Hello, as you may already be aware, it’s #mentalhealthawarenessweek here in the UK. It’s something that happens each year and with each year there’s a topic that is the main focus to promote awareness of. This year is ‘Stress’. Now, when I considered what I wanted to write for this post I felt frustrated and at a loss because I don’t feel like I deal with stress very well. It manifests itself in how my body feels a lot of the time and is one of the biggest triggers for my anxiety because to be quite frank we all have a lot of crap going off in our lives and it’s just too….chaotic.
So, what do I want to write about this year for mental health awareness week? I’m really not sure. Hense the blabbing.
I all most feel like it’s good to understand that so many people are going through the same things and that you are not the only one. Everyone has something they’re stressed about, whether it’s work, children, pets, life goals, diet, money. There’s so much chaos. Like little ants scurrying to gather food, everyone’s just coming and going and rushing around.
So, take a break.
Even though my anxiety and stress is still not great I am leaps and bounds ahead of where I was 18 months ago. I feel in control despite the bad days. I feel happy and somewhat relaxed even. I think part of that for me is having something to focus on which I love, for me, it’s my writing.
Ok more blabbing, let’s look at some of the ways that I keep in control of my stress and don’t let it sink me down to that level.
- Find something you love – Whether it’s a hobby, a passion or something to keep you busy. Find something you love to do which naturally helps you relax and de-stress. Then keep doing it, at least a couple of times a week if not every day. BUT, don’t make it a chore. Do it because you want to do. Which brings us to the next point.
- Positive thinking – Try to be positive in your everyday life. It’s so easy to focus on the negative which only dampens your mood and adds to your stress. Especially when there are things that need to be done. If you have chores, focus on the feeling once you’ve done them and change the phrasing you use. Rather than telling yourself you NEED to do something, try telling yourself that you WANT to do something.
- Breathe – Whether its yoga, meditation or just a couple of minutes of breathing exercises every couple of hours. Focus on your breathing. A lot of the time your breathing will get more intense as you get stressed. So, focus on your breathing every now and then and block out everything else. You have to be committed, it takes time for I’ve really noticed how much difference it can make.
- Look after yourself – I have talked before about Self-Love on this website but I keep coming back to it because it’s so important. How do you expect to manage stress if you don’t look after yourself? Bad diet, lack of exercise and no time for yourself are all factors that encourage stress and make it harder to deal with. So, learn to love yourself. Whether it’s a soak in the bath, eating a good diet or seeing some friends. For me, my Vegan lifestyle and exercise play a vital key role in this equation.
- Talking -Talking, one of the biggest steps for mental health awareness week. If you have an issue. If you’re struggling, then tell someone. Personally, I struggle to talk about my mental health with friends, family and my husband. I’m getting better but the thing that made the biggest change for me was going to therapy and having an objective viewpoint on my problems so I could figure out if they really were problems at all and then work on moving past them. Social interactions are a big part of this as well, simple things like nipping to the shop or saying hello to a stranger on a 10-minute walk. Make sure you don’t hide away. People are kind and will support you when you need it. You just need to ask.
- Take a step back– Sometimes in order to deal wit ha stressful situation, you need to take a step back. Pretend you’ve left your body or you’re someone else. Look at the situation from a different perspective. Ask yourself why you’re finding it so stressful and what you can do about it. By breaking it down into all it’s little components you can work out how to move past it or to manage your stress through the situation. I often link this with my breathing as meditation, yoga, and exercise allow me to focus on me which then gives me time to focus on what’s stressing me out.
- Do something about it – Finally, when you’re stressed. Do something about it. Stress doesn’t disappear on it’s own. Well, maybe it does depending on the situation but it’s not a good way to live. To ignore and pretend it’s not happening. You’re capable of controlling your stress. You just need to be brave and take that first step.
All in all, this week is about creating an awareness of people’s struggles, what it means for people and what you can do about it. We all have our own battles to fight and this is just a glimpse of mine.
What’s your battle? Let me know and if you would like me to write more about mental health then just drop me a comment below or give this post a like so I know you want to see more. Don’t suffer alone.