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Making our mental health the barometer for our wellbeing.


Making our mental health the barometer for our wellbeing.

Penny Younger

In this video, I talk about making our mental health, the barometer in which we measure our wellbeing on any given day.

PRESS PLAY TO WATCH: (6.43 minutes)

A few months back, it was the first anniversary of my Dad’s passing away.

It was a day that kind of snuck up on me, and before I knew it, it was upon me. 

On the day, Mum and I had so many beautiful friends and family reach out to us, with  invitations to do something with them so we wouldn't be alone. Many of these invitations, we accepted.

In the days after the anniversary, I noticed myself feeling anxious for no reason, feeling jittery and wanting to clean every cupboard in the house. Funnily enough, it took me a few days to actually notice that I was even feeling this way. But somewhere between the spring cleaning of the linen cupboard and the pantry, I realised that my body didn't feel okay. It'd probably been talking to me for a few days, but being in my little anxious zone, it took a while for me to hear it's calls for help.

When I became aware of how I was feeling and what was actually going on, I stopped, tuned in, and realised that this was my body - and my mental health - telling me that I hadn't been paying close enough attention. 

Since then, I've been letting my mental health be the barometer for how much I can and can't do. I've allowed it be the message my body sends me when I've not listened intently enough to it. 

I know that the anxiety I felt and the obsessive tidying I did in the days after Dad's anniversary, was my message that I had done too much on that day. I'd pushed past several boundaries, and I'd expected my body to keep up……Wrong!

When you are in tune with what your body can and can't do, you become aware of the messages it sends. Yes, my physical body sends me signs when I've done too much as well, but my mental health also speaks quite loudly. 

Over the course of the last decade or so, it's spoken quite loudly if something has been amiss. And now, where I am today, if I am pushing too hard, my mental health talks to me by way of the anxiety and some obsessive behaviour such as tidying/cleaning of anything I can see. 

At the time, it's not fun. But if we can learn to recognise these signs, not as how our body has failed us, but as how we've failed our body. 

Where did we overstep our own boundaries? Where did we say yes, when our body was hitting the emergency brake button? 

How can we interpret our anxiety, or our obsessiveness, or whatever else it is for you, differently? How can we simply witness it, and understand the language it speaks … rather than getting stressed over it and trying to avoid it?

Can we learn to observe it, and very sheepishly, wave to it?

On my Dad's anniversary, I did too much.

In hindsight, I could have rested some more, and honoured my body. As a result of not doing this, I used my mental health in the days afterwards, as a barometer of how I was.

Our mental health, just like our physical health, gives us a message; and how we interpret that message, depends on whether we and our bodies are even speaking the same language.

I hope this short video helps you to see your mental health as a communication tool from your body, instead of something to hide, suppress, ignore and be ashamed of.

Love the messages your body gives to you, even if they're ones you don't want to hear.

Hit play, and please share with someone who needs to have their perspective on mental health shifted a little.