Five players tipped to sign for Man United before the January deadline

It's been a quiet month for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer so far but there are several transfers the bookmakers believe could happen before Monday's deadline.
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Piers Morgan storms off Good Morning Britain set as Alex Beresford tells him: ‘Meghan Markle is entitled to cut you off’
The TV presenter had enough.
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Piers Morgan walks off GMB as Alex Beresford calls his behaviour 'diabolical'
Good Morning Britain presenter Alex Beresford called out Piers Morgan for his comments about Meghan Markle and Prince Harry following their interview with Oprah
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The ‘forgotten frontline’ putting themselves at risk to keep children safe
A social worker has lifted the lid on the serious incidents of physical domestic violence that have increased to a ‘worrying level’ under lockdowns
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Recovered addict fears 'pressure' to live with drug users will make him relapse
Zamal Ali, 46, lived with hard drugs for 21 years but was able to kick the habit and has been clean of both crack cocaine and heron for two and a half years
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Harry Dunn suspect willing to do community service, says lawyer
Anne Sacoolas returned to the US claiming diplomatic immunity following fatal car crashThe suspect in the death of Harry Dunn would be willing to undertake community service in the US and make a “contribution” in his memory as well as meet his family, her lawyer has said.Anne Sacoolas has “never denied” responsibility for the road collision that killed the 19-year-old motorcyclist, lawyer Amy Jeffress said. Continue reading...
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From Maxine Peake to Ian McKellen: The many takes on Hamlet
With the 81-year-old McKellen primed to take on Shakespeare’s most famous role once again, Paul Taylor explores a hero who is nowhere near his sell-by date
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Tuesday briefing: School's back but proceed with caution – PM
People must still follow ‘stay at home’ message … palace under pressure after Meghan and Harry interview … true toll of French nuclear testsHello, Warren Murray with news in the key of gee that’s interesting. Continue reading...
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Walking round the world in a day – in Ljubljana, Slovenia
Unable to travel, this Ljubljana-based writer decided to explore his home city by walking from embassy to embassy ‘Would you go round the world with me?” I asked a friend on the phone.“Wow! But the pandemic …” she said. Continue reading...
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Scarlett Moffatt back together with boyfriend Scott Dobinson just hours after announcing their split
What a whirlwind 24 hours.
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Bale draws inspiration from first Tottenham spell to deliver on Giggs prediction
Gareth Bale has scored six goals and provided three assists in his last six appearances in all competitions for Tottenham Hotspur
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The power of Wigan Warriors on show as the community foundation unites fans
The club launched Warriors Unite this month, an initiative to help supporters during the pandemic.
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Grief is the thing with guitars: How indie music is tackling death in the age of Covid
After the death of his father, Ed Power finds artists such as The Anchoress, David Balfe and others have been confronting grief in all its disorienting, gut-punching power, creating albums that speak to our time
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Greedy restaurant boss jailed for 'barbaric, inhumane' plot
Tuan Do, 55, was jailed for 11 years at Manchester Crown Court
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‘Sorry’ Harry Dunn suspect willing to complete community service – lawyer
Anne Sacoolas remains unwilling to return to face charges in the UK, however.
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Mexico protests against attacks on women turn violent, as tension with president escalates
Protester’s angry that López Obrador has supported politician accused of sexual assault are calling for greater protections for womenWomen marching on International Women’s Day have clashed with police at barricades surrounding the National Palace in Mexico City, where officers fired pepper spray after the protesters attempted to tear down a metal wall.Mexico’s president, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, installed the metal wall around the National Palace in advance of the 8 March protests – a barricade his spokesperson called a “peace wall” – saying he wanted to protect government property from vandalism. Continue reading...
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The Meghan Markle discourse is ’emotionally exhausting’ for Black and mixed-race women
'Watching Meghan and Harry over the years has been like watching my own experiences - raw and unrelenting.'
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Gulf opens door to public Jewish life amid Israel ties
Jewish communities in Gulf Arab states are emerging from the shadows and raising their public profiles, half a year after the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain established diplomatic relations with Israel
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Judge weighs bail for woman who used meth before stillbirth
A central California woman charged with murder after delivering a stillborn baby who tested positive for methamphetamine may be released to a treatment center pending trial
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Police find £800,000 worth of drugs in a vehicle
Officers were called to Hareshill Road at around 10:45am and seized approximately 28 kilos of suspected drugs
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Scarlett Moffatt back with Scott Dobinson just 24 hours after announcing split
Are they or aren't they? Former Gogglebox star Scarlett Moffatt appears to be back together with Scott Dobinson as the pair look close in Instagram video
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Bolton boss Evatt on 75th anniversary of 'heartbreaking' Burnden Park disaster
The Trotters will commemorate those who lost their lives in the tragedy during this evening League Two clash against Cambridge United
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France underestimated impact of nuclear tests in French Polynesia
Groundbreaking new analysis could allow more than 100,000 people to claim compensationFrance has consistently underestimated the devastating impact of its nuclear tests in French Polynesia in the 1960s and 70s, according to groundbreaking new research that could allow more than 100,000 people to claim compensation.France conducted 193 nuclear tests from 1966 to 1996 at Moruroa and Fangataufa atolls in French Polynesia, including 41 atmospheric tests until 1974 that exposed the local population, site workers and French soldiers to high levels of radiation. Continue reading...
