10 Reasons People Aren’t Reading Your Blog

Photo by Andrew Neel on Unsplash

Hello lovelies,

I was inspired to write this post as I saw a dear friend of mine struggle with getting any readership on his blog. I put a couple of ideas to him, but then I sat back and realised, it’s probably not only him who is struggling with his blog.

Becoming a blogger has been challenging. There are so many little naunces that you have to check off to make your post a success, and admittedly, even I sometimes forget them before I post. Sometimes a post is really popular, and other times your blog just dwindles and struggles to get any attention. Sometimes blogging success really is just a matter of time, But if you’re stuck and you’re looking for some tips to help, here are ten ideas from my own experience.

1. You write about the wrong stuff

As a rule, when people read, they’re looking for something that may be valuable for them. Whether it’s an experience at an attraction, a review of a product, some tips with something or an opinion that they might agree or disagree on, people want something that serves them. You may have had a lovely time with your family and be extremely proud of them, but really, that sort of thing is better kept for social media. Unless there is something that people can take away from your stories, you may struggle to make up the numbers. How about visiting attractions to review together, or trying foods from all over the world?

2. You aren’t on social media

My first question is why not? My second question is which ones would you use? There are so many and it’s important to pick the ones that you feel you would use. Owing to it’s largest user database, then Facebook seems like the best place to begin, but loads of bloggers have Youtube channels and Instagram accounts and that’s cool, too. Ideally, you want to use two or three, so choose the ones that suit you best.

3. You aren’t using any pictures

In the time that I’ve been using Unsplash, my blog has seen quite a large traffic increase, and that tells me something – that adding some pictures is really worth it! Pictures add colour, they add contrast and they make your posts a little bit more appealing. No need to go crazy with it, just try one or two per post and don’t forget to give credit for any free images.

4. You aren’t entertaining (ouch)

Confession time. I’ve read quite a few posts and clicked ‘back’ without reading to the end. Why? Because the author wasn’t very engaging. Maybe you read like a boring college professor or you swamp your audience with information. Imagine that you’re trying to explain something to a reasonably intelligent good friend – how would you word it differently?

5. You aren’t using tags properly

I’m not taliking about hashtags, but blog tags. As a rule of thumb, I aim for around 5-10. Too many can seem like an overkill, too few and your posts might not be noticed. Play around and find a number that works for you. Also, try different words for the same thing (blogs, blogging, writing etc).

6. You aren’t commenting

Comment, people! Visit the blogs of readers that visit you (especially the ones who visit you often) and comment on their posts! It builds friendships and it keeps people coming back to your blog. You don’t need to do it everyday. I schedule half an hour once or twice per week to send out some love, and it works!

7. Your paragraphs are too long

I’ve been there myself. The great wall of text and you just switch off (particularly if it’s poorly punctuated). To help your readers not fatigue from reading the fruits of your labour, try to break your posts down into small, snappy paragraphs to make things more manageable to read. There’s no guarantee it’ll work, but a punchier new approach may see you a small increase in traffic.

8. You favour quantity over quality

I fully understand, you think that blogging more often will increase your readers, but sadly that isn’t the case. Remember my first point, people want to read something that serves them, and so quality, informative posts are what people want to read. If you post regular posts that offer your readers nothing besides some temporary boredom relief, there is a chance you may be pushing your readers away. If you’re just starting out, try initially for just one post per day, and make it worth reading.

9. You don’t write often enough

While writing too often may be your problem, the opposite is also true. If you don’t write often enough (at least initially) your blog will struggle against those who write more often. I generally aim for five days a week, with a break on weekends. If your blog is still quite new, you may want to write at least 2-3 times per week.

10. You haven’t been writing long enough

It’s always too easy to try something and give in, but if you’ve only been blogging for a few weeks or months, try changing your approach, and keep going. In the first six months, my blog saw nearly no traffic at all. Even with only five posts per week, it’s now seeing traffic every day. I had to create my logo and get out there and try new things to give me something to share. Why not try some of my other nine tips before you give up on your blog completely?

