Exam stress and much more....
There is no doubt about it-mental health is on the rise and in the media more than ever. In my opinion, the fact that the stigma around mental health is being challenged and more and more organizations are inspiring people to identify and not shy away from it is admirable and there is a great need for it. But when did it become such a problem…or was it always this ‘bad'.
I spent 5 years working with wounded, injured and sick servicemen and women and veterans and know a fair bit about the symptoms and daily challenges that a variety of mental health conditions can bring. PTSD, Depression, anxiety, personality disorder, eating disorders and the list goes on. Many people I have worked with say that mental health isn't something you recover from, it's something that you learn to live with and manage. And they are right. I will always have respect for the military personnel that I have had the privilege to work with. They have taught me so much.
Since leaving and starting my own business, I recognize these similar symptoms in society. Trauma and suffering are everywhere. And aside from the awful life traumas of loss, abuse and disaster to name just a few, there are the everyday challenges- the professional overworked, the stressed student, the worried parents, the heartbroken widow all trying to go through life and keep their ‘balance'. Trying to wake up each day and gather the energy to start over again and smile through what might be a difficult time.
The Mental Health Foundation report that mixed anxiety & depression is the most common mental disorder in Britain, with 7.8% of people meeting criteria for diagnosis. That 4-10% of people in England will experience depression in their lifetime and that 1 in 6 adults has a common mental health disorder.
Let's talk about schools…now I don't know about you, but school today isn't like it was in my day. I couldn't have cared less about makeup (mind you I was a tomboy), or the latest phones or social media. But times are different. Today teenagers are put under pressure and put themselves under so much pressure to look a certain way, dress a certain way and to be a certain way. Where the internet is at their fingertips and being online is the new playing out!
Instagram and Facebook profiles are often being at the center of any activity…eager to capture the moment and post about what a great time they are having. And I get it…I do. But I wish this wasn't the case. I think it is easy to get caught up social media and compare yourself to others and feel like you are not good enough…because that person looks amazing all of the time, they have such a great body, they are wearing amazing clothes and on amazing holidays. But remember…we only see the best of people on social media. We don't see the bad hair days, the days that we don't want to get out of bed or have eaten way too much and feel bloated.
Lucie Russell of the YoungMinds charity said: "Children and young people are growing up in a toxic climate. They exist in a 24/7 online world where they never switch off, where cyberbullying, consumerism and pornography, sexting and the pressure to have the perfect body bombard them daily, where any exam grade below a C means failure and employment prospects are bleak.
I was driving past a bus stop last week at 8 am and I noticed a young girl. She was standing in a short skirt (I was cold looking at her) and her make-up was so defined and heavy. I don't know what time she will have had to get up to do it, but it made me feel sad. Sad because she felt that she needed to do this to be seen as beautiful. Unless she was going for a photoshoot and was warm…but I doubt it!
The mental health foundation report that 20% of adolescents may experience a mental health problem in any given year. That 50% of mental health problems are established by age 14 and 75% by age 24. And that 10% of children and young people (aged 5-16 years) have a clinically diagnosable mental problem, yet 70% of children and adolescents who experience mental health problems have not had appropriate interventions at a sufficiently early age.
To be honest I didn't know much about mental health in schools until I began working with them. It is something that I am passionate about helping with. I know that my work won't save the world, but I will help those people that I come into contact with.
I think that teachers do a fantastic job and their mental health also needs to be nourished. Teachers, thank you for all that you do.
To all of the young students out there…please know that you are clever enough, you are beautiful just as you are and that if you work hard and follow your passion…everything will work out for you. Be kind, listen, eat well and be just who you are.
I offer private wellbeing workshops for teachers to help schools look after their staff. For more information please contact me. For more information on my Student wellbeing workshops please see ‘what I can offer' at the bottom of my blog.
Take care of your mental health everyone. We could all benefit from slowing down, being mindful and loving ourselves more. I know it changed my life for the better.
Lots of love and Yorkshire Puddings
What I offer:
Being a student isn't easy and exam time is challenging...I can remember it well. With symptoms of stress and anxiety showing up my mood was irritable and my confidence was low...am I good enough to pass? Am I clever enough? Have I done enough revision? And the list goes on. I help students and staff reduce stress, muscle tension, and anxiety and improve sleep and confidence with my fun, friendly and informative workshops.
I offer workshops which can range from 60min to half and full day workshops and can be tailored to your students' needs. Workshops can also be designed as a series over three/four month in the lead up to exams. My workshops can include:
Mindfulness: Including topics such as stress and the effect it has on the body, resilience, decision fatigue, sleep, nutrition, communication all related to revision periods and exam time.
Yoga Class: Working through mobility exercises to help keep the body (esp the spine) healthy, improve posture and reduce muscular tension. My yoga classes are fully inclusive and adaptive to cater for all. Mindful movement not only has the above physical effect but it also helps to reduce stress, improve circulation, lymphatic drainage, and calm the nervous system and the mind.
Self-Care: Exploring ways that you can support yourself through exam time. Education on how to help look after your body and reduce muscular tension. Also, looking at implementing a healthy and effective morning routine which will aid focus and confidence and a nighttime routine to help relax the nervous system and mind to enhance sleep and recovery.
Guided Relaxation which enables students to learn breathing exercises which are incredibly useful for anxiety, stress and improving sleep.
Top Tips sheet: Your students will come away with information on tools to help them that they can implement straight away and help them through their exam period.
I have made a Yoga for Students video which is on my YouTube channel 'Yoga with Yorkshire Yogi' and I will be making some more for students and staff to follow in the comfort of their own home.
Each element is delivered in a fun, relatable manner and encourages students to reflect on what will work for them. Students and staff will be given time to think about how to best work mindfulness and bodywork into their day and revision schedule as it will look different to everyone.
For more information contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org