Is anxiety and stress “all in your head?”

A lot of things can cause stress in everyday life: work, uni, family, lack of sleep… I feel like there’s a constant comparison of stress in society nowadays.  “I’m so stressed,” “yes but at least you don’t have… going on” etc. Isn’t that just the worst? Or when people think current stress and problems are nothing compared to what they experienced in their day? Some of those amongst us who may even suffer from mental health illnesses may have heard “it’s all in your head!” Because of this, I thought I’d look at what actually happens in the brain to produce stress and anxiety and prove that being stressed and anxious, is just as physically as a more visible illness.

I hope you find this informative and feel free to rub this in the faces of somebody next time they doubt you!

The Frugal Frenchie

Firstly, it might be useful to talk about certain areas for clarification.

Is anxiety and stress "all in your head?"

  • Hypothalamus: this area, despite being small compared to other brain parts, is actually responsible for a lot of functions and processes. For example, it has a role in hormone release, expression of aggression, control of food intake and of course, stress.
  • Pituitary gland: it’s linked to the nervous system by the hypothalamus

Is anxiety and stress "all in your head?"

  • Hippocampus: like the amygdala and the hypothalamus, it is part of the limbic system. Like all brain areas, it is involved in many processes in the body, but especially long-term memory, spatial navigation and a “mediator” in stress responses
  • Amygdala: the amygdala is another part of the limbic system, traditionally known for its role in the fear response (flight/fight/freeze) and negative emotions

Stress, in general, leads to the release of corticotrophin-release hormone (CRH) in the hypothalamus. As the pituitary gland is linked to the hypothalamus, it releases adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACCH). Being very brief, this leads to the adrenal gland releasing cortical (the hormone that gets all the praise for stress).

This, after all that jargon, is the important part. Cortisol leads to increased sympathetic activation which is basically the activation of the sympathetic nervous system (SNS) that is responsible for all these physiological bodily responses like fight/flight/freeze, increased heart rate, sweating and so on.

The amount of cortisol that gets released is what affects how much/or little we react to feelings of stress. Why some people may just sweat a little, or others may have a panic attack or freeze. The amount of cortisol produced depends on the activity of the amygdala and the hippocampus.

Is anxiety and stress "all in your head?"

The amygdala is critical for fear response. Sensory information from the thalamus and cortex are processed in the basolateral nucleus of the amygdala and is passed onto the central nucleus. This activates the HPA-axis (which is a more formal term for stress response and its effects, including cortisol release).

The role of the hippocampus in this HPA-axis is actually that it measures cortisol levels. It’s the glucocorticoid receptors in the hippocampus that do this. When the cortisol levels are too high, the hippocampus inhibits the CRH release in the hypothalamus (if you remember from the first step) and this in turn stops the HPA-axis activation. It may not seem important, but without this, our body would not behave differently to whether we were being chased by a dangerous animal or if somebody made us jump by shouting “boo.”

Now why is this all important to know? Well, not only is it good head knowledge, but it’s to prove that our behaviour and feelings aren’t a part of our thoughts, but several processes and chemical releases in the brain. It’s important to know that this is normal, and we shouldn’t be made to feel guilty about it.

In those who have diagnosed anxiety or phobias, this happens as there is an overacitvation of the amygala, which means that their fear responses are a lot more powerful.

I hope you found this post interesting and if you learnt something new today, or enjoyed this post, please leave a comment below.

My goals for 2018

I’ve decided to refer to goals this year because resolutions are almost a predetermination that they’ll fail mid-year or earlier. This year though, I’m determined to be more focused. Being more organised etc. is very cliche, but I feel this year, I need to know what I want and what I want to achieve. So, here are my goals for 2018! Make sure you hold me accountable!

The Frugal Frenchie

Firstly, I’d like to go out more. Yup, not many teenagers can say that they don’t go out enough but I really want to socialise more. I feel like socialising spices up the mundane routine of work and uni as well as getting some juicy gossip. I think at least one meet up a week would be nice, any more and I won’t complain!

My goals for 2018

Secondly, I’d like to get more committed to my blog. What often happens is when I have a free moment, I’ll sit down and want to write a blog post but nothing comes to me. Even if I plan titles, I’m not able to just force words onto a page. As life goes, however, when I have to study or have exams coming up, I’m brimming with ideas and things to brainstorm, so this year I want to try and find a nice compromise between the two.

My goals for 2018

Thirdly, this is also a blog/money goal,  I would love to write my first sponsored post or #ad. For many people, this is a taboo subject, with questions arising over the blogger’s genuineness and authenticity, but I feel it’s important to work with brands and be a true “influencer.”

Another monthly goal, I’d like to achieve is getting a promotion in my job. As you all know from previous posts, I work at Primark, but I also own my own beauty and wellness business.

My goals for 2018

I want to work my hardest to achieve a promotion by sharing the opportunity and spreading the word about my amazing, vegan, cruelty-free products! In doing so, I’ll better my business skills (such as pitching and selling) as well as management and time management.

