Communications and Fundraising Manager, Mental Health Ireland
The human species is incredibly adaptive. We can eventually adjust to most circumstances, challenges and crisis. Even so, it can all take its toll on our mental health.
At the moment, almost two years since our world changed dramatically, it is safe to say that many of us are pouring from an empty cup.
So, when the road ahead continues to be so long and winding, what can we do to mind our mental health? How can we best live our lives in the shadow of all of this uncertainty?
While it does sometimes feels as if we’ll never turn a corner, the day will come.
Exploring the four A’s
If we look at the four A’s mental health approach, we regain some of that control and be more at peace with what’s happening around us. We can tune into how we are feeling and take action to improve our mood and overall mental wellbeing. They are:
Awareness: Right now, we might be feeling scared, angry, frustrated or confused. These are all natural responses to what is happening around us. Awareness is taking time to tune in to our thoughts, feelings and actions. Pay attention to your breathing and how you feel in your mind and body.
Acknowledge: Acknowledging what comes up for us is an opportunity to express and validate how we feel and what we are thinking. We might have a good cry, write in a journal, talk to a friend or a professional, listen to podcasts and give ourselves permission to say, ‘yes, this is really hard.’
Acceptable: Acceptance is key. There is a lot out of our control right now, it is ok to have days when we struggle to get out of bed, acceptance that we do have the power to make our own small worlds a better place to be, no matter how restricted. Acceptance is that it’s ok to need to talk to someone who is trained to help when we need it.
Action: Action is about taking what we have learnt and acting on it. This might look like reaching out to someone to create a support bubble, asking for help if you need it, meditating, going for a walk or doing nothing if that’s all you’re in the mood for. Always be kind to yourself!
While it does sometimes feels as if we’ll never turn a corner, the day will come. In the meantime, create a space for yourself to feel what you want to feel and to react with self-compassion and purpose.