Mindfulness is a mind – body practice that can help people change the way they think about their experiences and their ability to handle stressful situations. Mindfulness is not a new concept but is one that is becoming increasingly popular with people who wish to take a more holistic approach to their physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health. Research has shown that the practice of Mindfulness has positive effects on whole person health including mind, brain, body and behaviour.
So, I have had a great day. Booked a day off. Been basically relaxing at my partners house – coffee breaks a little bit of study for by counselling course, more coffee and a lovely chat with his mum. All. Is. Good.
And then………. I saw Facebook Time Hop.
It is 8 years ago today since my beautiful boy arrived to his forever home. But he is not currently here, is his off having amazing adventures with his dad.
Of course I am sad, but the realisation that I had actually forgotten the date was worse. How could forget the day my baby came to me. It’s not a birthday afterall, but you could argue it is a date more significant. I would never forget his birthday, but this day almost passed me by.
And, in a flash my day went from amazing to so sad and I have spent the last two hours thinking about my reaction, how I can ease it and how I can make it better.
How can I make a reaction to something better? I have reflected, I have sat in the moment and nothing has taken away my sadness. However, I have realised that as soon as my sadness appeared I retreated away from the people I know can make me feel better.
I made some texts to those away from me, and I am about to leave my screen and go to those downstairs who are near me.
At the end of the day we need love, people and non-judgement.
Mental wellbeing describes your state of mind and how you feel about yourself and how well you cope with day to day life. Our mental health is transient and can alter day by day depending on circumstance and environment. Positive mental wellbeing means feeling good about yourself and there are steps that we can all take to enhance the mental wellbeing of not only ourselves but that of others.
Acts of giving are credited with improving personal wellbeing. And that doesn’t mean giving your partner a tenner and sending them off to the pub for a bit whilst you take a nice bath (although that would certainly be nice from time to time).
Helping and supporting local projects and people can widen your own social circle, help you make friends and introduce you to new hobbies that you may never have considered before. Small acts of kindness towards others or committing to volunteering for a local community project and give you a sense of purpose and make your happy hormones smile.
As people come to the realisation that a healthy work/life balance is important and actually enhances their performance in the workplace, employees are looking for not just a competitive salary and pension but also wellbeing benefits such as EAP’s, cycle to work scheme and additional leave days specifically allocated to local community projects of their choosing.
Volunteering opportunities are plentiful but for the first time can be daunting, particularly if you have struggled with a mental illness that has taken you out of your social circle or workplace for a while. So, it is important to think carefully about how you may approach this and speak to your chosen project about what they expect from you but most importantly ascertain if can they empathise and support you if you have struggled to get to or have been unable to attend your volunteer day. What could be worse than arriving at your project to not be listened to, or your illness dismissed as folly because the person you come into contact doesn’t understand what it may be like for you today?
A few years ago I volunteered at a local community project. At the time I had a small child who didn’t sleep, I had left my job to be a full time mum and I had emerging marital problems. Whilst I went to playgroup with my son and made some really good friends I needed an outlet that didn’t revolve around babies and all the mummy chatter that goes with it. I volunteered for two hours each Saturday morning at our local community garden. I pruned, I planted and I picked. I spent time outdoors (and sometimes time indoors huddled around the fire with a brew when the weather cut up rough). For those two hours each week I was able to disconnect from the issues at home, be with nature, be with people and it really improved my mental wellbeing.
If volunteering for a group sounds like a step too far out of your comfort zone right now, don’t worry and just start small. You could:
Ask a colleague how they are and really listen to what they are saying.