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Female workers at H&M supplier in India allege widespread sexual violence
Multiple women at Natchi Apparels have reported abuse weeks after 21-year-old worker was allegedly killed by her supervisorWomen in India making children’s clothes for H&M have spoken out about widespread sexual violence they claim to have faced at one of the company’s suppliers in India.The allegations come just weeks after the body of Jeyasre Kathiravel, a 21-year-old Dalit garment worker, was found in a field close to her family home after she failed to return from her shift at the Natchi Apparels factory in Tamil Nadu. Continue reading...
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Why the tiny copepod is an unsung climate hero
The shrimp-like creatures lock up carbon from phytoplankton, keeping it out of the atmosphere Copepods are unsung heroes in the Earth’s climate. These are tiny shrimp-like creatures, about as small as the tip of a needle, and there are vast numbers of them in the oceans, some of the most abundant creatures on the planet. They’ve been called the wildebeest of the seas because for such small creatures they migrate great distances to forage for food each day, coming near the sea surface to feed at night out of sight of predators, and then sinking deep into the sea during the day. And they also hibernate in winter up to 2km deep in cold seas – one of the greatest migrations on Earth.Copepods also play a huge part in cycling carbon around the planet. They graze on microscopic algae called phytoplankton, which absorb carbon through their photosynthesis. When the copepods have eaten their fill of phytoplanton, they drop torpedo-shaped droppings deep in the sea, which sink to the seabed and lock away the carbon, preventing it from returning to the atmosphere. And when the copepods die, their carcasses also fall to the seabed and lock away more carbon. So, by removing vast amounts of carbon from the oceans, these tiny creatures are helping to control climate change. Continue reading...
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Flying cats and a burning Banksy: why are digital art prices suddenly rocketing?
A Banksy just fetched $382,000 despite going up in smoke, while a cat cartoon bagged twice that. And it’s all thanks to NFTs, an offshoot of crypto currency bitcoin. But is this a bubble about to burst?Last week masked men set fire to a Banksy screenprint called Morons (White) at a secret location in Brooklyn, livestreaming the destruction via the Twitter account @BurntBanksy. The men worked for a company called Injective Protocol, which bought the print for $95,000 in order to destroy it and replace it with a unique digital facsimile. This is called crypto art and, if you want to know the extent to which it’s booming, well, the new work just went for $382,336, more than four times the original price.From Ai Weiwei smashing a 2,000-year-old vase to the Chapman brothers defacing Goya prints, artists are no strangers to creative destruction. But this is different. The burning of Morons (White) is thought to be the first time a physical artwork has been replaced by a unique digital asset. “We view this burning event as an expression of art itself,” Injective Protocol executive Mirza Uddin said. “We specifically chose a Banksy piece since he has previously shredded one of his own artworks at an auction.” Continue reading...
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John Simm meets Tracy-Ann Oberman: 'Without the audience, we’re just shouting in a room'
The actors and old friends talk about how theatre beats TV, the terror of standup – and the joys of making Yoko Ono crack upJohn Simm’s dad encouraged him towards a career on stage; Tracy-Ann Oberman’s parents were horrified by the idea. Both became household names on television – in Life on Mars and EastEnders respectively – but both love the camaraderie and unpredictability of live theatre. Simm’s theatre credits include Hamlet, Macbeth and the Norwegian odd-couple comedy Elling. Oberman is due to star as Shylock in a tour of The Merchant of Venice that has been postponed because of the pandemic.John Simm: I grew up in working men’s clubs in the 70s and 80s. I was doing the clubs with my dad from the age of 11, singing and playing guitar. We did it until I was about 18. It was a trial by fire. This was the first time I’d been on stage, and I’d just stare at the floor or at my guitar. Dad was always nudging me, trying to get me to smile and move around a bit. I felt self-conscious but when I went to drama class I realised I could pretend to be somebody else and hide behind a character. Then I was in a band, Magic Alex, in the 90s – we supported Echo and the Bunnymen and Coldplay. Luckily, we played big venues so I couldn’t see anybody. I still felt self-conscious. Continue reading...
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The Great British Art Tour: Mrs Sage takes to the skies with ham and hot air
With public art collections closed we are bringing the art to you, exploring highlights from across the country in partnership with Art UK. Today’s pick: the Science Museum’s Mrs SageThe first thing that catches the eye in this striking portrait is not necessarily the small balloon. It is, rather, the sitter who draws our attention with her extraordinary hat and steady gaze.Letitia Ann Sage became a celebrity in 1785 as “the first English female aerial traveller”. She was invited by Vincenzo Lunardi to join his balloon ascent on 29 June from St George’s Fields in London. With an eye to publicity, Lunardi had asked Sage for the honour of taking her into the “blue Paradisian skies” in homage to her beauty. Continue reading...
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Domestic abusers to get GPS tags on release from jail in London
Pilot scheme announced by mayor’s office targets up to 200 perpetrators of abuse-related offencesDomestic abuse offenders who have served a prison sentence will be tagged with a GPS tracking device in London under new a pilot project.Up to 200 perpetrators of abuse-related offences, such as stalking, harassment, physical abuse, sexual abuse and coercive control will be fitted with the devices from Tuesday as part of their release conditions. Continue reading...
