This week is Mental Health Awareness Week. An annual awareness week that aims to break the stigma surrounding mental ill-health and help more people talk about their struggles.
The theme of this awareness week is loneliness. Loneliness is affecting more and more of us in the UK and has had a huge impact on our physical and mental health during the pandemic. Our connection to other people and our community is fundamental to protecting our mental health and we need to find better ways of tackling the epidemic of loneliness. We can all play a part in this.
One of our very own Account Managers here at iHASCO, Demi, shares her story and top tips for positive mental health and wellbeing…
I have suffered from forms of mental ill-health from the age of 11 or 12, specifically depression and anxiety. At that age and growing up, my mental ill-health was often considered “attention-seeking” by people I thought were closest to me. This isolated me even more and made me feel as though I had no one to turn to and it wasn’t long until I had virtually no support network at all. Without support, my mental health declined rapidly. I dropped out of school at 14 and later college at 18. At the age of 18, I was underweight, covered in scars, and unable to leave my house without having a breakdown. On the 9th of May 2021, a year today, I took an overdose.
A year later and I’m still recovering, but I do now have the support network that I needed for so long and now the happiest I’ve been for years.
I wanted to share some of the things that have helped me get to where I am today with my mental health, in the hope that it can help others going through similar problems.
Keep yourself busy, but take time to reflect
I always found, particularly when having a bad day, that keeping my mind busy was so beneficial. I like to keep myself as busy as possible during the day, with either work or an activity and at the end of the day, reflect by recognising one thing I did/do well and one thing I could avoid doing the next day.
Talk to someone
Talking to someone you trust is a great way to get something off your chest and refresh your mind. Even today, I still speak to someone to either get their opinion or advice or just to clear my mind for positivity. If you find yourself unable to speak to a colleague, friend or family member, I recommend using the Samaritans line by calling 116 123.
Surround yourself with positivity
I used to (unknowingly at the time) surround myself with negativity and people who didn't have my best interests at heart, this led to a HUGE decline in my Mental Health and had a big part to play in my anxiety. Since joining iHASCO in October, I have surrounded myself with my colleagues, (many of whom I now consider friends) who continuously support me and pick me up when I need them. They celebrate my smaller successes in life with me to boost my confidence and give me a lift.
Get out of your comfort zone
Everyone has a comfort zone and the thought of stepping outside it is daunting, it sometimes still is for me. When I feel this way, I like to take 2 minutes to myself and listen to what's going on around me. If I can, I will slot myself nicely into a conversation and see what happens. If someone new arrives at the office, I like to introduce myself right away and offer my help to try and network with this person. The sense of achievement you get when stepping out of your comfort zone is huge and 9 times out of 10 you’ll wonder what all of the fuss was about in the first place.
Pretending builds confidence
We all liked to pretend as children, I still do! Someone once told me “pretend your anxiety is excitement, your body reacts the same.” I thought it was silly at the time but now I use this technique every day. I have trained my mind to think my anxiety is excitement. Not only does this prevent mood drops and anxiety attacks, people will perceive you as confident and when perceived as confident, you become confident.
If you’re currently struggling with your mental health and are in need of urgent support, please visit the following resources:
- Samaritans - Every 10 seconds, Samaritans respond to a call for help. No judgement. No pressure. They’re there for anyone who needs someone.
- NHS - Find out how to access NHS mental health services and where to get urgent help.
- Mind - If you're going through a tough time, you're not alone. Mind have got lots of information and resources to help.
- Support Line - Offer confidential emotional support to children, young adults, and adults by telephone, email, and post. They work with callers to develop healthy, positive coping strategies, an inner feeling of strength, and increased self-esteem to encourage healing, recovery and moving forward with life.
Tips for businesses to support their staff with their mental health and wellbeing
Looking to provide your staff with more support with their mental health and wellbeing?
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