Happiful October 2020

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Free your mind &

soothe your senses

as we embrace the

power of crafting

A little


Our bodies deserve

better – it's time to let

kindness lead the way


Do your


Ease those

aches & pains



What can happen when

a negative news feed

distorts your view

9 772514 373000


top tips

to transform

your mindset

Shed light on SAD

IVF & mental health

Mood-boosting food



A change

of view

It’s funny how much the world around

us, and even our own circumstances,

can change depending on how we

choose to look at things.

French critic Alphonse Karr once

said: “We can complain because rose

bushes have thorns, or rejoice because

thorns have roses.”

Sometimes, what we really need is to

see things from a different point of

view. Whether that’s shaking up our

perspective, exploring new ideas, or

putting ourselves in someone else’s

shoes for a moment.

In this issue, Jay Shetty shares his

essential learnings on how to change

our mindset, plus in our special feature

on crafting, we share how powerful

creativity can be – by taking something

simple and turning it into art.

But a fresh perspective doesn’t just

benefit our own wellbeing, it can

offer education and awareness that

allows us to support others who are

struggling, too.

See the world from another’s eyes

as we investigate the mental impact

of IVF treatment, and consider how

current world events are impacting

the deaf community’s wellbeing more

dramatically than you may have


While it can feel like we’re more

physically disconnected than before,

emotionally we have the space to

appreciate what others are going

through, and search for the means to

address the imbalance.

Perhaps it’s time to adjust our view,

and see all the good we can do for

those around us.


W | happiful.com

F | happifulhq

T | @happifulhq

I | @happiful_magazine


22 We need to talk about IVF

IVF can come hand in hand with stress and

anxiety. It's about time that we spoke about

the realities of fertility journeys

28 Jay Shetty

The public speaker and former monk on

how to transform your mindset

43 Embody love

Discover the steps you can take to build a

better relationship with your body

49 Meet the menopause

Author Sam Baker chats menopause: the

good, the bad, and the liberating

52 What you make of it

Switch off and get stuck into these six

simple yet mindful crafts

The Uplift

8 In the news

13 The wellbeing wrap

15 What is mean world


Could the news cycle be negatively affecting

how we view the world?

90 You are worthy of love

Lifestyle and


33 MH in the deaf community

We explore the unique mental health

challenges faced by those with hearing loss

40 Back to school

Our counsellor answers question on how we

can support children as they return to class

46 The next chapter

10 top tips from an expert on how to manage

the menopause

82 The plastic-free challenge

Could you reduce your plastic waste with

some simple changes, in just seven days?

52 27


27 Craft a gratitude attitude

60 Clean and green

10 eco-friendly DIY hacks

62 Things to do in October

81 Into the pages

Discover this month's biggest book releases

Life Stories

37 Jane: No more hiding

The global movement against racism

opened up old wounds for Jane, but

with the help of therapy, she's learning

how to embrace her culture and the

person she is today

75 Kim: A good sign

Learning new skills helped Kim when

things got tough. When she turned to

sign language, it lead her down an

enlightening path

87 Emma-Jane: speaking out

With the help of therapy, Emma-Jane

began to process her trauma. But the

most liberating tool was telling her story




Our team


Rebecca Thair | Editor

Kathryn Wheeler | Head Writer

Tia Sinden | Editorial Assistant

Bonnie Evie Gifford, Kat Nicholls | Senior Writers

Becky Wright | Content & Marketing Officer

Katie Hoare | Digital Marketing & Content Officer

Grace Victory | Columnist

Lucy Donoughue | Head of Partnerships

Ellen Hoggard | Digital Editor

Keith Howitt | Sub-Editor

Rav Sekhon | Expert Advisor


Amy-Jean Burns | Head of Product

Charlotte Reynell | Creative Lead

Rosan Magar | Illustrator

Emma Boast | Designer


Alice Greedus

PR Officer



18 Need to nourish?

Columnist Grace Victory explores self-care and

the ways you can harness it

78 That's a stretch

Ease back pain with these desk stretches

Happiful Hacks

20 Beat the 3pm slump

58 Freelance your way

66 Put it down in words

84 Soothe SAD symptoms


Food & Drink

68 In the mood for food

Recipes to help fuel a happy mind and body

71 Ready on time

Learn how to get the most out of ready

meals with these nutritious tips


Claire Munnings, Jenna Farmer, Gemma Calvert,

Fiona Thomas, Ellie Pilcher, Lindsay George,

Jane Tran, Kim McGregor, Emma-Jane Taylor


Graeme Orr, Rachel Coffey, Lana Walker,

Carly Chamberlain, Beverley Hills, Katie Cakirer,

Libby Palmer, Rebekah Esdale, Sonal Shah


Aimi Maunders | Director & Co-Founder

Emma White | Director & Co-Founder

Paul Maunders | Director & Co-Founder


For new orders and back orders, visit

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Email us at hello@happiful.com


Helping you find the help you need.

Counselling Directory, Life Coach Directory,

Hypnotherapy Directory, Nutritionist Resource,

Therapy Directory

Expert Panel

One undeniable truth is that

finding the right help for each

individual is a journey – what

works for one of us will be

different for someone else. But

don't feel disheartened if you

haven't found your path yet.

Our Happiful family can help

you on your way. Bringing

together various arms of

support, each of our sister

sites focuses on a different

method of nourishing your

wellbeing – from counselling,

to hypnotherapy, nutrition,

coaching, and holistic therapy.

Meet the team of experts who have come together to deliver

information, guidance, and insight throughout this issue



Lana is a holistic massage

therapist and an EFT





BSc (Hons) dip MBACP

Katie is a psychotherapist

and founder of Chester

Psychotherapy Centre.


BA Dip

Rav's review

'Creativity' can mean many

different things to each of

us. But it's a commonality

we all share and that will

very likely enhance our

wellbeing. Head over to

page 52 to explore practical

ways you can create

that positive feeling while

trying something new. The

ability to create can exist

externally and, equally, on

an internal level, too. The

liberating power of creating

something comes

from within and is at your

disposal. You are the master

of your own fate. Be mindful

and create with love.

Libby is a remedial and sports

massage therapist at the

Brixton Therapy Centre.



Beverley is a relationship

counsellor and




Sarah, from Mariposa

Coaching, specialises in

wellbeing and relationships.

Carly is an author who

has 15 years' experience in

holistic health.


MA Dip RGN MBACP (Accred)

Lindsay is an integrative

counsellor and psychotherapist,

as well as a trained nurse.



Rebekah is an integrative

health practitioner and

nutritional therapist.


BA MA MBACP (Accred)

Rav is a counsellor

and psychotherapist

with more than 10

years' experience.



Rachel is a life coach

encouraging confidence

and motivation.


MBACP (Accred) Reg Ind

Graeme is a counsellor

working with both

individuals and couples.

9 772514 373000



Find help


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 at jo@samaritans.org

Head to


for more services

and support

Reader offer




SANEline offers support and information from

4.30pm–10.30pm: 0300 304 7000


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

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


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

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



For more information on fertility treatment, as well as expert advice, visit

fertilitynetworkuk.org or call their support line in 0121 323 5025.

£48 £40

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Competitions and prize draws!

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Discover more about life with hearing loss and connect with others in the

community by visiting actiononhearingloss.org.uk



Find expert nutritionists, discover everyday tips, and start your plan

for a healthier life by visiting nutritionist-resource.org.uk



The Survivors Trust is an umbrella agency for those who have

experienced rape or sexual abuse. Visit thesurvivorstrust.org





Free your mind &

soothe your senses

as we embrace the

power of crafting

Do your


Ease those

aches & pains



What can happen when

a negative news feed

distorts your view

Cover artwork

by Rosan Magar

A little


Our bodies deserve

better – it's time to let

kindness lead the way


top tips

to transform

your mindset

Shed light on SAD

IVF & mental health

Mood-boosting food


Our two-for-one tree commitment is made of two parts. Firstly, we source all

our paper from FSC® certified sources. The FSC® label guarantees that the

trees harvested are replaced, or allowed to regenerate naturally. Secondly,

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suitable donation to a forestry charity. Happiful is a brand of Memiah Limited.

The opinions, views and values expressed in Happiful are those of the authors

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The therapy that

helps alpaca

your worries

The Uplift

What’s cute, fluffy, and the perfect thing

for soothing an anxious mind? Try an

alpaca co-counsellor. You’ve no doubt

heard of the incredible healing effect

animals can have on our wellbeing, which

inspired the founder of Simply Alpaca,

Victoria Barrett, to create a sanctuary that

offers people from all walks of life unique

alpaca therapy sessions.

When Victoria first welcomed alpacas

into her home 11 years ago, she had no

idea it would lead to where she is today.

At that time, working as a paramedic

and a counsellor, Victoria simply threw

herself into caring for the alpacas.

“It made sense to me to combine what I

had learned about working with alpacas,

with what I knew about working with

people,” Victoria says.

Whether it be for trauma, depression,

addiction, anxiety, or behaviour issues,

clients are taken through a six to eightweek

programme where they work

alongside counsellors while caring for,

and spending time with, the alpacas.

“Their very presence is quiet, inducing

a sense of calm; and their fluffy, novel

appearance, with big eyes, is endearing,”

says Victoria. “Working alongside

alpacas and llamas offers a different

way of exploring and sensitive issues,

as clients may find it easier to express

their feelings, and recount painful


As we continue to talk about our unique

needs for mental health support, Simply

Alpaca has arrived right on time.

Visit simplyalpaca.co.uk for more.

Writing | Kathryn Wheeler


Food delivery

company offers

staff ‘period leave’


Sew kind: Becky sells masks to

support her local food bank

Caring crafter makes the most of a difficult situation

No one expected face masks to

be this year’s fashion must-have,

but protecting ourselves and

others has never been more ontrend.

Taking matters into her

own hands, Becky Armstrong

started making masks for herself

and friends. But when her pals

offered to pay, Becky took a

different approach.

“I didn’t feel it was fair to make

money from the enterprise –

I’m very privileged to have not

been too adversely affected by

Covid-19 so far, so I wanted to

help in some way,” Becky says. “I

decided to set up a Localgiving

page to raise money for our local

food bank, House of Bread.”

When the fundraiser finished,

Becky had raised more than £3,000

for the Stafford charity. Becky says

the experience has taught her

that most people are uplifted by


“I think it’s important to perform

acts of kindness when things around

us seem bad. From complimenting

strangers to picking up litter, you

can make yourself, and others, feel

better with such little effort.”

So next time you’re feeling defeated

by 2020, perhaps it’s worth taking

some time to think about how you

can make someone else smile behind

their mask.

Visit Becky’s Facebook page at


For those times when period pains

get so bad that you simply cannot, a

day on the sofa glued to Netflix and

a tub of Ben & Jerry’s is the ultimate

dream. Well, food delivery company

Zomato, based in India but operating

around the world, is making this

dream a reality with the introduction

of ‘period leave’.

The new policy offers 10 days of

period leave each year for staff

to use when necessary – noting

that transgender people can also

experience periods, and creating

an inclusive policy to reflect this.

Sending an email to employees,

Zomato CEO Deepinder Goyal also

made an important point for men

within the company: “Our female

colleagues expressing that they are

on their period leave shouldn’t be

uncomfortable for us.

“This is a part of life, and while we

don’t fully understand what women

go through, we need to trust them

when they say they need to rest

this out.”

In India, those who follow the Hindu

religion typically celebrate the first

time someone menstruates. After

this, however, in more traditional

areas, it can be seen as taboo, with

those who menstruate banned from

temples, kitchens, and even sleeping

on beds.

Hoping to change attitudes with its

policy, Zomato is shining a light on

period stigma and leading the way for

other companies. Writing | Kat Nicholls

October 2020 • happiful.com • 9


Are eco-friendly

men more


Beauty may be in the eye of the

beholder, but could being ecoconscious

impact how attractive we

find a potential partner? According

to a new study, now could be the

time to embrace our green fingers,

and brush off those reusable bags, in

the name of long-term romance.

A recent study published in

Psychology & Marketing has revealed

that men who show an interest in

ecology could be more attractive

to those looking for a long-term

relationship. Of the 1,500 Americans

taking part, it was revealed that

those who were found to be more

ecologically responsible were

perceived to have the ideal qualities

of a life-long partner, including

appearing more altruistic, faithful,

and displaying perceived signs of

being a good father.

While results of the study went on

to suggest that many ‘green’ products

were found to be associated with

increased femininity, they also

showed that this didn’t translate

to an association with a reduction

in masculinity. No matter which

gender showed signs of eco-friendly

behaviour, the associations were

shown to be more desirable.

Taking time to make eco-friendly

choices to save the planet, while

boosting our chances of finding

love? Sounds like a win-win situation

all around.

Writing | Bonnie Evie Gifford

October 2020 • happiful.com • 11

Take 5

Put those thinking caps on, and

carve out some quiet time to

solve this month’s puzzling fun…







Unscramble the word in each of

the three circles to discover the

centre letter that links them all.

HINT: Crafting












How did you

do? Search

'freebies' at


to find the answers,

and more!



20 10



Complete the grid so that the numbers

in each row and column add up to

the totals at the edge. You can use

digits one to nine, but remember each

number can only be used once in a sum!




A 3D printed

ultrasound has

allowed a blind

mum to ‘see’ her

baby in the US

Kenya’s elephant


has more than

doubled in

the past three


Scientists create


flip-flops made

from algae

‘Wine windows’

used during the

plague are being

opened in Italy

during Covid-19

to keep up the

community spirit

No suprises here:

Bounty is named

the ‘most-hated’


chocolate in a

LadBible poll




Winner, winner...

Chicken dinner! Designer

Tadelayo Sodipe has an

innovative solution to

support people on the

autism spectrum who may

find ordering food at some

restaurants overwhelming.

He created a simple QR

code menu with pictures,

and tweeted it to Nandos,

who are keen to work on it

more with him. Accessibility

is certainly heating up.











Need a chat?

Apparently a car is the

ideal place, according

to a survey by Zipcar

UK. In fact, 76% of Brits

have had deep chats

while driving, and it’s

thanks to a lack of

distractions, and not

being able to physically

leave. So next time you

need a meaningful

conversation, get in the

driving seat.


On 26 March, the government issued an

‘everyone in’ direction to councils, requiring

them to provide emergency housing for

homeless people to help prevent the spread

of Covid-19. And now, Oxford City Council has

devised a plan so no rough sleeper need return

to the streets, by continuing its leases on student

housing and hostels.

Waste not, want not

When bars and restaurants had to close for

lockdown in Australia, huge amounts of beer went

stale. But the Aussies weren’t about to let the booze

go to waste – they turned it into biogas, powering

1,200 homes in a month! In fact, outside Adelaide,

40,000 gallons of expired beer has been donated

each week. Cheers to that!

Reveal your pride

It’s never too late to own

your story, as proved by

90-year-old Kenneth Felts,

who recently came out

as gay in a viral video.

The Colorado resident

kept this secret all his life,

but found so much love

and acceptance when he

finally opened up.


about your


‘The Bare Necessities’ has been

voted Disney’s most uplifting song

in a Radio Times poll. The classic song

from 1967’s animated The Jungle Book

pipped two other popular tunes to

first place – ‘You’ve Got a Friend

in Me’ from Toy Story, and

‘Hakuna Matata’ from

Let it

The Lion King.


Christmas came early for the

Swiss town of Olten, when

chocolate began to fall from

the sky – in August. Strong

winds, combined with a small

malfunction with the ventilation

system at the Lindt factory,

resulted in particles of fine cocoa

powder dusting the town. Some

may see it as unfortunate , but

the issue was quickly fixed. Yet

for a brief time, Olten inhabitants

lived every chocolate-lover’s

fantasy - walking in a chocolate


Life’s a beach

As social restrictions lifted, and

people surged to the coast,

Deliveroo decided to do its bit

to keep our beaches clean. In

its Roocycle campaign, backed

by Clean Up Britain, the food

delivery company encouraged

Brits to pick up rubbish at five

beaches across the UK, in

exchange for a £10 voucher

to be used on its app. With ‘UK

holiday’ seeing a 103% search

increase this year, it’s more

important than ever to protect

beauty spots from the influx

of waste that comes with the

extra footfall. So it’s good that

Deliveroo is cleaning up our

plates, and the countryside!

Photography | Caju Gomes

Always remember you are braver

than you believe, stronger than you

seem, smarter than you think

14 • happiful.com • April 2020


What is

mean world syndrome?

We all need to keep up with current events, but what

happens when the news cycle starts to feel too heavy? It

turns out that what we hear and see being reported, could

be negatively impacting how we view the world...

Writing | Bonnie Evie Gifford Illustrating | Rosan Magar


The news cycle: it’s inescapable.

Whether we chose to get our

updates from newspapers,

television reports, online, or social

media, if we want to keep up with

current events, there’s no avoiding it.

Yet have you stopped to think about

how it could be affecting you, and

your view of the world?

There’s no denying it, 2020 has

been a tough year. The news cycle

has been dominated by injustice,

riots, and a global pandemic unlike

anything we have seen in our

lifetimes. While it’s been a heavy few

months in the headlines, according

to one sociology concept, the news

could actually be affecting each of us

more than we might think.

What is mean world syndrome?

First coined in the 1970s by Dr

George Gerbner, mean world

syndrome revolves around the idea

that we each develop a cognitive bias

where, over time, we start to see the

world as more dangerous than it

actually is. Thought to develop due

to long-term, moderate to heavy

exposure to violence-related content

through mass media (such as news

reports and television shows), those

who are affected may experience

increased feelings of fear, anxiety,

general pessimism, and even feel a

heightened state of alertness thanks

to the perception of threats around


What we see, hear, and read –

whether it’s something we know to

be true, such as a news report, or

something we know is fiction, such

as a drama or horror movie – can

have a huge influence on our overall

beliefs and attitudes about the world

around us, and our place in it. The

way in which the same piece of

The way in which the same piece

of information is framed – through

cleverly angled photography, or carefully

chosen words – can create an entirely

different view of the same set of events

information is framed – through

cleverly angled photography or

video footage, or carefully chosen

words – can create an entirely

different view of the same set of


Since the theory was first

proposed, numerous studies

have supported the hypothesis,

with findings highlighting the

emotional toll that violence-related

content can have on us. But is

there anything that we can do to

help combat these negative effects,

without cutting ourselves off from

the latest news?

