Mental Health Awareness Week
Ahhhhh I just can’t cope!!!
Ever had that feeling? I know I have.... Experiencing major life events, stress at work, a change in circumstances... so many of life’s events, or even life in general, can cause feelings of GUILT or STRESS or LOW MOOD. We all cope in different ways. Throwing ourselves into work (yes, I’ve been there!), talking to friends and family, alcohol, ignoring it and hoping it will go away, exercise, talking therapies....
What we do know is that 1 in 4 people in the UK will have a mental health issue in any given year (mind.org.uk). That’s HUGE!!!! We all have a responsibility to look after ourselves and respect our bodies and minds - Yes, YOU ARE IMPORTANT!
This week is mental health awareness week. How mentally fit are you? Are your coping strategies working, are they healthy and sustainable? What are you doing to care for yourself?
We also have a responsibility to be mindful of those we are close to, our families, our friends, our work colleagues. We have a major impact on those around us and can provide a listening ear, a walk in the fresh air or a shoulder to cry on when needed or support to seek professional support if appropriate.
I’ve found a combination of strategies help with my mental fitness. Don’t get me wrong….I am a constant work in progress but I now recognise when I need to breathe, when I need to relax, when I’m stressed, when I need to reach out and talk, which really helps. Here’s a few ways to help your mental fitness:
Over 70% of your body is composed of water and every function of the body is dependent on it. Lack of water can cause lack of focus, decrease in cognition and the list goes on. Aim to get around 1.5-2 litres per day.
Sleep gives us a chance to heal both mentally and physically. Ideally we should be getting 8 hours of good quality sleep per night. To quote my favourite sleep guru…”it was time spent in dream sleep that was providing emotional convalescence. To sleep, perchance to heal.” (Source: Matthew Walker, Why We Sleep)
Have some fun
Sometimes we can take life way too seriously. Aim to have some fun in life…laugh a little… Laughter enhances the intake of oxygen rich air and increases the endorphins (natural pain and stress fighters) released by your brain, it fires up and then cools down your stress response giving a relaxed feeling and it can aid muscle relaxation which helps reduce some of the physical symptoms of stress.
Talk it through
Vocalizing our issues with a trusted friend or professional can help us to make sense of our problems, help us order and calm our thoughts and even help us to find solutions to enable us to move forward in life.
Something as simple as using a daily focused breathing technique can help to activate the body’s natural relaxation response. The relaxation response is a physical state of deep rest that changes the physical and emotional responses to stress (e.g. decreases in heart rate, blood pressure and muscle tension).
Deep abdominal breathing each day can reduce anxiety and reduce stress, increase the supply of oxygen to your brain and stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system, which promotes a state of calmness.
Scientists found that the hormone oxytocin was released into the blood stream when you hold a loved one close. This lowers blood pressure, reduces stress and anxiety and can even improve your memory.
We only get ONE LIFE, live it WELL and live it KINDLY.
If you need more help and advice on ways to improve your mental fitness contact me today. I would love to help.
M: 07481 476149