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Labour calls for audit of UK’s preparedness for next pandemic
Shadow health secretary attacks Tory handling of crisis and calls for regular war-gaming of future outbreaksCoronavirus – latest updatesSee all our coronavirus coverageMinisters must start war-gaming the next pandemic and their plans should be independently audited to prove the UK is prepared for global health threats to come, Labour’s Jon Ashworth has said.The shadow health secretary will give a speech on Tuesday attempting to refocus the blame for the catastrophic UK death toll on government failings, after polls showed support for Boris Johnson surging on the back of the the vaccine programme. Continue reading...
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The Incredible Jessica James: the coolest playwright on film
In this winning romcom, comedian Jessica Williams has a sparky energy that evokes theatre at its most immediate“I would literally rather have my period non-stop for a thousand years than have this portion of the conversation.” It’s fair to say that Jessica James’s Tinder date could be going better. So, as a playwright, she rewrites the script for the guy she’s just met. Why doesn’t he whisper something sexy instead of acting so formal, she asks. When her ex walks into the bar, she turns director to adjust the scenario and stir maximum jealousy. It’s an irresistible opening scene in a romcom that revels in awkward encounters.What I love about The Incredible Jessica James, which was picked up by Netflix after it closed the Sundance film festival in 2017, is that it crackles with the energy and passion that drives the best theatre. Playwrights in films are so often introspective, tortured mumblers; their scripts worthy, dry or ridiculous. They are simply never this cool. Jessica, played by the super-charismatic comedian Jessica Williams, is a live wire. Witness the all-dancing title sequence in which she shimmies through her New York apartment up to the rooftop. Continue reading...
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Harry and Meghan interview: This is not just a crisis for the royal family – but for Britain itself
At the couple’s wedding the nation looked confident, modern and at ease with multiculturalism. Was living up to that image really so difficult? Shola Mos-Shogbamimu: Meghan has been mistreated for yearsZoe Williams: Now there’s no doubt Meghan and Harry had to leaveIn my mind, the wedding of Harry and Meghan is for ever linked to another event from the recent past: the opening ceremony of the London Olympics in 2012. Just like the royal wedding on that sunny day in Windsor, the opening ceremony in the Olympic stadium was a moment in which Britain projected to the world an image of itself as a confident, modern country; one that was effortlessly global and at ease with its multiculturalism, with its ancient institutions adapting to changing times.Take a look at the headlines from across the world today to see how others see us now. Then contrast the shock and the sympathy being expressed for Meghan and her family beyond our shores, with the simmering contempt still being incubated and transmitted by the toxic parts of our tabloid press. Continue reading...
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Meghan could help black women shed harmful 'strong' trope, says Diane Abbott
The MP, along with other campaigners, praised the duchess’s frankness about mental health struggles in her Oprah interviewThe Labour MP Diane Abbott and leading campaigners hope the Duchess of Sussex’s interview with Oprah Winfrey is a watershed moment that encourages black and mixed-race women to be open about their mental health struggles.The trope of the “strong black woman”, which campaigners say is deeply ingrained in society, worsens depression and other mental health problems as it discourages people from speaking out and getting help, they added. Continue reading...
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'My body is unserviceable and well past its sell-by date': the last days of Avril Henry
Avril Henry lived a fulfilling life, but as age took hold and her body failed, it was one she no longer believed was worth living. Why did the law stand in her way?In the late morning, on the day she planned to die, in April 2016, Avril Henry went to get the poison from the downstairs bathroom. She walked past the padded rocking chair where she sometimes sat for hours with her feet tilted above her head to ease the swelling in her ankles. She steadied herself against the countertop before reaching up to the top shelf and feeling around for the glass bottles that she had hidden there, behind the toilet cleaner and the baby powder.“I got it imported illegally,” Avril had said of the drug supply. “It’s quite easy to do, but very risky.” She was at her home in Brampford Speke, a small village in south-west England with 300 residents, a pub called the Lazy Toad, a church, St Peter’s, and a parish council on which Avril had served several terms, earning a reputation as brilliant and steadfast, if sometimes needlessly adversarial. Continue reading...
