Uh Oh, it’s that SAD time of year again.

Holy molies, beam me up and put me back down in South-East Asia. Never mind The Jungle, Get Me the Fuck Out Of England in the Winter!

Did you know, it’s estimated that Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) affects about 2 million people in the UK, and more than 12 million people across Northern Europe. Like other types of depression, SAD is more common in women than in men, with up to three times more women than men affected. Bloody typical.

The symptoms of SAD are most likely to develop in people aged 18 to 30. The exact cause of SAD isn’t fully understood, but it’s thought to be linked to reduced exposure to sunlight during the shorter days of the year. You know the feeling, wake up it’s dark, finish work it’s dark. Yuk, is my professional opinion, big fat Yuk. I need sunshine! Don’t you?

Getting of of bed can be such a chore, you’re tearful and indecisive. It’s difficult to concentrate and you feel lethargic. You’re eating enough for a small village and your gym keeps emailing to say how much they miss you. Even if Jennifer Lawrence or Ryan Gosling were stood naked in front of you, you just couldn’t. For many people, SAD can be difficult to live with and it can have a significant effect on day-to-day life, and their fantasy sex life.

Most of the time I can embrace being a singleton but during those dark, rainy, bleak days when you’re all alone, it bothers me somewhat quite frankly. Never mind the Alsations Bridget, I might actually eat myself to put out the misery. Apparently Tinder does not cater for “Can we just snuggle on the sofa watching Midsomer Murders, please”. No, I do not want you to train me as your new submissive. No, I do not want to join your experimental threesome. On your bike Mr Grey. Take a hike Mr & Mrs Smith. Sorry chaps, nowadays this chick is all about the bed socks, hot chocolate and Lakelands. (seriously, have you got their Spider Vac? Life-saver!) I think I am actually starting to smell of mothballs and occasionally I pick up my phone to brush my hair. So yeah, being single and SAD sucks even more.

There’s a whole load of cool Sciencey stuff about SAD but surely what is most important is, how the hell do we fix it. Emigration I hear you cry. No, have you seen the size of those forms? Try these instead, far more time & cost effective:

Get Outdoors!

Go! Make the most of every titchy tiny ray of light we have during these winter months.

Avoid Stress.

Erm, bit of a no brainer here but nonetheless worth mentioning. Maybe wear a subtle sign, “Team SAD: Fuck off and leave us alone.”

Exercise & Eat Well

Yes Chubbs, put down that chocolate cake, it ain’t gonna help. Go green and stock up on all those yummy veg. You know the score: Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. Yay! Taxi!

Take a holiday.

After a month away I fully advocate this treatment.

Dear Santa, I have been a very good girl this year. Please pick me up on your sleigh and drop me off in the Caribbean. Yours, Miss Helene-Claire

Alternatively…

Buy a light box

Using a light box has been found to be an effective treatment for SAD, as it increases your exposure to light during the winter months. Light boxes are at least ten times the intensity of household lights. They are available in different strengths and sizes – for SAD, a strength of at least 2,500 lux is recommended.

I have never tried one but I’m seriously considering investing in one if Santa stands me up.

Other treatments

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) recommends that SAD should be treated in the same way as other types of depression. This includes using talking treatments such as cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) or medication such as antidepressants.

Light therapy is also a popular treatment for SAD. However, there’s no strong evidence to support the long-term benefits of using light therapy to treat the condition, although research does suggest that it may have a positive short-term effect.

For further information on SAD and other Mental Health conditions Mind are a great source of info.

As always please, please consult your doctor if you are feeling particularly low. And remember, you are not alone.

Ready to get High?

Who am I without this drink in my hand? Who am I beneath this amped-up scene which makes me feel sexy, confident, better? Take away all these late nights, and all this loud music, and… what’s left?

Are you stuck in the party? Want to feel something other than hungover? Do you desire more from life? Maybe it is time you took a Peace Pilgrimage.

Meet Tara Bliss.

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In her debut book, High: A Party Girls’ Guide to Peace, life coach and yoga teacher Tara Bliss reveals the memories of her pained cycle of bingeing and detoxing, and the practices that lifted her up and out; into a life of TB_Promo_14passion, purpose and peace. High comes to you as your roadmap on how to do the same.

Let this book show you to kick-start an avalanche of self-love, relinquish your FOMO (fear of missing out), transform your relationships, exude sass, confidence and vitality (while sober), and live courageously from the heart.

Your Party Girl identity is holding you back and limiting your brilliance. It’s time to let her go and start living a life of choice, rather than habit.

It’s time to release your peace, get high on life and drunk on love.

