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Mental health

Mental health crisis

I firmly believe we are heading for a mental health crisis. I know this isn’t my usual positive message, but it is a painful truth. The whole world has been living in a state of fight or flight for over two years now and all we are doing is kicking the can down the road. At some point it is going to catch up with us. 

I have been in a state of crisis with my mental health. I have woken up in tears and felt unable to get out of bed. I have been so depressed I couldn’t sleep and felt numb all the time. 

It is because of this experience that I then went out and found ways to stay mentally healthy. For me it was a string of circumstances that caused me to feel that way, so it was relatively easy to remove the culprits.

 

I made myself promises like:

  • I will never stay in a job that makes me feel like that again
  • I will never allow a man to treat me like that again
  • I will always speak to someone if I start to feel like that 

It was a few more years before the penny dropped that I needed to do more than just walk away from stress in order to be mentally healthy.

At that point I started journaling again, I made a conscious effort to meditate every day, not just when I thought about it, and most importantly, for me, I realised that my diet had a huge impact on my mental health as well as my physical health. 

It does make me a little sad though because when I look at my family, friends and clients, the ones who actively look after their mental health are all the ones who have been at this extreme point. Only then have they realised that they needed to do things to care for their mental wellbeing. 

 

My ever growing toolkit

Of course over the years I have added countless other tools to my mental health toolkit; journal therapy, Reiki, crystals, tree spirit healing, mindfulness practices, breathing techniques… There are so many things we can do to support out mental wellbeing.

Do you know what still lifts me faster than anything else when I feel myself slipping though? 

Singing. 

I love music and putting on some uplifting music and having a good sing, even dancing round my office or kitchen, is guaranteed to lift my mood and energise me. No training needed. 

 

Three easy things I do to support my mental health

Singing is actually scientifically proven to lift help with anxiety, I wrote about it a little while ago. When we sing we alter our breathing and it works as effectively as any breathing technique.

Another thing which instantly makes me feel better is sunshine. Unfortunately that is much harder to regulate but getting outside whatever the weather always helps. 

The last, and most joyous thing which helps is seeing my loved ones. Whether it is a catch up with a good friend or a family outing. Seeing my loved ones and having a good chat and a hug is guaranteed to make me feel as though everything is going to be ok.

 

Top 5 things anyone can do to support their mental health

  1. Get enough sleep – while we sleep our body processes stress so when we don’t get enough sleep we wake with yesterdays stress still in our system.

  2. Eat well – our diet doesn’t just affect our physical health. Fatty foods, sugar, alcohol and caffeine can all have a big impact on our mental health.
  3. Get enough exercise – exercise doesn’t just improve our physical health. Movement is one of the only ways our body can process all the chemicals we produce when we are stressed. Get moving!
  4.  Write – just grab a pen and a scrap of paper and write out exactly how you are feeling. You don’t have to show anyone, you can destroy it as soon as you have finished writing, but releasing those thoughts and emotions onto paper is incredibly healing. (If you want help with writing therapy get in touch, I am happy to support you with this.
  5. Be more mindful – mindfulness isn’t something formal and scary. You can meditate while you wash up. 

Incorporating things like mindfulness into your day might feel daunting. You may not know how to start, you may think you can’t do it, you may believe you don’t have time. Let me tell you, it’s easy, you can and you do. If you want to learn about how you can be more mindful every day, have a read of this blog I wrote a while back: Every Day Mindfulness.

Have I convinced you yet that you need to start thinking about your mental health as often as you do your physical health? 

We need to start encouraging people to spot the warning signs of depression and anxiety in the same way we do strokes and heart attacks. There should be media campaigns and people going into schools teaching our children how  to prevent mental health issues.

We don’t need a sticking plaster after we’ve fallen, we need to be taught how to walk the tightrope of mental health as proficiently as we possibly can in the hope that we never fall off.

 

Support for your mental health:

These are wonderful websites and apps which can support your mental health if you are struggling.

Young Minds

Calmer Classrooms

Mind

Calm

NHS England

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