What do we mean by Success – Blog 15: Your Grit?

Grit is a trait that we commonly use and require in life, but can it be used to determine whether we are successful or not? Today’s blog in the “What do we mean by Success?” series is going to look at what we mean by ‘grit’, the effects that it has on our life and if we can use it as a measure of how successful or not we are in life!

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What do we mean by Success – Blog 14: Your Resilience?

Resilience is something that we all possess in life, some may be seen as being ‘more resilient’ than others, some conversely my be seen as ‘less resilient’ or maybe ‘not as resilient as somebody else’. So if it exists inside all of us, can we use it as a measure to determine how successful we are? That’s what we’ll be looking in today’s “What do we mean by Success?” blog!

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Isolation… Lockdown… Make mental health as important as physical health — Depression Survivor

So many of us have become great at hand washing, social distancing, and isolating. But as our isolation continues, how many of us are being as deliberate and mindful with caring for our mental health? As we navigate this truly bizarre time, anxiety, depression, fear, and helplessness are all around us. There’s so much that […]

Isolation… Lockdown… Make mental health as important as physical health — Depression Survivor

Time to Talk – Blog 1: The Introduction

Time to Talk Day 2020 was on 06/02/2020 and in celebration of such an important event, I have decided to start this new Time to Talk series! This series is going to be a real eye opening series and is going to be on that I am really looking forward to starting!

Hello and Welcome to Sweeney’s Blogs!

This is the 1st blog in the new Time to Talk series that I am going to be launching. This series was inspired by Time to Talk Day which was on the 6th of February this year! This series is going to all be about people’s stories regarding Stuttering, Stress and Mental Health. The aim of this series is to share and tell the stories that help make us who we are and how we have got to where we are now.

Although the main concept for Time to Talk day is surrounding opening up about Mental Health problems, I feel like if we bring in conditions such as Stuttering and Stress then it can make for an even more enlightening experience to both read and write. I also feel like this will open up a lot of different avenues that people can discuss and share experiences in which can ultimately help more and more people.

I am planning on running and writing this series very differently from how I usually write them. I feel like for this series to have the desired effect and message that I want it to have then it would be much better to bring in guest writers who wish to share their story. If you have any ideas or stories that you want to share then please feel free to get in contact with me! I am always happy to talk through ideas, no matter how weird or bizarre they may seem at first!

All I’m looking for is a story, can be as long or short as you’d like, about a time where you’ve experienced or seen someone experience something relating to Stuttering, Stress, Mental Health or anything similar to these! If you want to stay anonymous or want to use an alias for your story too that is completely fine, it is the story itself and the message it carries that is important. Let me know if you have any ideas!

In regards to the schedule of the series, at this current moment, I am unsure of how long the series is going to be and when the new blogs in the series will be released. I suppose it comes down to how many people wish to share their story. I may or may not write a few blogs for the series too, it is something that I am not 100% on currently but is something that I am thinking of doing. I feel that the blogs that I could write for the series would be better in their own series and really want this series to be about other peoples stories.

If you have an idea for a blog or story and are nervous about writing or sharing it please get in contact with me too. We can discuss the idea through and if you want to then write it I can help with the wording and phrasing if appropriate. As stated previously every idea is encouraged, I will always talk through ideas with you, even if it seems really silly at first!

That’s all I want to talk about in today’s blog! Thank you all for reading! What do you all think? Are you excited for this new series? Do you have any ideas that you want to share? Have you ever had an idea but didn’t know how to take it forward? Leave your answers to the following questions either in the comments or on our Facebook page and we’ll have a chat about it!

Thanks for reading and I hope you have a great day!

Sweeney’s Blogs

Any money donated here is greatly appreciated! I will be putting the money back into the page through advertising, guest writers and conet creation!

£5.00

James

Mummy Madness by Rebecca Sutcliffe-Major

Hello and Welcome to Sweeney’s Blogs!

Today’s blog is a guest blog written by one of our readers, Rebecca Sutcliffe-Major! The blog is about how being a mother can be a very hard job and to never give up. You may make mistakes from time to time but it is all a learning process. Remember the job you are doing, the value it brings to the world and try not to beat yourself up if things seem to go wrong. Hope you enjoy the blog!

