MENTAL HEALTH

HOW I BEAT BURNOUT AND OVERCAME ANXIETY

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Hi Lovely Human,

A recent study in the UK found that some 6 million people suffer from anxiety (3 million with depression as their primary problem) so if you suffer with your mental health - you are not alone!

I wanted to share my own personal journey with anxiety and depression with you, how I came to suffer from both and most importantly, how I overcame them.

WHAT LEAD TO MY BURN OUT?

In my last work place I experienced complete and utter burnout. I was a happy, super positive person but over the space of 7 months my mental health and self esteem plummeted to rock bottom.

Our manager had left suddenly just before Christmas and we were left completely unsupported in our roles for 5 months. For some people, not having a boss might be great, but for me, having a manager that supports you is vital for my wellbeing. 

I began to severely over-work, I was living and breathing work from the moment I woke up to the moment I went to bed. I was completely exhausted and my amygdala was being triggered almost constantly. I started to struggle with social anxiety (something I’ve never experienced before) worrying what other people thought of me, my memory began to quickly decline and I found it really hard to focus.

My stomach was always tight, I had really bad digestive problems, my mouth was always dry, I had regular headaches, my shoulders muscles were constantly painful and I was getting colds all the time - stress was taking a damaging toll on my physical health.

I began to have issues with a newly appointed manager who was extremely critical towards me. My anxiety began to skyrocket, my self-esteem disintegrated and I started to have panic attacks. It felt like my brain was in a constant tumble dryer at full speed and I’d lost my ability to vocalise sentences properly.

My anxiety was so bad that by this point that it had lead into depression. It felt like I was stuck in an alternate universe - you know you’re alive but the world around you looks different, like it’s coated in sadness. I felt completely helpless and lost - hitting rock bottom in the mental health department. Luckily a very kind doctor signed me off work after assessing my wellbeing.

MY ROAD TO RECOVERY

It was during my time off that I went and did the hugely transformational Hoffman Process, which is a retreat filled with visualisations, guided meditation, movement work - all of which transformed my mental health. It was here that I saw the true power of guided meditation to improve your wellbeing.

It was also here that I was able to grieve for my dad who very sadly killed himself when I was 7 years old, due to depression. This for me was the REAL transformation. Little had I known that the un-processed grief was living on in my nervous system as anxiety and a constant feeling of not being good enough.

It was after processing the grief that I’d held locked inside for 25 years, that both my mental and physical health transformed. I no longer felt anxious or depressed and my digestive system completely changed. When you look after your mind, the rest follows. I began meditating regularly everyday, and quite quickly my confidence, self esteem, focus and memory all started to improve and grow.

I realised my true purpose in life was to help people of all ages improve their mental health so I retrained to become a meditation teacher and Emotional Freedom Technique practitioner - two very powerful tools for looking after your wellbeing and releasing negative blockages. I now have an entire tool box of calm to help me navigate any difficult situation that life throws at me. You can listen in HERE to an interview I did with the lovely ladies at Project Love if you would like to hear more on this. You 100% don’t need to change career to start nurturing your mind. There are many things you can do right now to help you start feeling better straight away.

CONQUERING YOUR MIND

You don’t need to have a traumatic childhood to have anxiety - every human has fear. Let’s say a teacher severely criticised one of your projects, that could live on in your subconscious as a negative belief of not being good enough or being stupid.

Irrelevant of where things come from, the first step to conquering anxiety is calming your nervous system down and telling your amygdala that you aren’t about to get eaten. The more you deepen your breathing, the more you engage your parasympathetic nervous system (rest and relaxation).

Here are a few things you can do to combat anxiety and depression:

SPEAK - to a professional, friends or family if you need help. My friends and family were pivotal in me getting better.

PRIORITISE your mental health. Find time every day to calm your nervous system, even if it’s for 5 minutes in the morning your brain is the most important part of your body.

MEDITATE - every day to strengthen your prefrontal cortex (area of the brain connected to self regulation of emotions)

STOP looking at your phone and flooding your brain with unwanted information, especially first thing in the morning and last thing at night. An anxious brain does not need any more information!

PAUSE - everyday to deepen your breathing and soothe your internal world

LISTEN - to your body and where you are holding your anxiety. Breathe into the areas you feel anxious as regularly as you can

EAT CLEAN - gut functionality is just as important to your mental health as your mind so stop eating any processed food

TAKE - yourself out of any situation that is making you feel anxious or depressed as much as you can. Set healthy boundaries with people who drain your energy.

HYDRATE - yourself regularly. The brain needs water to function properly so stay away from too much alcohol or coffee

PROCESS - any grief or trauma that might be an underlying cause of your anxiety

HAPPY HEADS SUPPORT

If you are currently struggling with anxiety or depression and can relate to anything I’ve spoken about please do get in contact: kim@happyheads.me for a private session or sign up to my 8 Week online Course - Reducing Stress & Anxiety

Your mental health should always be a top priority in your life. I teach people of all ages, simple mindful tools and techniques that empower you to live a happier, calmer and stress free life.

