I'm fine...

According to the Mental Health Foundation we say the phrase ‘I’m fine’, 14 times a week (or 2x per day), when just 19% really mean it. We say it as a matter of habit and often when we’re anything but fine. It’s a simple way to signal we have everything sorted, stop follow-up questions and prevent any genuine conversation on how we really are.

But can we ever really know what’s going on in someone else’s head? Having suffered with anxiety on and off for almost 10 years, I know how easy it is to spiral downhill with constantly destructive thoughts, when it feels everyone around you has it all sorted. Admitting you’re struggling, even just to yourself let alone anyone else, takes a lot of courage and vulnerability. Stress is often the main cause and can be a nasty little beast, rearing its ugly head without warning. I’ve got a lot better over the last few years at recognising the signs and being aware of my thought patterns. Given it’s Mental Health Awareness week here in the UK, I thought I’d share some of my coping strategies below. * Meditation - it still doesn’t come easy and a constant work in progress

* Get outside everyday - I am a big fan of walking, but even just sitting outside in some green space can help hugely

* Exercise - any form of movement that gets me out of my head & into my body, such as yoga, pilates, running, going to the gym, cycling..

* Prioritising sleep - for me, that one was easy..!

* Getting my thoughts down on paper - no structure, no reason, just writing whatever comes into my head

* Breathing practices - there are so many that can be helpful here, and it really can be as simple as breathing in and out for 5 counts slowly, deeply, and into the belly, multiple times a day

* Connection - spending time with people I love and who make me feel good about myself

* Cooking - the newest addition to the list and one I’m still figuring out.. sometimes it adds to rather than lowers the stress levels..! Any tips welcome..! What about you? What are your go-to's when you notice yourself feeling overly stressed or anxious?

Please do get in touch and let me know as I'd love to get some new ideas and hear what works well for you,

Sending much love,

Sam xx