How can it affect us?

When something begins to make us

feel anxious, uneasy, or even fearful,

it can be easy to try to dismiss it as

‘just in our heads’ – yet for many,

these feelings can have real, physical

symptoms. We spoke to Beverley

Hills, counsellor and lead partner at

The Practice, to find out more.

“The all-pervasive media keeps

us in a constant state of alert,

from entertainment to the news.

Thanks to increasingly sophisticated

production values, our brains

sometimes find it confusing to tell

the difference between exciting fact

16 • happiful.com • October 2020

and thrilling fiction. We get caught

up in a cortisol loop, and begin to

believe that dangers exist all around

us in real life.

“Mean world syndrome plays

right into our innate fears: fear of

the unknown, fear of death, FOMO

(fear of missing out). It triggers

our self-protective fight, flight, or

freeze instinct, whereby the body

is flooded with hormones and

chemicals originally designed to put

us on alert in order to save us from

the very real big bad world out there

in the days before civilisation. Our

instincts are there to help defend

us from harm, and are the reason

we may feel at unease with the


When our fight, flight, or freeze

instincts are triggered, we often

cannot choose how we will react –

our bodies do so automatically. We

can’t blame ourselves for how we

instinctively respond to situations of

high stress, anxiety, or trauma. But

what can we do to help take back

control of how we are thinking,

feeling, and reacting to the constant

stream of negativity and bad news

we see in the media?

How to combat it

“One of the ways to combat mean

world syndrome is by challenging

the way we think,” says Beverley.

“The first thought that pops into

our head is what we call ‘automatic

thinking’. This is our conditioning,

whether those thoughts, or

messages, were given by an

attachment figure or the media,

it was a repetitive message that

played on our fear and it stuck.

“Some questions we can ask in

order to challenge ourselves are:

is this thought fact or fiction? Am

I thinking all-or-nothing thoughts?

What real evidence is there that

these thoughts will come true?

Speaking with a counsellor may

also be useful, as they can help to

not only unravel these thoughts,

but the right therapist can also

help identify where they came

from, thereby demystifying them.”

Another good option is to ensure

there is balance to your social

media streams, by also following

positive news outlets, or those

that give a broader view of current

events. Carefully selecting our

news sources can help to balance

out the negativity that can be rife,

and provide you with some much

needed uplifting news and events

to act as a buffer.

The important thing to

remember is, that while it’s good

to be aware of what’s happening

in the world, the saturation

of negative news, and the way

stories can be portrayed, is often

overwhelming. To protect your

mental wellbeing, and ensure you

see a more rounded view of events,

we need to hunt out and savour the

positive moments, too.

Some questions

we can ask to

challenge ourselves

are: is this thought

fact or fiction? What

real evidence is there

that these thoughts

will come true?


• Take stock of who you’re

following on social media.

Is your feed filled with good

vibes, or knee-jerk reactions

to negative headlines?

Don’t be afraid to mute

or unfollow people if they

aren’t right for you at the


• Pick your sources carefully.

Online news platforms like

Positive News and the Good

News Network provide

a daily dose of positivity

without cutting you off from

the latest headlines. If print

media’s more your thing,

The Happy Newspaper or

Happiful magazine are

available via subscription or

in stores across the country.

• Be kind to yourself. We all

go through bad patches.

It’s OK to put yourself first.

If things are feeling too

heavy, take a break from

the media and come back

when you’re in a stronger

place. Your wellbeing

should always come first.

October 2020 • happiful.com • 17

A practical guide

to self-care...with Grace

with Grace

When we’ve never been taught to nourish ourselves – mind, body,

and soul – it’s not surprising that so many of us feel burnt-out and

overwhelmed by the world around us. But here, columnist Grace Victory

shares essential steps towards accepting that your health and wellbeing

matter, plus ways to start taking better care of yourself today

The concept of ‘self-care’

was first introduced to me

in 2016, when my therapist

at the time asked: “So what

do you do to look after yourself?”

And I didn’t have an answer.

I was 26 years old, and seriously

lacking the knowledge of how

to care for myself in a way that

was kind, intentional, and multidimensional.

Back then, I was

the queen of self-sabotage; I used

food as a coping mechanism, and

the thoughts I had about myself,

particularly my own body, were


In the beginning, the idea of

self-care felt like too much for me.

I hadn’t put my health first before,

so when I started to treat myself

with love, it felt foreign. There was

a complete disconnect from my

inner child, adult, and ego – I was

blind to who I really was, because I

never took the time to actually face

her. Self-care forced me to slow

down, and ultimately led to me

knowing myself on a profoundly

deep level. Of course, therapy and

emotional education helped, but

my life changed when I began to

value myself through taking care of

me – mind, body, and soul.

The problem is that self-care is

rarely taught, especially where

childhood trauma is concerned.

So many of us are operating from

a place of disconnect because of

trauma. Society as a whole is in

a constant fight-or-flight mode,

just trying to survive, and add

systemic racism, systemic fat

biases, and a global pandemic,

self-care can often be the last

thing on people’s minds.

So how do you know when some

self-care is in desperate need?

Listen to your body. Are you tired?

Stressed? Physically unwell?

Overspending? Arguing with loved

ones? Thinking you’re not good

enough? Always working? These

are just some of the tell-tale signs

that you are struggling to take care

of yourself.

In my opinion, self-care is our

lifeline. It is the way in which we

can come home to ourselves, feel

connected and balanced, and

ultimately lead a more fruitful life.

It is learning how to manage our

finances, it is having boundaries

with ourselves and others, it is

saying no and not feeling guilty,

it is feeling our emotions – even

the ‘difficult’ ones – and it’s about

stimulating ourselves in a way that

makes us feel content. Here are

just a few suggestions if you are

searching for some inner peace.

Sit with your feelings

Often, our relationships break

down due to miscommunication,

and sometimes that’s because

we listen to respond instead of

listening to hear. Have you ever

had a conversation with someone

where you zone out, and think

about all the things you want to

say? I have! This can happen at

work with a difficult boss, or at

home with your partner – either

way, it can lead to a heated

argument where you both say

things you don’t mean.

Self-care forced

me to slow down,

and led to me

knowing myself

on a profoundly

deep level


I learned the importance of

evening routines when I worked

in a children’s care home. If I

dimmed the lights, made them

warm drinks, and we collapsed on

the sofa an hour before bedtime,

the kids would sleep so much

better. In the mornings we need to

give our nervous systems a chance

to wake up, and in the evenings,

we need to give them a chance to

calm down. So, at night, make your

space cosy and chilled, to prepare

you to switch off and rest. Again,

define what this means for you, but

eliminating any harsh lighting is a

good place to start.

A great way to slow down and

prevent this from happening is

to sit with any feelings that arise

before you respond. I am known

to say: “Give me 10 minutes to

respond as I need to process how

I feel,” and 99.9% of the time this

allows me a moment to reflect. Of

course, responding in this way,

and advocating for yourself, can be

extremely difficult, but over time it

really does get easier. Sitting with

your feelings is a way to connect to

yourself, learn your subconscious

triggers, and to start processing

your feelings.

Develop routines

Nothing screams self-care like

having a mindful morning and

night-time routine. It doesn’t need

to be long, but it does need to

exist so you can start and close

your day right – even if you’ve had

difficulties in between those times.

When you wake, set something

in place that makes you feel good –

maybe it’s a hot shower with music

playing, and then a nutritious

breakfast, or a quick walk in the

park at sunrise and taking the time

to journal. Whatever it is, define it

and do it!

Get creative

A wonderful way to connect

with your inner child is through

play. Our inner children are the

scared and silly ones, and no

matter how old we think we are,

our past selves are deep within

us, often longing to be seen, felt,

and accepted. We cannot go back

and change our early childhood

experiences, but now as adults we

can honour our inner children,

and connect to them. Whether

it’s through painting, drawing,

dancing, or writing poems and

stories, anything that is playful

and creative helps to ground us,

and come home to ourselves. Love

yourself enough to give time to

every part of you. We are never too

grown up to play!


Grace x

How to beat the

3pm slump

Do you often lose concentration and find yourself devoid of energy

in the afternoon? If so, you’re not alone – but there are ways to

boost both your vitality, and your productivity…

Writing | Claire Munnings

Come 3pm, and most

of us are seriously

flagging. Our energy

levels are low, our

brains are foggy, and yet there are

still a good couple of hours before

we can think about stopping for

the day. And to make matters

worse, our new working habits

can often compound this issue.

With many of us squeezed in

small spaces at home, and dealing

with a never-ending schedule of

Zoom meetings and emails, it’s

little wonder we can sometimes

feel sapped of motivation.

According to experts, there are

lots of reasons why we experience

a 3pm slump – including the way

we treat our body through the day.

“If you regularly hit an energy wall

in the afternoon when you can’t

think straight, or get irritated with

colleagues or family members,

then you are probably stuck on

a blood sugar rollercoaster,”

explains certified health coach

Suzy Glaskie, who adds that our

sedentary lifestyles have a part to

play, too.

But, as she says, with a few simple

tweaks, you can see your energy

levels soar. Try the following

advice and reap the rewards…


The way you begin your morning

can have a big impact on how

you feel throughout the day,

and making time for a healthy

breakfast can help keep your blood

sugar levels – and your energy –

stable. “Ditch breakfast cereals

and all the other processed junk

that’s pitched as a ‘healthy start to

the day’,” advises Suzy. “Instead,

choose to eat some high-quality

protein and good fats; these will

keep you feeling full and your

blood sugar stable.” Avocado on

whole-grain toast with eggs is an

ideal option.


Go on, admit it – how much

water do you regularly drink in

a day? For the vast majority of

us, it’s not nearly enough to keep

our body functioning at its best.

“Even the mildest dehydration

of only 1–2% can damage your

ability to concentrate, your level

of alertness, and your short-term

memory function,” Suzy warns.

Not a fan of plain H 2

O? Add slices

of cucumber, lemon or orange to

your glass, infuse your liquid with

fresh berries, or enhance the taste

with herbs such as basil or mint.


Yes, we know it can be tempting

to power on through your lunch

break, but this isn’t necessarily

good for your afternoon

concentration levels. Research

has found that workers feel

refreshed and recharged after

a break from work, and other

studies have revealed how getting

outside in nature, doing exercise,

or enjoying a meditation session,

can boost our motivation – all of

which can be perfect lunchtime




Making sure you’re eating enough

good quality protein throughout

the day can keep you feeling

buoyant, and ready to focus.

Swap your usual packet of crisps

for some nuts, and reduce sugary,

processed snacks such as biscuits

as much as possible. Also think

carefully about your lunchtime

food choices. “If you’re having

a salad for lunch, make sure it

includes protein – top it with

last night’s chicken or salmon,

and throw in some pumpkin or

sunflower seeds for extra healthy

fats,” recommends Suzy.


A lack of oxygen can severely

impact our ability to focus on a

task, and many of us are guilty of

breathing in a shallow way that

doesn’t make the most of our

lung capacity – especially if we’re

feeling stressed at work. “The 7/11

breathing practice can help you

feel more grounded, alert, and

clear-headed,” Suzy says. “This

involves breathing in to the count

of seven, and then out to the count

of 11, slowly and deeply through

your nose. If you can, place one

hand on your stomach – you

should feel it rising and falling

with each breath. Keep going for

a couple of minutes, and see how

much better you feel.”


Sitting down all day isn’t good for

our physical or mental health, as

Suzy explains. “Being stuck in a

seated position can lead to ‘stuck’

thinking, blunt our creativity, and

leave us feeling lethargic,” she

says. “In this way, just the mere

act of standing up can shift our

thinking – so get up from your

desk and stretch every half hour or

so.” Why not try our stretches on

p78? If you’re working from home,

consider investing in a standing

desk, or making all your phone

calls standing up. If you’re back

in the office, try to set aside time

to stand up and move – you could

even download an app to your

phone to remind you to do this.

Studies have

revealed how

getting outside

in nature, doing

exercise, or enjoying

a meditation

session, can boost

our motivation


Research has shown that

listening to music can help your

concentration levels, and Suzy

agrees. “Listening to music is one

of the most enjoyable ways to shift

our energy and emotional state,”

she says. “Whether you’re into

Beyoncé or Beethoven, put some

music on that you love, and let it

wash over you.”

Suzy Glaskie is a functional medicine

certified health coach, founder of

Peppermint Wellness, and host of the

Wellness Unwrapped podcast. Find out

more at peppermintwellness.co.uk

Claire Munnings is a health and

wellbeing journalist. She enjoys

writing about how we can live more

mindfully and be kind to our bodies

and minds.

October 2020 • happiful.com • 21





More than 20,000 IVF babies are born in the UK each year. But, for every

success, there are many heartbreaks. Could more be done to support

the mental health of those going through the stress of fertility treatment?

Writing | Jenna Farmer

Artwork | Charlotte Reynell

Injecting yourself night after

night. Endless prodding while

the sonographer figures out

whether your lining is perfect,

and your follicles are the optimum

size. Then, it’s time to go under

anaesthetic to collect your eggs; to

jump every time the phone rings as

you wait to find out which embryos

made the cut, until the time comes

to put them back in again.

Time slows down – from waiting

to get started (something that can

take years due to NHS waiting lists,

or saving to self-fund), to waiting to

see if it’s actually worked.

If you’re reading this and nodding

along, then chances are you’ve

experienced IVF.

I sometimes feel a fraud for

talking about how IVF affected my

mental health. Why? Because I was

one of the lucky ones. I was one of

the large percentage of women for

whom IVF didn’t work but, after

the tears had dried, I found out

that I had naturally fallen pregnant

with my son.

Yet, since my son celebrated his

first birthday, I realised how much

my failed IVF played a part in my

antenatal and postnatal anxiety.

And it’s only now that I’ve felt

ready to talk about it.

To tell or not to tell?

Women are often told to keep their

pregnancy hidden until they’re

in the ‘safe zone’ (although, there

really is no such thing), making

IVF an isolating experience.

Fertility issues can affect mental

health before IVF has even begun

(a study showed that women

undergoing IVF were more likely

to experience depression), and this

is exacerbated by the fact many tell

no one what they’re going through.

22 • happiful.com • October 2020

We feel our body has let

us down with infertility.

This feeling is further

heightened during an IVF

cycle when we have so

much hope, mixed with fear

I hid the hospital trips, the

injections, and the side-effects,

from everyone but my husband

and parents; creating anxiety

over turning down work without

explanation, or cancelling plans

because my egg collection was

suddenly moved forward.

But telling terrified me – with the

pressure of ‘any news?’ messages,

and the pain of telling someone it

hasn’t worked when you’ve barely

processed it yourself.

It’s difficult to know exactly how

you’ll cope when you see a stark

white pregnancy test. Telling the

few I had confided in was awful.

And yet, equally, having to go on as

normal with those I hadn’t, was just

as painful.

Is there a right choice? Mandy

Worsley, a freedom fertility specialist

who herself has been through six

IVF cycles, says: “One of the burdens

we carry around is the fact that we

are having fertility issues, as it can be

a very private journey.

“But research shows that not feeling

able to share with our close family

and friends, can add to our stress

levels. I encourage those undergoing

IVF to choose a support network

who will help them at this very

emotional time,” explains Mandy.

The blame game

Much of my anxiety has always

stemmed around control, so when

IVF failed, my question was: what

did I do wrong? It’s hard to accept

that IVF is very much a numbers

game, so my brain would attempt

to answer an unsolvable question.

Was it that glass of wine I drank,

or did I overdo it the day after


It’s something Mandy Worsley

knows well. “As women, we feel >>>

October 2020 • happiful.com • 23

our body has let us down with

infertility,” she says. “This feeling

is further heightened during an

IVF cycle when we have so much

hope, mixed with fear. Having

been a nurse for 26 years, I trained

in emotional health support,

and specialised in fertility. The

work I do aims to help people

reprogram these thought patterns

by understanding how our brain

works, and how our emotions have

a real physical impact on our body.”

When IVF fails

I can always remember somebody

telling me that my failed cycle

wasn’t a miscarriage. And,

perhaps, technically it wasn’t, but

the overwhelming sense of grief


For all purposes, I was pregnant

until, just like that, I wasn’t. An

IVF failure occurs earlier than a

miscarriage, so usually medical

intervention isn’t necessary. I was

simply told to give my body a few

24 • happiful.com • October 2020

If I hadn’t had a successful

pregnancy with all the

medical intervention I’d

been given, how could my

body do it alone?

months to recover. My menstrual

cycle reset itself soon enough, but

what about my mind?

When I fell pregnant naturally,

two months later, IVF changed

how I viewed my pregnancy. I was

constantly cautious, and waiting for

something to go wrong. After all, if

I hadn’t had a successful pregnancy

with all the medical intervention I’d

been given, how could my body do

it alone?

It is a cautiousness which

remains. I have one embryo ‘in the

freezer’, and I’d like to think if I try

IVF for a second time, I’ll be more

open and forgiving of myself. But,

in all honesty, I don’t know if I’m

strong enough to go through it all

again yet.

When IVF works

It’s important to remember that IVF

is an innovation that has changed

so many lives. So, what happens

if it works? Well perhaps we

underestimate how much support

those women still need, too.

Denise Stringer, who runs dog

business Slumbering Hound, fell

pregnant at 37 with her last

fertilised egg after three IVF

cycles. Later, in her 40s, she had

a miscarriage. “I’m one of the

lucky ones and have an almost

13-year-old daughter, but IVF had

a profound impact on my life,

and 14 years ago it was a lot more

difficult to talk about,” she says.

“My pregnancy was tinged with

worry the whole way through.

I’d just accepted my infertility

before falling naturally pregnant

six years ago. I went on to

miscarry and it brought back all

of the grieving and distress of

IVF. I think I’d have coped better

if I’d have talked it all out when it

was happening, but the support I

had from the infertility network

seemed to dry up when I had a

baby. I’m so glad there are more

avenues now.”