My last goal is to get a 2:1 or more in my second year of university. My second year, out of three, accounts for 30% of my overall degree, so ending on a good grade and on a high note, sets me up well for next year and achieving my best in my BSc Psychology Degree.

My goals for 2018

What are all your goals this year? Have you already beaten yourself and achieved them? Let me know! xx

Ways that anyone can save money

Throughout the year, there might be a number of reasons why someone might find themselves a little tight on cash. This could be due to an unexpected bill, less working hours, more costly demands… you name it! We’ve all been there, and we’ll all be there at some point, so I thought it’d be useful to share some ways that anyone can save money.

The Frugal Frenchie x

Ways that anyone can save money

  • Stop bad habits
    • Like smoking or binge drinking
  • Check what discounts you’re entitled to
    • Student discount?
    • NHS discount?
    • Tastecard
  • Try have a no-spend week at least once a month
  • Do a money saving challenge
  • Consider alternatives to your current product
    • Look at price per kg/l
    • Are own brand products just as good?
  • Reuse, reduce, recycle
    • If jeans have rips, turn them to shorts?
    • Reduce waste by turning potato peelings into crisps?
    • Loads of possibilities here!
  • Use your utilities at night
    • Having a shower or running the dishwasher at night, can save you money
    • Check with your providers though
  • Get cashback on any online purchases
  • Buy things second hand
  • Sell unwanted items
    • There are so many apps to do this on like:
      • Depop
      • Schpock
  • Buy in the reduced section
  • Buy clothes out of season
  • Gift cards
    • Buy them on Zeek for profit
    • Earn them through surveys
  • Buy railway cards or bus cards for discounts

This is just a quick list but there are loads more ideas possible! Do comment your favourite ones; let me know what works for you!

Diary Post: What I got for my birthday

On the 9th December, I turned the big 2-0! My day was filled with kind words, good food and some pretty awesome presents. In the few years that I have been blogging, I don’t believe I’ve ever shared what gifts I’ve received so why change that and show you what I got for my birthday?

What I got for my birthday What I got for my birthdayWhat I got for my birthdayWhat I got for my birthdayWhat I got for my birthday

I hope you enjoy it and please forgive the excited girl tone aha.

The Frugal Frenchie x

I feel like my presents were really varied this year so there’s a little bit of everything. My dad chose out this book by Matthew Desmond called “Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City.” It’s a nonfiction book that describes the events and the lives of those in trailer parks and tumbledown houses.

What I got for my birthday

It talks about people’s struggles, hardships and life obstacles which I, sometimes guilty so, find very interesting, so I look forward to getting further into the book!

My mum chose me out this gorgeous perfume from Yves Rocher. It’s called “Quelques Notes d’Amour,” and I love it. Shipped from France, it feels extra special as I’ve always loved their products and it smells so lush. It’s not overly sweet but it’s fairly woody for a feminine perfume. I’ve worn it every day since I got it!

What I got for my birthday

Next comes the food, there’s always food let’s face it. My sister was so sweet as to buy me a tube of Smarties- which awkwardly is nearly finished by the time I write this post- and my uni friend got me a tub of Jelly Bean “tropical bonanza!” Thought that was quite funky as some flavours I’ve never tried before, and that was finished a while ago *oops*.

What I got for my birthday

Although these are far from the most well edited, well laid out pictures, I thought it was most appropriate as these sweet treats got me through some tough times typing away at the computer doing coursework aha.

Lastly, I was very kindly gifted the Alcatel A5 LED phone and I love it so much! It’s so easy to navigate and I’ve finally moved on now from my friend’s, scratched old phone! Feels so good to be able to download loads of important apps and be more active on social media whilst on the go. The camera is also much better (my last post was me experimenting with it for the first time ever) which can only mean a step in the right direction when trying to up my blogging game!

What I got for my birthday

There’s also an A3 version but both have this cool cover which replaces the normal back. It lights up whenever you sign in or get a notification so it’s great when you need to keep your phone on silent but want to remain updated! I attached a picture below because it turns out it’s hard to photograph aha, but I love it; I’m a very happy bunny indeed.

What I got for my birthday

What I got for my birthdayWhat I got for my birthday

My Christmas Stocking Fillers

I’m writing this blog post on my birthday as it’s when this time passes that I officially start feeling the Christmas spirit! For this reason, I’ve decided to give you a sneak peek into some of my Christmas stockings fillers this year, so have a nosy and enjoy!

  • Lip balms

I find these are such an easy “go-to” for stocking fillers. They’re small, handy and can be used anywhere at any time, especially during the winter months. These are my personal favourites this year:

I love all Jelly Belly lip balms so it seemed a great idea to grab this pack of 8 for my sister! I think Cherry Blue and Tangerine are such original flavours that I might have to borrow them from time to time aha!

My Christmas Stockings Fillers You can find these in Claire’s for £12.

I also spotted these two hilarious lip balms in the cosmetic section in Primark. It’s a “Christmas Pudding” lip balm and a “Christmas Dinner” themed lip balm. I thought these would make such festive little gifts and are bound to put a smile on the face of the receiver!

My Christmas Stockings Fillers

My Christmas Stockings Fillers

You can find these in Primark for £1.50 each.

