Mental Health Week (MHW) is an excellent time to reflect on our individual mental fitness plans or to think about the methods we use to self-regulate.
Reading is one of my favourite ways to relax and regulate, plus it feeds my urge for continuous learning. This week I started reading What Happened to You?, a book of conversations between Bruce D. Perry and Oprah Winfrey who have known each other for 30 years. I’m interested in being more trauma informed, the research done by Bruce alongside his work with traumatised children is presented in a compassionate and practical way. It’s helped me to recognise that when people close to me started to behave abnormally I used to think “what’s wrong with you?” But when you understand the effects of trauma the question becomes what happened to you? so that you can see why people react in the ways they do. It’s a more sensible, compassionate lens. Traumatology (the study of trauma) is only around 30 years old so this way of viewing people is new for many of us.
Another favourite regulating activity for me is art making. On Thursday, 4 Voices had a MHW event at Inala, at which I had nominated myself to (wo)man the art table. It was a blissful morning of quietly encouraging people to sit down, slow down and make gentle decisions about colour. Four of us did this for most of the morning, all recognising and talking about the noticeable drop in anxiety. We shared stories of mental challenges and the various ways of calming ourselves down. I’m always amazed anew at the therapeutic benefits of art making bolstered, in this case, by social connection.
When we started WomxnConnect one of the essential questions to ask womxn was:
How do you maintain your mental fitness / mental health?
We’d love to hear your responses. Or you can read through our WomxnStories for some great tips.