The theme for 2018’s Mental Health Awareness Week (14th – 20th May) is stress. Our work as PR and marketing professionals keeps us busy and can be stressful at times – especially when trying to juggle it with commitments in our personal lives – but it’s important to ensure our mental health doesn’t suffer as a result.
Here’s what we enjoy doing to take care of ourselves!
Sharon – Marketing Manager
“Historically, I was always a bit ‘hit and miss’ when it came to exercise but since having my son Archie and returning to the working world I’ve found it increasingly important. My relationship with running started a few years ago as a way of meeting new friends and having some ‘me time’. Fast forward to 2017 and somehow the six-week Couch to 5K that started it all turned into tackling the Royal Parks Half Marathon in aid of Mind as I hit the age of 40!
“Life is more of a juggling act than it once was, and getting the balance right can be tricky, but being out in the fresh air is guaranteed to help lift my spirits and I always sleep better once I’ve exercised.”
Luke – Senior Account Executive
“Personally, I love getting outside for walks with the family dog Jaz and try to do so at least once a day (weather permitting, of course) to get the stats up on my Fitbit! Living in the Lincolnshire Wolds means there are so many great places to explore; the air is clean and, in most places, phone signal is sparse which means true escapism from life’s worries.
“I get a real sense of purpose when walking with Jaz as opposed to being on my own and she enjoys it just as much as me. It’s amazing what some fresh air can do to clear your mind!”
Kerri – Account Manager
“I got into cycling by accident, but quickly fell in love with the sense of freedom it brings; I can grab my bike and be cycling in the countryside in ten minutes. I love coasting along with the birds singing in the background and the scenery passing me by at the pace I set.
“You know when you see dogs with their heads hanging out of car windows? Don’t they look happy? Any cyclist who’s just shot down a big hill after a mammoth climb knows exactly how that feels: it’s bliss.
“Cycling solo gives me time to think and as part of a crowd, I get to talk to people from all walks of life. It’s nice to feel part of a community, where everyone is accepted whether they pedal fast or slow or wheeze up every hill.”
Mike – Account Manager
“There’s a phrase that says, “A garden is a lot like a painting – it’s never truly finished”, and having got into gardening over the last few years, that’s proving to be true for me. However, rather than being a stress, I find gardening rewards you after each small job you complete.
“A momentous challenge can often be broken down into smaller tasks that complement each other; it’s like completing a puzzle. If I’m ever at a loose end or feeling down or frustrated, a quick half hour or more in the garden can make all the difference.
“Mental health is such a fragile and precious thing, it can be broken very easily. Putting yourself first can often work wonders and the garden is where I find I can best do that.”
Zoe – Account Executive
“I’m a bit of a water baby and use my gym membership for the pool facilities. I try to make time to go swimming at least once a week as for me it is true escapism; when I’m down at the pool my phone gets left in a locker, so I’ve got no connections to the outside world and it’s just me and my thoughts – perfect! Whether I’m pushing myself to tackle 50 lengths or relaxing in the steam room or sauna, it’s my form of therapy.
“Failing that, just having a cup of tea to hand, a cat on my lap, and a good book to get lost in usually does the trick!”
Wale – Digital Marketer
“To improve my mood and stay mentally alert, I plug in my earphones and dance to my favourite playlist while cleaning the house. Music lifts my spirit, so I seem to do this a few times a week.
“I also like to watch a good movie as a form of relaxation when I get the chance to. Because of my busy lifestyle however, this only happens once in a while.”
Jez – Director
“When I’ve had a hard day at work I know I can forget all about it and de-stress by becoming someone else – anyone else! – for a few hours.
“I’ve been acting and directing in community theatre since I was a student. For the last 17 years I’ve helped run Common Ground Theatre Company in Lincoln, and it’s a fun way to make new friends and challenge yourself.
“Getting up on stage, pretending to be a different person living in a different time and place, is as challenging as it is rewarding. It takes you out of your comfort zone and forces you to think about something other than work and home life for a while. It’s also good for your mental health because you’re always meeting new people, discussing with them how scenes should be played, and trying to understand what the director wants from your character.
“Theatre is a very physical pastime too; maybe it’s not such hard work as going to the gym, but it forces you to get off the sofa and throw your whole self into a new challenge.
“And of course, there’s no better boost to your self-esteem than that huge round of applause at the end of the show!”