One thing that all mums have in common and most don’t even know it. We all at some point are adamant we are ‘mumming’ wrong. I worked full time in management to help support my family while trying to further my education to better our future. The response I got from others “don’t you miss your kids?”, “shouldn’t you be spending more time with your family?”. Then when I gave up working so I could concentrate on my children and my education I had comments such as “don’t you think you should work to help out your husband?”, “Are you setting the right example for your kids by not working?”. All the while inside my head I’m screaming “ARE YOU SERIOUS!”.

woman biting pencil while sitting on chair in front of computer during daytime

On the outside, I look like I have it all together, on the inside I am full of self-doubt and anxiety. When I worked, I was in smart clothes, makeup done, hair done, nails done but I worried about my kids missing me. Now I’m out of work, I look neglected and I’m worrying that I am not occupying the kids time in the right way like they had a nursery. There is no end!

I was adamant that once I finished work, I would have an amazing routine and do crafts with them, make home-cooked meals and basically be an amazing mum. Oh boy, was I wrong!!

After the first week at home, I was so very tired. ‘Mumming’ full time is hard work. Running after a 1 year old and school runs really take it out of you. Even the little things were hard.

Something as simple as putting down the baby for a nap, then I can shower or clean or do the washing. NO! Baby decided that napping was beneath her and spend 30 minutes singing and shouting before I gave up and brought her back downstairs. But it’s ok… I spent that 30 minutes cleaning the living room, I was productive!

The baby was then in the living room eating a banana while watching tv, coolies… I’ll clean the kitchen. NO! Baby decided that playing on her own while watching tv was not acceptable. I walked into my living room and it was trashed. The one-year-old hooligan had thrown toys, cushions, banana peel everywhere. Clearly, she’s not to be left alone.

brown leather sofa and two pink sofa chair

Next thought…. Why don’t you help mummy!!! NO! She proceeded to pull things out of the washer before I could fill it and set it going. Then she got distracted …. I managed to put the washer on, turned around…… oh hell, the baby is playing with the cat bowls ….. biscuits and water all over my kitchen.

Bath time …. Ended with both me and my bathroom soaked. We were now late for the school run. I turn up at school soaked and looking like id been dragged through a hedge backwards. Get the kids home my eldest says “mummy why is it so messy?” REALLY KID!!

I managed to get them to play nicely together while I tried to tidy around them, then moved into the kitchen to sort out the washing (which as it turned out I set off gong without putting in any washing powder or fabric softener). Back to the living room……trashed. My husband comes home ….. “what happened here?” I’m stood there, baby in one arm and wet unwashed washing in the other, surrounded by toys. It actually looked like I had done nothing all day.

I felt like such a failure. I can run a business, manage staff, deal with customers, do the rotas, create strategic plans. But I couldn’t keep my cool with the kids, I couldn’t keep my house in check, I couldn’t have tea ready for when my husband got home. I was in jeans and a hoodie all day, no make-up, hair a mess. I looked nothing like I was used to.  All these goals that I was adamant I could do, turns out I couldn’t. I thought when I gave up work I would have less stress which would lower my anxiety and make me a happier person to be around. This went on for weeks. I made myself feel worse with all the bad thoughts. My depression spiralled downwards; I could feel myself loosing. I went back to the doctors thinking I was getting too bad and I cried a lot.

Then it occurred to me, who cares. My children are happy, fed and well looked after. Who cares if my house is a mess, who cares if I am a mess, who cares if my husband has the opinion that I am slowly going insane after watch re-runs of Pepper Pig all day! The only person who actually cared about it was me. My husband and my kids want me healthy and happy, that’s it!

Once I stopped putting all the extra pressure on myself, I got into a rhythm. School run, nap, clean, lunch, play, school run, tea. Don’t get me wrong, it is not easy and most days the cleaning won’t get done until the kids are in bed. My house is nowhere up to the standards that it used to be and I still don’t always have time to sort myself out.

Without putting standards on myself I started to feel better. I was smiling more and laughing more. I’m still struggling with inner demons and I will be for a while. There is no quick fix and some days the only thing that gets me through the day is a cheeky smile from a one-year-old hooligan.

The NHS states that 1 in 10 people have clinical depression[1]. In 2018 Forth conducted a survey which stated that 42% of women admitted that they were ‘too stressed’[2].

The message I want to get out there is ‘mumming’ is hard, you are not overreacting, you are not worthless, and you may have days when you feel like a failure but it’s ok. We are all feeling that way. You are not alone. You may make some mistakes but it is all part of the process. Remember we can only learn from a mistake if we actually make it in the first place.