  • CDs and DVDs

When you know somebody well, I think CDs and DVDs are such a great gift! Shows that you’ve thought of something that they’d love and it’s something that can be enjoyed over and over.

“NOW that’s what I call….” CDs have always been prominent in our lives. I personally love their “NOW that’s what I call music” but until I started researching, I had no idea that they also did “Classic Soul” and “Driving Rock.” These are definitely gifts that will appeal to my in-laws!

My Christmas Stockings

My Christmas Stockings

Both Classic Soul and Driving Rock retail at £7.98

In terms of films and DVDs, well 2017 has really spoilt us this year. From Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast” and Universal Picture’s “Despicable Me 3” to more mature and action filled films like “Spider-Man” and “Wonder Woman!” I’ve chosen Wonder Woman on blu-ray as a stocking filler as not only has my boyfriend not seen it but it’s the second best selling film of the year so has to be amazing, right?

My Christmas Stockings Fillers

Wonder Woman is available on bluray for £13.30.

  • Stationary

Ok, how could I not have put this here? Everybody loooves a good bit of stationary!

Stabilo are always rocking it with their stationary but when I saw these 6 highlighters I fell in love. They’re so dainty and have really cute quotes across them such as “tres chic” and “Be youtiful.” I just think they’re so adorable and people of all ages would appreciate this! Still debating who to give it to actually!

My Christmas Stocking Fillers

My Christmas Stocking Fillers

These pastel love highlighters are on Amazon for £8.71 

  • Books

I think you really can’t go wrong with books. I personally got a book today for my birthday and I’ve got two books for my mum’s present and my little brother’s.

Because my brother is quite a “deep” reader, I thought this would make for a light-hearted, cute little stocking filler for him to enjoy and look through in his own time. I love that books can be catered to different ages and personalities, there are so many talented authors out there!

My Christmas Stockings Fillers

Barry Loser’s Christmas Joke Book can be found on Amazon for £4.98

What are your go-to stocking fillers? Have you sorted all yours yet? Let me know in the comments below!

The Frugal Frenchie x

*Disclaimer: this is not a sponsored post, however some products were offered in exchange for a review and this post may contain affiliates

How to avoid coffee and energy drinks forever

As somebody who drinks neither fizzy drinks, energy drinks, tea or coffee, I thought that it would be as good a time as ever to share my go-to energy source and teach you all how to avoid coffee and energy drinks forever and save money! It’s a win-win!

Being a student can often involve 9am lectures, people complaining of hangovers and seeing Red Bulls or Starbucks coffees everywhere. As we get older, we just seem to get worse; having a coffee to wake us up, keep our energy going and as a social activity.

What’s my secret?

I don’t know why, but with age, the smell of fresh coffee actually disgusts me more and more. As for fizzy drinks, I find them overpriced and I only like them when they’re flat anyway (is that weird?). Because of this, it’s easy to find myself at times feeling tired in the middle of the day or needing a burst of energy. How do I do this? With…..

How to avoid coffee and energy drinks forever

Fizz sticks!

What are they? How do you use them?

These are absolutely amazing! Rather than getting a load of caffeine, fat from milk and a large sugar intake, this allows you to get all your energy as well as contributing to your vitamin B and pantothenic acid intake and helping your metabolism. It does so through the antioxidants and natural ingredients. Using them is so simple: all you do is add 1 stick to 400 ml of water and stir. Yup, that’s it. 

How can they save me money?

As I’m not a coffee drinker myself, I didn’t want to assume that people spend more on coffee than they actually do, so I did as what would be expected from a 21st century gal and I tweeted it. Here are the results. Do they shock you?

*Bare in mind, that this doesn’t include the price of every coffee you make at home, this is only what people spend on the go. *

So, down to the gritty stuff.

According to the research from Buddy Loans in December 2015, we spend around £730 million a year on coffee alone! Think of all those instagram picture we see with Costa cups and so forth. The way to help the environment and save money is through fizz sticks.

For example….

  • You wake up and have a coffee at home. Total = £1.85 (according to LifeHacker).
  • The average Costa product is between £2-£3 (average £2.50). Total = £4.35
  • Let’s say you’re only a moderate coffee drinker and have a coffee at lunch and dinner only. Total = £8.05

Put this in a monthly and yearly context….

  • Monthly = £225.40
  • Yearly = £2704.80!!!!!!

This example can similarly be used with fizzy drinks. The average cost of a 500ml bottle is about £1.50, if you have about two bottles a day or combine it with coffee- you get the gist.

How to avoid coffee and energy drinks forever

In the case of fizz sticks….

  • Each individual fizz stick comes out as £1.02 (if at discount price). Take this in the morning.
  • If you’re feeling extra fatigued, you could have two max. Total = £2.04
  • Monthly = £28.56
  • Yearly = £342.72!!!!

That’s an incredible saving of £236.08!!

If you want to have a healthier substitute to these drinks, consume more water, help save the environment and save money, then give these a go! Comments are open to any questions and do get in contact for the discount.

The Frugal Frenchie x

*Disclaimer: this is not a sponsored post, however this post does contain affiliate links