Mental Health Feature: Why perspective checks are good for you.
Let's face it, life can feel $%^t sometimes. The constant juggle-struggle of life, relationships, family, work and emotions can leave you feeling absolutely exhausted, deflated and down. It's hard to get out of bed, everything just seems difficult..... even things that we normally love doing.
You find yourself focusing on the little annoying frustrations and on what’s going wrong rather than what's going well. You may even find you’re subconsciously punishing yourself for disappointments that were out of your control. Are you attributing negative things as you're own fault - even when you know deep down they’re not.
Oh oh, you could have lost your perspective on life. The things that really matter to you, what you appreciate and what you're grateful for, your lover, your health, the sunshine.
It has to be said though, that everyone struggles with perspective at one point or another - you’re certainly not alone! The even better news is that you can break the perpetuating cylce of negative self talk.
Here are a few suggestions that may help:
Make a list - Yes, you know we're big on lists at Liverpool St. It may sound cliche... however “perspective check” lists are incredibly powerful. Find yourself a quiet, private spot and sit down with a pen, paper and cup of coffee (or your drink of choice!) and make a list of all the things you love about your life. Immersing yourself in a positive and uninterrupted state of mind will help you to think of things that you may overlook in the daily hustle and bustle.
It could be things like: you love the fact that you can see the sunset from your kitchen window in the evenings, that you live close enough to the sea to be able to enjoy a beach walk on weekends. That your neighbourhood cafe makes the best coffee you’ve ever tasted, that you have your parents closeby, that your dog or cat is always happy to see you, your tomato plant is starting to bear fruit, that you love spending time with a close friend, that you haven’t been sick in absolute ages, that your skin is feeling great after using the new cream you were recommended….
The more you write, the more positive thoughts you may find yourself having. When you’ve made a list, take a look at what you’ve written down and think about how you can work to include more of what you enjoy in your life. You can even leave yourself little motivational reminders around the house. We leave them around the office!
Assess the situation - Try to work out the root cause of why you are feeling low. A pen and paper can really help here too. Are you working too hard? Going to bed too late? Not sleeping well? Are you eating badly? Are you making enough time for yourself? Sometimes the combination of exhaustion and feeling like you’re neglecting yourself can leave you feeling frustrated and low. If you aren’t looking after your health and wellbeing, you’ll find yourself vulnerable to the stresses and pressures of life - and with the added bonus (not!) of insecurity along for the ride.
Be gentle with yourself - Remember that everyone, everywhere struggles with negative feelings. Stop putting so much pressure on yourself to always have your life in order, for your relationships to be perfect and work humming perfectly. And then there’s social media - you know it doesn’t help - because it perpetuates the myth (and myth it is!) that those around you have perfect lives.
Disconnect from your phone and laptop - Ok- we realise that this is much more easily said than done. Social media is great for keeping up to date and connected with friends and family however spending too much time glued to your phone and burrowing into the social media pages of those that seem to have the perfect holidays, families and work-life balance isn’t a great idea for so many reasons. Not only will it perpetuate the frustrations (given how you’re feeling), it will also remove you from actual social interactions with friends and family that may serve to engage you with what you love.
Make a conscious effort to put the phone away in the evenings, to enjoy conversations with your partner, to chat to your friends about their day or to enjoy a calming bath or cup of tea and read a good book.
Take a time out - Take yourself to a new and refreshing place, away from your normal spots. Perhaps a walk in a new park, a weekend away or even a new restaurant you’ve been wanting to go to. The freshness will help to reinvigorate your mindset, with new sights and sounds to enjoy that will remind you of where you are and what you are enjoying. Often we get stuck in a rut - something that new adventures and scenery can help get us out of.
Talk to a trusted loved one - Talking to a friend or family member about how you’re feeling can be a great way to gather perspective and a different outlook on a situation that you may be struggling with. Sometimes we can get so caught up in our own emotions around an event that we can’t see other perspectives and reasons for behaviours… something a second opinion can assist with.
Visit your doctor - If you feel that your exhaustion and frustration may be related to something physiological, it’s a good idea to see your doctor and have a blood test, to make sure that all is in order. Conditions like low iron, vitamin D deficiency and thyroid malfunctions can be easily picked up with a simple test and rectified accordingly.
Perspective checks are an important way of reminding you about what you love about your life. A healthy and happy positive mindset goes a long way in helping you to deal with life’s surprises and challenges appropriately and effectively.
It is always advised to seek professional counsel if you feel that your stress, frustration and negative thoughts are too cumbersome to resolve on your own. xoxo