G&R Mental Health Support
Looking After Your Mental Health
Taking care of your mental health is as important as taking care of your physical health. The term 'Mental Health' is something we have all become familiar with, particularly over the last 18 months, but is often used to describe mental ill-health. However, just like our physical health, mental health has a full spectrum, from fit and healthy to sever disorders and everything in-between Most of us spend the majority of our time in the middle - life isn't always perfect, but we are generally OK. However, sometimes, we slide towards the side where we are not OK. That doesn't mean that we are suffering from a severe clinical disorder, but it might mean that we need a bit of help. If I can give just one piece of advice – don't suffer, get help!
Don't wait until you break!
If you are unhappy, stressed, anxious – don't just hope it will go away. Don't suffer, get help. Talking to someone might be all that you need. A manager, HR worker or close friend is a good place to start. But if you feel you need more help, then visit your GP or seek a professional such as a counsellor or a coach. Too many people say “I'll be alright, there are other's that need help more than me”. Don't wait until you are one of the 'others' that needs it more. Getting appropriate help in a timely way means that you don't have to 'just get by' and may help you to avoid a more serious situation.
With Beverly Evans:
Life Coach & Mental Health Counsellor
Beverly has a Level 4 Diploma in Life Coaching and is on the Coaching Divisional Executive Board of British Association of Counselling Psychotherapy. Her background within the Music Industry has led her to specialise in Personal Development Coaching in the entertainment business, with a particular interest in supporting women in this high pressure environment.
Where To Get Help
If you are looking for a therapist or coach, look for one who is a member of a recognised Professional Body. This will mean that they have undertaken a high standard of training and have committed to on-going professional development. Do your research – make sure that your Coach or Counsellor have relevant qualifications, backed by a respected course provider (such as a recognised University or college) or a respected Awarding Body such as the CPCAB.
Counselling & Coaching
The British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) is the largest professional
body for counsellors in the UK and has a directory of registered therapists.
Mental Health Websites
Hub of Hope offers a directory service that can direct you to the help that you need in your local area.
Other helpful sites include MIND, NHS - Every Mind Matters & SAMH.
Anxiety & Stress
Being anxious sometimes is perfectly normal, for example before an exam or when you are trying something new for the first time. A small amount of anxiety about a particular thing is part of our brain's safety mechanism and warns us to check that things are safe for us. But if your anxiety is becoming overwhelming or stopping you from doing something that you want to do, it's time to get help.
Anxiety and stress can be expressed in lots of ways and can result in feeling nervous, worried, fearful and uneasy. Sometimes these feelings become out of proportion to your situation and start to interfere with how you live your life. They may even result in panic attacks, which can be very distressing and worrying.
If you find yourself experiencing anxiety or stress more than occasionally, or if it is interfering with your daily life,
there are things that you can do...
Seeking talking therapy can help you to understand your anxiety, where it comes from and what triggers it. Sometimes we can feel anxious for no apparent reason and other times we will be aware of why we are anxious. In either situation, a talking therapy, such as Counselling or Coaching, can help you to understand what is happening and give you strategies to reduce your anxiety.
We all know that our emotions can affect our bodies – when we are happy we smile, when we are relaxed, our breathing is deeper and slower. And Rapid breathing, triggered by fear, can lead to increased feelings of fear, creating a vicious cycle. But studies are showing that the opposite is also true – if we calm our bodies, our brain reacts and calms our emotions. When we slow our breathing, our heart rate slows and becomes regular, our blood pressure decreases and our muscles relax.
Check The Reality
Have you ever said any of the following? “There's no way I can do that”. “This is going to be a disaster”.“I'm going to fail”.
When we look at a situation and speculate on the outcome in a negative way, we often jump to unhelpful conclusions. People are great at telling themselves lies and then believing them. In the moment, our feelings can be huge and overwhelming, but sometimes they are at odds with the facts of a situation. We might feel that “There's no way I can do all of that” and because we've said it, either out loud or to ourselves, we then believe it as fact. But is there a way to do 'some of that?' Can we break down 'all of that' into smaller pieces and achieve it on a different time scale? Sometimes we have to accept that things are different to the way we wanted them to be, but checking our feelings against the facts might help us to see that our situation isn't perhaps as hopeless as our feelings indicate.
