Thursday 10 October 2019. When I am writing this, it is World Mental Health Day.
For me, this is both an exciting and anxious time. I’m at a point where I feel major decisions are having to be made and that responsibility weighs heavily. I know I have to, and I want to, strike a good work/life balance.
I want to give my full support and strength to my family and friends but in order to do this, I need to make some changes to ensure my own well-being.
So these are some of the small changes I am planning to make:
- To get some fresh air every day. I’m currently recovering at home from an episode of poor health. It is all too easy to curl up in front of the TV with a blanket and let the world go by and to not see the sun. If for nothing else but my vitamin D levels(!), I am going to ensure that every day, no matter the weather or how I am feeling, I’m going to take some deep breaths of fresh air and let myself feel connected to the world, rather than cocooned from it.
- Start being more active again. I used to be a county level tennis player (surprising I know!) and though this brought different stresses (both physical and mental), it was also a release. The benefits of exercise are well-known, and I just need to stop putting it off and get moving again!
- To read every day. I have bought several books in the last few months, as well as having been gifted a few. Most of them are just staring at me from the bookshelf. I have let myself believe that I read enough, but I definitely read too much from screens (the irony of me typing this and it being read on a screen is not lost on me!). I definitely needed a respite from reading after my English degree but I miss the joy of discovery that regularly reading and escapism that physically holding a book brings. At least 10 minutes before bed.
- Seeing and contacting my friends. I by no means think that I have been poor at this to date. Unfortunately, social media makes you feel connected, but some of these connections should be strengthened and some of them should be severed. And that is ok. It is ok not to wish everybody you have ever meet happy birthday, it is ok to cherish some relationships over others, as long as you are respectful and considerate. But I need to try to see certain people more. Health has got in the way recently, but when I’m back to full strength, I’m going to go for that coffee, get on that train and see in person those really important people, who have been such reassuring and supportive figures throughout my life.
- Having more belief in myself. Corny as it sounds, I need to big myself up more! I am very fortunate to have very positive and supportive people around me, but it is still so difficult to quash that niggling self doubt. I am hoping that with all the little changes above, this goal will become easier over time.
I am lucky to be able to call myself ‘happy’ on most days, but I think these little goals will make every day just that little bit better and me that little bit stronger.
This is a really useful resource which I found really helpful for myself and for some of those around me: https://www.mind.org.uk