Happiful January 2020

online.magazines

THE MAGAZINE DEVOTED TO MENTAL HEALTH

JAN 2020 £4.00

UNFILTERED

KEEPING IT

#REAL

Chessie King is shattering

the social media 'sheen', and

living her best, authentic life

Monday lovin’

Defeat that Sunday

night anxiety, once

and for all

HOT

YOGA

Feel the heat

and make it

mindful

Embrace

imperfection

5 mindful

moments to

make your day

BOSH!

Plant-based

& delicious

PLUS+

Burnout?

Reignite

your flame

Escape from the

pressure cooker &

listen to your body

9 772514 373000

01

HAPPIFUL.COM


Photography | Azamat Zhanisov


Real generosity towards

the future lies in giving

all to the present

– ALBERT CAMUS


Back to basics

“All you need is less.” No, it’s not a misquote of the

Beatles, but a Pinterest board favourite, set to inspire

us to be less focused on material things. Yet maybe

it can apply to more in our lives than clutter and

physical objects...

Maybe 2020 can be the year of less – less stress, less

hassle, less time wasted, less stretching yourself

to breaking point, and less worrying about other

people’s opinions of you.

At the start of a new year, we often feel pressured

to say ‘yes’ to new opportunities, shake up our lives

and pursue something out of the box. But what if

we stopped for a moment and said ‘no’, rather than

piling new responsibilities and resolutions on our

already full plates?

What if we stripped things back and spent all that

time and energy rediscovering ourselves, what we

need, what inspires and motivates us, and who we

truly are?

The wonderful Chessie King embraced this

attitude herself recently. After modelling and

bodybuilding put her under a microscope, she

said no more. To coincide with our makeup-free

shoot, Chessie bares all in her interview, and lets

her authentic self shine – which is helping others

in the process, too.

We also share advice for recognising, and

recovering from, burnout. Plus unconventional

ways to address anxiety, and how yoga has the

power to reconnect you with your body.

Focusing on your

own needs might feel

selfish, yet remember

another classic, but

accurate, saying: “You

can’t pour from an

empty cup.”

Cheers to that!

We love hearing from you, get in touch:

REBECCA THAIR | EDITOR

happiful.com happifulhq @happifulhq @happiful_magazine


14

The Uplift

8 In the news

05:

07

13 The wellbeing wrap

Features

16 Chessie King

The body-confidence guru opens up about

the lasting effect of pushing her body to its

limits, and how she found equilibrium

48

14 What is 'rust-out'?

Sundays full of dread? Watching the clock at

work? You could be experiencing 'rust-out'

50 Vets on the street

Discover the heart-warming charity ensuring

that no homeless animal is forgotten and

changing lives while they're at it

26 Extinguish burnout

Tips for tackling burnout, from someone

who has been there themselves

39 Go global

How does mental health care and stigma

vary around the world? We speak to six

people about their experiences

81 Bust anxiety, your way

Discover unconventional routes to

treating anxiety and see where your

journey takes you

62

Life Stories

45 David: Finding my place

David was caught in a 10-year cycle

of breakdowns and recovery, until he

discovered volunteering and the power

it had to transform his wellbeing

55 Lyn: Remembering my son

When Lyn's son took his own life, her

grief was all-consuming. But through

her pain, Lyn has been a voice for

change, and she's challenging the

stigma that stops people reaching out

85 Claire: Getting up again

Redundancy flipped Claire's world

upside down and left her filled with

self-doubt. Things took a turn for the

better when she discovered CBT, and

realised the power of change

Food & Drink

66 Sauté the day

Start your morning right with these deliciously

simple, feel-good breakfast recipes

68 The BOSH! revolution

Uncover the secrets of a perfect vegan feast

Lifestyle and

Relationships

58 Finding therapy

Columnist Grace Victory on her

journey to finding the right therapist

72 Bridge the gap

With advice from a counsellor, learn how

to talk to loved ones about binge drinking

75 Five mindfulness methods

76 Gemma Ogston

The plant-based chef shares how she

harnesses the power of self-care


Culture

36 Things to do in January

READER OFFER

Print

48 Ask the experts

Can hypnotherapy boost our confidence?

68

16

62 Jessamyn Stanley

The body-positive yoga teacher gets real

about the power of accepting yourself

64 Turn up the heat

We explore the benefits of hot yoga

88 Goodbye perfection

Candi Williams' latest book explores the

problem with perfection

90 Quickfire: MH matters

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EXPERT PANEL

Meet the team of experts who have come together to deliver

information, guidance, and insight throughout this issue

CHLOE BROTHERIDGE

MNCH (Reg)

Chloe is a hypnotherapist,

coach, and the host of the

'Calmer You' podcast.

JESSICA GOODCHILD

CHYP DHYP CIH

Jessica is an empowerment

coach and hypnotherapist who

helps to inspire personal growth.

RACHEL COFFEY

BA MA NLP Mstr

Rachel is a life coach

encouraging confidence

and motivation.

RAV SEKHON

BA MA MBACP (Accred)

Rav is a counsellor and

psychotherapist with more

than 10 years' experience.

PENELOPE LING

BA DHP SFBT CBT SFBTSUP

Penelope is a hypnotherapist

and supervisor, specialising in

anxiety-related problems.

PAULA COLES

BA MEd (Psych) PGCE, BACP Reg

Paula is a psychotherapist

and clinical supervisor

with 25 years' experience.

ELAINE MCKENZIE

MA BACP UKCP

Elaine is a counsellor offering

clinical supervision and

personal therapy.

GRAEME ORR

MBACP (Accred) BACP Reg Ind

Graeme is a counsellor

working with both

individuals and couples.

JOSEPHINE ROBINSON

DipCNM ANP

Josephine is a nutritional

therapist, and yoga and

meditation teacher.

KATERINA GEORGIOU

BA MA PG Dip Reg MBACP

Katerina is a counsellor who

uses creative techniques to

support clients.

OUR TEAM

EDITORIAL

Rebecca Thair | Editor

Kathryn Wheeler | Staff Writer

Tia Sinden | Editorial Assistant

Keith Howitt | Sub-Editor

Rav Sekhon | Expert Advisor

Grace Victory | Columnist

Ellen Hoggard | Web Editor

Bonnie Evie Gifford | Contributing Writer

Kat Nicholls | Contributing Writer

Becky Wright | Contributing Writer

ART & DESIGN

Amy-Jean Burns | Art Director

Charlotte Reynell | Graphic Designer

Rosan Magar | Illustrator

CONTRIBUTORS

Fiona Thomas, Katie Conibear, Lydia Smith,

Gemma Calvert, David Bromley, Penelope Ling,

Lyn Walton-McPhee, Claire Haye

SPECIAL THANKS

Paul Buller, James Gardiner, Amanda Clarke,

Krishan Parmar, Graeme Orr, Rachel Coffey,

Josephine (Beanie) Robinson, Chloe Brotheridge,

Paula Coles, Elaine McKenzie, Jessica Goodchild,

Katerina Georgiou, Lizzie Carr, Chloe Gosiewski

COMMUNICATIONS

Lucy Donoughue

Content and Communications

lucy.donoughue@happiful.com

Alice Greedus

PR Officer

alice.greedus@happiful.com

MANAGEMENT

Aimi Maunders | Director & Co-Founder

Emma White | Director & Co-Founder

Paul Maunders | Director & Co-Founder

FURTHER INFO

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Happiful is a brand of Memiah Limited. The

opinions, views and values expressed in Happiful

are those of the authors of that content and do

not necessarily represent our opinions, views or

values. Nothing in the magazine constitutes advice

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FIND HELP

CRISIS SUPPORT

If you are in crisis and are concerned for your

own safety, call 999 or go to A&E

Call Samaritans on 116 123 or email

them on jo@samaritans.org

Head to

happiful.com

for more services

and support

GENERAL LISTENING LINES

SANEline

SANEline offers support and information from 4.30pm–10.30pm:

0300 304 7000

Mind

Mind offers advice Mon–Fri 9am–6pm, except bank

holidays: 0300 123 3393. Or email: info@mind.org.uk

Switchboard

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

0300 330 0630. You can email: chris@switchboard.lgbt

IN THIS ISSUE

p16

p30

p45

p55

p72

p81

JOIN THE BE REAL CAMPAIGN

A campaign determined to change attitudes about body image, Be

Real offers resources on tackling body confidence topics, as well as

bringing together a community. Head to berealcampaign.co.uk

FIND A LIFE COACH IN YOUR AREA

Search for professional life coaches near you, and find out more

about how life coaching can support you, by visiting

lifecoach-directory.org.uk

SEARCH FOR VOLUNTEERING OPPORTUNITIES NEAR YOU

Get involved with community projects and boost your wellbeing by

discovering volunteering opportunities in your area. Simply search

for your postcode at do-it.org

SUPPORT AFTER SUICIDE

A network offering support to those who have been bereaved by

suicide. Discover stories, practical help, and local organisations at

supportaftersuicide.org.uk

INFORMATION ON ALCOHOL ABUSE AND ADDICTION

Speak with online advisors and learn more about tackling alcohol

addiction at drinkaware.co.uk

ADVICE FOR LIVING WITH ANXIETY

Call the No Panic helpline on 0844 967 4848 (charges apply) or find

information online at nopanic.org.uk


The Uplift

WELLNESS

Bristol dance

project supports

women living

with cancer

With one in three people

experiencing mental ill-health

before, during, or after treatment

for cancer, charity Penny Brohn UK

has teamed up with creative dance

project Move Dance Feel to offer

dance courses in Bristol for those

affected.

Designed for women with any

type or stage of cancer, the course

provides supportive group activity

to create an uplifting and gently

invigorating escape.

Founder Emily Jenkins explains

that she set up Move Dance Feel

to help women living with cancer

reconnect with their bodies.

“The project is centred around

artistic practice, where women

come together to dance instead of

talk about their cancer experience,”

Emily says.

As Penny Brohn UK see it, people

with cancer need more than

medicine, and holistic programmes

like this have the power to

transform wellness.

One previous participant said:

“When you have cancer, you lose

touch with your body. It becomes

unfamiliar – even worse, it starts to

feel as if it is an enemy.

“For me, dancing started to

bring me back to my own body

and its energy, strength, and basic

joyfulness.”

Find out more at pennybrohn.org.uk

Writing | Kathryn Wheeler

Photography | Camilla Greenwell


SCIENCE

Connection between learning a new

skill and reduced stress is revealed

What could rats driving tiny cars teach us about alternative

mental illness treatments?

It may seem like a far-out link, but

US researchers at the University

of Richmond have had promising

results from a recent study that put

rats behind the wheel.

Dr Kelly Lambert revealed that a

group of 17 rats were taught how to

drive tiny plastic cars, in exchange for

pieces of cereal, with the results going

on to indicate that the rats felt more

relaxed while completing the task.

The study looked at a mixture of labraised

rats and those that lived in a

more natural habitat, or an ‘enriched

environment’. Rats raised in these

more natural environments proved to

be significantly better drivers.

Following the trials, researchers

examined the rat’s faeces to test

stress hormone levels, as well as to

check for the anti-stress hormone,

dehydroepiandrosterone. All test

subjects were shown to have higher

levels of the anti-stress hormone,

which researchers believe may

be linked to the satisfaction of

learning a new skill, leading them

to suggest that this could be a step

towards helping develop nonpharmaceutical

treatments for

mental illness.

While Dr Lambert points out that

more research needs to be done

to explore the effect in different

animals, this discovery could make

waves in mental health treatment,

and we’re along for the ride!

Writing | Bonnie Evie Gifford

COMMUNITY

‘Happy to chat’

bench tackles

loneliness

A simple ‘happy to chat’ sign on

benches is helping communities

tackle loneliness. The idea is the

brainchild of Allison Owen-Jones,

from Cardiff, who spotted an elderly

man sitting alone on a bench,

wanted to say hello, but realised he

might not want to be disturbed.

“I came up with the idea of tying a

sign that would open the avenues for

people,” Allison told the BBC.

The idea quickly snowballed,

leading the Bristol-based Senior

Citizen Liaison Team to set up

partnerships with local police to

create permanent ‘chat benches’.

It’s estimated that there are more

than a million chronically lonely

older people in the UK, with half

a million going at least five days a

week without speaking to anyone.

Talking to Happiful about the

success of the chat bench initiative,

co-founder Detective Sergeant

Ash Jones said: “The initiative has

had a fantastic response from the

community, with hundreds – if not

thousands – of chat benches now

around the world. This is beyond my

wildest aspirations, and I hope that

awareness of the impact of chronic

loneliness on the elder community

will be its lasting legacy.”

A simple way to get involved, Ash

explains, is to download the sign

from their website, sclt.us/chatbench,

and adopt a local bench. “It’s

successful because it’s that simple!”

Writing | Kat Nicholls

January 2020 • happiful.com • 9



I like the crackling logs,

the shaded lights, the

scent of buttered toast,

the general atmosphere

of leisured cosiness

― PG WODEHOUSE


LIFESTYLE

Getting cosy

could boost your

wellbeing

Lighting some candles, curling up

under a blanket, sipping on a hot

chocolate – for many, these are the

ingredients for a perfect evening.

And if that sounds like you, we’ve got

some good news, as new research has

revealed that getting snug could have

real benefits for our mental health.

In a study commissioned by

Contura, 2,000 adults were surveyed

about their lifestyles. The results

showed that six in 10 believed that

they ‘need’ a certain level of cosiness

in their lives in order to feel good,

with a further two-thirds noting the

positive effect a relaxed evening has

on their overall wellbeing.

Considering the study, psychologist

Dr Becky Spelman was unsurprised

by the results.

“As a species, we are fundamentally

territorial, which means for most

people home is very important on

an emotional as well as a practical

level,” Dr Spelman explains. “During

the winter months, with the long

hours of darkness, it makes sense

for us to want to hunker down in our

‘den’, taking care of ourselves, and

the people, and things, we hold dear.”

So, draw the curtains, dim the

lights, and pull on your fluffiest

socks, because getting snug could

be the perfect way to boost your

wellbeing this winter.

Writing | Kathryn Wheeler

January 2020 • happiful.com • 11


Take 5

Embrace Mother Nature and get those keen eyes at the ready for

our natural world themed puzzle picks this month

How did you do?

Search'freebies' at

shop.happiful.com

to find the answers,

and more!

Spot the difference

Keep an eye out for 9 changes between the images

Wordsearch

A F A T T I N B A R O U F

F O R E S T B A T H I N G

Theme: nature

Attenborough

Fresh air

Forest bathing

Birding

Trees

Exploring

Adventure

Rambling

Lake

Peace

P A C T H E X P T I O V N

A D V E N T U R E T Y X I

R E R E P I L F N A S T L

T X E T P N G T B D C I B

U P L H A N N R O V E E M

A L M T I A I U R E X K A

L O A D K L T E O P I A R

M R R R E P R X U C T L L

F I N G B Y E S G R B A I

B N R T F R E S H A I R G

R G L A E K S F R E M B N


Going up

Humpback

whales are back

from near

extinction – from

450 to around

25,000

Brush up!

Good oral hygiene

is linked to better

heart health

The

wellbeing

wrap

Nature’s heroes

Experts have revealed

that thanks to forgetful

grey squirrels, who bury

their nuts and acorns and

don’t return for them,

hundreds of trees have

become seedlings each

year! Squirrelling things

away has never been so

helpful!

Listening to 78 minutes of

music each day can benefit

your wellbeing – according

to the British Academy

of Sound Therapy, and

the streaming platform

Deezer. The study found

that 90% of people used

music to relax, and

therapeutic benefits

began after just 11

minutes of listening.

HANKERING FOR A HOLIDAY?

A chance to relax and refresh, we all love an

adventure abroad, or a little staycation. But it turns

out that 51% of Brits have booked a vacation to

benefit their wellbeing, and it seems stress is a

primary reason why. The study by DFDS revealed

that 37% of Brits have felt forced to take a holiday

due to everyday work and life stresses.

World of

Wonder

Nature photography is

believed to help with mental

illness by developing a skill,

encouraging focus, and with

wildlife, requires a lot of

patience! Time to pick up

a camera and start

#OTRocks exploring...

Find a pebble,

pick it up! An initiative

backed by occupational therapists in

West Sussex sees patients engaging

in art classes to help spread a smile to

others. They paint uplifting messages

on pebbles, and hide them around

Sussex Partnership hospitals and the

local community, for people to find

and brighten their day. The hope is

people will re-hide the pebbles to

continue spreading the positivity to

someone else in need.

Formula 1

has announced

plans to go carbon

neutral by 2030

Instagram has

banned plastic

surgery filters

to improve MH

75% of teachers

describe themselves

as ‘stressed’

Going down

‘THE PILLOW BANDIT’

With two thirds of cat and dog owners letting their

furry pals snuggle in with them at bedtime, research

from itchpet.com has revealed the 10 most common

sleeping positions for pets – and I’m sure some are

all too familiar! From ‘the sneak’, where your friend

gradually snuggles further up your bed, to ‘the donut

divider’ who curls up in a ball between your legs,

to ‘the pillow bandit’ where your cheeky pet

decides sharing is caring and steals your whole

pillow – I certainly know a culprit who does latter.

WITH ONE IN EIGHT

MEN AFRAID TO SEEK

SUPPORT FOR THEIR

MENTAL HEALTH, 12

BRILLIANT MEN FROM

ESSEX ARE PUTTING

THEMSELVES OUT

THERE FOR A CHARITY

‘DAD BOD CALENDAR’,

WITH PROFITS GOING

TO THE MENTAL

HEALTH FOUNDATION.

WORKING 9 TO 5...

Could be a thing of the

past – at least for five days

a week, that is. In August

2019, a Microsoft subsidiary

in Japan closed its office

every Friday, and saw a

40% boost in productivity.

It noted printing decreased

by 58%, and electricity

use was down 23%,

making it a win for

the environment too!

Time to train

We all know the mind–body

connection is strong, and now

a new facility in Manchester has

become the first mental health

gym in the UK to really emphasise

that relationship.

The Hero Training Club features

all the traditional gym essentials,

with equipment and weights,

but also offers psychiatrist

appointments, has trained staff to

spot mental illnesses, encourages

members to track their mental

health in an app, and to attend

mental resilience sessions.

For those who like to tailor

their workout, wellbeing care

has lots of choice too, as it also

offers mindfulness sessions,

hypnotherapy, and sleep

workshops – a holistic health hub,

meaning your membership pass

won’t lie in a draw gathering dust.


What is

-

?

Do you find yourself watching the clock at work, counting down the hours until you can go

home? Or maybe you fantasise about the day you can hand in your notice? ‘Rust-out’ happens

when we’re understimulated at work, and it can be detrimental to our mental health…

Writing | Fiona Thomas

Illustrating | Rosan Magar

Some say that our addiction

to being busy is a 21stcentury

epidemic. We feel

smug as we announce

to friends that we’re slammed at

work, taking on extra projects

and barely finding time to sleep

or even have a lunch break. I hold

my hands up. I’m guilty of ‘busy

bragging’, and shoving my work-life

in people’s faces like an Olympic

medal. I’m unashamedly proud

of my jam-packed schedule, and

yet painfully aware of the mental

health implications that can arise

from burnout. So much so, that

it’s hard for me to imagine that

having absolutely nothing to do,

day after day, could have the same

negative impact on my wellbeing.

Surely an empty inbox and zero

responsibilities create the path to

nirvana?

Believe it or not, a lack of mental

stimulation at work can be just as

harmful as too much. Whatever

you do, boredom will get under

your skin. Workplace boredom

even has its own name. It’s known

as ‘rust-out’ — a term defined by

psychotherapist and Counselling

Directory member Paula Coles as:

“Work which is uninspiring and fails

to stretch the person, so that they

become disinterested, apathetic,

and alienated.”

MORE THAN JUST BOREDOM

Most people experience boredom at

work from time to time, but rust-out

relates to chronic boredom that is so

serious it can be detrimental to both

your mental and physical health

– it can even take years off your

lifespan. It’s particularly common

in young graduates, who often

end up working in jobs for which

they are overqualified. It can strike

again for middle managers who

have reached a glass ceiling in their

career trajectory, stuck in endless

meetings, unchallenged by the role,

yet unable to progress.

Left to fester, rust-out can lead to

depression, sleepiness, cravings

for sugary or fatty foods, and an

increase in risk-taking behaviours.

According to Paula, this proclivity

for thrill-seeking can show up on

our phones.

