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We spoke to some Spectrum colleagues, who shared their thoughts and tips on maintaining balance and good mental health wellbeing…

Agnes

‘Mind is like tofu – it takes on whatever you marinate it in’

I think I’ve always been quite insightful about my wellbeing and mental health (actual self vs perceived self..? haha). As I was growing up and trying to understand the impact of the adverse childhood experiences and trauma I experienced, I promised myself that whatever happens, I will always prioritise my wellbeing. It does not always work like that though. I’m driven and ambitious, but also impatient and passionate – so a hot-headed rebel with hyper sensitive emotional intelligence… and then add ACES and trauma to that mix. What a cocktail, I know.

You name it and I have tried it all over the years – meditation, mindfulness, Buddhist retreats (I am not a Buddhist), reflexology, lifting weights and tractor tyres, walks, and more walks, books, meds, football, volleyball, sitting still, doing 10 things at once, being an RSPCA cat cuddler, healthy diets, matcha instead of coffee, smoking, quitting smoking, vaping, quitting vaping, therapy, denial (!), radical acceptance, and so on.

I don’t regret any of the it, because now I have a self-care tool box that’s quite versatile and has a solution for almost everything.

But, I still have days when things are hard and that’s okay – and it’s okay for you as well, to not be okay!

The biggest thing that really worked for me was talking about it more openly. If I am feeling a bit low or anxious, I just say it as it is. If I had a headache, I would not hide nor feel uneasy letting my colleagues know that I don’t feel 100%.

I appreciate not everyone feels comfortable talking about their mental health or wellbeing though. There is still a lot of stigma around it, especially relating to healthcare staff. We are too tough aren’t we, in our jobs, because we are very good at being selfless and prioritising others. If there is anything I can ask you to do, today as you’re reading this post / blog, take 10 minutes out before you go to bed and do or think about stuff that you really like, that soothes you and your soul. 10 minutes of just you and your wellbeing.

Hashim

I learnt about Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) during the time I was using my local CAMHS service, when I was younger.

I am still getting better at using the CBT technique, used to alleviate symptoms of depression and severe anxiety.

After much practice and therapy, I am now able to challenge anxious thoughts, and respond healthily.

 

A way that helps to keep myself from feeling depressed is not so much one activity, but having a variety of them available to me. I find repetitiveness makes me feel sad! Being in that state is not new to me, and it is so easy to get dragged back into depression.

Recently I’ve got into reading again, so I’m enjoying that ‘new hobby’ feeling, even though it’s probably just a phase! There are good days and bad days. Recognising this and being kind to myself is what helps my mental health. You can’t rely on somebody else to cheer you up – it’s got to come from you first!

Sarah

Hey there, fellow warriors of the daily grind! If you’re reading this, chances are you’ve felt the tug-of-war between the demands of work, the chaos of parenting, and the ever-elusive concept of self-care.

Well, welcome to the club! As Head of Marketing at Spectrum and a proud single mam (not mum) to the sassiest little 10-year-old you’ll ever meet, I’m right there with you in this juggling act we call life.

Let’s get real for a moment… Self-care sounds fantastic on paper, but when you’re knee-deep in deadlines, school runs, swimming lessons and play dates, it often feels like a distant dream. But fear not, my friends, because I’m here to share some candid insights and practical tips on how to sprinkle a little self-care into our hectic lives without losing our minds.

First things first, let’s address the elephant in the room: time. Or rather, the lack thereof. Between work meetings, parent evenings and attempting to maintain a social life, finding time for ourselves can seem about as likely as Newcastle United winning the champions league this year (for those of you who don’t follow football we’re already out but hey, a girl can dream!).

So, what’s a busy mam to do? My secret weapon: multitasking like a boss. Take my love (hate) of running, for example. Sure, I enjoy the endorphin rush and the sense of accomplishment, but let’s be real, the real MVP here is the opportunity to blast my favourite tunes and temporarily escape the chaos of everyday life. It’s like a mini music festival for one where I’m a front girl in an indie band (apologies to anyone I pass), complete with sweat and sore muscles.

And let’s not forget the power of pampering. As much as I love a good power outfit, a face full of make-up and killer heels for the boardroom, there’s something downright therapeutic about taking off your bra (sorry lads but yes women have boobs and we can talk about them.

Plus it’s literally THE BEST PART OF THE DAY) kicking back with a glass of wine (or two) and indulging in a little self-care session. Whether it’s getting my hair done, treating myself to a manicure with my mini me, or simply zoning out with a face mask on, these small moments of luxury make all the difference in maintaining my sanity.

Of course, self-care isn’t just about the external stuff. It’s also about tuning in to our emotional well-being and giving ourselves permission to say no when needed. As mams, we often fall into the trap of putting everyone else’s needs before our own, but trust me when I say that setting boundaries and prioritising our own mental health is not only okay but absolutely essential to our own sanity and the happiness of our loved ones.

Now, I’m not one to sugarcoat it: there are days when the chaos (sometimes referred to as hell) feels overwhelming, when the to-do list stretches longer than the Great Wall of China, and when the only thing keeping me going is the promise of a bath accompanied by a good playlist and maybe a cheeky glass of wine at the end of it all.

But amidst the chaos and the craziness, I’ve come to realise that self-care isn’t about perfection; it’s about finding moments of joy and tranquillity in the midst of all the madness.

So, to all my fellow working mams out there, I raise my glass to you. Here’s to embracing the beautiful messiness of life, finding laughter in the chaos, and remembering that even in our busiest moments, we are worthy of love, care and a little bit of self-indulgence.

Until next time, keep rocking those power outfits (or nurses uniforms) and running shoes, because you, my friend, are doing an amazing job.

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