[1] NHS, Clinical depression <https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/clinical-depression/&gt;

[2] Forth. Great Britain and Stress – How bad is it and why is it happening?<https://www.forthwithlife.co.uk/blog/great-britain-and-stress/&gt;

Thanks for reading! What do you all think? Would you like to see some more blogs by Rebecca? Let me know your answers to the above questions and any other questions or queries you have either in the comments below or via our Facebook page!

Thanks for reading and I hope you have a great day!

Sweeney’s Blogs

Any money donated here will be put back into the business. This can be through marketing campaigns, upgrades to plans or for setting up future events!

£5.00

James

Resilience — Cristian Mihai

“You never know how strong you are… until being strong is the only choice you have.” – Cayla Mills I’m going to tell you something no motivational speaker would ever dare tell you: genuine strength can’t be taught, learned, bought, borrowed, or understood. Genuine strength, defined as the ambition, courage, and stamina to do whatever you […]

via Resilience — Cristian Mihai

Impossible or I’m possible? — Cristian Mihai

“What we can or cannot do, what we consider possible or impossible, is rarely a function of our true capability. It is more likely a function of our beliefs about who we are.” – Anthony Robbins The realists will say this is a lie, but we are what we think we are. What we consider to […]

via Impossible or I’m possible? — Cristian Mihai

Addiction to Self-Judgment — Self Development

“I’m such a jerk. How could I have said that?” “I’m a looser. I’ll never get anywhere.” “I’m so stupid. I should have learned this by now.” “I don’t fit in. I don’t belong with these people.” “I’ll never be good enough. I’ll never do it right enough.” “I’m permanently emotionally damaged. I’ll never be…

via Addiction to Self-Judgment — Self Development

Looking into Male Mental Health – Blog 10: The Brave Face

Hello and Welcome to Sweeney’s Blogs!

Today’s blog is going to be the tenth blog in the Looking into Male Mental Health series and is going to be about The Brave Face. Putting on a brave face is a phrase that is commonly used in day to day life. In this blog, we are going to be taking a deeper look into this phrase and then taking a look at the real world implications that it can have.

The term “Put on a brave face” can have several different meanings. The Free Dictionary, https://idioms.thefreedictionary.com/put+on+a+brave+face, defines it as “to appear or make oneself seem more courageous, resolute or dauntless than one really feels”. I quite like this definition as it is easy to interpret and I believe that it defines the phrase quite well. I do have my own definition for the phrase which I think puts it in a more relatable light h however.

I like to define “put on a brave face” as a mask that we use to hide our real feelings. Even though this definition may seem very similar to the one written by The Free Dictionary, I feel like my definition encompasses a larger demographic. Like most pieces of work, however, it is all down to your personal preference. A lot of the blogs that I write do come down to personal interpretation. If you prefer a different definition to the two that I have written here that is completely fine, the points remain the same throughout the definitions, it is just the wording that changes.

When relating this to the world in general there are lots of different avenues you can take. You can apply this term to current world problems, politics, relationships or simply too personal life. The most common adaption of this phrase is when it is used in a personal way. It is very common that people put on a brave face when dealing with Mental Health problems.

It is very common for people or even society, in general, to turn a blind eye to problems like Mental Health simply due to lack of understanding or situational awareness. People often hide their problems and hope that they will go away with time. This style of coping does simply lead to an increase in the number of problems with no solution being found as your head is buried in the sand.

Unfortunately, people nowadays do actively try to avoid solving their problems. This can be caused by a number of different causes. Some of the problems that cause people to avoid solving their problems include lack of time available, fear of not being able to solve the problem, lack of resources available to fix the problem and many more. When people do put on a brave phrase it can often lead to an increase in the number of problems they face. This then triggers the Rollercoaster Effect that I mentioned in the fifth blog of this series, https://sweeneysblog.com/2019/05/14/looking-into-male-mental-health-blog-5-the-rollercoaster-theory/.

We are now going to take a brief look into how this phrase can directly link back to Male Mental health specifically.  Put on a brave face can easily be linked to Male Mental Health. Although I do bring it up a lot in this series I think that a large proportion of that can be linked back to male stereotypes that have been created by society. Men are painted as people who do not need to share their problems, they are meant to be people who solve everyone else’s problems including their own. These stereotypes do much more harm than good.

