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A Beginners Guide to Social Media

February 23, 2016
Social media has become an extremely popular way to keep in touch with friends, family and other contacts. It also provides a potential space for making new contacts and friends from around the world. There are lots of options which are targeted at different markets and work in slightly different ways. Rather than try to cover every option out there I have stuck to the three most popular.

Facebook


Facebook is one of the oldest of the social media platforms and it is the most popular worldwide boasting over 1 billion active users a month.

Pros
- Due to the global popularity of Facebook the site can help you to reconnect with people you may have lost touch with
- Wide range of activities you can do once you have a Facebook account e.g. join Facebook groups, create Facebook pages for business or leisure activities, like and follow Facebook pages, send email-like messages to contacts using the direct message option, send and receive instant messages via the chat options and play games.
- Easy to set up an account.  All you need is an email address.

Cons
- Facebook regularly reviews and alters it's privacy settings so users will need to keep an eye on these if they wish their information to have limited visibility and only be seen by friends.
- There is no fee for setting up a Facebook account so much of the income generated by the site comes from advertising.  This means that if you don't have ad-blocking software added to your browser you will see quite a few ads popping up in the side bar and in amongst your feed.  Ads are also personalised and targeted using the demographic information collected on peoples personal profiles so don't be surprised if you see adverts pop up on your page that don't appear on your friends and family.
- Facebook has the potential to become very time consuming and the temptation to keep checking your page, Facebook feed and updating your status can be addictive.  

Twitter

Twitter works in a similar way to the status updates in Facebook.  As post length is limited users are encouraged to be concise when sharing their views and comments.  Hashtags '#' are used to give context to tweets.
 
Pros
- Easy to set up and use.  All you need is an email address.
- Quick and easy to follow people.  
- Fast way to share views and stay updated on events and news.
- Easy to join in real-time conversations and follow specific issues or topics using hashtags.
- Less cluttered appearance than Facebook.

Cons
- Limited space to write your posts.  All posts must have no more than 140 characters (i.e. letter, numbers, punctuation and spaces) therefore there is more scope for tweets to be misinterpreted.
- Be mindful that once you have hit the 'tweet' button that post will be out there for the world to see.  You can delete tweets but if they have already appeared in friends and followers feeds deleting them will make no difference.
- Users are more vulnerable to internet trolls and cyber bullying, i.e. people who are deliberately mean or provocative.  For more information on protecting yourself read Minds leaflet on online safety.

Google+



A similar platform to Facebook where users create a profile page where they can share photos, comments, links to websites and videos.  

Pros
- Quick and easy to set up a profile page.  All you need is a Google account, such as a gmail.com email address or YouTube account.  If you don't already have one of these, don't worry, they are easy to set up.
- Easy to post content such as comments, photos, videos and website links 
- Easy for users to follow other users and join open communities. No 'friend request' feature so you don't need to get permission from other users in order to follow them or add them to your 'circles'.  Circles are a means of grouping contacts and these can be personalised by the user.

Cons  
- Although Google as a brand is enormously popular, it's social media platform, Google+, is less well known than Facebook and has fewer active users.  This therefore means that it could be harder to reconnect with friends and family members as they may not have a profile page set up.
- Like Twitter, Google+ is open so once you post something to your page it will be visible to anyone using the site. 
- The information gathered by Google, through your Google+ account, Google searches and YouTube will be used to personalise the advertisements you see.  Put simply, if you search for pictures and videos of cats you will see more advertisements for cat related products, websites and services.

 

Decluttering Tips: Items That You Can Recycle

January 25, 2016


Embarking on a task like decluttering can be an emotional experience.  We can form attachments to objects, sometimes long after they are useful to us, so letting them go can feel hard.  Often knowing that the items are going to a new home or will be put to a new use can make this process easier to manage. Below are some ideas and suggestions of ways of disposing of some hoarded or unwanted items.


Books
Books can be easy items to rehome, especially if they are in a good condition.  In this insta...

