Kim Ingleby, the award-winning Mind and Body Coach, will be answering your questions on BrainWalk every Wednesday morning. Here are some of the questions and her answers so far.

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If you would like to ask Kim a question, visit BrainWalk at:

Wednesday, May 13 @11.30am

Wednesday, May 20 @ 11am 

Wednesday, May 27 @ 11am 

Q How do I talk to someone who I think might be struggling with a mental health issue - I just don’t know how or even if, to broach it?

It’s hard if you think someone isn’t okay - and it’s a great question. I often think we over think it - the best thing is reaching out and sending a message to check in, every few days (depending on how you know them), and not necessarily expecting an immediate reply. knowing what type of contact they prefer - text, WhatsApp fB message call, letter etc, people like different ways so sometimes a different approach can work. sharing little things you are doing can be helpful, and photos, often people think it will trigger more of a low mood but in my experience people like the connection and it helps them, of course see how they feel. it’s good to empathise and let them talk if they want, but otherwise go for a social distance walk if appropriate, send a video message, just be you. sometimes people will open up if you share a bit too, like I’ve been really tired recently and wondered how you are doing? baking something, sending a little gift, links to charities, all ideas but depends on the relationship you have with them. hope this helps and thank you for asking, a great question. if you’re really worried about someone’s mental health sometimes people are more direct to get them support with close family, keep well and be brave to reach out x

Q. I’ve lost all my confidence after my diagnosis and I am scared of joining one of the online groups the society has, even though I really want to. Do you have any tips for how I can pluck up courage.

A. ah sending you so much care and thoughts, I can personally relate and I’m sure many people in here will too. firstly be gentle and kind to yourself, it’s normal to lose confidence a bit as it lots of things will have changed. try writing down what makes you feel happy and helps at the moment, even if just simple things. then be brave, every few days to do a tiny little change if you are feeling good that day - it’s how we start to rebuild confidence if scary. the best thing about the online support is everyone will personally know or know someone who has been affected so I promise it’s really kind and supportive, and it may even help find new friends and confidence. and remember, if you do join and it doesn’t work for you, it’s totally okay to leave groups too. the society offer 1:1 support so might be worth doing one check in before the group if this appealed too. I remember when I went to my first in person thing with the society, I felt the same, lasted about 30mins but it gave me hope and determination to keep going. balance this with rest and patience and you will gradually find a different confidence. I hope this helps and if I can help any more please do ask, I believe in you and brave to ask the question. big care Kim xx

Q. Sometimes, I feel really low. I don’t think I’m depressed but I feel overwhelmed with all the stuff I should do, exercise, eat well, speak to a friend – its all so much and I just don’t know where to start. Are there any really small things that I can do that will help lift my mood? 

A ah this is a great question, thank you. I think it’s really easy to get overwhelmed but all the things we ‘should’ do, try writing down everything and then choosing one thing to do for the day, two if you can. if you like to plan, you can plan it out for the week but just adapt if you wake up feeling lower or tired/ or Energised. it’s also good to write down what helps you - as sometimes being quiet, switching off (just tell people you care about if you are so they don’t worry if your phone is off), going for a gentle walk, being creative, brain games . start with the easiest, most simple thing - and the easiest people to speak too (or you can text ahead and say love a chat but just a little one, or I’m a bit low is it okay if we talk or text), let me know how you go & be kind to yourself, one thing each day, much care xx

Q I bought your Hound of Happiness book. Which is your favourite? I keep it in my bedroom and randomly open a page every morning, sometimes I don’t do anything else but read a page but it always makes me smile!

