Agony Aunt

Patricia Marie, MBACP qualified counsellor is a member of The British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy, practising in Harley Street, Essex and Scotland. She has many years experience of dealing with domestic violence, relationship problems, bereavement, depression, addictions, post traumatic stress and many other emotional issues. If you have a dilemma, please email Patricia.Marie@lady.co.uk

Tips for a healthier and happier New Year

Posted by Patricia_Marie
Patricia_Marie
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on Monday, 04 January 2016
Dear readers,

I would like to take this opportunity to wish you all a Happy, Healthy, and Peaceful New Year, and have included some tips to encourage this. However, sometimes life doesn't always run smoothly, and I therefore continue to look forward to helping and advising you with any problems that you may encounter.

LEARN TO DE-STRESS
We can often be pulled in many directions and rarely stop to recharge. Prioritise the important tasks, such as work, but ensure you create a good balance of relaxation time too. Try meditation – switching off and relaxing your mind is an excellent way to take stock of life and find peace, even just for five minutes, and enhances wellbeing.

BECOME MORE HEALTHY
The festive period may have left you feeling sluggish due to lack of exercise and overindulging. Feel more energised by making healthier eating choices, and raise fitness levels as well as overall happiness by increasing your exercise. You don't necessarily have to rush out and join a gym. Small changes can make a big difference, such as walking instead of taking the car.

QUIT SMOKING
If you are a smoker, giving up is probably the biggest simple step you can take to improve your health. Sometimes this addiction cannot be fought alone - help is only a phone call away. Ring the NHS Stop Smoking Service on 0300 123 104. Kicking this habit will increase your chances of living a longer, far healthier life.

CUT DOWN ON ALCOHOL
Alcohol has been linked to obesity, cancer and liver damage. If you regularly drink too much alcohol, it can make you feel anxious, and interfere with your sleeping patterns. This habit needs to be broken, so, instead of heading for the bottle, try a relaxing bath, and have some non-alcoholic drinks in the fridge to enjoy. Diverting your thoughts to something pleasurable will help keep you focused. If you really can't resist, allocate dinner time only to enjoy a glass of alcohol.
If you think you may have a problem with alcohol call Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) on: 0800 9177 650 www.alcoholics-anonymous.org.uk

TAKE UP A NEW HOBBY
Do something different - be it embarking on a part time course at your local college, joining a dance class, or taking up cross stitching. There is nothing more empowering than learning a new skill, and new found enjoyment helps keep depression at bay.

MANAGE YOUR MONEY
If you are experiencing financial gloom, make 2016 the year to address this. Start by listing your income and expenditure, then plan a budget and stick to it. Give yourself rules, such as leaving your debit and credit cards at home. You will be amazed how much you can save by not having available cash to hand. If you can, tear up your credit card to avoid the temptation to spend unnecessarily. Ignoring any creditors only makes things worse, so be brave and contact them to arrange an affordable repayment plan, thereby regaining control.

ELIMINATE NEGATIVE RELATIONSHIPS
If you are in a relationship with either a partner or a friend, which is causing you to feel unhappy, resentful, exhausted, drained, or bad about yourself, take responsibility and either work on improving the relationship, or sever ties, and spend more time with those who make you happy.

And finally, some wise words
'Year's end is neither an end nor a beginning, but a going on, with all the wisdom that experience can instil in us'. Hal Borland
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