Feelings of anxiety and being overwhelmed are not uncommon and should not go unaddressed. Many of us experience anxiety and stress, especially during times of uncertainty and change – but how can we manage these feelings and develop a more healthy mindset?
As a Devon charity and trust, here at Calvert Exmoor, we understand how important it is to address mental health struggles and support each other. There are several great apps and free resources to help you cope with anxiety and learn some skills to rest and relax the mind even when that feels like an uphill battle.
If you are experiencing more severe issues, please consult a mental healthcare professional.
The Best Free Apps For Anxiety
- Catch It
- Dare: Panic & Anxiety Relief
- Insight Timer
- Stress & Anxiety Companion
- Self-Help for Anxiety Management (SAM)
- What’s Up?
- Woebot App
1. Catch It
Developed as a joint project from the Universities of Liverpool and Manchester, this app is a simple mood diary, allowing you to record your changing moods and feelings.
By tracking how your feelings shift, the app aims to teach you how to manage anxiety and stress, illustrating new ways to view problems and develop positive ways of coping.
Through questions and guidance, Catch It supports you as you make sense of your moods – users have described how useful this can often be when trying to feel calmer.
2. Dare: Panic & Anxiety Relief
A popular app with high ratings from users, Dare, based on the best-selling book, provides you with a toolkit based around many years of experience to help your brain become less anxious.
The evidence based training programme provides help for people experiencing anxiety, panic attacks and more. You can track your daily progress with the mood journal, writing down all of your thoughts and feelings. With the ‘SOS’ feature, users can also get help fast when needed and on-the-go.
3. Insight Timer
This free app hosts a library of guided meditations designed to help users relax and reduce feelings of stress and anxiety.
The guided sessions are led by 11,000 different world-renowned mindfulness experts and psychologists. You will also have access to thousands of music tracks and ambient soundscapes to help you fall asleep or quiet your mind.
There are more than 1,500 meditations tailored specifically to dealing with anxiety.
4. Stress & Anxiety Companion
This one is great for individuals with mild to moderate anxiety and stress levels.
With techniques built around cognitive behavioural therapy, the app uses an array of breathing exercises, mindfulness games and relaxing music designed to help you set positive goals, create healthy routines and manage problematic thinking.
The Stress & Anxiety Companion is all about helping you identify why you’re feeling anxious or stressed and learning how to manage these negative thoughts.
Whether you are struggling with anxiety, stress, insomnia or you are just trying to relax and meditate, iBreathe is a simple yet great app for this.
It helps guide you through deep breathing exercises. Copying a relaxed breathing pattern calms the nervous system that controls the body’s involuntary functions, which helps to reduce anxiety and stress.
6. Self-Help for Anxiety Management (SAM)
This engaging and practical app is a helpful resource for those that want to confront their anxiety and really learn how to manage it.
SAM helps you understand the causes behind your anxiety and gives you resources to create your own anxiety toolkit along with techniques to monitor changing moods, thoughts and behaviours.
Through the various available self-help exercises and reflections, you can learn how to develop healthy thought patterns and actions.
You can also use the social cloud feature which allows you to give and receive support from other users.
7. What’s Up?
This free app is designed to help users cope with depression, anxiety, stress and more.
With a range of cognitive behaviour therapy and acceptance commitment therapy methods, the app provides actionable advice on overcoming negative thinking patterns, helps you put your feelings into perspective and gives tips on staying grounded during times of stress.
You can also use the diary to record thoughts and learn how to keep calm with effective breathing exercises.
As seen in Women’s health, Time magazine, Healthline and more! Rootd, is an award winning, scientifically validated, female led app to help people who suffer with anxiety, panic attacks, and racing thoughts.
With the ‘Rootr’ feature, it allows users to press the big red button when in need of help whether that is for reassurance or to explore the discomfort going on in someone’s head.
9. Woebot App
The Woebot app offers support for people struggling with anxiety and/or depression, through daily check-ins and lessons, helping users to change their thought patterns.
Again, it should be noted that these apps should not be considered a replacement for professional help – but they can be great aids for boosting general mental health and wellbeing!
Taking to nature and enjoying activities outdoors can also work wonders for mental wellbeing and self-confidence. To find out more about how adventure breaks could help improve mental health, take a look at our blog below.
For more information about the Calvert Experience and the disability activities we offer, please get in touch.
Thanks to the vital work of disability organisations and charities, disability awareness has become more widespread over recent years, but there are still many ways society can be more inclusive and aim to dismantle the stigma attached to various disabilities.
