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The Health Sessions

Your weekly dose of in-depth advice on a healthy lifestyle and coping with chronic illness.

19 Healthy Burgers and Fries for Your Summer BBQ

19 Healthy Burgers & Fries for BBQ Season | The Health Sessions


Summer’s officially here and we all know what that means: burger time!

But that doesn’t mean your limited to not-so-healthy store-bought burgers with too much salt and preservatives on white buns. Long gone are the days when those of us not loving red, processed meats where left with a dry turkey burger or tasteless, mushy veggie patty. Food blogs are filled with mouth-watering veggie burgers that even a meat lover would happily dig into. You can make plenty of exciting twists on the classic beef burger, from omega-3-rich salmon burgers to plant-powered patties made with chickpeas, quinoa, black rice and mushrooms.

And what’s a burger without fries? Still crispy and crunchy, the oven-baked veggie fries in this post contain less unhealthy trans fats and more nutritional value than your average French fries. And that includes better-for-you dipping sauces!

So gear up for grilling season with a summer’s worth of healthy burger and fries recipes.

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Pain, Periods & Peaks: Sophie McDonald On Living with Endometriosis

What’s it really like to live with chronic illness every day? How do you deal with the physical symptoms, emotional turmoil and practical problems? In this interview series, real life ‘spoonies’ share their stories and tips.

Sophie McDonald on Living with Endometriosis | The Health Sessions

Sophie McDonald is a student mental health nurse from York who suffers from endometriosis. She is currently training to hike the Yorkshire Three Peak with her husband Tom, to fundraise for Endometriosis UK. 


Tell us a little about yourself.

 I’m Sophie, just a few weeks away from turning 30 and I’m a student mental health nurse. I’m from Yorkshire, where I live with my husband. I have endometriosis and recently started running the Endometriosis UK support group in York.


When did you first get sick?

For anyone who is unfamiliar with endometriosis, it is a condition affecting 1 in 10 women where cells similar to those lining the uterus grow outside of that area, often in other parts of the pelvis such as the ovaries, fallopian tubes, bladder and bowel. These cells react in a similar way to those lining the uterus, responding to hormonal changes in the body and bleeding when a women is on her period, causing chronic inflammation.

Endometriosis can cause chronic pain, heavy and prolonged periods, bladder and bowel problems, fatigue and infertility. There are treatments available to manage the symptoms, but there is no cure. It’s important to note that symptoms vary considerably and no two women will have the same experience or response to treatment.

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38 Staycation Ideas for a Happy Holiday at Home

38 Staycation Ideas for a Happy Holiday at Home | The Health Sessions

All photos made by Maria van Doorn from Despina Design


It’s that time of year again.

Everyone’s busy planning and packing for their next holiday adventure – but you’re not going anywhere.

Many people who choose to have a so-called staycation do so to save money or because they like being at home. But what if you’d love to go globe-trotting or soaking up the sun by the pool, but you simply can’t because you’re too sick to travel?

How do you get a vacation feeling – that elusive mix of peace and excitement – when you’re ‘stuck’ in your own home?

I’ll admit, a holiday at home will never be the same as a real beach escape or city break. But there are still plenty of fun ways to make your staycation feel like a true vacation, even when you’re chronically ill.

No matter if you’re housebound or relatively mobile, enjoy the summer holidays from the comfort of your own home with these 38 staycation ideas for spoonies of all fitness levels

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Health Sessions: Habits, Happiness and How to Get Things Done with Chronic Illness

Health Sessions: Habits, Happiness and How to Get Things Done with Chronic Illness | The Health Sessions


There comes a point in your life when it’s time to stop reading other people’s books and write your own.”

— Albert Einstein


I finally took the plunge.

After years of daydreaming about it, I’ve started writing my first ebook, about creating your own action plan for recovering from illness or injury. So far it’s been a pretty challenging project, with many new things to learn while trying to keep The Health Sessions and my family life running smoothly. But just like everything else in my life, it might take me ages to complete, with the inevitable obstacles in my way, but somehow I’ll get there in the end.

With all my time and energy poured into writing the ebook, however, my inspiration for truly useful blog posts has run a bit dry. Luckily, there are 71 articles packed with in-depth advice in the archives, from how-to guide and expert tips to recipe posts and personal essays.

Here are some of my all-time favourite posts on The Health Sessions. Which article did you find most helpful? Happy reading!

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The Beginner’s Guide to Changing Your Negative Thoughts

A Beginner's Guide to Challenging Your Negative Thoughts | The Health Sessions


It’s all my fault.

No one will understand.”

“I’m just a burden to everyone.


Thoughts pop up in our heads all day long, uninvitedly.

It happens so automatically that we rarely take the time to wonder if what we’re thinking is actually true. Instead, we take our thoughts at face value and instantly respond with feelings and actions. But when your inner critic or negative Nancy is taking over your mind, it’s time to take back control and change your thought patterns.

Because thoughts are powerful. They influence your mood, your decisions and even your neurobiology. Every time you have a thought (“Oh god, everybody is staring at me!“), your brain releases neurotransmitters and hormones that prepare your body and mind to respond to the (imaginary) situation – by blushing, stumbling, running off or making a self-deprecating joke.

That’s why automatic negative thoughts (ANTs) take a toll on your mental health: they trigger a cascade of biochemical reactions and emotions that adversely affect how you feel and behave.

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About me

I’m a psychologist living with chronic illness. I want to help you feel as energetic, symptom-free and happy as possible, by showing you how to create lasting health habits and by giving you advice on how to cope with (chronic) health problems.


All lifestyle and health advice is provided for information only. The Health Sessions is not intended to replace a consultation with an appropriately qualified health professional. Always seek the advice of your doctor with any personal medical questions that you may have!