I hope you all had a good festive break, I know it’s not easy for everyone.
If anyone knows me well enough I was desparate for it. Not so much from ‘work’ as such as in ‘day job’ work but from the work in my head working away thinking that I can’t work because of my mental illness.
Yes, that’s the beauty of self stigma. The black dog too. It barks and it barks until you better believe it, you’re scared. You fear the bite. You get bitten.
This year (no offence to gift buyers any other year! Just sayin…) I got some really useful gifts. For my mental health. Hoorah!
Before I start though, this is not supposed to be an ‘advertising’ post and if it appears so, it’s accidental. This is an example and representation of what helps me and could inspire others to have useful props around that are more unique to you, especially at work!
So let’s take a moment to check out my new desktop at work. (Look up to the first picture!). “What’s that weird blue guey thing with bubbly bobbles?” I hear you ask. (I saw my colleagues facial expression ask, it’s on their desk too now, sharing is caring!) That, is one of the presents I got ☺
I think if I’m right in remembering, it’s actually targeted at children with special needs, disabilities or with attention difficulties, but having experimented with it at my aunts (who is a teacher) after seeing it enticingly on her table, I found it a source of comfort. It also helps me to open up!
I’m sat down casually with it, pick it up and voila! I can talk more openly! Might be worth a try for those who struggle to do so in therapy! It’s squidgy and you can break it apart and rebuild it into all sorts of shapes and non shapes (as you can see!) but having something to play with (yes, adults can play too!) it actually gives my mind a boost and helps my concentration. I don’t need to take a break to play with it, just a quick play around from hand to hand, feeling the different sensations of touch, gently mindfully takes me for a short and simple mind-break and bring my attention back. It also helps if I’m feeling anxious or that ‘I can’t do this’, reminding me I’m human and real not a robot, so take some time out to re-boot the senses!
As someone who is finally addressing her eating problems too, it may help me rather than using food and oral consumption/fixation to ‘swallow’ (intended) feelings and have something to touch instead and ground me back a bit.
Which brings me also to my bottle of water. If I’m constantly looking to self soothe (shoutout to my friend for passing this phrase on! Feel like Miranda here but who doesn’t like the word ‘soooooothe?! Tis soothing in itself!) by filling a hole and consuming something, I figured water could help. I used to be constantly dehydrated but never drink enough. Now with my little pal a water bottle, on my desk and by my bed side table, can hopefully help gently remind me to drink that and not only tea. Ideally, yes I know, I need a proper water thingy with a filter etc etc but this is the stage I’m currently at! It’s my birthday coming up, FYI (cue 10 water bottles arriving in the post or none cos I wrote this) LOL.
I also have the ‘How to Stay Mentally Healthy at Work’ guide that you can download or order from Mind:
I was lucky enough to have access to a library of these handy guides when I worked there. I will use this if I’m struggling and sometimes just to check in with for handy tips even when I’m not. I kept feeling easily overwhelmed before and this year with my desktop and outside of work, I plan to take small steps to help with this.
Lastly, for my breaks and commutes, I have a book. Yes, it happens to be ‘Reasons to Stay Alive’ as recommeded by the mental health community but reading in general, has really helped me escape recently. Even if the topic is mental health it supports me in feeling less alone and empathised with from a stranger who may have more in common with you than those who know you. You feel known on a deeper level than with some of your ‘own’. If anyone is interested in mental health books in particular and are London based I’d thoroughly recommend the Rethink Mental Illness book club: https://youtu.be/DS6K26-HGZA so far authors have attended too.
On that note, and 15 flights of stairs later. I’m off to my desktop to start the day.
Wishing you a work-well day if you are and a self care infused one if not!
Over and out,
P.S if you want the blue (they come in lots of colours!) guey play thing deets just drop me a line, just wanted to get this post out for the beginning of the working day! x