“In modern-day workplace

boredom, it might be fair to

assume that individuals would

seek stimulation and connection

through social media,” says

Paula, “especially Tinder and

online gambling apps, which can

potentially lead to a person getting

into circumstances which might

become out of control.”

The symptoms of rust-out are felt

by the individual first and foremost,

but the ramifications can have a

ripple effect on companies, too.

Employers may observe increased

sickness, absenteeism, work errors,

and even work-related accidents.

One in four employees claim to

be unhappy in their current role,

and with our sense of fulfilment so

closely linked to what we do for a

living, it’s no wonder that rust-out

can lead to feelings of worthlessness

and self-deprecation.

14 • happiful.com • January 2020


05:

07

Left to fester,

rust-out can

lead to

depression,

sleepiness,

cravings for sugary

or fatty foods,

and an increase

in risk-taking

behaviours

OPPORTUNITY FOR GROWTH

But like every human emotion,

boredom does have a function. It

might be the catalyst that forces you

to make a change – whether that’s

applying for a promotion, taking on

extra responsibility, or rethinking

your career entirely. It could even

be the red flag that highlights a

deeper reason for rust-out.

Thankfully, professional help can

resolve any underlying issues. “Are

you a people pleaser? Do you find

it hard to be assertive, and to ask

for what you want? Do you have

imposter syndrome, and feel you

don’t really deserve career success?”

asks Paula. “A good therapist can

help you look at where these beliefs

come from, and work with you to

develop a more robust internal

locus of control.”

This dimension of core selfevaluation

can help you find

meaning — and ultimately

happiness — internally, instead of

relying on external sources, such as

your employer.

LOOKING OUTSIDE THE BOX

Finding fulfilment outside of work

is important, and this can begin

with a hobby that challenges

you. Studies show that people

who have feelings of continued

development and personal growth

tend to have an increased sense of

life satisfaction and self-esteem.

Participating in an activity you are

passionate about (anything from

running, to painting, to motorcycle

maintenance) could be your key to

personal fulfilment, and fighting off

rust-out for good.

If you’re staring down the barrel

of a long, boring January at work,

then don’t be afraid to raise your

concerns with employers. Ask to be

Common symptoms

• Irritability

• Depression

• No sense of purpose

• Lack of motivation

• Anxiety

Common causes

• Not enough work to go around

• Previously complex tasks have

been automated or outsourced

• Repetitive tasks

• Over-skilled for current role

• Too much paperwork

• Lack of ownership or creativity

• Excessive control from

supervisors

involved in tasks that make the most

of your skills and push you to learn

new ones. Ask to go on a training

course or, if you’re in a senior role,

develop an in-house training project

to assist others. You could even

set the ball rolling on a wellbeing

project to tackle the very issue of

rust-out in your organisation. This

‘creative tension’ is vital in the

search for true job satisfaction.

January 2020 • happiful.com • 15


Coming

full-circle

Rising to fame for her body confidence Instagram posts, influencer, presenter, and

feel-good guru Chessie King is here to tell you: it’s about time you loved yourself.

But the journey to the brighter place she is now hasn’t been without its twists and turns.

Scouted by a modelling agency at just 17, and then going on to enter a bikini

competition and pushing her body to its limits, it has taken Chessie some

time to find a sense of equilibrium with her body.

But through the challenges, Chessie has learned many lessons. From building up

empathy and discovering the things that bond us, to channelling her voice into causes

that support others, Chessie is leading the way to a kinder, more bubbly future. Here we

talk about her biggest lesson to date: unearthing unconditional self-love

Interview | Kathryn Wheeler

Photography | Paul Buller

It began when she was 16.

Before that – Chessie King

tells me, as we settle down

on a sofa in the corner of the

photography studio – she saw

her body as a vessel that carried

her head around.

But then something changed.

It started with anxiety about

her height – at 6ft she was much

taller than her friends – which

moved on to other areas, and

then her clothing size.

“Then, when I was 17 years

old, I really started focusing on

my body,” Chessie explains. “I

became wildly addicted to what I

looked like.

“I focused on every single part

of me that I hated. I became

fixated on other people and

trying to look like them instead of

becoming myself, which is really

weird because, at that point in

your life, you’re going through so

much change.” >>>


Blazer | Shein


But things were about to get a lot

weirder...

When she was 17, Chessie was

scouted by a modelling agency.

This was 2010, the year that French

Elle released a special edition

featuring plus-sized women on

the cover, leading The Guardian to

declare that fashion’s last taboo had

been broken. In hindsight, it may

have been a premature assertion –

but as Chessie recalls, even at the

time, the reality for those on the

other side of the camera was far

from a revolutionary celebration of

diverse bodies.

I became fixated on

other people and

trying to look like

them instead of

becoming myself

something that I felt self-conscious

about anyway. I was watching this

happen and thought: ‘Are they

doing this to test out a few things?’

But when the photos went out,

that’s how they looked. I was like,

that’s not me... That is definitely

not me.”

As Chessie explains how these

days we all have the ability to

airbrush our photos beyond

recognition with just our phones,

she cuts off to sing along to the

song playing over the studio

speakers. It’s Lizzo’s self-love

anthem ‘Good As Hell’, and despite

fighting through the jet-lag after

her flight home from Bali the day

before, today Chessie is “feeling

good as hell”.

Sitting crossed-legged on the sofa,

after kicking off her boots as soon

as we began our interview, Chessie

radiates the confidence of someone

who appears to be completely at

ease with themselves. But, as she

explains, she didn’t get to where

she is today without a fair few

bumps in the road.

In 2015, Chessie embarked on

what she refers to as a “science

experiment”. Having spent

some time immersing herself

in the fitness community after

interviewing individuals as part of

her work as a presenter, Chessie

found herself drawn to bikini

competitions.

A highly competitive community,

where women train intensely

to showcase their physiques

to a panel of judges, bikini

competitions expect participants

to dedicate themselves entirely

to the demands of their physical

categories, and they are judged on

muscularity, condition, symmetry,

and presentation.

“I was going to all the fitness

classes and working out, and then

people were like, ‘You should do

a bikini competition, you’re a

performer!’ I said, ‘I would never

do that, it’s too extreme,’” Chessie

recalls. “But then I thought it would

be a good science experiment – it

would be interesting to see how

my body would change from eating

well and working out strictly.”

With just 18 weeks to transform

her body, things got very intense

very quickly.

“I was taken places I never

thought I’d go,” Chessie reflects.

“Sometimes I would be training

at five in the morning, crying on

a treadmill. People at the gym got

to know me because I was there so

much, and they would be like, ‘Oh

God, she’s on her low-carb day.’”

What began as a light-hearted

inquiry into the limits of the

human body, quickly became a lifeconsuming

obsession. And despite

drastically transforming herself,

when the day of the show arrived,

Chessie didn’t meet the standards

of the judges.

“My feedback afterwards was:

‘Chessie is too big, she’s carrying

too much weight.’”

Coincidently, the day of our shoot

was exactly four years since that

bikini competition. It’s a huge

milestone, particularly considering

how Chessie says it took her

two years after that to return to

normality.

“People talk about the 18 weeks

leading up to it, which is obviously

so physically and mentally

exhausting, but then you’ve just

restricted yourself every single day.

And I rebelled against everything

– I literally went into rebellion

Chessie mode.

“They said they would only

take me on if I lost weight,” she

explains. “And then at every

casting, they would hand me a size

zero skirt. All of them would watch

me try to get into it, but I wouldn’t

be able to.”

During this time, the features

of Chessie’s body that couldn’t be

changed by diet and exercise were

quickly altered in post-production

while still on set. She recalls a time

when she was in Ibiza shooting

for a swimwear company, and she

watched her body being edited and

distorted in front of her eyes.

“They shrunk me to half the size,”

she explains. “They smoothed all

of the back of my legs out, which is >>>

January 2020 • happiful.com • 19


“I couldn’t understand why

everyone had willpower and I

didn’t, even though I had such

strong willpower before. If there

was a tub of chocolate, I would eat

until I was sick. And then I would

be like, how is everyone just

eating one?

“Bigger support is needed after

competitions,” she continues. “It’s

masking disordered eating, it’s

masking problems that you have

covered up in the past – for me

that’s what it was.”

For three years following the

competition, Chessie didn’t want

to speak about it. She was hurt by

the feedback, but also didn’t want

people to think that it reflected

who she was. Turning the tables

on that mindset wasn’t easy, but

it began with addressing negative

self-talk, calling herself on it,

and taking steps to be kinder to

herself.

“I catch myself on days when I

am feeling negative and putting

myself down and I think, would I

ever let anyone else say that about

me? Would I let them say, ‘Your

thighs are huge and they look

really bumpy?’ Would I ever let

anyone say that to me – a stranger

or a friend? No. And would I ever

say that to someone else? No.

“When you truly are your own

best friend, you speak to yourself

calmly, and kindly, and you speak

to yourself with love and respect.”

For Chessie, thinking about her

body in very literal ways helps

her to break away from external

pressures. Thanking her lungs for

breathing, her heart for beating,

and her legs for carrying her

where she wants to go, grounds

her in the reality that her body is

so much more than a prop.

“You don’t need a PhD to know

your body. I know the functions

of all of my organs – and once

you strip it back to that, it’s

so amazing,” says Chessie.

“Sometimes I literally just put my

hand on my heart, and I think,

‘Thank you so much for keeping

me alive.’”

When you truly are

your own best friend,

you speak to yourself

calmly, and kindly, and

you speak to yourself

with love and respect

And the capability of our bodies

to create new life is something

Chessie is in awe of. Motherhood is

a challenge that she’s desperately

excited about embarking on,

eventually. For now, she’s gone

back to school to train as a doula –

a non-medical person who offers

emotional support to women

through childbirth.

“Female bodies are phenomenal,”

Chessie declares. “Womanhood,

for me, is connecting with women

all over the world and having that

understanding that we’re all similar.

We’re deficient in community and

friendship, we all crave that sense of

belonging, but if you open your eyes

to being connected with women

worldwide, it’s so powerful.

“When we were younger, if you

saw someone on the road with

the same car you beeped at them!

Womanhood is like that. It’s a

sisterhood; if you use your voice

on your own you can be heard by

10 people, but if you use your voice

with other women around you, you

can be heard by millions of people.

I think that is so empowering.”

When women raise each other up,

the sky’s the limit. But on the flip

side, it’s all the more painful when

we tear each other down.

Online trolling is something that

Chessie is, sadly, all too familiar

with. But, deciding to take a stand

against it, in April 2018 Chessie

worked with a group of digital

experts to create a version of

herself that had been altered to

reflect the comments she received.

Criticisms on everything from her

face to the size and shape of her

body were collected, and a photo

of her was edited to match each

comment.

The result, shared on her

Instagram, was an unsettling,

uncanny version of Chessie. With

huge, bug-like eyes, swollen lips,

cinched waist, and impossibly thin

arms, she looks barely human.

“I shared my first body confidence

post three years ago, and that

wasn’t from a place of ‘I’m going to

start a massive trend’ or whatever,

it was just that I felt it needed to

be heard,” Chessie explains, as she

reflects on why she decided to use

her platform to promote a body

confident message. “At the time, I

was sucked into a sea of perfection,

because that was all I knew and all

that I saw: filters and editing.

“And then I was like, actually hold

on. I can’t see anyone on Instagram

that I can relate to, there was no

one being ridiculous and silly, it

just wasn’t a thing. Then I posted

back in 2016, at the start of the

year, that this was the year of body

confidence – this is the year we

embrace our bodies.” >>>

20 • happiful.com • January 2020


Dress | Banana Republic


Jumper | Sézane, Hair & Skincare | Rosalique and Paul Mitchell


It was a New Year’s resolution of

sorts; something that Chessie threw

herself into, and she hasn’t looked

back since – regularly posting

‘Instagram vs reality’ images, as

well as candid, unposed moments

that show her body in its natural

state. Though as natural as they may

be, the decision to push past the

pressure to be perfect was not easy.

“The more I opened myself up, the

scarier it was,” Chessie says. “Back

then, it was being quite vulnerable.

But now I don’t care, I will share

anything as long as it’s helping

someone – and I’m trying to do that

offline as much as I am online.”

In June 2019, Chessie launched

Dedicate to Educate – a campaign

that calls for an additional hour

of lessons on mental health, body

image, and sex education topics,

to be included in the school

curriculum each week.

“When I want to do something, I

will do it straight away. One thing

I pride myself on is being brave

and fearless, and taking risks,”

Chessie says, when asked why she

embarked on this project. “But I’m

not taking this risk for me, I’m using

my voice and my platform for the

people who need it, and the future

generation. I put out a post saying

I was going to do this, and got 6,000

messages in one night saying this

needs to happen. So that was when I

realised people are on board!”

Of course, changes to the

national curriculum don’t happen

overnight, and so in the meantime,

Chessie regularly visits schools

to speak to young people about

mental health and body image. So

often she sees herself in the people

she speaks to, picking up on the

same anxieties and concerns that

plagued her adolescence.

“I didn’t have a role model to look

up to,” Chessie continues. “I want to

be that role model that I didn’t have,

and to speak out for those who don’t

have a voice.

“When I’m at schools speaking

and telling my story, girls say they

don’t want it to take five years. I’m

like, it’s a process and it’s not going

to happen overnight. And when you

have to go through that and then

come out the other side, you do

appreciate your body even more.”

I try to take what I

lost, like my hearing,

and I look at what

I gained, like an

awareness of what

other people are

going through

This idea of building empathy

through adversity is something that

Chessie has experienced in other

parts of her life. When she was just

23, Chessie partially lost her hearing

following a heart episode, which

doctors suspect may have been a

mini-stroke. Today, Chessie wears a

hearing aid.

“That’s amazing to me because

it opened me up to the deaf

community, and I was connecting to

people online who I wouldn’t have

in real life,” Chessie explains. “I’m

more aware of invisible illnesses

– I’m more empathetic. I think it

made me a kinder person. I try to

take what I lost, like my hearing,

and I look at what I gained, like an

awareness of what other people

are going through. Of course,

when it first happened I was like,

oh my God I’m 23 and I’ve just

lost my hearing. But it taught me

something.

“Now I’m so liberated and alive,

though I do feel like I lost five years

of my life,” Chessie says, before

checking herself. “Well, not lost

it, because it made me who I am –

but now I believe in myself and I

support myself as much as I support

everyone else. I’ve always been

everyone else’s cheerleader and

struggled to be proud of myself.”

It’s a common yet true concept:

everything we go through stays

with us, and comes together

to make us the people that we

are – experiences are the puzzle

pieces that create an ever-evolving

portrait of you. Sometimes those

experiences are painful, as Chessie

recognises, but through them

we learn about our limits and

strengths, as well as the things that

connect us to others.

“I think I’ve come back round

in a circle,” Chessie says as we

reach the end of our chat. “When

I was younger, I was so free and

my priority in life was to make

everyone smile and be happy. And

then I went through a stage when

I was 18 to 23 of just hating myself.

And now I’ve come full circle and

I’m back to being free.”

So, if 18-year-old Chessie could

see herself today, what would she

say? Chessie doesn’t pause for a

second: “Go on, girl!”

For more from Chessie, follow her on

Instagram @chessiekingg

Styling | Krishan Parmar

Hair & Skincare | Amanda Clarke

at Joy Goodman

January 2020 • happiful.com • 23


How to be more

assertive

It’s not about confrontations and arguments, it’s about being open and

honest – plus being more emphatic and assured can help to lower our

stress levels, and raise our self-esteem

Writing | Katie Conibear Illustrating | Rosan Magar


Assertiveness

is something

that makes

many people

uncomfortable. We

often mistake it for confrontation,

and worry that we’ll be seen as

argumentative or awkward.

But in our current world, the

constant news cycle often creates

situations where we want to

disagree with someone, yet can be

afraid of a simple point turning into

a big argument. At work, we fear if

we say ‘no’ to something, we’ll be

treated less favourably. With friends

and relationships, we want to please

everyone, and keep the peace. In

the end, no one likes to be disliked.

Real assertiveness isn’t any

of this. It’s about being open

and honest, and expressing our

feelings and opinions calmly and

sensitively. In fact, being assertive

is good for you. It lowers your

stress levels, and it helps you gain

self-confidence and self-esteem.

Instead of shying away from

a comment that’s bugging you,

assertiveness can help you to

understand and recognise your

feelings. Being assertive can

also help us express our feelings

on issues we’re passionate

about. It helps us create honest

relationships – and an honest

relationship is a healthy one.

Ultimately, it allows us to become

better communicators with

everyone in our lives.

With all that in mind, there’s no

doubt assertiveness is beneficial to

our overall wellbeing. Here are five

top tips that can put you on track to

expressing yourself assertively.

PRACTISE SAYING ‘NO’

This isn’t about just saying the

word ‘no’. Often it’s about phrasing

a ‘no’ answer sensitively. It’s always

good to start with a positive, such

as: ‘Thanks for inviting me’ or,

‘Thank you for considering me.’

This shows you appreciate, or have

understood, the request. What can

be offered to that person instead?

Maybe you’ve been asked to help

someone out, but that day doesn’t

work for you? Suggest another

time, or offer something that you

can do. Saying ‘no’ is being true to

ourselves, and to our own feelings.

ACTIVELY LISTEN

If we really hear what a person

is telling us, then we’re able to

formulate a more articulate and

informed answer.

When someone makes a

statement we disagree with, it can

be easy to jump to conclusions, stop

listening, or just barge in with our

opinion. When we allow the person

to explain their stance, they feel

they have been listened to, and are

more likely to be receptive when we

question them. Begin a response

by stating what they’ve said, or how

they’re feeling, and then we can talk

about our own opinion.

CHANGE YOUR PERSPECTIVE

Confrontation is often something

we find difficult. If we challenge

the way we look at a situation, it

can help us shift our perspective.

If we look at it as a debate, or a

difference in opinion, then we’re

less likely to see it as escalating.

We also know that expressing

ourselves will relieve stress, and

will often resolve a problem – so

we should tell ourselves this.

Catastrophising – where we

always think the worst outcome

will happen – can hinder us,

however. It’s helpful at this point

to ask ourselves a few questions:

Are our thoughts about what could

happen realistic? How likely is it

to happen, or actually be true? Is

there a similar situation we can

think of where everything was OK?

LEARN TO COMPROMISE

Sometimes it helps to reserve a

‘no’ answer for something that

isn’t possible for us, or we’re

not comfortable with. Coming

to a compromise, especially in

relationships, often keeps both

parties happy.

Of course, it’s possible to express

our feelings and to come to a

compromise. It’s important to be

able to state our opinion and move

on, by suggesting something both

sides are comfortable with. Being

assertive is sometimes knowing

when to pick our battles, and when

to compromise.

STAYING QUIET

This might sound strange on a list

about assertiveness, but staying

quiet in some situations is the

best option. We’ve all been in

conversations at a party, or in a

meeting, when a subject comes up

that we deeply disagree with. We

often feel the compulsion to agree

or stay neutral when the majority

of a group are agreeing.

Saying nothing might not

feel assertive, but it’s a way of

demonstrating to ourselves that we

don’t have to agree with everything

being said, just to keep the peace.

Assertiveness can build our

confidence and the more we assert

ourselves, the easier it becomes!

Katie Conibear is a freelance writer,

focusing on mental health. She blogs

at stumblingmind.com and has a

podcast, ‘A Life Lived Vividly’, with a

focus on hearing voices.


Five lessons I learned from

experiencing burnout

Overwhelmed by your workload? Stressed by the smallest tasks? Pushing

yourself too hard to reach the top? Maybe it’s time to put your health and

happiness above simple success at the office

Writing | Fiona Thomas

lay in bed, struggling to wake.

I was tired from the evening

before. Had I eaten dinner? No.

I’d had a bottle of wine instead,

to relax. A few days earlier during

a driving lesson, I had driven on

the wrong side of the road. I didn’t

know why. On that same day, I had

screamed at a work colleague over

something insignificant – something

about tomatoes – and had to

apologise later.

I thought about the busy morning

ahead. I wanted to recoil from all

my work responsibilities, but I

couldn’t see a way out. I fantasised

about falling down the stairs or

being hit by a car. Anything that

would incapacitate me and give me

some time off work.

Two hours later I sat at my desk to

work through my list of tasks, but I

couldn’t get started. I couldn’t attend

the meeting. I couldn’t pick up the

phone. I couldn’t face my team. I

hid in the toilets and cried for what

seemed like hours, then I phoned

my GP and made an appointment.

