This has been Mental Health Awareness Week.
We are in a time of particular challenge to mental health.
But I had my own struggles for many years...
This week, I look back at how far I've come (watch the video here)...
Plus, there are:
🌟 tips on how to find your "flow"
🌟 why it's worth not letting lockdown irritants get to you...
🌟 and the importance of community (my community is pictured above).
I hope you find them positive and motivating! 💖
1. ✴️ PLANES, TRAINS AND PANIC ATTACKS ✴️
Imagine a weekend trip away, taking planes and tubes.
Nowadays, all that carefree travel feels strange...
But when I filmed this video, one year ago - it made me cry.
For many years I couldn't get on an aeroplane without taking Valium.
And I lived in London for 10 years without ever going on the tube.
Because as soon as I was in that enclosed space, I would have a panic attack.
At its worst, I had panic attacks four times a day.
But I never told anyone, except my family and boyfriend.
I didn't ask for help.
I struggled on by myself, and eventually worked out how to deal with them - alone.
I now don't have panic attacks any more.
And I am grateful for that every day.
But I believe having them - and learning how to overcome them - has made me a better person, and a better coach 🌟
As always during Mental Health Awareness Week, my main message is PLEASE ASK FOR HELP.
As the theme this year is about kindness - be kind to YOURSELF.
You don't need to do it on your own.
(And it CAN get better 💖)
p.s. sorry for the camera shake in the video - it all got a bit emotional...
🔥 How good are you at asking for help?
2. ✴️ FIND YOUR “FLOW” ✴️
“Patience is the unacknowledged superpower” *
And patience is SO needed now, when lockdown is lingering on...
🌟 So what can help us - and at the same time improve our productivity?
🌟 The state of FLOW.
This was originally defined in 1990 by positive psychologist Mihály Csíkszentmihályi (pronounced Me-HI-ee Chik-sent-me-HI-ee, if you were wondering...)
It means that amazing feeling you get when you are fully absorbed in a satisfying task.
AKA when you are “in the zone” 😎
And guess what?
It not only makes you feel happy and productive - it also makes time pass more quickly... 👍
So how to get into flow?
In a work context, you need to find a “meaningful” task that is challenging, but enjoyable.
It needs to be something where you have to push yourself to succeed - but not so hard that it’s impossible to achieve.
🌟 So this week, find a challenging but achievable task, block out time without distractions, and find your flow.
🌟 Not only will you get something really worthwhile done, and feel positive afterwards... 💪
🌟 You’ll also make the time pass quicker! 😃
Good luck! 💖
* Quote from Marie Forleo btw!
🔥 Have you ever been in flow, and if so, doing what?
3. ✴️ WHO IS YOUR COMMUNITY? ✴️
In Oct 2016 I went to my first ever Committee meeting of my daughter's Pre-School.
After a long discussion about bake sales and Pimms stalls, someone joked,
"and now we need a new building!"
I spoke for the first time:
“how much do we need?"
A few months later, we launched The Acorn Project, to raise £150k for a new community building that would also house our village Pre-School.
Since then, these wonderful women have run over 30 fundraising events, including sponsored Slide-a-thons, Muddy Mummies races, and Christmas chocolate-making.
Myself and the other Project lead have successfully chosen suppliers, applied for planning permission, and I've written nearly 100 grant applications.
This Project has been my "other job".
And these women have become my community.
Dear friends, colleagues, and role models.
(Our Paediatric Consultant Secretary; our Treasurer homeschooling 4 boys; our Chair who is also a School Governor and a key worker.)
Coronavirus may have halted our fundraising events (for now), but our work continues - over Zoom 💪
And I hope to be able to announce very soon that we've met our goal, and can install our new building this summer 🎉
🔥 Who is your community?
4. ✴️ THE ANTIDOTE TO ISOLATION IRRITANTS ✴️ ️
That bastard who nicked the last bag of flour.
That idiot who walked too close to you.
That arsehole neighbour who has PE with Joe on REALLY LOUD while you’re trying to do your morning Zoom team meeting.
It’s easy to think kind thoughts towards NHS staff, social care workers, delivery drivers.
But it’s much harder to think kind thoughts towards those that irritate.
Which is why the final part of a loving kindness meditation is to beam kindness to those to whom you have negative feelings.
So this Mental Health Awareness Week, expand your kindness perspective.
🌟 Yes, be kind and supportive to yourself (this is SO important, and the main message of my TEDx talk).
🌟 And yes, be kind and grateful to all of those working so hard to keep us safe.
🌟 But also be kind and compassionate to those who have done you harm: whether that’s burgled your house; or used the last loo roll.
They might never know - but YOU will feel better.
“Holding on to anger is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die” (Buddha) 💖
To download my free loving kindness guided meditation, click here.
🔥 Who has irritated you in lockdown? 😉
Wishing you all a happy, kind, and irritant-free bank holiday! 😃
p.s. if you want help navigating your career path in these difficult times, get in touch: my Power Hours are only £97 for the duration of lockdown... Email me on firstname.lastname@example.org 💖