Life doesn’t need to be overwhelming - it's time to make your head happy again.

Take Care

Kim xx

REDUCE STRESS IN 60 SECONDS

Don't worry if you’re feeling a little anxious today - this is a simple breathing technique to help calm your nervous system down and soothe your mind.

If you would like to learn more about how to reduce stress, decrease anxiety and improve your mental wellbeing check out my 8 WEEK ONLINE COURSE x

THE ONE PARENT CLUB

 

The benefits of meditation and mindfulness are broad and can help people with all kinds of personal challenges in life.

Losing a parent when you're young is like having your whole life sped up right in front of you. All the years of making memories you thought you had, suddenly disappear.

Nothing can prepare you for that moment when you realise they’re actually gone, especially when you're so young.

I was only 7 years old when my dad passed away and the moment you find out is like something out of a film. You can’t quite comprehend what you're being told and trying to make any sense of the finality is impossible. They’re not coming back?

I attempted to process the situation in a completely matter of fact way and remember saying to my Mum “everyone’s Dad’s got to die, right?” Yes, she answered “Ok, so my Dad just died early then?” It’s a bizarrely logical way of thinking about it but it was the only way I could make any attempt to process what had just happened.

I could see how upset everyone was around me and didn’t want to make it worse, so I made it my mission to be ‘fine’ with it and tried to be as ‘perfect’ as I could so no-one else would leave.

As a child, your brain is still developing and you don't have the vocabulary to express what you're feeling inside so it's very easy to suppress your emotions because you don’t have the tools to deal with them. I was a very happy and confident child, right up until last year. Heading towards burn out my brain had been in fight or flight mode for 6 months and suddenly I had to face the very real fact... I wasn’t ok.

Back then, mindfulness wasn’t something recognised in supporting a Child's mental health so there wasn’t anything non-invasive to support grief and the feelings you have. It was only during the Hoffman that I realised how much anger I'd held inside of me and was finally able to process the loss of my Dad.

It's so refreshing and inspiring to hear I’m not alone. Prince Harry recently spoke frankly about mental health, his struggle to deal with the loss of his mother and how it took him over 20 years of saying ‘I’m fine’ to finally say, ‘I’m not ok’. The journalist Bryony Gordon, who talks openly but her own mental health put it so eloquently “Prince Harry just re-defined strength and dignity for a new generation”.

Simple mindful tools and techniques give children the space and opportunity to process their emotions without feeling like they’re being counselled or judged. Every person is unique - meditation and visualisations give you the opportunity to process emotions in your own way and on your own terms.

Grief doesn’t need to be something that creeps up on you later in life.

Knowing first-hand the difference mindfulness makes to both your physical and mental well-being means I can now help everyone get that one step further to a Happy Head.

HELPING GENERATION STRESS

When I was little, childhood was in many ways simpler because we were able to switch off from the outside world when we came home. There was no internet and social media hadn't been invented yet.

At the age of seven my whole world shifted when my dad very sadly took his own life. Of course 26 years ago mindfulness wasn’t even a 'thing', meditating was something that only hippies talked about and counselling held negative connotations, so there was no outlet to really process my emotions.

Ploughing forward with life at an insatiable speed as a very happy and confident girl, I witnessed the rise of social media at the end of university and the digital revolution was upon us. Moving to London, the Blackberry was quickly introduced to the working life and the ‘always on’ culture had begun.

Having worked in marketing for 11 years, I know all too well the immense pressure people can feel to meet strict deadlines; be available for bosses, clients and colleagues 24/7; and climb the professional ladder in search of that ‘ultimate job’. The levels of stress, work and often our own minds put us under is huge. Add on top of that a bully-boss and before you know if you're quickly 'losing your marbles' with anxiety reaching a whole new level.

So many people experience huge levels of career related stress and I want to teach them tools to ensure they remain on track.

One of the saddest things I've seen in the news recently was a story from the Teachers Union showing that the next generation - dubbed 'Generation Stress' - is starting to suffer from mental health problems including panic attacks, anxiety and depression from as young as four years old.

Nighty-eight per cent of the 2,000 teachers surveyed said they had come into contact with pupils who were experiencing mental health issues. Nine in 10 said they had encountered pupils of every age suffering from anxiety and panic attacks, while 79 per cent were aware of a pupil suffering from depression, and 64 per cent knew of a child who was self-harming.

The world is evolving so quickly that our brains which have developed through many thousands of years of natural evolution are struggling to keep up as everything moves from human skill and interaction to computer interfaces and digital solutions. There are things we can do to help though. For one, we can teach the next generation how to deal with mental health issues through simple mindful tools that they can utilise for the rest of their lives.

If we teach children from a young age how to deal with increasing exam pressures, social media and how to take time to stop, breathe, pause and reflect, we can give them invaluable space to self regulate their emotions.

We can’t turn back the clock on our busy digital world, but we can learn to live with our high paced environment as well as communicate and support each other better.

And that's exactly what I intend to do. My mission with Happy Heads, which I launched this week, is to help turn 'Generation Stress' into 'Generation Happy'. Please join me.