It turned out that I been

unknowingly living with burnout

for more than six months. My

symptoms included (but were not

limited to) agitation, tearfulness,

physical and mental exhaustion,

frustration, and a sense of

hopelessness. But through this

difficult time, I can now take some

positives in what I’ve learned from

living with burnout…

1 Being off sick doesn’t mean you

are bad at your job

I first started feeling the symptoms

long before I asked for help, and

the main reason I avoided reaching

out was that I didn’t realise it was

a health issue – I thought it was a

competency issue. I thought that

I was overwhelmed and stressed

because I was under-qualified.

But after taking three months of

sick leave, I attempted to return to

work and I couldn’t carry out even

the simplest of tasks. That was

proof that there was something

medically wrong with me. I then

knew for sure that my brain wasn’t

functioning normally, and I found

that strangely comforting.

2 You’ve got to vocalise your

issues in the workplace

During the six months that I was

quietly crumbling away, I thought

it was obvious to everyone around

me. After an extended period of

sick leave, I was asked to meet my

employers to discuss what had

been going on. It was only then

that I realised they had no idea

how much I had on my plate. I

couldn’t really complain about

the lack of support, because I

hadn’t given the slightest hint

that I needed any. You’ve got to be

explicit when you need support,

and chase down your employers

to help manage your workload.

Otherwise, you’re doing yourself a

disservice.

3 Work achievements aren’t

everything

Burnout hit me hardest after I took

on a lot of extra responsibility at

work. No one forced me to step

into the role; I wanted to prove to

my employers that I was capable. I

pushed myself because I wanted to

be a high achiever. When burnout

took over, depression and anxiety

quickly followed, and I quit my

job to focus on recovery. It was

only then I figured out that work

achievements are no substitute for

health and happiness.

26 • happiful.com • January 2020


4 Stress means something

different to everyone

The things that weighed heavily

on me during my period of

burnout are things that some

people take in their stride. Moving

house. Managing a team. Dealing

with customer complaints. This

concoction of stressors, combined

with my inability to take care of

myself, was a breeding ground

for physical symptoms such as

anxiety, headaches, and fatigue.

In turn, these made me less able

to carry out my work, which made

me more stressed. I’m now more

aware of my triggers, and schedule

in rest days to compensate.

5 Work shouldn’t define you

Although leaving my job was

essential to my recovery from

burnout, being unemployed came

with its own set of problems.

Without my career, I felt like I

had no purpose, and no identity.

I feared making small talk with

anyone, as I thought I had nothing

of value to add to the conversation.

I had put all my eggs in one basket,

and when that was taken away, I

was left with nothing. >>>

January 2020 • happiful.com • 27


WHAT IS BURNOUT?

The World Health Organisation refers to burnout as a

“syndrome conceptualised as resulting from chronic

workplace stress that has not been successfully managed”,

and is defined by three symptoms:

• Feelings of energy depletion or exhaustion

• Increased mental distance from one’s job, or feeling

negative towards one’s career

• Reduced professional productivity

This classification was documented in 2019, so specific

statistics are hard to find. However, in 2018 it was reported

that 595,000 Britons suffered from work-related stress.

28 • happiful.com • January 2020


*

Take back control of your time with our

self-care calendar. Head to p15 in

our January supplement to

schedule some you-time

It took a lot of soul-searching to

figure out who I wanted to be

outside of work, but it means that

now I have a string of hobbies

and interests unrelated to my job,

so I’ll always have something to

talk about!

How to recover from burnout

If you recognise or can relate to

my five lessons, then it could be

a sign that you’re in need of some

support, too.

Talk to your doctor

Burnout is now an official

medical diagnosis, so don’t be

scared to bring it up with your

GP. They will be able to offer you

advice on medication, treatment,

or lifestyle changes that could

improve your symptoms.

Set clear boundaries

Think about where your working

day needs to start and finish for

you to truly relax. What measures

can you put in place to make sure

this happens? Try not going to

work early, avoiding emails after

5pm, practising mindfulness on

the bus home to switch off, or

making yoga a non-negotiable

event on your schedule.

Delegate

If you’re overwhelmed with the

sheer volume of work, then pass

it on to someone you trust. Accept

that letting go of this control

might result in some errors, but

assuming that this doesn’t put

anyone at risk, then it’s all part

of the process. If you have no

The main reason I

avoided reaching

out was that I

didn’t realise it

was a health issue

– I thought it was a

competency issue

one to delegate to, then raise the

issue with your employers. If

you’re self-employed, consider

outsourcing basic admin tasks to

a virtual assistant.

Take time off

It really is that simple. Rest is

important to help you physically

recover from burnout, but it

also gives you a chance to gather

your thoughts, and get a sense of

perspective. You may like to think

that your workplace will fall apart

without you, but once you realise

that the world continues to turn,

it can be an important lesson in

learning to prioritise your health

over your job.

Reconnect with hobbies

Nurturing your creative side

is so helpful when it comes

to expressing physical and

emotional turmoil. Painting,

dancing, knitting, and gardening

are all simple ways to dial into

your deeper self, and work

through negative feelings.

Fiona Thomas is a freelance writer

and author, whose book, ‘Depression

in a Digital Age’, is out now. Visit

fionalikestoblog.com for more.

January 2020 • happiful.com • 29


Mondays

How to love

The start of a new week can feel overwhelming – but it doesn’t have to be. Here we look at

how you can embrace Mondays, and take back control of the days ahead

Writing | Kat Nicholls

Illustrating | Rosan Magar

We’ve all been there,

right? You’ve enjoyed a

relaxing weekend and

are cosying up in bed,

ready for sleep... then it hits you. It’s

Monday tomorrow. Your to-do list

for the week pops into your head,

and you start to feel stressed about

everything that needs to get done.

Cue a sleepless night, and you

feeling exhausted when your alarm

rings. Even if you love your job,

Mondays can feel hard. In fact, a

study carried out by consultancy

Mercer, found that workers are

more likely to take time off or be ill

at the start of the week, with 35%

of all sick days falling on a Monday.

So, how can we reframe our

thinking around Mondays and

break the cycle? Life coach Jessica

Goodchild says it’s time for us to

recognise what our ‘story’ about

Mondays is, and change it.

“Being aware of how you’re

thinking can highlight the issue,

and help you to put a plan into


Changing the story can empower you to take control and, most of

all, take action. What new story do you need to tell yourself to make

Monday’s meaning more comfortable?

place to help solve it,” says Jessica.

“Ask yourself: who can help? What

do you need in order to tackle it?

How can you prepare? If you don’t

enjoy your work, what can you do

to change that?

“Changing the story can empower

you to take control and, most of

all, take action. What new story

do you need to tell yourself to

make Monday’s meaning more

comfortable?”

Try journaling with these

questions, and when you’re ready,

add in the following actions to help

reinforce your new, positive story

about Mondays.

PLAN AHEAD

Planning your week may sound

simple, but it can have a powerful

effect in reducing stress. If you

work Monday to Friday, try writing

your to-do list for the following

week on Friday, before you finish.

This can help you to set boundaries

and leave work at work.

Jessica says planning ahead can

help you to be more proactive

when Monday comes around.

“If Sunday evenings give you

anxiety, get yourself ready for

Monday morning by planning your

clothes, lunch, bag etc. before

you go to sleep. Go to bed at a

reasonable time – feeling fresh and

prepared will make Mondays more

manageable.”

Jessica also recommends

journaling about something you’re

grateful for, to help the brain focus

on the positives. “Doing this on a

Sunday evening before bed will

help get your mindset focused in

a positive way, before Monday has

even arrived.”

ENJOY MOMENTS OF PAUSE

If your Mondays feel like a

whirlwind, they are bound to

make you feel anxious. Try to plan

in pockets of calm. This could be

enjoying a slower morning than

usual, having a mindful cup of

tea before diving into your inbox,

or even doing some meditation

during your lunch break.

Give your body a chance to

decompress throughout the day,

too. Head out for a walk or a gym

class in the evening, to help release

any built-up tension.

SCHEDULE SOMETHING TO

LOOK FORWARD TO

Make Mondays a day you truly

look forward to by scheduling in

something fun. “The brain loves

a reward, and will happily move

towards it,” says Jessica. “Plan

something that will make you feel

good, a call with a friend, a date,

a yoga class – something that is

nourishing or nurturing, to reward

you for making it through the day

in once piece.”

DO SOMETHING KIND FOR

SOMEONE ELSE

A sure-fire way to stop us

becoming overwhelmed is to put

the focus firmly on someone else.

Try to make Monday a day for

showing kindness towards others.

Why not bring in cakes for your

colleagues, or start your day by

telling someone how much they

mean to you?

Small acts of kindness like these

have a ripple effect, and can make

Mondays more enjoyable for

everyone.

AND IF YOU’RE STILL

DREADING MONDAYS?

If you’re struggling to change your

mindset, or if you think a bigger

change may be needed, you may

find it helpful to reach out for

support. Coaches, like Jessica,

can help you to navigate change,

whether it’s in your life or your

career. To learn more, and to find a

coach who resonates with you, visit

lifecoach-directory.org.uk


Photography | Conner Ching



Adventure is not outside

man; it is within

GEORGE ELIOT


Invest in

r e s t

Award-winning BBC broadcaster and writer Claudia Hammond investigates our

complex relationship with rest and relaxation, and shares the top 10 activities the world

turns to when winding down. Here’s a spoiler, you’re doing number one right now…

Writing | Lucy Donoughue

Portrait/book cover | Courtesy of Cannon Gate

ow are you

feeling as you

read this? Are

you reclining

in a hot bath, taking in all the

magazine has to offer? If you are,

you’re ticking off two of the top 10

restful activities according Claudia

Hammond’s latest book, The Art

of Rest: How to Find Respite in the

Modern Age.

An astonishing 18,000 people

from across 135 countries took part

in The Rest Test survey, explored

in her book, and in their collective

opinion bathing and reading rank

right up there for restfulness –

in addition to spending time in

nature, being alone, and doing

nothing in particular.

Rest was the sole subject of

exploration, during a two-year

residency at the Wellcome Trust

in London. The 45-people strong

team behind The Rest Test and

further research, included

psychologists from Durham

University, neurologists, artists,

and Claudia Hammond, writer and

long-standing presenter of Radio

4’s All in the Mind, and the World

Service show Healthcheck.

Claudia’s new book explores the

findings from this, and delves

deeper into why each of the

activities in the list helps us to

relax, as well as the necessity of

prioritising rest for good health.

It’s an important topic, as Claudia

explains. “There’s a lot of research

now on how sleep is really

important for your health. If you

don’t get a lot of sleep, it increases

your risk of lots of different

diseases. Now I think we need to

start taking rest seriously as well

– waking rest rather than sleep

itself. Both are important.”

It seems that many people

agree. Two thirds of people who

responded to The Rest Test said

that they needed more rest, and

those who didn’t had significantly

higher wellbeing scores.

January 2020 • happiful.com • 33


TOP 10

restful activities

Image: Anatomy of Rest: The Rest Test results, Camilla Greenwell. Source: Wellcome Collection

• Reading

• Spending time in nature

• Being alone

• Listening to music

• Doing nothing in particular

• A good walk

• A nice hot bath

• Daydreaming

• Watching TV

• Mindfulness

Interestingly, ‘spending time in

nature’ and ‘going for a good walk’

also made the list, proving that

rest doesn’t have to be a sedentary

activity to be deemed relaxing

– something Claudia is keen to

impress upon readers. “Rest

doesn’t have to be passive and

doing nothing. We found that 38%

of people who responded thought

walking is restful, and 8% said that

running was.

“I find running restful,” she

continues. “I hate it for the first

few minutes, but then something

kicks in that stops me worrying for

a while, and thinking about all the

work I have to do.”

The way Claudia sees it, that

forward momentum in any shape

or form – whether it’s walking,

running, being on a train, or

generally travelling somewhere –

gives you that permission to pause

and rest.

“People feel so guilty about

resting, and sort of need

permission to be able to do it.

Resting while you’re moving is

easier in some ways because

you’re getting somewhere, so

you don’t feel so guilty about it! I

think choosing activities that give

you permission to rest is quite

powerful.”

That guilt can seep into other

parts of our lives, and we feel

hesitant to take time out for

ourselves. The contemporary

issue of ‘busyness as a badge of

honour’ is a good example of

this, and something that can feed

those feelings of guilt if we don’t

constantly have a jam-packed

34 • happiful.com • January 2020


‘The Art of Rest: How to Find Respite in

the Modern Age’, by Claudia Hammond

(Canongate, £16.99) is out now

schedule. Restrictive perceptions

around the state of personal

‘busyness’ is a common problem,

and one that even Claudia

occasionally falls foul of.

“When people ask me how I am,

I tend to say: ‘I’m busy’ or ‘A bit too

busy really,’” she shares. “In one

way that’s true – it feels true – but on

the other hand, it is also a way of

saying: ‘I’m busy and therefore in

demand.’ How much is that a claim

to status, and how much of that is

because we feel we need to be busy

to be ‘valuable’?”

It’s a relatable feeling, and one that

emphasises our need to reassess

our relationship with rest – and our

resistance to it. Rather than being

viewed as a negative trait or selfish,

rest is the self-care act everyone

needs to consider and, as the list

from the Rest Test survey suggests, it

can be free, available to all of us and,

most of the time, we can do it alone.

Yet, with the huge volume of

information so easily accessible

online and in the media nowadays,

it’s easy to feel confused, with so

many conflicting recommendations

with regards to your wellbeing.

This is one reason why Claudia is

such a champion for analytical

and evidence-based thinking

– and fortunately she has a

great talent for making scientific

and neurological studies easily

accessible to the widest possible

audience.

“One of the main things I want to

do is communicate the wealth of

research that’s out there, because

I think it would be great if more of

us were able to put it into practice

in our lives.

“There’s an enormous amount of

nonsense online, but it’s not based

on any evidence, it’s not based on

anything,” she says, passionately.

“And we hear in the media ‘you

should do this, you should do that’,

and I think it’s really important,

as consumers and audiences, to

constantly think: ‘Why are people

saying we should do that, and is

that really the case?’”

Claudia’s insights on the

information we consume really

are thought-provoking, and she’s

keen to share them with as big an

audience as possible, through the

written and spoken word, and in

person at events, including the

inaugural Life Lessons Festival in

February 2020.

However, Claudia is happy to give

us a sneak peek, and share a few

life lessons of her own. “Firstly, I’d

suggest one of the things I’ve been

doing myself – prescribe yourself

15 minutes of your favourite

resting activity.

“For me that is gardening. While

I’m working at home, sometimes

even when I’ve got loads to do, I

leave my desk and just go in the

garden for a short amount of time,

and the calm that comes over me

is just amazing.

“It won’t be gardening for

everybody – I know some

people hate it, but I can forget

everything else and just be taken

out of myself for 15 minutes, and

that’s really powerful. So choose

and prescribe something that

works for you.

“Also, follow the evidence

when thinking about whether

something is good or not, and

finally, try really hard not to worry

so much about what other people

expect of you and want you to be.

Try to work out how you will be

happy for yourself.”

Hear more from Claudia at the first-ever Sunday Times

Life Lessons Festival from 15–16 February 2020 at The

Barbican, London. Dr Rangan Chatarjee, Megan Jayne

Crabbe, Ruby Wax, Kimberley Wilson and many others will

also be speaking at this thought-led festival with a focus on

wellbeing – and Happiful will be there too!

Find out more at lifelessonsfestival.com

January 2020 • happiful.com • 35


HAPPIFUL TOP 10

January

Feel inspired as we enter the new year, with a spectacular parade to welcome in 2020, the podcast

helping you achieve your goals in just one hour, and the group making exercise accessible

1

PAGE-TURNERS

How to Be a Mindful Drinker

Whether you want to cut down

on drinking, take a break, or quit

altogether, How to Be a Mindful

Drinker will help you become more

aware of how your body and mind

are affected by alcohol. With tools

to help you track your progress,

this book will help you live the life

you want and put alcohol in its

place. Cheers to that!

(Out 26 December, DK, £8.99)

OUT AND ABOUT

London’s New Year’s Day Parade

3

PUT ON A SHOW

4

Canary Wharf Winter

Lights Festival

Light up the dark January evenings

with the award-winning Winter

Lights at Canary Wharf. The festival

will showcase light art by artists

across the globe, including

pieces which can be

admired from afar, and

ones you can get involved

and interact with.

(Thursday 16 to Saturday 25

January 2020. To find out more,

head to canarywharf.com)

2

Cheer in the new year with this

spectacular parade along the streets

of London’s West End! Enjoy the

celebrations with dancers, acrobats, and marching bands, while huge balloons

and confetti fill the sky. If you can’t be there in person, you can watch on TV so

you don’t miss out on the fun.

(Wednesday 1 January 2020, for more information visit lnydp.com)

PLUGGED-IN

Caroline Kelso Zook

Caroline is an

artist and business

coach, brightening

up the internet

with her colourful illustrations

and uplifting quotes. Follow her

for regular

reminders to

celebrate your

achievements

and believe in

yourself.

(Follow @ckelso

on Instagram)

5TECH TIP-OFFS

Todoist

Free up your mental

space by getting tasks

out of your head and

on to your to-do list.

You can sync Todoist

with your calendar to

remember important

dates, prioritise

tasks, and track your

progress. You can

even keep track of

your New Year’s resolutions!

(Download from the App Store and

Google Play, find out more at

todoist.com)


Images | London Parade: lnydp.com, Doctor Who: radiotimes.com, Happiness Planner: thehappinessplanner.co.uk

6 8

7

SQUARE EYES

Our favourite time

traveller is returning for series

12! With Jodie Whittaker

returning as the Doctor, the

new series is bound to be

packed full of adventures

across space and time. Filled

with laughs, it’s one for the

whole family to enjoy.

10

LEND US YOUR EARS

‘Power Hour’

Hosted by international

speaker Adrienne Herbert,

‘Power Hour’ is a weekly podcast

that will motivate you to pursue your

passions. Each week, Adrienne talks

to guests such as Callie Thorpe and

Lauren Mahon about their rules to live

by. It’s all about taking just one hour

every day to help you improve your life.

(Visit adriennelondon.com for more.

Listen to the podcast on iTunes

and Spotify)

Doctor Who

(Coming to BBC One

1 January 2020)

TREAT YOURSELF

The Happiness Planner

THE CONVERSATION

Dry January

Going alcohol-free for just one month can have great

benefits for both your physical and mental health.

Brought to you by Alcohol Change, the charity raising awareness

of the harm alcohol can cause, Dry January isn’t about giving up

drinking altogether,

but simply resetting

your relationship

with alcohol to make

healthier habits.

(January 2020,

find out more at

alcoholchange.org.uk)

If there’s one goal we should all have for the new year,

it’s to make our mental health a priority. Self-care can

often fall by the wayside, and a journal can be a great way to keep you on

track. The 52-Week Happiness Planner is full of uplifting quotes, mindfulness

activities, and organisational extras, to help you start the new year on a high.

(£36, visit thehappinessplanner.co.uk for more)

9

GET GOING

Run Talk Run

Do you want to be more active in

2020? Making space in your weekly

routine for exercise can be a great

way to help you stick to this goal.

Run Talk Run is a global running

community, with weekly groups

who meet for a 5k jog and chat,

making mental health support and

exercise more accessible and less

intimidating.

(Find out more at runtalkrun.com)

WIN!

9

WIN a Happiness Planner!

Which of these was not a famous diarist?

A) Anne Frank B) Samuel Pepys C) Robert Scott D) Bertrand Russell

To enter, email your answer to competitions@happiful.com

UK mainland only, entries close 23 January 2020


BRINGS PEOPLE TOGETHER

AVAILABLE NOW

THE UK’S POSITIVE MENTAL HEALTH APP

WELLBEING MAGAZINE

Join more than 80,000 digital

subscribers by accessing the

full free version of Happiful

Magazine, before it hits the

supermarket shelves.

FIND HELP & SUPPORT

Browse professionals in

your area for counselling,

life coaching, hypnotherapy,

nutrition and alternative,

complementary therapies.

Search for ‘Happiful’ in your app store

DAILY NEWS & SELF-CARE

Self-care, work-life balance,

personal stories – you name it,

we publish it. Always sensitively

and responsibly written to uplift

and inspire.

Happiful App is a product from the Happiful family, which includes Counselling Directory, Life Coach Directory, Hypnotherapy Directory, Nutritionist Resource and Therapy Directory.

Helping you find the help you need.


