Mental Health Awareness Week – Are You Paying Attention?

architecture buildings city cityscape
Busy, busy

“How are you?”

“Busy, so busy.”

“How are you?”

“Don’t ask. It’s so full on”

“How are you?”

“Too busy!”

And so it goes. On and on. We are so busy we don’t even know how we are. It is our accepted state of being. Some say it’s a badge. I don’t think so. I think it’s a flag. A red one.

We are so busy focussing outwards. Focussing on what we need to do for work, for the kids, for the house, for our friends, for our neighbours, for our family, for the environment, for the community, for, well, everyone else. So where do we come in all of this? How can we possibly find time for ourselves? I often ask the women I am working with this question: and what about you? Often they duck the answer, tell me about someone else’s needs. Sometimes they laugh. Sometimes they raise their eyebrows. Sometimes tears well up in their eyes. And all of these responses are red flags to me. Because how can we keep on giving when we are empty?

When I ask these women, what is it you need to help you feel ok? They often struggle, really struggle, to answer. It is something they often haven’t even thought of.  Or, they feel guilty for prioritising it, so they don’t.   And yet I know that without paying attention to those needs, overwhelm is around the corner (or already here) and just beyond that is burnout.

It’s the oxygen mask analogy. You must allow yourself to breath, to survive, in order to help those around you, including those you love most. Getting enough sleep, eating well, moving, connecting, or whatever else feels essential for you, that’s your oxygen mask. Do you know what yours are? The things without which you start to wobble or snap or, eventually, break.

I know answering this question isn’t easy. It never fails to amaze me how something so simple can feel so hard and at the same time, make such a powerful difference. But I will ask you – how are you? And if you aren’t OK, what do you need, right now, to get you to OK? Really pay attention to your answer. Is it peace and quiet? Is it sleep? Is it a chat with a good friend?  Is it a run? Is it a lovely, long soak in a hot bath?

Whatever it is you need, I want you to give yourself that gift today. Give that to yourself. Because if we pay attention to what we need; those simple, straightforward, everyday things that keep us at OK, then we can truly give of ourselves. To those we love, to what we love, to a life we love. But it all starts with getting to OK. So pay attention today, and every day, because this matters. Your health matters. You matter.

 

Deliver Grow Coaching

I work with women who are ambitious for themselves and the causes they believe in. They are working hard to achieve those ambitions but it’s coming at a high cost: they are feeling increasingly overwhelmed, stressed and frustrated.  My work supports them to step away from overwhelm and empowers them to achieve those things that are most important without burnout and sacrifice.  If this sounds interesting and relevant for you, let’s chat.

 

 

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

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