These days, ‘self care’, wellness and in particular mindfulness are touted as a balm for everything that ails you: from stress and insomnia, all the way to chronic physical illnesses, or mental illnesses like anxiety and depression.
It’s true that taking a break and doing something nice for yourself, or managing to relax and switch off is helpful. But they’re not a magic wand or cure all, and most importantly these things usually feel impossible for those who need it most.
Most people struggle with some sort of anxiety at some point in their lives. People can become overwhelmed with all the pressures of modern life, managing dual career families, financial worries or caring for a relative. A sudden traumatic event or bereavement can cause extreme distress.
But with this acknowledgment of anxiety, comes the prescriptive advice we’re currently bombarded with. From the ever-present wellness and mindfulness articles, to the utter fetishising of ‘self care’.
But it’s difficult to identify with the simplicity of so many of the current admonishments about how important it is to just switch off and ‘smell the roses’. As if it were that simple. We’re currently exposed to an overkill of #this and #that, and even our distress has been reduced to a hashtag.
Apparently there’s a ‘correct way’ to manage stress, and if you’re not meeting that spurious standard you can be left feeling even worse.
The wellness industry may have created a space for improved mental health, but it’s also morphed into just another way to be perfect – ‘it’s easy to have the perfect diet, perfect body, and yes — even perfect mental health…… just do this’.
If you’d like to understand how to manage your anxiety and stress levels, but don’t yet know what will work best for you, discuss it with a mental health professional and work together to come up with a plan that helps.
Counselling offers an opportunity for a thorough exploration of your current life situation, followed by a practical plan for coping. I help clients become ‘mindful’ of their own thoughts and behaviours, gaining a better understanding of themselves and their triggers. Ultimately they come to find a way to manage their situation with a realistic level of calmness and clarity.