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We’ve Been Shielding Since 2019. Here's Our Advice For The Final Stretch
For many, the return of shielding for the clinically extremely vulnerable at the start of this year was a tough pill to swallow. At this point it feels never-ending. But to families like mine, it’s been part of our daily existence since before the pandemic even began.That’s because, before coronavirus turned the whole world upside down, our family’s world turned upside down when our daughter Amelie was diagnosed with cancer at the age of six. Amelie has acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL). It’s rare. Around 790 people are diagnosed with it each year in the UK – most are children and young people. Because ALL attacks white blood cells which fight infection, it can cause people to develop an extremely weakened immune system. The cruel twist is that Amelie’s treatment for her cancer – regular chemotherapy – does the same. Minimising the risk of illness is vital, but it isn’t easy. Amelie has a Hickman line (a long plastic tube that is inserted through the chest and into the vein draining into the heart) to administer her treatment. The area around where the line exits her body is particularly susceptible to infection. Everything that comes into the house must be sanitised, which, trust me, is no mean feat when you have three children under the age of ten.Since her diagnosis Amelie has been using something called an ‘AV1 robot’ (or ‘Amelie-bot’ as we call it). It’s a little 30-40cm high robot designed for children who can’t attend school in person. It’s like their eyes, ears and voice in the classroom – she can control it remotely from her bed to talk to her friends, raise her hand and be part of discussions in class.  Pretty much everything we do is online, with the occasional doorstep visit.  We miss human interaction massively. In normal times, the Amelie-bot would go to school for her whenever her blood counts are particularly low, like after her chemo. But Covid changed everything. The measures we were taking before had to be ramped up, and soon Amelie used her robot virtually every day when schools were open. Pretty much everything we do is online, with the occasional doorstep visit.  We miss human interaction massively. I know many people feel the same at this point. As someone who’s been through this more than most, I want to reassure those who feel like they are barely crawling over (what is hopefully) the finish line that they aren’t alone. Shielding takes a huge physical and emotional toll.It’s important to know that it’s alright to ask for help. In our case, when the trial period for Amelie’s AV1 robot ended in December and we needed financial support to make sure she could keep using it during the second wave of the pandemic, a charity called Bubble Busters were able to help us out with the payments. CLIC Sargent offered us a grant to help cover sudden expenses like travel to and from hospital, extra food costs and increasing household bills when Amelie first got sick. To show her how brave she is, we nominated Amelie for a Cancer Research UK For Children & Young People Star Award and the special pack they sent over helped lift her spirits.Remember not to be too hard on yourself or others. Everyone has the best intentions, but mistakes and scares are going to happen. One time when Amelie was in protective isolation after her chemo, we had a call from our consultant late on a Friday night telling us that one of the play leaders looking after her had come down with chicken pox. Just a few weeks ago, we had Covid in the house because of nursery. With each fresh issue you just take it on the chin and deal with it as best you can but resist the temptation to become overly paranoid – because it’s not practical or productive. Any time I start feeling remotely sorry for myself, I look to Amelie. Finally, however hard it is for you personally to make those sacrifices to keep your family member safe, keep putting yourself in their shoes. As a family we’ve had to cancel countless holidays at the last minute because Amelie developed an infection. We could all desperately do with a getaway to have some fun and forget everything else. Around Christmas 2019, we were booked on a trip to go to Lapland so that Amelie could meet ‘the real Santa’. She couldn’t have been more excited. Then she picked up an infection. The doctors wanted to give her a blood transfusion and decided to keep her in for a few days meaning we had to cancel the trip. And what does she do? She decides to write a letter to Santa from her hospital bed instead, apologising for not being able to make it this year. Any time I start feeling remotely sorry for myself, I look to Amelie. Amelie, who has every reason to throw a tantrum every single day. Instead, she faces everything with staggering resilience.Amelie’s family are raising awareness of the Cancer Research UK for Children & Young People Star Awards, celebrating the courage of children who’ve been diagnosed with cancer. For more details and to nominate, visit: cruk.org/starawardsHave a compelling personal story you want to tell? Find out what we’re looking for here, and pitch us on ukpersonal@huffpost.comRelated...People Like Me Rely On The Universal Credit Uplift. Don’t Take It Away From UsI’m A Paramedic. I’ve Seen The Mental Health Toll This Pandemic Is Taking On Us AllI Help Covid Patients Learn To Smell Again. Here’s What I’ve Seen
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How Therapists Have Been Coping During The Covid Pandemic
It’s somehow March again, which means it’s been a full year since the Covid-19 pandemic altered our lives in ways we never imagined.For most of us, it’s been a year of ups and downs with our mental health as we grappled with isolation, fear, anxiety and more. The same goes for mental health professionals.“This past year has been a roller coaster,” said Rachel Thomasian, a licensed marriage and family therapist and owner of Playa Vista Counseling in Los Angeles. “There have been times where I felt like I was handling it fine and other times that I was feeling burnout, hopelessness and anxiety at rates I’ve never experienced before. One of the hardest parts of being a therapist during this time has been trying to help all my clients cope with the same crisis I am living through myself.”Below, she and other therapists share how they’ve been coping with the trauma of the pandemic over the past year.Take daily walks“I am taking 20-minute walks each day ― even when it’s raining,” said Leonard Felder, licensed psychologist based in Los Angeles and author of We See It So Differently. “The trees and the sky don’t know about Covid-19, and it recharges my batteries to see the changing of the seasons which imply ‘this too shall pass.’”In general, getting a change of scenery and spending time in nature can be very calming and therapeutic. It’s also a good way to break up the monotony of staying home.