3rd June 2020 


Just for You. earthsea.jpg

Just for You

In many philosophies and traditions around the world there are certain elements associated with the natural world. For example in ancient China five types of energies wood, fire, earth, metal and water were given to the sub-division of the yearly cycle. Each season or energy prompting to pause, reflect and review our lives.

Spring has Sprung: a time for transition, transformation and growth

As winter passes into spring, the energy of water associated with winter transforms into wood. Wood assigned to the spring equinox

Just for You. Spring 3Spring is the season associated with new beginnings, movement and expansion, so as we emerge from winter’s hibernation, stillness and deep rest you may decide this is the time to consider new ideas, new projects or make significant changes to your life.

Perhaps you have been putting off doing something you have always wanted to do, or perhaps you are unsatisfied at your job or in a particular relationship. Counselling and/or Psychotherapy may help and support you through such transitions as you begin to restore some balance and harmony back into your life.

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD):
As the days hopefully become warmer and brighter the significance of longer daylight hours also means that those individuals who suffer with SAD are likely to feel better as symptoms disappear suddenly or for a short period.

It is thought that SAD is caused by a biochemical imbalance in the brain, due to shortening or lack of sunlight hours, which affects the production of certain hormones particularly serotonin and melatonin, which in turn affects our moods. Common symptoms include depression, lethargy, sleep problems, over-eating, loss of concentration, anxiety and loss of libido.

SAD is most common between the ages of 18 and 30, although it can develop at any age. It is estimated that at least 1 in 50 people in the UK have SAD and at least 1 in 8 people have the milder form of the condition, ‘winter blues’.

Usual treatments can include light therapy, antidepressant medication and various forms of talking therapies.

Just for You. WinterAs autumn passes into winter, the energy of metal transforms into water. The water element is associated with retreating, condensing and storing our resources and energy in the dormant phase of winter in preparation for the new growth cycle.

Winter: Time to pause and reflect

When worry gets out of control:
Anxiety disorders are very common and caused by many factors such as stress, family and genetic predispositions and biochemical imbalances.

All of us get anxious from time to time about money, health and family problems but if you are constantly extremely worried about these and many other things and there is little or no reason for you to worry then you may be suffering from Generalized Anxiety Disorder (‘GAD’) which can cause feelings and emotions to be altered.

Signs and symptoms of GAD:
  • unable to relax
  • have trouble controlling constant worries
  • feel tired all the time
  • headaches
  • muscular aches and pains
  • tremble or twitch
  • extremely worried about everyday things

    GAD treatments:
    It is recommended you contact your GP first who will be able to exam and make a sure diagnosis if you suspect you are suffering from GAD.

    GAD is generally treated with psychotherapy, medication, or both. It is advisable to once again talk to your Doctor about the best treatment for you.

    It is quite common to suffer from more than one anxiety disorder at once. In a recent Anxiety UK survey, 70% of respondents identified themselves as suffering with the symptoms of three or more anxiety conditions. Other anxiety conditions can include panic disorders, obsessive compulsive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder and phobias.

    Winter Holidays:
    This time of year is traditionally seen as a period of celebration but a range of factors such as financial pressure, increased alcohol misuse, social demands as well as general fatigue can all contribute to making this period a very stressful time of year.

    People take more days off work, exchanging thoughts and spend time with family and friends. Spending concentrated time with friends and loved ones can put increasing stress on relationships and increase the risk of conflict. This time of year generally tends to make us think of warm feelings and cozy evenings at home which you may not have experienced in your own current domestic situation. This I believe is one reason why statistics show that January is the busiest month for divorce lawyers.

    This may be the time to pause and reflect; give yourself a chance to change and rekindle and put a sparkle back into a relationship that has gone dull or wrong. A counsellor and/or psychotherapist will not tell you what you should or shouldn’t be doing in your relationship but they will aim to give you both equal time and attention to share your thoughts and feelings without judging you so you can both decide individually and together the best way forward.

  • Just for You. AutumnAs late summer passes into autumn, the energy of the earth transforms into metal. The autumn equinox is traditionally seen as a period of change. The change from summer to autumn represents a time to draw inwards for courageous introspection. The falling leaves and bear branches remind us of the impermanence of nature. A time in the yearly cycle when day and night are of equal length that signals the need to bring some balance within us.

    Autumn: Time for courageous introspection

    Work-Life Balance:
    The nature of work has gone through drastic changes over the last decade. Our workplace is constantly changing sometimes at a whirlwind pace. The cumulative effect of increased working hours, new technology along with the added global economic uncertainties can have a negative impact on our emotions, behaviour, health and mental well-being.

    Excessive stress has become the most common cause of long-term absence from work and if left unresolved can contribute to depression, anxiety, extreme anger and/or frustration, headaches, insomnia and muscular tension. We may also begin to feel bad about ourselves, overpowered and insecure.

    When our work life and personal life are out of balance our stress levels are likely to soar. Work-life balance can be expressed in many different was. For some people this can simply equate to personal happiness. For others this may be more complex. It depends on your individual situation.

    Knowing yourself and taking personal responsibility for your work-life balance and doing some practical things such as simply taking more downtime, taking regular exercise, eating a balanced diet may be the first steps to restoring some harmony back into your life.

    What makes your own life balanced and happy?

    Late Summer: Time to prepare and rejuvenate

    As the fire energy of the summer months begins its inevitable decline and burns down to ashes this movement depicts the arrival of late summer, the shortest of the seasons. The energy associated with the earth.

