become<br />

a series of stories, broken into<br />

chapters as we grow. From the<br />

school stories that remind us of<br />

our budding hopes and dreams,<br />

through the thrilling highs of<br />

adulthood – and the quiet lulls too<br />

– each experience makes us who<br />

we are, and who we are touches<br />

the people around us in ways that<br />

trickle down the generations.<br />

What Barbara and everyone else<br />

involved in the charity are doing<br />

with Hospice Biographers is giving<br />

us the chance to capture these<br />

stories in a physical way, to hold<br />

on to the voices and the memories<br />

of the people that we love, and to<br />

keep them alive in a way that only<br />

storytelling can do.<br />

<strong>August</strong> <strong>2019</strong> • happiful.com • 85

Walk on the wild side<br />

After years battling drink and drug addiction, walking saved<br />

Jonathan Hoban’s life. Here the psychotherapist and former<br />

musician explains how nature can help us find answers to our<br />

problems – and true happiness. The great outdoors, indeed…<br />

Writing | Gemma Calvert

‘In nature, we find the silence to hear<br />

our true thoughts and, in doing so,<br />

start to consider ourselves again’<br />

“ Look deep into<br />

nature, and then<br />

you will understand<br />

everything better.”<br />

From Albert Einstein’s<br />

words of wisdom, to Buddha<br />

urging his disciples to meditate in<br />

the jungle to reach a higher state<br />

of consciousness, the restorative<br />

effects of nature have long been<br />

understood.<br />

For centuries, millions have<br />

reaped physical and emotional<br />

rewards from being in the great<br />

outdoors – including former<br />

rock musician turned therapist<br />

Jonathan Hoban, who says being<br />

outside “guided and nurtured” him<br />

through recovery from substance<br />

abuse and grief.<br />

Since retraining in<br />

psychotherapy 20 years ago,<br />

Jonathan has devised Walking<br />

Therapy, which merges walking<br />

in nature with counselling. Be<br />

it strolling along a meandering<br />

riverbank, power walking through<br />

a dense pine forest, or sitting<br />

quietly in a postage stamp patch<br />

of parkland, he swears by the<br />

emotional healing power of<br />

outside spaces.<br />

“It’s not only about that low<br />

aerobic exercise, but when we<br />

walk in nature, our brain releases<br />

oxytocin, which is very meditative.<br />

And putting time for a walk in the<br />

diary – making time for yourself –<br />

is important because when we’re<br />

busy, we never make time for<br />

ourselves,” explains Jonathan.<br />

Away from their phones,<br />

computers, and the stresses of<br />

work and daily life, Jonathan’s<br />

clients discover the mental<br />

space to unravel problems that<br />

would otherwise stay buried,<br />

and connect to what he calls<br />

their “instinctive, wilder side”, or<br />

“primal energies”.<br />

“You might not want to do a<br />

job anymore but push down<br />

those feelings, and suppress<br />

that intuition, because you’re<br />

frightened of what you need to<br />

do with your life,” says Jonathan,<br />

adding that we’re in the midst of<br />

an “epidemic of stress, anxiety and<br />

depression”.<br />

A nation of over-workers,<br />

many of us are awash with stress<br />

hormone cortisol, which peaks<br />

when we’re frazzled. Inevitably,<br />

we lose our sense of personal<br />

boundaries, which is why we work<br />

through our lunch breaks, agree<br />

to overtime, or take work home at<br />

weekends – all of which damage<br />

personal relationships. Walking,<br />

though, has the power to rectify<br />

this imbalance.<br />

“The worst torment in the<br />

world is not being abandoned<br />

by someone else – it’s when you<br />

abandon yourself. But in nature,<br />

we find the silence to hear our true<br />

thoughts and, in doing so, start<br />

to consider ourselves again,” says<br />

Jonathan.<br />

In his book, Walk With Your Wolf:<br />

Unlock your intuition, confidence<br />

and power, which he wrote for<br />

people who want to become better<br />

connected to themselves but<br />

can’t afford counselling, Jonathan<br />

recommends keeping a walking<br />

diary. By jotting down one-word<br />

feelings before, during, and after<br />

each walk, we can be inwardly<br />

honest about our feelings, and<br />

discover what we need to lead a<br />

balanced and happy life.<br />

“The first boundary is with<br />

yourself and that commitment of<br />

‘I’m going to do this for me’,” says<br />

Jonathan, adding that technologyfree<br />

walking is another step in the<br />

right direction.<br />

“People want to feel loved<br />

and important, so are always<br />

wondering: ‘Is there another >>>

For that moment<br />

in my life, I had<br />

a purpose. I was<br />

moving forward<br />

and had control<br />

email?’ Our esteem is so based<br />

around what’s happening on our<br />

phones, it keeps our eyes looking<br />

down instead of up. Our eyes need<br />