Of course, none of these tips are a guarantee for success, and that’s probably why they’re free. Play around with your blog and try different types of content and themes. It does take some work to get it right and to feel like your blog has the potential to succeed. But when the likes and comments start to flow in, the blogging community is a truly wonderful place to be.

How have you seen your blog succeed? Why not share some of your tips in the comments?

Keep smiling, everyone!

Helen xx

The Problem With Giveaway Sites

Photo by Elaine Casap on Unsplash

If you’re familiar with sites like Freecycle, you’ll know that experiences are typically a mixed bag. These platforms can be a great place for genuine people who really want to make a difference to the world, but there can be more than a few bad eggs, too.

My most recent experience prompted me to write this article and share with you some tips and tricks. Whether you’re collecting or giving away, you’ll find some simple ideas below.

In the UK, because of some copyright laws, Freecycle is now known as ‘Freegle’. It’s really quite funky and there is a cool little app that you can download onto your smartphone. There’s a calendar that you can use too, so you can mark when you’re available for collections. Freegle works on the same principles as Freecycle – still usable, clean and suitable for all ages. Also, plants and seeds are fine, but no live animals. Simple stuff.

As a rule of thumb, it is expected that you agree a reasonable collection time, usually between 8am-8pm. This means that your fellow Freecycler isn’t disturbed early in the morning or late at night, and those of us (like my husband) who need to be up early for work can turn in at a sensible time. It’s also common courtesy that you keep communication open, and let a Freecycler know if you need to cancel a collection.

About a week ago, I offered up some acrylic paints. They were new and unsed and were for a project I had planned last year. Because of my father’s health and the subsequent grief, my plans sort of got put on hold and the project that I had in mind sort of doesn’t really matter anymore. Because of that, I decided to let the acrylic paints go.

The woman I promised them to said that she would be by at about 11am the following day to collect them and, as a blogger and a housewife, I said that would be fine. I usually walk Hugo after lunch anyway, once my blog posts are done.

At 11am, my door was still silent. At 12, 1pm and 2pm, still nobody had turned up. We got all the way to 8pm and so I decided that as there was no communication, she was probably wasting my time, unpromised the item that I’d promised to her and left it at that.

I got a message from her – she had to take her husband to the hospital and she forgot about the paint. Understandable! That’s very serious stuff. I told her not to worry and let me know when she’d like to collect it, which she did, at about 3pm on Saturday. Again, that was fine by me.

Once again, she didn’t show up.

I received another message from her telling me that she was running late and it would now be about 5:30pm. I was getting annoyed now, but if she was really having issues then she was really having issues, so I agreed.

Still nothing.

At 6pm, I received a message from her telling me that she was running late and if I’d leave them outside for her, then she would collect them. By now I was visibly vexed (according to my husband!), and so I put the paints in a carrier bag and left them on top of the gas meter box.

They were still there when my father-in-law went home at 10:30pm, so I bought them back in and told myself that she couldn’t collect them. Four missed chances was at least one chance too many.

At 7:57 this morning, three minutes before my alarm, I was startled awake by Hugo barking. My Tesco shop was due just before lunch, and the postman never comes around much before about 10:30am. I wasn’t expecting anyone else, so who could have disturbed me so early?

When I checked my Ring doorbell camera, there was a dark-skinned woman at my door.

My first thoughts were that she may have been from the local Jehovah’s Witnesses hall, so naturally, I didn’t bother to answer. When I received a message at 9am this morning telling me that she had been, I immediately withdrew the offer for good.

Missing a collection, making no contact and turning up unannounced is not okay. I do not like people turning up and picking things up from outside my home because if a crook sees someone else do it, then what’s stopping them? I like to be able to complete the transaction in person when goods exchange hands. Even if nothing else, it allows me to get to know the person to decide whether I want to give free goodies to them again.

With that in mind, here are some basic guidelines from my own experiences for you to take home:-

Agree A Sensible Time

I’ve had people ask to collect from my door as late as 10pm at night. No, 10pm is not okay. I want to be relaxing and enjoying some downtime with my husband then, not diving up to see who is at the door. Freegle’s guidelines are generally 8am-8pm anyday, which seems like a sensible policy to adhere to.

Don’t Be Greedy

The only time I will promise several items to someone is if I know them. If I know, for example, a Mum who has creative children, then I’d have no issues with promising several crafty bits and bobs to them. Sometimes though, I get seven or eight emails from one person for nearly everything that I’ve listed, and it’s nearly everything that has the potential to sell. If I get a whiff that a Freegler is just going to stick it on Ebay or pop into Cash Converters on the way home, then the deal is off. Two or three items I get let slide, but asking for most of what has been offered seems fishy

Mind Your Manners

In another recent incident, I had a woman turn up for two requested items, which I gave her. She responded with “okay Helen, thanks, bye!”, without even looking at me, and she was gone. It doesn’t hurt to make eye contact, it doesn’t hurt to say please and thankyou and it doesn’t hurt to exchange a few lines of conversation with the person who just gave you their unwanted goods for free. Treat nice people as nice people, always.

Don’t Go Alone

Ideally, nobody should collect (or donate) alone. If you don’t know the area, you don’t know who lives there and so it’s worth having someone with you, just in case trouble kicks off on your way there. Similarly, you’re opening your door to a stranger and it always pays to have someone with you if there is a problem. 99% of Freecycle and Freegle folks are lovely, genuine peeople, but there are always the odd one or two. Stay safe and always have someone nearby during exchanges, especially more valuable ones.

On a sidenote, if you’re collecting furniture, please, please always take people with you who can help you, and have a vehicle that is big enough to transport the goods. I gave two drawer units to a young mother, but her nor her friend could do any lifting and she couldn’t fit them both in the car. Remember, you’re dealing with a stranger, and some of us have health issues.

Try To Stick To Daylight Hours

Again, similar to above, it’s safer for you and safer for them if everyone can see what’s going on. Try to agree a time for a collection during daylight hours, if you can.

Keep Your Dog Under Control

You may love Fido, but your Freecycle friend may not. I collected some hamster bedding once (way back when I had a hamster) and I was met by a Staffordshire Bull Terrier. Fortunately, the only part of him that caused me any pain was his very whippy, waggy tail, but if people don’t know the dog, they’re likely to be very nervous of it. Also, if your dog is a nervous dog or likely to scent the newcomer, then you owe it to your visitor not to let them get peed on. Pop Fido away for five minutes, please.

Be Authentic

I mentioned the sneaky sellers above, but some Freecyclers don’t actually mind if their goods end up being sold, they do, however, ask for a right to know. It’s fine to receive unwanted goods to sell at a car boot sale or garage sale, but please be honest and don’t con anyone out of cash. If you plan to sell the goods, tell them. If you’re selling them for a good cause, be honest about that too. Most givers will be fine if you’re selling the goods to raise funds for a charitable cause, but will unlikely be more peeved if you’re just planning to pocket the dough without telling them.

Don’t Forget The Moderators

Lastly, don’t forget the moderation teams. Whether they advise you on staying safe or how to behave, they are also there to make sure that everyone is behaving appropriately. I haven’t had to contact them often, but I didn’t hesitate when a married man collected an unwanted handbag for his wife, then proceeded to hit on me and refused the item when I turned him down. Most people on these platforms are genuine, but the moderation team is always there if things do go amiss.

How have your experiences with these recycling platforms been? Let me know in the comments!

Keep smiling, everyone!

Helen xx

My Help On Monday: Criticism- How To Give It, How To Take It (And Two Times I Was Harshly Criticised)

Last week, Matt and I visited The Inn On The Green, and then reviewed our experience following our visit. As is standard procedure, I write two reviews- one for my blog, and a shorter summary that I post on TripAdvisor, no biggie.

Now, experiences at The Inn On The Green weren’t exactly stellar. As a reviewer, I can only be honest and say what I did and didn’t enjoy, and that’s all I set out to do.