It is very easy to think to yourself that if you leave a problem for long enough then it will fix itself, this, however, is not the case. It takes a lot of courage to admit that you have a problem or to admit that you need help but when you do it can make life so much better. Trying to find help for your problems is an entity that is undervalued in modern day society. Sourcing help for your problems is almost like you are breaking the mask that you put on when you put on a brave face. Breaking the cycle is paramount to breaking the cycle and is the start of solving Mental Health problems.

That is all I want to talk about in today’s blog! What do you all think? Do you put on a brave face? Does it have a positive or negative effect on your life? How can we break the cycle of putting on a brave face? How do you think putting on a brave face relates to mental health? Let me know what you think in the comments!

Thank you all for reading! Let me know what you think! All feedback is appreciated – be it positive or negative! If you have a minute or two spare please leave a rating and review on our Facebook Page! I am thinking of launching a new advertising campaign soon, let me know what you think I should do!

Sweeney’s Blogs

Any money donated here will be put back into the business. This can be through marketing campaigns, upgrades to plans or for setting up future events!

£5.00

James

Looking into Male Mental Health – Blog 3: Help is out there

Hello and Welcome to Sweeney’s Blogs!

Today’s blog is the thirds blog in the Looking into Male Mental Health Series and is called Help is out there. This blog is going to talk about what kinds of help is out there, how you can get in and how it can make the world of difference to you. I am going to be briefly talking about how I reached out for help and how services like counselling helped me solve some of my problems. I will talk about the problems that I faced and how I overcame them in more detail in next weeks blog as that is going to be the more personal blog in the series.

Help can often show its face in many different forms. Help can come in the form of friends, family or maybe a service such as counselling. Usually, people tend to learn the way they deal with mental health in their own way. For me, it took me a while to admit but the way that I coped was with counselling and with stress handling practices such as meditation.

Often the thought of asking someone for help is what people find the hardest. The thought that you will be seen as weak often forces people into hiding how they really feel. People tend to isolate themselves from others in hopes that they can solve their problems. The way in which we isolate ourselves is very clever. We tend to act as if everything is normal, we laugh and make jokes when inside just wants to break. It is this invisible isolation, this embedded fear that leads people to really struggle and can cause serious damage to their mental health. However, help is out there and being able to seek it is a strength often underappreciated.

The first place I tend to think of when I think of help is counselling. The ability to talk through your problems in a judgement free environment can often be a real burden off your shoulders. Counselling provides us with an extra tier of support, a fresh viewpoint, a change in perspective of how we see our problems and most importantly a form of release.

When I first started having counselling I did not think that it would help me. I saw me asking for help and talking about things with a stranger as a weakness and something I would never do however that view quickly changed. The counselling sessions that I had allowed me to work through my problems one by one, going into as much or as little detail as I wanted.

During my first few sessions, my answers to the questions asked were often short and defensive but over time I learnt to develop my answers. I learnt that my counsellor needed to understand me as a person, how I think, what I value, how I see the world before he could help me. I began to see that I could answer every question honestly and talk as if I was to a mirror in a way. Although counselling proved very effective for me there are a lot of other forms of help and support that people can try available.

A form of release and help can be as simple as talking to your friends and family. Being able to talk honestly to people who truly know you and value you can be a great aid when trying to conquer the entity that is mental health. Learning to be open and honest is a skill that is becoming more and more valuable in modern day society. Having a group of friends that understand you can really help when you are going through a tough time.

Although it is often overlooked, a simple how are you can make the world of difference to a person. Knowing they have someone to talk to and someone who will listen to them can often make them feel valued and feel like they can get through difficult mental phases. As life continues to accelerate and we take on more and more tasks it is crucial to remember that we need to make time for our family and friends.

If you see a person that you know or even don’t know struggling then stopping to help them or even briefly speak to them can be a real asset for someone. It does not only make you feel better personally but the difference you make to the person you talk to can be lifesaving. It does sound dramatic and drastic but simply talking to people can save lives.

There was a story in the news a few years ago about a boy in America that was about to commit suicide when a boy in his class noticed that something wasn’t right. The boy didn’t overload the boy or criticise him but just had a small conversation with him. Even though the boy didn’t know it at the time but he saved the boys life simply by having a conversation with him. The boy felt like he meant something and sought help and support to get through his tough time.

