This week marks mental health awareness week and it also marked my final therapy session in the current block I decided to book in. I have delved in and out of therapy over the years and it has been the most incredible anchor for me at different points. I want to share a list of things that I use to help support my mental health and maybe some of these things will also help you too.
Cold water dipping
Meditation & Yoga
I first went to therapy in 2018. It was one of the toughest things to admit that I needed help. I remember downplaying my need for needing to talk to someone but I was so glad I reached out. What started then was a deeply introspective journey which led to my yoga teacher training and how I live life now. I sometimes still find it hard to mention to people that I am in therapy as unfortunately there is still stigma around being in therapy. However I am hoping to be a part of the change of that rhetoric.
2. Cold water dipping
I bloody LOVE being in cold water. Now, I didn't always. I had boxed myself in and had decided that cold water dipping was just not something I did. Well flash forward a few years and I couldn't have been more wrong about myself. To me, immersing in cold water is an insanely good reset button. I now have some of my fondest memories of lockdown as escaping into the freezing cold waters of Portobello. I am slowly building up to cold water swimming but for now I am very happy dunking into cold water to reset my nervous system.
3. Meditation & Yoga
I could be absolutely biased here but yoga and meditation have been integral tools in supporting my mental health. The people I have met through both teaching yoga and going to classes are phenomenal. Some have become some of my dearest friends. Yoga and meditation help ground me. They help me feel safe in my own mind and body which helps my nervous system to feel safe. They both plant me right into the present moment and I absolutely love them.
4. Walking barefoot
Such a simple act - walking barefoot on the earth. Maybe grass or sand. This is something I do quite often as it takes very little time and no money. I walk barefoot if I'm feeling overwhelmed and also need some fresh air. I walk barefoot to ground before classes/workshops or reground after holding space for people. I walk barefoot when I am feeling joyous and I simply want to marvel at the sky. Give it a go. It's free, your neighbours or by passers might think you're a bit mad but hey, do your thing.
5. Bucket Dumps
My magical friend Ash & I started doing bucket dumps with one another not long after we met. These are mostly in the form of voice notes sent to one another for us to speak about absolutely anything. We either caveat it with "I do not need any advice, I need to be seen and heard" in which the other listens, types back "bucket dump held" and that is it. Sometimes we also ask for reflections or extra support. This type of communication has been incredibly supportive in which I know I will never receive unsolicited advice or I know I can always say no to talking about something that I do not want to discuss further.
There are many other things that support my mental health. These are some which I have used recently. Maybe there is something in here that you would like to try.
The longest relationship we have is the one we have with ourselves. We must do everything we can to nurture and support ourselves throughout our lifetime.
Picture above taken by Edward Fitzpatrick (check out Edward's website here https://eddiefitz7.com/about ) on a recent shoot for swimwear brand Stay Wild Swim.