So when I saw the response from the manager to my original review, I was quite surprised.

Most managers that I have reviewed have taken any criticism on the chin, taken my pointers on board and gone back to work unscathed. Not this guy.

According to him, I fabricated dishes and I was hard to please. He pretty much chewed me out for being among the 5% of people who weren’t satisfied with how his pub operates.

Yeesh, now it’s personal.

For a moment, it took my husband and a few deep breaths to stop me bouncing onto my laptop and bashing out exactly what I thought of him. It wouldn’t have resolved the issue, but I would have definitely felt more relieved.

But then it struck me, his excessive use of (sometimes multiple) exclamation marks struck a chord.

This wasn’t about me, this was about him.

Him, and the way he handled criticism.

Badly.

Let me be honest, there are two British celebrities that really resonate with me. Heck, I’d even go as far as to say that they inspire me.

Simon Cowell, and Gordon Ramsay.

Not exactly ‘nice’ guys. Agreed?

But you see, once you get past that tough cookie exterior, they are among some of the nicest, most thoughtful, most genuine people you could ever meet.

And I’m pretty much the same.

I can be a bitch, and I can be a complete asshole. But I’m a bitch and an asshole because I want to see you win and I want to see you succeed. I’m not going to sugar-coat things.

Just like Simon Cowell and Chef Ramsay.

Two Times That I Was Criticised

Make no mistake, I am human, and as a human, it means I am fair game to critique. If you want to criticise what I do and you have a good reason to, feel free! In fact, I welcome your criticism because it allows mo to shape the way I do things and make my blog better for you. Go ahead and criticise me!

Story 1: My Writing Club Story

When I joined my local writing club, I was really hopeful to make lots of fellow writer friends. There were 5 of us, three elderly ladies, one younger girl and me. One of the older ladies was the group leader, and she sort of decided what we were going to do, or what we would write about.

Very early in, I realised that we all had very different writing styles. The young girl liked to write about growing up in Africa, two of the ladies wrote poetry, the leader lady wrote prose and then there was me – who wrote pieces aim to assist, guide and inspire. Leadership stuff.

For whatever reason, the leader lady gave us all ‘homework’ to do at the end of the first week, we all had to write a piece of prose about someone we knew, without saying who that person was.

So, I wrote a piece about my neighbour.

It wasn’t a particularly nice piece, sure, but I wanted to convey the emotion that I felt. I wanted to convey the disgust and detest I felt for him for the way he would stand in front of me and lie so frequently and so prolifically. I had some strong emotions about him, and I took that chance to get them out.

She hated it.

It wasn’t prose at all, she said. But the emotion was there. My detest for my neighbour was apparent.

So, then, even if it wasn’t prose, it was still something.

Emotional, powerful. Hey, that was okay.

Each person in the group was told how bad their work was, they were each, in turn, criticised for the work that they produced. Even the poets who struggled the least with the challenge were told how they could improve. At that point I realised that nothing short of perfect prose would be good enough and I decided to disregard her feedback. I don’t write in poetic styles anyway, so that was fine for me.

Although I’ve never been back, my reaction to her criticism was to calmly and quietly leave the group at the end of the session, and vow never to return. I didn’t attack her, I didn’t berate her and I didn’t shut down to everyone else. I just decided it wasn’t the right place for me, and left.

The last that I heard, the leader lady has now left and the group is now led by someone else. Of what I’ve heard, they’re also doing quite well producing articles for our monthly local newspaper, so kudos to them.

Story 2: A Bad Joke

Sat on the seafront in Northern Cornwall, my brother pointed out the sun and said that the sun was in the sky. Amused by his pointing out the obvious, I made a bad attempt at trying to be funny.

“Is that what it is? I thought it was a giant ball of fire.”

I know, I know, it was painful.

“Well yeah, that’s exactly what it is” he said bluntly.

Yeah, that’s exactly what it is. Awkward.

