23 January 2019
There has been a lot of talk this week about mental health, mood management and motivation. Starting with Blue Monday, the conversation has, of course, continued throughout the week, especially as the freezing temperatures and snow set in across the country.
January can be a difficult time for many people. It’s the cold, the weather is grey, the festivities are a distant memory and perhaps there’s a bit of financial strain after extra spending at Christmas. So what can you do to turn it around?
Firstly, remember that it is perfectly normal to feel down. Everyone feels it from time to time, and often we conceal it. On Instagram and Facebook, we’re smiling and everything looks great. There are photos of glamorous lifestyles and busy social lives, but the reality may be quite different. There may be something more complex that you haven’t worked out how to fix yet. That’s perfectly normal. The challenge comes in not letting these unresolved things escalate and constantly distract you. Of course, these feelings are quite removed from the mental health struggles and depression that some people suffer from, independent on a time of the year or Blue Monday.
Whenever I’m feeling low, I have a list that I run through. Tony Robbins says we can only feel one emotion at any time. One emotion that’s easy to open is gratitude. I always come back to that. I go back to a dark place, when I was involved in an avalanche, conscious that I was suffocating to death, crushed in complete darkness. That was 18 years ago today.
This week I’ve spent more time outside, breathing in the fresh air, feeling the warmth of the sun on my skin and hearing the sounds of everyday life. Buried under feet of snow all those years ago, those were sensations that I never thought I’d experience ever again. Being pulled back from the brink back then has led me to be able to conjure up gratitude for the simple things in life and remind myself of just how lucky we all are.
There is a real magic in gratitude for shifting perspective, re-evaluating and pulling yourself out of a rut. It’s not going to fix your issues but it can certainly switch your focus from the thing making you feel low.
I am not immune to feeling low or to feeling stress. That’s why I have these techniques to help me when those times inevitably arise.
I recorded this week’s podcast out in the fresh air, getting some air in my lungs, moving around, walking out and about – away from city life, away from screens. Taking this time gives me an opportunity to think to clear my mind. It’s a chance to park the stress for a moment or two and give myself some headspace. It’s invaluable.
Whilst I don’t profess to have all the answers, in this week’s episode I share some of the techniques and experiences that I use when I feel low or recognise that the pressure is building. Share yours in the comments below, you might be able to help someone out when they’re in a time of need. Listen in to the podcast on iTunes or Android here.