App of the Week: Line-Up

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If you live in or around Manchester, Line-Up is an iOS app which you most definitely need in your life!

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Life as a Support Worker

So far I’m really enjoying my job as a clinical support worker. I’ve been working on my ward for nearly 7 months now, and although it can be stressful I like being on my feet all day. It beats sitting at a desk doing a job I dislike for 8 hours!

If you’re reading this post and looking for information on what it is like to be a support worker in a mental health setting, then this may not be exactly the right post for you. Whilst I work with some people who have mental health illnesses, I work in an acute trust on a neurology unit. Therefore my role is primarily concerned with the physical care of patients.

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I am a terrible blogger.

I have not been posting, I’ve not even been thinking about posting. I wanted to document my experience as a masters student, however it’s not worked out that way at all!

However, with classes for this semester over with, I am going to again try my best to blog regularly. Once a week at this point would be a good aim.

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Pay Day Shopping: Therapeutic?

IMAG0844I got paid last week, and two of my closest friends wanted to meet up for dinner in the city centre that same day. Not only was I looking forward to seeing them, but as soon as I knew I was going to be amongst all those shops, I was excited to spend my hard earned cash!

After they both left, I spent a good two hours wandering around Primark and trying things on. I am the kind of shopper who enjoys having more purchases, rather than one or two things that are more expensive. Primark is perfect when I don’t have a particular item in mind, but just want new clothes! When I got home with my large bag of clothes (and a pair of shoes!) I was in a good mood for the rest of the night.

I’d indulged in a bit of what some people call “retail therapy”. But does shopping, as the phrase suggests, act as a therapeutic tool in terms of elevating our mood, or are the effects not as positive as we think?

Atalay & Meloy (2011) suggest that retail therapy does offer long-lasting mood-lifting effects, and that consumers use shopping as a strategic tool to boost their mood. They conducted three separate studies of differing methods (field study, experiement, self-report diary), which showed evidence of consumers purchasing unplanned self-treats, and showing little anxiety or guilt afterwards. Individuals in the self-reported study recognised where their limits were in terms of expenses, and rarely overindulged. Atalay & Meloy suggest that consumers know their minimum level of consumption needed to repair negative emotions.

Yarrow (2013) discusses some therapeutic effects of going on a shopping trip. Shopping can be a way for people to ease themselves into a transition, by visualising and mentally preparing for anything from a new baby to just a new semester. Visualisation can be helpful in reducing anxiety, so even just thinking about where you could wear that new outfit can calm you down. And that’s before you’ve hit the till! Yarrow also describes how window shopping can provide a mental break from whatever you might be doing. Short breaks have been suggested to improve performance, as unconsciously we are still problem-solving whilst focusing on something else.

However, Hutson (2008) suggests that retail therapy will never work, as it doesn’t provide a permanent solution for our problems. He describes research which implies low self-worth upon feeling down leads us to buy ‘stuff’ to increase our worth. When the ‘shine’ wears off our new purchases, we still have the same problems as we did before. But perhaps with debt added on to that!

Personally, I believe in the therapeutic benefits of going shopping. I think that, as suggested by Atalay & Meloy (2011), if you know your limits, you won’t feel guilt afterwards. Yes, shopping may not rid you of your problems, but it’s a good way of forgetting about them for a while!

What do you think? Is shopping an effective way of boosting our mood? Do you enjoy a bit of retail therapy, or are you the type who just shops when they need to? Let me know in the comments below!

Atalay, A., and Meloy, M. (2011). Retail therapy: A strategic effort to improve mood. Psychology and Marketing, 28 (6), 638-659 DOI: 10.1002/mar.20404

Hutson, M. (2008). Retail Therapy Explained. Retrieved from http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/psyched/200802/retail-therapy-explained

Yarrow, K. (2013). Why “Retail Therapy” Works. Retrieved from http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-why-behind-the-buy/201305/why-retail-therapy-works

So close yet so far.

I posted about an interview I had managed to get for a nursing assistant position the other week here.

The interview was on Friday and to be honest I did think it went fairly well. It was in two halves, a 15 minute interview and then three writing tasks.

To be honest, as soon as I left the interview part I thought of a few things I should have said, and was kicking myself a bit. For example, I messed up the health and safety question by not being specific enough to a mental health environment, and on a question about recovery I forgot to mention that recovery from mental illness may not always mean that the illness itself goes completely away, but that the person can manage it and has a good quality of life.

I felt like I did well in the writing tasks, I had done my online training for my placement the night before which covered safeguarding, and one task simply wanted us to describe safeguarding and how we would do it. So I felt like I aced that part!

The other two tasks were answering some questions on a scenario that was acted out in front of us, mainly to do with professionalism and confidentiality, and also a task which gave us the Trust’s values and asked how we demonstrated them.

Unfortunately I didn’t get the job, but the ward manager who gave me the feedback did say that I had done really well on the writing tasks, and that it was the health and safety/recovery questions that I had not got enough points on. She said if they had one more place open they would have offered me it.

I’m pretty gutted really, I did really want that position as I would have learnt so much, and I really want to get stuck in to a mental health environment when I graduate. But at the same time, it was full time hours and I would have only been able to do that really.

So onwards and upwards now!