    For some a welcome relief, for others its arrival tainted with sadness that summer is over.

    Perhaps a time for life transitions and changes to mark the movement from summer to autumn. What parts of your life are bearing fruits? What areas of your life are stunting your growth?

    Perhaps now is the time to rejuvenate and prepare for the autumn and winter months. A time to think about yourself, your relationships and your work and make those changes you have always wanted to or somehow been afraid to make. Psychotherapy and/or Counselling may help and support you make the changes you would like to happen.

    Just for You. Newspaper
    Does the media fuel eating disorders?

    The Royal College of Psychiatrists has stated there is a growing body of research that show the media propagates unobtainable body ideals and the acceptability of dieting, leading to lowered mood, body dissatisfaction and the development of eating disorder symptoms particularly in adolescents and young people.

    To understand why people get an eating disorder, firstly we have to understand what an eating disorder is. According to the National Centre for Eating Disorders experts describe an eating disorder as “an extreme shape and weight control behaviour” which is underpinned by excessive concern about weight or body shape. This extreme shape and weight control leads to rigid rules and rituals about food which manifests into a faulty, destructive relationship with food.

    The main clinical eating disorders include Anorexia, Bulimia and Binge Eating Disorder. There is also another category known as Eating Disorders Not Otherwise Specified (EDNOS). Anorexia refers to a fear of gaining weight combined with eating very little or none at all. Bulimia involves an attempt to manage weight by getting rid of food and calories often through unhealthy ways. Binge eating disorders can involve a pattern of consuming more food in a short period. A person with EDNOS may present with many of the symptoms of other eating disorders but will not meet the full criteria for diagnosis of these disorders.

    Eating disorders are associated with many different factors,social, psychological and genetics. Association is not a cause. Some of the factors that may increase the risk of developing eating issues are:

  • Family history of dieting or eating disorders
  • Being bullied or teased about your weight
  • Participating in a sport or activity where there is pressure to maintain a certain weight
  • Trauma or loss in childhood
  • Obesity in childhood
  • Sexual identity problems
  • Feeling the need to do everything perfectly
  • Always feeling the need to please others
  • Your genes

    There is no one known cause. Eating disorders exist on a continuum from mild to severe, from healthy to unhealthy.

  • Just for You. Continuum

    An eating disorder is not vanity, being week willed, attention seeking behaviour or a phobia. They are often just a way of ‘coping’ with problems, stress and/or to fill an emotional void and are not just about food.

    Just for You. Summer

    Summer: The sun, the sand, a perfect tan and a glass in your hand!

    The wood energy associated with the spring equinox, has stored energy which burns into fire generating summers warmth – fire assigned to high summer.

    Summer is the warmest of the temperate seasons which brings a period of growth, expansion and abundance A time when we start to think about holidays, sporting events, barbecues, festivals and family celebrations all which go hand-in-hand with cold beers and fine wines.

    A study completed by Opinium Research reporting that when the weather is warmer the British consume 333 million more pints of beer and 67 million more litres of wine than in the winter months.

    People drink for many reasons to boost confidence, reduce stress, to relax, out of habit or to cope with a particular problem. The idea of counting units was introduced as a simple way of expressing the alcohol content in drinks to help people keep track of what they are drinking. The size and strength of your drink will determine the number of units. As a guide one alcohol unit is measured as 10ml or 8g of pure alcohol and 'regularly’ means drinking every or most days of the week. The unit guidelines have not been reviewed since 1995 and the UK Chief Medical Officer introduced new guidelines in April 2016. Are you drinking within the recommended guidelines? Do you know the alcohol units in your drinks?

    Just for You. units


    Limits are the same for men and women at 14 units per week.

    To keep health risks to a low level it is recommended to spread drinks evenly across the week and to have regular alcohol free days

    What does 14 units look like?

    Just for You. alcohol guidelines

    Regularly drinking over the recommended limits doesn’t make you an alcoholic; however, it may lead to health problems such as high blood pressure, cancer, heart disease and depression. It can also have a negative impact on your relationships with others. Counselling and/or Psychotherapy may help you to understand your drinking habits and help you to recognise and identify high risk situations which make it more likely that you will engage in problematic drinking. It may also assist you in your discovery for alternative coping strategies.

    How much is too much when you’re older? The Royal College of Physicians have published guidance which recommends that elderly people (aged over 70) should keep their drinking to 1.5 units on any drinking occasion. Some of the reasons for this are:
    • Mobility problems, trips and falls can be worsened by alcohol
    • As you get older your liver is less efficient so that the effects of alcohol are greater
    • Alcohol may not mix well with the medication you are taking
    • Drinking too much can cause or worsen some health problems commonly associated with the elderly such as diabetes, raised blood pressure, vascular dementia or Alzheimer’s
    The summer months also give parents more to worry about with studies revealing more teens experiment with drugs and alcohol at this time compared to any other time in the year. Studies show that the earlier a child starts drinking, the higher their chances of developing alcohol abuse or dependence in their adult life. Alcohol misuse is also linked to sexual health and teenage pregnancy with one in eight 15 to 16 years old girls having unprotected sex after drinking alcohol.

    If you are worried or concerned about your teens’, or your own involvement with alcohol then this may be the time to get some professional help. I can offer you the opportunity to think and talk about yourself and your concerns in a way that you often can’t do alone. Alternatively I can meet with you and your family members to help and support you make the changes you wish to make to avoid the problems associated with alcohol and the summer months.