Black Lives Matter

I am a black woman,

2020 has been emotionally and mentally tiring. During lockdown I have been quiet as I have had a lot going on personally and I have been trying to juggle helping people and work at the same time but yet again we are now dealing with a constant global issue- racism. During this time it’s not in my nature to keep quiet.

The impact of covid-19 and now the protests, news, murders, to say we are in a crisis is an understatement. The current events haven’t just impacted my current opinions and life but they have also brought back memories of racism in the past that I have handled and moved on from. From that I am a stronger person but I can’t help but think about others in the black community suffering with past and current circumstances. Not everyone can take to the streets and protest and not everyone feels comfortable speaking out but there’s also something that could be done.

  • Reach out- ask questions such as: how are you feeling? How’s your mental health? Do you want to talk about it? What state of mind are you in today? What impact does this have on you? Engage in this conversation; it’s important to listen but also acknowledge there is a problem and it’s time for conversations about race to no longer be considered as uncomfortable or awkward or aggression.
  • Petitions- sign petitions but also gain understanding on why petitions are create and why they’re necessary. Understand why donations are necessary and what they’re going towards. This week I have not only seen petitions to get justice for the victims but I have also seen and signed petitions linked to education. From my own experiences I can say the things I learnt about my culture and black history, it didn’t come from school. It came from family, resource, books, documentaries. That’s just me, I don’t know if other children/teens purposely seek out this information and it’s not up to children to make this decision. The education system especially in the UK has failed the black community. We briefly learnt about black history in terms what happened in the US but we don’t talk about the overall history; we don’t even talk about UK black history.
  • Educate- Linked to the point above but education doesn’t just stop when you turn 18. An element of racism stems from ignorance. You are never too old to pick up a book, to seek out resources. You are never too old to genuinely speak to a black person and ask them about their history and ask questions to educate yourself. Don’t be afraid to challenge what you thought you knew or what older generations in your family once told you about black people. I cannot stress education enough.

#blacklivesmatter

Stuck at home?

Don’t think of it as being stuck in the house. Like me, you may need to work from home or cancel events. I’ve even had to cancel my birthday! But think of this has an opportunity. We spend our lives busy studying, working, looking after family and friends but now we have time to take care of ourselves. I have seen a lot of people over recent days talk about how being at home has negatively impacted their mental health but there is some good from it. Travelling to and from work, focusing on other people, having distractions, distracts us from our mental health issues but being on lockdown with reduced distractions gives us from to focus on what is important. The lockdown itself doesn’t mean you can’t go on one walk a day or sit in your back garden and reflect. A lot of people are taking it to literally mean stay in your bedroom or living room. Staying in one place and doing nothing different is what will mess with your mental health.
There’s so much that can be done in the house. From cooking, knitting, art, even following makeup tutorials on YouTube. Don’t just think about social distancing but think about distancing yourself from social media. Since being at home I have found myself bored with social media. I usually go on social media when I am bored at work, during lunch breaks, travelling on public transport, but now being at home and having constant access it has become draining.
At a time when there’s ‘not much to do’ there is always something that could be done. Leaving your phone aside for an hour to relax and have peace of mind or to gain a new skill will only better your mental health and your outlook.
Some of you might have children at home but now you can either focus more on family time or set tasks to distract the children while you fit in little daily breaks for yourself.

List of things to try

Meditation
Gardening
Social time with family
Writing
Artwork
Puzzles
An hour of relaxation (peace and quiet)
1 walk a day
Job search
Cleaning
Cooking something new
Reorganising rooms

For anyone that is at home suffering from anxiety due to the lockdown, please make use of my service.

Finding you

It has taken nearly a whole year to find myself and I could honestly say, time well spent. After spending years doubting myself personally and professionally, I decided to give myself a break. In order to live without fear, I had to look fear in the face and say enough is enough. Fear of not being where I wanted to be in life, fear of failing, fear of not having enough time. I had to take a mental break and focus on what was holding me back. Now that 2019 is over, I can look forward and say I know understand what I should be doing with my life and accept what my mind didn’t want to accept before.

This break wasn’t just mentally. If you’ve seen my previous post you will know I left a full-time office environment back in December 2018 and haven’t fully been back since. Now I’m in a flexible working environment and spend a lot of my working days travelling. I needed this. I found the office environment to be somewhat toxic, negative and unproductive. Professionally I needed the break to acknowledge I had to spend 2019 releasing myself from that negativity and finding my happiness; resulting to me realising office work isn’t for me and I want more for myself. In years time or due to circumstances, you never know I may end up going back into office work but for now, being in 20 something I can’t do this to myself.

You might not need a year to find you, you might need two weeks, two, weeks, twelve years but finding your feet and taking a break before you have a breakdown is necessary.

Happy Place

I got asked a question a month ago and the question is in an abrupt ‘inform me please’ tone which I didn’t appreciate.

Why do you go to the gym?

