How I’ve alleviated my stress, depression & anxiety

by Nicole Carter

Hi! I’m from Edinburgh, a published poet, qualified level 3 personal trainer, fitness
class instructor, nutrition adviser, and I’m Bipolar type 1. I do still have my struggles
like most folk and the more I open-up to people, the more I understand that everyone
has a story to tell. This is just a smidgeon of my story.

There is evidence to suggest that many mental health conditions are linked to a
heightened Fight-or-flight stress response, and I agree with this. When I worked as
an outdoor activities’ instructor, I realised that being in nature really helped to keep
me sane, and able to process the natural Fight-or-flight hormones and
neurotransmitters much better. My reproductive hormones are also going crazy now,
as I’m 48 and going through the latter stages of Perimenopause and considering

I’ve had a lot of trauma in my life, one of the repercussions has been my complex
relationship with food. Whilst I was in Primary School, I’d raid the fridge when I
thought my parents weren’t aware. In my teens, I was Bulimic for about a year.
During my Twenties and Thirties, on my rollercoaster ride of employment,
homelessness, hospitalisation and higher education, my Bipolar Type1 would
sometimes cause me to become hyper-manic and exercise anorexic. On the
occasions I ran away from home, I’d end up homeless in hostels that didn’t provide
food, and I’d have no money to buy food for myself.

Nicole Carter Fitness

In 2007, whilst I was more settled in temporary accommodation and getting benefits,
I over-compensated for my previous experiences, by binge eating and comfort
eating. Gradually, things started to get better again, and my life became more stable,
allowing me to address all my issues personally, and with professional help I’m well
on my road to recovery.

I’ve also been active in the Edinburgh poetry scene for many years, and perform my
work regularly, which is extremely cathartic as most of my poetry is autobiographical.
I can highly recommend going along to an open mic to hear the huge variety of
voices out there, some of them are even intentionally humorous!

Penumbra Mental Health’s Edinburgh Crisis Centre have been pivotal in my
recovery. Through them, I learned how to use mindfulness and grounding
techniques, to focus on deep, slow conscious breathing as a coping skill, which has
greatly improved how I manage my day-to-day life; who’d have thought breathing
was essential to wellbeing!

What I learned in my fitness courses to instruct clients, really does help me a great
deal too, which is why I wrote my self-help health book Better Mental Health And

here’s a summary:

use mindfulness and grounding;

determine if you have any food intolerances;

follow an 80/20 nutrition intake – 80% healthy/20% treats;
switch to decaff;

light weights training to tone, and strengthen your muscles to
support your bones and prevent injury;

keeping moderately flexible – Pilates and Yoga are great;

The NHS Eatwell website, recommends we drink 6-8 glasses of water per day;

Adipose Tissue (body fat) is an Essential Endocrine Organ, we need
a reasonable amount of body fat to keep well – don’t go by scales weight, as this
doesn’t take into account your muscle mass, bone density, organs or water weight;

We all have BILLIONS of body and brain cells, each with a lipid fat bi-layer
membrane, so we need good fats and oils to keep well too; if you’re struggling,
speak to your GP who can really help you.

Trust yourself and be kind to yourself; self-care is how you take your power back!

© Nicole Carter – Author of the self-help book – Better Mental Health And Fitness
Instagram and Youtube: Nicole Carter Fitness & Poetry

Unique Outdoor experience in mindfulness, adventure and ecotherapy:

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