Friday, 13 November 2015

WSWS Friday Download - Mental Wellbeing - 13th November 2015

There is much talk today in the news about mental health budget cuts putting services under huge pressure and potentially putting lives at risk. 

Mental health cuts put lives at risk - BBC News
Mental health cuts putting services under huge pressure - The Guardian

So what can we do to look after our own mental well-being?

As a trainer focusing on mental well-being in the workplace, I talk a lot about stress levels and how to release that stress in a healthy way.  

We all have a stress capacity, it varies from one of us to another.  I like to think of this as a bucket; our own stress bucket.  Some of us have bigger buckets than others and for some of us, our buckets are already pretty heavy carrying a lot of stress and nearing capacity.  

Although we can take some steps to limit stress, unfortunately we can't always control the amount of stress coming into our bucket.  If at any time, the level of stress in our bucket is quite low, we can often absorb more pressure and kind of carry on for the time being.  However' if our bucket is already very full almost to the brim and one extra stress comes our way, it can cause our stress bucket to overflow.  It might not be a big thing that causes this and could well be something that if our bucket wasn't as full we'd have dealt with it without another thought but in this case it was the straw that broke the camel's back.

So although we can't always control what comes into our bucket, we can take control and responsibility for fitting a "stress release tap" to the bottom of our bucket by taking part in stress relieving activities such as physical exercise, chatting with a friend, engaging in a hobby.  Activities that can take your mind of the stresses and help you relax.

The benefits of gardening for physical and mental well-being have long been documented but with the rise in urban living, a new study by the universities of Westminster and Essex has focused on the benefits of allotment gardening.   

"Those who had worked in their allotments at least once a week had lower levels of fatigue, depression, tension and anger - and had higher self-esteem and better general health - than those who had done no gardening at all."
Allotment gardening can boost mental well-being according to study - BBC News

If gardening isn't you thing, how about singing?  Especially singing in a choir which has  the additional social aspect to it.

"But singing in a choir is more than just a bit of fun. It's been scientifically proven that it is good for your health: from getting more oxygen into the blood, to increasing the flow of feelgood hormones and improving mental health."
Can singing in a choir make you healthier - BBC iWonder

What do you do to empty your stress bucket?

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