Mental health awareness has been at the heart of what we do as a business ever since the start
Our business really began back on the 30th Dec 2012 when Stu was injured in a vehicle IED whilst serving with the British Military in Afghan. That incident change our lives forever and what we learnt both physically and mentally in the years that followed has formed the business we now run today
So what is there to know:
Your mental health is just as important as your physical health because your mind has a direct impact upon your body
It is complex and can take time and patience to really understand it
It’s can affect you in many different ways and at any time which can make it very confusing
How do you know that you’re struggling with your mental health?
A couple of years ago Stuart completed his Mental Health First Aid course, to assist him on a project he was working on at the time. Mental Health First Aid, is just like your normal First Aid but rather than supporting physical issues it equips you with the skills to identify those who may be struggling with their mental health. Little did Stu know, that this course would become far more valuable than he expected by helping him identify personally with some of the content and seeking support himself
Recognising the signs is the first step to getting the right support. MHFA have written up a list of key signs to look out for:
- Frequent headaches or upset stomachs
- Constant fatigue or difficulty sleeping
- Regularly getting ill or being run down
- Sudden weight loss/weight gain
- Irritability, aggression and increased conflict/arguments with others
- Becoming withdrawn
- Issues with concentration/focus/memory
- Loss of confidence or humour
- Increased consumption of caffeine, alcohol, cigarettes or sedatives
- Changes in your usual engagement with friends and family
- Increased errors, missed deadlines or forgetting tasks
- Changes in your work habits such as turning up late, working too many hours, taking on too many projects
- Increased sickness absence
- Negative changes to ways of working or socialising with colleagues
So, you have resonated with some of the signs above, what now?
Well it’s worth noting that there any many things you can do to support your health. I will be discussing the main ones that have helped Stu and I but there are more.
First things first, if any of the above resonates in any way then talk to someone about it. It can be someone close to you (family or friend), your GP or one of the many amazing charities out there dedicated to just that. Below are a couple of key pages that will be able to provide you with support and information to start with.
Talking therapies – Counselling/therapy has been one of the most beneficial support methods for both of us. It provides a safe space in which to discuss and work through what your struggling with and identify strategies to support you moving forward. For many years, there has been a big stigma associated with going to a counsellor but do not let that hold you back. Think of this in the same way as attending a weekly fitness class or PT session. You spend money to support your body and your mind should be no different.
Exercise – We know first-hand how valuable exercise has been to support our mental health but we use it in different ways. The key is finding the right thing for you. Stu uses his bike for physical and mental release as it’s the only exercise he can do with minimal impact to his stump. I on the other hand find a combination between high and low intensity exercise to be key, to balance my energy levels and manage my fatigue.
Yoga - For a long-time Yoga has been used as a means to support mind and body. The simple idea of movement with breath is what helps us connect the two. What’s great about Yoga is there are a wide variety of styles out there to suit your need so just try it out and see what fits
Meditation/Mindfulness/Breath work – Is something that has gained increased attention over the last few years. A simple practice of stillness, breath and mind focusing exercises helps you connect deeply with mind and body. There are lots of apps and online offerings to choose from so it’s easy to give it a go
Gratitude Diary/ journaling – I was advised to journal at the beginning of my time with a counsellor to help me write down any negative emotions out as a way of dealing with them. However, I ended up finding that this lead to a more negatively focused thinking. When I started writing a gratitude dairy (one or two things a day I was grateful for) it helped change that. Gratitude practice helps you focus on positive things in your day to day life, reminding you that even in the bad you will always find good.
Nutrition – There has long been an association with mental health and the gut. Getting the right nutrition is not just important for physical health but essential for brain health too. Understanding your bodys nutritional needs can be a really valuable way to overcome mood or energy dips, which in turn will help you become more efficient at work, have more energy for family and friends and become more motivated in day to day life.
Technology Breaks – Unfortunately the way the world is going we are becoming far more reliant on technology and therefore spend much more time on phones, computers and tablets. If you are aware that any of these effect your mood then schedule in some time away from it. Start with something that’s achievable like an evening and maybe consider extending it to a day or weekend.
Getting outdoors – Nature is one of the easiest and most cost-effective ways to get some headspace. Going for a walk, run cycle or swim are just some ideas. It’s a great way to get some fresh air, take yourself away from technology and connect with the real world around us
Just remember you’re not in this alone, if you need support there is someone or something out there that can support you, just don’t be afraid to ask.