As much as I enjoy my work/what I do – and I know I’m incredibly lucky to have this – sometimes I need a break. A little time to myself or to do something fun and exciting and interesting.

I try to have at least one day a week completely to myself to spend time in my home with my pets (I have a cat called Dolly and a bunny called Pixie). I’ll sleep in, watch Pretty Little Liars on Netflix, plan on The Sims(Freeplay), eat, and have a little pamper session with nail painting, face masks, pore strips, and a shower. And obviously finish the day off with a cold Baileys!!

But more recently, I’ve found myself going on trips with my family. They tend to explore new places every weekend and one time, I decided to go along with them and I’ve continued to tag along and look forward to Sundays ever since!

I think that in mental health – and life, in general – it’s important to spend time with the people who love you and care about you; whether that be family or friends, or a partner, or colleagues… Just the feeling that we have someone there for us when times get rough and when the stress gets overwhelming, is hugely influential on how we actually cope. Feeling lonely – being alone, can be upsetting and is a very easy way to lost self-confidence and self-esteem. It’s incredibly easy to also lose knowledge – and awareness – of your coping strategies and it’s nothing to be embarrassed about, if you need a little reminded of them sometimes.

I also think that it’s great to do something relaxing and calming at the weekend (preferably on a Sunday, obviously!) to prepare for your inevitably busy and stressful week ahead.

Cragside was perfect for this; a lovely, quiet National Trust site with plenty of nature in the grounds and then interesting architecture in the actual Cragside Hall. A Victorian home that was light years ahead of its time, Cragside Hall was the dream home of Lord and Lady Armstrong. They used their wealth, art, and science to create an ingenious home run by hydroelectricity. Beginning as a modest retreat, the home soon became ‘one of the technologically advanced homes of the Victorian age.’ The home features gadgets, modern conveniences, and an incredible arts and crafts collection.

In the grounds, over 140 years ago; Lord and Lady Armstrong planted conifers (the majority of which, came from North America) and the site hosts the largest in the UK at a staggering 131ft!! The collection of trees is named a Pinetum and was a symbol of great wealth in the Victorian age.

Also in the grounds; is the Formal Gardens, a Rock Garden, the Archimedes Screw, the Pump House, the Iron Bridge, and a Fir Tree sculpture named Douglas! Oh! And did I mention that you can go paddle boarding, canoeing, and kayaking on the lake there? No? Must have slipped my mind!

Finally! While I was at Cragside, I made a new friend! I spotted his camera before I spotted him; it was that advanced (huge!). I was interested in seeing how his photos came out compared to mine on my little Nikon Coolpix s9900! And they were incredibly impressive and then I found out he had a website and we bonded instantly and spent the rest of the day bumping into one another throughout the Hall and grounds! Anyway! Here's a link to Adrian's site with all of his photography tutorials and his own Cragside post where he gives I'm NOT Disordered a shout-out:


You could also download the self help guide for stress from Northumberland, Tyne & Wear NHS Foundation Trust for free, here:

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