For #TipTuesday this week, I've got a fantastic post for you from @madandsadclub founder Jo Hooper, whose startup advises businesses on how to manage mental ill health in the workplace. Having suffered from mental ill health herself, Jo is now using her experiences to help others. Here are the ways she looks after her mental wellbeing, and her 5 top tips to help you do the same.
Feeling a bit frazzled? Tired? Overwhelmed?
After two years, two breakdowns, three therapists, countless pills, podcasts and walks, I was exhausted by trying to manage my mental health and my job and decided to shake things up.
I took redundancy and earlier this year, I set up mad and sad club - an online community or those of us who feel a bit mad and/or sad sometimes; as well as advising companies on how to do something meaningful about mental health at work.
As a bit of an expert on being mad at work and a friend of the Howell Illustration show, I’m super happy to share with you some of my tips for looking after yourself . . .
1. Try to get your sleep on track
Sleep is one of the first things to go when my mental health is dipping. I find it impossible to get to sleep, my brain is churning with all my worries and I get really frustrated with myself.
So when it comes to sleep, these are the things that have helped me:
Eye mask - cut off all light, even if your curtains are dark, I promise an eye mask is a game changer!
Use scents - find a scent that works for you and use it every night when you get in bed - I have a rollerball that I put on my neck and behind me ears
Put your phone aside - try to move your phone away from you at least an hour before you go to bed, reducing that stimulus can really help you wind down
2. Move away from your phone
Speaking of your phone, using your phone more mindfully can really help reduce the feelings of overwhelm. We have caveman brains, wired for fight or flight, but now that reaction is triggered by notifications, emails and vibrations from our phones!
Try turning off all of your phone notifications . . . crazy I know! But, it will mean that you just look at your phone when you want to, rather than being pushed to do so by a little red dot with a number in it.
3. Seek out joy
One thing I found when I was in the depths of overwhelm and anxiety, I realised that I hadn’t felt enjoyment from doing things for a really long time. It was a pretty sad revelation!
So, I would encourage you to find small things that bring you joy (Hello Marie Kondo!) and do them as often as you can. This can be as simple as listening to the radio as you have your morning cup of tea, or watering your plants each morning. These things when done regularly can help to bolster your mood.
4. Find some quiet
I find noise a huge trigger for my anxiety. The TV on in the background, car horns outside, chatter in an office.
So I ALWAYS have my headphones on me and I have Spotify playlists on hand to plug myself into whenever I’m starting to feel overwhelmed.
5. Get out into nature
This one Nicola knows to be true as we recently went on a gorgeous walk near her home in Surrey!
But nature really is a healer. Spending time outside, in the quiet, in the beauty of nature can take you away from your day to day worries and give you a bit of a respite from that brain churn.