to be up in order to connect with<br />

something – or someone – else.”<br />

Walking in nature, says Jonathan,<br />

helps us find solutions to problems.<br />

“When you walk, endorphins get<br />

released in the brain and you can<br />

start being more solutions-focused<br />

and strategically-focused,” he says.<br />

“So is it about taking a fourday<br />

week, quitting your job<br />

to do something different, or<br />

committing to take more breaks<br />

during the working day? The<br />

brain can work for 40 minutes<br />

maximum and it then needs a<br />

20-minute break, otherwise it<br />

will not work effectively. I’ve got<br />

more people to take more breaks<br />

throughout their day, and their<br />

efficiency and productivity has<br />

gone up by about 60–70%.”<br />

Jonathan would have done<br />

anything for such insight 23 years<br />

ago when he was in the grip of his<br />

addictions – dependent on cocaine<br />

and alcohol, blotting his pain after<br />

losing his mum to colon cancer<br />

when he was 17.<br />

His problems started earlier, at<br />

13 – “a little bit of gin here and<br />

there” – to cope with being bullied<br />

at school.<br />

“The world didn’t feel safe. I<br />

was bullied from the age of 10,<br />

and when mum died, the loss I<br />

felt was indescribable. I was so<br />

angry because I thought she’d<br />

endure anything. People say ‘talk<br />

about your feelings’ but when the<br />

pain is that deep, you can’t put it<br />

into words. I was drinking, doing<br />

cocaine, and smoking marijuana,<br />

and then, at 22, when I was trying<br />

to get clean, my brother died.”<br />

The trauma of losing his brother<br />

triggered an escalation of drug<br />

use to catastrophic levels until<br />

“a light switched on” inside<br />

Jonathan. Realising he would die<br />

if he did not seek professional<br />

help, he entered rehab, arranged<br />

counselling, and got sober.<br />

Then in the weeks and months<br />

that followed, he began walking<br />

every day on Wimbledon<br />

Common or Richmond Park,<br />


The Lake, Wimbledon Park<br />

This was the first place I started<br />

walking, when I was in the thick<br />

of it. There was something about<br />

watching ducks just being ducks<br />

that made me think: ‘It’s going<br />

to be OK.’ I realised I could make<br />

my journey as complicated as I<br />

wanted, or as simple as a duck<br />

following another duck. The big<br />

message from that moment was<br />

that life is for living.<br />

Wimbledon pond, around<br />

the Common, to the<br />

windmill and back<br />

When you’re in drug addiction,<br />

you’re disconnected with<br />

everything, and it’s the scariest<br />

thing – so one day I began<br />

naming the trees on my walk.<br />

They were like people I passed<br />

each day, so it was a way of<br />

reintroducing relationships,<br />

and widening the scope to<br />

realise there was more to life<br />

than just what was happening<br />

to me right then.<br />

Wimbledon Golf Club<br />

Since my dad died four years<br />

ago, I’ve felt great comfort<br />

returning to the walk I did with<br />

my family as a child. I feel my<br />

mum, brother, and dad are<br />

walking beside me. Sometimes<br />

we need physical space to<br />

tap into our past, and that’s<br />

why walks are so important,<br />

especially if you’ve done them<br />

with someone who’s passed.<br />

It’ll jog your memory about<br />

things you’ve been through,<br />

and conversations you’ve had.<br />

There’s great wisdom, comfort,<br />

and direction there, and it<br />

reminds us who we are.<br />

88 • happiful.com • <strong>August</strong> <strong>2019</strong>

a process that gave him the<br />

“strength to rebuild his life”<br />

and finally helped him conquer<br />

depression and anxiety.<br />

“My addictions gave me a sense<br />

of control, because I could choose<br />

when and where I decided to<br />

smash myself apart. It gave me a<br />

sense of autonomy when I’d lost<br />

my mum and brother, even though<br />

I was completely out of control,<br />

with no autonomy. But when I<br />

took a walk, that too gave me a<br />

sense of autonomy,” he says. “For<br />

that moment in my life, I had a<br />

purpose. I was moving forward<br />

and had control.”<br />

Five years ago, Jonathan moved<br />

from south-west London, where<br />

he developed Walking Therapy, to<br />

the Isle of Wight, where he lives<br />

with his wife and two daughters,<br />

and runs residential retreats for<br />

burned-out city workers. More<br />

often than not, on day three, he<br />

witnesses a flood of emotions as<br />

clients relax and the adrenaline<br />

wears off, exposing their true<br />

feelings.<br />

“We always look at drugs like<br />

alcohol but never consider the<br />

drugs that we create in ourselves,<br />

in our minds, with adrenaline<br />

being the main one,” says<br />

Jonathan, who believes walking<br />

and finding the mental space to<br />

confront difficult emotions can<br />

