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Looking After Yourself on World Mental Health Day and Beyond

This year, World Mental Health Day finds us in the midst of a health crisis which has had – and continues to have – a profound impact on peoples’ mental well-being. The uncertainty generated by the global pandemic has left many feeling out of control and often highly anxious.

What can I do to help cope with my anxiety?

It is a useful practice to consider what is within your control when everything feels so challenging around you. One thing that we can all take time to invest in is the care and compassion we treat ourselves with. World Mental Health Day is a good time to give some consideration to how you might apply this to yourself.

Self-care is sometimes thought of as self-indulgent and time-consuming. Perhaps even a little bit boring. It is often the first thing we give up. If you are feeling under pressure – due to the global pandemic or perhaps during your divorce or other legal proceedings – you may feel time for yourself is limited. Making yourself your priority can be helpful if areas of your life are feeling out of control.

Do one thing

World Mental Health Day could be your starting point – a way of recognising something of such global importance at a difficult time through self-care and reflection. This could be a courageous and sustainable step forward to implementing a self-care routine. Building mental resilience through routine and self-care can help manage your mood and overall feelings of well-being. Deviations from our usual routines – this year there have been so much change and uncertainty – can start to show very quickly in our mental wellness.

Prioritising your well-being through a sustainable routine can help you find a balance in times of adversity. It can be useful to consider therapy or keeping a diary at this time so you can evaluate your basic needs as a starting point. Give consideration to your physiological needs – eating, sleeping and breathing. These seemingly basic functions are the grounding force in our lives and understanding and working with this level of self-care can allow you to begin to improve how you feel in all other areas. This can be vital in terms of being able to move forward with big decisions and create clarity around decision making.

What is mental health?

World Mental Health Day encourages us all to consider our own and other peoples mental well-being. It provides the opportunity for us to ask ourselves the question “What is mental health?” and apply a curious and questioning thought process to where we might currently find ourselves – both in our personal and wider landscapes.

It is a good opportunity to self-reflect and consider our mental wellness as something we have the agency to look after and make decisions about. Working with the areas of your life that you can control – creating a present and reflective space – can be a good way for you to manage and process the parts that feel outside your reach and help you to build a sustainable way forward. If you feel you would benefit from some support in this process, please do contact me.

Counsellor / Psychotherapist
at Counselling Development

Emma Chamberlain is a respected and highly-qualified Counsellor / Psychotherapist based in Stony Stratford, Milton Keynes. Emma is experienced with successfully working with clients experiencing a wide range of issues, including anxiety, depression, stress, panic attacks, emotional distress, low self-esteem, relationship problems, work-related problems, grief, bereavement and loss, fear, anger, trauma, self-harm, sexual abuse, domestic abuse, bullying, suicidal thoughts and those struggling with life’s transitional times.

Emma has a strong academic background including a BA (Hons) in Psychology and an MSc in Integrative Psychotherapy. Emma worked extensively as a Counsellor for MIND – the UK’s leading mental health charity. Emma is an accredited member of the British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) and works to their ethical framework.

Emma works from a humanistic relational perspective following the Clarkson 5 Relationship Model. This offers a flexible relationship based approach to counselling / psychotherapy and can include CBT/ DBT and a range of other approaches. Emma’s current research interests include exploring how counsellors and clients work together when the client has Asperger Syndrome and she is experienced in working with adults on the Autistic Spectrum.

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