As a former hair-dresser, bungee-jumping teacher and martini shaking bartender, Tara Bliss has always loved one thing: pushing herself and other people to go beyond what they think is appropriate.TB_Promo_11

These days, as a coach, author and yoga teacher (with swagger), she’s still deeply passionate about guiding women to stretch beyond what is reasonable, or what feels possible.

Named a ‘self-help guru’ by ELLE magazine, her teachings have been featured in Cleo, The Sunday Mail, The Daily Love and Mind Body Green.

When she’s not jamming with her clients or immersed in writing projects, you’ll find her making shapes on her yoga mat, planning a snowboarding trip with her man, hanging by the sea (channeling her inner mermaid), or thinking about Mexican food.

Meet Tara and stay in-the-know about her upcoming book, High: A Party Girls’ Guide to Peace at tarabliss.com.au, and follow her yoga adventures on Instagram: @tara_bliss

Are you ready to rewrite your story?

Am I a grown-up yet?

This month as I turn 36 I can’t help but wonder what makes us grown up. Any ideas?935012_10152768882980007_2055045051_n

The benchmark appears to be a moveable feast. When you are a child anyone over the age of twelve seems super old. I remember my mum’s fortieth as if it were yesterday, that’ll be me in four years time. Shit.

Parents, aren’t they grown-ups? Is the moment you realise that they aren’t the moment you join Their Club.

Welcome, you no longer have any excuses for fucking up. P.s Just pretend you know what you are doing.

Suddenly your friends are married with kids. You start falling asleep during movies. Music in bars is too loud. Buying a door handle is the highlight of your week. You’ve changed.

At twenty-five I thought I was finally a grown-up. I couldn’t have been more wrong. I barely 10431485_10154642839435007_6865846681697578448_nknew anything. I still feel like I have hardly scratched the surface of knowledge. I thought I was having the time of my life, but it just gets better and better.

We evolve through our experiences and those of others. Some of us make the most of today, others strive for tomorrow and some remain stuck in the past. I have yet to meet anyone who has it all or who get’s it right every time. Have you?

I thought I’d be married by now. A couple of children and a beautiful house. I wanted to be successful, yet forgot to define what that meant to me. I wanted to make a difference, to what I wasn’t sure.

After you have hit rock bottom too many times to count, and have wanted to end your own life, your priorities shift.

Sometimes just getting to the end of the day makes you feel like the most successful person ever. Helping one person gives you the greatest satisfaction. Knowing you have loved and have been loved fills you with gratitude. A happy home and a job you love is a true blessing. Just the hope that you might be able to have children one day is enough for now. You live in the moment and make each one count.

I may not lead a conventional life but oh boy have I lived! I don’t know if I’ll ever grown up but as long as I continue to learn, to love, to laugh loudly, to find the simplest of things exciting and to dance through life with the greatest of friendships then that’s enough for me.

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The Media and Mental Health

I read an article on a news website which generally speaking doesn’t make me want to vomit, however on this occasion it turned my tummy. My subsequent Facebook status read:

Dear Guardian, Fuck Off. Kind regards, Helene xxx

My mum text me saying I had been too harsh. I didn’t respond, instead I thought long and hard about the impact of an article that would be read by thousands. An article that boldly accused a prime time TV programme of insulting 16 (plus) million people.

In a nutshell, someone sang a song entitled “Crazy” and dressed their dancers in straight jackets. Much like Asda’s apparent faux pas before it this incident raised the issue of mental health stigma in the most inappropriate of ways.

Please answer this, having watched a dance routine with prancers in straight jackets do you now consider me dangerous?

Case closed.

(Although on the dancefloor….)

If the media is so desperate to finger point allow me to hold up a mirror.

Stigma is there. We can’t erase a zillion movies, images and symbolism. Can we?

Let’s move forward, not backwards, sideways or go around in circles. If an estimated 16 million people in the UK alone suffer from mental health problems I think the message is loud and clear. We sit next to you at work, in front of you on the bus, behind you at the checkout, and we are the person that you love.

Finger pointing serves no purpose. Many of the 16 million of us have felt like we belong in straight jackets at times, some of us may even wear one at Halloween. Get over it.

Shame on you Guardian for wasting words when there are so many more stories in the world today which deserve a voice.

Let’s talk…Mind and Body Coaching with Kim Ingleby

Folks, prepare to be dazzled. If Superwoman exists, here she is.

Life Fitness Global Award Winning Trainer, Team GB Sports Therapist & Master NLP & Hypnotherapist

Coach, Presenter, Writer, Charity Adventurer (£37k Raised), Model, Athlete

Founded Energised Performance UK Ltd & Energised Business (2004)

Brand Ambassador Sweaty Betty, Shock Absorber, Mizuno.

(She also happens to be super lovely.)

