By Kat Hyde, Marketing and Communications Director at IAM RoadSmart
As someone who considers themselves resilient to life’s challenges, I never thought that I would be at risk of anxiety or depression, but life can throw grenades at you, and sometimes you’re just not able to cope and need a little bit of expert support.
In 2013, over 1.5 million
people were in contact with special mental health services in the UK, and I contributed to this number. I was diagnosed with mild depression, and it took a lot for me to seek medical help at the time, but once I did, I felt a huge weight lifted off my shoulders.
Listening to the diagnosis from the doctor, I couldn’t quite believe what I was hearing - seeking help for depression? Me? In reality, depression (and anxiety) doesn’t discriminate; it can happen to anyone, and it was important for me to listen, and act, as recommended by the medical professional – with a range of CBT, counselling and medication.
Luckily for me, depression was short-lived and I have been fine ever since, but it’s important for me to take note of my body (and mind) and to ensure that I am doing what I can to try and prevent it happening again.
Below are a few things that help me stay balanced and well:
Spending time outdoors
Fresh air is the best medicine for me. Walking my dog, feeling the sun on my face, and absorbing vitamin D - when the sun decides to make an appearance.
Restricting my technology access
Advances in technology are great, and in a business it’s important to be accessible, but when it comes to out of hours, and private time – being accessible 24/7 can be a bit overwhelming. I make a point of turning off the TV, muting my mobile, and living in the moment.
Leisure time spent well
Whether this is booking a spa treatment, days out in London, or spending time with positive people -friends and family; it’s important to maintain a balance between work and leisure, giving yourself things to look forward to that occupies your mind and generates laughter. * Laughter enhances your intake of oxygen-rich air, stimulates your heart, lungs, and muscles, and increases the endorphins that are released by your brain
. (* Mayo Clinic)
Recognising when I’m not 100%
Taking time out and being kind to myself. It’s important to know when you’re not quite right, putting measures in place, before things become a problem. You know yourself best!
Sadly, mental health has only got worse since my experience, with
8 million people living with an anxiety disorder at any time (Mental Health UK) – that is 6 in 100 people being diagnosed weekly. (Mind) It can be such a debilitating health issue for people, impacting everyday life.
IAM RoadSmart recognises that mental health is a real problem for people. As a company, we have invested in training several Mental Health First Aiders
in the team which gives initial support for anyone experiencing anxiety, depression, or both, before referral to an expert, if needed.