A ah thank you so much for buying my little book, 52 Ways To Feel Good - and sharing, all the profit goes to charity, often to Encephalitis society so thank you ❤️ I love how it seems to help people and it’s simple with 4 lines per page so easy to pick up - I often forget I’ve written it! I like just opening it too - but as #bekind week for mental health awareness tip 45 and 48 about kindness to others and yourself would be good ones to share 🐾 much support to you xx

I had a question about helping each other with mental health, it’s different for all of us - what helps you if you’re not okay and what would you like someone to do/send etc when you’re not okay? Circle of support. This image isn’t everything  but maybe a useful tool, much care everyone xx

Q Can you recommend any exercises I can do when I take a break away from my workspace whilst working from home?

A Ah that’s a great question too - if you’re working at home I know I’ve found muscles getting tighter - especially hips from sitting longer and shoulders more rounded possibly. the best thing is to stand up and stretch the arms above the head, lengthening the body and stretching, taking big deep breaths.... then doing the same lying flat, this allows the body to stretch out and takes the tension out of the hips. rolling the shoulders, moving the pelvis back and forth, balancing on one leg, all helps wake the body up from a seated position and most of these can be done whilst boiling the kettle! simple stretches of the legs and upper body help too, but try the first ones 2-4 times a day and see how you feel. staying hydrated and having time away from our screens definitely helps too xx

Q Hi Kim, so happy to have you here to help us all again! My question in on behalf of some of my fundraisers who have sporting challenges like marathons, treks etc which have been postponed - how can they keep the momentum going for training and stay motivated?

A ah that’s a good question - I think the best way to keep motivated for a big challenge is to actually pause first. Reduce your training volume so you don’t burn out and work on building really good strength & core - stretching, a balance. then work backwards from the new date so you know when to start the bigger miles or time on feet to be ready for the challenge - it maybe later this year or next, take time to plan and explore and fears or doubts like travel, health, etc and if you need to change your challenge / date - you can do this, some people feel like they don’t want to let people down but make sure it doesn’t stress any life changes from the current situation.  then get clever/creative and think about how you could maybe raise little bits of money on the challenge dates - or other significant dates for you in the year, lots of little donations will all add up and make a difference for charities during these times, even just wearing your encephalitis top for training and sharing a photo to raise awAreness helps. let me know how you go team and all my support xx

Q  Any advice on how to deal with going back to "normal" like after lockdown? thank you

A I think it will be different for everyone - I would write down what ‘going back to normal’ will be for you on one side of the paper - so travel, work, life, recovery etc - and then an arrow to next column which has your fears if any - and then an arrow to third column with how you will manage this practically & with mentally. having a clear simple strategy for ourselves will be really helpful. writing down what you have ‘liked’ from lockdown and how you want to remember/keep this in your life will be really useful too. doing all of this for 3 week chunks at a time and then writing out for each day if you need support will help. go gently, be brave, consistent and let yourself rest, the social engagements of unlocking will be more tiring for many as we get used to interacting again, so look after your brain and body, ask for extra support if you need and move away from fear discussions if they stress you too much. hope this helps and great question , keep well xx

Q. A lot of our members have been saying that they find it hard to switch off from screentime as it's the only things keeping them connected. Any tips there?

A. Ah it’s a tricky one, as the connection is key but fatiguing. What can help is to have a plan for your day, so hours you will spend on screen time, and then when you will switch it off and what you will do during this time. Often the screen distracts our feelings so is a coping mechanism too. So knowing what we will do without it for an hour or two chunks is useful. It’s also important to let our brains rest from the screen time, listening to music, podcasts, colouring, dance, cooking, having a bath, maybe we could all share ideas. I switch my phone off when I go to bed and it sleeps downstairs, I have an old school alarm clock and I don’t use my phone on a walk, this has really helped my brain. hope this helps x

Q. A lot of people have been saying they have been really tired in lockdown, any tips to help people feel less tired?

A. Ah it’s true, tiredness could be many things... type of food we are eating, digital time, quality of sleep, level of stress, lack of hugs and contact.... I think some of the answers already in here may help... then a quick check in writing down ... how much am I drinking of water, movement, sleep etc and thinking about tiny changes you can make. many of us are constantly alert and consuming a lot of news etc which puts our bodies into a constant stress state, finding moments to switch off, breathe, mindfulness, comedy, music - anything to balance will help with energy (whilst of course respecting the situation), also asking for help. sharing happy photos and quotes can boost your mood and energy too xx

Q. Hi Kim! I find it really hard to stay focused when doing mindfulness, I mainly just end up thinking of my to do lists. Any tips to help?

