Hi Team,

Yep; here we are back in lockdown again and this time it feels like it will drag on for several more weeks.
So today's topic is all the more relevant for us all.

It seems that all conversations these days end up discussing mental health. It's definitely the topic that is on everyone's lips, Olympic commentators, football commentators, politicians, newspaper journalists, teachers, your children etc etc; everyone is weighing in on Mental Health. So, I thought it was high time that I try to unpack this controversial hot topic and to offer a few of my own opinions and insights.

Right off the bat, I would like to dispel a misconception. Mental health is all about wellness rather than illness. 

Most people think of mental health as an illness, which is very misleading and can be quite damaging. There are loads of definitions of Mental Health (if you Google this term, you get 1.1 billion results!), and the majority of these definitions talk about inner health and wellbeing, about feeling good and consistently functioning well.

"Mental health is not a destination, but a process. It's about how you drive, not where you are going." Unknown

Everyone has mental health issues at different stages of their life and these issues are highly specific to each individual.
All heath professional agree that there is a direct link between someone’s mental health and their physical health and ultimately their life expectancy. Someone's mental health is characterised by how emotionally and socially healthy they are, or how they feel and respond to various situations. However; it is never that simple and just because someone is not experiencing mental health problems doesn't mean their mental health is flourishing.
"There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so" William Shakespeare

(I can't believe it's taken 132 emails for me to use a quote from William Shakespeare!)

So your mental health is a large part of you being human and the ups and downs are unavoidable. The best you can do is to be aware of how you are feeling inside and to learn to proactively manage your own mental condition, which can broadly be called "self-maintenance". For me self-maintenance consists of four things, good sleep, good diet, consistent exercise and managing stress.

"We just need to be kinder to ourselves. If we treated ourselves the way we treat our best friend, can you imagine how much better off we would be?"  Megan Markle

This leads me into what I plan to write about for the next 5 or 6 weeks, being these four main areas of my self-management. So next week I will kick things off by exploring “what I've learnt about sleep".

Thanks for reading,
Stay safe and be kind to yourself.

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