This person then went on to say (before I could answer) “well look at you. You don’t need it”. Who are you to tell me what I need? This person had never met me before and had a very ‘self-entitled’ vibe. I don’t mind if people are curious or genuine but with her tone taken it was much of a personal dig. I responded by saying “I go for my mental health”. This person continued to say “well…why don’t you walk around the forest or ride a bike”. Again, this person doesn’t know me. If this person knew me, they would know I live in a very busy city. Where is the forest? And I can’t afford a bike on top of all the other expenses in life. Even if I could afford a bike I wouldn’t have much of a good environment to ride it in. But as she was questioning my life, I couldn’t help but think, why do I have to justify my actions to anyone.

Whether you go gym for mental health, Instagram, medical conditions etc that’s your wish and what you do in the gym is completely up to you. Whether you spend an hour only on the treadmill or spend the majority of your time lifting weights, as long as you are happy that is all that matters.

People find what works for their mental health in different places. A lot of people take up hobbies or go travelling, whereas I spend my time in the gym weight training. I like the feeling. I like going on the treadmill to think and clear my head and I like going to a gym where no one knows me and I can zone out. I know many people who go to the gym and tell me how relieved and amazing they feel once they have left. Yes, this has a lot to do with endorphins being released and cheering us up but the gym isn’t always that happy place for everyone. For example, I love shopping online and I love the feeling of something I want being delivered to me, trying it on, seeing how it looks and fits and suddenly I have a new outfit I can’t wait to wear out but that happiness is not the same happiness and me pushing my mind and body in the gym. That is the one place I can go and switch off and I can’t say that about a lot of places.

Moral of the post is, don’t let anyone question your actions. I took that question very personal because I felt the need to defend my mental health and when people ask questions like that, they don’t realise how you might interrupt it. Find your happy place and let it take care of you.

Maintaining friendships while stressing

Keeping it blunt- unfortunately, when stress becomes part of your life, your friends are not a priority. You need to think about your well-belling and focus on what is causing you stress and how to resolve it.

Maintaining friendships while going through stress, purely depends on you. Are you the type of person to take the stress out on others? Do you trust your friends? Once you’ve answered these questions, understand that your friends (if real friends) should either help you through your situation or allow you time to breathe and work it out for yourself. Your friends might have a big impact on how you handle your situation and might help you to understand it more.

Everyone reacts differently and your friends should understand how to approach you. When my friends are going for a tough time, depending on the personality I am dealing with, I could either say ‘let us talk about it’ or just give them space and check on them now and then. Your friends should respect your personality and work out the best way to approach you without coming across nosey or intrusive.

Sometimes it might be best for you to ‘ghost’ and make your friends aware you need time to work on you. If this is the case, your friendship should be strong enough to last. You don’t need to see or speak to your friends everyday/week to be labelled friends. If you need a week to yourself, your friends will be there once you’ve had time to do you.

As I said before, your friends might be able to help you through; whether they help to de-clutter your life or take the stress away from you. I have my go-to people and friends also come to me when they’re stressed or have an issue, and no matter how long it takes we will work it out together. Personally, over the recent weeks, I’ve been stressed over work and if I didn’t run on the treadmill and let my close friends know how I’m feeling I would have probably ended up having a breakdown.

To maintain friendships, think about how much you value each other and what friendship means to you.

Working with a disorder

Sometimes you want to handle things on your own and don’t want to let everyone know how you’re feeling; however, it is important to inform your workplace on any disorders or negative feelings you have. 2019 has been the year for mental health awareness and at a time like this, many organisations are coming up with strategies to better the workplace environment and be more ‘hands-on.

Find out and understand what your workplace has to order and make use of opportunities. If you have an intranet that offers well-being information, workshops, blogs, find out more. Some workplaces do mental health weeks which including inviting animals in (mainly dogs), social events, yoga, guest speakers and more.

Contact occupational health and get advice. Sometimes people are scared to speak to occupation health because it seems like a cry for help and people get worried that information might get back to their work colleagues or supervisor, however, occupation health is confidential, qualified and the majority of the time outsourced, therefore not directly part of your company. Ask them what could be done personally and professionally to support you whilst you’re working.

Mental health first aiders. As mentioned previously, my last job offered ‘Mental Health At Work First Aid’ as a course, whether you work with youths or adults (If you would like further information, please find me a message). These courses are different durations but I did the 1-day course and it is the most beneficial course I have ever done. If you are not coping or need further support whilst at work, go to the mental health first aider on shift. Bear in mind this is fairly new, so your workplace might not be at this stage yet, however, there’s no harm in showing your manager or training team this information and requesting for the course to be looked into. The course touches on a range of disorders, how to communicate with people and looks at a range of perspectives. Mental health first aiders are not professionals, which is sometimes a good thing depending on the person who needs the support. Sometimes its ideal to have a friendly face they can listen to you from time to time.


So taking this into account, don’t ever feel like you have to suffer in silence or have nowhere to turn. There is always help and there is always a variety which means of going to the well-being page on the work intranet doesn’t work, maybe talking to a colleague will.

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