“Environment plays a huge part in our mood,” said Saniyyah Mayo, a licensed marriage and family therapist in Los Angeles. “Ensuring that I didn’t stay in the house every day all day has helped me keep my sanity. Even going from the bedroom to the living room can also help with maintaining a positive mood.”Limit media consumptionDisconnecting from social media and news media, even if just for small periods of the day, can have big mental health benefits.“Since media can be overwhelming at times, I have taken social media breaks and limited the amount of time I spend reading or watching news,” said Maryland-based licensed clinical psychologist Cindy Graham. “I spend my days helping others cope with what they hear through news outlets. Restricting how much time I spend outside of work consuming news has become instrumental in staying in a positive mental space.”Practise mindfulness“I’ve participated in a mindfulness course which granted me protected time each week to work on being present in the moment by reinforcing skills of deep breathing, body scanning, and perspective-taking,” Graham said. “When I feel myself particularly overwhelmed, I pause to take a few minutes to perform a mindfulness technique.”Even if you don’t have the time to take a full mindfulness course, you can practice deep, conscious breathing throughout your day when you start to feel consumed by the upsetting news or sense of uncertainty. It’s also good to try being in the immediate moment.“I have been practising focusing on what is within my locus of control,” said Nicole M. Ward, a licensed marriage and family therapist in Los Angeles. “When clients ask me how I am doing, I typically respond, ‘Well, in the moment.’ This is a reminder of practicing being in one moment at a time; that way even when things may not be going well you can pull out the moments that are different.” Keep in contact with loved onesZoom fatigue is real, but finding ways to spend time with friends and family through the technology we have at our disposal is still a helpful way to combat the isolation of the pandemic ― whether it’s a virtual movie night, game night or simply talking and laughing together on the phone.“Contact with loving friends has been absolutely central to me,” said London-based psychotherapist Noel McDermott. “This has been my bigger purpose during this time, the thing that has made sense of the challenges. I have been taught about what is important.”He said he’s also committed himself to spending time with his son and effectively co-parenting with his son’s mother. “Our relationships have blossomed during this time, for which I am profoundly grateful,” McDermott said. Reduce notificationsGraham said she’s turned off almost all of the notifications and alarms on her devices. Instead, she checks her email, voicemail and other messages at specific times of the day and only checks her work email on her work computer.“While I am able to be reached for urgent matters, I carve out specific times in my day for all other notifications,” she noted.Turn to comedyAs the saying goes, “laughter is the best medicine.” Reena B. Patel, a licensed educational psychologist in San Diego and author of “Winnie & Her Worries,” said she has certainly found that to be true.“I’ve been laughing more,” she said. “Finding activities and connecting with family and friends that draws upon humour.”Patel said her laughter therapy includes watching comedy shows and reminiscing about funny memories with loved ones during virtual hangouts. Exercise “When things got bad last summer, I bought a Peloton and committed to moving my body every day,” Thomasian said. Patel said she bought the popular exercise bike as well.Other therapists turned to no-cost ways to make physical fitness part of everyday life by going for runs or following workout videos on YouTube. They also opted for slightly less expensive exercise equipment, like a yoga mat or, in the case of London-based clinical psychologist Genevieve von Lob, a hula hoop.“I used to hula hoop as a child but had forgotten what a relaxing and fun physical activity it was,” she said. “I also introduced my husband to hula hooping, so we would go outside together during the working day and had some hilarious, shared moments together.” Stick to a schedule“One major coping mechanism that has helped me to manage the pandemic is maintaining a regular schedule,” Graham said. “While this pandemic has certainly changed aspects of my routine to incorporate virtual schooling, a lot of my schedule has remained constant.”Establishing a schedule offers a sense of routine and normalcy. You can also shake it up and move things around if your pandemic schedule starts to feel monotonous.“Routines and rituals are comforting because they are predictable,” said Zainab Delawalla, a licensed clinical psychologist in Atlanta. “During this highly uncertain time when many routines were disrupted, creating a new routine helps alleviate the anxiety that comes with unpredictability.”Cook meals at homeGraham said she’s also changed her eating habits by making meals almost entirely from scratch, rather than grabbing fast food like she used to.“This serves to feed my mind in positive ways, as cooking and baking typically allows me to push out thoughts about stressors to instead focus on chopping, measuring, tasting, seasoning, etc,” she said. “It engages all of my senses and is a good way to focus on the present moment as opposed to all the changes the pandemic has brought about, even if only for a little while.”  Help others cope“Increased rates of anxiety and depression have meant I have stayed busy in providing services to my clients and in running my practice,” Graham said. She said that actively working to support others has helped her cope, as well.“Knowing that I have given back to my community helps me to keep perspective on everything happening around us,” she said.John Mayer, a clinical psychologist in Chicago, said he also threw himself into his work as his patient load expanded amid the pandemic.“I had a great role model in my father,” he said. “I saw him take on any overtime opportunity as a part of his commitment to his job. He even worked through vacations. Covid to me was just an opportunity to serve more and take overtime like him. I’m seeing patients until midnight and it is because of that work ethic I was modelled.”Prioritise sleepFor Patel, prioritising sleep has made a world of difference. She makes sure to meditate before going to bed each night, which can help you fall asleep, stay asleep and improve sleep quality.