Hello my lovelies!
As it’s Mental Health Awareness Week, I thought I would jump on the bandwagon and write a little bit about mental health. It’s okay for us to complain about an achy shoulder or go to the doctors about getting migraines (tick and tick), but it seems to take a lot more courage to say “I’m feeling upset/sad/depressed/anxious.”
Just like we all have our own health ailments, such as a dodgy knee when running or a tendency to get tonsillitis (tick and tick), we all have our own mental health issues too. It might not be a big thing, but a slight feeling of anxiety in certain situations or sometimes feeling down about an aspect of your own life.
In order to take good care of ourselves mentally, we need to dedicate time to relaxation, mindfulness and doing more of what makes us happy. This could be something as simple as going for a jog to clear your head or something more specific like practising meditation every morning before work.
Here are some of the things I do regularly to help with my own mental health:
Whether it’s a book, a magazine or a newspaper, I love finding time to sit down and read. In fact, I’ve actually been relishing my three-hour coaches back to Bristol, simply for the reading opportunity! One of the main things that I love about getting stuck into a good read is that you completely forget about what’s going on around you – it’s a chance to immerse yourself in a whole other world. Meaning that when you’re brought back to reality (usually by someone falling asleep on your shoulder on the National Express, in my case), your stresses and worries are put into perspective.
Okay, so I’m not recommending that you all go out and run up a huge credit card bill in Zara (as tempting as it sounds), but for me, shopping is sheer enjoyment. It’s one of my favourite pastimes – I could literally do it for hours (shout out to my mum who has been dragged up and down Oxford Street from 8:30am to 7pm on occasion). Updating my wardrobe and putting together new outfits is what makes me happy. What I’m saying is, you should try to find something that really puts a smile on your face or gives you that warm fluffy feeling inside (that honestly does happen when I buy a bag of my dreams) and do more of it.
I first started taking running seriously when I was training for the Bristol 10K last year. When I say seriously, I mean, I didn’t give up alcohol or purchase one of those running headbands – and you’re probably not a real runner until you do those things, but I did put in the training time. I’d set my alarm early on Sunday mornings, head down to the Portway (which, FYI, is a really nice running route if you’re ever in Bristol) and push myself to the max. As the weeks went on, I began to realise that as well as my fitness improving, running was helping my mind too. Even if I woke up in the morning feeling unmotivated and uninspired, by the end of the run I was feeling on top of the world. Now I’m not in training for any races, I use my run days to clear my head and boost my mood. Honestly, give it a go. Even if you run just a few miles, you’ll feel amazing.
The most used word in my school reports was, without a doubt, ‘chatterbox’. Whether I’m happy, sad, moany or excited, I’ll be talking about it. I’m also one of those massive oversharers: Someone in work will say “how are you?” by the printer and before long I’m telling them about last night’s killer pilates class and how I can barely squat down to use the toilet. Although my mouth is rather annoying in situations like that, it is good when it comes to mental health. I simply can’t keep my thoughts and feelings bottled up inside, so my human diary, *ahem* I mean boyfriend, has to be all ears. This ‘a problem shared is a problem halved’ malarkey actually does make sense – talking about your thoughts, feelings and problems to someone close to you really does help!
I’m a crybaby. There. I’ve said it. From a gentle sob right through to a blubbering meltdown, sometimes I just need a cry. It could strike when I’m watching a particularly touching episode of Corrie (Aidan’s death was pretty traumatic though, right?), sometimes it’s because I’m having a bad day and other times it’s simply because I feel like it. I really wish crying wasn’t seen as such a weakness, because for me, I find it such a cathartic experience and I usually feel a million times better post-sob.
I’ve also spoken to Stylist about how travelling has a positive impact upon my mental health.
So, the message I’m trying to get across here is, it’s okay not to be okay. But, instead of letting everything get on top of you, find an outlet that helps your mindset and remember to set time aside to ‘do you’.