my faith story

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I’ve had so, so many requests for this post. Friends out there were curious about my faith, what deepened my faith, and how it plays a part in my life. You guys know I don’t typically write about these types of topics here on the blog. I never want anyone to feel isolated, and I respect and LOVE the fact that we all have different views and backgrounds. With the overwhelming requests I’ve received, I decided to write a post about about all of this. It’s a vulnerable one and I just wanted to say thank you in advance for being kind to me for sharing my heart, and also to those who choose to leave a comment.

Please keep in mind that this is my story; it doesn’t have to be your story, and if you don’t believe the same things, it’s ok! I have friends who have different beliefs and genuinely feel that it makes life way more exciting and interesting. I’m also friends with people who think that creme brûlée is a real dessert (it’s not), but even though we have different beliefs, we can still love each other. 😉

As many of you guys know, I grew up Catholic. We went to mass each Sunday, prayed the rosary, and the Catholic environment was a large part of my adolescent and young adult life. At the same time, I wasn’t a great Catholic. I tended to daydream during the homily (I still do sometimes), and was really there for the music more than anything. But, I was there.

While I don’t agree with *everything* in the Catholic faith, I agree with a lot of it. Most of all, I love the rich traditions and the comfort of it all. Mass reminds me of a hot yoga class with a set flow; the structure is the same each day, and I know what to expect. Sometimes I give it 100%, sometimes it’s more like 60%, but I’m there.

While I went to mass pretty much my entire life and absolutely believed in God, I never really felt super close to Jesus. He was a man who did miraculous things, but when people talked about having a relationship with Jesus… I didn’t get it. I was like yeah I respect the guy who gave his life for us, but we don’t feel like BFFs, and that’s ok. That’s how it was until a couple of years ago.

For some people who have a sudden draw towards Jesus, it can be after a huge life change or event. For me, it was when the world flipped upside down. We all have our own struggles, and 99% of mine never see the pages of this blog, but I was going through an extremely difficult time. I was here, still trying to work and make an income for our family, the kids were home from school (Liv had SO MANY zoom classes and so.much.damn.homework), I was trying to keep P from bouncing off the walls and injuring herself, and the Pilot was traveling internationally with the airlines during an unpredictable time. Bella passed away, which broke my heart into a million pieces, and a relationship with someone very close changed in a devast

Should I try a digital detox?

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Nearly one in three of us take a break from our devices each day, while a quarter of us ensure we have a social media detox on a weekly basis. But how effective are social media detoxes, and do we really need them?

Should I try a digital detox?

When was the last time you disconnected? We’re spending more and more of our time online, whether that’s browsing social media to catch up with friends, following our favourite influencers, or catching up on the latest shows being streamed. Many of us get our entertainment, news, and updates from those we love, all through a device. It’s no wonder that one 2021 survey revealed almost a third of us (31%) feel like we are ‘almost constantly’ online – and a whopping two-thirds of us (64%) feel that social media is having a mostly negative effect.  

Could taking a break from social media and having a digital detox be the answer we’ve been looking for? Or are there any pitfalls to switching off and disconnecting from our digital lives?

What is a digital detox?

From digital detox retreats to phone-silencing pouches, some of us are even switching off our smartwatches and fitness trackers to go back to analogue solutions to help us decrease our time spent online.

A ‘digital detox’ refers to taking a break from your devices for a set period of time. This could mean not using your smartphone, computer, laptop, tablet, or other smart devices to access social media. Taking a digital detox doesn’t just mean turning off TikTok or switching off Snapchat; it also can include decreasing how often you check your emails, play video games, send texts or other messages, and even catch up on the news using your devices.

As of January 2023, globally, we spend an average of 2 hours and 31 minutes using social media each day - around five times the recommended 30 minutes per day maximum that some researchers suggest could lead to significant improvements in our wellbeing.

What are the benefits of having a digital detox?

The benefits of taking a break from tech can vary from person to person depending on how much time you’re already spending on there, how you’re interacting with it, and how it makes you feel. Overall, decreasing your social media use can help you not only get more time back in your day but can help to decrease your likelihood of other negative experiences including:

  • encountering cyberbullying
  • experiencing fear of missing out (FOMO)
  • feelings of isolation, anger, or upset
  • comparing yourself to others

A growing body of research suggests that internet addiction may be a real worry - including

How to spot mental health misinformation

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Learn the signs and protect yourself and others

How to spot mental health misinformation

Misinformation is a problem and, in the 21st century it’s spreading faster than ever before. When it comes to misinformation about mental health, the consequences can be dire. Ranging from being unhelpful to unsafe, mental health misinformation can interfere with recovery, put people at risk, and feed into stigma.

Whether you see it online, on social media, or hear it from the people around you, it’s important to learn the signs that what you’re being told might not be accurate. Here, we’re exploring some of the ways that you can spot mental health misinformation.

Is it overly simplistic?

This is usually the first sign that something isn’t right. Mental health is a complicated topic, and each experience will vary from person to person, which means that blanket statements can often be inaccurate.

Be particularly cautious around claims that link to diagnoses. For example, ‘X is a trauma response’. In this example, whatever X may be, it could very well be a trauma response for one person, but not for another.

In the same vein, ‘quick fixes’ are often fictitious. There are many different tools that we can apply to our mental health, such as diet and exercise, or cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) techniques, that really can make a difference. But long-term change often happens with long-term support and work over a lifetime.

Ultimately, it can be helpful to return to the question, is it too good to be true? Are the claims too bold, and is the line too simplistic? If so, you might be being given one part of the story, when, really, it’s the rest that makes it make sense.