Your Potential. Unlocked.

Meet Kim Ingleby.

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Mind Body Coaching, what’s it all about?

Good question! It’s about giving someone the tools to become really fit, in their body and their mind. To boost their confidence to believe that they can achieve their goals, to become fit, strong and body confident, to develop positive self esteem, self worth and belief, to eat good, fresh food. Above all to stop self sabotage, and kick ass in life, whilst enjoying the journey.

Credit: Second Street Child Sierra Leone

Credit: Second Street Child Sierra Leone

What lead you to become a charity ambassador?

I think it’s really important to always give back, in business and in life. I aim to do a personal challenge every couple of years that’s extreme and challenging, to raise money for a great cause, to explore a part of the world that is pretty remote and hopefully to inspire others to really believe, anything is possible. Since I founded Energised we have raised over £37,000, and we sponsor two children through Plan UK. My latest adventures involved running a marathon with Sam Branson as part of the Strive Challenge, and completing the Sierra Leone Marathon and working with Street Child. Humbling, inspiring and thought provoking.

How has your own personal journey influenced your work?

Credit: Vince Starr

Credit: Vince Starr

Without a doubt, and I think being open and real helps people to know that you can relate and empathise with them. I always say I’ve had the most diverse background and learned from all sorts of challenges from bullying, body image and extreme shyness, to meningitis, kidney near failure drowning whist jumping into water on a horse, a beef worm growing in my head from Belize, to most recently learning to manage neuro weils encephalitis. I’ve learned how important self worth, belief and respect is for the foundation of achieving and enjoying anything in life. Who know’s what is next but my personal experience, plus my commitment and desire to keep progressing my professional knowledge makes the road ahead exciting.

How does your work help others?

In a number of ways depending on the individual and their goals. I’ve worked with complex GP referral cases and children with body confidence issue, to Team GB athletes who competed at Athens, Beijing, London and now heading to Rio and beyond. I’ve worked with celebrities for individual challenges and tours from Strictly Come Dancing to Comedians on Tour. The tools work with anyone and often the ‘problems’ are the same be that for a child aged 6 to a high profile media client, the implementation is just different. Being able to give someone the tools and support to realise they can change, and even if its tough, it’s possible, is exciting, rewarding and I feel very lucky to be able to be a tiny part of someones life for a period of positive change.

May your choices reflect your hopes, not your fears ~ Nelson Mandela

Award Winning Brand Ambassador, Writer, Fitness Model, Athlete & Coach…what’s next on the cards?

Credit: Scott Phillipson Photography

Credit: Scott Phillipson Photography

First up is to regain my full health and strength, without a doubt from the neuro weils encephalitis aggressive month of treatment. I’m working on updated and refreshing our websites and branding to make them really mobile and accessible with lots of online tools for people to access anywhere in the World. These will include our Signature programmes, Mental Strength, Inside Out Confidence & Be Energised Tri & Run. I have a Mag Book out with Women’s Fitness in December this year, along with a couple more in the pipeline. I’m looking for my next adventure and exploration, so all suggestions at this point are super welcome. I’ve just finished my year’s writing with Ultrafit magazine, so I’m planning a column I would love to write regularly for another magazine. And finally, I’m enjoying relaxing, taking photographs, mixing up recipes and having fun in life. Balance is the key, and time to just be is really important, especially switching everything off and enjoying the moments.

What does Holistic living mean to you?

Balance, Time, Awareness, Self Respect, Good Food, Movement, Rest, Trust, Courage, Fun, Learning, Growth & Happiness.

Credit: Great South Run with Iwan Thomas

Credit: Great South Run with Iwan Thomas

What is your message to cynics, sceptics, and the intrigued?

The cynics, sceptics and intrigued are all totally welcome, I think it’s a good thing. It’s important to be challenged, to learn and to be really clear on your own values and brand. Not everything will work for everyone, yet someone being unsure is good. I give everyone a full interview before working with them, to make sure they are ready, they want to commit to change and I am the right person to work with them, it has to work on both sides and the tools are flexible for each persons goals.

Finally, what are your top five tips for self-love?

  • Learn self respect, worth (and in time self love) Be kind to yourself each day, celebrate something you are proud of – don’t take yourself too seriously
  • Give yourself a kick when you are stuck in self sabotage or limiting thoughts, notice them and start to move away from them, train your brain differently – it’s not helpful to always limit yourself
  • Feed your body good food and your mind good thoughts
  • Move your body daily, breathe deeply and develop good posture
  • Take a little time out each day, 10 minutes, no phones or anything. Reflect, refine and refocus where you are at. Then take a moment to tell one person how they add value to your life

Find a little sparkle and laughter each day x