A dollop of self-care, please and thank you

These are tricky times, I think we may agree that. The political backdrop to our lives is having an unsettling effect. Add to that the inescapable force and pace of social media, and what this psychotherapist sees is anxiety aplenty.

Cue, depression. Anxiety and depression can be a dastardly duo. The good news is that addressing one will often quieten the other. They – like most mental health difficulties – may be eased by looking at both symptoms and root causes.

More good news: there are some daily choices (for most) that can support mental health and resilience. Perhaps you are already well-versed in aspiring to the below, but just in case:

1. Eat well.
2. Sleep well.
3. Exercise.
4. Be aware of what you enjoy, and do those things – small or big. Let’s assume they aren’t self-destructive please people
5. Be aware of and don’t do (too much) of what you don’t enjoy
6. Be able to say ‘no’ when needed
7. Download the ‘CALM’ or ‘Headspace’ App – and use it

Granted, some of these are biggies that you may need help with. For example, ‘being able to say no’ may open a whole conversation about how you see yourself. But oh so worth looking at – not least because these kinds of roots of difficulty often hold us back in various ways, some of which we may not even be aware of.

I find it unnatural to draw lines between anxiety, depression, roots, symptoms, etc. From nearly a decade of working with clients, I see that working with the whole person, rather than trying to compartmentalise difficulties, is beneficial. People are not linear, so neither is the therapy I offer. 

I hasten to add that sometimes it’s necessary to prioritise symptoms – and I think what the NHS provides often does just that. However, this is only part of the work with anxiety, depression, and indeed mental health problems in general. 

If your mental health is difficult to manage alone at the moment, symptoms or biggies or otherwise, I hope that you will seek help. The British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy is a good place to start: www.bacp.co.uk . And I am contactable via the ‘contact tab’ or on 07802510491. 

O do not love too long

This morning I flicked open ‘The Collected Poems of W.B. Yeats’ – a gift from some lovely friends – and stumbled upon this beauty. It speaks to me and I hope it will you too.

Sweetheart, do not love too long:
I loved long and long,
And grew to be out of fashion
Like an old song.

All through the years of our youth
Neither could have known
Their own thought from the other’s,
We were so much at one.

But O, in a minute she changed – 
O do not love too long,
Or you will grow out of fashion
Like an old song.