Who is sharing the information?

It’s always important to consider the source of the information. For example, is it coming from a qualified, accredited individual?

Professional bodies exist to regulate counsellors and psychotherapists, and in order for individuals to join, they must meet a certain set of standards, and abide by a code of ethics.

This is a good place to start when you’re considering the source when it's coming from an individual, but what about the information you’ve found online?

If you’ve seen something spread online, and you’re not sure about the claim, the first step you can take is to put that claim into Google. Now, if that claim comes up multiple times, it could be a good sign, but don’t stop there. See if you can find the original source. Does it come from a study published in a respected journal, or did it all start somewhere more dubious?

Additionally, there are other signs that you can look out for when searching for reliable information online. For example, has the post been reviewed by an accredited expert? Does it include dates of publication? Are any edits or amendments listed? Does the site have a PIF TICK stamp – a UK quality mark for health information?

Is there a sales push involved?

There are many products out there that can support us

7 compelling ways to vanquish feelings of jealousy, for good

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Looking for simple, quick, and effective tips for tackle the green-eyed monster? Here are seven ways you can conquer feelings of jealousy for good

7 compelling ways to vanquish feelings of jealousy, for good

Jealousy is rarely a good look on anyone. Whether you’re feeling jealous of a friend’s latest holiday, a family member’s good news, or even a colleague’s promotion, a little bit of jealousy can motivate us. But when we feel it too much or too often, it can risk hurting our relationships and damaging our wellbeing.

So, how can we overcome jealousy?

1. Try self-help

Learning how to recognise, acknowledge, and tackle unhelpful feelings can be daunting. But being able to identify jealousy is the first step towards confronting why you are feeling this way, and finding healthier ways to process these thoughts and feelings.

Often caused by fear, low self-esteem, or insecurity, it’s important to remember that feeling jealous doesn’t make you a bad person. Speaking to someone you trust can help you to work through these difficult feelings, as well as reframe things in a different light.

Acknowledging how you are feeling can help you to address the elephant in the room, leading to self-reflection and opening the way for personal growth.

2. Practise gratitude

Gratitude isn’t just about being polite. It’s about noticing the good things in life and showing genuine appreciation for them. When people regularly practise gratitude through reflection and expression, many find that they experience more positive emotions, see improvements in their sleep patterns, and even develop higher levels of self-esteem.

Practising gratitude can help to alleviate stress, reduce feelings of jealousy, and help us to appreciate the things that we have, instead of focusing on what others have.

3. Be aware in the moment (and take a break)

When you next feel jealousy rising, take a moment to stop and acknowledge how you are feeling. Instead of reacting, or allowing these feelings to fester, step away from the situation and allow yourself to take a break.

Try going on a short walk or taking 10 minutes to do something else you find calming, like listening to music or making a hot drink. Or try writing down how you are feeling, then leaving it to come back to later. Readdressing these thoughts and feelings when you are calmer can help you to view them more rationally, allowing you to work through them without the risk of saying or doing something you may later regret.

4. Consider talking therapy

Counselling can be a helpful method of working through jealousy. A qualified, experienced therapist can provide a safe space to explore feelings, challenge unhelpful thoughts, and discover new ways of moving forward.

Cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) can help you to better understand your feelings, recognise and break negative thought patterns, and discover new, healthier ways of reacting. Another helpful option can be cognitive analytical therapy (CAT). This can help you both challenge and change negative thought patterns, as well as look at past experiences, helping you to understand why you think or behave this way.

5. Practise mindfulness

Mindfulness is all about being aware of our thoughts, feelings, environment,

Time to Talk Day: Let’s start a conversation

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This Time to Talk Day, we share the latest data from Mind that reveals the impact the rising cost of living is having on our mental health

Time to Talk Day: Let’s start a conversation

Today is Time to Talk Day, a campaign run by charities Mind and Rethink Mental Illness in partnership with the Co-op. It is the nation’s biggest mental health conversation, which has been getting people talking about mental wellbeing since 2014.

This year, Mind is taking a look at the impact that the cost of living crisis is having on our mental health. Data from their latest poll of 5,236 people revealed that more than one in three (36%) adults in the UK aged 16 and over don’t make space in their day to discuss mental health. This reflects 19.6 million over 16s. Additionally, nearly eight in 10 (78%) of those surveyed said that the cost of living is affecting their mental wellbeing. This increases to 94% for those living with an existing mental health problem.

The data also worryingly reveals that almost one in five (18%) of those asked felt that the cost of living decreased how often they spoke about their mental health. Nearly half said the reason for this is that they didn’t want to burden others as many people are struggling right now. This, combined with the lasting effects of the pandemic, is having an impact on the nation’s mental wellness.

The current economic crisis is thought to hinder our ability to continue with the day-to-day ways we usually look after our mental health. For example, of the 18% who said that the cost of living decreased the time they spoke about mental health, one in four said that couldn’t afford social activities that help them stay mentally well. One in four also said they were having to work more hours to balance out the economic uncertainty, meaning they have less free time to socialise.

Most shockingly of all, 16% said they simply cannot afford to contact their support people to have these conversations (whether that’s over the phone, texting, or on social media) highlighting the effects of digital poverty. Mind’s data shows growing concerns that these numbers are set to get worse.

Campaigns like Time to Talk Day are helping by providing advice and resources to spark a conversation around mental health. It’s a vital way to help build supportive communities and open up more conversations about our mental wellbeing.

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