Going global:

Mental health

around the world

We speak to six people from across the globe about their

personal experiences with mental health, the options that

are available to them, and the goals they are still working

towards in their communities

Writing | Kathryn Wheeler Illustrating | Rosan Magar

Writing | Kathryn Wheeler

No matter where we’re

from or what we do,

mental illness has the

potential to touch us

and our loved ones throughout

our lives. According to the

Global Burden of Disease, 13%

of the global population lives

with a mental disorder – that’s

approximately 971 million people.

It’s something that unites us

across borders, but no one

person’s experience with mental

health will be the same as

another’s – and that’s especially

true when we consider how the

levels of support and stigma varies

so drastically around the world.

It’s time to escape our respective

bubbles and get a fresh

perspective on the state of mental

health care across the continents.

Here, we speak to six people from

around the world to find out about

their personal experiences, and

to learn more about what it really

means to live with mental illness

in 2020. >>>


Nigeria

“My

experience

with mental

health issues

has been

tough and sad – having family and

friends not accept me for who I

am during crisis, and an identity

where I am seen as a ‘mad’ and

‘possessed’ human being,” Anita

Ikwue explains.

For Anita, being open about

her mental health came with

challenges from those in her

family and her wider community.

“Most of them are hearing

something like this for the

first time, and usually have a

Time to Change Global Champion

negative impression of mental

health problems,” she says.

“Some would be interested to

know more about mental health.

Others would say terrible things

like ‘mad people’. For me, this

means people are speaking from

an ignorant angle, and they just

need to be more educated.”

Luckily, Anita was able to find

support with local organisations,

including the Gede Foundation,

Global Network for People Living

with HIV/AIDS, and Time to

Change Global, where she is now

a ‘champion’ – helping to reach out

to others.

“The positive thing in my

community is that some people

are interested in learning more

from people with lived experience

of mental health problems,” Anita

explains. “Most people have little

or no knowledge about mental

health and its related challenges.

But myths and misconceptions are

being addressed, and sharing life

stories is helping a lot, and will go a

long way.”

Sweden

David

Brudö has

experienced

bouts of

depression

since his teens, but it wasn’t until

later in life – when things became

unbearable – that he decided to

reach out for help. David notes

how, in recent years, more people

in Sweden have been willing to

talk about mental health openly –

yet he still feared colleagues and

family would view him as “weak”.

“While people are more willing

to speak about, for example,

stress, anxiety, depression, and

loneliness, mental illnesses such

as schizophrenia and bipolar

disorder are still not spoken about

as openly,” David explains. “But

it’s not unusual to see Nordic

countries topping the World

Happiness Report. And while

Sweden has historically been

concerned with one of the highest

suicide rates since the 1960s, it

now has one of the lowest suicide

rates in the world.”

As way of explaining these stats,

David points to the introduction

of the Psychiatric Emergency

Response Team – a dedicated

mental health care ambulance

that is being piloted in Stockholm

– as well as Swedish values such

as ‘fika’ which is a midday pause

to socialise with friends and

colleagues, and ‘friluftsliv’, the

value of spending time outdoors.

Today, David is the CEO and cofounder

of mental health and selfdevelopment

app Remente, and

he sees prevention rather than

treatment as the key to better

overall health.

“We will not be able to solve all

mental health issues overnight,

but it is important to make

sure that all walks of life are

provided with the right attention

and support, to ensure that we

continue to see the numbers of

suicides decrease, and happiness

rates increase.”


India

Venkatesh

N. was living

with his wife

and three

children in

Doddaballapura when depression

gradually began taking over

his life. After his brother died,

things took a turn for the worse

and Venkatesh started to isolate

himself, and eventually stopped

going to work.

“I was getting older and losing

strength, which added to my

worries,” says Venkatesh. “Owing

to my mental illness, I was

struggling to find work. Finally,

Time to Change Global Champion

when I got in touch with medical

assistance, my life improved.”

Venkatesh reached out to

a local organisation called

GASS (Grameena Abyudaya

Seva Samsthe), a communitybased

rehabilitation service.

“They helped me in raising my

confidence, finding work, and

leading a good life. I opened a

shop and managed to educate my

children well.”

While Venkatesh notes that

reactions to his experience have

ranged from pity to apathy, today

he writes poems to express the

things that he has been through,

and to engage his community in

the mental health conversation.

Time to Change Global

A global anti-stigma campaign

that works in low and middleincome

countries, Time to

Change Global is working with

Christian Blind Mission UK,

local partners, and people with

experience of mental health

problems to challenge damaging

stereotypes and discrimination.

Inspired by the power of

personal stories, ‘Champions’

are people who are speaking

up about their experiences in

the hope they will inspire, and

bring comfort to, others in their

communities.

Find out more at time-to-change.

org.uk/global


Mexico

In January

2019, Raquel

Contreras

Soberanis

was

diagnosed with anxiety and

depression. But her journey to find

support wasn’t an easy one.

“In my country, it is very normal

to feel discriminated against,”

Raquel explains. “People with

mental health problems, instead

of seeking medical attention, try

all sorts of things – such as trying

harder, going out, even turning to

witchcraft – anything but going to

a psychiatrist.

“In my country, we don’t have

access to free mental health

treatment or support,” Raquel

continues. “You need to pay for

your own psychologist. Although

there are a lot of good doctors

available here, the average person

on a normal salary, unfortunately,

can’t afford it.”

As Raquel sees it, stoicism when

it comes to mental health is

something that is ingrained in her

culture.

“We have a saying here that’s

the definition of the way that

Mexican people battle problems:

‘Los Mexicanos lloramos

riendo’ – the Mexican people cry

laughing.”

Canada

The first

time that

Sany Guest

experienced

a major

depressive episode was when she

was travelling abroad in early

adulthood – though reflecting on

her childhood, she now realises

that the things she was going

through were directly linked to

undiagnosed attention deficit

disorder (ADD).

Sany sought professional help

at a walk-in clinic in 2018. After

speaking about what she had been

going through, Sany was prescribed

antidepressants and referred to a

free therapist, though at the time

of writing she still hasn't had an

appointment. “I may be a typical

Canadian because I can’t afford

anything but a free therapist

without coverage, but I am also

different because at least I can

afford the wait,” Sany comments.

“Positive movements and

groups reducing stigma and

promoting community support,

inclusivity, and tolerance have

been emerging – from Kids Help

Phone, Bell Let’s Talk, and Get

Real, to #MeToo. To me, this is

proof of a society sobering to

the fact that mental health is

largely responsible for overall

health, and must be treated with

seriousness.

“But none of these points of

hope would be possible without

free speech and democracy,” Sany

notes. “Canadians are privileged

to freely debate and vote on how

society must improve without

fear of serious negative legal and

social repercussions.”


It makes me

realise the

power of sharing

experiences, and

gives me hope

that the stigma

attached to mental

health issues is

being broken,

brick by brick

Kenya

“I took my

first drink in

2003 – there

were these

cheap sachets

of alcohol that were available back

then,” Edwin Mburu explains. “My

first drink turned into an addiction

for 12 years, yet I was oblivious to

the fact I was self-medicating two

mental illnesses.”

In 2011, Edwin attempted suicide.

Four years later he was admitted

to rehab where he was eventually

diagnosed with attention deficit

hyperactivity disorder (ADHD),

anxiety, and depression. Since

then, Edwin has been on the road

to recovery, driven by his personal

support system as well as local

support groups. He also notes a

supportive employer where he

works as an accountant, and points

to a blossoming art community in

Time to Change Global Champion

Kenya, who are speaking up about

their mental health, as well as

positive amendments to the mental

health bill.

Overall, Edwin says, the reaction

to his mental health problems has

been a “mixed bag”.

“People listen and ask questions,

and some even share their own

experiences with mental health

issues,” he explains. “This is usually

very motivating – it makes me realise

the power of sharing experiences,

and gives me hope that the stigma

attached to mental health issues is

being broken, brick by brick.

“However, at times the

engagements are stigmatising

and very negative. I have realised

that mostly this happens because

of ignorance with regards to

mental health issues. It can be

demoralising, but it reminds me of

the bigger picture, and gives me the

courage to continue talking about

mental health.”

From small, localised movements

empowering people to reach out

to others, to national initiatives

that put policy in place to support

those who are struggling, there’s a

lot we can learn from taking a step

back and considering a different

way of doing things.

But there’s still a long way to go,

and it won’t always be an easy

journey. But we all benefit when

everyone in our community

is supported, and so often

compassion ripples out further

than we anticipated. We’re in this

together, and united we can make

a change.

Read more personal stories from

around the world on happiful.com


Photography | David Hurley

44 • happiful.com • November 2019


Change the way you look

at things and the things

you look at change

– WAYNE W DYER


TRUE LIFE

How finding my

community spirit

changed my life

Depression crept up on David Bromley, and a 10-year

cycle of breakdowns and recovery soon took its toll.

But discovering the impact that volunteering could

have on his mental health transformed his outlook

Writing | David Bromley

think I had been

depressed for well

over a year before

I had any idea

what was really

happening. It was 2004,

and I was still at art school

in Blackpool, the seaside

town where I grew up.

There was no triggering

event as such, it just crept

up on me, slowly building

up in the background

before it eventually

completely took over.

By early 2005, when I was

half way through the third

year of my degree, things

had become so bad that I

decided to see my doctor

about it. He prescribed me

some antidepressants and

sent me on my way.

I eventually scraped

through college and

got a summer job as a

conductor on Blackpool’s

famous trams. That was

when I had my first major

breakdown. I had to leave

my job and rely on family

handouts, as for some

reason I wasn’t eligible to

claim any benefits. I was

left alone in my flat with

no job, no money, and no

hope of recovery.

A year later, I moved in

with my sister and her

family in Essex. It was

hard going at first, but I

eventually got a part-time

bar job, and even made

some new friends. Things

seemed to be getting

better for a while, but

another year down the

line I had a breakdown.

I was making cocktails

in Sheffield at the time,

and again had to give up

everything and return

to my sister’s house to

recover.

This two-year cycle of

breakdowns and recovery

continued for almost 10

years of my life, with the

breakdowns getting more

severe and the recovery

taking longer and longer

each time.

Living with my parents,

with a job in a local pub

I liked, and enjoying

photography again, in 2014

things seemed to be going

my way finally – I even had

a girlfriend. The depression

was still there, but I learned

what my limits were, and

gave my condition the

attention it needed.

But again, things

didn’t stay this way and,

unfortunately, towards

the end of the year, I was

spending more time off

sick than at work. One

day I had a breakdown so

severe that my parents had

to take me to the hospital.

After waiting in A&E for

three hours, I was given a

handful of diazepam and

sent home.

By the end of the year I

had to leave my job, and

sell all my photography

gear and my record

collection for some

income. I spent the first

half of 2015 recovering,

and just as I was starting

to feel better, I was

sent for a ‘Fit For Work

Assessment’. Shortly after,

my benefits were stopped,

and I was forced into a job

I couldn’t do at a nearby

supermarket, which really

saw my mental health

plummet as I had suicidal

thoughts. By 2016 I was

back to square one and

had to begin my recovery

again. This time though, I

had some help. >>>

January 2020 • happiful.com • 45


I contacted the excellent

Therapy For You service

– a free NHS counselling

and talking therapies

service for people in

south Essex – and began

to attend some of their

seminars. I also enrolled

on their first ever

Wellbeing Workshop,

which was a weekly group

therapy session where

we would discuss our

individual situations and

set ourselves personal

goals. Hearing the

David began volunteering in 2016

David on holiday in 2005

This two-year cycle of

breakdowns and recovery

continued for almost 10

years of my life

individual stories in

the workshop was very

inspiring, and I set myself

the goal of finding some

voluntary work in my local

community.

My first role was at my

local library, providing

one-to-one computer

skills tuition. For a lot of

people, the internet is a

scary place, so I found

the role very rewarding

and enjoyed watching

the students’ confidence

grow each week.

After a short while the

library was starting a

weekly children’s chess

club and were looking for

volunteers to help. Every

Saturday, a dozen or so

local kids would come

in – it was amazing to see

how quickly they took to

it. I would walk around

and answer any questions

they had, or offered advice

of moves they could make.

If an odd number of kids

showed up, I would sit

in and have a game – it’s

quite embarrassing to

be beaten at chess by an

11-year-old!

In October of 2016, I

also began volunteering

for a local disability

website called Dancing

Giraffe. It’s a news and

local resource site for

disabled people in Essex,

and is run completely

by volunteers. At first

my role was to write up

news stories each week –

anything from uplifting

charity fundraising stories

to mental health issues,

or advancements in

technology. After a few

months I became their

content editor, which

involved proofreading and

uploading articles to the

website.

By the spring of 2017,

my voluntary work

had already made a

vast improvement to

my mental health and

wellbeing. I felt better

than I had in years, but

I thought some fresh

air and exercise would

make me feel even better.

46 • happiful.com • Janaury 2020


Since my early 20s

I had enjoyed going

for long walks in the

countryside, so I saved

up what little money I

had and bought myself

some walking boots and

a pair of binoculars, and

visited some of the local

bridleways and nature

reserves. It felt great to

be out among the birds

and the trees.

The nearest nature

reserve to where I live

is a patch of woodland

on the edge of

Hanningfield Reservoir,

near Chelmsford in

Essex. It’s run by the

Essex Wildlife Trust,

and has a lovely visitor’s

centre with a nice

view over the water.

The centre is run by

volunteers, so I soon

offered my services,

and by the start of the

summer I was working

there two afternoons a

week. My dad bought

me a second-hand

bicycle, so I could cycle

the three miles from

town down the country

lanes which, along with

my new role with the

Wildlife Trust, had huge

benefits to my fitness

and mental health. The

voluntary work was

great, I would greet the

visitors, sell ice creams

to families, and chat to

people about birds.

By January 2018,

things really started

going well for me. In

January I was offered

a job with the Wildlife

Trust. The part-time

hours suited me well, as

my depression robs me

of a lot of energy. I was

living the dream – I got

to hang out with my new

friends in a beautiful

place and got paid for it.

Having accomplished

the goal I set myself

back at the Wellbeing

Workshop, I set myself

another; to publish

my book. I had started

writing about my mental

health in 2013 as a

creative and rewarding

way to try to understand

my condition. After a

while, I started to really

enjoy the process and

was getting some good

feedback, so I started

to work on a memoir of

my time at art school,

when my depression

first appeared. It took

a long time and there

were long periods where

I didn’t feel up to it, but

by November I had a

finished book called

How Depression Ruined

My Life, and published it

with Amazon.

I have lived with

depression for nearly

15 years now and

I have to say that

volunteering in my local

community, and setting

myself productive and

achievable goals, really

has changed my life.

By the spring of 2017, my voluntary

work had already made a vast

improvement to my mental health

and wellbeing

OUR EXPERT SAYS

David’s true story really

highlights the struggle of

suffering with depression,

and the debilitating impact

that it can have on our

lives. Thankfully, David

was able to break the cycle

when he received effective

support from NHS

services. This opened the

door to various volunteer

opportunities that have

really helped him on

his journey to recovery.

David tried new things,

connected with people,

and enjoyed the natural

‘I started writing about my mental health in 2013’

environment around

him. David managed to

find purpose through his

experience of depression

and it’s evident that this

has continued to drive

forwards his happiness

and wellbeing. Having

purpose in our lives is

essential – it motivates

us and gives

us that true

sense of

belonging.

Rav Sekhon | BA MA MBACP (Accred)

Counsellor and psychotherapist

January 2020 • happiful.com • 47


Ask the experts

Hypnotherapist Penelope Ling

answers your questions on

hypnotherapy for confidence

Read more about Penelope on

hypnotherapy-directory.org.uk

Stress

Q

I’m so stressed at

work. My partner

says I should leave,

but I haven’t got time to

think about what I want

to do. Can hypnotherapy

give me some headspace

to think clearly about

my career?

Yes! The reason I’m so

A sure is that hypnotherapy

helped me with that very

problem many years ago – long

before I thought about training

as a therapist. When you feel

stressed and anxious, the brain

subdues the part that makes

rational, calculated decisions.

On a subconscious level, you’re

trying to escape the stressor.

Hypnotherapy helps reduce

anxiety, and allows you to think

much more about what you want

– especially if it’s solution-focused.

The right kind of therapist can

help you look at your value system

too, as different industries have

different values, and you might

find you’d be better off retraining.

Decision-making

Q

Can

hypnotherapy

help me become

more decisive? I can’t

help but think the

worst when making

decisions, and I want

to feel more confident

in my choices...

The fight or flight response

A we experience when we feel

stressed is designed to remove

us from danger – there is no

time for thinking. When you’re

calm and thinking positively,

you are in a much better place

to be decisive.

Hypnotherapy can be a

marvellous tool to help you

consider decisions without

getting caught up in any

‘emotional junk’. It can also

allow your subconscious to

come up with all kinds of

creative problem-solving. When

you look logically at where

decisions can take you, you’ll

find yourself making better

choices in life.


Hypnotherapy for confidence

Top tips for feeling more confident

• Plan and be prepared.

• Remember none of us start out as an expert, it takes time.

• Use memories of times when you have felt confident to

reinforce the present.

Confidence

Q

I want some

help with my

confidence,

but I’ve never had

hypnotherapy before

and I don’t want it to

turn me into an arrogant

person. Can you explain

more how this would

work for me?

A

Confidence and arrogance

are often mistaken for the

same thing. On the surface, they

appear very similar, but they’re

not. A confident person feels

competent. They will walk into

the room and be outwardly

aware of other people, and

be able to see from another

person’s perspective.

An arrogant person will have

their agenda, not caring what

other people think about them

or what they do. They typically

will be more confrontational, and

aren’t able to see the other side

of an argument. Often, fear is at

the centre of their arrogance.

Hypnotherapy for confidence

allows you to be able to hold

your own space, but be open to

different people’s perspectives.

Hypnotherapy Directory is part of the Happiful Family | Helping you find the help you need


Vets in a time of need

Through tough times, animals can become our sanctuary. But what happens when

we can’t offer them the same back? StreetVet is a charity providing free vet services to

homeless people across the UK. From microchips to major surgery, we found out more

about the work that this life-changing organisation does

Writing | Kathryn Wheeler

It’s a cold Sunday afternoon,

and London's Oxford Street is

heaving. I follow volunteer vet

Holly-Anne Hills and senior

volunteer vet Gabriel Galea as

they briskly navigate their way

through the crowds of shoppers. A

man is sitting against a building,

a ball of blankets on his lap. As

Gabriel approaches, the man

spots him and silently pulls the

blankets aside, revealing the head

of a sleepy black and white cat.

This is Valentine, the first of nine

StreetVet clients we will meet

today.

Coming together

Founded in 2017 by two vets, Jade

Statt and Sam Joseph, every week

volunteer vets head out across

15 different towns and cities to

treat and care for street dogs, the

occasional cat, and one rabbit. In

London alone, StreetVet has 50

vet and nurse volunteers working

with more than 200 registered

patients. Offering weekly dropin

clinics, as well as outreach

programmes like the one I was

with, they vaccinate, microchip,

and treat minor and major

illnesses alike, as well as handing

out necessities like food, dogjackets,

blankets, and medication.

Later in the week, I catch up with

Jade, who tells me that she was

inspired to start volunteering on

the streets after a night out in 2016.

“I met a gentleman and his

dog,” Jade explains. “The dog

didn’t have anything dramatically

wrong, just bad skin, but you

could see how helpless he felt. I

thought, I could fix this so easily if

I had my stuff with me.”

So Jade took to the streets to

offer her veterinary skills – calling

herself ‘Street Vet’. Later that

year, she found Sam on Facebook,

doing the same thing and using

the same name. The pair met up,

and decided to join forces. They

registered StreetVet as a not-forprofit

organisation in 2017, before

going on to be given charity status

in early 2019.

The human touch

Back out in London, Gabriel

carries a backpack and a huge

suitcase, stuffed with necessities.

On the corner of a street, opposite

one of the most affluent shopping

parades in the city, we find Brian

and his two Jack Russells, Rain

and Mist. Gabriel hands Brian

a ‘human bag’ (fresh fruit and a

drink), and then opens his suitcase

to top him up with dog food, poo

bags, and a new toy each for Rain

and Mist.

After Gabriel and Holly-Anne

have finished checking the two

dogs over, Brian tells me how

StreetVet was there for him

through Rain’s cancer scare.

“They’re a godsend for us,” Brian

says. “I think they’re kind people –

a proper charity. I do anything that

I can to help them.”

50 • happiful.com • January 2020


In London alone, StreetVet has more

than 200 registered patients

At the time we met, Brian, Rain,

and Mist were due to make their

TV debut on an upcoming series

looking at the special relationship

we have with dogs – and Brian

explains that he’d happily take any

opportunity to support StreetVet.

