I was touched to read this message and always try to reply to as many as possible.
I am now 60 and a different person from my 30’s when I had extreme anxiety. When I look back now, I realise I had a breakdown. I couldn’t talk face to face with people, couldn’t go into shops, public transport was a no no. I took all criticism totally to heart, constantly worrying ,alcohol crying in private, people thinking i was just being arrogant, while i’m dying inside. I now see a young mother of 31 who is showing all the same symptoms ,any advice how to help her would be appreciated.
My heart goes out to you, I am sending love and I would love to share a few tips.
Hold on to Hope
To read that you are now a totally different person is encouraging. Time can be the best healer. Can you think of the things you did and the people you spent time with that made you feel uplifted? I would journal on the key memories of times that you felt happier and lighter. I put this meditation together for a special friend a couple of years ago. Give it a listen and why not share with the young Mother. Self love is so so important and we can use simple affirmations to lift our mood. Many psychiatrists now talk about the power of positive affirmations to get people out of bed in the right mindset. When I feel any fear or negative thoughts coming in, I often just say ‘delete that, it’s not true’ and I start to focus on positive feelings. This takes daily practise. Music and cold water are tools that allow me to do this quickly.
The next thing I would suggest is to think about what you enjoyed most as a child. Is there a passion that you stopped? It could be anything from walking, writing, journalling, exploring, jumping into the sea, singing and dancing. Schedule in the things you love like your life depends on it.
Love – our relationships are the biggest trigger when it comes to poor and great mental health. Make a list of how you feel around the people who are in your life. Try and distance yourself. Some people are draining and they don’t even know. You need to have time every day with people who can help boost your energy. Are you staying in a relationship that should have ended years ago? Also, when getting into relationships – are you clear that you share the same values and interests? It can be so easy to jump in like the song says, fools rush in because falling in love feels amazing. I think it’s better to get to know a person on a deeper level first. Also, it’s great to think ‘no regrets’ as every person we have time with can teach us something, even if not all of the experiences are positive. We can always find the good in humans.
Movement – For a young Mum (and all humans), the key is to get headspace. To leave the baby with Dad or other friends and relatives. Running helped me to be the best Mum I could be. I would come back glowing and my mind would feel clear. I even managed a marathon because I had a really strong why which was to smash the stigma of mental health.
Cold Water – wild swimming and breathwork were a God send that got me through the pandemic. The cold water helps to give us a boost and we can often get the best clarity after this. Quieten the mind in nature and let the soul speak.
Sleep – When our sleep is impacted, it makes a huge difference. Nap when the baby naps. Speak to your gp about some medication. I have my phone out of my bedroom every night when I go to bed. I have a hot oil bath most nights and unwind with some gratitude journaling. Or I read or tune into a show I am enjoying. I love a nice pillow spray too. Lots of hugs too work a treat.
I have 160 podcasts that have been produced to feel like a warm hug. This is a place that I encourage us all to judge less and live more. I hope they help.
Be kind to yourself. Have time for YOU every single day. Breathe in and out and slowly as you can for a minute each day. Twerk round the kitchen to a song you love. Take your shoes off and go and walk on the grass to become more grounded. Remember that social media and likes is never your worth. Take time away from your phone and screens. Connect with people who lift you up. Don’t be afraid to speak your truth. You got this. God bless you.
Jojo Fraser is an award-winning mental health researcher, author, podcaster and keynote speaker, dubbed as ‘the Queen of positivity and a kindness advocate. She is a Tedx speaker and a regular contributor on BBC radio. Jojo is known for normalising discussions around our mental and spiritual health, making it accessible and relatable to all. She has quickly grown a reputation for having a huge impact even on the most sceptical of people.
Connect with her across social @jojofrasermojo
Listen to her Tedx talk about the power of removing our masks.
Contact – firstname.lastname@example.org