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Tuesday 20th March 2018

Swing High.. World Mental Health Day 3/5

Lifestyle & Health

Sariah Manning

Thu, 10 Oct 2019 00:05 GMT

What Does Every Day Mental Health Mean to You?

Everyday mental health does not mean taking a bath, putting a face mask on, or lighting a candle and calling it good every now and then. It means doing something every day. Whether it be reading a book, going for a walk, listening to a podcast whatever it is you like to do to take time just for you. 30 minutes of exercise a day is recommended for your mental health.

What Do You Do to Keep Healthy and Happy Mentally?

Mental health is important to me, as I do not like to be inside my head stressing and worrying about things. I hate to exercise, but I love to be outdoors, breathing in fresh air, hiking, surfing, kayaking, paddle boarding that is my escape and will make me feel better.

Have you ever sat on a swing? You sit there and you are swinging your legs back and forth. The more effort you put into swinging your legs, the higher you go. As you get to a high place of swinging and you reach the peak, just before you come back down, the swing will do a little jolt, and lift. In that moment I feel like I have left all my stress and worries behind. It will all be ok, the thoughts running through my head were all left up in the air.

If I am going through something and need an escape, then I am usually the full-grown adult waiting for the kids to get off the swing so I can have a turn. This has been my coping mechanism during the difficult times, especially when I was 14 and my Dad had just died

At the age of 21 after being sexually assaulted and not wanting to be around others, at 21 again when I decided to move to America for 18 months, and then at 26 when I found I had a lump in my breast and was waiting for the doctor to give me the results, and then at 28 deciding to move to London.

Each of these moments and many more had me hiking up into the mountains, looking over peaks and valleys, and then running off to the local park to sit on a swing and leave my troubles behind.

Being out in national parks is not always easily accessible, but a park is, and these little things help when I have a lot on my mind.

What Mental Health Advice Would You Give to Young People Starting out?

While there is plenty we can do to take care of our mental health, it is important to also remember that it is an illness, while we can do all we can to avoid getting ill, and to keep our bodies healthy, we are still going to catch a cold. It is also the same with our mental health.

Dealing with anxiety or flashbacks of traumatic events can essentially be in a word, traumatising. You know you are no longer in that moment, but you cannot seem to escape, even when you are starting to stress about all the things you need to do, grounding exercises are good for those moments.

A grounding exercise helps bring you back into the moment and helps calm you down. Simple grounding exercises such as the ‘Five, four, three, two, one’ exercise. Start by looking around and counting five things you can see, four things you can touch, three things you can hear, two things you can smell, and one thing you can taste. By doing this you take your mind off of what is plaguing you and calm yourself.

We have heard it thousands and thousands of times, social media is the cause of mental health problems, it can cause a lot of comparison issues, and can cause imposter syndrome symptoms. Sometimes taking a break from social media is a good idea.

My key piece of adviceis to never be afraid to ask for help. As a teenager and growing up, I felt a lot of embarrassment about talking about my issues, I did not talk about my feelings, I would just deal with them on my own, or not at all and just sweep them under the rug until it all became too much. We need to end stigma and discrimination around mental health.

95% of suicides could have been prevented if the individuals had got the help they needed and talked to someone. You may think your problems are not big or serious enough or your troubles are not so bad compared to others, but what is important is how they affect you. Speak to someone, there is always someone willing to listen or willing to help whether a paid professional or a friend, it is important you get the help you need.