I have no time for that, I don’t have time to get to the supermarket tonight, I don’t have time to call my family, I don’t have time for… anything else it seems! A common and problematic statement that I hear a lot in counselling, and that I seem to say more often than I’d like. As we’ve talked about in previous blogs – listening to our psychological warning signs of when things are heating up and getting difficult to cope with are most important, as is listening to what we say and how we talk. It’s often those closest to us that offer up valuable reflections on how we may be travelling that is sometimes difficult for us to notice ourselves during times of less than ideal mental health.
One of those ‘warning’ statements for me is, ‘I have no time for that’. Not uncommon I know – but there’s more behind it than simply time management. Unpacking this simple statement has helped me to better understand that I’m actually saying a number of things that may include I’m overwhelmed, stressed, frustrated, possibly angry and maybe even feeling underappreciated by those around me. It’s usually a statement that surfaces when I’m engaging in too much work, and not enough play!
I have no time for that, not enough time to relax, play with our kids, watch a movie, get to the gym or have a well-earned day at the beach can have a seriously detrimental effect on our mental health. More and more of society is beginning to recognise the true dangers that excessive amounts of stress can have on our overall health and wellbeing. And if we plough on ignoring our warning signs and statements without taking a bit of time out when it’s needed – our system starts to run on a chemical reserve that isn’t helpful for the maintenance of our overall mental health. What can we do to keep ourselves in check?
- Take a breath: Literally! Learn the very simple art of abdominal breathing. It’s effective and let’s face it we’ve all got time to breath
- Mindfulness: It seem like everyone is talking about mindfulness these days – and good! The research around preventing and treating mental health problems with mindfulness is amazing. Do a search on-line, watch a video, download an app – it’s a gift waiting to be unwrapped
- Exercise: One of the most beneficial things you can do to protect and manage mental health
- Sleep & diet: These speak for themselves!
- Down time: !