“Making sure I sleep enough and rest has allowed me to help balance my children’s homeschooling, working from home, and everything else,” she said.Listen to music“I find music has the capacity to change my mood in an instant, so if I was feeling a bit down, I would put on uplifting Spotify playlists and dance around the living room with my daughter,” von Lob said.For Bethany Cook, a music therapist and clinical psychologist in Chicago, music was an obvious outlet from the very beginning of the pandemic. She used it as a way to connect with others and spread joy as well.“At the start of the lockdown last March I started blasting three songs a night on my block for 100 days straight. I would pick uplifting songs and send the lyrics of those songs to a neighbourhood email list to encourage everyone to sing along,” she recalled.“Music brings me joy and seeing others enjoying it fills my bucket as well as theirs,” Cook added. “One of my favourite moments was when I played ‘Do You Hear The People Sing,’ and the neighbours on either side of me ran inside, grabbed their French flags and started walking up and down the sidewalk singing. Even the postman driving by honked and we all felt a deep connection to each other.”Check in with yourself“The pandemic has forced me to be really diligent about checking in with myself and making tweaks in every aspect of my life,” said Meg Gitlin, a psychotherapist in New York and the voice behind therapy insight Instagram City Therapist. “I’ve had to remain flexible, be compassionate to myself when things don’t go as planned and accept change, rapidly at times.”Taking a pause every now and then to examine your emotional state and everyday routine can help you understand and meet your needs.“Even though I used many different coping mechanisms, I want to stress the importance of just checking in with oneself to see what you are feeling,” Ward said. “We are human and it is OK to have moments when you are not OK.” PaintGraham has also taken up painting as a creative outlet during the pandemic.“Getting lost in the process of mixing colors and bringing something forth onto canvas has been particularly fun and is something I look forward to as a welcome way to cope with the pandemic,” she said.Cook has turned painting into a social project to connect with others and spread joy.“My children and I have given away more than 300 rocks we’ve painted for neighbors and strangers who pass by our home,” she said. “We’ve written messages on some and painted faces and smiles on others to connect with those people around us. When we see someone taking a stone we often all race to the window and excitedly watch them while they happily pick one out.”Have some alone time“I recognise my need to disengage periodically, to have time for myself and clear my mind,” said Kristen Carpenter, chief psychologist at the Ohio State Wexner Medical Center’s Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Health.“Over the past year, I have been deliberate about making time for myself to engage in solitary activities ― building puzzles, going for walks, watching or reading something I enjoy ― so that I can come back into work and life more refreshed,” she added.Sue Varma, a New York-based psychiatrist, said her alone time comes in the form of a nightly warm bath.“It saved me during childbirth, and it saved me this pandemic,” she said. “It’s probably one of the few downtimes and my time for quiet, and I actually get a lot of creative ideas in there.” See a therapistIt may seem obvious or surprising that therapists are often in therapy themselves throughout their lives. Thomasian said she started therapy to get extra support when she was having a hard time during the pandemic. Ward simply continued seeing a therapist.“That’s something I believe in outside of the pandemic,” she explained. “I’m my work, how I show up has an impact on the space I hold, so I make sure I have an outlet to help me stay finely tuned.”Set boundaries“I’ve been more attuned to how to optimise the flow of clients in my day instead of just scheduling as many as I can fit, back to back,” Gitlin said. “Now I take breaks and am more intuitive about my limits. I carry not only my own feelings and frustrations with our new normal, but also the weight of my client’s own mood fluctuations. Pre- Covid I would’ve said I was proud of my ability to separate the two, but these days, it’s definitely an ongoing struggle that I have to pay attention to.”Learning to say no without guilt and separate must-dos versus can-dos allows you to reduce the pressure you put on yourself and take on a more realistic workload while balancing it with other aspects of your life.Find a support groupThe Covid-19 pandemic has touched everyone’s lives in different ways, so many people can relate to the different challenges it has presented.“During lockdown, I created an online sharing circle for mothers and also attended other virtual spaces for myself,” von Lob said. “We all need community, a sense of belonging and somewhere where we can let go of the masks, and be vulnerable and authentic. I found it so helpful to have a supportive, safe space where I could share my struggles, challenges and all the highs and lows of living through a pandemic. Listening to others always helped me to feel less alone and reminded me of how connected we all are.” Practise gratitude“When my mind starts to spin out of control, I try to be mindful and shift cognitive lanes and start identifying silver linings to Covid, like the fact that my wife has been able to read and tuck our young children into bed every night for a year,” Cook said. “Had this not happened she would have only seen them for a little bit in the morning before she left for her long days at work.” She said reminding herself that the pandemic won’t last forever and that she’s not the only one dealing with big changes to her life circumstances makes her feel less alone, as well.Validate your feelings“I’ve tried validating and allowing for my own emotions to be,” Patel said. “Leaning into whatever I am feeling and talking about it with my husband.”Acknowledging your emotions and sharing them with others can also help lead to solutions to various challenges.