That someone who has lost

almost everything wants to give

back to a charity, speaks volumes

to the hard work of volunteers

like Gabriel and Holly-Anne.

Gabriel later tells me that, while

he originally got involved with

StreetVet for the animals, he stays

for the people – and that he would

miss the Sunday outreach if he

didn’t do it once a week – and I

can believe it. The sun sets and

the temperature drops but, as we

continue to work our way through

the city, Gabriel’s energy never

falters.

A friend through hard times

A few hours and several streetlevel

checkups later, in an

underpass in Shoreditch we meet

up with Street Kitchen – the local

grassroots organisation that

supported StreetVet’s first regular

station, and offered guidance in

the beginning – where we pick up

boxes of hot pasta to hand out as

we continue on our route.

We’re looking for Mitch and

his Staffy, Benson. After a short

walk, Gabriel spots them about

15 metres away. He kneels to

the ground and Benson comes

bounding up the pavement to

meet him. For Benson, this is a

game, for Gabriel it’s all part of the

check-up.

Benson has been in Mitch’s life

for eight years. “He’s my boy – he’s

the only one who puts up with

me,” says Mitch. “I have no mental >>>

January 2020 • happiful.com • 51


SUPPORT STREETVET

StreetVet can only keep

doing the incredible work

that they do with your

support. To donate to the

charity, get information on

fundraising, or browse their

Amazon wish list, where you

can purchase much-needed

supplies for the animals

StreetVet support, head to

streetvet.co.uk/get-involved

Gabriel with

Kaiser

health support, but he keeps my

head straight. He’s my reason for

everything.”

In 2014, a study by Homeless

Link found that 80% of homeless

people in England reported mental

health problems, with 45% having

been diagnosed with a condition.

Being aware of what this might

mean when treating people’s

animals, Jade explains how this

comes into play when considering

the way that StreetVet has evolved

to offer its service.

“A lot of the people who we’re

helping have slipped through the

cracks – they don’t trust society,”

Jade explains. “So I think that’s

what works so well because

we’re seeing them in their own

environment. Also, it’s a slow

burner. We’re in the same place

week in week out, they get to know

us and trust that we’re working

with them, not against them.”

“Benson looks forward to seeing

them,” says Mitch. “All I have to

say is: ‘Doggy doctors!’ And he’s

like, ‘Where?!’”

A clean bill of health

When asked whether there’s a

story from the past two years that

really stands out in her mind,

Jade instantly recalls Sally and her

owner Rob.

On a night in November, Sally

was spooked by some fireworks

and ran away from Rob on to

a railway line, straight into the

path of an oncoming train. Sally’s

injuries were life-threatening but,

incredibly, she was still alive when

the team got to her.

“Rob had been one of our clients

for a long time and he knew what

to do,” Jade explains. “He called

our out-of-hours team, they went

down and Sally was recovered

from the railway.

“She lost an eye and a leg, and

she was in the vets for about two

weeks. For Rob, it was a massive

thing to be apart from his dog

for that long. But what was really

lovely was that the team all knew

him so well already.

“It’s those owners who you’ve

been through something pretty big

with, and then come out the other

side – that’s special. That was a time

when I realised that this was really

needed, and that the system we’ve

got in place was working – because

if StreetVet didn’t exist, that dog

would not be with him anymore.”

Unconditional love

Our last stop of the night was with

Jason and Peppy – another Staffy

– who we meet outside London

Liverpool Street Station. As Gabriel

begins his check-up, we’re moved

on by a TFL staff member, a

reminder – after a day mostly filled

with hope, no doubt prompted by

the energy of the animals – of the

realities of homelessness.

Jason tells me that he has had

Peppy since she was a puppy, and

that she’s 10 years old now. When I

ask him what Peppy means to him,

Jason doesn’t know where to start.

“She’s like a best friend. It’s the

company, they’re always there – it’s

very therapeutic,” he says. “You’re

never sad too long when you have

a dog, they make you happy.

“The dog loves you, and it doesn’t

matter what you have or what you

don’t have, or what you have lost.

They just want to be with you – and

the more they are with you, the

happier you are.”

52 • happiful.com • January 2020


The dog loves you,

and it doesn’t matter

what you have or

what you don’t have,

or what you have lost

StreetVet founders Sam Joseph and Jade Statt

Photography (bottom right) | Robin Trow Photography

Gabriel fills Jason’s bag with

supplies, we part ways, and head

into the Tube station.

That day, I was struck by two

things. The first, the incredible

dedication of the StreetVet

volunteers – their selflessness,

personability, and skill.

The second was that of the affinity

between a person and their animal.

Little is comparable to the strength

of the bonds that I saw that day.

We all crave companionship;

it’s what sustains us, no matter

what our circumstances. But the

companionship that flourishes on

the streets is an anchor, and the

animals a life force. And if that life

force dims, on cruel winter nights,

through hostility, vulnerability, and

in times of illness, StreetVet are

there to patch it up. And so they face

another day – a person and their

animal, together, against the world.

Find out more about StreetVet and their

invaluable work at streetvet.co.uk

January 2020 • happiful.com • 53


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54 • happiful.com • November 2019


TRUE LIFE

In memory of

my son, Colin...

Losing someone to suicide can be a pain like no other,

and for Lyn Walton-McPhee, she was left with so many

unanswered questions. But through her grief, and her

own mental health struggles, Lyn is striving to be a voice

for change

Writing | Lyn Walton-McPhee

Up until 26

October

2014, my life

was going

swimmingly.

I had three grown up

children, and a grandson.

I had worked for 20 years

in mental health and

challenging behaviour as

a carer, and then deputy

manager. I’d recently

gone into a business

partnership and became

self-employed, opening

a new domiciliary care

company.

My son Colin was proud

of what I was doing, and

he regularly told me that.

He would visit when he

could, as he was married

and he worked hard. We’d

often chat about this and

that going on in both our

lives, but nothing came

up that I could identify

a major concern – yet I

did have some concerns

as a mother. I felt that he

always looked fatigued,

and never smiled the way

he used to. He put it down

to work and tiredness

and, I now believe for my

benefit, would perk up so

that mother wouldn’t ask

more questions.

However, something

didn’t sit right with me,

and I began to worry. He

got himself into scrapes

he would never have been

involved with before and,

although encouraged,

he refused to talk about

what was going on. He

admitted his home life

wasn’t great, and I told

him if he ever wanted

to come home to get

away from some of his

marriage difficulties the

door was always open.

He loved spending

time once a week with

his nephew, who has

autism and challenging

behaviour. He helped

pensioners with their

gardens and fencing,

which he enjoyed, so

nothing alerted me to

any specific mental

health issues.

The police knocked on

our door at 4.20am on

26 October 2014. I hadn’t

heard the knock, so my

husband answered. I

heard male voices, so got

up, grabbed my dressing

gown, and headed out of

the bedroom. My husband

met me and told me it was

the police. >>>

January 2020 • happiful.com • 55


Lyn with her son Colin

My grief was all-consuming, as

was the guilt I felt at not being

able to prevent my son taking

his life. The emotional turmoil

was tremendous

Colin had passed away. He

had killed himself. He had

just celebrated his 34th

birthday.

I ran downstairs and

begged the police to tell

me it was a mistake. After

that, everything was a

blur, and I’ve had to rely

on my family to fill in the

missing pieces. I tried to

be strong, but I found it

impossible. My grief was

all-consuming, as was the

guilt I felt at not being able

to prevent my son taking

his life. I told people I was

fine when I wasn’t. The

emotional turmoil was

tremendous.

There were so many

questions I wanted

answers to, but the biggest

one was why? And the

only person who could

answer the question

truthfully was now dead.

Trying to put on a brave

face and be strong for

my family took its toll on

my own mental health

without me realising. I

refused to see the GP,

assuring those worried

Colin passed

away in 2014

about me that I was

fine. Then, two months

after my son’s death, a

comment triggered a

total meltdown. My eldest

daughter frog-marched

me to see the GP, who

diagnosed me with

depression, anxiety, and

panic attacks, which I

managed with medication,

and continue to do so.

My life, my mental and

physical health, were all

affected, and I felt like I

was drowning in my grief,

because I had no closure.

I agreed to counselling,

but didn’t feel it helped

me as it seemed that the

counsellor was completely

disassociated throughout

the session.

Moving forwards, I

set up a Facebook page

in Colin’s memory,

called Greenbows and

Butterflies. Greenbows

because we wore them at

his funeral, as green was

his favourite colour, and

butterflies because during

the service a butterfly

emerged from on top of

his coffin, flew in front

of us, then disappeared

down the aisle.

After his funeral, we

realised we had to do

more in his memory,

and through the page we

organised fundraisers

Colin as a toddler

for the National Autistic

Society, because of his

close relationship with

his nephew. I hope

people find supportive

posts on Greenbows and

Butterflies, get to know my

son, and see our journey

since he died.

To keep the discussion

around mental health and

suicide prevention going, I

also created the Facebook

page Colin’s Corner, as a

space for people to come

together to share their

stories. The message

throughout is: “You are not

alone.” I couldn’t help my

son, but that won’t stop my

fight to try to help others.

56 • happiful.com • Janaury 2020


To keep the discussion around mental health going, Lyn

created the Facebook Page Colin’s Corner. This is an online

space for people to come together to share their stories.

Her other Facebook page, Green Bows and Butterflies, is a

memorial page where she shares memories from Colin’s life.

I was living a life sentence of heartbreak

and failure. I treasured the photos I had

of him, each and every one invaluable

as they made up the story of his life

I clung on to memories,

but it wasn’t enough – some

were too tender and others

too distant. I was living a

life sentence of heartbreak

and failure. I treasured the

photos I had of him, each

and every one invaluable as

they made up the story of

his life.

My family found it difficult

to understand my pain,

as we were all grieving

differently, and I found

it hard to articulate my

thoughts and feelings. I

believed I wasn’t stepping

up enough as a mother

and a wife, and felt guilty

that I couldn’t be who they

wanted me to be. I was

drifting into isolation. My

depression was feeding

the thoughts that made me

feel like a self-proclaimed

failure – for not being able

to help my son, and the

fear of letting my other two

children down.

At first it wasn’t easy to

gather my thoughts in a

logical way, but I knew I

needed to keep my mind

active. I reverted to a

previous passion of writing

poetry to express myself

and keep communication

active. I want to publish

my poems in the hope of

reaching out to someone

before it’s too late.

I am passionate about

raising awareness of

the need for change

surrounding mental

health and suicide

prevention. I hope that

sharing my personal

experience will help

educate people about the

stigma and consequences

of not talking and,

more importantly, not

listening when someone is

struggling.

The stigma about mental

health issues and suicide is

born out of ignorance and

shame, people with no

understanding or empathy

bearing judgement,

distancing themselves,

as if mental health was

contagious.

I cannot speak for

Colin, but I have found

that when you mention

you’re depressed, often

you are spoken to in a

condescending manner, or

OUR EXPERT SAYS

Lyn was devastated

when her son took his

own life. She felt she had

to be strong for others

and push through it, not

asking for help. As events

overwhelmed her, she

found she couldn’t cope.

But creating the Facebook

pages in Colin’s memory

gave her a way back,

allowing her to express

feelings and connect with

others. People experience

avoided in the street. Men

particularly feel ashamed

or embarrassed to discuss

their mental health when

it’s declining, choosing to

suppress their difficulties

for fear of being judged

as weak by others. In

memory of my son Colin,

who I miss every second

of every day, I promise to

be a voice for change.

grief and pain in different

ways, and Lyn found a

release through poetry,

using her passion to reach

out to others and educate

them. Often finding ways

of expressing our feelings

helps us to get

through loss

and reconnect

with the world

again.

Graeme Orr | MBACP (Accred) UKRCP

Reg Ind counsellor

January 2020 • happiful.com • 57


How to find the [right]

therapist...

with Grace

TEDx speaker and author, our columnist Grace Victory draws on personal

experience to share her invaluable insight into the issues that matter to you

It’s no secret that I advocate for

therapy; it’s essential in my

life, and has been for years.

Therapy taught me how to

communicate what I need, how

to practise self-care, how to set

boundaries, and how to reparent

my inner child. The process has

been wild, and I’m still going.

I’ve tried cognitive behavioural

therapy (CBT), talking therapies,

holistic healing, and I’m currently

having psychodynamic and

psychoanalytic trauma therapy.

Every treatment has differed –

some I’ve loathed, some I’ve loved,

and some I go back to. It’s fair to

say that therapy has changed my

life, but my experiences haven’t all

been positive.

I was 20 when I first asked for

help for depression and body

image issues, and through my GP

I was offered a one-to-one session

with a male psychiatrist to receive

a diagnosis, and then six group

therapy sessions.

Looking back, it’s a shame I

wasn’t given a choice about which

setting I would’ve preferred. I

also wasn’t used to talking so

vulnerably with an older man,

and from the outset I believed I

couldn’t ever trust him, but I also

didn’t want to trust him – which is

an important factor.

After speaking about my

childhood, and how I felt about

my body, the psychiatrist said: “It’s

clear what’s going on. You have

abandonment issues with your

father, and that has forced you to

use food as a way to cope. I’d like

you to come to group therapy and

start Weight Watchers, to learn

how to eat and lose some weight to

help your body image issues.”

(Are you angry? Because 29-yearold

Grace just got really f**king

angry all over again).

The very person who should

have helped me start the healing

process, instead fed my eating

disorder mind, and gave me the

go ahead to blame myself and my

body for things that were not my

fault. I never saw him again. I

never attended the group sessions.


@GRACEFVICTORY

And of course, I signed up for

Weight Watchers the next day.

At 25, I was in an incredibly

dark place. Shock horror, losing

weight didn’t fix my problems. It

did, in fact, make them worse, so

I began seeing a counsellor via a

small NHS centre. I was told I’d be

having eight CBT-centred sessions

with a woman. I was apprehensive

but thrilled. However, after

the third session I noticed how

horrific I would feel afterwards.

It was as if I was being triggered,

without a safe way to process and

reset. I stopped returning her

calls, and she eventually stopped

calling. I was back to square one,

but I actually felt relieved. Maybe

I wasn’t ready to get better? Or

maybe I needed something with a

more wholesome approach.

A year later, like fate, I met

Emmy Brunner – the founder and

CEO of The Recover Clinic – and

upon seeing her I thought: “So this

is what a good therapist looks like.”

I felt exactly the same way when I

met my current therapist, A (who

happens to be male – things have

changed!).

Both Emmy and A have an aura

I was drawn to. My intuition told

me to turn up and trust – which is

easier said than done, but I tried,

which was enough to show me

that I was supposed to be there. As

well as being a psychotherapist,

Emmy also trained as a life

coach, knew how to connect with

women, and I felt safe in her

presence. My current therapist

has worked tirelessly with trauma

of all kinds, and is able to pick

up on my body language and his

connection to my subconscious,

to bring things into my own

awareness, and thus heal them.

I guess you could say I have

tried and tested many different

ways to heal, and the facilitators

of these. I’ve also worked with

more spiritual aspects too, such

as womb healing, inner child

meditations, and tarot

readings. It’s worth

noting that everyone

will experience

healing differently,

and what works for

some won’t work for

others. But based on my

experiences, here are a

few things I think you

should keep in mind

when looking for a

therapist.

GENDER

Think about whether the

gender of your therapist

might affect your

experience, and what

relationship you would

find most beneficial.

RACE AND CULTURE

For many black and Asian people,

it can be tiresome to constantly

explain their culture, and this could

impact their healing. It may be

helpful to see someone of the same

race and/or culture, because both of

these can play a part in childhood,

family dynamics, and traumatic

experiences.

PRICE

Think about what you can afford –

the NHS can offer free counselling,

but you may be on a waiting list,

or you can go private for more

immediate help, but will pay.

MODALITY

There are so many forms of healing

so research is essential. Do you

want something that’s quick just to

get you through a certain problem?

CBT might be best. Do you and

your siblings always argue? Conflict

resolution therapy may be for you.

GROUP VS ALONE

Do you want something less

invasive, or more intimate?

IRL VS ONLINE

Are you able to commit to therapy

sessions face-to-face, or is online

more suited to your schedule?

Of course there are other factors

to take into account when your

sessions actually begin, but for

now, I hope this has helped you on

your journey to finding the help you

deserve.

Love

Grace x


How to stay motivated to

exercise when

you have anxiety

Just because something is good for us, doesn’t make it easy to do – especially when anxiety

puts up roadblocks. Here are seven simple steps to help maintain that motivation...

Writing | Lydia Smith Illustrating | Rosan Magar

Exercise is hugely

beneficial to our

mental health,

but when you

struggle with

anxiety or depression,

finding the motivation

to get active can be a

challenge. It can leave

you zapped of energy

and drive, making it feel

impossible to get out of

bed in the morning – let

alone go for a jog.

Most of us will have skipped the

gym to spend time on the sofa at

some point. But for those with

a mental health problem, low

motivation, fatigue, and loss of

interest in activities, are prominent

symptoms.

“I definitely do find it difficult,”

says Freddie Cocker, founder and

editor-in-chief of the mental health

platform Vent. “Normally when

I’ve come home from a tough day

at work, or it’s in the bleak winter

and I have to train on my own.”

Given the importance of that

mind-connection, here are a few

ideas to help maintain motivation,

and make exercising a little easier.

EXERCISE WITH SOMEONE ELSE

Getting a friend to join you for

a walk, run, or class can really

help boost motivation, as it makes

exercise seem like less of a chore –

and far less overwhelming.

“If you have a friend to train

with, you can motivate each other

to train harder than you would

do on your own,” says Freddie.

“When you exercise with someone

else, you can catch-up, chat about

life, hobbies, and interests, with

exercise fitted around it.”

GET INTO A ROUTINE

Fitting exercise into your routine,

such as after lunch, is a good way

to incorporate physical activity

into your day without it seeming

daunting.

“Routine is a really good

way of motivating the mind,”


says Dr Christian Buckland, a

psychotherapist and spokesperson

for the UK Council for

Psychotherapy. “If we know when

we are getting up in the morning,

or when we are having breakfast,

lunch, and dinner, we can feel

less overwhelmed by other tasks,

as the day is broken down into

manageable sections.”

START OFF SMALL

“Something as simple as walking

to work instead of taking public

transport is a really great start,”

says Hannah Horlick, personal

trainer at Reach Fitness. “On a

walk in the morning, you can listen

to some music or a podcast, or just

take notice of your surroundings.”

TURN IT AROUND

“We often mistakenly do things

back to front – our thought process

that says, ‘Exercise will make me

feel better. Therefore I should

exercise,’” says Katerina Georgiou,

a counsellor and psychotherapist.

“Try turning that thought the

other way round: ‘When I feel

well, I’m more likely to exercise.

Therefore I should do things to

feel well.’

“It’s surprising how much

more resilience we can

have for things like exercise

when we first make space for

the things we love,” she adds. “If

there’s a song you love listening to,

or seeing friends, then do those

things first and often! It will put

you in a better emotional space to

tackle more taxing tasks later.”

FIND THE STUMBLING BLOCK

It can be helpful to work out what

is stopping you from exercising

to try to overcome this. “If you’re

tired after work, do something

before work,” says Georgiou. “If

it’s the faff of getting changed, try

walking around the block.”

For Melanie Daffin, music helped

reduce her anxiety about the gym.

“I was scared of exercising in

front of others, and the amount

of people also worried me,” she

says. “I’ve thankfully managed

to overcome that by using my

headphones. I end up zoning out

into my own world and not caring

what people think.”

FIND SOMETHING YOU LOVE

Exercising doesn’t have to mean

pounding the pavements – whether

it’s gentle yoga or stretching,

there’s bound to be an exercise that

suits you. “I know classes can be a

little daunting, but get in contact

with the gym and let them know

your situation. In general, they will

make you feel very welcome and

look out for you,” says personal

trainer Hannah.

“I get really anxious going to

anything I haven’t been to before

on my own, but if you are heading

to a fitness class, there will be likeminded

people there, going for the

same reasons as you.

“Personal training sessions aren’t

in everyone’s budget, but if your

anxiety is severe, that really could

be the best way for you to start,”

Hannah adds. “A personal trainer

can completely tailor a programme

to your goals.”

Exercising in the comfort of your

lounge can also ease the anxiety of

going into a busy gym – and there

are lots of easy-to-follow YouTube

videos, too.

THINK ABOUT THE BENEFITS

Being physically active isn’t the

only answer to a mental health

problem, but it can help.