“I’m sorry sis, but if that was what you call humour then.. wow”

Wow yourself!

I was deeply aggrieved and possibly rightly offended. He just didn’t criticise my joke. He criticised me.

Criticism: How To Take It, How To Give It

In life, anything we can do can be criticised. For as long as we can form opinions, and the opinion isn’t favourable, then we’re likely to dish out some criticism. That’s just what we humans do.

The difference, though, is in how you do it.

If, like the writing group leader lady, you just criticise something that someone did, then that’s fine and fair. You aren’t judging them, you are judging something they said or did. That’s good. If you criticise someone for something about who they are (like my brother did), then you’re likely to lose friends, and your criticism will probably be ignored completely. Throw in a compliment or two with your criticism (who can say no to the “compliment sandwich”?) and you’re good and ready.

The difference between helpful criticism an unhelpful criticism, is how you give it, and the intent.

When I criticised the pub, I was not criticising the pub nor the manager. I was criticising my experience. The pub itself was nice and I’m sure the manager is decent, too. It wasn’t about hurting him, it was about allowing potential paying customers to make a decision based on collective reviews. One bad review on TripAdvisor wouldn’t put me off of visiting an establishment, personally, but ten bad reviews on the first page might change my mind. Places like TripAdvisor require a huge level of honesty.

Most people do not set out to belittle you, nor do they set out to offend or upset you, and so it is important to try and see it that way. Criticism is not, generally, meant as a personal attack against you, but as negative feedback against the thing you did.

When we get criticised, it’s easy to overreact and lash out. Try not to let that be the case. Overreacting to criticism does nothing to preserve your credibility and is likely to make people refuse to give you an opinion again. Instead, smile and say thankyou, then decide exactly what you’re going to do with it.

When Empaths Shut Down

Four pints of milk,

That was all it for took me to explode into a rage – 4 pints of semi-skimmed milk.

“That was the milk I asked you to put in the fridge,” he said softly.

You asked me to put in the fridge? Why don’t you put your own damn milk in the fridge?!

On the surface, it all seems so trivial. I mean.. it’s milk, and a fridge, right? It shouldn’t have made me so explosive, and yet it did.

Because that’s what happens when empaths are overwhelmed – we become explosive.

What triggered this recent change hasn’t really been one thing, but rather an accumulation of lots of little things. It’s been a neighbour who whines on and on and on about the recent ugly demise of a relationship, friends who have hurt me (and I’ve let get away with hurting me, so I’m angry at myself), a husband who, sorry to say, gets away with a lot more than he perhaps should around the home (I’m lenient because he works), the stress of getting the home up together for Christmas, being the master organiser of the household and buying Christmas presents for 5 people (4 of which are men with very different tastes!) and supporting my father-in-law with various odds and ends.

All of that still is layered on top of what is, at it’s core, already making me already feel rather sore and vulnerable – the fact that this is my first winter and Christmas without my Dad.

He was more than just an inspiration to me, He was my lifeline in my fight against Seasonal Affective Disorder. During the cold, dark days when my husband and mother were at work, just hearing a familiar, friendly voice was enough to pull me out of my head and bring me back home, and now he’s gone. Now, I feel cold, frightened and alone until my husband gets home.

So it’s no wonder I feel a little frazzled.

As an empath, one of the biggest curses traits of my nature is that I seem to naturally draw the world’s wounded, vulnerable and sad. I first came to this realisation when I realised that the last person I’d met offline for a friendship was yet another person with autism, now at least the fourth. Although I have no problem with people with any form of autism, I realised in many cases that these people were looking for someone who was ‘normal’, and who wouldn’t judge them. They didn’t want to be my friend because we had anything in common, they wanted to be my friend because I seemed like an okay person. It’s both touching and damning in equal measure.

Since then, I’ve found my neighbour has also bonded with me because I’m the kind of person who listens and cares without judgement. I also recalled the time I was invited to eat turkey dinosaurs and baked beans and play with Barbie dolls with a 34-year-old woman with severe learning difficulties because I was the only girl she knew who didn’t judge her.