“There was a time when I felt I honestly was becoming clinically depressed and had a check-in with both my best friend and wife,” Cook said. “Turns out I just needed eight hours of ‘solo time’ to recharge, completely off any child duties mentally and physically. I have an amazing parenting partner. The important thing is that I let myself feel the emotions and processed them with a trusted loved one.”Be kind to yourself“Above all else, the most crucial thing I have practiced is self-kindness,” von Lob said.“Over the years, I have practiced speaking to myself in more kind and affirming ways, which definitely helps lift my mood.”Other ways she practices self-compassion include giving herself permission to take breaks, resting during the day, taking personal days off work and putting less pressure on herself. Ward has taken a similar approach.“I utilised various coping skills but most importantly, I reminded myself that there is no one way to be during a pandemic,” she said. “I varied the strategies depending upon what was going on during the moment. I also did not beat myself up on days that I just wanted to do nothing.”Covid-19 is more than a news story – it has changed every aspect of life in the UK. We are following how Britain is experiencing this crisis, the different stages of collective emotion, reaction and resilience. You can tell us how you are feeling and find further advice and resources here.Useful websites and helplinesMind, open Monday to Friday, 9am-6pm on 0300 123 3393.Samaritans offers a listening service which is open 24 hours a day, on 116 123 (UK and ROI - this number is FREE to call and will not appear on your phone bill).CALM (the Campaign Against Living Miserably) offer a helpline open 5pm-midnight, 365 days a year, on 0800 58 58 58, and a webchat service.The Mix is a free support service for people under 25. Call 0808 808 4994 or email help@themix.org.ukRethink Mental Illness offers practical help through its advice line which can be reached on 0808 801 0525 (Monday to Friday 10am-4pm). More info can be found on rethink.org.Read moreWhy A Single Phone Call To A Pal Can Beat 10 Zoom Video CallsI Woke Up Grumpy. Can Virtual Laughter Yoga Make Me Feel Better?So, Did We Actually Get Better At Cooking During Lockdown?The Sleep Saboteurs: Why Staying Up Late Is Bringing Us DownHow To Get Your 'Spark' Back If You've Completely Lost Your MojoHow To Embrace Alone Time (And Even Start Enjoying It)How Kindness Could Prevent Loneliness – But Not In The Way You’d ExpectHow We Cope: 11 Small Things That Have Helped Us Through LockdownHow Happiness Experts Stay Happy – Even During A Pandemic17 Alternative Self-Care Tips To Help Keep You Zen
UK News and Opinion - The Huffington Post...
The Most Common Ways The Pandemic Has Affected Our Mental Health
This article was originally published on HuffPost US.Nothing particularly out of the ordinary happened on the day I completely broke. Well, aside from going into month seven of a terrifying global pandemic.It was October. As a wellbeing editor, I had been covering Covid-19 and following every single update daily. When I wasn’t brainstorming stories about transmission and how to protect ourselves, I was meticulously tracking vaccine developments and death rates.Outside of work, I was also thinking of these facts and how they applied to every facet of my life. I became my loved ones’ trusted source on the coronavirus, meaning questions about it dominated most of our conversations. I was having nightmares about being in public without a mask and waking up with headaches that made it difficult to see straight.I kept telling myself I was lucky and that my fears were overblown, even though my body was telling me differently. No one I knew had died. I wasn’t working in an ER like some of my close friends. What right did I have to break down?“What you’re dealing with is trauma,” my therapist said kindly during our session that day, noting that I had been traumatised to some degree for more than 200 days straight ― and it was likely going to continue. She was right; I’m still working through it as I write this, and probably will be for months to come.So many of us have been grappling with changes to our mental health over the last year. People who have lived with mental health conditions their whole lives are finding that they’re changing in ways they weren’t expecting. Others who didn’t feel their emotional well-being was at risk are finding themselves seeking therapy, perhaps for the first time.Mental health professionals are scrambling to keep up with the demand for their expertise. The mental toll of this health crisis cannot be underestimated. It also manifests in different ways. While I may be dealing with trauma, someone else is navigating other hard issues ― perhaps even more than one.Here are some of the most common mental health problems therapists are seeing because of the pandemic:DepressionDepression has always been a common mental health issue, but “what is different is the intensity and the number of people who present these symptoms,” said Alfiee Breland-Noble, a psychologist based in Washington DC and founder of the mental health nonprofit, the AAKOMA Project.“It’s exacerbated by the isolation, the loneliness, the lack of activities that normally keep people functioning well,” she said. “Once the isolation hit us – after probably the first three or four months when we began to realise this wasn’t going away anytime soon – that’s when the floodgates really started to open.” AnxietyWe all experience anxiety to some degree in normal life, but the pandemic has exacerbated it beyond many people’s control. Some may be hyperaware of their own body, tracking every symptom wondering if it’s Covid-19. Many may be worrying over their financial situations. Others might be struggling with all of the uncertainty the pandemic has introduced. The circumstances of the last year have thrust us into a heightened state of chronic stress, said Jessica Gold, an assistant professor of psychiatry at Washington University in St Louis.“In something like a pandemic, where we are basically in a constant state of uncertainty, we are always surveying our environment for threats and also always running from them,” she said. “There is only so long you can run a marathon without your body giving way, and especially with a constantly-shifting finish line, like we have during the pandemic.” There is only so long you can run a marathon without your body giving way, and especially with a constantly-shifting finish line, like we have during the pandemic.Jessica GoldGrief Millions have died from Covid-19, leaving millions more in mourning. That alone is devastating. We’re also grieving the loss of certainty and structure, said Sheva Rajaee, a psychotherapist and director of the Center for Anxiety and OCD.