As a centre for accessible holidays in Devon, we welcome guests of all abilities and backgrounds, catering to everyone’s needs. We’ve seen first-hand how disability can affect people in different ways and how valuable an accessible place that embraces everyone can be.
Non-visible disabilities can often get lost in the conversation surrounding disability. We take a look at what is meant by this term and how you can better support people with non-visible disabilities.
What is a Hidden Disability?
An invisible disability is a physical, mental or neurological condition or impairment that is not immediately obvious to an outside perspective and may go unnoticed by others. Invisible disabilities can make performing daily activities difficult, with these challenges exacerbated by a wider population that misunderstands the nature of unseen disabilities.
Different individuals may identify with varying terms, depending on which best reflects their experience. Along with ‘invisible disability’, you may see the following terms being used:
- Non-visible disability
- Unseen disability
- Hidden disability
- Less-visible disability
- Non-apparent disability
The perceived visibility of an impairment may change over time; sometimes, an individual may feel that their disability is ‘visible’ or it may be less visible, also changing depending on who is perceiving the disability. The term ‘dynamic disability’ can be used to reflect this to some degree, as some individuals may use something like a mobility aid at certain times but not others.
It is important to remember that just because you personally cannot see that someone has a disability, it does not mean it does not exist.
What is Considered an Invisible Disability?
Non-visible disabilities can encompass a range of things – there is no one way to experience non-apparent disabilities. Examples of an invisible disability might include, but are by no means limited to:
- Chronic pain or fatigue
- Other chronic conditions like diabetes
- Mental health conditions like depression, schizophrenia, PTSD and anxiety
- Blindness or visual impairments
- Deafness or hearing impairments
- Cognitive impairments like traumatic brain injuries and learning disabilities
- Various other diverse conditions
A person may have multiple disabilities, with some being visible and some being non-visible.
Supporting People with Non-Visible Disabilities
As with any disability, the kind of support an individual with non-visible disabilities needs will vary. You should always listen to the individual rather than assuming everyone expects, requires and appreciates the same kind of support. Never make assumptions about what a person with disabilities, visible or non-visible, can or cannot do.
Some people may choose to keep their disability private, while others may wear a badge or symbol that makes others aware they have a non-visible disability. The sunflower lanyard from the Hidden Disabilities Sunflower Scheme is one example of how people use an outward sign to signify their disability.
Remember, even if someone is not wearing a sign like this, it does not mean they are lying about their disability – it is not their responsibility to prove to you that they have a disability, nor is it in your purview to ask.
Ignorant reactions to invisible disabilities can further expose incorrect perceptions about disability in general, reinforcing certain stigmas and leading to misunderstandings.
Invisible Disability Awareness
Ableism can come in many forms, and those with invisible disabilities may experience varying levels of discrimination. Educating yourself, understanding what is meant by non-visible disabilities and recognising how society treats such disabilities are among the first steps towards helping reduce the barriers faced by individuals with non-visible disabilities.
Support begins with respect as the bare minimum. Respect that you may not be able to tell if someone has a disability and respect that how someone expresses their disability is their choice.
Ensuring we create an environment where everyone feels included and accepted is just one of the things we strive for. Everyone deserves a break and a chance to escape the everyday routine. Here at Calvert Exmoor, our accessible adventure activities ensure everyone, no matter their ability, can experience a holiday to remember.
If a break full of accessible climbing, zip lining, archery and more sounds like something you or a loved one would enjoy, please get in touch with the Calvert Exmoor team to book a stay with us.
As an accessible centre that provides activity holidays for people with disabilities, we offer exciting adventure activities that help push individuals out of their comfort zone. We’ve seen first-hand how breaks away like this can boost a person’s confidence and self-esteem, no matter who they are or their circumstances.
Showing that everyone matters and should be able to experience all kinds of things is at the heart of what we do here at Calvert Exmoor. Whoever you are and whatever your ability, we believe it’s what you CAN do that counts.
We work hard to provide an environment of support and know how important it can be to reach out to others when you are struggling.
Checking in With Your Mental Health & Seeking Help
Over the past years, there has been a necessary and welcome surge in mental health support and awareness, making understanding your own mental health and recognising the signs you may need to seek help more accessible.
For many who struggle with mental health challenges, reaching out to seek others’ help is a turning point. Whether this means checking in with a family member, friend, medical professional or support line, this step is often one of the first steps to help you get to a better place.
However, knowing this doesn’t necessarily make it any easier to take those initial steps. If you are struggling yourself or want to support someone you love, there are numerous things you can embrace to make reaching out to others easier, helping to improve wellbeing and happiness.