Don’t suffer alone

Whether you’re struggling with

infertility, or dealing with fertility

treatment, it’s important to know

you’re not alone, and help is


• Fertility Network is the national

charity for anyone struggling with

fertility issues. Their support line

is run by a former fertility nurse,

and can be accessed 10am to

4pm Mondays, Wednesdays, and

Fridays (0121 323 5025 or email


• World Childless Week (14–20

September) is designed to shine

a spotlight on those who are

childless not through choice.

• ‘Big Fat Negative’ is a podcast

all about IVF and infertility


• For friends and family who want

to show support, Brown Paper

Packages sell a baby loss and

miscarriage care box to support

women (available from £24,


Jenna Farmer is a freelance journalist

who specialises in perinatal mental

health, and gut health. She has Crohn’s

disease, and you can read more on her

blog at abalancedbelly.co.uk

October 2020 • happiful.com • 25

You can’t use up creativity. The

more you use, the more you have


Photography | Marco Xu

The gratitude


Writing | Katie Hoare

Is there any feeling more

satisfying for the soul than

practising some daily gratitude?

It can have a truly positive effect

on your mood and perspective,

with numerous studies revealing

it has a significant impact on both

your physical and mental health.

And the idea is simple really –

practising gratitude is about truly

appreciating the things in our life

that serve us well.

But when times are tough, it can

be hard to think of anything we’re

grateful for, because sometimes

we’re not able to see the light

at the end of the tunnel, or the

silver lining. This is why using a

gratitude board to create a habit

of daily practise can be just the

trick to help get you into a positive


A gratitude board captures the

people, places, pets, experiences,

and anything else in your life that

brings you joy, and you’re thankful

for. It can be words, images, crafts,

whatever resonates with you or

evokes a happy memory each time

you look at it. Here’s a quick guide

to get you started with your own

gratitude board.


We can often get sucked into

constantly thinking “What’s next?”,

forgetting to live in the moment or

relish those former experiences

that brought us to the here and now.

Find a quiet place and

take five minutes to sit

and reflect. Try to recall

memories that instantly

make you feel good.

It can help to prompt

your thoughts by asking

yourself: “What am I

grateful for today, this

month, this year?”

You will need:

• Glue and staples

• Scissors

• A corkboard or poster board

• Coloured pens and paper

• Meaningful photos


Focus on some of the common

things we find gratitude for – the

immediate things that come to

mind. This could be your pet, a

best friend, or a roof over your

head. You could represent these

with a friendship bracelet, a

picture of your pet, or a cuddly toy.


Once you’ve covered some

common ground, try focusing

on specific experiences that

are unique to you. Did you

have a teacher at school who

revolutionised education for you,

or a past love that changed your

perspective? These may be fleeting

moments or current relationships,

but they all contribute to your

experience of gratitude.


Gratitude is all about a feeling,

but try not to be too literal. If you

can recall a moment when you

felt completely free, try adding a

picture of a bird, or get creative

with your feeling of joy and paint

a rainbow. Anything that connects

with you deserves a place up there.


To ensure an attitude of gratitude

becomes a daily practise, keep

your board somewhere visible

where you will see it every

day. Whether it is next to the

bathroom mirror, or on the fridge

door, having a daily space to

reflect will set you up for a more

positive day ahead.

You could even use this as a

prompt to practise a daily gratitude

journal, a chance to check-in with

yourself, wipe the slate clean, and

start the new day afresh.




When it comes to finding your

purpose, Jay Shetty has been on

quite a unique personal journey. But

now, the former monk-turned-global

keynote speaker, life coach, and host

of number one podcast ‘On Purpose’

is sharing the insight and wisdom

he’s learned over the years, to help

transform your mindset

Writing | Gemma Calvert

“ I’m excited to read this article,

because I’ve shared so many

things I haven’t said before,”

declares Jay Shetty as we bid

farewell. It’s been an enlightening

hour in the company of a man who,

only a decade ago, after graduating

from London’s Cass Business

School, swapped slick suits for

saffron robes, and abandoned his

pursuit of corporate life to become

a Vedic monk.

For three years, Jay’s existence

was devoted to service and

purpose. He spent hours each day

studying Buddhist teachings and

volunteering until, encouraged by

his elders, he left to share what he

had learned with the world.

Since then, the global appetite for

Jay’s teachings has been insatiable.

His motivational videos on life, love,

business, and health have been

viewed by more than 7.5 billion

people. A-listers – from Russell

Brand, to Deepak Chopra – line up

to appear on his podcast, and as a

go-to for purpose, positivity, and

wellbeing guidance, Jay, 32, is one

of the most respected motivational

speakers on the planet.

To learn that Happiful has

elicited some fresh thinking from

such a spiritual mastermind is,

naturally, thrilling. Speaking from

the LA home he shares with wife

Radhi, Jay is in the midst of a

promotional drive for his debut

book, Think Like A Monk: Train

your mind for peace and purpose

every day, and our conversation

explores how detaching from our

so-called “monkey mind” is the

key to living a less anxious, more

meaningful life, improving focus

and relationships, and clearing

roadblocks to achieve our true

potential and power.

“The monkey jumps from branch

to branch, gets distracted, and is

easily entertained – and the monkey

mind is the same,” says Jay. “It goes

along in default, autopilot, numb

mode. The monk mind stops to

observe, be present, gain awareness,

and is proactive, not reactive. It is

constantly trying to find ways to

improve, as opposed to finding ways

to instantly gratify. We all need a

little bit of guidance in our lives.”

Here, as he shares his top tips for

thinking like a monk, Jay reveals

how teachings from 3,000 years ago

are still as relevant today as then…

Audit your time and energy

The first way of thinking like a

monk is to get into alignment. For

a lot of us, we think one thing,

say another, and do something

else, and consequently feel out

of alignment. Ask yourself what

you value, and does your time,

schedule, and energy reflect that?

If I asked you, “What do you value

more: being happy or watching

TV?”, you’d probably say, “Being

happy.” But when I say, “What do

you spend more time on?”, you

might say, “Watching TV.”

Wisdom traditions teach us that

the majority of stress and pain we

experience is because we live in

the past or future, so you need to

think, “Where in my life can I start

implementing habits that make me

more present?”

One of my favourite tips is the

acronym T.I.M.E. – thankfulness,

insight, meditation, and exercise.

Just as we must feed our body

every day to stay alive, we need to

feed our mind and soul, too.

Connect to your breath

A younger monk once told me

that the only thing that stays

with us from the moment we’re

born to when we die is our

breath. What changes when you

experience different emotions?

Your breath. If you’re late for

work, nervous, or feeling stressed,

your breath changes. Most of

us become fiction writers when

feeling pressure. You create a

story in your head about what’s

happening in your life that’s not

based on fact. Breathing helps

bring clarity, and returns you to

the present moment. By learning

to navigate breath, we can

navigate our emotions. Breathing

is a very tangible experience

of meditation. As you breathe

deeper, you can feel your heart

beat slower, and your body calm

down. So get meditating!

Get honest about using

social media

Whatever’s on your newsfeed feeds

your mind, so be selective about

what you’re exposed to, and set

boundaries. You might say, “I’m

really passionate about starting >>>

October 2020 • happiful.com • 29

this social entrepreneurship

business,” but realise that for the

last few weekends you’ve spent

your time scrolling on social

media. When you stare at it in the

face, almost like a mirror, you’ll

feel the enthusiasm and energy to

redress the balance.

Photography | Steve Erle

Reframe negative

internal dialogue

Become aware of what triggers

feelings of unkindness or

judgement towards ourselves.

Is it a feeling from the past? Is

it a statement from a friend or

family member? Every time you

spot yourself talking negatively

to yourself, reflect on it and say,

“Why am I having this thought? Do

I really deserve this?”, then swap it

with a different statement. Instead

of saying, “I am so exhausted,” say

“I am energised when I exercise.”

The mind then trains itself to

think, “I can feel energised or

productive when I do this activity.”

Don’t write-off other people

When dealing with a challenging

person who has negative habits,

remember they’re a human being,

and their negative experiences have

conditioned them. Ask yourself,

“Do I have the strength to uplift

this person, or do I end up being

dragged downwards?” If it’s [the

latter], chances are you need space

to strengthen before you can uplift

that person. Sometimes you might

not be the person who can inspire

them, but you can introduce them

to someone who can.

Own your failures

I’m not proud of what I did in my

teens. I experimented with drugs,

fought, and drank too much. I

hurt people and caused pain. In

the monk mind, it’s important to

use those mistakes as anchors to

keep us humble and grounded,

so we never take for granted how

hard growth and evolution is.

In the monk mind,

it’s important to use

mistakes as anchors

to keep us humble

and grounded,

so we never take

for granted how

hard growth and

evolution is

When we grow and evolve, it’s easy

to think of everyone else as ‘less

than’. When you remember where

you came from, you realise we’re all

on our own journeys, and all have

our own process of growth. Most

of us believe that forgiveness is

about the other person. We wait for

30 • happiful.com • October 2020

My biggest test

has been living

my passion and

purpose in a world

that forces us into

safety and security

others to say sorry, or for them to

change. You may be waiting forever

and while you’re waiting, you’re

worrying about someone you have

no power over. Try implementing

unconditional forgiveness. It frees

us from that worry.

Serve others… but first

serve yourself

Service makes us happy, because

it creates the deepest connection

with another human. Scientific

studies show that you’re always

happier when you spend money

or time on others rather than

yourself. In the monk tradition,

when you take care of your health,

add self-love, and then serve, that

service is fully realised – but if

you don’t manage your health and

apply self-love, the service feels

like a burden. That’s why so many

people feel overwhelmed by giving

because they think, “Is someone

helping me back?” You’ll be a

better partner, parent, and person

if you feel you’re giving yourself

what you need. Of course, we need

people in our lives who go out of

their way for us, but doing things

for ourselves fills us with so much

more strength and confidence.

Be what you need

There’s a beautiful statement by

Timber Hawkeye, which I love:

“Don’t wait for the storm to calm,

calm your mind and the storm

will pass.” Instead of waiting for

a perfect situation and the sunny

day to feel happy – things we can’t

control – become the sunny day.

The monk mind [thinks], “Let me

be what I need, let me not need

it.” So if you need calm, become

calm. So many of us, when we’re

feeling pain or stress, search for a

distraction. Instead, just sit with

it and think, “OK stress, I see you,

I know you’re there.” Understand

the stress and talk to it. Stress is

an emotion that’s trying to tell you

something. Don’t ignore it.

Get comfortable with conflict

A 75-year Harvard study shows

that the number one indicator for

human happiness is the quality of

our relationships. That quality isn’t

based on the amount of people in

our life, or attending our birthday

or funeral, it’s about the depth that

we feel understood. The majority

of relationships fail because people

don’t know how to deal with

tough situations. Learn how to be

comfortable having uncomfortable

conversations. When you’re having

a fight, remember it’s not you

against each other, it’s both of

you against the problem. Become

a team against the challenge as

opposed to thinking you’re on

opposite sides. If in a relationship

you want to win, and for the other

person to lose, guess what? You

both lose. The only way to win in a

relationship is to realise you either

win together, or lose together.

Find your passion

My biggest test has been living my

passion and purpose in a world

that forces us into safety and

security. When I came back from

India in 2013, people were saying,

“Jay, you don’t have any money,

you’d better just get a job to pay the

bills.” I did that for a few years, but

I realised I wasn’t satisfied. I had a

passion and purpose to share what

I’d learned, and through the monk

teachings I learned to protect my

purpose. A lot of people are scared

of trying things, but how would

it feel if we didn’t try? How scary

would that be? I feel humbled and

grateful for the life I live today, and

that people take the time to listen

to my podcasts, read my book, and

learn from it. I hope I can continue

to do that for many decades.

‘Think Like a Monk’ by Jay Shetty

(Harper Thorsons, £16.99) is out now.

October 2020 • happiful.com • 31

Photography | calicadoo


I dwell in possibility

Unmasking the truth:

the mental health crisis

in the deaf community

More so than ever before, the mental health of the deaf community is

being impacted by world events – and yet awareness and support remains

lacking. It’s time to read the signs, and lend a hand to those in need

Writing | Kim McGregor

The coronavirus

pandemic has impacted

the world greatly, and

we’re all getting used to

the ‘new normal’ list of

leaving-the-house essentials – your

keys, wallet, bag and face mask.

And while putting on that mask is

something most of us can manage

just fine, for someone with a

hearing impairment, putting on

a mask can have a great impact.

Face masks may protect us from

the virus, but they also create

more communication barriers for

those in the deaf community.

YouTuber and deaf awareness

advocate Louise Goldsmith spoke

of her struggles as a deaf person

during the Covid-19 crisis. “I

walked past a retail worker who

smiled politely while wearing her

mask, but what I didn’t realise was

that she was speaking to me. It was

only when my partner, Jack, who

is hearing, pointed out she was

complimenting my mask that I

became aware.” >>>

But alongside these difficulties in

communicating, Louise highlights

how individuals have been

kind and supportive during the

pandemic. “Retail workers have

been great – when I tell them I am

deaf, they often lower their masks

behind the clear screen so I can

see their mouths.”

As a lot of people with hearing

impairments rely on mouth

patterns and lip reading, wearing

a mask has made many people

feel more isolated. Since face

masks have become mandatory,

there has been no formal

acknowledgement of support

for the deaf community with

regards to how they cope with

this requirement. However,

members of the public have taken

the initiative to address the issue,

with seamstresses creating masks

with ‘windows’ to help those with

hearing loss to see others’ mouths,

while keeping faces covered.

While it’s clear that Covid-19 has

impacted the mental wellbeing of

the deaf community, it’s important

to be aware that even before the

pandemic, deaf individuals have

disproportionately struggled with

mental health issues. Out of the

66 million people living in the UK,

11 million experience hearing

loss. While we’re all familiar with

the stats on one in four people in

the UK experiencing mental illhealth,

in the deaf community the

prevalence of mental illness can

range from 30–60%. The question

is, why is mental illness more

common for those with hearing

impairments, and how we can help?

The main thing it often comes

down to is communication. Some

Even before the

pandemic, deaf

individuals have


struggled with mental

health issues

deaf individuals feel incredibly

isolated due to not being able to

hear or speak with others easily,

which can have a knock-on effect

on their mental wellbeing. In

particular, the Mental Health

Foundation reports that childhood

is the peak time for deaf people to

experience mental health issues,

with deaf children tending to show

more signs of depression, anxiety,

and low self-concept.

Part of the issue could relate to

being deaf within a mainstream

school, which can result in a wide

range of communication barriers.

One report revealed that hearing

individuals who are not confident

in how to communicate with their

deaf peers, may simply choose not

to communicate at all. And yet,

when communication between

both deaf and hearing individuals

is effective, this can greatly impact

their development, with both

being found to show an increase in

intelligent speech, social skills, and

positive interactions, according to

a study published in The Journal of

Deaf Studies and Deaf Education.

34 • happiful.com • October 2020

It’s critical for deaf

individuals to have

access to interpreters in

their therapy sessions, or

to find a BSL counsellor



For those with hearing loss

in need of support, or who just

want to speak to someone,

please visit signhealth.org.uk

or actiononhearingloss.org.uk,

who have amazing in-depth

knowledge to help those who

need it most.

For hearing individuals who

want to support the deaf

community, Action Against

Hearing Loss also accepts

donations, or you can find out

more about learning BSL at


Another issue is the lack of

information on mental illness

provided to individuals with hearing

loss, whether that be due to medical

professionals not speaking British

Sign Language, or the difficulty

translating screening tools. In fact,

research from the University of Bath

revealed that only a small number

of deaf individuals understood the

term ‘psychosis’. This can result in

people not being aware of the signs,

symptoms, or that they should reach

out for help.

“It’s hard for deaf people to gain

access to mental health services

due to their inability to seek help,”

explains Emma Baird, who has

deaf relatives. A lot of health

information outlets for hearing

individuals – such as radio and TV

– simply aren’t accessible for the

deaf community.

The good news is that in recent

years, the number of mental

health services that specifically

target people with hearing loss has

risen greatly, which, in turn, has

meant that more deaf individuals

are seeking help. In the UK, there

are currently three specialised

deaf mental health services –

in Manchester, London, and


However, having access to

information and help is one thing,

the next step of actually speaking

out is another. A lot of hearing

individuals will know how hard

this can be, and for the deaf

community there are even more

challenges when doing so.

When searching for face-toface

therapy, it’s critical for

deaf individuals to have access

to interpreters in their therapy

sessions, or to find a BSL

counsellor. Interpreters would

need to be booked in advance,

and emergency appointments can

cause even more disruptions and

stress when trying to get help.

It’s also worth bearing in mind

that while therapy can be an

incredibly useful tool for a lot of

people, it’s not the right support

for everyone. In particular, for

some deaf people, requiring

an interpreter may mean they

feel unable to freely express

themselves, or there could be a

concern that something could get

lost in translation. While there

are a wide range of counsellors

for hearing individuals, there are

currently around 20 specialists who

use BSL within the UK – so options

are far more limited.

Nowadays, and particularly since

the increase in social restrictions,

technology has helped to support

our mental health. Minicams and

text-phones are widely available

in health services, which offer

those with hearing loss more

autonomy, plus there are many

speech-to-text apps that people can

download to support with real-time


So while strides are being made

with regards to providing more

access to mental health support

for the deaf community, it’s still so

important for hearing individuals

to raise awareness around the

difficulties these individuals face,

and what we can do to better

support them.

One way to support those with

hearing loss is by learning the basics

of BSL. As well as formal courses,

thanks to lockdown restrictions,

teachers and online information has

never been so accessible, including

via social media.

A good person to follow is the

deaf YouTuber Jazzy. She has the

most positive attitude and uses

BSL, but adds subtitles so hearing

individuals can watch her vlogs,

while also learning BSL!

Kim McGregor is BSL level 1 teacher,

and a hearing advocate for the deaf

community. She is the founder of

Help2Sign, which raises awareness of

the hearing individuals learning sign.

Instagram @help2sign.

October 2020 • happiful.com • 35

Photography | David Lezcano

Develop a passion for learning.

