September and self-care…

So the summer was quiet as it is for a lot of us who deliver training, but wow – there was no holding back when the delivery started again in September. Over the last 5 weeks I have delivered 27 sessions to approximately 1600 people, a combination of professionals, students and parents.

Diversity in my job is what I love, the travel though not so much! One day I am delivering a plenary to a MHFA England cohort in London, the next to a secondary school aged students in Gloucester and then to doctors in Glasgow. I found myself on literally the biggest stage with the biggest screen I had ever seen in Glasgow. It was a proud moment being invited as a speaker on behalf of the Royal College of Emergency Medicine at the European Congress of Emergency Medicine Congress. My personal sense of achievement aside, it was wonderful to see that not only mental health was firmly on the agenda but also that lived experience was given a platform. To share my experiences, both positive and where improvement can be made was daunting but so well received. I even got to do a podcast after for RCEM and look forward to that coming out in the near future.

I am very busy at the moment, which is great as I love delivering training, but something I am not too good at is planning my time and looking after myself. Recently I am beginning to realise is that ‘self-care’ is important. I had a revelation of how little I did this when sitting with the most wonderful group of mental health campaigners in London. I had been fortunate enough to be invited to a part of the Mental Health Collective by Jonny Benjamin and Natasha Devon. Everyone in the room was delivering sessions, campaigning, destigmatising mental ill health in one way or another – with the majority having lived experience of some kind.  We discussed how we should look after ourselves and the importance of self-care – my mind was blown. I couldn’t understand what people were saying, all this stuff about ‘taking time out for themselves??!!? How did this work? I wasn’t shy in expressing my confusion either! Thankfully there were many supportive suggestions. I never realised that just changing my thought pattern could then equate to a very normal activity becoming self-care. I got a coffee at a service station to keep me hydrated and awake Changing my thought process to ‘I am going to treat myself to a nice drink because I deserve it’ instead can be this magical self-care. Sticking an out of office on my email constantly, though may be annoying to the recipient, takes the burden off replying 24/7 – self-care tick!

So for hopefully what is the first of a few blogs over mental health awareness month, (why stick to one day!), do something nice for yourself. Even if it is taking something you do regularly and repackage how you think about it! I am currently sitting on a train and eating and drinking everything Virgin trains can offer – self-care nailed!

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