“Exercise has been massive for

my mental health, I really can’t

oversell it,” Freddie says.

“Being alone with my thoughts

for a long period of time is a

recipe for trouble in my life,

so having another distraction

makes a huge difference,

and being able to make

new friends tin my gym

has been a

great benefit

as well.”




It’s about time we brought down the barriers around yoga, and Jessamyn Stanley

is here to lead the way. A yoga teacher and body positivity advocate based in

North Carolina, Jessamyn is passionate about shattering the illusion that yoga

is for one type of person. Here, she reveals how she discovered yoga during a

difficult time, and the lessons she takes off the mat and into the rest of her life

Writing | Kathryn Wheeler

Hi Jessamyn! When did you first

find yoga? I fell in love with yoga

in my early 20s, while managing

a wave of depression and looking

for balance in my life.

Even though the physical

practice was extremely

challenging, none of the postures

felt accessible, and I was often

the only fat and black person in

my classes – I still found a part

of myself in yoga that had been

dormant until then.

You tell your students to ask, ‘How

do I feel?’ rather than, ‘How do I

look?’ when practising yoga. How

do you feel when you’re doing

yoga? During a postural yoga

practice, I tend to feel like it’s a

rare opportunity to come into

full connection with my physical

body. My tendency towards body

dysmorphia and depression

means that I can get out of touch

with my body rather quickly,

and yoga helps pull me back to

the moment so that I can take

ownership of this incredibly

powerful machine that I’ve been

granted during this lifetime.

What does ‘body positivity’ mean

to you? Body positivity means:

“You are OK, today.” It means

that everything about you is, in

this moment, exactly as it needs

to be. You don’t need to change

anything, you don’t need to

worry about tomorrow. You are

OK, today.

Do you have any tips for

someone looking to break

away from an idea of a ‘right’

way to practise yoga? There

is no ‘right’ way to practise

yoga because every practise

of yoga is perfect, whether it’s

on or off the mat. My advice

is to stop paying attention to

yoga media, companies, and

individuals who promote yogic

exceptionalism.

In an Insta post, you describe

your yoga as: ‘Messy and

complicated and NSFW and

vulgar as f*ck.’ What do you

mean by that? Yoga is not

actually about the pretty,

traditionally Instagrammable

moments. The practice occurs

both on and off the yoga mat

– legit, practising the postures

and breathwork in a class is

just preparation for applying

the same themes to every other

moment of life. And in the

same way that I stumble and

fall on the yoga mat, I stumble

and fall off the mat as well.

Often, I do more than stumble,

and things can get very messy

and complicated and NSFW

and vulgar, very quickly.

You’ve spoken about ‘stepping

into your sexuality’ at the age

of 32. Why is now the time? I

think I’ve probably become

more comfortable in my


sexuality because I’m getting

older, and it’s much easier

to not give a f*ck about what

other people think than it’s ever

been in the past. I’ve also come

to understand that a healthy

connection to my sexuality is

an imperative part of knowing

myself as a fully evolved human

being, and not just knowing

a paper doll cut-out, onedimensional

version of myself.

Photography | Justin Cook

When things get tough, what

makes you feel better? On the

difficult days, I let myself feel

bad and try to resist the urge to

guilt myself for feeling depressed

– usually, this is the hardest part

and takes the longest. If a shitty

situation has snuck up on me out

of nowhere, I always try to focus

on breathing my way through it.

And, as soon as I possibly can, I

try to get into a self-love cocoon

of tarot cards, essential oils,

meditation, bubble baths, and

healing crystals.

Jessamyn Stanley is an author,

intersectional activist, and

founder of ‘The Underbelly Yoga’, a

wellness programme app available

internationally this winter


Y O G A

Some like it hot

These days, there seems to be as many different types of yoga as there are ways to

mispronounce ‘namaste’. From classics renewed to – *cough* – yoga in the nude,

instructors are working hard to find new and creative ways to engage students in this

ancient practice. This month, Happiful’s yogi-newbie Kathryn Wheeler heads to a hot

yoga class to see if it lives up to the hype, or whether it’s all just a bit of a stretch

Loaded up on liquid? Check.

Light lunch two hours

earlier? Check. Highly

absorbent towel for my

soon-to-be very sweaty brow?

Check.

I’ve arrived at Red Hot Yoga

in Guildford for my first ever

experience of, you’ve guessed it,

hot yoga. The concept is simple

– an hour of yoga in a room kept

between 38–42°C with a humidity

level of 40–50% – but the benefits,

so I’ve heard, are ample.

Originally created by popular

yoga teacher Bikram Choudhury

in the 1970s, the practice is

sometimes referred to as ‘Bikram

yoga’ – although the yoga

community has since sought to

move away from the association

following a stream of sexual

assault claims. Today, there are

many forms of hot yoga, from

the ‘Hot 26’ – which includes a

series of 26 repeated postures – to

traditional Vinyasa Flow. For me,

however, it was straight to the

beginners’ class.

It was a chilly, winter evening

when I arrived at the studio, and

the humid heat that washed over

me when I first walked into the hot

yoga room was very welcome. The

room was dark and quiet and, as I

weaved my way to a free mat at the

back of the room (the classic firsttimer

spot), others were taking the

10 or so minutes we had before the

class began to lie down and relax

on their mats – an activity that I

quickly learned was more than

enough to build up a sweat.

Beginning in a seated position

with some gentle stretching

to warm up, we then moved

into standing poses. The class

consisted of mostly static postures

with some short flows added in as

well, though the motions through

the poses are much slower than

in standard yoga classes – and,

though breathing is so often an

important factor in any yoga

practice, here it was vital.

Having this awareness – and,

consequently, control – over your

body is one of the unique qualities

of hot yoga; it doesn’t encourage

you gently to take back control

like in other forms, it demands it.

Additionally, hot yoga is thought to

give you a better workout due to an

increased heart rate, and the heat

also improves flexibility, meaning

that you can stretch further than

you would do normally.

The temperature of the room

meant that each extension through

my arms and legs blended into the

space around me, and I felt the

limits of my body blurring with

the hot air as my heart rate raced

in the heat. As I made eye contact

with myself in the wall of mirrors

in front of me, yes, I did notice the

stream of sweat running off my

body – in fact, more sweat than I

thought it was possible to produce

– but I also felt strong, serene, and

in tune with myself.

The session came to an end and

– as I stepped out of the hot yoga

room into the cool, essential-oilinfused

changing rooms – I felt…

quiet. Hot yoga is an invigorating

mix of challenging physical

exercise, and uplifting mindful

moments. From the mind-soothing

qualities, to the way that it unlocks

new physical limits, it may be time

to turn up the heat on your yoga

workout – you won’t regret it.

64 • happiful.com • January 2020


‘Hot yoga doesn’t encourage

you gently to take back

control, it demands it’

T R Y A T H O M E

While it wouldn’t be easy to

replicate a hot yoga room at

home without racking up a

pricey energy bill, follow the

flow below to unlock this

ancient, mindful practice:

Mountain pose

Stand on your mat with your

hands in prayer positions in

front of you. Breathe slowly.

Forward bend

Raise your hands above your

head and then slowly bend at

the waist to place your hands

on the floor or your shins.

Low lunge

Raise your head and step one

foot in between your arms,

resting the other leg on the

floor.

Plank

Step your other foot back to

meet the first and tighten your

stomach muscles to hold a

plank position.

Downward facing dog

Straighten your arms and,

keeping your legs straight if you

can, raise your hips to create a

triangle.

High lunge

Step one leg forward, with your

back leg straight and off the

mat, and raise your head with

your arms by your side.

Forward bend

Come into a forward bend,

hanging loosely.

Mountain pose

Straighten up and bring your

hands to meet in prayer

position in front of you. Breathe.

January 2020 • happiful.com • 65


Time for

breakfast

Put the kettle on and start your morning the right way

Writing | Ellen Hoggard

Breakfast is one of my

favourite meals of

the day. While there

are so many options

available, it’s easy to fall into a dull

routine, with a lacklustre, soggy

and sugar-filled cereal. Of course,

sometimes you really want a

piece of toast to complement your

morning brew, but when you have

a busy day ahead of you – whether

at work or the weekend – you

need something to sustain you.

This month, we’re bringing

you three simple, nutritious, yet

delicious, recipes to try at home.

You can prepare these ahead

of time, or indulge in a slower

morning. Whatever works for you.

Go on, put the kettle on and start

your morning the right way. Have

a great day!

SMOKY SCRAMBLED EGGS

Serves 2

• 1 ½ bell peppers, chopped

• 1 small red onion

• 50g spinach leaves

• 3 medium eggs

• 1 tsp paprika

• 1 tbsp olive oil

• 2 slices of bread

• Salt and pepper

Optional: Add garlic and freshly

chopped chillies for an extra kick!

Method

• Heat the oil in a medium-sized

frying pan and cook the peppers

and onion until soft. Add the

paprika and any additional

seasonings. Stir. Toast the bread

• To the pan, add the eggs and stir

constantly for 30 seconds, mixing

the eggs and vegetables. Continue

stirring. When the eggs are fully

cooked, spoon on to the toast.

Season and serve immediately.

SPICED APPLE OATS

Serves 2

• 50g organic rolled oats

• 125ml milk of choice

• 4 tbsp yoghurt (dairy-free

optional)

• 2 small red apples, chopped

• 2 tsp maple syrup

• 3 tsp cinnamon

Optional: A dollop of peanut butter.

Method

• Combine the oats, milk, yoghurt

and 3 tsp cinnamon in a bowl.

Cover and chill overnight. In

a medium-sized pan, add the

chopped apples, cinnamon and

maple syrup. Sauté until soft.

Transfer to a bowl and cover,

leave in the fridge overnight.

• In the morning, spoon out the oat

mixture into bowls. Add the apple

and any additional toppings.


OUR EXPERT SAYS…

Smoky Scrambled Eggs

This is a well-balanced, nutritious

vegetarian breakfast. It includes

all three macronutrients: protein,

carbohydrates, and fats. Ensure

the ingredients are good quality to

maximise the nutritional benefits;

opt for a high fibre whole grain

bread and organic free-range eggs.

The spinach, red onion, and bell

pepper will ensure a healthy dose

of vitamins, minerals, fibre and

antioxidants to kick off the day.

Spiced Apple Oats

Organic rolled oats are a fantastic

source of soluble fibre that promotes

gut health and motility. Apples

are high in quercetin, a powerful

antioxidant that helps strengthen

the immune system. Adding

cinnamon not only adds depth of

flavour, but also acts as a blood sugar

balancer. Swap peanut butter for

almond butter, as it offers a higher

amount of monounsaturated fats.

VEGAN BANANA MUFFINS

Makes 12

• 3 very ripe bananas

• 50g coconut oil

• 200g granulated sugar

• 250g all-purpose flour

• 1 tsp salt

• 1 tsp baking soda

Optional: 100g vegan chocolate

chips, walnuts

• Preheat the oven to 180 degrees,

gas mark 4. Line a 12-hole cake

tin with paper cases, set aside. In

a bowl, mash the bananas. Add

the oil and sugar and combine

until smooth. In a separate bowl,

combine the flour, salt and baking

soda. Add to the banana mixture,

stirring gently. Once combined,

if using, add the walnuts and

chocolate chips.

• Spoon the mixture into your lined

cases, leaving some room for the

cakes to rise. Bake for 25 minutes

or until golden brown. Eat while

warm with a cup of tea. Delicious.

Vegan Banana Muffin

While delicious, I’d recommend

these as a weekend treat, rather

than an everyday breakfast. Bananas

are rich in fibre, antioxidants, and

potassium, which is essential to

heart health. Ripe bananas are a

healthy carbohydrate that provide a

good supply of fruit sugar.

By switching a few ingredients you

can enhance the nutritional value.

Use an organic whole cane sugar,

and almond flour, which offers more

protein, healthy fats, and vitamin E.

Josephine (Beanie) Robinson is

a nutritional therapist, yoga

and meditation teacher, and

co-founder of The Health Space.

Find out more at

thehealth-space.com


BishBash

BOSH!

The thought of going fully vegan might seem daunting, but thanks to the advice and insight

of the brains behind YouTube cooking channel BOSH!, you can ‘flex’ your cuisine skills and

explore the middle-ground before taking the plant-based plunge

Writing | Gemma Calvert

It’s a Wednesday afternoon

and I’m at a bustling cafe

on London’s Regent Street

meeting Henry Firth and Ian

Theasby – the so-called ‘vegan

Jamie Olivers’ behind BOSH!, the

plant-based YouTube cooking

channel revolutionising our eating

habits, one legume at a time.

It’s been four years since the

Sheffield-born friends quit

eating meat and dairy, and

began ‘veganising’ dinner time

favourites. From bolognese to

burgers, Ian and Henry have

devised thousands of meat, dairy

and even honey-free versions,

which they demonstrate in quick,

no-nonsense videos (hence bish,

bash, bosh!) on their website and

social channels.

Starting out in June 2016, and

now uploading a new recording

every day at 3pm, Henry and Ian’s

videos reach more than 25 million

people each month, with 1.5

billion views since they started.

On top of two best-selling

vegan cookbooks – the first is

the highest-selling of all-time –

towards the end of 2019, Henry

and Ian released How To Live

Vegan – a handbook endorsed

by Russell Brand, which will

apparently help you “save the

planet and feel amazing”.

They talk from experience.

Ian and Henry went vegan

overnight within six weeks of

each other after watching the

Netflix documentary Cowspiracy,

which they say laid bare the

environmental impact of animal

agriculture, and inspired a need

to take personal responsibility

for change.

“Animal agriculture is the biggest

contributor to planet change,

more than cars, trains, and planes

combined,” says Henry. “David

Attenborough has said we should

reduce our meat and dairy intake

to help the planet, and it’s known

that 25% of our personal carbon

footprint is down to the food and

drink we consume. The biggest

thing we can control individually

is changing our diet.”

Now here’s the astounding

bit – you don’t have to go fully

vegan to make a big difference.

Flexitarianism – “Eating less meat

and consuming more consciously,”


Henry (left) and Ian (right)

started out in 2016

Portraits | Nicky Johnston

Ian explains – is a fast growing

trend in the UK, aided by initiatives

such as ‘Veganuary’.

“Eating aware and doing your

research into what you’re eating

will arm you to be a conscious

consumer, or what we call a

‘mindful meatie’,” explains Henry.

“A really easy thing to do is meatfree

Monday. For breakfast have

granola, for lunch have a falafel

wrap, then for your evening meal,

some tomato pasta or a veggie

lasagne. If every single person in

the country decided to do meatfree

Monday, that would be a very

good place to start.”

Yet preachers they are not.

Instead, Henry and Ian hope that

developing appetising, plantbased

recipes everyone can enjoy,

will persuade even the most

diehard carnivores to slash their

meat consumption.

“BOSH! is about plant-based food

for everyone. It’s our mission to

make it as accessible as humanly

possible, to as many people as

possible,” says Ian.

“Flexitarians have all the buying

power,” adds Henry. “They doing

the bulk of the buying, so the

more vegan products that meateaters

buy, the more that will be

available, and the more likely

there will be subsidies for plantbased

food producers.”

Henry and Ian don’t pretend

to be doctors, nutritionists, or

dietitians, and while studies

galore highlight the health

advantages of well-planned vegan

eating – including reduced risk

of cardiovascular disease and

diabetes, plus better gut health

and immune system functioning

– they talk anecdotally of

improved health since adopting

a fully plant-based diet. They

WIN!

For a chance to win 'BOSH! How to Live Vegan', answer the following:

What percentage of our carbon footprint comes from food and drink?

Email your answer to competitions@happiful.com

T&Cs apply. Competition ends 23 January 2020

noticed better sleep and clearer

complexions, Henry claims his

long-term hay fever ceased after

giving up dairy, and he mentions

a pal whose “crippling sinusitis”

disappeared after he went vegan.

Ian’s “never had so much energy”,

and there are mental health

benefits, too.

“Vegan eating is about

compassion for yourself and your

own health, for animals, for the

planet, or for starving people as

well as the social justice angles,”

says Henry. “When I went vegan,

I felt better in myself and in my

choices, I was more congruent

with my ethics because I knew I

was eating in line with my ideals.”

Ian adds: “Every time you cook

a vegan meal, you can be safe in

the knowledge that you’re doing

a good thing, and it will give you

more satisfaction and hunger to

do it again. Cooking really is good

for your mental health.”

As I bid BOSH! farewell, they

dish out hugs and thrust a bag

of homemade chocolate-chip

cookies into my hand – vegan,

of course. Flexitarianism never

tasted so good… >>>


Bish Bash

BOSH!

tips to becoming

a mindful-meatie

1) PREP LIKE A VEGAN PRO

“Spend time reading books,

watching YouTube videos, and

get to grips with the theory

behind cooking plant-based food

because that’s going to be your

new norm,” advises Ian. “Then

open your cupboards and check

every label. If it’s not plant-based,

put it to one side, and choose

what you want to do with it – we

took ours to a food bank. Clear

your cupboards of potential

pitfalls and trip ups.”

2) ESSENTIAL INGREDIENTS

“Nutritional yeast is the must-have

ingredient for anyone looking to

substitute dairy cheese,” advises

Henry. “It gives an instant cheesy

flavour – it’s a bit weird raw, but

the minute you put it into a cheese

sauce it tastes perfectly cheesy!”

Tinned tomatoes, white or

brown pasta (only egg pasta isn’t

vegan) garlic, onions, salt and

pepper are kitchen must-haves.

Oh, and don’t forget chickpeas.

“Not only can you make the vegan

staple, hummus, but you can also

make aquafaba,” reveals Henry.

3) MOO-VE OVER, COW’S MILK

According to research, it takes

about 1,000 litres of water to make

one litre of dairy milk, compared

to 297 litres for the same amount

of soy milk. “Swapping dairy milk

and cheese is an easy and great

step to cut down on your carbon

footprint,” says Ian, adding

that shopping for plant-based

alternatives has never been easier.

“Walk into a supermarket and

you’ve got oat milk, almond milk,

soy milk, rice milk, hemp milk –

the list goes on and on.”

4) BYE BYE BEEF

“Beef is the meat with the highest

carbon footprint because of

cow’s farting,” explains Henry.

Put simply, cows produce a lot of

methane so feeding cows grass

contributes to the production of

greenhouse gases. “If everyone

in the UK cut out meat from one

meal a week, it would cut the UK’s

carbon footprint by 8% per year.

That’s the equivalent to taking 16

million cars off the road.”

5) EMBRACE COOKING

“You’re going to discover loads of

new foods – ingredients such as

tempeh (made from soy beans),

seitan (made from wheat gluten

and high in protein) and jackfruit

(a meaty substitute like pulled

pork),” explains Henry. “Retrain

yourself how to cook and then,

once you’ve nailed a few recipes,

try veganising your old favourites.”

6) EAT THE RAINBOW

“Try to pack your basket full of

colourful plant foods to get diversity

on to your plate,” says Ian, “and all

the fibre, potassium, magnesium,

vitamins, antioxidants and protein

your body needs – it’s good for your

tastebuds as well as your health!”

7) TAKE TIME FOR TEXTURE

Ian talks proudly of BOSH! being the

first to create the two tofu technique

scrambled egg – a mixture of

blended and crumbled silken tofu,

turmeric, black salt, spring onions,

dairy-free butter and garlic. “It has

the same mouth-feel, and tastes

the same, as scrambled egg, but

contains no cholesterol and is

packed full of protein,” he says.

8) COPE WITH CRITICISM

“We’ve found that an effective way

to tackle criticism is to not argue,

let people have their different

opinions, respect those opinions,

and try not to be too judgemental,”

says Henry. “By being the best you

can, you set an example for others

that eating vegan – or more vegan

– can be really great.”


Food photography | Lizzie Mayson

Shepherd's

pie

This is a staple family favourite, a

British classic. We make this with

our mushroom mince, which

we fry off first to create a really

meaty texture. Super tasty, super

hearty, serve this up to your

meaty friends and they won’t be

able to tell the difference.

