I recently nominated myself at work to take part in a day of training with charity, Time to Change, to become a Champion in all things mental health.
“Time to Change Champions are a movement of people across the country who use their own experience of mental health problems to change the way we all think and act about mental health,” says Time to Change.
I wanted to become a champion because of my own experiences with mental health. I’ve seen far too many close family members and friends not only struggle with mental health, but also worry about the stigma that surrounds it.
I know people who have lied in job interviews after having a break from work due to mental health problems, people who have hid anxiety from their partner due to fear of judgement, and others who just haven’t known who to talk to in times of need.
Mental health is just as important as physical health.
The training taught me that it’s okay not to be okay, and that we should all be encouraging each other to believe that.
I’m no expert in the field, but here are a few tips that I took away on how to look after your own wellbeing:
Get talking: It’s okay to have good days and bad days, and we shouldn’t be setting ourselves unrealistic expectations to be happy and positive 24/7. Find someone who you feel comfortable with and let them hear how you feel. You’d be surprised how much support is surrounding you.
Identify your triggers: Is there something that triggers your mental health problems? For me, I know I get anxious talking about health topics for long periods of time (especially blood, injections, cancer). So, I cut these conversations short, or tell someone that I’m feeling anxious. In fact, most of my close friends know this makes me anxious so avoid triggering my anxiety. Don’t feel embarrassed to take care of yourself.
Take time for enjoyment: I strongly believe in a good work/life balance. What’s the point in living to work, we work to live! Make sure you’re doing something that you enjoy in your spare time. Even if you love your job, it’s important to take your mind off of it occasionally! I’ve recently started to learn the art of calligraphy (more on this to come!), and take time to exercise, read, and socialise as much as possible.
Andddd relax: Meditate, read, listen to music, sleep! Whatever chills you out, do it. An overly busy mind isn’t healthy for any of us. My favourite way to relax is by listening to Lucovico Einaudi while watching the clouds go by.
Most of all, be kind to yourself. We’re only human! Find out more about becoming a Champion here.