This week’s blog is about something which everyone deals with on some level… Stress, strain and bad mental health days. This affects our whole lifestyle hugely and is something that needs to be taken care of and nurtured just as much as our diet and activity levels.
Stress: is a change in our environment resulting in our body reacting in certain ways mentally/emotionally and physically. IT IS PERFECTLY NORMAL. According to Professor Garry Egger, there are two main influencing factors:
- The external factors: the everyday stresses of life, maybe workload/deadlines
- The internal factors: how you react to stress, how you think, and your resistance to it.
Research has actually shown that your stress level may also be genetic so changing the way you think might be harder for you than others! Sometimes stress can be a positive thing. It might encourage us to get important things done. However there is no denying it does more harm… Stress can cause decreased connections with friends and family, decrease in motivation, feeling overwhelmed, feeling confused, lack of energy and agitation just to name a few. Furthermore, research has confirmed that stress can even link with causes of eating disorders, circulation problems, diabetes, certain cancers and heart problems.
Ways to tackle feeling of stress:
- Take a day OFF: make no plans at all. Take the day to rest, reset and organise for the next few days.
- Be REALISTIC: Sometimes, the things you are stressed about can’t be dealt with immediately, deal with it one step at a time!
- MEDITATE: Take brain-breaks and allow some time to re-focus and relax, you will find your brain will work more efficiently too.
- EXERCISE: Go out for a small walk to clear your head!
(Personally, talking about the things that stress me out helps, as well as planning out my week. That way I feel somewhat better prepared and less overwhelmed!)
Increased stress levels can often lead to bad mental health days: I believe that EVERYONE has bad mental health days. This is NORMAL. However, everyone is on a different journey with mental health and everyone is different so it is hard to generalize. Finding what works for you to get yourself through tough days is so important.
Maybe you feel anxious about the way you look, anxiety about food, worried about what people think. What else could it be that is causing you to feel low or uncomfortable? Maybe you find you are having mood swings, trying to seek validation, feeling distracted, having little energy/drive/motivation to do anything?
I don’t know how YOU feel but how YOU feel is so, so important to your health and is a key factor to improving your whole lifestyle. Your mind is where everything begins.
What I’m saying is that a bad mental health day is normal, maybe even a bad week, is normal, but find your inner ego and take control! One small step at a time:
On a bad mental health day, try to…
- Connect with someone: Give someone a call or a text and try to talk things through.LAUGH!
- Have a relaxing bath/shower
- Complete ONE task: Maybe the washing needs done? Cleaning? Folding some clothes? Completing a task can leave you feeling productive and boost your mood! Give yourself a pat on the back on completing that one task.
- Force yourself to listen to upbeat music! Or even relaxing music! Classic FM?
These are only a FEW of the MANY tips on how to deal with these days, with websites such as the NHS (https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/stress-anxiety-depression/mental-health-helplines/) that can offer further support.
Being mentally unwell is just as common as being physically unwell and, therefore, just as important. If we prioritise our mental health and make small positive changes, along with supporting one another, we will find other parts of our lifestyle slowly improving too!
- SEEK SUPPORT
- TALK IT OUT
Lots of love, Martha xxx