If you do, you will never

cease to grow



Black Lives Matter

opened the wounds

I had tried to hide

The global anti-racism protests convinced

Jane it was time to embrace her heritage,

stop trying to fit in, and confront the prejudice

she had faced for years

Writing | Jane Tran

How did I cope,

as a millennial

Asian migrant,

during the

global anti-racism

demonstrations? I was

surprised how the Black

Lives Matter movement

really affected me.

Everywhere I turned, in

the news and on social

media, white supremacy

was mentioned.

I had uncomfortable

feelings that made me sick,

and I became withdrawn.

The image in my head was

of New Year’s Eve 2011,

and a young girl saying

goodbye to her family,

and boarding a flight to

another country to pursue

a ‘better’ life.

The events of recent

weeks have cracked open

my past wounds, which I

thought I had done such a

great job in locking up.

Coming to Australia

from Vietnam to study,

and calling this new

country home, is the

story of my younger self.

The fantasy of living in a

first world country for a

person from a developing

country is a dream

come true, isn’t it? It’s a

better life because of a

more stable job, a more

democratic government,

so people have more

freedom and can thrive.

Most people perceive

my journey as glamorous

and comfortable. That’s

because I only choose to

show people what I want

them to see. I don’t need

anyone feeling sorry for

me, because I would hate

it even more than when

they say “How privileged

is she?” or “Who does she

think she is?”

Study and work have

been my life since the

moment I stepped on to

Australian soil. It keeps

me going and surviving.

My family, and some of my

friends, know how much

of a toll this journey has

taken on me. I still don’t

like Christmas and New

Year, as I feel so lonely as

everyone celebrates with

their family and friends.

It took me four years

of tears to finally get

my degree. Then, after

graduation, I was not

allowed to apply for a

particular job with a

well-known organisation

– even though I was fully

qualified – simply because

I was an international

student. I felt so

discriminated against. >>>

October 2020 • happiful.com • 37

The Black Lives

Matter movement

was pivotal for Jane

I have come to terms with the

fact that I am Vietnamese

living in Australia, and I have

an accent. This is a fact, and

it has nothing to do with my

worth as a human being

Thankfully, I got a job in

the private sector, and

another visa allowing

me to legally work in

Australia. In 2017, I got

my citizenship, which

was such a big milestone.

Now I would be treated

fairly and equally. I was

now one of them, an

Australian. But the only

question in my head the

day after my citizenship

ceremony was: “What

now?” That piece of

paper and an Australian

passport still did not make

me feel like I belonged.

My Asian heritage is

always the topic for

conversation with white

people. Some are more

sensitive than others.

People always ask: “Are you

Chinese?” As a millennial

migrant in Australia, you

constantly hear: “You

people look exactly the

same”, “Are you speaking

English?” or “You don’t look

Vietnamese”, “So, where

are you really from?” For

years, I never knew what

to say.

The older generation of

migrants laugh it off. My

Asian friends, who are

actually Australian with

Asian backgrounds, have

similar experiences, but

they are born here so

their accents are never

brought up during a racist


Looking back now,

my heart breaks for my

younger self. The only

thing I felt safe enough to

do was write everything in

my diary. Looking back,

I now realise how hard I

had been trying to please

the outside world with

a cheerful smile, trying

always to be recognised

as an Australian, which I

would never be.

I have come to terms

with the undeniable fact

that I am Vietnamese

living in Australia, and

I have an accent. This is

a fact, and it has nothing

to do with my worth as

a human being. More

importantly, it should never

be considered a weakness

or a reason to be mentally


All of these positive

thoughts were triggered

by the Black Lives Matter

movement, and on my 29th

birthday I decided: “Enough

is enough.” I decided to

change the narrative that I

had been telling myself for

the past nine years.

In June 2020, I had my

first Zoom call with a

therapist. And guess what,

she is white, a white ally.

Ironically, it has taken two

white people – my mentor

and my therapist – to teach

me to recognise what is

racist and unacceptable.

As my therapist says:

“If you don’t stand up for

yourself, what you are

saying is ‘I don’t matter.’” It

hit me hard. I realised that

38 • happiful.com • October 2020

‘It took me four years of tears to

finally get my degree’

I got caught in the idea

of changing the whole

culture, without doing my

inner work first. We have

to heal as an individual

first, before healing the

society. The society,

after all, is made up of


At this moment, I am

taking things one day at a

time, which requires a lot

of physical and emotional


It has never been easy

– even the decision to get

professional help took me

nearly two years after my

worst mental breakdown.

My story does not have

a happy ending yet, as I

am only starting to reveal

who I truly am. For the

past couple of years, I

have been hiding behind

a mask, trying to fit in, to

be ‘more white’, to please

others. But the more I try

to fit in, the more I lose


It is not my job to teach white

people about their supremacy

– they need to do their own

learning, and unlearning

At least I am not walking

on this path alone any

more – my therapist is

silently cheering for me.

She is teaching me about

what it actually does to

my self-worth if I remain

silent when treated


More importantly, the

lesson that the anti-racism

movement has taught me is

that it is not my job to teach

white people about their

supremacy – they need to

do their own learning, and

unlearning. Moreover, I

don’t tolerate their racist

behaviour anymore.

So how do I feel now?

Happy? Peaceful? Not

really. I feel more

vulnerable, but more

resilient. I can 100% say

that I’m so proud of myself

– and I have forgiven

the younger me for not

knowing any better.


The Black Lives Matter

movement’s message

made Jane question the

identity her younger

self had accepted. She

had lived behind a mask

others had forced her to

wear through prejudice

and judgement. But the

movement helped to start

the process of change to

find true self-worth and

live authentically. It is

still a work in progress

for Jane, but it’s work that

she can be truly proud

of. Working on our true

selves and having the

vulnerability to show it

to the world is

hard for us all,

and an even

higher hurdle

when facing


Graeme Orr | MBACP (Accred) counsellor

October 2020 • happiful.com • 39

Ask the experts

Counsellor Katie Cakirer answers

your questions on children’s mental

health as they return to school

Read more about Katie Cakirer

on Counselling Directory

QMy youngest


school age) is

feeling worried about

returning to school.

Do you have any

suggestions for how

they can manage this,

and what I can do to

help them?

As anxiety is largely based

A on the fear of the unknown,

preparation is key to managing

those worries. Communication

with the school, checking the

website for any changes made,

and hopefully pictures, are all

incredibly useful.

Reassure your child that

although things may look a little

different, there will be lots of

things that stay the same. For

example, seeing their friends,

doing maths, English, and

science classes, the building and

playground, will largely be the

same as well. Finding out about

school lunches, drop off and pick

up routines, can also be helpful.

Information helps us to feel

more in control, which in turn

decreases the anxiety.


Are there any

warning signs

I can look out

for to tell if my child is

struggling with being

back at school?


Children display worries,

anxieties, and insecurities

in a variety of ways, including

undereating or overeating,

not sleeping well or sleeping

too much, being clingy

with particular ‘safe’ adults,

constantly questioning things,

being generally disruptive, or

what may be described as


They could also be showing

signs of being withdrawn by

staying in their room a lot and

not seeing friends, being

particularly quiet, and maybe

regressing in age-appropriate

behaviours. If you are

concerned about your child, it is

important to communicate with

their school, as staff may also

report misbehaviour, difficulties

with concentrating, or social

problems such as falling out

with friends.

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

Top tips to help kids with the

transition back to school

1. Normalise and reassure. A

lot of children will be feeling

anxious with the return to

school, and the changes that

may be happening. Reassure

them that they are not alone in

their thinking, and help them to

problem-solve to feel calmer.

2. Gather information, and

prepare them for the changes

that may lie ahead. This will

help them to know what to

expect, and feel a sense of

control over what they can do

to feel less anxious.

3. Communication is important.

Sit down and talk, find out

about their day, the best bits

and the things they wanted

to change. This will help build

a secure relationship with

your child, and you can offer

support if it’s needed.


My child has

become used

to being with

us in lockdown, and is

worried about being

apart. Do you have

ideas on how we can

help them cope with

the separation?

Reassurance is important,

A but don’t ‘over-reassure’, as

your child may interpret that as

confirmation there’s something

to worry about! Gentle

reassurance and distraction

works. Transitional objects can

work well with kids, so maybe

they could take something small

in their bag that reminds them

of you, which would reassure

them, and psychologically

connect to you.

It’s good to take the focus off

the worry by having fun things to

do when they get home. I always

use an evidence base with

anxiety, to show that when they

were worried about X yesterday,

and their day went fine, they

have evidence that today

would likely be the same, which

minimises the worry.

Happiful free


Child panic attack support poster

DIY self-care


Postive mantra


Printable vision

board kit

Download free at shop.happiful.com

Be kind to

your body

There are moments when

we all speak negatively

to our bodies, but it’s time

to stop begrudging our

stretch marks, moaning

about our shape, or

resenting our poor eyesight

– and instead remember

just how wonderful our

bodies really are...

Writing | Claire Munnings

Our bodies are amazing

– they help us explore

the world around us,

and enable us to live

our best lives possible, and yet,

so often we grumble about them,

and treat them with contempt.

But what if we tried switching

our mindset and celebrated our

bodies instead of resenting them?

“We’ve all become used to the

idea that there’s a ‘perfect’ body,”

says Lana Walker, a holistic

massage therapist, and EFT

practitioner. “But that’s not reality.

The truth is that the human body

comes in a huge range of sizes,

shapes, and differences, and that’s

to be celebrated. Our bodies do

an amazing job, and we need to

applaud that.”

With so many pressures on us

to look a certain way, perhaps it’s

little wonder that our self-esteem

can sometimes take a hit. And of

course, with the added stresses of

lockdown – and the heightened

focus on what we’re eating and

how we’re exercising – many of

us haven’t been able to escape

from our individual body hangups

in the past few months.

Worryingly, a number of

eating disorder charities have

reported a sharp rise in demand

for their services since we

entered lockdown, with charity

BEAT saying calls to its helpline

increased by 50%. And this is the

problem: disliking our bodies

can have a serious impact on our

physical and emotional wellbeing.

In fact, research suggests that

a poor body image can be

associated with a poorer quality

of life, anxiety, psychological

distress, and a higher risk of

unhealthy eating behaviours.

So what’s the answer? “Certainly

not looking in the mirror and

feeding ourselves with more selfhatred,”

says Carly Chamberlain,

a holistic health expert. “We

must break this cycle by moving

forward with positive internal

dialogue, and other acts of selflove

and self-worth.

“Having space and time is the

real key to connecting with

ourselves, and tuning-in to our

body’s needs,” she adds. “We

need to reset, stop punishing

ourselves, and cease sabotaging

our greatness.”

Keen to put this into practice?

Our experts share their advice…


Changing your internal dialogue

and the way you speak to yourself

is the first step in altering your

perception, according to both >>>

Lana and Carly. “Positive body

affirmations are very important

in changing your mindset,

and therefore how you feel,”

Lana explains. “Your mind

has learnt its negative beliefs

through years of repetition,

but by incorporating positive

affirmations into your life every

day, you’ll soon feel the benefits.”

TRY THIS: Lana recommends

focusing on three parts of your

body that you (think you) don’t

like, and considering ways in

which you can appreciate them.

Write these affirmations down on

some Post-It notes, and display

them where you’ll see them

regularly. “These affirmations

could be things like: ‘I love my

freckles – they are unique to

me,’” she says. “Another powerful

affirmation is simply, ‘I am

enough.’ This works for all the

aspects of your entire life, and

reinforces the fact that right now,

you are enough.”


How often do you stop to check-in

with how you’re really feeling? The

truth is probably very rarely, but

as Carly explains, by taking note

of what our bodies are doing and

what they may need, we can help

them function better, and improve

our relationship with them. “If

we’re too busy and chaotic, we

can’t hear (or we may ignore) the

messages our body is trying to

give us,” she says. “Whether it’s a

niggling ache in our shoulders, a

monthly headache, or an ongoing

knee pain, these are all red flags

that tell us our system needs

nourishment, support, and a

possible shift in our habits.”

We need to reset,

stop punishing

ourselves, and

cease sabotaging

our greatness

TRY THIS: Many experts

recommend a five-minute body

scan meditation to help you listen

to what’s going on inside. Simply

sit or lie somewhere comfortable,

close your eyes, and take deep

breaths. Draw your attention to

your feet, taking note if you feel

any specific sensations. Gradually

move your focus up through

your legs and torso, all the while

checking in with how you feel,

and tuning-in to the different

parts of your body. Continue

mentally scanning your form

until you reach your head, and

finish the meditation with a few

deep breaths.


Enjoying the feeling of your own

hands on your body can feel like

an indulgence you don’t have

time for, but spending a few

minutes massaging your limbs

and gently stroking your face,

can promote feelings of self-love,

and allow you to appreciate all

aspects of your form.

TRY THIS: Lana recommends

using self-massage techniques

to connect with your body, and

show it some kindness. Start

by pouring some oil into your

hands (this can be olive, coconut

or vegetable oil if you don’t have

massage oil), and slowly move

it around in your palms and

fingertips. “Let yourself slow

down,” she advises. “Gently

place your oiled hands on top

of your chest, below your neck.

Then gently move your hands

around your shoulders, with

smooth, slow strokes. After

you’ve massaged your shoulders,

move up towards the back of

your neck, always avoiding the

spine. You can then move your

hands around your face, starting

from under the jaw, and moving

upwards to around your eyes

and eyebrows. Your hands will

naturally gravitate to a place that

feels good. Enjoy that feeling,

and know you can show your

body self-love at any time.”


The simple act of stretching has

been enjoying somewhat of a

resurgence in recent years, after

being seriously under-rated for

too long. Not only can stretching

help improve blood-flow and

enhance our posture, but it can

also enable your body to work

more effectively.

Carly is a big fan of yogainspired

stretches for this reason.

“Practising holistic movement

is the key to systemic balance in

the body,” she says. “Stretching

moves that are founded on the

ancient science of yoga take

into consideration both the

strengthening and stretching

of the agonist (prime moving

muscles), and the antagonist

muscles in the whole body.”

TRY THIS: Carly recommends

a number of yoga stretches:

“A standing forward bend is a

great grounding technique that

encourages us to reach for the

earth, stretching out the spine

from the top of the neck to the

bottom of the coccyx. Start by

squeezing the tummy muscles,

bending the knees, and rolling

the body forward into a folded,

hanging rag doll. Drop the head

and arms towards the ground,

and gently move your back from

side to side to feel a nice stretch,

and use deep, slow breathing.”

The cobra also offers a really

great stretch for the thighs,

hips, stomach, and throat, she

adds, and a spinal twist can help

strengthen our core, spine, and

back muscles, too.


How you breathe can have a

dramatic impact on the way you

feel, and by breathing deeper we

can be kinder to our bodies, and

give them the tools they need to

function efficiently.

“We all know how to breathe.

It’s simple, isn’t it? Well, yes and

no. Sometimes, we breathe in

a shallow way, and we’re not

getting oxygen into the full

capacity of our lungs,” says Lana.

“Lungs can expand more than

you think, and we need to take

advantage of that.”

TRY THIS: “Begin by placing one

hand on the top of your chest,

just below your neck,” Lana says.

“Place the other hand on your

belly. Breathe at your normal

depth and pace, and see how

much your lower hand moves.

If it’s not moving, visualise your


Do you constantly berate yourself

for reaching for a tub of ice cream

instead of a banana? Stop! There

are times when we need to be

extra sensitive to our needs and

mental wellbeing, says Carly –

and the global pandemic we are

all facing is one such instance.

“Rather than punishing ourselves

for a lack of discipline, we could

look at this situation through

a different lens,” says Carly.

“We can’t always be expected

to mainain discipline when

experiencing trauma. This is when

we often revert to comfort, safety

and stability wherever we can find

it – and this is part of our human

survival mechanism.”

lungs expanding to allow the

oxygen into the lower part of

your lungs. When this happens,

you’ll feel your lower hand move

out, and once you get the hang

of this, you’ll be able to bellybreathe

whenever you need it.”

Claire Munnings is a health and

wellbeing journalist. She enjoys

writing about how we can live more

mindfully and be kind to ourselves.

Lana Walker is a holistic

massage therapist and

EFT practitioner, and the

founder of Body and Mind

Holistics. Find out more at


Carly Chamberlain has 15 years’

experience in holistic health, and

is the author of ‘Listening

through my Hands: What

is your body saying to you’

(Filament Publishing,

£10.99). Find out more at


Making the menopause

work for you

Reaching the menopause is a huge milestone,

so to help you through this new chapter, life

coach Sarah Clark shares her 10 top tips

Writing | Sarah Clark

We hear so much about

what the menopause

can be like from

friends, family, and

the media – and not all of the

information that comes through

is positive. But the good news is

that despite the outdated negative

narratives of the past, we are

moving into an age where we

can talk more freely about what

we think and feel, and discuss

sensitive issues more frankly –

we can, therefore, benefit from

supporting each other through this

next phase in our lives.

Menopause comes from the

Greek word “pausis” (pause),

and means “the end of monthly

cycles”. As we are living longer

nowadays, we generally go

through the menopause just

over halfway through our lives

– typically anywhere from 45 to

55, with the average age being

51 – so I think it feels more like a

‘new phase of life’ rather than an

ending. Here are some essential

tips to help you reclaim the power

over this new chapter in your life.

46 • happiful.com • October 2020

Spirit drinks), and coconut sugar,

which can be used as a helpful


3. Move it

Menopause can leave us feeling

fatigued and, ironically, the more

exercise we do, the more energy

we tend to find we have. I started

belly dancing 16 years ago, and

find that combining this with yoga,

pilates, and walking, is a really

fun way to keep moving. Find the

form that you like best, and aim to

do at least 20 minutes of activity a

day – regular and often keeps you

feeling more like yourself, and

helps combat the fatigue.

1. Eat organic

When we aim to improve our

healthy lifestyle, eating organic

whenever possible is a great

place to start in order to benefit

our body, as we are putting fewer

toxins in. If you can’t always get

organic, it is worth Googling

the ‘clean 15’. These are veggies

that are not organic, but either

fewer pesticides are used when

they’re growing, their skins are

thicker, or insects don’t like them –

particularly asparagus!