A. Great question, mindfulness doesn’t suit everyone just as mindfulness.... you could try journaling your thoughts, an app like head space or unplug meditation, closing your eyes and listening to music, focusing on breathing... walking meditation so no distractions - allowing yourself thoughts to ebb and flow is normal , start with just thinking in going to lie still for 5mins and just welcome any thoughts, if it’s the to do list - choose one thing to plan in your time & how you will feel, then write it down after - not true mindfulness but being helpful for yourself 💓 let me know you flow x

Q. Is 10,000 steps doable, I live in a flat and only go out once a day?

A. I wouldn’t stress about 10,000 steps if you are limited with space and areas to walk - but I would prioritise movement and stretching in your flat, often we can get stuck sitting , I know I can... our bodies like to move if we can, so standing up every hour, stretching the body, taking a deep breath, standing to take phone calls and walking in flat even if tiny. Then other things in the flat like dancing to your favourite tunes, doesn’t matter how you dance, it will help you feel good... or if you have internet an online class, strength or stretch daily will help boost immunity. Walking slightly quicker when outside or for a little linger when you feel good may help too. Writing a little schedule of what you are doing can help too, and what helps you feel good. sharing in here may help too. Let us know how you get on, Kim ❤️

Q. Thanks so much Kim. Looking forward to seeing responses to some questions we’ve already been sent through. My question is - do you have any top tips for anyone who is beginning to feel anxious about ‘going back to normal’ when lockdown slowly starts to lift?

A. Encephalitis Society it’s coming up a lot for people - the best thing is to acknowledge you so feel this, and then write down what you are anxious about in one side of a piece of paper and then on the other a little plan of what you would like to do and feel to manage the anxiety, this would really help. you may neeed to do it several times. on a different piece of paper write down all you are enjoying /valuing during this time and how it helps you so you have the positive too. you can start to visualise situations you would do and start asking , what do I need to make this easier. a mantra of saying I’m ok , I can do this is useful to balance the anxiety which is normal, it’s just how to manage the extra bit. Writing really helps, let me know how you all go, great question 🌸

Q. Should I take any vitamins to stay well, or are they a waste of money?

A. Great question - so a few things, first any vitamins etc please check they are compatible with any medication you take, and any conditions you have - and this is general advice not specific to your conditions or symptoms - supplements may help if complimenting good food, sleep and hydration - or may help you reduce anxiety/help sleep, boost immunity, energy etc - generally the slightly more expensive ones are better quality , check the ingredients to see if they have fillers or pure ingredients, look at your nutrition and see if you can add real foods over supplements - if you start taking a supplement, try for a month and note the difference before and after - general things like Vit b12 and omegas can help if vegan, Vit c for immunity, probiotics for digestion, and vit d if inside a lot. it’s a bit topic but hopefully this helps, let me know how you go 🌟

Q. How can I make my kids eat more veggies, they make a real fuss when I put them on their plate?

A. Great question - often when we take the pressure off actually saying the need to eat them, but just eat lots ourselves and enjoy them, kids get curious and start to copy... not always though! kids tastes develop differently so sometimes some veggies they genuinely don’t like for a period of time, so finding ones they do, asking them what they would like to try, depending on the age. making mash with veggies is a great idea as you can mash carrots, sweet potatoes, courgettes, peas, leeks in and generally they like it - or you can grate most of these into sauces and they don’t realise the are in there, roasting veggies with a honey dressing kids like too. let me know how you go - kate Percy has a website and social media which is focused around cooking for kids which may help too. adding grated cheese on top... look forward to photos! 🥦🥕