World Mental Health Day
As today marks World Mental Health Day, I think it is important to share my own experiences on this topic. As a yoga teacher I am very aware of the various forms mental health can take. We all strive to take care of our physical health through sufficient sleep, good diet and exercise, but what cannot be seen is just as important. We don’t often think of taking care of our mental wellbeing with the same attention as we do our outter selves. Stress, anxiety, fatigue, illness, fear, panic, and generalised stress are all forms of mental health issues. Many people, including myself, have become accustomed to brushing off these issues as being ‘busy’ or ‘tired,’ but in truth it is often a sense of things falling apart and barley being able to hold it all together. I myself have had a very difficult year and my mental health has suffered. When my mom was diagnosed with progressive vascular parkinsons in march, she nearly died. We as a family went to the brink and back, making end of life decisions and we all did our best to ‘hold it together.’ There have been many times over the past 6 months I have broken down, cried is random public places, suffered insomnia for the first time and struggled to make decisions. I feel paralysed by choice. Making the simplest choices have become anxiety-inducing. I can see every minute decision effecting the rest of my life. What is get a life limiting disease so young like my mom? This decision while I am still ‘healthy’ has so much pressure riding on it, as if it controls my destiny. What have I done to work on this? I have started talking. I tell my friends the truth when they ask how I am. I open up my heart to friends I can see going through their own issues. I feel connection and a supported in it all, because the truth is we are all battling something, whether we recognise it or not. Mental health issues are something everyone faces and few admit. It is not a weakness to tell someone you are not okay. Chances are the person you are talking to has some sort of personal experience with what you are going through, be it themselves or a loved one. The world can be an overwhelming place. Life can take you by surprise. To compound it all we have all been dealt a hand of cards in this life and that comes with ingrained coping mechanisms, behaviours and reactions. The more we open up about it all, the more we can heal as a community, even if it is a community of two people to start out with, tell someone how you are TRULY feeling and don’t think of being a burden. You will be surprised by other people’s capacity to listen, to show empathy and to show compassion. This experience of being human is complex and messy and sometimes painful, but we are all in it together, you just have to be willing to reach out your hand and take someone else’s.
Self care can be difficult to get in the habit of, especially when we get so used to living in a rut, but small steps can equate to climbing a mountain, and it’s never too late to start.
•Take a night to yourself- long bath, happy comedy, comfort food.
•Say NO- it’s okay to not say yes to everything you said you’d do. Simplify.
•Eat well- every meal is a new opportunity. Even if you made a bad decision at breakfast, you can always make a better, healthier, lighter decision for the next meal.
•Sleep- go to bed one hour earlier than usual. Use calming music, guided meditation & essential oils to aid in relaxation.
• Exercise- even if it’s just a walk move your body! Every little small movement is a victory!
If you are struggling with mental health issues, such as stress, anxiety, insomnia, depression, or feeling not like your normal self, reach out: