On this World Mental Health Awarness Day, I would like to share not only the startegies but also my story.
I never thought of myself as a person who would be struggling with self-worth and low esteem at any point of my life. Why would I? I had sucessfull career, happy home, wonderful husband and daughter so plenty of things to be grateful for.
I loved my job in the corporate, working in the Supply Chain which overall was quite rewarding and exciting. (this is the story for another post)
However, like with any illness, ill mental health is something which we work for quite a long time without realising. It creeps up when we do not look after ourselves and it builds up only to explode in the most unwanted and unpredicted way. ( I exclude any mental health problems related to traumatic events, as it is a very different category)
At that point we do not know what is going on and our life is spinning around and we start loosing the ground under our feet.
We get into the spiral of negative thinking blaming ourselves for not doing that or the other. This state can be very dangerous when untreated with many people having suicidal thoughts at this stage.
Mental health especially among the workforce has some staggering numbers with 44% of workforce suffering from stress, depression or anxiety mainly due to workload (2017/2018 hse.gov.uk).
You hold the solution
I believe we work in the culture of buzyness, each of us carring the busy badge of honor. If we are not busy, means something is not right. We are busy not only physically but especially mentally and we do not hold the space for ourselves to recover, to think and connect with our body.
I remember my traumatic events. When I miscarried I had no single day off other than those in the hospital. When my mum died I threw myself into work so that I do not have to stay at home and think about it. I did not give myself time to grief and recover. But our body and our mind remember and we hold the tension and quite often the illness is building up with no particular symptoms until our body and mind slowly give up. Prolonged stress causes inflammation, stress also prohibits the proper absorption of the nutrients from the gut. We gain weight, our skin is bad and we feel tired and exhausted. Prolonged stress quite often leads to burnout.
Does it mean that we can’t stress at all? It is impossible, but we can learn to manage our thoughts and then our feelings and actions. We need to build mental resilience which will give us strength to continoue the life we want to live on this earth. And what is more important we need to immidiately teach our children how to build it because with all the social media pressure they will have even more reasons for issues with mental health.
Self-care is not a buzz world, it has to be taken seriously
Self-care is the only thing we have in our control. It may be a bit of simplification as anxiety and depression can be on a different and quite wide range of spectrum (e.g as mentioned before due to traumatic events). However, my 5 strategies below will help if you do not know where to start or go. I want to empower you and show that you have a choice. My experience with NHS unfortunately is not great as my appointment with GP lasted 8 min and I was prescribed antidepressant drugs. Talking to a Pharmacists it seems that this is the most common case and more and more especially young people apear at the door with antidepressants prescriptions.
5 Strategies to manage your mental wellbeing
- Talk to somebody independent – Therapist, coach who specialises in stress and anxiety, would be perfect. When I was going thru the burnout I knew that I needed help to get me out of the negative thinking, I basically could not see anything positive. I blamed myself for everything and for not doing enough. I had around 10 sessions over three months and they helped me so much.
- Establish self-care routine – meditation, journalling, yoga and essential oils are only few examples which helped me a lot. I used Hal Elrod book Miracle Mornings which changed my life. I have never been a morning person, but I was waking up at 5.30 am eager to meditate, visualise and journal. Evening yoga classes also changed my life as I could see that life can be truly rewarding when you have time to look into inner self for solutions. Make gratitude the biggest part of your routine. Being grateful for everything even for the job which I did not enjoy, made my life easier and happier. We are so focus on what we do not have that we forget about what we already do have.
- Eat beautiful rainbow food – needless to say this was a big one for me which led to career change. I changed my diet and went vegan not even being vegeterian before. I loved all the colorful food, smoothies and salads. My body went into massive detoxification after years of abuse. I suddenly had more energy and brain clarity. I started loosing weight and I am happy to report that I managed to keep it off and I am now at my pre-pregency weight. I never felt healthiest and fittest than in my 40ties. I do not take any medications even for pain.
- Exercise– find exercise which you love; do not go running if you hate it. Try different classes and choose those which you love. I chose yoga and then strength training to tone my body which I love to this day. I also love swimming and I signed up for Swimmathon for my 40th brithday and will do it again in 2020.
- Find your spirituality – whether you are religious or not , it does not matter but believing in something greater than us , gives us peace and takes the eagerness to control everything away. We grow into our spirituality believing that the universe has a plan for us and we are happy to accept what it brings. I love the idea of being at peace with my life experiences. I just trust that they were meant to happen for a reason. I just need to take them learn from them and continue living the life to the fullest.
I hope I managed to inspire you. I did not include any rocket science items but I presented them from my own unique perspective. We all have our own story and we quite often hold the key to uncovering the secrets to our true self.