Social media and helplines can often be a good way to find support in some cases. There are more and more helplines being created by the day in hopes of helping people going through tough times. The growing rate of suicides in younger generations, especially in males is a very worrying site and people are trying to make a difference. There are facebook pages such as Mental Health Believe UK that are created for people who need help and support.

These facebook pages provide a platform for people to communicate with others and find a way out of the maze that is our minds. Helplines are also an often overlooked service. There are numerous helplines open such as the Samaritans whose goal is to help people. They are there to listen to people and to be a way for people to communicate in their own time and in their own space without being judged.

These are just a few of the forms of support that are out there and there are hundreds more. As we talked about in last weeks blog, the ability to know your limits can save your life. Knowing when to say no and when you have too much work on is a vital tool for anybody to have in their corner. Saying I’m struggling is not a weakness, it is a strength and that is what needs to be remembered. There is always help available, sometimes it is on your doorstep, sometimes it is on the phone. Dealing with your problems alone can sometimes work but when it doesn’t, don’t suffer in silence.

Thank you for reading this weeks blog in the Looking into Male Mental Health series! What did you all think? How do you cope when you are going through a tough time? Does social media help or hinder people who are struggling? Do we as a society need to change to try and reverse this crisis?

I’m trying to reach as many people I can with these blogs so if you can share or reblog it will make a huge difference! There are buttons available at the bottom of each blog post which allows you to share the blog to social media or you can share the Facebook page. If you do not know the Facebook page then you can click the Facebook icon on the sidebar and it will take you to the page or you can simply search Sweeney’s Blogs on Facebook.

As always feedback is greatly appreciated! Feel free to donate to the blog if you want too!

James Sweeney

Sweeney’s Blogs

Any money donated here will be put back into the business. This can be through marketing campaigns, upgrades to plans or for setting up future events!

£5.00

Looking into Male Mental Health – Blog 2: Knowing your Limits

Hello and Welcome to Sweeney’s Blogs!

Today’s blog is going to be the second blog in my Looking into Male Mental Health Series. Today’s blog is going to focus on the importance of knowing your limits and finding balance in your life which will make a great link to next weeks blog which is going to talk about the help and support that is available.

Identifying your limits can be one of the most important things to do in life. Knowing how much work you can take on and complete at one time can be a tremendous asset to have in your corner. It is often a skill that is overlooked. People nowadays often tend to take on much more than they can handle which eventually leads to them struggling with stress, upcoming deadlines and a vast array of other forms of pressure. This stress and pressure have negative effects on a persons physical and mental health.

A recent video that I shared on the blogs Facebook page, the video:https://www.facebook.com/BBCOne/videos/2559921220689156/UzpfSTM4MjA2OTI2OTAxNzgyMDo0MTQ5MzAyNDkwNjUwNTU/?modal=admin_todo_tour, gives us an insight into how stress affects our body in a number of different ways. The video just further solidifies that fact that we need to learn how much we can handle and then use that to plan how we live our day to day life.

It is a common trend that we as people tend to take on as much as we can at once in hopes that we can somehow balance it all and achieve a standard of work that we want to achieve whilst also retaining a strong and stable mental health. It is a common trend in people especially younger people to somewhat undervalue the impact that stress can have on your health. People tend to become overtaken with their work and then begin to wall themselves off from their family, friends and society itself. This is very common to see with younger men and is a reason why male mental health has become such a worrying entity in today’s society.

In my opinion, it all stems from the age-old stereotype that men are too strong to talk about their feelings and that they can handle everything by themselves. This old stereotype holds no merit in today’s society. It has become a clear sign of someone struggling with mental health problems if they begin to isolate themselves from society yet this old stereotype almost seems to encourage it.

Asking for help and or support can be one of the strongest things a person can do. Knowing that you have taken on too much at once and trying to recover from it is one of the most vital things a person can do to preserve their mental health. It’s all well and good having a lot of things to do each day but if you do not give your mind and body enough time to heal and recover then eventually you will collapse.

It is not a nice thing to say but it is a fact of life. People have a limit to how much they can handle and if this is not respected then people will struggle even more. When people learn of their own limit then it can help them plan out what they need to do each day. This allows people to be organised and will allow them to complete all the work that they need to do.

Thanks for reading this weeks blog in the Looking into Male Mental Health series! What do you all think of the blog? Do you think identifying your limit is a good thing? Do you know your limit? Is it important to notice when someone is struggling and intervene before they ask for help? As always all feedback is appreciated,

James