In all of these cases it can be exceptionally hard to say no and close the door. You feel like the worst person alive, and yet doing so can be an important act of self-preservation.

But I digress.

All of that caring for others takes it’s toll on an empath, and sooner or later, we become predisposed to another emotion, or rather, a lack of emotion.

We develop apathy.

Empaths and apathy is not new to me. My mother particularly is an empath, but she is not weak and limitless in her empathy. She is strong, fierce, crazy, passionate and deeply caring, but if the extent of her empathy is exceeded, she’ll be the first to let you know the true extent of her feelings. When my mother is done caring, she stops caring about anything. Her priority is getting herself rested and feeling better.

A bit like me, really.

“How Are You?”

Many moons ago, I had a friend called Mark. Now, things were a bit wierd between Mark and I, because what I thought was just simply an open, honest and sincere friendship was really an emotional affair, I just didn’t know that they existed. As far as I knew at the time, unless part A magically ends up in part B (or one of its acquaintances), no crime had been committed. Neither party saw anything of each other’s anatomy (besides our faces), so I was innocent of any wrondgoing, I believed. Of course, now I know very differently, and Mark and I haven’t spoken since.

During this little spell, I remember one occasion where I felt overworked and underappreciated. I told Mark that I felt nobody cared about how I was feeling.

“Okay, so let me ask you something..”

“How are you, Helen?”

How are you?

Not how is your Mum, your brother, your husband… me.

That’s all an empath really wants, to be heard, to feel understood, to feel recognised.

Five minutes of your time, to do some offloading of their own.

Five minutes of your time, to do two or three tasks they know need doing, for them.

Five minutes of your time can go a long way to save an empath from apathy.

After my volatile explosion, I found a few things happened.

First of all, I closed down completely. I didn’t care about anyone, or anything, even the housework. I hit apathy, I’d frozen up, and I needed unfreezing.

Secondly, I leaned against the draining board, and I ugly cried. That was what life, stress and being overwhelmed had reduced an otherwise strong woman to, full-on ugly tears. Strong women who usually have their shit together don’t ugly cry too easy. At least, not where they could be so easily seen.

That was where Matt found me.

At the moment, the only people I’m really letting close to me is Matt and my Mum. Matt, because bless him, having realised that I was overwhelmed, he did redo the laundry and organised under the stairs. Even if he did manage to pull the shoe rack off of the back of the door and create yet another job that needed resolving, he at least tried. I’ll never be mad at anyone who makes a genuine effort, with anything. My Mum on the other hand has been video calling me regularly, just to check in. We chat on video and drink tea and there is something so wonderfully housewifey about our “tea & 10 minutes”, ten blissful minutes with my Mummy.

The people closest to my heart know how I’m really feeling. In some ways, we’re all feeling the same with our loss, but we’re also all feeling stress in different ways. The people closest to me are enabling me to thaw out and warm up again, they are allowing me to feel and care again. That probably explains why I also told the Jehovah’s Witnesses that they overstepped the mark when they gave me a “death & afterlife” booklet and humiliated me on my doorstep by asking me to read aloud a passage following the loss of my Dad. I also told them that they were a bunch of brainwashed, self-regulated fools and that I was no longer interested in anything they had to say, owing to their lack of genuine empathy in my hour of need.

A classic case of why not to come back to me if you cross me, I think!

5 Tips For Caring For Empaths

Look, empaths aren’t hard people to know, but we are hard people to deal with sometimes. We care about the things that other people might overlook and our feelings do get hurt seemingly easily. With that in mind, here are 5 tips for handling the empath(s) in your life.

  1. Listen with interest

If you’re not paying attention, an empath will notice and they will think you don’t care, or that they are boring you. If an empath needs to talk, be sure that you have time to listen, even if only for five or ten minutes. An empath does not want to depress you, they just need to feel heard and noticed, too. Ask questions and pay attention to what they are saying. If they are asking for your thoughts, be ready to give them. If an empath is asking you for advice, it’s because they trust you more than themselves at this moment, so make sure you’re up to the mark. Closing down their request could seriously impact your relationship with them.

