There is virtue in work and virtue in rest. Use both and overlook neither- Alan Cohen
First post in two weeks. All too often I have been guilty of prioritising campaigning and helping others, rather than putting myself first. A move which has heavily impacted my own wellbeing and mental health.
I’m not afraid to admit that some of the decisions I’ve made have been questionable and ones I do regret. The frustration, upset and complete torment I’ve been experiencing has definitely influenced my actions and I do realise my methods of coping have been unhealthy.
Rather than having mechanisms I can turn to in times of need, I’ve become accustomed to dealing with situations more impulsively and in the ‘heat of the moment’ and that has been my downfall. Because of my loneliness and isolation, I decided to seek it through social media and a “quick fix”, whereas perhaps I should have turned to family members or professionals more often.
Through seeking support with the wrong people and with the wrong approach, my frustration unfortunately got the better of me a number of times and I realised enough was enough. It was time for a break. A genuine, proper break.
Social media has often been a safe space for me, it’s given me the opportunity to connect and relate to people; however it’s also played a big part in my mental health worsening too, and so I decided to deactivate my social media accounts. Too much of my time has been wasted using it and I wanted to focus more on the real life around me, not the virtual one.
Like many people, it had become a habit of mine to check it at any given opportunity. Ironically, I used it as a way of becoming more connected, yet I started to feel more disconnected than ever.
My work campaigning around mental health has also been very “full-on” and busy in recent months and this is the first time in months that it has taken a backseat. It’s become such a huge focus and I think that time and energy has taken its toll. Cliché I know, but you can’t help others unless you help yourself!
In the course of two weekends, I’ve had the privilege of visiting a friend in Stevenage and my uncle in Edinburgh. They say being away in new surroundings and experiencing new things is good for the mind and I definitely agree. Having become so accustomed to doing the same things and visiting the same places, it was so important to spend some quality time away and ultimately recharge.
From overloading myself, I lost sight of the small things- i.e going to the cinema, seeing friends/family, going for a walk etc. All stuff I really enjoy but continued to neglect at the detriment of my mental health. For me taking a walk and getting outside is the perfect break, however the beauty is there is no one size fits all.
Here are some ideas around how you could take a break:
- Do NOTHING
- Drink Tea
- Watch a Movie
- Remove social media
- Turn off your phone
For anybody struggling with their mental health, I’d really advise you to take a break, whatever that may mean. From doing it myself, I have learnt how important it is to listen to your body. Making just a few small changes can work wonders!
Thanks for reading,