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A Quick Guide to Developing New Healthy Habits

January 12, 2016
The New Year can be a time for revisiting goals and setting new ones for the coming year.  Below are seven tips to help you to stay on track and ensure that your new habits become part of your regular routine.


1. Be smart
By smart, I mean, set SMART goals that are specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timely.  For more information on this see my earlier blog post on goal setting.  

2. Action planning
If you imagine your goal as being the 'what' you'd like to achieve then your action pla...

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Tips to Help You Manage Anxiety when Travelling to New Places

January 7, 2016


Travelling to a new location can be daunting, especially if you experience anxiety. Sometimes, however, it is unavoidable. You may need to travel somewhere new to attend a health appointment, visit family or a friend, attend a meeting or interview or start a new job or study.  Below are some steps you can take to manage the feelings of anxiety you may experience in this new situation.

Plan journey
If you are travelling via public transport you can use websites such as Travelline or National Rai...
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Activities You Can Do on Christmas Day

December 22, 2015
Christmas Day is often thought of as a time when people spend time with family or loved ones, but for some this is not possible.  This could be due to family circumstances, ill health, finances or personal choice.  Whatever the reason, below are some suggestions of activities you can do over the Christmas period that can be done alone or with company and don't require extra cash.


1. Visit local parks and nature reserves
Getting out off the house and filling your lungs with some fresh air can be...

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Christmas Shopping Tips if you Suffer with Anxiety

December 1, 2015
Christmas shopping can be stressful at the best of times, but if you suffer with anxiety it can be especially tough.  Below are some tips to help you manage your anxiety levels while you do your shopping.



Plan Ahead
Planning ahead will help you to stay focused and enable you to work out a strategy for how to tackle your shopping.  Make a list of the items you want to purchase and think about where you could get these items from.  You can then make yourself a list per shop and take one shop at a...

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Tips to Help You Stay Within Your Christmas Budget

November 24, 2015
Christmas time can be a stressful time of year, especially if you are on a tight budget.  Below are some tips on how you can keep to a budget this Christmas.


Presents
Planning has an important role when you are shopping on a budget.  Start by making a list of everyone you are planning to buy a present for and set a budget for each person.  Decide what you would like to buy and how much you are willing to spend and then target your shopping trips to buying just these items.  Doing Christmas shop...

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World Mental Health Day 2015: Dignity and Mental Health

October 9, 2015
The 10th of October is World Mental Health Day and theme for this years events is dignity.  Dignity is such an important topic within mental health and it is a really positive step that mental health organisations are choosing to focus on this aspect of mental health this year. Below are a few of the thoughts I have had around the subject of dignity and supporting someone with a mental health issue.


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Seven Tips to Help You Take Better Care of Your Hands and Feet

September 29, 2015
Hands and feet take a fair bit of punishment over the course of our lifetime.  Our hands are often exposed to the most and can get sore and cracked during the colder weather, we use them for washing and cleaning tasks around the home, DIY tasks and they often become the victim of picking or biting during times of stress.  Feet experience a similar level of stress and often spend much of their time in socks and shoes, being walked upon, they often get knocked and banged and, like the hands, ar...

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Good Kitchen Hygiene - A Beginners Guide

September 2, 2015


Maintaining a hygienic kitchen is vital for maintaining your own health and wellbeing.  Below are a few steps you can take to ensure that your food storage, preparation and eating space are up to scratch.

Food Storage

Ensure that meats and fish are stored in the fridge or freezer.  Pay close attention to the food labels as this will provide you with information on shelf life and cooking instructions.  Always store raw and cooked meats separately.  Ideally store refrigerated meat on the lowes...

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About Me


Katherine Clark I am experienced mental health worker with 15 years experience working with young people and adults with enduring mental health needs. I have set up this blog to share some of the tips and skills I have learnt along the way. If you have any suggestions or particular questions you would like me to answer feel free to email me at enquiries@essentiallifeskills.org







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