2. Be ready to chip in

Empaths are notorious for trying to save the world, all by themselves and within 24 hours. Someone’s in need, there’s a parcel to drop off and dinner to cook, plus vacuuming to do and dishes in the sink? No problem! An empath can do everything (or at least, so they think!). The reality is, empaths, like anyone else, have time and energy limits. If you can drop off the parcel or order food in, let the empath know and then do it. They will be extremely grateful for your help and will be far more willing to be there for you next time you need them.

3. Don’t abuse an empath

Unfortunately, there are some people on this planet who would think nothing of asking an empath to do something for them because it suits them and they know that the empath, with their kind, helpful nature, is likely to stress out and try to fulfill their request. Don’t be that person. If you can make your own coffee or get your own information from the internet, do it. If you can see something that needs tidying or fixing that the empath may have seen but hasn’t resolved yet, do that, too. Empaths need to learn to prioritise tasks. Using my own examples here, for me, walking the dog was far more important than letting my father-in-law know how long he needed to microwave his Cornish pasty, but as an empath, I stressed about both and I inevitably ruined one while worrying about the other. Don’t put an empath in my shoes, unless you really have to.

4. Always be grateful

“You’re amazing!”, “you’re so smart!”, these really matter to an empath because you are validating them for their contribution. In return for their work, you give them a little temporary ego boost. Empaths often don’t do something for anything in return, so something they didn’t ask for and weren’t expecting (like a compliment) can leave them feeling good. Even a sincere and heartfelt “thankyou” will do. Say it, and really mean it.

5. Allow the empath time

Empaths can get overwhelmed with emotion, and so sometimes, we need some time to ourselves to unwind. Empaths usually aren’t shutting you out to punish you, they just need some time to process their thoughts and feelings for themselves. If an empath asks for some time, allow it, it usually won’t be long. After the bins didn’t get emptied last week (another, different argument), I realised that I could just book in a bulky waste collection, pay my £25 and put the excess rubbish outside for collection. Et voila! Problem solved. It took me all of five minutes to think of that, once I had some time to myself. Sometimes Wolfie needs time, too. It isn’t about punishing each other. Empaths can and do get deeply hurt during an argument and sometimes they need time to think up answers on their own.

A sidenote here, because I really believe that communication in a relationship is key. It’s hard to say exactly how much time an empath needs, because they may only need five minutes, or twenty, or longer. They may want to write, sing or listen to music to express their feelings, so they need to be allowed time for that. They may also feel exhausted after the argument and want to cry or sleep for a while, so it is important to allow them time to do that, too.

Personally, I don’t advise taking time outside of the home, unless you really have to. The exception to rule is if you want to run an errand, like taking the dog for a walk. In all cases, it’s important to communicate politely and respectfully, tell your partner where you are going or how long you might be. Try and avoid overwhelming an empath, and understand that their request for space is about them, not you. For empaths, be polite, open, and try not to throw things or slam doors. I know it’s difficult because I have been guilty of doing so myself, but it’s imperative that we try to keep a lid on things out of respect for others as well.

A final tip on self-care for empaths

As empaths, one of our biggest flaws is that we put everybody and everything else first, and ourselves last. To each of you, YOU are the most important person.

When I was fifteen, I had an on-off relationship with a young man. During a chat with him in the smoker’s room (he smoked, I didn’t), he told me that I was the most important person in my life.

I argued with him – No, he was, the silly goose!

But he was right.

I really am.

As empaths, as people who care for people, self-care is so, so SO important. Make sure you eat regularly and sensibly, drink plenty of water and get enough sleep. Make sure you make time for yourself and for the things that you enjoy doing. Above all else, pay attention to who adds to your life, who gives and takes and who only takes, and don’t be afraid to drop those pesky people who only take if it helps to avoid that oh so nasty sense of apathy.

Over and out, until next time.