2. Reduce alcohol, caffeine,

and refined sugar

As we enter the world of hot

flushes, which I prefer to call

‘power surges’, it is worth aiming

to reduce the amount of alcohol,

caffeine, and refined sugar in

your diet. Try to see if it makes a

difference in how you feel. Often

after having a coffee or a glass

of wine, we can feel the ‘power

surges’ more intensely. There are

some lovely herbal teas, nonalcoholic

drinks (I like Three

4. Cool it down

If you are finding that hot flushes

are having a negative impact

on you, then there are a range

of cooling drinks that can be

helpful. Experiment to discover

your favourite. I find that coconut

water (in moderation) is great, as it

hydrates and has a cooling effect.

Don’t forget to pack a cold drink

for when you are out and about.

5. Layer up

One of the real benefits at this

time of life can be the fact that you

may need less central heating and

fewer jumpers. If you wear layers,

then you can adjust how you feel

as the day goes on, and enjoy

wearing more strappy clothes.

Cotton and natural fabrics are a

bonus if you are perspiring.

6. Take care of yourself

As our hormones change, then

so too can feelings of anxiety

and overwhelm. This gives you a >>>

October 2020 • happiful.com • 47

eason to be extra compassionate

to yourself, so don’t forget to give

yourself some treats. A massage, a

yoga session, or acupuncture, for

example, can be really helpful to

ensure you get some ‘me time’. It’s

worth letting people around you

know if you need some alone time

as well, or if they can do anything

to support you.

7. Share it

It can be helpful to talk to others

who have been or are still going

through similar symptoms, and

although we are all different,

talking through your feelings can

be a great relief. If we are going to

have red cheeks or suddenly need

to take off a layer, then it can be a

good idea to share this with others.

Using the phrase “Just having a

power surge” around people we are

comfortable with can be helpful! It

is a normal phase of life, after all.

8. Clean sleep

As hormones change, some women

find that sleeping patterns can

change, too. There is a wealth of

information on clean sleep which

can be useful. This means that

before we go to bed, we use some

helpful habits to calm our body

down in preparation for sleep. We

can avoid caffeine, dim the lights,

and focus on our breathing, as a

way to help get us in the zone for

sleep. Turn off our mobile phone,

try out some calming herbal tea,

and think to ourselves: “Relax”. If

we wake in the night, rather than

worrying about not getting back to

sleep, try to do some mindfulness

practices, by letting thoughts come

in, and then letting them go again.

9. Communicate with a partner

As we go through body changes, it

can mean that things feel different,

and we can find erogenous zones

are altered. We might need to use

lubrication, and it can be a time

of rediscovering what we want in

the bedroom. It’s really helpful to

communicate with a partner if you

are in a relationship, and take this

opportunity to make more time for

you both to enjoy yourselves!

10. Create a new you

My final tip is to see yourself as a

wonderful individual. There are

See yourself

as a wonderful

individual. There

are a wealth of

benefits as we

move into a

new phase

of our lives

a wealth of benefits as we move

into a new phase of our lives, with

an abundance of life experience

behind us, and it is time to

celebrate this!

Sarah Clark is a coaching practitioner

at Mariposa Coaching, with 20 years

of experience. She uses evidence-based

coaching psychology approaches to

support everyone from doctors to

teachers, to small businesses, parents,

couples, and young people. Find out

more about Sarah, and enquire

about a consultation with her, at


48 • happiful.com • October 2020

A shift

in perspective

Menopause is a significant time for any woman, yet it’s often misunderstood.

But no more! Author, journalist, and all-round champion of women

Sam Baker shares the good, the bad, and the liberating

Writing | Lucy Donoughue

Photography | Claire Pepper

Have you ever read something that

resonates so deeply with you, that

it feels as though it was cosmically

sent your way? Sam Baker’s The

Shift: How I (Lost and) Found Myself

After 40 – and You Can Too, is that book for me –

a big claim, but it’s true.

Sam – former editor-in-chief of Cosmopolitan

and Red, and co-founder of The Pool – shares

experiences of perimenopause and menopause

in her new book.

“I wrote it for me – or the equivalent of me –

at the point of perimenopause,” Sam explains.

“Partly to say, ‘This is what’s coming for you and

it might be shit, but there’s also a light at the end

of the tunnel, and it might be great...’ because

nobody told me those things.”

This was the case for me too, which explains

the unbelievable sense of relief and recognition

I felt reading Sam’s powerful latest offering.

Being told that I was perimenopausal around

the age of 40, blindsided me. None of my close

friends or colleagues were going through the

same experience and, mentally, I felt very

lonely, angry, and as if my body was suddenly

completely unknown to me. >>>

October 2020 • happiful.com • 49

This is what’s coming for

you, and it might be shit,

but there’s also a light

at the end of the tunnel,

and it might be great

Feelings of isolation and

estrangement from yourself

upon menopausal ‘diagnosis’ are

by no means unique to me – so

many women also feel alone, and

struggle in silence.

“Going into the menopause, I

felt that I didn’t have anyone to

talk to about it,” Sam says. “So

when I started writing The Shift, I

put out a call on social media for

other women’s experiences, and

I was inundated with responses.

I was just astonished. So many of

the women said: ‘I’ve never told

anybody this – I haven’t told my

best friend, I certainly haven’t

discussed it with my husband,

wife, or partner.’”

During these discussions with

her newfound community,

Sam’s belief in the importance

of sharing personal experiences

grew, as it became evident

that many issues are still being

whispered about – or left unsaid

– and too many women feel alone

as they negotiate menopause.

As a result, Sam and her

contributors have tackled a

plethora of menopausal-related

subjects, bringing a wide

spectrum of perspectives to The

Shift’s pages. From hot flushes

to fluctuating weight, vile antiaging

rhetoric, the societally

perceived ‘end of fuckability’,

vaginal atrophy (dryness and

associated discomfort), and the

last egg. And, with the end of

ovulation, conversations and

reflections on children and the

removal of a choice, signalled by

the menopause.

“I didn’t particularly want, or

not want children – we believed

if it was going to happen, it

would happen, and it didn’t,”

Sam says. “But I could never have

anticipated the force with which

it struck me that I no longer had

that option when I started going

through perimenopause.”

Choice and individual

circumstances around

having children require more

discussion, Sam suggests, so as to

fully retire binary and outdated

thinking. “Not having children,

except for in the context of

infertility, isn’t spoken about

enough. It’s very much ‘you’re a

mother or you’re other’.”

While unhelpful assumptions

need to be challenged, the

continued judgement and

questioning of women as to

when, or if, they are going to get

pregnant, is a personal bugbear

of mine, and one that Sam and

many others share, too. How do

we also stop the intrusive and

insensitive enquiries about our

plans for our wombs?

“I think we have to take a leaf out

of the millennials’ book, and call

people out when they ask about

it,” Sam responds assuredly. “One

of the things that really struck me

when I wrote The Shift was how

many times I’d been asked that

question, and yes it’s disgusting,

but I’d answered it. I should

have never answered it, ever. I

should have said ‘It’s none of your

business,’ whether I was being

asked by my boss or my mum.”

Sam is buoyed by a seeming

willingness from millennials to

lead the discussion around active

choice, rather than being led by

others’ expectations.

The all-too-often reduction

of women to such stereotypes

and labels, as well as society’s

ongoing desire to fit them into

neat little boxes, is addressed

throughout The Shift – and so

“But I certainly feel that as a

result of that perception, the way

I supressed my anger throughout

my life led to depression, and

ultimately I exploded.

“You hear a lot of jokes around

menopausal women’s rage,

‘revenge of the menopausal

women’ gags, plate smashing

and all that,” she sighs. “I did go

through a phase of torrential anger

during perimenopause, but now

I feel like I have very purposeful

anger. I know what I am, and what

I’m not prepared to put up with

– and somebody mocking me, or

saying I’m hysterical is not going to

cut any ice.”

So many of the women said: “I’ve never told anybody

this, I haven’t told my best friend, I certainly haven’t

discussed it with my husband, wife, or partner’

are the opportunities to blow

those boxes up as we move into

perimenopause and beyond. The

second half of the book calls for

claiming the future you want,

and acknowledging what needs

to go from your life as well. My

favourite chapter? ‘Never pick

a fight with a woman over 40.

She is full of rage and sick of

everyone’s shit!’

“Women’s anger is frowned

upon – we’re hysterical or we’re

out of control,” Sam explains.

Sam came to know and treat

herself better during the

menopause. This involved

seeking professional mental

health support, something

she notes, she’d never have

considered previously.

“I was the person who would

have taken it as an insult if

someone had suggested therapy

to me,” says Sam. “I was the same

with antidepressants. I thought it

was a sign of weakness, but taking

them made a huge difference.”

Sam was referred for cognitive

behavioural therapy and eye

movement desensitisation and

reprocessing, but the process

was, initially, far from easy for

her. “I was reluctant to see a

therapist. I’m very outcomeorientated,

and I wanted her

to say, ‘This will be done in six

weeks!’” Sam laughs.

“My therapist dealt with me

really well, and actually by the

time the therapy was over – 18

months later – I was really

reluctant to relinquish her.

Seeing her was the best thing I’ve

ever done for myself.”

As our conversation draws to

a close, I take the opportunity

to tell Sam that her book gave

me reassurances, and a sense of

normality about my current life

stage, that I hadn’t managed to

find anywhere else. “Good,” she

says kindly. “Tell your friends.”

I can honestly report that I have.

‘The Shift: How I (lost and) found

myself after 40 – and you can too’,

by Sam Baker (Coronet, £16.99).

Subscribe to Sam’s podcast ‘The

Shift (on Life After 40)’, available on

all major listening platforms.


art of


Get stuck into these easy,

effective craft projects to help

soothe a busy mind, challenge

your creativity, and leave you

with something to be proud of

Writing | Kathryn Wheeler

Illustrating | Rosan Magar

If life is what you make of it, when you

choose to make art, things get a little

brighter. Of course, sometimes the things

that knock us off course are out of our

hands, and we need extra support to get

through. But when it comes to our everyday

wellness, there can be real joy to be found in

getting creative.

And that’s a tip backed up by science.

Research from University College London

found that engaging in arts can reduce

anxiety, while further studies also point to

benefits including increased self-awareness

and levels of the happy hormone dopamine,

as well as a sense of pride and satisfaction.

So roll up your sleeves, because it’s time to

get crafting as we share six projects to inspire

you to harness your creativity, and get lost in

mindful moments. >>>

Cross stitch affirmations

Affirmations help us to visualise

our goals, as well as harness

positive and empowering mindsets.

Cross stitch pieces are made up

of a series of small – you guessed

it – stitched crosses. These patterns

will help you create beautiful,

affirming pieces that you can hang

in your home as reminders of the

values you want to embody.

If you have never attempted cross

stitch before, don’t be put off by the

chart! We recommend watching

Peacock & Fig’s ‘Cross stitch for

beginners’ playlist on YouTube, to

help you understand how to create

the stitches.

You will need:

• 14-count fabric (common cross

stitch fabric)

• One skein of thread in your

chosen colour

• A needle

• A pin

• An embroidery hoop

• Scissors

Affirmations help

us to visualise our

goals, as well as

harness positive

and empowering


How to:

• Mark the centre stitch on

your pattern.

• Find the centre of your fabric

by folding it in half twice and

mark this with a pin.

• Attach your fabric to

your hoop.

• Thread your needle with two

threads from the skein.

• Remove your pin and begin

stitching from the centre stitch.

• Follow the pattern.

• When you are finished, knot

and carefully trim your threads.

You may want to

display your cross-stitch

affirmation in a frame –

but if you want to keep it in

the embroidery hoop for

a rustic look, head over to

Peacock & Fig’s YouTube

channel to learn how to

create a sturdy backing.

Monthly weather painting

These beautiful, effective pieces

of art are so easy to do, and are a

nice way of tapping into a creative

space each day. The idea of this

project is to paint a line a day in

the colour that corresponds to the

temperature. Assign your own

colours to temperatures or use our

guide below.

Work in straight, blocked lines

or blend colours together with

watercolour paint. However you

chose to do it, express yourself.

Once you have completed a month,

proudly display it in your home,

or use it as a background to create

a scrapbook or memory board by

attaching photos or other pieces of

memorabilia, like tickets or notes.

Create a monthly series, or take it

up a level by doing a whole year!

You will need:

• Canvas or card

• Paints in a selection of colours

• A paintbrush


You can also use this

technique as a mood

tracker, by assigning

moods to different

colours, and taking

some time to assess

how you felt that

day before painting

a line. This can be a

great way to tunein

with yourself.

Read more about

creative journaling

techniques on p60.

Temp ( ☐ C)
























You don’t need to go out and

spend a lot of money on shopbought

soothing face masks.

These recipes use ingredients

you probably already have in

your kitchen. So whether you’re

looking to wind-down at the end

of a long day, or indulge your skin

with some TLC, it’s time to mixup

your self-care routine.


For oily skin

Whisk away excess oil with this

soothing oat-based mask.

You will need:

45g cooked oatmeal

1 egg

1 tablespoon lemon juice

Allow the cooked oatmeal to cool.

Whisk the egg and mix all the

ingredients together.


For dry skin

Leave skin feeling soft and

smooth with this creamy mix.

You will need:

1 avocado

1 tablespoon honey

A handful of oats

Blend the avocado and honey

together, and then stir in the oats.


For the minimalists out there,

revitalise your skin with a

mashed banana applied directly

to your face. For a refreshing

twist, blend up a frozen banana.

At its core, art and

crafts are about selfexpression,

and taking

on projects allows us

the opportunity to

explore who we are

Recycled wooden gratitude jar

When we take the time each day

to consider the things that we’re

grateful for, we’re granted the

opportunity to really reflect on the

little joys in our lives. A gratitude

jar is a great way to collect these

pockets of happiness and return to

them when we need them most.

The idea is to write down on a

small piece of paper something

that you are grateful for. Fold this

up, and put it in the jar. Add to

the jar whenever you like, and

return to it to read the notes when

you feel as though you need to.

Plus you can make the process of

creating this jar a mindful one, by

going out on a slow walk to collect

sticks for the project.

This recycled wood gratitude jar

is easy to make, looks beautiful in

your home, and is the perfect way

to store the moments you want to

hold on it.

You will need:

• A glass jar

• Wooden sticks

• Secateurs

• A hot glue gun or other strong

adhesive glue

How to:

• Trim your sticks to the size of

the jar.

• One by one, glue sticks in place.

Map coasters

Throughout our lives, we develop

deep connections with the places

we’ve lived and have visited. Create

a reminder of a place that brings

you joy with these coasters.

Think of an area where you

remember feeling happiest, or

which served as the setting for a

pivotal moment in your life, and

craft a practical piece of homeware

that will transport you there on a

daily basis.

You will need:

• An old coaster or one from a craft


• A map

• Scissors

• A ruler

• A pencil

• Mod Podge (or PVA glue)

• A paintbrush

How to:

• Lay the coaster over the area of

the map you want to use.

• Trace around the coaster with the

pencil, then add on half an inch.

• Use the scissors to cut around

your template.

• Stick the map to the coaster

using the Mod Podge, folding

the corners over the back and

securing these down.

• Paint over the coaster with a thin

layer of Mod Podge. Allow this to

dry completely before repeating

the process two more times.

At its core, art and crafts is about

self-expression, and taking on

projects allows us the opportunity

to explore who we are. If you decide

to try one of these ideas, be sure to

share your results with us on social

media. We can’t wait to see!

Worried about a friend?

Here are some message ideas to help you reach out

Just checking in! How

are you feeling?

Do you fancy a chat later?

Is there anything you need? If

I can help, just let me know.

I want you to know that

you’re not alone – I’m

here if you need me.

Take as long as you need,

but if you want someone

to listen, call me any time.

Just to let you know I’m here

if you want to talk.

Was just thinking about you.

How’s everything going?

You are so special and loved.

5 ways to be a

happy freelancer

With her new book, Out of Office, being your go-to guide for all

things freelance, who better to share the secrets of how to protect

your mental health while bossing your own business, than

regular Happiful contributor Fiona Thomas?

If you’ve struggled to get back

into the regular nine-to-five

rhythm, or are in need of a

career change, then setting up

as a freelancer might seem like

the perfect solution. No boss,

no problem, right? Being selfemployed

certainly comes with

some mental health benefits.

Flexibility, creative freedom, and

a sense of accomplishment – not

to mention the option to plonk

yourself down in the trendiest

café and call it your office. But the

truth is that freelancing can be

just as mentally draining as the

traditional workplace. Here are

my top five tips on how to support

your mental wellbeing, and give

yourself the best shot at being a

happy freelancer...

1. Get paid on time

Late payments are, unfortunately,

a common problem for most

freelancers. I have lots of lovely

clients who pay on time, but that’s

not always the case. To keep your

stress levels in check, don’t hang

around. Always send invoices as

soon as work is completed. Make

sure that your payment terms

are clear and set out in writing

— ideally as part of a contract —

before you start work. If possible,

take payment upfront (or at least

a percentage) to make life easier.

Use a spreadsheet to keep track of

what date you sent each invoice,

58 • happiful.com • October 2020

and don’t be afraid to send email

reminders when they are overdue.

Remember, you’re legally allowed

to claim interest and debt recovery

costs on late payments. More

information on this can be found

at gov.uk.

2. Increase your rates

They say money won’t make you

happy, but as a freelancer who

has spent a lot of sleepless nights

worrying about my finances, I

can tell you that increasing your

income, even slightly, will have a

tangible impact on your mental

health. Having the “I’m putting

my prices up” conversation

is a toughie, but one that I’ve

had success with on multiple

occasions. First up, don’t just

pluck a figure out of thin air

and expect your client to blindly

accept the increase. They can

research your competitors and

find out what they’re charging,

so you should do the same. This

will give you a range of figures to

work within, taking into account

what your current rate is. Open

up a dialogue, either on email or

by phone, and make it a two-way

conversation with a professional

tone. Don’t get angry or upset. Just

be honest about your expectations,

and cite examples of the work

you’ve done before to back up your

right to be compensated fairly.

