Being open can be difficult, even with those we trust. Maybe we are worried about being judged for what we have to say, maybe we think we will be a burden?
Think about the last person who reached out to you. Was that conversation a burden to you? Probably not. We have this internal voice that tells us we will be a burden if we reach out, but we won’t be.
This month, we want to talk about some tips and strategies to help you get more open with the people around you. Openness is about freeing yourself from restrictions and to try new things, whether they are exciting or challenging.
With Valentine’s day upon us, it gives us the opportunity to be thankful for the people in our lives. Whether they are your partner or not. The relationships we have are an important component of our wellbeing and overall mental health. It is often thought that valentine’s day can only be about romantic relationships but taking the time to focus on our friendships is just as important. You don’t need to feel pressured to do anything big on Valentine’s day, but you can use it as an opportunity to be thankful for the people in your life is enough.
If you want to talk to someone who might be able to give you advice and guidance. Our mentors would be happy to help. Find out more about our mentoring service HERE.
It’s Time to Talk day on the 6th February. A day where everyone is encouraged to reach out about anything hat might be impacting their mental health.
There’s no reason why having a mental illness does not work in a relationship. There are certain steps you can take to be more open about your mental health and wellbeing with your friends, family and/or partner.
We often find talking to someone about our problems difficult, by choosing the right time and place can go towards how comfortable we feel and how open we can be as a result. Let’s make it easier for ourselves!
When choosing an environment, try to focus on a time and place where you are less likely to be disturbed. Consider how safe you and the person you’re talking to feels in the space. We often connect bad experiences with our surroundings, so choose an environment that you can both feel relaxed and secure. Maybe you want it to be quite public, like a coffee shop but consider if it’s in a common location where you may know people…it could be worth discovering a new coffee shop in a different area where there is still the background noise and conversation but less risk of being interrupted by someone you know. You might be more comfortable with a walk outside; walking is a brilliant way to have a discussion. You aren’t looking straight at each other, there are other things you can look at whilst you’re getting fresh air and exercise!
Once you have figured out an environment, you’re comfortable with, or maybe a couple, it’s time to think about what you want to say.
It can be a difficult to figure out what to say…especially if we aren’t too sure how we feel or if there has been loads going on. It might helpful to take some time beforehand and plan out what you might want to talk about. This can help you make sure you are getting what you want to across but also helps the develop the understanding of the person you are speaking to of what you’re experiencing.
You may have a diagnosis you want to share but you could equally just be going through a bad time. Try to focus on describing how your condition or situation might impact you. For example; instead of focusing on having depression, you could describe what impact your depression has on you, like impact on your sleep, your communication or energy. By having this focus, it not only makes it easier to describe objectively but it also gives the person your speaking to steer on ways they might be able to support you. Sometimes we might not need support but just an ear, this can be equally helpful!
If you are someone who has been approached by your friend, relative or partner who wants to talk about their mental health, then it’s important to listen which sounds easy but if someone is talking to you and they are particularly vulnerable, even a glance at your phone or watch could have quite a negative effect on how open they will be.
Be open back and share with them if there is a more suitable time and place that you can both have that discussion where you can give that person your full attention. It is important for them to feel that they are being listened to. If something is distracting you like a noise, point it out and switch to an environment where you will not be disturbed.
Appreciate that you might not have all the answers, you might not have the expertise to really help so try to manage their expectations of what you can help with and try your best to point them in the right direction of more specialist support.
What’s on this month at Arthur Ellis?
Our weekly radio show, Mental Health Hour with MKFM this week is covering some brilliant topics!
Children & Social Media
It is easy to compare your life with others, especially when you can only see the positive aspects of someone’s life. Social media has always had the trait of only showing the positive sides and it is unusual for people to show the negative elements, even though this is becoming more common.
It is important not to spend too much time on social media, what we might start noticing is that we begin comparing others’ lives to our own. The feelings of jealousy or envy may creep. Even if those lives are completely unrealistic.
Fitness influencers do it for a living, their lives and jobs are to look a certain way. If you have a job, a family and a different lifestyle, aspiring to be or look a certain way may be completely unrealistic but may still impact our mood which is why vigilance is key when using a social media platform.
Activity: Social Media Cleanse
We might not keep track of all the people we follow, flicking through our feed and just seeing a different type of life to ours.
This month try a social media cleanse!
When you’re scrolling through your feed, consider this;
Am I following this person because I want their life or do they add to mine?
If they add to your life, keep them. If you feel envious, or negative or any way then unfollow! Be ruthless, you can always follow people again!
This might also be a good time of reviewing your privacy options to make sure that you can keep safe while on the web.
January has been a very long month, many of us will be feeling the ‘pinch’ after Christmas. It is these times to remember what is and relates to comparing what you have to others.
At the end of 2019, UK household debts saw a big increase. Median financial debt – taking the middle household as the norm, rather than dividing total debt by the number of households – grew 12% to £4,500. – BBC.
Coping in stressful financial situations takes a lot of effort. Check out last month’s blog to see ways of staying positive or breaking negative thought cycles in stressful times.
Money and mental health are two things that many people struggle with, as mental health problems can make it harder to earn, manage money and spending, and to ask for help while financial difficulty causes stress and anxiety, made worse by going without essentials.