The Benefits of Having a Reliable Social Support Network
Sometimes being on your own for a while is necessary as a bit of time to yourself can help you work through problems or uncertainties.
However, too much time on your own can become unhealthy, especially over prolonged periods. Humans are social beings, so it is important to have social networks we can trust and turn to when things become difficult.
A sympathetic ear or the presence of someone we can trust can help prevent, or at least ease, feelings of isolation, alienation and rumination.
Knowing you have a trustworthy network of people to turn to can:
- Improve your ability to deal with stress and anxious feelings
- Boost your self-esteem and social skills
- Improve overall health and wellbeing
Not Everyone Finds Talking Easy
For many, the idea of being honest about their feelings or asking for support makes them feel vulnerable, which dissuades them from confronting their difficulties.
While it can feel overwhelming to talk about your problems, it’s important to remember that those who you care about want to listen so they can help support you.
If you talk to someone about your feelings and they haven’t quite reacted the way you thought, this is also okay. We all have different life experiences, and just because a conversation hasn’t gone as you may have hoped doesn’t mean that someone else might not understand.
The person you’ve opened up to may feel unequipped to support you because of their own issues; this does not mean there aren’t other people you can turn to who will be able to help.
If you feel like you don’t have friendships you can rely on, remember it is never too late to open yourself to new experiences, find friends and join new social networks. As life and our circumstances change, so too can our support networks.
Seeking out a local group that celebrates one of your interests or even going on an adventure holiday that can improve mental health can expose you to new people and give you the opportunity to make lifelong friends.
Bonding with like-minded people can also put you in touch with others who have shared similar experiences and can offer advice on how they would deal with a situation.
How to Reach Out to Someone Who is Struggling
If you know that a loved one isn’t quite themselves, sometimes giving them the space to reach out is required.
However, if your loved one hasn’t connected with you in some time, it may be time for you to open the conversation by letting them know you are around to listen without pushing the issue too much.
By opening the door to communication, you allow them to move at their own pace, ensuring they don’t feel ambushed or shamed.
Creating a Safe Space
If you want to offer support, creating a safe space where your loved one feels like they can explain their thoughts, feelings and worries is essential.
It is not your place to judge, only to show you care about their struggles and will do what you can to help, whether this means helping them seek professional support or just being a friendly face to chat to at the end of a hard day.
It’s Not All About Talking
As much as talking about our problems can offer relief, building healthy, supportive relationships relies on more than just having the tough conversations. Simply spending time with someone and taking part in activities together can be extremely beneficial.
This shows you are there for the good times and hard times, proving you to be a reliable presence in someone’s life and a friend they can lean on.
One of our goals at Calvert Exmoor is to bring people from all walks of life together to enjoy a range of fantastic accessible adventure activities in Devon. If this sounds like something you or a loved one would enjoy, get in touch today to find out more about the accessible holidays we offer.
What Support is There for Mental Health?
Looking after your mental health is essential for your wellbeing and general happiness. This, however, is often easier said than done! Understanding when you need a bit of support is a significant step in the right direction.
For those that struggle with their mental health, there are a plethora of great resources that aim to help you through a range of situations.
Our work as a dedicated Devon charity and trust makes us keenly aware of how important and beneficial it is to have access to a range of mental health organisations that listen to you no matter what.
Below, we discuss how you can seek support and what kind of resources are available to those that need it.
Seeking Support When You Need it
Seeking support is an important first step that often feels like a big hurdle to overcome.
It’s common to be unsure about reaching out when dealing with mental health challenges but accessing the resources that are right for you can help you feel empowered about making positive changes in your life and solidify that you don’t have to feel alone.
The mental health organisation Mind state that you may want to consider seeking help if you:
- Find that you are worrying more than normal.
- Feel that you are enjoying your life less.
- Experience thoughts or feelings that are difficult to cope with and have an unwelcome impact on your day-to-day life.
- Feel you want to access further support or treatment.
Even if you are not sure whether you are experiencing a specific mental health problem, you can and should always find resources to support you, whether this means talking to a mental health professional, accessing resources from a dedicated organisation or reaching out to a friend.
Talking to Others
It may sound like a generic piece of advice, but talking to others and opening up can be of genuine value when you feel like you’re struggling.
Reaching out to people you can trust and are close to can help when you’re discussing your initial options and deciding how to move forward.
If you feel you cannot talk to a friend or family member, there are many organisations out there that will listen to you and guide you to further resources.
