An honest and vulnerable share…

Yes, this is my second post in as many days.

I sat down to write this post late last night after having dinner with a friend and only a few hours after my last post – which was all about non-negotiables and self-care. It feels kind of ironic in a way.

I was unsure whether to publish this post, but I decided to, and sooner rather than later – before I changed my mind. Because it’s always easier to talk about past struggles once they have been overcome and things are feeling better. It’s much more difficult and vulnerable to admit in the moment that things are hard.

I decided to post this because I am a huge advocate for mental health and I am always banging on about how important it is to share our difficult and challenging experiences in order for them to become accepted and so that we can know we are not alone – and I feel nervous about posting this. I feel like maybe I shouldn’t. But that isn’t what I aspire to, I want an open conversation and I’m going to have it. I believe that it really should not be a big deal to say you are struggling or that you’ve lost your way.

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Non-negotiables and self care

It’s self-care week! This campaign is led by the Self Care Forum and the NHS have got on board too. The focus of this week is about empowering ourselves to look after our health and to take steps that might reduce our chances of needing medical intervention later down the line. Self-care can operate on so many levels and can mean different things for different people depending on their lives and the things they might be facing at a particular moment in time. Today I wanted to share something that has been really important for me in my self-care journey (it really has, and continues to be, a journey…!), that is non-negotiables. 

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Reflections on taking part in an Instagram challenge

Hello, it’s been a minute! I hope that everyone has enjoyed their summer and had the chance to have a break.

In today’s post I want to reflect on my experience of taking part in a 31-day Instagram Challenge. Read on to find out what I learnt, whether I would do it again and whether I recommend it.

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Addicted to our desks? Part 3.

Hello there. Welcome to the third and final part of my series about recovering from work addiction. In the first post I covered what work addiction is, what purpose it serves and some signs to look out for. My second post involved thinking about and tackling beliefs surrounding work, productivity and success. This final post will give you some practical skills and tips to start you on your way to seeking a more balanced approach to working. This is all very personal, and these are things that have helped me and others that I have spoken to you. Perhaps none of these tips will apply to you, in which case I encourage you to seek out somebody who might be able to help you put together your own tool kit to help you.

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The gift of giving – why volunteer?

When it comes to charity, I’ll be completely honest and say that I would much rather give my time than my money. Don’t get me wrong, I do give money to charity, and I’m so glad that others do too. We can help so much. But for me, personally, I like to get involved. To get stuck in and give time is more rewarding to me than giving money. For one thing, you always know where your time has gone.

For as long as I can remember I’ve enjoyed organising charity events or volunteering. One of my earliest memories of doing something for a charity was a 1.5 mile stilt walk at the age of 9 years old. I was (and kind of still am) very proud of that achievement! But all through my education I have taken opportunities to volunteer. Sometimes these are one off occasions, other times they are more formal and regular. Some examples include volunteering for a telephone listening service for students, organising a kids Christmas party, being chair of the Bath Association of Psychology Students and currently, volunteering at the Carers’ Centre in Bath and Radstock.

Being at university is a fantastic time to volunteer and I know that my volunteering track record has lengthened significantly since first coming away to uni. Most universities have staff in their Student Union who are employed especially to arrange opportunities.

I couldn’t really tell you what it was that made me volunteer in the first place or what inspired me to do it, but I can certainly tell you why I love it and all the ways in which I have benefitted from giving some of my time. Today I’d like to share some of the things I have gained from giving…

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About HealthPsychTam

Hello! And welcome to HealthPsychTam, my little corner of the web.

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I’ve been contemplating and planning this blog for quite a while. I enjoy writing, about pretty much anything, but when it comes to HealthPsychTam I’ve always had the same excuse, there just isn’t enough time. But I know it’s important to make time for the things we enjoy, so this little blog is born!

One thing I have realised throughout the last few years of academia, is that I love to write, however it is incredibly easy to get caught up in and focus purely on what I should be writing. A paper, a report, an assignment, a thesis chapter, a plan of action… the list goes on. And whilst I do enjoy these things (I wouldn’t be doing a PhD otherwise let’s be honest), there is always an element of pressure with things we should be doing. When life is busy and the pressure is on, it’s so easy to lose sight of the things I want to be doing, the things I want to be writing.

So here, I hope to write about things I enjoy, things I love, things that inspire me, and it would be wonderful if these were things you enjoy, love or find inspiration in too.

I hope to have fun writing about subjects that interest me, within Health Psychology and beyond, perhaps dispel some myths (…no, I cannot read your mind) and maybe help others in their personal quest to conquer academia (because that’s totally doable, right?). It will also be great for me to have a place to track my progress and share any exciting news (or inevitable stresses) that come alongside my PhD. Welcome aboard!

More about Me

I moved to Bath from Cornwall in 2009 for my Undergraduate degree and haven’t looked back since. I’m currently living in a rural village just outside the city and began my PhD in October 2015 at the University of Bath. I completed my Undergraduate degree (Psychology with placement) and my Masters (MSc Health Psychology) here too. It’s safe to say that this city is a special place for me, the only thing missing is the coast!

My research focuses on stress, resilience and coping in children and is specifically exploring young carers. Additional academic interests of mine include Autism Spectrum Disorder, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, earthquake survivors, trauma, patient adherence and the benefits of exercise.

When I’m not studying there’s a fair chance you’ll find me exploring outdoors, snuggling up and reading a good book, winding down with some yoga, catching up with friends over some great food or enjoying some holistic therapies. I love wild swimming, horse riding, cooking, exploring and self development. A trip to Indonesia in August 2015 reawakened my desire to travel and see the world!

I look forward to writing more soon 🙂

*Please note all views expressed on this blog are my own, and are not in anyway representative of or associated with my place of study, the University of Bath.