3. Financially plan for holidays

In the UK, full-time workers

are entitled to a minimum of 28

days paid annual leave, and yet

research by IPSE, trade body for

the self-employed, shows that the

average freelancer takes just 24

days of holiday per year. Time off

can feel like a luxury rather than

a necessity, and when time off

equals a loss of earnings it’s even

harder to down tools. But with

careful planning, you can (and

should) schedule regular time off

throughout the year.

The secret is to build paid

holidays into your pricing

strategy. When setting future

income goals, assume that you

will only be working 45 weeks

out of the year as opposed to 52.

Then take your goal salary and

divide it by the number of weeks

you can carry out paid work. So

for example, if you’d like to earn

£30k a year you’d need to earn

£666 a week (over 45 weeks) to hit

that target. This gives you a great

starting off point for pinpointing

your day rate or pricing packages

that will give you enough money

to take the time off that you


4. Socialise with

other freelancers

Studies show that being socially

disconnected can have a

real impact on your physical

wellbeing, so if you want to

minimise your sick days (and

improve your networking

skills) then make an effort to

talk to other freelancers. The

social support that comes from

freelancing communities – such

as membership sites, group

business coaching, or Facebook

groups – can help to reduce the

stress that comes from selfemployment.

Friends and family

often have no frame of reference

with the complications that come

from doing your first tax return,

or dealing with toxic clients. But

you can bet your bottom dollar

that a fellow freelancer will not

only get it, but they’ll have some

sound advice to help you rise to

the challenge.

5. Be the boss you wish

you’d always had

Don’t fall into the trap of letting

your business run your life. The

whole point of being freelance is

to break away from the shackles

of the rat race, and build a career

that works for you. Be bold and

set working hours that allow you

to do the things you love, whether

it’s sleeping until midday or going

for a run in the afternoon. During

lockdown, I didn’t sit down at my

desk until 10.30am most days, and

it felt like such a luxury to give

myself the time I needed to get

my motor running each morning.

Think about all the perks you wish

you’d had in previous jobs. Maybe

you would have liked a daily yoga

class, access to counselling, or

an extended lunch break. As a

freelancer you’ve got the power to

implement these things into your

working life, so do it!

Fiona is a freelance writer and author,

whose new book ‘Out of Office’ is

available in print from 1 October. Visit

fionalikestoblog.com for more.

October 2020 • happiful.com • 59



life hacks

Save the planet, save money, and save time with

these DIY, environmentally-friendly tips

Writing | Rebecca Thair


Whether you manage to get abroad this year, or are

venturing to the coast for a staycation, the last thing

you need is to miss out on fun because you’re left

guarding the valuables.

SOLUTION: Clean out an empty sunscreen bottle and

use it to house your keys, money, and potentially phone

(depending on the size of the bottle) while on the

beach – it won’t attract attention, and despite a growing

consciousness of sun safety, is unlikely to be stolen.


From headphones to charging cables, it’s like there’s a

mystical presence that tangles up your wires the moment

you look away. And if you keep all these electrical goods in

one drawer, good luck ever undoing that Gordian Knot.

SOLUTION: Fill a sturdy box or your chosen drawer

with empty cardboard loo rolls, standing upright. Then

neatly wind up each individual cable, and store within

a separate tube. What you’ll have is great organisation,

and countless hours saved scrambling through a mess of

wires to find what you’re looking for!

Good vibrations

When you’re

working from

home, or having

a socially-distanced hangout,

you may want to blast out

some tunes. Speakers aren’t

hard to come by, but they can

be an expense, and another

thing using electricity. You

might even find yourself

outside more with no power

outlets – so what can you do to

keep making that music?

SOLUTION: Turn an empty

loo roll tube into a phone

speaker! Although it’s not quite

the same as a Bose system,

this simple trick still amplifies

sound. Simply cut a slot big

enough for your phone to

sit in, then use a couple of

drawing pins to act as feet, and

stop it rolling around. Sounds

good to me.

60 • happiful.com • October 2020


Put a clean, dry towel in

your tumble dryer with

wet clothes, and it will

absorb some of the water.

This means that you don’t

need to run the machine

for as long, making it more


Instead of throwing away

silica packs – the little gel

pouches used to draw

moisture out of boxed items

such as shoes – pop them

in your jewellery box to

help keep silver items from


If you need food bag clips,

and don’t have a bottle to

hand, you can also remove

the clip from a trouser

hanger! Fresh food, no

hang ups.

Trouser hangers can be

useful for other things, too.

Do you know the struggle

of following a recipe when

your cookbook won’t stay

open? Simply use the

hanger to clip each side

of the book open on your

required page. Now we’re


Keep it fresh

If you’ve got more restraint than me, and can leave

a bag of sweets or crisps before the end, then you’ll

know the agony of the remainder either spilling all

over your cupboards, or going stale when left opened.

SOLUTION: Cut the top third off a plastic bottle,

thread the top of your packet through it, then fold it

down over the bottom and screw the cap on. Signed,

sealed, delicious.

Water great idea

If you’ve been inspired to get green-fingered

during lockdown – whether that’s growing your

own little veg patch, or simply a few pots on your

windowsill – we have a simple trick to save you

from splashing out on a new watering can.

SOLUTION: Rinse out an empty milk bottle, and

poke some holes in the plastic cap. You can now

easily give your thirsty, leafy friends a gentle

sprinkling of water! Plus, you can put your

crafting skills to the test by giving the bottle a

mini-makeover so it can look nice and appealing

on your counter as well.

Pencilled in

With a lot of us setting up our own home offices, you

may find yourself making a mess with all your essential

items sprawling out, and yet there’s never a pen to hand

when you need it!

SOLUTION: Take a clean, empty milk carton, safely

cut the bottom off from below the handle on one side,

leaving a nice tray for you – the perfect makeshift

pencil case. You can leave it neatly on your desk space,

or even attach it to a wall. Inspiration strikes.

October 2020 • happiful.com • 61



Express yourself through all creative outlets. Make colouring mindful, get busy in the

kitchen, and create a safe space for you to express your own thoughts and feelings


In Their Shoes: Navigating

Non-Binary Life

Award-winning editor, writer,

and public speaker Jamie

Windust shares their own

experiences on everything from

fashion, dating, relationships

and family, through to mental

health, in their debut book.

This read is a call to arms for

non-binary self-acceptance,

self-appreciation, and




Pick up your pencils,

put on your favourite playlist,

and take a mindful moment

with The Colouring Sessions.

These album covers have

been stripped back to basics

for you to download and

create your own design, while

pressing pause on the worries

of everyday life.

(Out 21 Oct, Jessica Kingsley

Publishers, £12.99)



Virtual Book Club

Connect with your fellow bookworms, choose a book, and share

your thoughts over Zoom. If your friends don’t fancy it, you can join

an online community such as ‘Between Two Books’, run by musician

Florence Welch from the band Florence and the Machine, with a

group of more than 30,000 readers you can connect with.

(Search @BetweenTwoBooks on Facebook)

The Colouring Sessions

(Browse the templates at




‘The Different Minds

Podcast Series’

Celebrating the variety of ways

our brain can work and interpret

information, ‘The Different Minds

Podcast Series’ is hosted by

broadcaster John Offord, who is

joined by guests including our very

own head writer Kathryn Wheeler,

to talk about topics from building

better mental health, to the power

of the subconscious mind.

(Listen to the podcast on

iTunes and Spotify)



Blair Amadeus Imani

Follow historian, author,

and activist Blair Imani

for insightful and uplifting

content. Blair hosts

‘Learn o’Clock’ every

Sunday, to educate her

online community on topics such

as LGBTQ+ rights, racism, and

political issues. It’s clear from her

feed that Blair is dedicated to

making the world a better place,

and she’s doing exactly that.

(Follow @blairimani on Instagram)

62 • happiful.com • October 2020

6 9


Deliciously Ella app

Make plant-based cooking easier

with the Deliciously Ella app. Discover

more than 400 healthy, plant-based

recipes, with instructional videos and stepby-step

images. You can also get moving

with a wide selection of yoga videos,

ranging from beginner to advanced. Fresh

content served every week!

(Download from the App

Store and Google Play)


The Great British

Sewing Bee

Knitting needles at the

ready… It’s time to find Britain’s best

amateur sewer. Hosted by comedian

Joe Lycett, each week sewers take

on exciting new challenges as they

compete to be named Britain’s best

home sewer. Crochet away!

(Available on BBC iPlayer)


National Baking Week

It’s time to get creative in the kitchen! A spot of

baking is great for our mental health, so dust

off your old cake tins and bake to your heart’s content. You

could even hold a bake sale to raise money for a charity

that’s close to your heart. Check out our dark chocolate

and banana muffins recipe on p68 to get you started.

(14–20 October, follow #NationalBakingWeek)


The Paw Runner

The power of pets to improve our

mental health is limitless. The Paw

Runner is on a mission to get humans

and their dogs fit, healthy, and

happy, helping you to bond with your

four-legged pals as well. Take up

the challenge of one of its bronze,

silver, and gold activities to keep you motivated, as you enjoy

the wellbeing benefits of spending time outdoors with your

pooch. (Get involved at thepawrunner.com)



Creativity and reflection can have a powerful, positive influence on our lives.

Developed in partnership with mental health charity Mind, The Wellbeing Journal

includes activities, quotes, and space for you to write about your own thoughts,

feelings, and experiences. (£9.99, available to buy on amazon.co.uk)

The Wellbeing Journal: Creative Activities to Inspire


Win your own The Wellbeing Journal

For your chance to win, simply email competitions@happiful.com

with your answer to the following question:

What year was mental health charity Mind founded?

a) 1944 b) 1945 c) 1946

Competition closes 22 October. UK mainland and Northern Ireland only. Good luck!

I am. I have

Megan Crabbe | Joseph Sinclair






• Listen • Like • Subscribe •

Listen to conversations with Shahroo Izadi, Fearne Cotton, Megan Crabbe,

Jamie Windust and many others who share their passions,

and reveal the moments that shaped them


Essential – and unusual

– ideas to help you sleep

Download ‘Freedom’

This app is available on both Apple

and Android, and allows you to

reclaim control over night-time

scrolling. You can schedule ‘blocks’

on certain distracting websites and

apps, e.g. between 9pm and 7am, to

help you get a screen-free night.

Birthday suit-up!

While cosy PJs and lots of blankets

might be your bedtime go-to, they

could be keeping you up at night.

Your body naturally drops in

temperature to help you drift off, so

keeping things cool in the bedroom

could help. One way to do this could

be to embrace your bare body, and

strip down to enjoy the sheets on

your skin!

Restflix and chill

New streaming service Restflix

launched in July, with the aim to

help people start snoozing. Videos

on the service utilise binaural

beats, which is a proven method

to harness our brain’s reactions

to sound to help you drift off, plus

it features guided meditations,

bedtime stories, and peaceful

visuals – tune-in to what works best

for you.

Try reverse-psychology

If you’ve ever had the experience of

laying awake, desperately struggling

to catch those Zs, then trying to stay

awake could help. As strange as

it sounds, studies have found that

simply lying in bed with your

eyes wide open can help you

relax, as you stop feeling anxious

about not being able to sleep, and

actually become more tired.

Brinner is served

If you’ve been struggling to

find sleep, treating yourself

to breakfast for dinner could

help prepare you for a night’s

rest. Toast is a light source of

carbohydrates, which can help to

regulate blood sugar, so perhaps

pair it with some eggs, as these

are high in protein and can aid

sleep. A banana could also be

a good choice, as it contains

potassium, which is known to

help relax muscles.

Put it in


If you go into your bedside drawer or a box under your bed right now, how

many untouched notebooks would you find? It seems to me that notebooks

reproduce while we’re sleeping, as there’s always an empty one lying

around, just waiting to be scribbled in! Well it’s time to put those journals to

good use, as we explore how they can actually support our mental health

Writing | Ellie Pilcher

Illustrating | Rosan Magar

There are many ways to

use a notebook, from the

traditional uses such as

keeping a diary or writing

to-do lists, to the more crafty

uses such as scrapbooking. But

have you ever considered using

a notebook specifically to benefit

your mental health?

According to the Univerity

of Rochester Medical Center,

journaling boosts our wellbeing

in several ways, including

managing anxiety, reducing

stress, and coping with

depression. The simple act of

writing down our thoughts and

feelings can help us prioritise

our problems and manage any

intrusive thoughts throughout the

day, as well as monitor our dayto-day

mental health over long

periods of time.

However, there is more

than one way to use

a notebook to

maintain our

mental health,

and there’s no

reason why you

can’t experiment

with an empty

notebook to find out

what works best for

you. It’s time to put pen

to paper, and discover the

four creative ways you can

use journals to support your

mental health.

Bullet journaling

Bullet journaling is a form

of organisation that was

invented by Ryder Carroll

in 2013. Instead of having

separate lists of things

strewn around the

house or on

your phone, a

bullet journal

allows you to

keep track of all

this information

in one notebook.

It’s effectively a

planner, a to-do

list, and a diary

all in one. You can

document anything

from your weekly food

shop to drawing a table to

keep track of your mood

throughout each month.

To specifically use a

bullet journal to monitor

your mental health, try a

daily habit tracker. Draw

a table split into 28–31

days, depending on the

66 • happiful.com • October 2020

number of days in the month,

and check off each day whenever

you do something you want to

encourage yourself to do. For

example, drink eight glasses of

water, get some exercise, eat a

healthy lunch, call a friend, etc.

You can find lots of inspiration

for ways to monitor your mental

health with a bullet journal on

Pinterest and YouTube as well.

Junk journal

Clutter can be a major trigger for

anxiety, but it can be helpfully

stored away with a notebook. Find

those small bits and pieces that

you’re keeping stashed around

your home – such as cinema

tickets, receipts, photos, labels, and

other mementoes – and glue or

Sellotape them into a junk journal.

Alternatively, if an item is doublesided

or something that you might

want to pull out one day, glue an

envelope into your junk journal

and place the item inside the

envelope for safe-keeping. Now

you don’t have to throw away

any good memories, but you

won’t have clutter piling up all

over the place either.

Vision book

You may have heard of vision

boards, but have you ever heard

of a vision book? Our dreams and

desires can change throughout

our lives, and sometimes we have

more than one vision at one time.

I, for one, know that whenever

I’m feeling down I often end up

thinking about the things I haven’t

achieved in my life. So, to help

with this I create a vision page in

my vision book. Not only is it a

The simple act

of writing down

our thoughts

and feelings can

help us prioritise

our problems

helpful creative outlet, which is

a great mood elevator, it’s also a

great way to feel proactive at my

lowest moments. To create your

own vision book, find an A4 or A5

notebook and start writing down

your dreams. Cut out pictures or

headlines from newspapers or

magazines and stick them into

the notebook to create a collage of

inspiring images for you to look at

whenever you feel like you need to

be grounded.

Gratitude journal

A gratitude journal can be a great

way to maintain your mental

health, particularly when you’re

really struggling with low mood or

anxiety. To start with, find an empty

notebook and write down one thing

that happened during your day

that you’re grateful for. It can be as

small as having a bacon sandwich

for breakfast, or not arriving late

for work! But it can also be as big

as a relationship with a loved one,

or having a breakthrough in

therapy. The reason for having a

gratitude journal is to encourage

you to write down a daily note

expressing positivity, putting

any intrusive, negative thoughts

to one side.

There are many ways to use a

notebook to maintain your mental

health, you just have to find the

way that works for you. From

writing lists to doodling, keeping a

daily journal, to summarising your

month in bullet points, the next

time you come across an empty

notebook, pick it up and dive in

– you might be surprised at what

you discover about yourself.

October 2020 • happiful.com • 67




Feel-good foods that fuel positive mental health

Writing | Katie Hoare

Studies have shown that

what we eat can have a

profound effect on our

mood, and certain foods

can even give us a little

boost when we’re feeling below

par. We’re not just talking about

fruit and veggies – although they

are classic mood-boosters – but

some tasty treats can also help

bolster us up!

It can be easy to reach for the

chocolate or biscuits – that’s

certainly my go-to – but bloodsugar

spikes and crashes from

‘quick-fix’ foods could leave us

feeling worse off. So we’ve cooked

up three recipes that are easy

to try at home, and are packed

with vitamins and minerals that

promote positive mental health.


Berry breakfast smoothie

Makes 4


• 100g strawberries

• 150g blueberries

• 150g raspberries

• 450g Greek yoghurt

• 100ml milk (or non-dairy


• 2 tsp of honey

• 25g porridge oats


• In a blender, whizz the berries,

yogurt, and milk until smooth.

• Add the honey and oats, and

whizz again for 30 seconds.

• Pour smoothie into 4 glasses.

• Serve with sprinkled oats and

berries, or store in the fridge.


Dark choc, banana muffins

Makes 12


• 3 bananas, mashed

• 2 eggs

• ½ cup milk (or non-dairy


• 130g maple syrup

• 1 tsp pure vanilla extract

• 1 tsp baking soda

• 50g dark, unsweetened

cocoa powder

• 130g all-purpose flour

• 50g dark chocolate chips

• 1 tsp sea salt


• Preheat the oven to 180˚C and

grease the muffin tins.

• Mash the bananas in a large

bowl, combine with the eggs

and whisk.

• Add the milk, maple syrup, and

vanilla to the bowl and mix.

• While mixing, gradually add

the baking soda, cocoa powder

and flour until the mixture is a

smooth texture. Fold chocolate

chips and sea salt into the batter.

• Pour mixture evenly into a

greased muffin tin, filling each

cup up approximately ⅔ full.

• Bake for approximately 30

minutes, or until a toothpick

comes out clean from the centre

of the muffin. Set aside to cool

for 10 minutes.

• Enjoy with your mid-morning


Find a


near you on the

Happiful app

Feta salad with beef

& beets

Serves 2


• 300g lean beef

• 50g kale

• 2 tsp olive oil

• 2 tsp of wholegrain mustard

• 50g rocket

• ½ red onion, sliced

• 100g walnuts

• 1 beetroot, chopped

• 2 tsp feta, crumbled

• Salt and pepper, to season


• Preheat the grill to

approximately 140˚C.

• Season steak with salt and

pepper. Place under the grill for

approximately 8 minutes each

side (cook to your liking).

• Leave to stand for 5 minutes

before slicing.

• Massage the kale leaves with

olive oil and wholegrain mustard.

