Mental Health Monday was set up by my lovely friend Rebecca over at Bexcapades who you need to go follow now pretty please.
The idea came from Rebecca revisiting her depression diary from 2015 and deciding to share her experiences to show that light comes out of dark times.
So now, every first Monday of each month will be a Mental Health Monday where everyone can share their own experiences and a handful will be featured on Rebecca’s post each month.
If you want your post featured in Rebecca’s post, then make sure you share it with her on Twitter and mention her in the post, linking back to her blog.
Today I’m going to write about Mental Health strategies that I personally, have found useful. Everyone is different so different things work for different people, please don’t be disheartened if these particular tips don’t help you, there will be plenty of other strategies out there that will.
Number 1 – Calm
I always said meditation is a load of bull and doesn’t work. No way, not for me, stupid whale noises and rainforests. However, I found when I was at a real low point that an app called Calm made such a big difference to me. I tried it simply to switch my mind off before bed because I literally cannot get to sleep when I’m stressed. I’m fine when I eventually get to sleep and don’t wake up at all, but it can take me hours to fall into the land of nod. So I decided to try Calm and see how it went, I got my earphones ready, relaxed in bed with my PJ’s on and had a search through the app. At first, I was really dubious like how is rain peaceful and calming? Then decided that wasn’t for me, moved onto the rainforest, nope. The sea, nope. Soft instruments…HELL YES. I found a free little course of relaxation before bed on the app, which included a woman telling me to breathe, relax each part of the body and wow. I found that this hippy-dippy stuff actually works! More fool me for not realising sooner, so honestly no matter how doubtful you are, give it a try!
Number 2 – Breathing Exercises
I don’t take time out to do exercises so perhaps that is the wrong word. Basically, I find that when I get anxious my heart starts beating ten to the dozen and I get breathless and generally fidgety. A way to combat this anxiety for me is to notice the signs like scratching my hands or fidgeting or my heart rate rising and then taking a big, deep breath. Then another. And another. Depending on how anxious I am, depends on how many breaths I take but it can range from 3 – 10 big breaths. I literally remove myself, not physically but emotionally, from the situation I’m in and take a huge and long breath. That first breath is the first major step, I tell myself I can do it and take another and however many breaths I need, again encouraging myself that I CAN DO IT.
Number 3 – A hot bath
Hot baths are a seriously underrated form of therapy. I never really get baths because I am a shower person out of quickness and laziness. However, the magic of a nice hot bath and soaking for a few minutes or an hour can make the World of difference between stressing out and relaxing. I have found that when I sit in a hot bath, I don’t think because I focus on myself, on the heat surrounding me, the bubbles in the bath, the tranquility of water. It’s all about that self-love and taking that precious ME time, away from the World. Sometimes I find you just need to take a breather away from people, life and look after number one.
Again a very special thank you to my friend Rebecca for setting up this meme and giving people the courage to speak up about mental health. Feel free to comment if you share any similar anxieties, this meme is all about talking and promoting awareness of mental health.