At Thought and Mortar, we understand that everyone has mental health and we know it takes time and effort to maintain a positive mental wellbeing. In homage to Mental Health Month this May, we’ve asked some of the T&M team to reflect on what they do to stay balanced when it comes to their mental health.
"Mental health ‘habits’ for me generally involve doing the things that I know I’ll enjoy when I’m doing them, and sometimes things that I hope I will. I also have ‘maintenance’ type things I do that help with immediate anxiety/stress:
"Life feels most comfortable when each of your main areas of focus have parity.
Take the time understand your main priorities of life. For me, these are family, work and play. I'm sure this will be similar for many of you as well, but each will take on a different meaning.
Keeping a balance between each of these individual areas is key to having a healthy state of mind. It's easy to feel that one area of your life is taking up more of your attention than another.
When this happens, and it will, take the time to restore balance by dedicating more time to the other areas of your life.
Family; spend time with a loved one and let them know they have your full attention, go for a walk in a green space, peaceful reading time with your children, leave you phone in another room at night.
Work; ask a colleague how they are, turn up 10 minutes early to give yourself a head start for the day, find time for focused work without distraction (It's okay to let people know that you need space).
Play; do something to stay fit, set aside time for hobbies, contact a friend who you've not spoken to for a while, remember to make time for yourself."
“I find getting out with my dog, Teddy, really helps me stay balanced. Much like him I need a daily walk and fresh air to help slow down my thoughts and keep me calm. Having a dog forces me to get outside.
We're lucky enough to live in the countryside so we can walk for miles straight from our front door, barely seeing anyone, except cows! With hybrid working now offered at Thought & Mortar, it also forces me to get up from my desk at lunchtime when I’m working from home, otherwise, it's so easy to get to the end of the day and realise you've barely moved.
Plus, how could you not look at that goofy face and instantly feel less stressed!”
“My mental health to-dos are:
“Whenever I find myself in a bit of an emotional funk, it can be a real struggle to face it head on. But when I am being pro-active about my mental health, there are three activities that I can always rely on to bring me back to a better state of mind:
Daily meditation through the Headspace app has been a really helpful tool to keep my head in check. Rather than using it as a means to fight off negative emotions, practicing mindfulness is all about changing your relationship with these emotions and not letting them get the best of you, even if they are present. I’d highly recommend it for anyone that wants a bit more peace of mind.
Regular exercise is extremely important to me, not just for physical wellbeing, but my mental health too. Going for a run, a skate session or lifting some weights at home are my usual choices.
It’s really basic, but even cooking a large healthy meal can really make a difference. Especially when trying out a new recipe!”
"Since my early teens I’ve struggled with anxiety, falling into slumps pretty regularly. At first it seemed the only way out was to wait but, as I got older, I started to learn what helped me get back on track and now the hardest part is the initial dragging myself out of bed. The following are my go-to’s for getting out of a slump. Some might seem cliche, but they work so what does it matter!
Maybe the hardest to muster the energy to do, but the most effective in the long run, is having and working on a project. Whether It’s putting up a shelf or fixing up that bike that’s been rusting away in the garage for 2 years, the satisfaction afterwards kickstarts the motivation to do more and feel more present.
Whether it’s 20 minute yoga in the garden, a couple hours of bouldering at the local climbing gym or a day of mountain biking with my mates, exercise brings me back into the present by giving me something physical to focus on, and stops me dwelling/worrying unnecessarily. Even a bit of office yoga can help keep balanced, whilst at work!
Last but not least and cliche indeed, mother nature. My other go-to’s are pretty physical and sometimes it’s just too hard to muster the energy to even consider them. Green space provides a great spot to sit and think, or read, or even just sleep! Going somewhere with no traffic noise and no people is a no cost and low energy way to give my brain a rest from the constant do-do-do nature of modern society.”
“The thing that helps me the most when it comes to my mental health is music. Whether it’s turning up my headphones really loud to distract myself from my mile-a-minute thoughts, taking time to dance in the kitchen with my husband (or, more often, my dog!), putting a funky playlist together and basking in the glory of my self-proclaimed selector status, or seeing one of my favourite bands live; music is what never fails to get me through and keeps me feeling mentally balanced.”
Although these are all some great suggestions on how you can stay balanced when it comes to your mental health, we also know that it isn’t always that simple. If you are really struggling with your mental wellbeing, your GP is always a good place to start. Alternatively, Samaritans offer an incredible service for anyone who needs to talk freely about their thoughts, feelings or worries without fear of judgement. You can call Samaritans on 116 123.'