Mix the kale and rocket with

chopped onion and walnuts.

• Place the salad in a serving

bowl. Chop the beetroot into

small pieces and place on top of

the salad. Crumble on the feta.

• Place sliced steak on the salad,

and drizzle with olive oil. Serve.

Our expert says...

The berries in the smoothie have

a lower glycaemic load compared

to most fruit, meaning their

energy is released steadily, which

helps avoid energy spikes. Greek

yoghurt is a fermented food that

has probiotic cultures – great

for digestive health. Opt for

plain Greek yoghurt, as excess

sugar and sweeteners can lead to

dysregulated blood glucose levels,

which is a stressor for the body

and brain.

The bananas in the muffins

contain L-tryptophan – an amino

acid involved in the production of

our happy hormone, serotonin.

This neurotransmitter helps

regulate mood, as well as sleep,

appetite, digestion, learning,

and memory. Dark chocolate is

a tasty source of antioxidants,

which support blood flow to the

brain. This aids memory and

concentration, which are often

affected when feeling low in

mood or anxious.

The salad is packed with

nutrients! Leafy greens such as

kale contain iron, B6 and folate.

Vitamin B6 is an essential cofactor

in the production of serotonin

and dopamine. Beetroot is a great

mood-boosting addition to the

salad. This vibrant vegetable can

increase blood flow to the brain,

which ensures adequate oxygen

and nutrients are supplied to our

most energy-demanding organ.

Rebekah Esdale is a mental health nurse

and nutritional therapist specialising

in women’s mental health and

wellbeing. She empowers women

to flourish with her Explore-


programme. Find out more

at rebekahesdale.com






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By the time we’ve finished work and are looking to unwind,

many of us just can’t face cooking – so we reach for a

ready meal. They may well have a bad reputation, but is it

actually deserved? We say they don’t have to be unhealthy,

and have some tips to make them a little more nutritious…

Writing | Jenna Farmer

Artwork | Charlotte Reynell


The humble ready meal

offers a lunch or dinner

solution in a matter of

minutes. Whether you’re

craving a bowl of pasta, a hearty

stew, or something more exotic,

a comforting meal can swiftly

emerge from the microwave. Yet

we’re often made to feel guilty

about not making more effort and

cooking from scratch.

It’s worth noting that, for some of

us, the simple act of ensuring we’re

hydrated and fed with three meals

a day, is an achievement worth

recognising in itself. Whether it’s

due to health struggles, fatigue, or

just life overwhelming us, no one

should feel guilty for not spending

hours cooking up a storm in the

kitchen. If a ready meal is what you

need to get through your day, then

absolutely reach for one!

Just because it’s a ready meal

doesn’t automatically mean it’s

unhealthy. Nutritional therapist

Sonal Shah, of Synergy Nutrition,

says: “There are ready meals

available which are lower in salt,

free from trans-fats, and balanced

with carbs, proteins, and healthy


However, they do vary wildly

in nutrition levels, so it’s worth

checking the label to see the

amount of salt, trans-fats, and

fibre they contain. “It’s helpful to

remember that the ingredients on

the back of packaging are listed in

order of quantity. So, if fat, salt, and

sugar are listed high up, this means

that the product is made up mostly

of these ingredients,” adds Sonal.

Upgrade your ready meal

No time to cook, but want to make

your ready meal a little healthier?

Follow our simple suggestions to

quickly upgrade your ready meal

into a nutritious dish…

• Protein is really important for

energy, but can be lacking in

ready meals. Keep sources of

protein in your fridge to chuck

into your bowl at the last minute.

Cooked chicken is a great idea,

while tofu, which only takes

a minute or two to cook, is a

nutritious veggie option.

• One thing to look for is the

amount of fibre the meal

contains. We need around 30g

a day, so if you can’t find a high

fibre ready meal, stir some

fresh veg into a microwaved

meal instead. Sonal says: “Add

a side of fresh vegetables

or salad to make the meal

healthier. Steam, lightly boil,

or roast vegetables such as

broccoli, cauliflower, kale,

and asparagus, to boost the

nutritional value while you

wait for your meal to cook.”

Remember, frozen veg is just as

nutritious as fresh veg, and can

be defrosted in minutes.

• Instant brekkie options (such

as on-the-go drinks and quickcook

oats) have their place,

and are better than skipping

it altogether. But with a few

add-ons you can turn an instant

breakfast into a nutritious

powerhouse, that will keep you

going until lunch. Sprinkling

a teaspoon of chia seeds into

oats provides a great source

of omega 3, while a spread of

peanut butter on your toast

adds fibre and healthy fats.

If you’ve got a

busy weekday

schedule, consider

dedicating a

few hours each

Sunday to meal

prep for the

week ahead

Make your own ready meals

Of course, a cheaper alternative is

to make your own speedy ‘ready’

meals. If you’ve got a busy weekday

schedule, consider dedicating a

few hours each Sunday to meal

prep for the week ahead. Sonal

says: “Many dishes – such as stews,

soups, lasagne, chillies, and curries

– can be cooked in batches and

then frozen or refrigerated.”

If you hate messing around

with spices and sauces, why not

pre-marinade your meats before

freezing? You can then simply

chuck them in the oven with some

vegetables for a quick supper.

If you haven’t got time to batch

cook, Sonal also advises that meals

such as stir fries, pasta, and veggie

stuffed pittas, all take just a few

minutes to make. Investing in a

slow cooker – which requires just

a few minutes of morning prep for

a hearty evening meal – is another

great option.

72 • happiful.com • October 2020

Ready meals: our top picks

The healthiest options for when

only a speedy ready meal will do.

Mandira’s Kitchen: Homecooked

Indian ready meals that are far

healthier than a takeaway. It’s

all fresh produce, contains no

preservatives, and there’s plenty

of gluten-free and vegan options


Après Food Co: This London

restaurant offers ready meals

and meal kits that are free from

gluten and refined sugars. With

options such as free-range burgers,

lentil and sweet potato dahl, and

creamy chickpea stew, it’s healthy

gourmet dining in your living room


My Breakfast Box: A weekly

subscription that sends nutritious

high-fibre granola, porridge,

and breakfast bars to your door


Recipe: smoky chickpea stew

This super-simple chickpea

stew requires just a handful of

ingredients, and can be batchcooked

to serve with different

foods throughout the week. Serve

as is, or with some grated cheese,

for a yummy snack. Stir in frozen

veg for a quick supper, or sprinkle

in some cooked chicken or

leftover meat for a heartier dish.

Makes 4 servings


• 2 onions, chopped

• 4 garlic cloves, crushed

• 2 teaspoons tomato purée

• 2 teaspoons smoked paprika

• 2 tins of chickpeas, drained

• 2 tins of tomatoes

• ½ tsp sugar

• Salt



1. Heat a good glug of oil in a large

saucepan, and add the onions

along with a pinch of salt. Sauté

over a medium heat for 5–10

minutes, until soft and browned.

Recipe source: Dominique Woolf,

founder of The Woolf’s Kitchen Sauces

2. Next, add the garlic and cook

for a couple of minutes, stirring

constantly to avoid burning.

3. Now, add the tomato purée

and smoked paprika, and cook

for a further minute or so.

4. Add the chickpeas, tinned

tomatoes, and sugar, and

simmer for 15–20 minutes until

you have a rich, thick sauce.

Season well.

October 2020 • happiful.com • 73

Always be yourself, express

yourself, have faith in yourself


Photography | Trung Thanh


A sign of

the times

During the recent pandemic, the importance of

human connection became even more clear to the

world, and was the catalyst for Kim McGregor’s

drive to support and raise awareness of the deaf

community – as well as the incredible impact of the

beautiful language of sign

Writing | Kim McGregor

Over the years,

I’ve had many

ups and downs,

and have

struggled with my mental

health – experiencing

depression, anxiety and,

most recently, posttraumatic

stress disorder

(PTSD). But through it all,

learning a new skill and

using that to help others

has given me purpose, and

helped me pull through.

In late 2016, I started my

degree in psychology at

Royal Holloway University

of London. I have always

been fascinated by

psychology, and how the

brain works – but my

other passion is British

Sign Language (BSL). I

started learning BSL nine

years ago by watching

YouTube videos, and

teaching myself in my

free time. Once I was

confident with signing

the alphabet, I realised

how much I enjoyed

it, and was keen to do

more. An online search

helped me to find British-

Sign.co.uk, which had a

flexible level one course

that was ideal for me.

I loved learning new

signs and increasing my

BSL vocabulary – even

though the online course

wasn’t perfect – and after

a few months, I got my

certificate in level one

BSL! It was amazing and I

was so proud that I knew

the basics of BSL and

could communicate, even

just a little, with the deaf


What I’ve learnt over

the years is that this

language helps so many

other groups of people

too, as well as those who

are deaf – including

individuals who are on

the autism spectrum, who

have Downs Syndrome,

or painful chronic

illnesses – because sign

language allows them to

communicate without the

strain of using their voice.

And I’ve personally found

it useful as well.

Back in 2010, I

was diagnosed with

bronchiectasis. Since

then, I have been

hospitalised numerous

times with other

respiratory infections.

When my chest is

bad, I feel weak and

am in a lot of pain. So

I keep communication

to a minimum, as I get

breathless and can’t talk

due to the pain. >>>

October 2020 • happiful.com • 75

Teaching BSL only

deepened Kim’s love

for the language

Being able to use sign language

has helped me tremendously

with communicating when I

am severely ill

However, being able to

use sign language has

helped me tremendously

with communicating

when I am severely ill.

In 2017, I was

approached to teach

level one BSL at Royal

Holloway. It was a scary

concept to teach 25

students, and I thought

I couldn’t do it. But after

my first lesson ended, I

fell in love with teaching

the language of sign.

But in December 2018,

my dad suddenly died. I

stopped learning BSL, and

became very detached.

I was in my third year

of university, which I

struggled with.

My dissertation, which

my dad helped me with,

was a research piece

looking at the deaf

community’s mental

health compared to those

with hearing. It made

me open my eyes to the

adversity that people

with hearing loss endure

every day, and the

impact this has on their

mental health. It sparked

something within me;

I wanted to do more,

and to raise awareness

surrounding the deaf

community. Even though

my dad didn’t get to read

my dissertation, or see

me graduate, he knew

that I would always go

above and beyond to

accomplish whatever I

set my mind to.

After graduating in

2019, I, much like every

graduate, was scared

and anxious about what

to do next. I looked

into studying a Health

Psychology MSc at the

University of Surrey, as

I always wanted to get

a Masters. However,

halfway through the

course, my PTSD and

mental health were really

suffering, and in January

2020, I made the decision

to stop and return to

part-time work.

Then one Sunday, I was

with my mum when I

mentioned the idea of

becoming a BSL level

one teacher and helping

hearing people learn

the basics of BSL – but

mostly, I wanted to support

businesses to communicate

with deaf customers.

My mum mentioned the

Prince’s Trust, and that day

I signed up to attend its

Enterprise course.

I loved the course

and met some of the

most wonderful people,

including my mentor,

Richard. He believed in

my idea, and helped me

through the process of

making it into a business.

But just after I started

putting my plans together,

in March 2020, coronavirus

hit the UK, I became

furloughed, and due to my

chest condition I received

76 • happiful.com • October 2020

Follow Kim on Instagram @help2sign

Every day, I

receive lovely

messages from

many hearing


learning BSL,

which makes

me so happy

an NHS letter saying I am

considered vulnerable,

and had to self-shield

for more than three

months. This greatly

impacted me starting my

Help2Sign business, and

made me anxious about

what the future would

hold – especially as being

on furlough increased

my anxiety and mental


On 26 March, 2020, I

uploaded my first video

– which was nerveracking,

but I loved so

much. I couldn’t believe

the positive feedback I

was getting. Every day, I

receive lovely messages

from many hearing

individuals learning BSL,

which makes me so happy

that people are actively

learning such a beautiful


After just four months,

I went from 10 to 6,200

followers, have been

featured in Stacey

Dooley’s documentary

Locked down Heroes, and

was nominated for a

Diversity Award in the

Excellence Entrepreneur

category, which was an

incredible and lovely

surprise. Recently,

I was approached to

collaborate with Tea

Please UK, to combine

my love of art with BSL,

and have now got a range

of mugs and T-shirts

with my illustrations on,

with the proceeds going

to SignHealth. This is a

charity I have supported

for many years, that has

played a huge part in

helping deaf individuals

with their wellbeing and

mental health issues,

and is particularly

close to my heart due

to experiencing mental

health issues as well.

In a world so focused

on promoting diversity

and raising awareness,

there is still a lot to do

regarding accessibility for

those with hearing loss

– such as interpreters. I

hope that I can, even just

a little, make a positive

impact in the deaf



We have all seen the world

differently in the past few

months. We’ve noticed

just how important it is

to connect with our loved

ones, but also to be able to

communicate our needs to

others – and be ‘heard’.

It’s really great that at

a time when many were

drawing away from

society, Kim found she

could reach out and

engage. She reminds

us that there are so

many different ways to

experience the world,

and opening our eyes

to how others see it can

broaden our own

horizons, and

allow us to feel

part of something


Rachel Coffey | BA MA NLP Mstr

Life coach

October 2020 • happiful.com • 77



How are your muscles and joints feeling post-quarantine? Whether you’re

still working from home, or are transitioning back to office life, here we

share four desk-based exercises to ease your aches and pains

Writing | Becky Wright

78 • happiful.com • October 2020

None of us had an identical

lockdown. You may

have been working

from home, like me, at a

makeshift desk (aka the kitchen

table) for months on end. Perhaps

you became head of your child’s

homeschool, spending hours

stooped over them, decoding

worksheets that may as well have

been written in another language.

However your quarantine days

were spent, it’s safe to say that our

bodies and minds have been put

to the test this year. The days of

access to ergonomic chairs and

workstation health and safety

assessments, feel long ago. And not

having the same supportive set up

that you would in an office means

you may find that your shoulders,

neck or back are hurting after long

days spent sitting awkwardly.

Libby Palmer, massage therapist

at the Brixton Therapy Centre,

who specialises in treating workrelated

and postural pain, says

she often sees a pattern of injury

and alignment issues arising from

poor posture while working seated

at a desk.

“A client with typical desk posture

presents with the neck being in an

unnatural forward position, which,

in turn, leads to the shoulders

becoming rounded and protruding

forward,” says Libby. “Migraines,

numbness, and tingling in the arms

and hands, are frequent problems,

as well as carpal tunnel syndrome

due to nerve impingement.

“Back pain is also very common

due to long periods being seated,

which can result in the abdominal

muscles becoming weak, further

contributing to lower back pain.”

These aches and pains are not

only making us uncomfortable,

but we’re also less productive as

a result. People in the UK take

a staggering 28 million days off

work a year because of muscle

and bone problems. So it’s likely

that, whether you’ve been working

from home since the start of the

pandemic, or are now starting to

return to office life, those familiar

aches and pains may be causing

you a problem.

People in the UK take

a staggering 28 million

days off work a year

because of muscle

and bone problems

The good news is, it doesn’t have

to be this way. “Looking after your

posture doesn’t have to be time

consuming or expensive,” says

Libby. “Take time to stretch the

neck, back and shoulders, rotate

your arms, and vary what you do.

There are many free, online short

stretching routines to choose

from. Booking a regular massage

can also be beneficial as this can

address desk posture issues before

they become a real problem,”

advises Libby.



When you start to feel stiff, the

following tension-releasing

stretches can help prevent and ease

muscular pain – and you can do

them discreetly without disturbing

your colleagues. Or, better yet, why

not get your colleagues involved?


Bring yourself to the front of your

chair. Firmly place your feet on

the floor and inhale deeply. Place

both hands, palms down, behind

your back. Gently push your

body forward as you lower your

shoulders, relaxing your head

towards the back of the chair. Hold

for 10 seconds before releasing.


Sitting up straight, begin circling

your shoulders forward slowly.

After 10 reps, change direction and

circle the shoulders backwards.

The slower the movement, the

more tension you will release.


On your swivel chair, sit towards the

front. Sit up straight and place your

hands, palms down on the desk.

Squeeze your knees together and

lift your feet off the floor slightly.

Without moving your chest, start

gently twisting the chair from side

to side. Twist as far as comfortable

and repeat five times on each side.


Place your right hand on your left

shoulder. Take your left hand under



“To keep healthy while working

from home, it’s important to find

a suitable space with a desk and

chair that allows you to work

without straining the neck and

shoulders,” Libby says.

“You should be able to sit

upright with your back supported

and your legs should fit under

the desk, so you can reach your

keyboard without the neck and

shoulders protruding forward.

The wrists should also be

supported, as bad positioning

while typing can result in extreme

pain, and even cause disability.”

your right arm and place it on your

right shoulder. Your elbows should

be aligned in front of you.

With your elbows, trace an

imaginary figure of eight in front

of you. It should be no bigger than

15cm tall. For an extra stretch,

you can then swap and put your

left arm above the right, and trace

the figure of eight in the opposite


This is excellent for improving

movement through your upper and


Remember, be mindful of the

amount of time you’re spending

seated. Be sure to get up every

hour or so, and get your shoulders,

neck and upper back moving

again. Keep hydrated, too. Getting

up to refill your water bottle is

a good sign that you’re drinking

enough and, better still, is likely to

mean that you’re getting up to go to

the loo regularly, too!

October 2020 • happiful.com • 79

Photography | Toa Heftiba

What keeps life fascinating is the

constant creativity of the soul


Happiful reads…

From candid memoirs to books that are definitely not ‘self-help’, we

share four upcoming reads you won’t want to miss

Writing | Bonnie Evie Gifford

In her latest book, clinical

psychologist Lauren Callaghan

shares eight key ways you can

support someone you love

who has anxiety or obsessional

problems. Aimed specifically

at supporting those who care

for friends or family who are

struggling with their mental

health, How Can I Help? shares

how we can continue to look

after our own mental wellbeing

at the same time.

With fears around our future,

current events, and even dayto-day

stresses and strains,

Must reads

it’s perhaps not so surprising

that the latest statistics show

8.2 million of us in the UK

experience anxiety. Added to

that the fact that one in four of us

will experience a mental health

problem of some kind each year,

and one in six people report

common mental health problems

(like anxiety) in England in any

given week, a lot of us will be

asking what we can do to support

the people we care about in their

time of need.

