Mental Health Issues and Support

mental health issues, strength, holding hands

Mental health issues may affect anyone, at any age, gender or location. Depression, anxiety, stress and numerous other mental health concerns don’t discriminate. They don’t care whether you earn £50k a year or struggle to make ends meet. They arrive uninvited and rarely listen to hints about it being time to move on. This is why mental health awareness and support is so important.

The list of mental health conditions that the healthcare community are aware of and may diagnose is vast. Thankfully there are a number of ways to help combat mental health issues.

IMPORTANT
If you are struggling with your mental health please see your GP or healthcare provider in the first instance. The following are all great examples of ways to look after yourself and to deal with any issues you may have and may even be suggested by your GP after assessment. These are not meant to be a substitute for medical care though.

Prioritise Self Care

Self-care is something I have written about several times in the past, from taking time out for yourself to employing meditation and mindfulness in your everyday life. Self-care can go a long way to helping to lessen anxiety, stress and more. Go for a walk, call a friend, have a down day, go for a swim, light candles and binge-watch something. Life can be tiring. It is ok to take time out to reboot, to rest and to find some balance.

Stay Active

Exercise is known to improve confidence, self-esteem and offer physical benefits too from helping you sleep to encouraging clarity of thought. You don’t need to join a gym or a class. Walk around the garden or around the block. Get some fresh air at lunchtime. Consider yoga or pilates from home if not at a local class. Physical activity can go a long way towards helping you destress, for example.

In The Moment Help

Sometimes you need more immediate help. If, for example, you struggle with anxiety, have a grab bag, something you can get hold of easily with items which help you. A notebook, a drink, a squeezy ball, a paper bag, essential oils; any tools that help you keep calm, stave off a panic attack and give you back a little control. There are phone apps aimed towards meditation and even talking you through a sudden moment of upset and panic. Having something there and present, either to calm you down or uplift you, can be a great way to help manage some of the symptoms of mental health issues.

Talk to Someone

Your GP should be your first port of call if you are struggling with mental health issues. That doesn’t mean that you can’t or shouldn’t speak to someone else in the meantime or at any point. Speak to a trusted friend or family member, consider online therapy, ask about local support groups or consider anyone you might feel comfortable speaking to about where you are at and how you are feeling. Mental health concerns are nothing to be embarrassed about. They are more common than you might suppose and don’t have the stigma attached that you once did.

Everyone is Different

When it comes to stress, anxiety, depression and/or any other mental health conditions we all feel differently, react differently and require different levels of support. What might work for one person may not work for another. For this reason, communicating with your health team is important as they will be able to help you work out what you need and ensure that it is available to you.

3 Tips for Taking a More Mindful Approach to Life

mindful

One of the weirdest paradoxes of our times is that we are more materially comfortable than ever before, with technology allowing us to lounge around on the sofa for endless hours, in perfectly temperature-controlled environments, and with an endless array of interesting TV programs to watch on demand — but that, at the same time, we are apparently more stressed and anxious than ever before. With this in mind, we may all benefit from a more mindful approach to life.

For all the benefits that may come with a highly technologically-developed way of living, we also have to shoulder constant “static”, distraction, comparison to others, and so on. Finding the time and space to just relax with our thoughts and enjoy our immediate environments, has become increasingly difficult.

24/7 we’re comparing ourselves to our friends on Facebook, we’re gossipping on Twitter, we’re worrying about the latest news headlines, and we’re trying to absorb endless small information bites in the form of online articles and more.  The worrying thing is, this only describes the modern pressures that come with being digitally connected!

Finding ways to regain a more mindful approach to life can be very important in terms of our ability to unwind appreciate the moment. I completed a mindfulness diploma back at the beginning of the year and I have to say that I am glad I did. I was a very in-depth course and opened my eyes to mindful living.

Here are some suggestions for doing just that yourselves….

Dress More Mindfully

Take a more deliberate “quality over quantity” approach to your wardrobe. Many people deal with clothes in a pretty mindless way. They’ll grab whatever’s cheap and on sale, they’ll fill their wardrobe with all kinds of things they don’t really like, and they’ll feel vaguely discontented with their personal fashion. By “they”, I used to mean “me”. Taking a more deliberate, “quality over quantity” approach to your wardrobe can be a great way of reconnecting with the clothes you wear, in a mindful manner. Taking to time to inspect a stylish new ladies shirt collection and pick out a garment that really works for you, is better than buying 4 shirts cheaper shirts that don’t suit you. Consider how an item feels when you put it on, and how it makes you feel.

Consider Using a Fountain Pen to Write With

Most things that need to be written are typed, these days, and for those things that still get written out by hand, we’re more generally inclined to use cheap disposable ballpoint pens than to go to all the trouble of using a fountain pen. There are some good reasons to consider using a fountain pen to write with, however.For one thing, a fountain pen is almost a work of art. It’s an elegant device that can last you for years. It requires more attention when writing, and can produce much more attractive handwriting.There’s a whole ritual to using a fountain pen, from choosing the type of ink, to writing with intent. Writing with a fountain pen just makes the act of writing more meaningful. If this appeals to you, you might be interested in my book review of The Joy of Mindful Writing.

Reduce Your Screen Time

Use tools and services to help prevent you spending too much time online. The internet is a valuable resource, but it can absolutely be over-used, and when it is overused, you can find yourself falling through an endless abyss of clickbait headlines, videos, and memes. Use tools and services such as Cold Turkey Blocker to limit the time you spend online. With your new-found offline time, read more books instead. With a book, you get a much deeper, slower-paced, more engaging look into a subject than you do by skimming the web. Find great titles and reviews on GoodReads (web and app).

What do you consider a mindful activity? What would you like to do less of or more, to reduce the noise all around us and focus more on what is important, and what is going on around you?

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