A very special person in my life taught me something a long time ago now… 5 simple words that I suspect I will repeat to myself at least once a day, if not more, for the rest of my life. What are they, you ask? ‘It’s all between the ears’
It’s no news flash that there are some pretty important things crammed tightly into our skulls. It’s like a game of tetris going on in there, though for most of us awareness of it’s complexity and it’s importance in shaping who we are as people is fashionably disguised by our latest ombre locks and new shades. Too often neglected in our busy, fast pace, grinding lives is the health of that so very powerful package; our Mental Health. It goes to the bottom of the list, gets swept under the carpet, is dulled by the use and abuse of an array of substances and far too often is self rationalised as something we only ‘deal with’ if it goes ‘off’.
I too, did this for many years… eating my way through my struggles with being overweight, to cope with the anxiety of becoming a Mum while finding every last square inch of carpet to brush under my troubles. This was until, like Chris I had a moment where I stopped for minute and asked myself what was really at the core of this ‘avoidance’. Why was I distracting myself with anything I could get my hands on?… and the answer was, the poor health of the matter between my ears. My relationship with my mind, my physical health, my emotional health and my worth, was nothing more than a completely unbalanced equation of hope that was on the edge of crumbling at the slightest bump in the road of life.
Our mental health influences how we think, feel, and behave in daily life. It also affects our ability to cope with stress, overcome challenges, build relationships, and recover from life’s setbacks and hardships. Unfortunately the numbers of those in our country suffering from poor mental health is on the rise, yet, despite this many of us make no effort to improve our situation. We all want to believe our spirits are strong and that we are made of timeless, worthy stuff, because… we are, however too often we are guilty of ignoring the emotional messages flowing between the ears that tell us something is wrong and try toughing it out by distracting ourselves or self-medicating with alcohol, drugs, or self-destructive behaviours as Chris has explained. We bottle things up in the hope that others won’t notice. We hope that things will eventually get better on their own. Or we simply give up, telling ourselves this is ‘just who we are’.
Don’t fret, this awareness comes with an exciting outcome, there are some really basic yet significantly empowering things you can incorporate in your day to day living to take the up post care of what’s going on between your ears. However, just as it requires effort to build and maintain physical health, the same applies to our mental health. So here’s my top tips to get started today…
- Be kind to your body – take some time to understand the relationship between what goes in to your body, and what comes out of your mind as a result of these choices. Kelly and her team at The Produce store are a fantastic place to begin educating yourself about this fundamental relationship.
- Don’t drown out your intellectual voice by constantly engaging in easy entertainment. Binge eating, binging with TV shows, entire session re runs, Facebook stalks, constant socialising etc etc… There are so many methods for keeping yourself uselessly occupied that, though harmless and fun at first they end up becoming full on addictions, and like all addictions, they aren’t healthy and are likley keeping you from exploring your true potential.
- Keep active – Though this might seem to fly in the face of number one on our list, it’s not about burning yourself out (a very significant distinction), but finding the happy medium between becoming stressfully over occupied and depressingly under occupied. Never underestimate the power of physical exercise – it’s unbelievable.
- Awareness that to overhaul and maintain your mental and physical health, you can’t ever get complacent. Annoying? Yes. True?, also yes. Keep a list of things that you need to keep getting better at; I think it’s fair to say we all have more than one area in our lives where we’re probably ignoring how bad our habits are for us. Let’s face up to them, and rest assured you won’t be alone.
5. Take not of your zzzzz’s – Don’t skimp on sleep, it matters so much more than you think.
Name: Laura Skirrow
Occupation: Clinical Nurse, Wife, Mum, writer and motivator
Facebook: Laura Skirrow/empowerMums
I’m Laura Skirrow and I am a Clinical Nurse, Transplant Coordinator, wife, ‘writer’ and ‘words’ enthusiast and a ‘Mum’ to a beautiful little boy. I have a reasonably newfound passion to empower women to maintain their self-identity, physical and mental health, and overall lifestyle balance during the motherhood journey. Like many, progressing through the transition from independent career woman, to ‘Mum’ presented its challenges to say the least. For me, balance with a baby came by coupling my existing passions of self-growth, words, people and my career with my newfound love of health and fitness. It’s beautiful, and as a result I seek to share it with the masses of other women sharing this path.