SERVES 4–6

2 medium red onions

1 celery stick

3 garlic cloves

4 sun-dried tomatoes,

plus 2 tbsp oil from the jar

1 sprig fresh rosemary

3 sprigs fresh thyme

1 large carrot

500g mushrooms

2 tbsp tomato purée

1 tbsp yeast extract (eg. Marmite)

1 tbsp balsamic vinegar

250ml red wine

100ml vegetable stock

400g pre-cooked puy lentils

Salt and black pepper

FOR THE POTATO TOPPING

1.2kg Maris Piper or other floury

potatoes

40g dairy-free butter

150ml unsweetened plant-based milk

1 tbsp Dijon mustard

Preheat oven to 180°C

First make a start on the potato

topping. Peel and chop the

potatoes into large chunks. Put in a

saucepan, cover with cold water and

add a generous pinch of salt. Put

over a high heat, bring to the boil

and cook for 12–15 minutes. Drain

into a colander and leave to dry. Tip

back into the pan.

Now to the filling. Peel and finely

dice the red onions and celery. Peel

and grate the garlic. Finely chop

the sun-dried tomatoes. Remove

the leaves from the rosemary and

thyme by running your thumb and

forefinger from the top to the base of

the stems (the leaves should easily

come away), then finely chop .Peel

and finely chop the carrot. Put the

mushrooms in the food processor

and blitz to mince.

Put a second saucepan over a

medium heat. Pour in the sun-dried

tomato oil. Add the onion and a

small pinch of salt. Fry for 5 minutes,

stirring. Add the garlic, sun-dried

tomatoes, rosemary and thyme and

cook for 2 minutes. Add the carrot

and celery and stir for 4–5 minutes.

Add the mushrooms, turn up the

heat slightly and stir for 2–3 minutes,

until the mushrooms start to sweat.

Reduce the heat and cook for 5–7

minutes, stirring occasionally

Stir the tomato purée into the

pan. Add the yeast extract and

balsamic vinegar and stir for 1

minute. Add the red wine, stock

and lentils, turn up the heat and

simmer until most of the liquid has

evaporated, about 10 minutes. Taste,

season and take off the heat.

Mash the potatoes. Add the dairyfree

butter, milk and mustard to

the potatoes and mash until really

smooth. Taste and season.

Spread the filling over the bottom

of the lasagne dish. Spoon the

potato into a piping bag, if using,

and pipe tightly packed walnut-sized

whips of potato all over, otherwise

spoon over the potato and spread it

out with the back of a spoon, then

drag over a fork to make rows that

will catch and brown in the oven

Put the pie in the oven and bake

for 25–30 minutes, until starting

to crisp and turn golden brown.

Remove and serve.

‘BOSH! How To Live Vegan’ by Henry

Firth and Ian Theasby is out now.

Recipes from ‘BISH BASH BOSH!’ also

out now (HQ, HarperCollins).


Expert insight:

Binge drinking

One in five people admitted to hospital drink alcohol in a harmful way, with one in

10 officially being alcohol dependent. Could you, or a loved one, be a binge-drinker

without realising it? With help from accredited counsellor, Elaine McKenzie, we explore

how to recognise the signs, and how to find professional support

Writing | Bonnie Evie Gifford

It’s easy to miss the fact that you

have a problem when you don’t

‘look like’ an alcoholic. If you’re

not drinking every night, you

don’t bulk buy cans of the cheap

stuff, or if you’re holding down a

steady job, it’s easy to think you

don’t have a problem.

No matter how open-minded

we think we are, many of us

assume alcoholism and addiction

in general has ‘a look’. If we’re

brutally honest, we assume

it’s a working class problem:

cheap booze and regular binges.

But that’s not the only face of

addiction in Britain.

A dear friend swears she doesn’t

have a problem. She doesn’t drink

often; three out of four weeks, she

doesn’t even have a glass of wine

after work. Yet when travelling for

work, she can’t recall how many

she’s had by the time the night

is through. Beers go down like

water, cocktails are flowing. It’s an

open bar – who wouldn’t get in on

the action?

Everything’s OK – it’s just part

of their team building. Three,

four, five nights out of a month. A

couple of welcome drinks before

the conference starts.

A few cheeky bottles over dinner

to impress the clients. Unlimited

cocktails as the team celebrate

making last quarter’s numbers. It’s

not a problem – honest.

EVERYONE’S AT IT

She’s not the only one. A 2018

study by the University of

Stirling, Scotland, found that an

overwhelming 85% of men and

women have experienced peer

pressure to drink, making it a key

influencing factor.

In 2019, research from King’s

College London revealed that

the harmful levels of alcohol use

are 10 times higher in hospital

inpatients, with 20% of the 1.65

million hospital inpatients using

alcohol in a harmful way.

WHY DO WE BINGE-DRINK?

With so much information,

guidelines, and warnings out

there, why do many of us still turn

to alcohol for comfort or as a way

of coping? Experienced therapist,

Elaine McKenzie, explains: “Our

subjective capacity to navigate

the complexities of life on life’s

terms, and to relate to others

can be challenging, and the

temptation to reach for something

to soothe is comforting. Seeking

to control uncertainty with food,

prescription medication or drugs,

and alcohol… In the short-term,

the chosen ‘crutch’ can assist,

but in the longer term? The

consequences to wellbeing are

significant to ourselves and those

closest to us.”

HOW TO SUPPORT A LOVED ONE

With so many risks surrounding

binge-drinking, what can we do if

we’re worried about a loved one?

“When behaviours become

destructive, those who care can

adopt an empathic approach,

and ask about what may be

worrying them, e.g. health,

work, or not being heard within

their relationship,” says Elaine.

“However, this can be tricky.

Intimate partners [can have] the

most difficulty in addressing the

other’s habitual or binge drinking.

It is essential that there is an

acceptance of the problem.”

When we address the elephant in

the room, this can lead to a sense

of shame and denial among those

with a problematic relationship

with alcohol. >>>

72 • happiful.com • January 2020


WHAT IS BINGE DRINKING?

According to the NHS, binge drinking

refers to drinking lots of alcohol in

a short space of time, or with the

intention of getting drunk. For men,

eight units (2.5 pints of 5% beer) of

alcohol in one session, or for women

six units (two large glasses of 12%

wine), classifies as binge drinking.


Helping them to recognise alcohol

is a crutch they are using to cope

with an underlying issue can be

tough, Elaine explains, but is an

essential part of the recovery

process.

“Maybe the most helpful

suggestion is to access objective,

professional support either from

one’s GP or a therapist. We all need

support from time to time.”

DITCHING THE ‘ONE SOLUTION’

MINDSET

There’s no such thing as ‘one size

fits all’ in life. The same can be

said of recovery. Counselling and

talking therapies can offer a safe

space to explore and uncover

issues and deeper problems, but

this isn’t always the best way for

each individual. If someone you

know and love is struggling with

their drinking, there are other

options available.

SUPPORT GROUPS AND

GROUP THERAPY

While these are distinctly different

kinds of groups, each share some

characteristics. Bringing together

people who are dealing with

similar issues or concerns in a

safe, open environment, each

offers the space to explore sharing

in a group setting.

These can help individuals

increase their sense of selfawareness,

make new connections

with others, and gain a sense of

community. They can be great

options for those who don’t feel

comfortable opening up in a oneto-one

setting, or who would like

to connect with others who are

experiencing similar issues.

Group therapy sessions are

typically led by a qualified

therapist, counsellor, or

psychologist, while support groups

may be run by a professional or

others who have experienced

similar issues themselves.

To find out more about

counselling and group therapy,

visit counselling-directory.org.uk

HYPNOTHERAPY

Working with a hypnotherapist

can help you to better understand

your body, identify and reduce the

causes of stress and anxiety, as

well as help tackle the underlying

emotions that may have lead to

binge drinking.

In a hypnotherapy session, you

can enter a focused, deep state of

relaxation, where you can become

more attuned with your body

and how you’re feeling. You can

learn to listen to what your body

is really feeling, start recognising

trigger emotions, and develop

new strategies to help deal with

underlying emotions. To find

out more about hypnotherapy

for addiction or stress, visit

hypnotherapy-directory.org.uk

AM I A BINGE-DRINKER?

• Do you regularly have more than

your week’s recommended units

of alcohol? Are these spread

through the week, or across

fewer than three sessions?

• Do you have more than six units

of alcohol at a time?

• Do you drink to get drunk?

These can all be indications

of binge drinking. If you are

concerned, speak with your GP, or

visit drinkaware.co.uk to find out

more about the associated risks.

NUTRITIONAL SUPPORT

It may not seem like the obvious

answer, but what we eat can have

a huge impact on our overall

mood and sense of wellbeing.

When feeling stressed, many turn

to alcohol as a means of dealing

with this increased pressure.

Although it can have an instant

calming effect on the body, in the

long-term, this consumption can

increase stress in our lives and

can even lead to addiction, trouble

sleeping, and a lower overall sense

of wellbeing.

If stress is a significant factor

in your (or a loved one’s) bingedrinking,

working with a

professional nutritionist could

be helpful in making longterm,

positive changes to your

diet. Offering tailored advice

and support, a professional

should look at your triggers and

contributing factors, as well as

underlying imbalances as part of

your initial assessment.

To find out more about how a

nutritional therapist could help,

visit nutritionist-resource.org.uk

SEEKING SUPPORT

Recognising you have a

problem is a huge step. Seeking

professional help and support

can feel daunting, but is the start

of making positive changes for

the better.

Encountering alcohol as part of

our daily lives is pretty inevitable

– in many ways it’s an unavoidable

part of our culture. Finding ways

to address underlying causes

of our destructive behaviours

can help to turn these stressful

situations into more manageable

events. With a little extra help and

support, we can bring the focus

back to what matters: ensuring

our health and wellbeing is a

priority, not an afterthought.

74 • happiful.com • January 2020


Bring mindfulness

to every day

Being present can reduce stress,

ease anxiety, and improve

self-awareness. Meditation

is a common way to practise

mindfulness, but it isn’t the

only way. Explore these easy

options for introducing mindful

moments to your daily routine

Writing | Kat Nicholls

SET AN INTENTION FOR THE DAY

So often we wake up to the

sound of our alarm, and jump

head-first into our to-do list for

the day. Try having a slower and

more mindful start to your day

by setting an intention when you

wake. Ask yourself what you want

to achieve, and what you want to

make space for.

Top tip: keep a journal by your bed

to note your intention, and try to do

it before picking up your phone and

scrolling.

MAKE A MINDFUL CUPPA

If you already start your day with

a cup of tea or coffee, why not

give it a mindful twist? Instead of

running through your day in your

head while making your brew,

pause and really pay attention to

what you’re doing.

Notice how it smells, the swirl

when you add your milk, feel the

warmth of the mug in your hands,

enjoy every delicious sip. Use this

as a chance to be in the moment

and allow thoughts and worries to

pass like clouds in the sky.

TAKE A DIFFERENT ROUTE

When we follow the same route,

it’s easy to get stuck on autopilot.

Think about the journeys you take

every day, such as your commute

to work or daily dog walk. How

often do you think about where

you’re going? Chances are it’s not

very often.

An easy way to become more

present is to change up your

routine and take a different route.

This will sharpen your senses,

as you focus on the novelty, and

which direction you need to go.

LOOK UP

Feeling overwhelmed? Something

simple you can do to calm down

and anchor yourself in the

moment is to head outside and

look up. Notice how the sky is

looking today – is it cloudy or

clear? Is it warm or cold? Can

you see any treetops or birds

overhead?

This simple act can often give

us a healthy dose of perspective,

as we’re reminded what an

incredible feat it is that earth

exists at all.

ACTIVELY LISTEN

We all do it: a friend or colleague

is telling us about their day and

we’re either thinking about

something else, or keeping one

eye on emails or our phone.

Next time you have a

conversation, try to be more

present. Put down any devices,

make eye contact, and actively

listen to what they’re saying.

Giving this kind of attention can

help to build more meaningful

connections.


Nourish your body

and soul with the

self-care cookbook

Plant-based chef Gemma Ogston reveals how

her experience of an eating disorder changed her

relationship with food, what self-care means to her, and

why we all deserve to eat well and look after ourselves

Writing | Kat Nicholls

Gemma and I have

something in common.

In our teenage years,

we both struggled with

anorexia – an eating

disorder that typically makes

you avoid food at all costs. So,

when I heard about her cookbook

exploring eating as the ultimate

form of self-care, I was instantly

intrigued.

Reading more about Gemma,

I learned that she turned to a

plant-based diet after a number

of miscarriages. “I had to have all

sorts of tests. I tried acupuncture,

and then I started looking into diet

and how food can help,” Gemma

says. “I didn't go totally vegan, but

I started eating much better – way

more plants and whole foods, and

now I have my two babies. I was

having treatment at the time as

well, but it just helped with my

mood and made me feel better.”

This gut-brain connection

is a growing conversation in

the wellness industry, and

fascinating for anyone, but

especially those recovering from

76 • happiful.com • January 2020


It's alright to have

a bit of chocolate

cake if that’s what

you want! It’s about

giving yourself

permission to do

that, rather than

getting sad about

it, and beating

yourself up

Photography | James Bellorini

an eating disorder. For Gemma,

she struggled with anorexia

between the ages of 12 and 17

in particular, but with time she

slowly recovered. However, as

we both agree, it can be tough to

ever feel fully recovered from an

eating disorder.

“It’s just, always there isn’t it?”

Gemma says. “And I know for

me, when I eat rubbish, it just

makes me feel bad. It makes

my mood low. And then those

negative feelings start coming

back.” >>>

January 2020 • happiful.com • 77


This is exactly why she wanted

the recipes in her book to be

both physically and mentally

nourishing. She avoids using

phrases like ‘guilt-free’ and tells me

it’s more about taking care over the

food you’re eating, and making it a

pleasurable experience.

“All of the recipes in the book

look good and are inviting. You’ve

taken a bit of care over them –

maybe you’ve made it look really

bright and colourful, and that

in itself is an act of self-care.

Choosing foods that are healthy,

that make you feel good, they

set off your serotonin levels and,

rather than making you crash and

feel down, they do the opposite.”

But the ultimate act of self-care

is, of course, listening to your body

and what it needs. “It’s alright to

have a bit of chocolate cake if that’s

what you want!” Gemma notes. “It’s

about giving yourself permission

to do that, rather than getting sad

about it, and beating yourself up.”

Having worked as an addiction

counsellor in women’s projects

for more than a decade, Gemma

has an in-depth understanding of

treating yourself with compassion,

especially while in recovery.

“I was in the mental health sector

for 15 years, working in the NHS

with women with serious drug and

alcohol issues,” says Gemma.

This is where her passion for

mood foods really began, but

cooking has always been a big part

of Gemma’s life. Growing up in a

big family, as the youngest of five,

everyone had chores to do around

the house, so Gemma’s mum

taught her to cook.

Things progressed when

Gemma’s kids were little though,

when the family decided to up

sticks and start a new adventure

living in Barcelona, Spain, for a

few years. “I set up a little vegan

take-away, and I used to do these

bento boxes for well-known DJs

who were travelling in and out of

Barcelona.”

From there, her business only

grew. The family moved back to

Brighton, UK, and she launched

Gem’s Wholesome Kitchen,

offering ‘nourish’ packages (plantbased

food that gets delivered),

cooking workshops, and supper

clubs – and works with clients

such as Zoe Ball and Poppy Deyes.

But with a young family and

running a business, unsurprisingly

Gemma leads a hectic lifestyle.

Self-care

isn’t selfish –

it’s essential

for life

With her focus on nourishing

yourself, she knows the

importance of practising what she

preaches, and utilising her selfcare

activities. Aside from food,

making time to get to the gym

is important to her, along with

connecting with other people.

However, she is also clear on her

boundaries, and explains that

saying no to people is also key.

“That’s something I’ve been

doing the past few years, saying no

to things that I don’t really want to

do – or if I do them, then it’s going

to mean that I’m tired. It’s about

choosing to do things that serve

you and your family, rather than

doing stuff to please other people.”

As many of us know though,

as much as we can have good

intentions with self-care, so often

busy schedules take over and

we just seem to not have enough

time. Gemma’s response to that?

Prioritise it.

“I think making it a priority is

something everyone can do. It

could just be going for a walk at

lunchtime – getting out of the

office to have a breath of fresh air

and sit on your own – or making a

conscious effort to do something

for you every day, whatever that

may be.”

And to help with those struggling

for time, Gemma has ensured

the recipes in her book are quick

to make, affordable, and that the

ingredients can be found in most

supermarkets. Her aim is to take

the stress out of cooking, and to

make cooking an enjoyable act of

self-care for all.

“Self-care isn’t selfish – it’s

essential for life,” Gemma says.

“You’re not selfish by taking

some time out on your own. It’s

something we should all do every

day. But people don’t, and it’s a

shame because we all deserve it –

we all deserve to have five minutes

of peace to ourselves, or whatever

that may be. And to eat well, of

course.”

And with that in mind, you

are invited to take some time

for yourself to make a batch of

brownies from the recipe here, get

a cup of tea, sit back and relax. You

deserve it.

78 • happiful.com • January 2020


‘The Self-Care Cookbook’ by

Gemma Ogston is published

by Vermilion (£14.99)

Optional toppings:

Chopped walnuts and slivered

almonds

Freeze-dried raspberries

Edible rose petals

Dreamy brownies

MAKES 8 | Prep time: 10 minutes,

plus 1 hour to chill

When you’re feeling a bit low,

something sweet can be a real

cure-all. These brownies are so

delicious, you won’t believe they

are such a healthy snack. They

will give you all the TLC you need,

as cacao is full of minerals and

vitamins to boost your mood

and energy levels, dates are a

wonderful natural sweetener, and

the nuts add protein.

150g pecans or walnuts

150g dates, soaked in hot water for

10 minutes

6 tbsp cacao powder

5 tbsp desiccated coconut

3 tbsp honey or maple syrup

A pinch of sea salt

For the icing

150g dates, soaked in hot water for

10 minutes (save the water after

soaking)

4 tbsp raw cacao powder

2 tbsp coconut oil

Method

• Blitz the nuts in a food processor

until crumbly. Add the dates

and blitz again until the

mixture sticks together. Add the

remaining ingredients and blend

until the mixture turns a lovely

dark brown. (If you don’t have

a food processor, chop the nuts

and dates finely and combine

with the rest of the ingredients

to make a fairly firm brownie

mixture.)

• Line a 20cm square cake tin with

baking paper and spoon the

mixture into it, pressing down

firmly.

• For the icing, put all the

ingredients in a food processor or

blender with 50ml of the reserved

date-soaking liquid, and blitz for

a few minutes until smooth. Add

a little water if needed.

• Using a spatula, spread the icing

on top of the brownie mix. Top

with any decorations, then chill

in the fridge until ready to serve.

• I usually slice the brownies

before putting in the fridge to

chill, as they are easier to cut

before they have been chilled.

January 2020 • happiful.com • 79



The distance is nothing,

when one has a motive

– JANE AUSTEN, PRIDE AND PREJUDICE

Photography | Alberto Bianchini


Unconventional

approaches

to anxiety

If tried and tested

treatments aren’t helping

your anxiety, where can

you turn?

Writing | Kat Nicholls

Before I went to the

doctor about my

anxiety, I knew what

was going to be on

offer. Working as a writer within

the mental health industry, I

was pretty familiar with anxiety

treatments, and wasn’t surprised

when cognitive behavioural

therapy (CBT) was on the table.

CBT is often the first port of

call when treating anxiety and,

in my case, it was everything I

needed. Talking therapies, selfhelp

approaches, group support,

and medication, can all work

brilliantly. For some, however,

these either don’t help or aren’t

enough. We’re all unique and

our experiences of anxiety will

differ. Some of us need a different

approach.

Luckily, there are many options

that can help with anxiety. >>>


From ‘tapping’ to adjusting your

diet, we look into some alternative

approaches you can consider if

conventional routes aren’t quite

cutting it.

Here we’ve highlighted a few

approaches you may not have

thought of before, but what’s

important to know for anyone

living with anxiety is that you do

have options. If one approach

doesn’t help, explore others that

resonate with you. Just like finding

the right life partner, you may

have to kiss a few frogs to find the

one – but the right treatment will

be worth it.

HYPNOTHERAPY

Working with our subconscious

mind, hypnotherapy is

becoming increasingly popular

as a treatment. To learn more

about the approach, I spoke to

hypnotherapist and author Chloe

Brotheridge.

“Hypnotherapy is about

making positive changes at a

subconscious level,” says Chloe.

“During a session, clients get

into a deeply relaxed state, and I

use various techniques, such as

making positive suggestions and

using visualisation, to help the

unconscious mind take on new,

empowering thoughts, feelings,

and behaviours.”

She explains that there is no

showbiz-style finger clicking

involved, no clucking like a

chicken – the client remains in

control the whole time. “Many

people start to notice a positive

change right away,” she adds.