Mental Health Charity Helplines and Organisations
In the past few years, we have seen a concerted effort to destigmatise talking about mental health and those that struggle with it. Thanks to the work of vital organisations and the individuals behind them, people who require support, whether they need an empathetic ear or are in crisis, have plenty of places to turn to.
The NHS provides a useful A-Z list of charities, organisations, helplines and support groups, covering a range of specialities and advice.
Below, you can find a more detailed look at some of these brilliant resources.
Mind provides information and support, aiming to empower those that are experiencing mental health problems while championing understanding and the improvement of mental health services.
You can access their helpline by calling 0300 123 3393 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Find out more about what they do and how they can help on the Mind website.
For immediate emotional support, the Samaritans helpline provides someone to listen to those that need to talk.
No matter how big or small your problems feel, you can call their helpline 24 hours a day at 116 123 or get in touch with someone via email@example.com.
This organisation works to transform the lives of those affected by mental illness and change the way mental health struggles are viewed.
You can call their advice line on 0300 5000 927 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Again, the Rethink website is full of expert advice, information and further resources to support anyone affected by mental health problems.
Carers can, of course, reach out to any of the previously mentioned charities, but Carers Trust is another resource dedicated specifically to supporting carers health and wellbeing.
Find out more on the Carers Trust website.
Turning to Your GP
If you would like to talk to someone in person, your GP can be your first port of call when seeking formal help. Some mental health services may require a referral, which a GP can take care of.
If you’re struggling with more serious mental help problems, a GP can help by:
- Making a diagnosis.
- Offering advice on treatment like therapy or medication.
- Referring you to a psychiatrist or mental health specialist.
- Recommending other support options you could benefit from.
Treating ourselves kindly and embracing even the smallest victories is vital when improving our mental health and seeking the right kind of support. If you are struggling, take a look at the resources we have mentioned here or speak to a healthcare professional for tailored advice – you are never alone in your challenges.
Here at Calvert Trust Exmoor, we are dedicated to supporting individuals of all abilities on our accessible activity breaks. We provide a fun and supportive environment to help our guests build confidence, gain independence and discover new experiences.
If you’d like to support the work we do, find out how you can get involved or make a donation!
Looking after your mental and physical wellbeing is essential as a carer. It may feel challenging because much of your time is devoted to caring for a loved one. However, it is beneficial for both you and the person you are looking after to treat yourself with appreciation.
Here at Calvert Trust Exmoor, we provide outdoor adventure activities in Devon for people of all ages and abilities. We support and encourage all our guests in a safe environment in trying new experiences. In our blog, we offer our advice on the importance of taking the time to support your mental health.
Being Appreciative and Understanding Of Yourself
Understanding that you are only human is important in accepting that you can only do so much as one individual.
Acknowledge the things you can do to care for your loved one and try to identify areas where you could use some support.
It is also essential to not compare your responsibilities and feelings to other carers in a similar position. They are not you, and each circumstance will be different. Each situation will have its challenges that people outside of it may not know about or understand.
Finding Someone to Talk To
Having a listening ear that you genuinely trust can help significantly if you feel like you are struggling as a carer. The person you share your thoughts with might be another family member, a friend, or you may prefer to discuss your feelings with someone who is not familiar with your circumstances, such as a counsellor.
There is no right or wrong person to speak to, as long as you feel like you can open up to them. Talking through how you feel can help you to work out how to manage any difficult emotions. Sharing how much you do as a carer can also help others understand how they could offer additional support.
Talking might also relieve any feelings of isolation. With the responsibility of care on your shoulders, it can help you to change your perspective. If things feel like they are too much, you should try and speak to someone as soon as possible.
Making Time For Yourself
This can be hard if you feel overwhelmed by responsibilities as a carer, but it shouldn’t be overlooked. If you find that you don’t have sufficient time for yourself, working out how you can should be a priority.
One or two hours a day might help you to maintain your mental health at a healthy level. It can give you time to do something for yourself, such as exercising, socialising, or simply taking a relaxing bath. Small and consistent things to look forward to can be very uplifting as well as motivational.
Prioritising the Basics
Keeping on top of the basics is an essential part of managing your mental wellbeing. Ensuring you are getting the required amount of sleep, a healthy diet and enough exercise can all positively contribute.
Family time is an integral part of anyone’s life, and enjoying an activity holiday altogether can be just what you need. Here at Calvert Trust Exmoor, we provide accessible holidays for everyone to enjoy and ensure that all our guests are supported in our activities. Why not browse our site to discover more about the holidays we provide or speak to one of our team today for more information calling 01598 763221. You can also email email@example.com