treat anxiety and depression long<br />

before they take hold.<br />

“If you think about anger being<br />

an energy, if you push that energy<br />

into a boiler, it will explode or<br />

implode. If it implodes, you<br />

get depression, but before it<br />

explodes, an alarm goes off –<br />

that’s anxiety. You’ve got to deal<br />

with the pressure that’s building<br />

up in the boiler beforehand,” he<br />

explains.<br />


Fast: “When you’re depressed,<br />

it’s fine to walk slowly, but I’ve<br />

found that when I’ve really<br />

walked, the blood begins racing<br />

around the body, which gets the<br />

endorphins going. The act of<br />

walking can help us channel out<br />

unwanted or negative feelings.”<br />

Slow: “Get rid of all the anger<br />

you’ve pent up over the day<br />

by ambling during your lunch<br />

break. Ambling is about slowing<br />

it down. Come out of the office<br />

and watch other people run<br />

around while you walk slowly.<br />

This is a great way to manage<br />

your adrenal glands and calm<br />

them down, which guards<br />

against burnout. The more we<br />

amble, the more we’re present<br />

and connected with everything<br />

around us because life isn’t<br />

flying past us.”<br />

My clients inspire me<br />

every single day. The<br />

power of what they’re<br />

able to achieve<br />

fascinates me<br />

As a psychotherapist, Jonathan<br />

feels privileged to be able to help<br />

others, using nature as a healer –<br />

a gift he luckily stumbled across<br />

before it was too late.<br />

“My clients inspire me every<br />

single day,” he smiles. “The power<br />

of what they’re able to achieve<br />

fascinates me, which is why if<br />

someone says, ‘I’m depressed, I’ll<br />

never get over it,’ I never carry that<br />

disbelief. ‘It will work,’ I say. ‘But<br />

you’ve got to put the work in.’”<br />

‘Walk With Your Wolf: Unlock your<br />

intuition, confidence and power’, by<br />

Jonathan Hoban (Yellow Kite, £14.99).<br />

Visit jonathanhoban.com for more.<br />

<strong>August</strong> <strong>2019</strong> • happiful.com • 89

Mental health<br />

matters<br />

Former fire dancer Sophie Lee has moulded<br />

a movement online, asking people to re-think<br />

what it means to be beautiful, and driving a<br />

call for acceptance. Here, she shares the things<br />

she turns to during hard times, and the people<br />

who inspire her to keep moving forward<br />

Mental health matters to me<br />

because… mental health affects<br />

every aspect of a person’s life.<br />

It’s important to be happy and<br />

confident on the inside, as other<br />

people’s opinions and actions can<br />

have a huge effect on us when we’re<br />

not stable with ourselves.<br />

When I need support I… speak to<br />

my close friends around me, and<br />

try to get a better understanding of<br />

my situation, as sometimes I can<br />

overthink a lot of problems.<br />

When I need some self-care, I…<br />

take time out to be alone. I<br />

sometimes forget that I need this,<br />

but then I recharge and revitalise,<br />

and I’m back to my energised self.<br />

The books I turn to time and again<br />

are… The Secret by Rhonda Byrne is<br />

like my Bible! I read it when I need<br />

advice, or any words of wisdom.<br />

People I find inspiring online are…<br />

Munroe Bergdorf, Katie Piper,<br />

and Steven Bartlett. They’re all<br />

very inspirational, and have a lot<br />

of motivational content that I can<br />

relate to.<br />

Three things I would say to someone<br />

experiencing mental ill-health are…<br />

be patient. Take your time. Life is<br />

not a race, everything is happening<br />

just at the right time.<br />

Trust yourself. We often forget<br />

that we are in control of the way<br />

we feel, we can allow or not<br />

allow situations to control our<br />

emotions. Be strong.<br />

Let it go. When we live with hate<br />

in our hearts, the only person<br />

suffering is ourselves. Release the<br />

anger and you will be much happier<br />

with whatever comes along in life.<br />

Sophie was left with severe burns after<br />

things went drastically wrong during<br />

one of her performances<br />

The moment I felt most proud of<br />

myself is… when I get messages<br />

from people around the world<br />

who have found inspiration in<br />

my story. It took a lot to put my<br />

insecurities aside and share the<br />

good and bad parts of my journey.<br />

But it’s all been worth it, as I’m<br />

proud that I could help to change<br />

people’s lives.<br />

For more from Sophie, follow her on<br />

Instagram: @sophirelee

Photography | Svetlana Pochatun<br />

Photography | Eduardo Dutra<br />

“<br />

Learn how to be happy with<br />

what you have while you<br />

pursue all that you want<br />


We’ve helped more than<br />

1 Million<br />

people connect with a therapist<br />

using Counselling Directory<br />

You are not alone<br />


Hooray! Your file is uploaded and ready to be published.

Saved successfully!

Ooh no, something went wrong!