With the help of this accessible,

no-nonsense guide, author

How Can

I Help?

By Lauren


Out now

Lauren talks us through the

tools, tips, and strategies we can

use to help our loved ones on

their journey, without damaging

our own mental health and


Sh**ged. Married.

Annoyed by Chris &

Rosie Ramsey

Out now

From the hosts of

the chart-topping

podcast ‘Sh**ged. Married.

Annoyed.’ comes the couple’s

debut book, focusing on all

things love, sex, and relationship

related, and filled with honesty

and hilarity. Sh**ged. Married.

Annoyed. might declare itself not

a ‘self-help book’ with ‘absolutely

no advice you should follow

yourself’, but it’s a must-read for

couples (and singles) at any stage

of their relationship.

Violet Bent

Backwards Over the

Grass by Lana

Del Rey

29 September


acclaimed singer-songwriter

Lana Del Ray’s first collection of

poems is set to hit the shelves

this autumn. Eclectic and honest,

this collection of 30 poems

is accompanied by original

photography taken by Lana.

Alongside the release of the

hardback edition comes a mustlisten-to

audiobook version,

featuring 14 of the poems read by

Lana herself.

This is me

by Mrs Hinch

1 October

Following up

from her bestselling


Yourself Happy, the social media

star and cleaning sensation Mrs

Hinch opens up in her latest

book – and it’s all about Soph,

the person behind Mrs Hinch.

While her journey has often felt

like a fairytale, it’s also been

filled with highs, lows, fears,

and challenges. Discover more

about her whirlwind journey

in this extraordinarily candid






We’ve got a problem with

plastic. The world produces

more than 380 million

tonnes of the stuff every

year, and these products

can take up to 500 years

to decompose. So is it

possible to kick the habit?

Happiful’s Kathryn Wheeler

gave it a go

Cards on the table, when

sustainable online shop Let’s

Go Plastic Free challenged me

to give up plastic for a week, my first

reaction was a nervous: “But how?”

I try to live an environmentallyconscious

life, but the idea of living

‘plastic-free’ had me stumped. Yet,

armed with some reusable goodies

from Let’s Go Plastic Free, and

some extra treats, I was up for the

challenge and ready to face my own

plastic habit.

So where to begin? How about, the

trusty toothbrush – the first thing you

reach for in the morning? This week

I swapped my electric toothbrush for

a bamboo brush from Truthbrush,

along with some natural, plastic-free

toothpaste, floss, and mouthwash

tablets from Georganics. I love

the way the bamboo toothbrush

looks, and it feels the same as any

ordinary toothbrush – though if

you’re used to an electric brush, it

obviously has less ‘omph’.

Into the shower and I’m trading

my normal bottled shampoo for

some eco-alternatives. I’ve always

been intrigued by the idea of solid

shampoos and conditioners, but

just never got around to trying them

– until now. The handmade solid

shampoos from Proud Mary smell

divine, and go on easily once you’ve

worked it through your hair. My

tip: don’t be surprised if they don’t

lather up the way that common

products do – persist, and know

that they’re working their magic!

Around the home, I had

everything under control.

Reusable cleaning cloths?

Check. Beeswax food wraps?

Check. Natural surface sprays

and washing liquid? A squeaky

clean check. But then it came to

venturing out to do a food shop

– the part of the week I was most

concerned about. Zero waste

shops are starting to pop up

around the country, and you can

find one near you by heading to

zerowastenear.me. But for me, it

was off to my local supermarket

and while, when I had a choice, I

picked items that weren’t wrapped

in plastic, some things were

unavoidable and this marked my

first collection of plastic in the

Truthbrush, bamboo toothbrush, £4.50 | Georganic, natural toothpaste, £6.90, mouthwash tablets, £8.90 | Proud Mary, shampoo and conditioner

combo, £20.20, face bar, £6.60 | KAIRN, pencil razor, £37, skin balm, £22 | Bambaw, reusable makeup remover pads, £14.28.

form of packaging. Total count

for my single-person household?

Seven pieces of single-use plastic.

Tapping into a bit of self-care in

the evening is one of my favourite

ways to wind down, and a good

skincare routine can be really

soothing. This week, I tried out

the Bambaw reusable makeup

remover pads – which are like

large cotton pads – along with the

Proud Mary Honey-Bee all-in-1

Face Bar. The result? A clean,

makeup-free face, pampered by

the gentle texture of the bamboo

pads – that feel like an indulgent

treat on the skin. A winner in my

mascara-free eyes.

Shaving is another wasteful area

of the beauty industry, so I gave

up my reliable plastic razor for a

metal pencil razor from KAIRN – a

plastic-free, genderless shaving

company – pairing it with some

gorgeously scented shaving oils and

balms from their range. I’ll admit,

the safety razor did intimidate me

at first but, after watching a couple

of how-to videos on YouTube, I

was off. For now, I may be sticking

to using the pencil razor on the

straight lines of my leg, but with

time I’m sure I’ll build up the

confidence to try a knee, or two.

By the end of the week, I was

actually surprised at how easily

the challenge fitted into my daily

life. Yes, there were areas that were

more difficult than others, but if

there’s one thing I’m going to take

away from this challenge, it’s that it

doesn’t actually have to be hard to

make some simple, eco-conscious

changes that have a big impact in

the long-run.

So often when it comes to these

things, we deal in absolutes. But

by making small swaps in our

everyday lives, we have the power

Bee Green Wraps Reusable

Beeswax Food Wraps

Georganics Dental Floss

Onya Bread Bag

KAIRN Bergamot, Juniper, &

Orange Shave Oil


Bee Green Wraps Reusable

Beeswax Food Wraps


These gorgeous wraps will

keep your food safe so you can

ditch single-use clingfilm.

Georganics Dental Floss


This compostable floss comes

in a smart glass bottle, and

delivers the results

you’re used to.

Onya Bread Bag


Carry your bread home and

have it to hand, or freeze it for

later in this ‘vintage-inspired’

airtight bag.

KAIRN Bergamot, Juniper, &

Orange Shave Oil


This shave oil will leave your

skin soft and soothed, and

comes in stunning

plastic-free packaging.

Happiful readers can

get 10% off at Let’s Go

Plastic Free using the

code HAPPY10. Head to


to discover the range

to make a huge difference. You

don’t have to give up everything

at once – and you shouldn’t feel

pressured to throw away all your

plastic in favour of fashionable ecoproducts,

that’s counterintuitive

– but with time and a little bit of

experimentation, we can all find

methods of making a difference in

a way that works for us.

7 steps to

tackling the

symptoms of SAD

Do you find your mood takes a dip over the winter months? If so, you

may be experiencing seasonal affective disorder. But the good news

is, there are ways to lift the effects and boost your mood

Writing | Lindsay George

During the dark winter

months, many of us

may notice a drop in our

mood. With shorter days

and gloomy weather, research

commissioned by The Weather

Channel and YouGov, found

that as many as 29% of adults

experience symptoms of seasonal

affective disorder (SAD), with 8%

experiencing it to a severe degree.

We aren’t certain why some

people get SAD, but it’s believed

that seasonal changes disrupt

our circadian rhythm – the 24-

hour clock that regulates how

we function during sleeping

and waking hours – which is

responsible for making us feel

energised and alert at certain times,

and drowsy at others.

For some people, the symptoms

of SAD can be severe and have a

significant impact on their dayto-day

activities – plus all forms

of depression can limit our ability

to live life to its fullest, so it’s

important to treat SAD seriously.

So, what can you do to help yourself

manage the symptoms of SAD?

1. Make the most of the sunlight

Try to find time to get outside

during the day, and take advantage

of what sunlight there is. Going on

a gentle stroll around midday is

ideal, as that’s when the sun is at

its brightest – though if it’s cold, be

sure to wrap up warm. Once you’re

back indoors, keep your blinds

open to let in as much natural light

as you can. You want to be in bright

environments whenever possible.

2. Light therapy

A useful tool to treat SAD can be

a light therapy boxes, which is a

special lamp that mimic sunshine.

To qualify them for light therapy,

lamps must have a brightness of

at least 2,500 lux, and you can buy

them in stores and online, with

prices ranging from £20 to well

into the hundreds. Sitting in front

of a lightbox for about 30 minutes

a day will stimulate your body’s

circadian rhythms, and suppress

its natural release of melatonin

– the hormone that helps to

promote sleep. To get the most

out of your lightbox, try using it

first thing in the morning when it’s

most effective.

3. Talking therapies

Because SAD is a form of

depression, it’s best diagnosed by

your GP, who will additionally be

able to establish whether you’re

experiencing SAD as opposed

to another form of depression.

Counselling, such as cognitive

behavioural therapy (CBT), could

also help you work through your

feelings, and become more in

control of your mood.

4. Antidepressant medication

If light therapy or counselling does

not sufficiently boost your mood,

a prescription such as selective

serotonin reuptake inhibitors

(SSRIs) may be appropriate. Some

people think it’s only necessary

to take antidepressants during

the winter when they’re feeling

the blues, but they must do so

every winter as it’s important to

recognise when the symptoms

of SAD start, and to see your GP

before they escalate.

According to the NHS,

symptoms include:

• A persistent low mood.

• A loss of pleasure or interest in

normal everyday activities.

• Irritability.

• Feelings of despair, guilt, and


• Feeling lethargic and sleepy

during the day.

• Sleeping for longer than normal,

and finding it hard to get up in

the morning.

In the UK,

29% of adults



5. St John’s Wort

St John’s Wort is a natural herbal

remedy that some people find

to be effective for depressive

symptoms, including SAD.

Although there is limited

evidence to prove the effect

of St John’s Wort, some small

studies have been published to

support it, and the NHS notes

that this over-the-counter remedy

could soothe mild to moderate

symptoms. That said, the herbal

remedy can interact with other

common medicines, so be sure

to speak to your GP before giving

it a go.

6. Diet and nutrition

Food can have a huge influence

on our mood. Did you know that

90% of our serotonin and 50%

of our dopamine is produced in

our gut? Therefore, eating more

oily fish, red meat, liver, egg yolk,

and fortified foods such as most

fat spreads and some breakfast

cereals, will not only improve your

gut health, but also increase your

overall wellbeing.

7. Vitamin D supplements

A study published in the journal

Nutrients in 2014 found that people

who took vitamin D (the sunshine

vitamin) supplements saw

significant improvement in

their depressive symptoms,

and Public Health England

even recommends that we

take a daily supplement

containing 10 micrograms of

vitamin D between October

and March. For many, this is an

inexpensive way to treat

mild SAD.

Lindsay George

is a counsellor,

psychotherapist, and

registered nurse.

Find Lindsay on the

Happiful app.

The richness I achieve comes from

nature, the source of my inspiration


Photography | Ameer Basheer


Please note this story contains

details which some readers may

find triggering or distressing.

Breaking the silence

Following childhood abuse, and feeling

abandoned by her father, Emma-Jane Taylor

experienced trauma that no one should have to.

Over the years, she tried every type of therapy you

can imagine, but the most liberating thing was

finding the courage to speak up

Writing | Emma-Jane Taylor

In 1981, I was sexually

abused by the restaurant

owner who befriended

my family on a holiday

overseas. I was nine years

old. I had no idea what had

happened to me that night,

or that it was going to be a

trigger later in my life.

I lived with my mum and

stepfather, but every other

weekend I would spend

with my biological father.

My parents separated when

I was about three years old,

and I was happy with my

life – I knew no different.

Some of my earliest,

happiest memories were

of the weekends with my

father. I idolised him; he

was my hero, someone I

couldn’t wait to see. He had

a twinkle in his eye, and

would make me laugh. I

loved him deeply. But that

was about to change.

In 1984, when I was 12,

my father picked me up

for the weekend. After a

short drive, he stopped

the car. He told me there

was a “problem in our

relationship’’. I felt sick.

I wasn’t sure what he

meant until the next

night when he called and

told me he couldn’t have

a relationship with me

again until I was older.

I replaced the receiver

and ran out the house with

my mum and stepfather

in hot pursuit, with hot

tears streaming down my

face. In the blink of an eye

my hero had gone. I was


My father abandoning

me has affected my

relationships ever

since. I struggled to

make decisions for a

long time for fear of

the consequences.

Life became a sea of

darkness; I was a nervous

wreck and suffered with

abandonment issues. I

went off the rails at school,

at home, and with myself.

I was deeply insecure,

vulnerable, with low selfesteem,

and desperate to

be loved and needed.

I lost my memory for a

big chunk of time, and

cried constantly. The once

happy child was fading

away, and in her place

became a withdrawn,

nervous, and sad girl.

High school became a

troubling time, and I had

no enthusiasm. It wasn’t

long before I was labelled

a ‘juvenile delinquent’ and

sent to a child psychologist.

I also had a weekly meeting

with one of my teachers,

but it was a waste of time

– I just cried and skirted

around the truth, too afraid

to say anything.

In 1985, aged 13, I fell

into a sexually abusive

relationship with a much

older man who, until this

point, had been known

to my family, and was

someone I completely

trusted. He took advantage

of me, carefully groomed

me, and became my friend

– I guess he became my

missing father figure. >>>

October 2020 • happiful.com • 87

He showered me with

affection and gifts. But

there was a price to pay;

I was degraded, tortured,

raped, and manipulated.

He controlled my every

move, would follow

my bus to school, and

watch me go in through

the gates. He would be

there when I got on the

bus to come home. He

was obsessed. He would

manipulate me to sneak

out from my house in the

middle of the night. He

would give me alcohol

and drugs, and then take

advantage of me.

My schooling suffered,

I became addicted to

painkillers to numb

the hangovers. I drank

heavily, smoked, took

drugs, laxatives, and

became bulimic. I was lost

and broken with suicidal


I trusted this older man,

and no one else. Hindsight

is a great thing, and I can

now see how easily this

happened. I was a sitting

duck, a child abandoned

by her biological father,

vulnerable, who had no


In 1987, aged 15, I started

to realise right from

wrong, and I mustered up

the strength to step away

from him – but it wasn’t

easy. He was everywhere

I went. He would threaten

me, and at times I was

unsure if I’d survive his

temper, but other days

I didn’t care if I lived or

died. I spiralled into an

abyss of darkness, afraid to

talk, scared to let go of the

secrets inside of me.

I spiralled into an

abyss of darkness,

afraid to talk, scared

to let go of the secrets

inside of me

For years I questioned

why I let this happen to me

– why didn’t I talk about it?

I have learnt that abusers

are good at making you

feel like everything is OK,

and even though I was

scared of him, and what

was happening, I was

more scared that no one

would believe me.

Through my recovery

years in therapy, I’ve

learned to forgive, I’ve

understood that my

perpetrators need help,

and I understand I am not

a victim. I am a survivor. I

believe I was in the wrong

place at the wrong time

with the wrong people,

but I’ve been taught

valuable lessons that can

now help others. I’m open

to therapy at any time, and

I encourage others to speak

up. It’s OK not to be OK. We

can’t fight pain with pain.

I did an A–Z of therapy

over the years. I had

regular counselling, but I

felt that hypnotherapy and

psychotherapy helped the

most – though it was tough.

Some days my therapist

would take me back into

difficult situations (with my

consent) to help me release

locked memories, and other

days we did gentle sessions

to aid my recovery.

I remember one particular

hypnotherapy session

where we went deeper into

88 • happiful.com • October 2020

If I had my life again I would

prefer to not experience what

I have, but I have found my

strength to speak up, to stand

tall, and I have learnt to use my

voice to support others

‘Don’t Hold Back’ by

Emma-Jane Taylor is

available on Amazon, and

visit emmajanetaylor.life

for more from her.

my locked memories,

which I can categorically

tell you was the toughest

day of my life – but

equally the best day. So

much pain was released,

and after a few quiet days

resting, I started to regain

my strength.

I’ve tried many

treatments to support my

mental state, including

acupuncture, meditation,

yoga, clairvoyance,

EFT, and reflexology.

If I feel wobbled now, I

usually check-in with my

clairvoyant. She is a great

focus for me, and someone

I wholeheartedly trust.

If I had my life again

I would prefer to not

experience what I have,

but after nearly 36 years

I’ve found my strength to

speak up, to stand tall, and

I have learnt to use my

voice to support others. I

don’t want anyone else to

suffer in silence as I did.

In 2018, I took part in a

BBC Three documentary,

and was asked what my

biggest regret was. I don’t

like to have regrets, but

having to give an answer

it was simple: I regret not

speaking up sooner.

I started my therapy in

1994, aged 22, and I also

launched my business –

they ran in parallel lives.

I have faced many fears,

risen to many challenges,

and in 2018 I published my

first self-help book, Don’t

Hold Back.

I’m an entrepreneur

running a series of

lifestyle businesses, and

I now do public speaking

engagements. I’ve worked

with the BBC, That’s TV,

and my new YouTube

Channel ‘The Emma-Jane

Taylor Show’. I present the

Mid-Morning Matters show

for Marlow FM Radio, and

am thoroughly enjoying

my freedom.

I feel liberated since I

found the confidence to

speak up. I’ve opened up

many opportunities, and

learnt to support others

suffering in silence.


Emma’s powerful

story shows bravery

and courage. Having

faced such traumatic

experiences, her

determined attitude to

seek help and overcome

her personal difficulties

is inspiring. Emma

is a shining example

of how speaking out

about what’s going on

internally can

have a truly

life changingimpact.

Rav Sekhon | BA MA MBACP (Accred)

Counsellor and psychotherapist

October 2020 • happiful.com • 89

I don’t find myself

on the life course I

had planned

That inner voice

tears me down

Other people

make me

feel small

The world around me seems

scary and uncertain

I need space

It feels like there are

bigger things to focus

on than myself

I compare myself to others

I am still

worthy of love,

even when...

I am full of self-doubt

I’m struggling

with my

mental health

I don’t meet

other people’s


I say the wrong thing

I don’t achieve

everything I

hoped for

I can’t help

someone I love

I feel at my lowest

I feel frustrated

with myself

I am healing

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The Happiful App

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.

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