“While the pandemic itself might end, it’s important to consider the economic, social and cultural fallout of what this past year has meant for our mental health and what it will mean moving forward. Job loss affects our mental health in significant ways, as does political and cultural instability,” Rajaee said. “Dealing with grief and loss, whether that be the loss of a loved one to Covid-19 or the loss of our expectations for what our lives might have been if the pandemic had not occurred, will need to be addressed and processed.”Trauma and early signs of PTSD Trauma comes in many shapes ― you don’t have to physically witness a horrific event to feel the mental health effects from it. Watching cases rise, losing your job, being exposed to the virus and so much more all can contribute to trauma.“We don’t talk enough about how this pandemic has been basically one big traumatic event, with a lot of little traumas within it. ... There are a lot of people suffering because of that right now,” Gold said.And, of course, those who work the front lines or have personal experience with Covid-19 are dealing with trauma in a big way.“I see health care workers and they struggle from what they have had to see in their jobs day to day ― that much death, that much suffering and not being able to help,” Gold said. “Others I see are struggling from watching their loved ones die of Covid-19 over an iPad because they were unable to visit them.”Panic and agoraphobiaWe’ve been told daily how dangerous it is to be around other people and strongly urged to isolate ourselves from others. In some instances, that has contributed to a real aversion to being in crowded places. Rajaee said she’s been seeing more cases of agoraphobia ― which is the fear and avoidance of public and crowded locations ― in her clinic because of the pandemic.“Mundane occurrences like going to the grocery store or seeing a friend in the park have become life or death questions, moral battlegrounds where we must make choices that seem to carry very real consequences,” she said. “We’ve spent the last year teaching our brains that the world and other people are not safe.” We’ve spent the last year teaching our brains that the world and other people are not safe.Sheva RajaeeSubstance Misuse“Things like substance use have increased because people often turn to quick, pleasurable coping skills to deal with the range of emotions and with working from home, access to the kitchen is easy,” Gold said.A recent report from the American Psychological Association found that people increased their substance use over the last year as a way to cope with the stress of the pandemic. Overdoses have also increased.Eating disordersThe same pleasure derived from substance use can also contribute to binge-eating behaviours, Gold said. “On the flip side, restricting food intake has also increased because when then the world feels out of control, sometimes people turn to coping mechanisms to regain control, and that is the one thing you can control: food and what you put into your body.” Compounded mental health issuesUnfortunately, in many cases, people are dealing with varying degrees of multiple mental health problems. After all, we’ve all been exposed to loss, anxiety, uncertainty, isolation and more.“The pandemic causes a lot of mental health problems because it is a sea of compounding stressors,” Gold said. “Often we say one stressor doesn’t usually trigger someone to ‘be depressed’ but it could be the thing that ― together with the rest of your family history, past history and physical symptoms ― pushes you over the mental health edge into depression or anxiety at the time. This pandemic is like a boiler cooker for that.”What to keep in mind if your mental health is suffering because of the pandemic:“I would say to anyone struggling right now that I want you to know that ― even if we cannot physically be together ― I see you, I hear you and I value you,” Breland-Noble said. “I feel like people need to hear that message, they need to know they are not alone.”She recommended finding one safe person in your life to confide in. That could be a therapist, but it doesn’t necessarily have to be. Just someone to lean on who you trust, whether it’s a friend, family member, co-worker or someone from an online support group.And speaking of the internet, “make sure that what you’re reading and consuming and watching is good for your mental health,” Breland-Noble said.“Curate your news. Of course you want to be informed, but there’s a way to do it while taking care of yourself. That may mean you gotta understand when you need to watch a story unfolding live or when you need to read it later.”Finally, know that what you’re experiencing is a normal reaction to a completely abnormal situation. And while there’s no one-size-fits all treatment plan, there are professional resources and experts available to help you find what works best for you. If your mental health struggles are drastically affecting your daily life, please seek help. It’s so, so worth it.I know the trauma I’ve endured isn’t going to magically evaporate the second we go back to normal (if we ever do). One day we’ll shed our face masks, but what we endured will linger. However, with the right help and coping strategies, it won’t always feel so heavy. Useful websites and helplinesMind, open Monday to Friday, 9am-6pm on 0300 123 3393.Samaritans offers a listening service which is open 24 hours a day, on 116 123 (UK and ROI - this number is FREE to call and will not appear on your phone bill).CALM (the Campaign Against Living Miserably) offer a helpline open 5pm-midnight, 365 days a year, on 0800 58 58 58, and a webchat service.The Mix is a free support service for people under 25. Call 0808 808 4994 or email help@themix.org.ukRethink Mental Illness offers practical help through its advice line which can be reached on 0808 801 0525 (Monday to Friday 10am-4pm). More info can be found on rethink.org.Covid-19 is more than a news story – it has changed every aspect of life in the UK. We are following how Britain is experiencing this crisis, the different stages of collective emotion, reaction and resilience. You can tell us how you are feeling and find further advice and resources here.Related...It's Not Just You, We're All Feeling Mega Awkward Around PeopleThe Pandemic Put Our Grief On Hold. Here's How We're Coping‘We Are Survivors’: A Year On The Covid Front Line For 6 British WomenIt's Normal To Want More And Less Lockdown At The Same Time7 Little Things You Can Do When You're Feeling Pandemic Burnout
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