Mental Health Awareness Week

From May 14th - 20th this year its Mental Health Awareness Week. I started this week by hosting a yoga class over at Global in Milton Keynes for some of the staff there - and I was so pleased when they invited me to come along, because I truly think some time to focus on yoga/breathing/relaxing can really benefit your mental health. Over the last few years I think we have all heard the term “mental health” more than ever before. It’s fantastic that there is so much more awareness, but I think some of the stigma is still sadly there. When you hear the term “mental health issues”, what do you think of?

For me the important thing isn’t just to think of mental health as being “depressed” or “stressed”, as it’s so much more than that. You may not agree, but I think every single one of us goes through some kind of mental health issue at some point in our lives, whether we acknowledge it or not,  whether it’s big or small. There are times that we question who we are, what we’re doing and how much we like the person we’re becoming.

No matter how big or small, the important thing is that we talk about it, so that the people amongst us who are going through the harder times, know that they are not alone. I think it is also incredibly important to remember, that our mental health is often so quickly changed due to the circumstances and situations life throws at us. You may not feel like you a are ‘candidate’ for mental health problems, but there are huge life events that happen to us all sometime - that unless you’ve been through them, you won’t know the affect they have on you. I hope that in time, people will feel more comfortable seeking help, and speaking out about how they feel. I’m just going to leave you with a few mindful things to think about if you ever feel like you need to improve your general wellbeing.

  1. LEARN TO SAY NO – We’re a nation of people pleasers, it’s what we do, it’s how we’ve been brought up, especially in England. But have you ever noticed how saying yes to everything doesn’t always make you happy because it’s not what YOU want to do. Sure, people pleasing makes us feel good on a surface level, but it’s not always what we truly want to do, if we were being 100% honest with ourselves. I challenge you to be more honest with what you want and just kindly say no to things that aren’t in line with your authentic self.
  2. SILENCE – If living life at 100mph sounds normal to you, then maybe its time to give yourself a breather. I see lots of people in yoga classes who fill everyday to its max, and then struggle to slow down and just relax - whether that’s because they feel guilty in doing so, or maybe they find it hard to stop and give themselves time to think deeper about things. Don’t underplay the importance of just slowing down and taking a few minutes to evaluate how you feel. It can be a great time to meditate, journal or just sit with your thoughts.
  3. ME TIME – Find time for the things you love. We all make excuses and say we’re too busy FAR too often, but its really something we should value. Plan at least one thing each week that really makes you happy and enjoy every second of it. Believe it or not, but I love going to Crossfit and doing the conditioning class there, I’ve met a fantastic group of people and I enjoy it so much (well apart from all the running and burpees!). It takes me away from technology and plonks me right into the current moment. I also know, that as soon as I make time to go outside and enjoy nature, I feel so much better. It helps me stay connected, grounded and gives me so much room to breathe.
  4. TALK ABOUT IT – Whether you feel like your problem is big or small, do try to talk to someone about it. It could be a health professional, family, friends or sometimes a stranger - if you can, try to open up. Discussing our feelings can also really help to work through them, and challenge why you think or feel a certain way. I know this can be a huge step, but just send a text, make a call, and talk.
  5. CHANGE YOUR THINKING – Sometimes for me, it can be a matter of terminology. I find that we do like to put each other (and ourselves!) into boxes. Deeming one another as ‘loud’, ‘annoying’, ‘shy’ and so on. Sometimes when people would label me with certain traits it would really effect me, and how I felt about myself. Without realising it, I feel I would take on these traits more, and I think its only when you take some time with your thoughts you can start to analyse these feelings more. For me, I made a list! I thought of all the words I had been called before, and found another adjective to redefine it. For instance:

Clingy - Affectionate

Bossy - Natural Leader

Dramatic - Expressive, Emotionally Aware

Foolish - Fun Loving

Impulsive - Spontanious

Loud - Confident, Exuberant

Quiet - Thoughtful, Reflective

Shy - Inner Directed, Vaules Trust

Stubborn - Determined, Persistent

I really hope this post has opened up some new idea for you, and maybe given you some new ideas for ways of dealing or thinking about mental health.

This is the link for Mental Health Foundation, the creators of Mental Health Awareness Week, they have some fantastic information, so do go check them out. 


Laura x