Stay well,

A slightly more warmed up Helen xx

12 Ideas For Coping With Anxiety & Depression

All of the ideas in this post are entirely from my own experiences and are 100% commission-free!



And not an antidepressant in sight.

1. Bach’s Rescue Remedy

I cannot advocate these enough. Legal and safe, Rescue Remedy gives me a sense of calm and clarity, rather than the groggy, half-awake state like something like benzodiazepines. If all you want and need is a touch of calm and reassurance, I strongly recommend Rescue Remedy. Also, the pastilles just look like little jelly candies, so nobody will know you’re calming your nerves.

2. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy

I realise this here is going to be controversial, but I found Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT Therapy) to be a great help for me once I researched and practiced it away from a none-too-useful therapist. Analysing my thoughts rather than just talking about them helped me to understand my triggers and to treat myself with the same compassion and support that I would give a friend.

3. Being close to water

Be it the fountain in my garden, the ocean, the stream.. if I can hear water, bizarrely my anxiety eases. Close your eyes and just listen to the flowing water. Try to imagine your stresses washing away in the flow. With a little practice, its surprising how well this works.

4. ASMR

ASMR, or Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response, can be a great tool with anxiety. An estimated one in 10 people experience ASMR, or “the tingles”, a pleasurable tingling sensation which is triggered by certain sounds including crinkling, tapping and hair brushing. Whilst not everyone experiences it, for those of us who do, it can be a great temporary relief from our negative, anxious thoughts.

5. The “HALT” technique

Used for mental health and addiction, HALT is an abbreviation of the 4 biggest causes of relapse – Hunger, Anger, Loneliness & Tiredness. When you can identify the trigger, you can do something about the problem. Hungry? Have a snack. Tired? Take a nap. Do not underestimate how well HALT works..

6. Exercise

I’m not even talking about a huge, pain-staking blow-out at the gym. A ten-minute walk, 20 minutes on a bike, whatever, it’s up to you. Exercise burns off that jittery feeling which is crucially what anxiety is. Your body is in “fight or flight” mode and you’re sat there doing nothing. Get up, move and burn it off. You don’t even need to do much. Jog on the spot or do 20 star jumps. Trust me, you’ll feel better for it and your body (and mind) will thank you, too.

7. Swimming

I’m adding this one to my list separately because it’s exercise, and then it us not. For me, swimming is as much a meditation as it exercise. When I swim, I like to imagine that I’m sweeping all of my worries behind me as I swim forward. Try this powerful visualisation and see.

8. Touch

Never, ever underestimate the power of touch. Cuddle therapy exists, massage therapy exists and for good reason. Touch releases oxytocin and serotonin that allow us to feel safe and allow our minds to relax. It is said that a 3-minute hug can reduce or even cure depression, so cuddle, cuddle, and cuddle some more!

9. Grounding

Not like your mother used to do! Grounding is one of my favourite techniques which works similarly to mindfulness to bring your focus back to the present moment. Instead of focusing on your thoughts, focus on 5 things that you can see, 4 things that you can hear, 3 things that you can feel, 2 things that you can smell and one thing that you can taste. Still anxious? Repeat the exercises with different answers for each of your five senses.

10. Distraction

Some therapists hate this because it’s more about running away than it is about tackling the problem, but sometimes it’s just not possible to start doing your therapy homework. Draw, write, listen to music, play with a pet, do whatever it takes to feel a bit calmer again.

11. Peppermint tea

A concoction suggested by my mother uses 2 drops of alcohol-based peppermint extract with a little sugar (or sweeteners) and warm water. Peppermint oil has a wonderful way of clearing the mind, calming the nerves and bringing about a sense of ease. Plus, it’s the perfect reason to have a mint humbug a day – sounds good to me!

12. Essential oils

Yep.. I know.. more hippy stuff, but they work! Like all others, lavender is my favourite to calm a racing mind, but peppermint helps to clear the head and lemon or orange do great to boost the mood.

Which ones are your favourite? Let me know in the comments!