OK – tree hugging may be a step to far for some of you, but there is no denying that nature (of which we are a part) has a positive impact on our wellbeing. Scientific studies show that spending time outside, in a natural environment can reduce stress and help with mental health issues such as depression.
Ecotherapy is being used by professionals to with great results, but even just a walk in a greenspace can help you to improve you psychological wellbeing by enhancing mood and self-esteem, whilst reducing feelings of anger, confusion, depression and tension. It comes with physical health benefits to, by reducing blood pressure and burning calories.
Go on, get yourself outside!
As I prepared to write this, I thought "what can I say about Imposter Syndrome? I'm not an expert - what gives me the right to speak about it?" And there we have it. In all it's glory - Imposter Syndrome! It’s that feeling that we are somehow not as good as we should be, not as good as others at what we do. And it seems to be particularly prevalent in the entertainment industry. It comes from our internal judgements and can stem from our earliest memories. We all judge ourselves - we all have an internal voice that we listen to. It’s not just a voice, it’s a feeling. Sometimes our internal judgements can be helpful and lead to learning and change. But they become unhelpful when you start to doubt yourself and your abilities. If you find yourself judging yourself against others, feeling that you are just not as good as them, Don't Be An Imposter. In a competitive environment we can feel such pressure to be the best and know the most, that sometimes we feel we have to project an image just to survive. But when we do that, we don't feel we own that image and we have to work hard to maintain the illusion. I'm not an expert on Imposter Syndrome, nor do I claim to be. There are others who have read more about it, researched it more. Admitting when you have a knowledge gap can be empowering and can also be the catalyst for squiring that knowledge.
Check The Reality
Yes, that again! I often talk about reality checks with my clients because what we feel isn't always true. For example, you may have made an error at work that leaves you feeling stupid or inefficient – but that doesn't mean you are stupid or inefficient. It means you are human, and therefore fallible on occasions If you feel inexperienced in an area of your life / work, it might be because you are, or it might be because you are suffering from Imposter Syndrome. Ask yourself “How much experience have I had?” “How much do I need in order to cary out the task in front of me?” “Would I be any better at the task if I had a lot more experience?” The chances are that you can evidence plenty of experience, and that you are very well equipped to carry out that task.
So, when you feel doubtful or under confident, remind yourself what is true, work to fill knowledge gaps if you have any and be honest with yourself and others. It’s not a cure-all, but it can help to bring perspective and balance.
I’ve lived through some unhealthily frantic times in my life and I know how demanding that can be. As a Coach with a background in music, PR and marketing, I’m concerned by how many people I come across who are just at the end of their tether and running demanding lives on their last nerve.
Whether you are chasing small children , chasing a contract, or you just feel like you are chasing your tail, make sure you insist on having something that replenishes you. Even if it’s just 5 minutes to pull your head out of the tunnel-vision of busyness. Imagine you have a bag of resources, designed to keep functioning well and in good mental health.
If the resources are always being taken out and nothing is ever put back, the bag will become empty and useless. It's easier said than done, but the best way to take care of others is to take care of yourself - a broken version of you will achieve very little.
I wanted to share some advice that I received when I started working in the music industry. This simple bit of advice was meant as work advice, but has been the bench mark for me, in work, love and life in general.
The advice is this: Think of someone that you love entirely - for many of us it will be our children (for me, at the time, it was a close female friend) And then ask yourself this: "Is this job / situation / relationship that I find myself in, something that I would want for my child (friend / loved one)?"
If the answer is "no" - then ask why you are accepting it for yourself. If you feel that you deserve less than someone you love, think again. Model for your child (friend /loved one) what you want for them - why would they aim for more if they see you accepting less?
I haven't always got this right - I've accepted less than I would want for loved-ones many times, for many different reasons. But this bench-mark has often helped me to see when something isn't right and why. And sometimes, this little bit of advice has been exactly why I have taken brave decisions to change things for the better.
Girl & Repertoire would like to say a
huge thank you to Beverly Evans for the information and support offered on this page. Members can also benefit from discounted sessions with Beverly via the link provided below.
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Members are invited to reach out anytime to arrange a telephone call or a virtual coffee, we are always here to help.