Alex Hurt, wellness blogger and fellow spa professional, begins our blog series ‘Go Mental’. Alex’s journey has given her first-hand experience in mental health awareness from an early age and working in wellness has allowed her to acknowledge and provide a voice of reason when people need it most.
Is it déjà vu?
We have all been here before I think, about six months ago to be exact. As the melancholy slips in, the weather decides that it’s going to partner up. It is me or has there been a shift? It really could be just me; it could be the silent suggestions that there’s something to worry about, and, let’s focus on what’s wrong and not what’s right. It is a subtle switch from great to grim that clings to my thought processes as the sun disappears from my horizon.
This is a journey that proves that everyone has the potential to spiral out of control, but the important thing to remember is how we deal with it, what we do and how we can help others that will pull us out of our own personal tornados.
I’ve often heard, since COVID moved in, the phrase ‘we are all in the same boat’, well actually, we aren’t. We are in the same storm. The divide becomes apparent when we consider how we have dealt with the pandemic; for some the lockdown was damaging, lonely, disconnected and intense. For others, (me), it was luxurious, self-indulgent and most of all, reflective.
For as long as I can remember I have worked. No, I haven’t just worked, I’ve pushed and fought my way through. I’ve worked 14-hour days, neglected personal commitments and abandoned my own life, to achieve my career goals. I am now able to share with you that you never really achieve them, because there is always the next goal, and then the next. The more driven you are, the more impossible it is to realise your dreams. Even in the world of spa and relaxation.
Throughout childhood I had a constant niggle, I worried that my mum would not come home, or that my dad wouldn’t be there to pick me up. I had a feeling that something just wasn’t right, and I wasn’t aware at the time that I was living in fear; a cautious child, afraid of making mistakes, I chose to please and placate everyone around me. The level of control I had at that time was volatile and it was short lived; you can’t cling on too tightly without losing your grip. By the age of eighteen I was diagnosed with panic attacks that left me numb, fearful and agoraphobic; six months later I was on a plane to Mexico for a career at sea.
How? Determination and self-belief. Throughout the years anxiety has become a playmate and has taught me some valuable lessons. Working in wellness allows me to apply this understanding directly to both team and clientele because you know, the hardest part of having dysfunctional mental health are the lies it can tell us. Those whispering voices inside that tell you that you are not worthy, that you are unloved or not enough, the thoughts of self-doubt and paranoia rob you of all sense of enjoyment and cloud your day, so that all you can see are only the tiniest pockets of hope.
I’m here to discuss this with you, I’m here to share with you and support you in your own inner battle and help you to see it from a different perspective, because I believe that in order to be able to write about mental health it’s important to know just how it can make you feel, and then what you can do with those feelings so that you can heal.
So as the country moves up to a level 4 on the Covid 19 scare scale, yet again we are met with the uncertainty of what the immediate future looks like. We are hearing that doctors are drowning in the volume of mental health cases across the country, cases that are at an all-time high. So, why not remove the panic, switch off the news, quit scrolling through social media and now think…… how do you feel?
How much of what you feel is fuelled by others? If you were to shut out the noise, turn down the comments and only partake in positive conversations how would you feel? I believe that we are self-sabotaging; we are relentlessly following the media checking for facts and receiving opinion. It is not very helpful and it’s not making you feel good. In fact, it’s making you anxious, it’s squeezing your mind and stealing your patience.
If you were eating something that tasted bad, you’d stop right? If what we all put into our minds is negative or fear based, then how do we expect to feel good? Immerse your mind in learning practices that will help you to deal with your day to day fears and not fuel them. Recognise your thoughts, energy goes where energy flows.
By taking some simple steps and noticing where your time is spent you can improve the quality of your thoughts. The rabbit hole of social media can be damaging if you don’t stream down the content you’re seeing. Don’t be afraid to unfollow harmful stories, energy vampires or attention seekers, do you really need to focus on them? Reading the comments on a controversial post that you just know is going to fuel your fire? Just don’t.
If it’s proven that like attracts like, then let’s start now with a new page. Let’s filter out the noise, abandon the negativity, unfollow what doesn’t serve you and see the world through different glasses. One of the biggest lessons I have ever learned is to change my focus by removing the glasses of my childhood and don my Big Girl specs.
Try it, letting go of the past. Be here, now. Live now.
Join me next month with some second helpings, and remember, you are never alone.
Alex Hurt, Mindfulness, Well-being, Blogs