Like any treatment, of course,

hypnotherapy isn’t a magic bullet.

The level to which it works will

depend on your circumstances,

and how ‘open’ to suggestion

you are. However, as Chloe says,

results can be quick and powerful,

especially when used for anxiety

disorders.

“Anxiety is a very subconscious

process; no one chooses to have a

racing heart or intrusive thoughts.

The physical and automatic

aspects of anxiety come from the

subconscious mind, and often

have their roots in childhood

experiences, and things you

learned or took on board from

parents. Hypnotherapy allows you

to reprogramme the subconscious

reasons you experience anxiety, so

you can be free of it.”

Other tools Chloe recommends

in her book, The Anxiety Solution,

include meditation, journaling,

and being mindful of the way you

speak to yourself. Showing yourself

kindness is vital, she says, if you’re

anxiety-prone.

You can learn more about Chloe’s

work at calmer-you.com. Find a

hypnotherapist in your local area

using hypnotherapy-directory.org.uk

‘Other techniques may include

meditation, journaling, and being

mindful of the way you speak to yourself’

Showing yourself

kindness is

vital if you’re

anxiety-prone

82 • happiful.com • January 2020


EMOTIONAL FREEDOM

TECHNIQUE (EFT)

Can tapping different parts of

your body alleviate anxiety?

Emotional Freedom Technique

(EFT) practitioners believe so. I

talked to energy healer and EFT

practitioner, Louise French, to

learn more about this seemingly

simple technique.

When describing EFT, Louise

tells me it’s a form of emotional

acupuncture, without the

needles. “It’s based on the

principle that all negative

emotions are the result of a

disruption in the body’s energy

system, which is caused by a

distressing memory. The process

is simple, and can be quickly and

easily learned.”

She explains that the process

involves lightly tapping different

acupuncture points on the upper

body, face, and hands. While you

tap, you think about a specific

thought, memory, or feeling.

“By acknowledging how we feel

while tapping on various points,

we release blockages in our

energetic system.”

So how does tapping reduce

anxiety, you might be wondering?

Louise explains that it’s down to

the way our brain works.

“There is a primitive part of

our brains, called the amygdala,

which controls our emotions

and the fight or flight response.

Tapping on various points of

our face and body sends gentle

vibrations along these meridian

points directly to the amygdala,

reducing its fear or anxiety

response signals to our body.”

Louise says that after individuals

use EFT, they often report a

feeling of “release, calmness and

a sense of peace”.

Part of the appeal of EFT is that

it can be practised alone. You

can learn the technique and take

anxiety management into your

own hands. Louise highlights,

however, that practitioners

are trained to hold space for

the individual and offer a new

perspective.

Learn about Louise’s work at

therapiesbylouise.com. To explore

EFT and other complementary

therapies in more detail, check out

therapy-directory.org.uk

NUTRITION

Most of us know that eating a

balanced diet is good for our

health, but more and more

research is showing a link between

gut health and mental health. To

get a clearer picture of how what

we eat impacts anxiety, I spoke

with nutritionist Amanda Allan.

“Nutrition can help to ensure

we have a healthy digestive tract,

so nutrients are absorbed and

sufficient ‘feel good’ chemicals can

be produced by our beneficial gut

bacteria,” Amanda says. “Digestive

problems including indigestion,

reflux, nausea, and other IBS

conditions, can be physical

symptoms of stress and anxiety,

but also contribute to anxiety.”

Keeping blood glucose levels

stable is important, as Amanda

explains that when we have

low glucose levels, we can feel

symptoms of anxiety more.

“Stimulants like caffeine, nicotine,

sugar, artificial sweeteners, too

much alcohol, refined foods, and

insufficient sleep, can adversely

affect our blood glucose levels.”

The good news is that there are

some simple changes we can make

to our diets to improve things.

Amanda explains that eating

slowly helps us to digest the food,

and absorb beneficial nutrients –

so this should be our first tactic.

Foods that contain omega 3

oils – like oily fish and seeds –

have an anti-inflammatory effect

on the brain, and foods that

contain magnesium – such as

nuts and leafy greens – which

encourages relaxation, are also

advised. To keep our digestive

health happy, Amanda tells me

fermented foods such as kefir

and sauerkraut are ideal.

Avoiding a sugary, caffeinefuelled

breakfast is another

recommendation, as this can

lead to low glucose levels later

in the day, triggering anxiety. “A

better alternative is to include

foods that have protein, fibre,

and antioxidants, such as oats

with yoghurt, seeds and fruit, or

eggs with wholemeal toast and

tomatoes.”

Find out more about Amanda

at amanda-allan.com, or find a

nutritionist in your local area on

nutritionist-resource.org.uk

January 2020 • happiful.com • 83


Is mental health on your company agenda?

We believe mental health first aid training should be given equal importance to physical

first aid training in every workplace. If you would like to become a mental health first aider

at work, Happiful can train you, and we've created this email template to help you explain

the benefits to your boss

Dear ,

I'd like to become a mental health first aider for

and I'm hoping you can help.

Here are some of the reasons why

will benefit from offering Mental Health First Aid training to our

employees:

1. Build staff confidence to have open conversations around mental

health, and break the stigma in the office and in society.

2. Encourage people to access early support when needed. Early

intervention means faster recovery.

3. Empower people with a long-term mental health issue or disability

to thrive in work, and ensure that we are compliant with legislation

in the Equality Act 2010.

4. Promote a mentally healthy environment, and allow people to thrive

and become more productive.

5. Embed a long-term, positive culture across the whole organisation,

where our employees recognise their mental and physical health are

supported as equal parts of the whole person.

6. Proudly share that mental health is on our company agenda, and

improve retention as a result of a reduction in staff stress levels.

Happiful offers two-day mental health first aid training courses for

individuals across the country for £235 + VAT per person, and they

can also offer bespoke courses on-site at our workplace if we have a

minimum of eight attendees.

Yours sincerely,


Did you know that stress,

anxiety, and depression

are the biggest causes of

sickness absence in our

society?

Mental ill-health is

currently responsible for

91 million working days

lost each year. The cost

to UK employers is £34.9

billion each year.*

Happiful has partnered

with Simpila Healthy

Solutions to offer

internationally recognised

courses and training

events in the UK.

Each course is delivered

by an accredited Mental

Health First Aid England

instructor and is delivered

in a safe, evidence-based

programme.

Proudly working with

*Source: MHFA England

SIMPILA

Healthy Solutions

To register your company’s interest or to book an

individual place, visit training.happiful.com or

drop us an email at training@happiful.com

84 • happiful.com • November 2019


TRUE LIFE

Redundancy forced

me to fight back

Claire Haye’s life turned upside down with the news

of her redundancy, leaving her filled with self-doubt,

and unable to picture her future. Through exploring

her options, and with the support of CBT, she

realised the change could have been the best thing

to happen to her

Writing | Claire Haye

“ Your role has

been deleted,

so I’m afraid

we will be

putting you at risk of

redundancy.”

This is what my manager

said to me one afternoon

in October 2018, while

in a small office sitting

opposite her and a woman

from HR. The actual

words spoken were not

what I heard though. In

my head, that sentence

said, ‘You are a failure.

You are not wanted. You

are dispensable!’ My mind

raced at 100 miles an hour.

How were we going to pay

the bills? Would we lose

our home? How would

this affect us trying for

children? How long did I

have? What did I do wrong?

A restructure was

expected, and I had

actually been pushing

for some sort of change.

My team were feeling

overworked and

undervalued, but it had

been nearly a year since

the first discussions had

taken place, so most of

us had started to doubt

anything would ever

actually happen. I knew

there was a risk, but

naively thought the worst

case would be a slight drop

in salary.

I had worked at the

company for six years,

after relocating the 240

miles from Weymouth to

Loughborough to live with

my partner Ritch. The job

had a familiarity that you

get when you’re settled

somewhere – just knowing

what I was doing, and the

people around me, made

it comfortable.

That day I left work

early, and drove home

feeling numb, not sure

how to break the news

to Ritch. I know it scared

him to see me walk into

the living room, clutching

my lunch bag while

uncontrollably sobbing.

He probably thought

someone had died. He

was patient, let me cry,

finally explain, and then

just hugged me saying it

would all be OK – but I

couldn’t see how.

Later that day I told my

mum, then family, and my

close friends. It was hard

for me to tell people as

I felt a complete failure,

plus I had to keep it quiet

until the whole company

was told in March 2019.

Colleagues would be

asking me to get involved

in projects, but inside I

was thinking about the

fact that soon I wouldn’t

even be there. >>>

January 2020 • happiful.com • 85


Those close to Claire were her rocks

It’s fair to say I was not

prepared for the impact it

would have on my mental

health – I realised my

identity had been built

around my job. Only a

week before, I had written

a career plan, personal

values, and signed up

to take part in coaching

sessions. I planned to be

a director in seven years,

but suddenly that vision

was all being taken away,

and there was nothing I

could do about it.

I had some really dark

times in the days that

followed; I didn’t want

to get out of bed, lost my

appetite, and cut myself off

from the world. The truth

is I was broken, and didn’t

know how to process it.

The pressure made me feel

emotional and physically

The truth is I was broken, and

didn’t know how to process it

unwell with sickness and

migraines. The doctor

diagnosed a kidney

infection, so I hoped some

antibiotics would help it all

go away, but it was just a

symptom of my stress and

not the cause.

Those closest to me were

my rocks, always telling

me I was amazing and

to kick ass. The hardest

thing was when colleagues

complained to me about

their role, and I just

wanted to scream in their

face: ‘At least you have a

job!’ Looking back, several

people were very kind, but

I wasn’t in the headspace

to appreciate it.

I had wobbly days, where

dread would overwhelm

me, and I’d physically

shake. My happy place

was curled up on the sofa

with a blanket, curtains

drawn and doors locked.

If I had to leave the house,

even to the take the bins

out, then I would count

the seconds until I could

get back inside. This really

scared me, so in November

2018 I decided it was time

to see my doctor again. She

talked to me about how I

was feeling emotionally,

mentally, and physically.

The doctor prescribed me

diazepam, and suggested

I self-refer to counselling

services.

During that time I also

read a lot on wellbeing,

mindfulness, and human

psychology. This helped

me to understand that I

was mourning the loss of

a job I had not planned

to leave, so just like grief

there would be phases

to recovery. Enough was

enough, so I decided to

stop feeling like a victim

and start taking control

– which for me meant

making a plan.

I spent all of December

doing everything I could

to improve the chances

of me getting a job –

from updating my CV to

networking on Linkedin,

and practising interview

skills. Previously I had

always been employed

when applying for jobs,

so there was a safety net,

but this time I felt more

pressure – securing a new

role was vital.

I started applying for

everything and anything

in my pay bracket, and

then taking more and

more of a pay cut. I had

a library of applications;

one personal statement

for this role and a different

for that. I churned

out application after

application, and there was

no response.

86 • happiful.com • Janaury 2020


Eventually, Claire rediscovered her confidence

The cognitive behaviour

therapy (CBT) counselling

I received in January

2019 started to help; first

discussing everything on

my mind and then what

I wanted to get out of

each session. We decided

to focus on managing

panic, breaking down

perfectionism, and

improving assertiveness.

The main thing was

breaking my peoplepleasing

tendencies so

I was able to say no, and

not feel the need to justify

my reasons.

Strangely, the job at a

local university that I

thought was my longest

shot was where I was

invited to interview in

March 2019. On the day,

I went back and forth

about whether to go.

Even as I drove to the

venue, I was just going to

turn around and go back

home, but I carried on. I

had a few mind blanks,

and having prepared

notes really helped me,

but I got through it and

they offered me the

job! Apparently it was

a unanimous decision,

which makes me smile.

One thing I learned is

that ‘I’m fine’ is the biggest

lie. It’s not a bad phrase,

just never a very accurate

one. In hindsight,

redundancy was one

of the best things that

happened to me, forcing

me to take a jump from a

role I was comfortable in,

to something completely

new. I love my new job,

with a brilliant bunch of

people, and in a learning

environment that is full of

energy. I’ve kept in touch

with some people I used to

work with, and now enjoy

having friendships. My

confidence has returned,

and not only do I have a

new career path, but I am

now part of a local rock

choir – which is amazing

considering I can’t sing,

but who cares!

One thing I learned is that

‘I’m fine’ is the biggest lie.

It’s not a bad phrase, just

never a very accurate one

OUR EXPERT SAYS

Claire’s story will resonate

with anyone who has

experienced the effects

of redundancy. The

prospect of it often feels

frightening. It affects how

we view the future, and

can be a big knock to our

confidence levels.

However, as Claire

found, it doesn’t have to

be that way. Although

it took her time, once

she sought professional

help and began to take

control of her journey

again, opportunities

started to appear. Once

we understand that we

still have choices, value

and hope, we can turn

something negative into

a positive change – and

a brighter

future than

we’d even

imagined!

Rachel Coffey | BA MA NLP Mstr

Life coach

January 2020 • happiful.com • 87


Embrace

imperfection

Book

Review

Living your best life doesn’t have to mean nailing everything first

time. Discover how to stop comparing, and start living

Writing | Bonnie Evie Gifford

New year,

new you,

and all that

other jazz

that – let’s be honest –

is normally forgotten

before January’s over.

We all start off with

the best intentions, but

how many of us really

stick to our resolutions?

I can’t even remember

what mine was last year

– can you?

Making positive

changes is always a

commendable effort. So

why do we wait until an

arbitrary time of year

to get started? Better

yet, why do so many of

us give up on our new

goals after just one little

slip-up?

Author Candi Williams’

new book, How To

Be Perfectly Imperfect,

seeks to address our

problem with perfection,

overcome feelings that

may be holding us back,

and start learning how

to love ourselves – quirks

and all.

The problem with

perfection

Every day we’re

bombarded with images

of perfection. From

the moment we wake

up to see the perfect

smiles of presenters

on morning TV, to the

adverts on the Tube

during our morning

commute, right along

to hours lost scrolling

through Instagram in

the evening.

We take in so many

messages about

perfection, it’s no

wonder we feel the

pressure. But as author

Candi explains, perfect

doesn’t equal happy.

The best way to be

happy is to stop trying to

be perfect.

Often disguised as

ambition, drive, or

motivation, while these

can be good things,

as Candi explores

throughout her book,

when we set impossibly

high standards for

ourselves, it can become

exhausing. When we

start seeing anything

less than perfection

as failure, we risk

ignoring our successes

and progress. Instead,

our aim should be to

be better than we were

yesterday.

Filled with quotes,

thought-provoking

definitions, and simple

tasks to help readers

break out of their

perfectionist mindset

and start creating

healthier, more

sustainable habits, each

chapter gets readers to

reconsider their need

to strive for perfection,

and to start living more

mindfully.

Overcoming that

feeling of not being

good enough

Throughout Perfectly

Imperfect, the author

reminds readers that

they are human. We all

have our limits, flaws,

and needs. These are

things to be celebrated

and embraced, not

overcome or to feel

ashamed of. Through

simple, easy to try

exercises, learn to


ecognise your limits

and take the time

to slow down by

questioning:

Is this realistic?

What are my stress levels?

How can I break this

down into something

more achievable?

What’s the actual impact

of good, not perfect?

In a world where

everyone is searching

for perfection, it’s

important to remember

that perfection in an

imperfect world isn’t

a realistic, achievable

goal. Acknowledging

this, and learning how

to move forward, can

greatly boost our overall

sense of wellbeing.

While there are many

interesting activities

and exercises you

can try scattered

throughout the book, in

places it can feel a little

‘style-over-substance’.

Although what it has

to say is undoubtedly

valuable, the ratio of

quotes to actionable

advice can feel a little off

in places.

Goodbye perfection,

hello freedom

Should I buy this? If

you’ve ever struggled

with letting go of control,

and accepting that your

effort is just as important

as the outcome, then yes

– this is the book for you.

Filled with helpful

advice, tips, and words

of wisdom, Perfectly

Imperfect not only

highlights the dangers

of striving for the

impossible, it fosters a

sense of positivity and

self-belief. Focusing on

the idea that it is always

enough to have done

If you liked this, you’ll love...

365 Ways To Be Confident

by Summersdale

Filled with self-care ideas,

practical tips, motivating

activities, and mood-boosting

statements, spark your selfconfidence

now.

The Gifts Of

Imperfection

by Brene Brown

Leading expert on shame,

authenticity, and belonging,

Brene Brown, PhD, shares

her research on engaging

with the world from a place

of worthiness.

your best, this book

can help you learn how

striving for perfection

can negatively impact

your mental health

and wellbeing, along

with how you can

make positive changes

to put your wellbeing

first. With the advice

and guidance woven

throughout Perfectly

Imperfect, you can

discover how to focus on

feeling like you are good

enough without losing

your overarching sense

of motivation, positivity,

and encouragement.

Beautifully put

together, and straightforward

to read, if you

struggle to fit in time

for self-improvement

and self-care, I highly

recommend trying this

book. The activities

are thought-provoking

without being time-

Must

Reads

Kintsugi

by Tomas

Navarro

Embrace your imperfections

using teachings behind the

Japanese practice of Kintsugi

– patching broken ceramic

with gold – to turn flaws into

things of beauty.

consuming, meaning that

you can easily dip in and

out rather than needing

to sit down and dedicate

a large chunk of time to

self-improvement.

Make 2020 your

year of freedom.

It’s time to ditch the

perfectionist mindset,

and start making small,

sustainable changes for

the better.

How To Be Perfectly

Imperfect by Candi

Williams

(Available from 9 January

2020, Vie, £9.99)

GREAT FOR...

• Those who struggle

with a need for

perfection

• Readers who’ve ever

felt ‘not good enough’

• Anyone looking to

make positive changes

in 2020, and beyond


Mental health

matters

Eco-activist Lizzie Carr is on a mission.

First realising our plastic problem when

she took up paddle boarding following

cancer treatment, Lizzie also found the

mental health perks of spending time

outside. Here, we learn about what

inspires Lizzie to do what she does

Follow Lizzie on Instagram

@lizzie_outside

Mental health matters to me

because… I was diagnosed with

cancer in 2013 when I was 26

years old and, as a result, my

anxiety spiralled. My initial

response was to withdraw from

friends and family. I developed

an unhealthy determination to

deal with the aftermath alone,

so I wasn’t disrupting anyone

else’s happiness. It took me a

long time to recover and realise

that opening up is an incredibly

healing process.

When I need to escape I… find

water – whether it’s the beach, a

river, or my local canal. It instils

a sense of calm in me that forces

a hard reset, and helps me find

perspective when I’m at my most

anxious.

After spending time in nature I

feel… energised and restored.

Nature is the antidote to anxiety,

for me.

When I need support I… draw on

the mechanisms I have learned

over the years. Anything from

adopting simple breathing

techniques and yoga, to

drinking green tea, paddle

boarding, or calling up someone

close to me. There’s no silver

bullet approach for me, and it’s

taken a lot of trial and error to

figure out what works.

When I need some self-care, I…

pack up my paddle board and

head out on an adventure.

The books I turn to time and

again are… Matt Haig’s Notes

on a Nervous Planet, and I

enjoy reading Brene Brown

– her perspective is very

enlightening.

People I find inspiring online

are… the ones who are

honestly and unapologetically

themselves, and are creating a

space for other people to do the

same thing. @GinaMartin,

@FlorenceGiven, @shona_

vertue, and @i_weigh on

Instagram, and @brenebrown

on Twitter are a breath of fresh

air. They’re amplifying voices

and raising awareness on

important issues, and telling

their truth. They really own their

space, that’s inspirational to me.

Three things I would say to

someone experiencing mental illhealth

are… if you’re struggling

to find words, remember that

silence doesn’t invalidate your

feelings or experiences – it

doesn’t make you unworthy

or inadequate. But finding a

trusted space to open up and

talk can be incredibly healing.

I was stunned by the number

of people experiencing a lot of

emotions that I had assumed

were just mine.

The moment I felt most proud of

myself was… earlier this year,

when I coordinated more than

100 Plastic Patrol cleanups

across 18 countries around the

world in one day. Volunteers

removed and logged more than

50,000 pieces of rubbish in the

Plastic Patrol app, all on a single

day. To see how the movement

has grown, from me on a onewoman

crusade just three years

ago, makes me feel incredibly

proud.

Photography | Andy Hargraves


Photography | Brian


You can, you should, and

if you’re brave enough

to start, you will

– STEPHEN KING

December 2018 • happiful • 91


We’ve helped more than

1 Million

people connect with a therapist

using Counselling Directory

You are not alone

counselling-directory.org.uk

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