Today, the UpRising team is dedicating our weekly Thursday Coffee Break to Time to Talk. We’re meeting virtually as a team to learn and share our own experiences of living with and getting through problems with our mental health.
Our relaxed meeting consisted of a short quiz (because who doesn’t love a quiz and its ability to make big complex ideas a bit less intimidating) followed by an open mic, where different members of our team have volunteered to share a bit about their experiences with problems with their mental health.
Why are we doing this on a February Thursday morning?
Because today marks Mind’s ‘Time To Talk’ day - an important day to remind us all the importance of speaking about our mental health… out loud… for other people to hear. Now we’re not suggesting grabbing a microphone or taking to social media to broadcast your experience to the world (although you absolutely could!), but confiding in a close friend or family member is SUCH an important part of breaking down that first really difficult part of addressing and overcoming problems so many of us face with our mental health.
Keeping an eye on your mental health is so important. If you think you might need her, please confide in your GP as soon as possible. You can also contact any of the fantastic organisations listed on the NHS website if you need support more urgently.
With one in four of us experiencing problems with our mental health, it's so important we feel confident talking about this, wherever we are, whoever we’re with!
So, in true UpRising style, we want to share the benefits of our meeting today with you all. Here we go…
Top tips for looking after your mental health, from our team:
#1 Square breathing - A tried and tested way to calm the body, we love this technique and its ability to be “a powerful stress reliever”. Check out the below diagram and give it a go yourself:
#2 Full body scan - Imagine a golden ray of light scanning up your body from the tip of your toes to the very crown of your head. Nice, right? This meditation technique “is a good way to release physical tension you might not even realize you're experiencing”!
#3 The 5,4,3,2,1 method - We love this grounding method. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, flighty or are struggling to steady your thoughts, concentrating on identifying 5 things you can see; 4 things you can feel; 3 things you can hear; 2 things you can smell; and 1 thing you can taste can be a huge grounder, bringing you back to a steady, grounded place. Try it!
#4 A breath of fresh air - Getting outside and spending time in nature (even a little bit of time) can make a huge difference! Spending time in nature, whether it’s a stroll round the park or a trip to see the ducks, not only does wonders for our mental health, but can seriously improve our physical health too!
5# Prioritise sleep and rest - Having not had a full night’s sleep in over two years (thanks pregnancy & my now toddler) I cannot stress enough how IMPORTANT point 5 is! Please, please, please, that next Netflix episode will still be there in the morning, time to get some sleep. Sleep is as important to our brains as anything else and has a huge impact on out mental and physical health!. Know sleep is an issue for you? Check out these tips.
6# Take up a hobby or learn a new skill - Closely linked with a number of mental health problems, is self esteem, and a proven way to improve this is learning a new skill or practicing a hobby. With benefits to your cognitive development, happiness and confidence, what’s not to love about learning something new? Your local College, Leisure Centre or Community Centre is a great place to start!
7# Switch it off - Now whilst I’m devastated I can no longer call myself a ‘young person’, being a mid-nineties baby I am a ‘digital native’ and I’ll be the first to admit I’m addicted to social media, but, working in the field I do, I’m also one of those who’ll advocate for this tech being SUPER dangerous in high doses for our mental health. When was the last time you left your phone in a drawer for the day? Trust me. It’ll only do you good.
8# Practice gratitude or mindfulness (or both!) - A big hit with the UpRising team is committing to practicing gratitude. By taking time each day to note (either mentally or on paper/in a journal) something your grateful for can ground us and bring a calming perspective. Similarly, there are heaps of fantastic mindfulness videos available online - why not try a quick one this lunchtime?
9# Move your body - With proven benefits to our sleep, stress levels and happiness, physical exercise is an incredible way to improve your mental health. And the best parts? There are SO many ways to do this! Walk, run, skip, dance around your kitchen, lift some weights, swim, climb, cycle… whatever works for you!
10# Talk, talk, talk - We saved the most important one for last. Grab a cuppa, grab a mate or your mum or even your dog to start off with, and talk. We promise, it helps.
If you’re not yet at a place where you feel okay talking to someone about your problems, why not try writing a letter to your younger or future self? It can be a really freeing way to start.
We’d like to thank Mind UK for leading this fantastic campaign. We all benefited from our #TimeToTalk today. We hope you do too. Take care xx