There is so much emphasis being put on our mental wellbeing right now. It is fantastic to finally see that the stigma of mental health is starting to reduce, people are becoming more aware, more open to talking without the fear of ridicule and society is starting to understand the importance of self-care.
In the society we are living in right now people are suffering more strain and stresses, especially as we are still going through the COVID-19 pandemic. Life seems to be leaving more and more people anxious, depressed, and unsure about what their future has in store for them.
Even after all the years of inner work that I have done, I still found my own anxiety going through the roof at the start of the pandemic. So instead of going back to my old ways of coping, which was drinking and taking anti-depressants, I found other ways to handle my mental health.
Like most people over 35, I was brought up with the mindset that, if you want to achieve anything you had to break your back to get it. I totally agree we must work to achieve what we want, but not at the expense of our mental, emotional, and physical health. We have come along way, but I feel we still have a way to go.
Back in February 2018, my beloved mum passed away. Having suffered grief before and the challenges it brings, I was slightly prepared. What I was not prepared for, was the fact my 13-year-old daughter became extremely ill because of the hateful words and actions of people, we used to call family. As a consequence, of her grieving and becoming ill, she was put on report by her school, which actually made her situation worse.
If we are still teaching our children not to look after themselves, how can we change this outdated mindset? We still seem to spend more time making sure our house is in order, our car is working and the attendance at school and work comes before our own inner world. Our body and mind are more important than that stuff out there, because if our body and mind doesn’t work, everything falls apart.
‘For things to change, we have to change, for things to get better, we have to get better’ – Jim Rohn.
I love this quote and it was this quote that made me stop what I was doing and start focusing on me. This is when things really turned a corner and I stopped hitting the self-destruct button. So, I would like to share with you some of my top tips that you can implement in your daily life, to help you with your own health and wellbeing.
Exercise – Exercise is one of the best natural anti-anxiety solutions out there. Physical activity raises the serotonin and endorphin levels, helping us feel emotionally better inside. If you find it hard to exercise, try walking, yoga, dancing, whatever you can do, just get up and move about.
Say NO – Know your limitations. Our brain only has so much capacity and we only have so many hours in the day. Saying no is not selfish, it reduces overwhelm which is paramount in combating anxiety. We all need inner strength and need to look after our own inner strength, we cant help others if we are falling apart.
Sleep – You are not a robot, get plenty of good sleep every night. We need several stages of sleep to function and sleep deprivation effects the body in so many ways, such as memory loss, lack of concentration, weekended immune system and mood changes.
Cry/Talk – I was taught from an early age that crying is a sign of weakness, talking to others shows vulnerability and leaves us open to being hurt. This left me isolating myself, in fact, it also allowed my aggressive side to take charge. If I was aggressive, no-one would get close and this left me feeling alone and unloved for so many years. Since finding another way, I have learnt the above may have some truth aspect but also stops the great people coming into our lives. I have since found that crying and talking about how I feel has allowed me to release pent up emotions, strain, and a hell of a lot of pressure.
Journaling – A fantastic and priceless technique, I started this just after I lost my mum in 2018. It helped me anchor down on the positive when my life seemed in chaos. Journaling helps people reduce stress, anxiety, and depression. Journaling also helps control symptoms and improves moods, by helping the writer to prioritise problems, fears, and concerns. It enables you to recognise triggers and how they affect your actions. Journaling evokes mindfulness and helps the writer remain present, whilst keeping perspective.
Meditation – The mind cannot focus on more than one thing at a time. I found that spending 10 minutes per day focussing on my breathing, calmed my mind down, giving me free space and cleared my mind. It’s a habitual process of training the brain to focus and redirect thoughts. It quiets the mind by giving attention to one thing and improves mental and emotional health.
Angie Simmons, Growth Development Foundation
Angie is a member of the Woman Who Achieves Academy