This month we focus on Mental Health and this month, I would like to tell you my story and how my personal development journey has helped me go from Suicide to Success.
This may sound a bit dramatic, but it’s absolutely true, at the end of 2013. I was a Head of Service in a local Housing Association, that was struggling with my mental health. I was morbidly obsese and I had anxiety and depression. This was mainly due to me not taking responsibility for my own health and wellbeing. I then chose to leave my job due to poor health, what followed was months of my mental health spiralling to the point when I considered taking my own life. I would spend most of my day in bed, not showering or taking care of my diet. Then I had a conversation with my Son about taking my own life and then something just clicked in my head. I did not feel like I had achieved all of what I wanted in life, so I turned a massive corner and took steps on the road to recovery.
I know that I needed to transform my life, habits and improve my skills. I was also passionate about helping others and my business idea came out as my way of giving back and helping to prevent the same things happening to others.
The road to the current day has been a rollercoaster of learning, reflection and diversification. Over the past 7 years, I have obtained a degree in Entrepreneurship, changed my business model and improved my health and wellbeing. I am a keen cyclist and set myself new challenges every year. Last Weekend, I did this years challenge, cycling the North Coast of Devon from Taunton to Barnstable. We did it whilst Bike Touring, which means you take all you need with you on your bike, tent included and the important cuppa tea on a small gas stove. Wow, it was my toughest ride to date due to the sheer volume of hill climbs. I did it though and showed a massive amount of resilience and positivity. That you can achieve great things if you just put your mind to it. Mindset is everything!
Ok, if you are struggling and unsure what to do, let me talk you through some of the steps I did, in the hope it could help.
Reach out and ask for help.
This might seem an obvious point to start but quite often we keep quiet in fear of being judged or stigmatised. I approached my GP, Samaritans, and enrolled on a program with MIND. All of which were the foundations of my recovery.
Consider using the 5 Ways to Wellbeing
This is a model launched by the Government and I implemented it in my life.
Which are: Connect, Keep Learning, Be Active, Take Notice and Give
How did I use this model to transform my life?
Connect: Networking is a great way of doing this, I because a member of my local networking group (WBBC), I found a diverse range of new business friends and we keep in touch on a weekly basis.
Keep Learning: I have completed my Entrepreneurial Degree at the University of Worcester while completing my ILM in Level 2 and Level 3
Be Active: Since taking up cycling, I set myself a big cycle challenge each year. Year 1, I cycled from Glasgow to Inverness, Year 2 coast to coast starting in Hull, zig-zagging across the country to Morecambe, Year 3 was my biggest yet cycling over 500 miles from home to Lands End. This year we had to tweak our plans due to COVID 19, but we still managed to get out there and do it. All in aid of the British Heart Foundation.
Take notice: I am a great believer in using mindfulness in your everyday life. And I enjoy a short meditation every day as well as taking time to appreciate the small things in life as well as the big things. I practice patience and I continue to practice the art of active listening, how else can you appreciate life and the people around you?
Give: I am a big advocate for Corporate Social Responsibility and as such I volunteer my time with two fabulous Organisations. The first one, I spend, an afternoon a week in a gym at an ExtraCare Village, excited to have returned last week after Lockdown restrictions opened up meaning the gym could re-open, the whole aim is to encourage members to improve their health & wellbeing. The second thing I do is to volunteer as an Enterprise Advisor for the Careers & Enterprise Company. This is helping inspire school-age children, to explore what ignites their passion to pursue the career of their dreams.
The 5 Ways to Wellbeing model has transformed my life. Literally, my life is full of purpose and I am doing what I love to do. That leads me nicely on to my final point
Find your Passion
We know that we have to pay the bills in life, that’s just a given but I'd like to ask you, are you just going through the motions to achieve this end (paying the bills)? If the answer is yes, then you're just existing not living. You get one life, so I urge you to do something that you enjoy doing, something that you want to leap out of bed each morning to do, something that gives you a twinkle in your eye. Something that you can look back on and have a huge sense of achievement for completing. Now, this can be a career choice, starting your own business, a physical challenge, contributing to your community. Whatever floats your boat, it is important to find your true calling, or else what is the point??
Positive Mental Health, is something that we quite often take for granted, and it isn't until you have experienced poor mental health you appreciate how important this topic is. I understand that everyone is different and that we all have different journeys to take but for me, the biggest most single point in maintaining good mental health is to first take responsibility for it. Your choices will define what you will become in health and in life, so make positive ones.
I hope you enjoyed my blog, and if you feel I could help in anyway, it would be great to hear from you. Marie Jenkins from Advance your Wellbeing, Wellbeing Consultant and Personal Development & Interpersonal Skills Trainer.