Mental Health Awareness Week 2020Camellia's Tea House
In the second blog of our series with Alex Hurt, she explores mental health issues in conjunction with lockdown life and Mental Health Awareness Week 2020. So.. curl up with your favourite wellness tea, light a candle and read Alex’s musings to put a smile on your face and some goodness into your day.
Well hello there from sunny Suffolk. The sun is streaming through the house whilst I play plinkety plonk meditation tunes in the background. The cats are sleeping next to the warm range as I have a loaf in the oven, and I’m drinking the delicious ‘Healthy Immunity’ – Wellness Tea. (Fear not… I had a piece of Lemon Drizzle cake earlier accompanied by an Earl Grey, so am certainly far from my body being a temple, but I do like to be kind to myself).
It’s Mental Health Awareness Week and I’d like to unveil with you all, not only what our mental health should look like, but also how we can put a mantra or a little ritual (we know I love these) into your day to make you feel like you again. This time at home, if indeed you aren’t a key worker; has been reflective. Some people have risen like a Phoenix, swooped into a life they’ve lusted after, whereas others are lost, imbalanced and confused. Trying to find your ‘routine’ in the beginning was hard, and for some it’s a struggle. Interestingly how many of us used work as a distraction from our real life? Or perhaps filled our lives with work or appointments to mask dealing with our own feelings? For those who have met yourselves for the first time in a long time, how does that feel?
Whilst that marinades with you, let’s take a look at how we could feel if we have a balanced mental health. We can experience happiness, joy, gratitude without false smiles or a rushed mind. We can cope with stress without internally combusting or hibernating. We can increase productivity with the more we can do, the more we want to do. We experience elation, we can plan without worse case scenarios and feel at ease. Generally, we have the ability to deal with what life hands out. Really? Yes, really. Are you considering that at times you aren’t so balanced after all? Perhaps everyone at some time or other dips in and out of mental health issues. Our friends at mind.org.uk confirms that 1 in 4 of people in the UK will experience a mental health problem each year and 1 in 6 people in England are experiencing mental health issues such as depression or anxiety. It is no longer taboo, it’s something that we are all coming to terms with, and far more comfortable talking about.
Mental health, much like physical health can affect us daily or in waves. Sometimes it can be brought on by a stressful or emotional time in your life, other times it can spring up without warning and throw you off kilter. What we all need to understand is ‘it’s absolutely normal’. However, imagine that you got repeated colds, or a sore throat. You would perhaps turn to vitamins to boost your immunity and if they didn’t work, you may seek advice from a medical professional. It’s exactly the same with your mental health. However, some of us have irrational fears that cripple us. Our overthinking brains can’t even pick up the phone to make an appointment, let alone physically get to a doctor. Other’s may shrug off the symptoms, supress their feelings and perhaps only detract from them by keeping occupied.
Returning to my earlier question – How does it feel to meet yourself? Stripped from your title, your uniform and your armour. Who are you without your job? Who have you been whilst the world has stopped? Has this made you anxious? Do you seek validation? Interaction and a busy schedule? Or are you amazed at who you are and what you can achieve? We are all different, however we may not all be in the same boat, but we are all most definitely in the same storm. In these changeable times it’s important to take stock, evaluate and reconsider where you are at in life and what you put into it.
For some, mental health issues look like an intermittent sleep, an overactive mind in the morning, shortness of breath and feelings of panic. It can also feel like sweaty palms, a racing heart, pains from nowhere, tummy ache and an on-edge feeling… all of the time. Or, it could simply be that your love for life has got up and gone, there’s nothing to look forward to and life has lost its lustre. You are simply uninterested, you’ve checked out, and the words ‘chill out or snap out of it’ enrage you. If only it were that easy.
My point being, that we all experience mental health problems at some point, and if we can recognise them, acknowledge them and shake their hand, things will get a lot easier. Working within wellness has allowed me to connect with many people, understand how they are feeling and suggest ways I can assist, or in fact how they can help themselves at home. So, I would like you to pour your favourite tea, snuggle up and read on, as I share some simple ways to calm your mind.
- Say hello to your problem, acknowledge that it’s there but doesn’t define you. Don’t push it away, it’s there and you can absolutely do this.
- Make your attitude, gratitude. What have you learned over the past few months that you really appreciate? Focus on that, and say either out loud or in your mind, what you are thankful for?
- Do a body scan, no, you aren’t looking for problems, you’re just feeling where is tense. Remove your tongue from the roof of your mouth, drop your shoulders, unclench your jaw and relax your feet… that’s better.
- If you haven’t already, take a big breath in through your nose, and release it out slowly through your mouth and repeat this 3 times or more.
- Now, what’s your mantra? What is a mantra? Simple, it’s a sound or a word repeated to aid concentration. It can also deflect your thoughts from the negative. Your mantra could simply be a hum, or a sentence. An example is ‘ sunshine thoughts’ or ‘I am loved’. This is extremely personal, so take some time to think about what mantra maybe right for you. Then, find a quiet spot, free from distractions and using your deep breathing, repeat your mantra. Allow yourself at least 10 minutes of time to do this, and simply breathe and repeat.
- Go natural, go holistic and build up your immunity in uncertain times. Wellness teas are most certainly a way of calming our minds, and with Healthy Immunity this tea is warm, sweet and woody which calms you from the get go. Packed with vitamin C, anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties this deliciously tangy hibiscus and spicy ginger remedy of tea, provides you with the comfort you need and the fight to ward off both unwelcome feelings and viruses. It’s a no brainer and it tastes great.
Whatever ‘pinch point’ you are experiencing, it doesn’t need to be here to stay, it can simply be a punctuation in your long life. For many talking about mental illness or indeed mental wellness… to put a positive spin on this, actually brings people together. There’s no divide, people find comfort in sharing and knowing that they aren’t alone.
Alas you aren’t alone, unless you want to be. You aren’t the first and you won’t be the last. Your anxiety lies to you continually. However, bring in your mantra, some breathing and a cup of wellness tea, and with baby steps you can shake the hand of your own mental health, and begin to ease your mind.
Remember… what we put into our minds, as well as our body makes a huge difference to how we feel. My tonic today was Healthy Immunity Tea, because prevention in these times are key, and a strong immune system maintains a better frame of mind.
If you have read this and recognise you need to talk to someone, then I would advise you where possible to speak to a friend or family member. If you’d rather not below is a link to organisations that will support you and signpost you in the right direction.
Supporting your mental wellness begins with awareness. Until next week’s Tea Time… take care.
Continue your Wellness Journey with Alex’s third blog “How to Get a Good Night’s Sleep“.