Welcome to Kickstart Your Wellness, we’re really excited to launch this project and our three part series.
We’ll be releasing three articles To help you Kickstart Your Wellness – focusing on Activity, Mindset & Wellbeing.
It is blatantly clear that our wellbeing, sense of self and mental health has taken an enormous whack through the pandemic. That is most likely the understatement of all time – at least it feels that way right now. Personally, 2020 was undoubtedly one of the hardest years of our lives for many reasons and that has had a huge impact on us. We’ve really noticed that it seems to be general human nature to want to act as if things don’t affect us, or that we’re ok when we really aren’t. If anything, it became even more of a focus point in 2020 and onwards that this isn’t always the best technique to actually feeling ok. We’re the first to admit that we’ve struggled massively with depression and anxiety this past year, in often more intense ways than we’ve ever experienced before and it has taken a lot of determination to keep going with those coping methods, effective self-care techniques and mindset/evidence based work.
The colder months have also put its own spin on things. Naturally a time where more people spend time indoors, this winter has felt particularly interesting to navigate – especially with our reduced mobility due to lockdowns and other measures to prevent the spread of Covid-19. It is a time when, due to bad weather, we can often spend more time curled up at home than out in the hills or mountains and this can often lead us to feeling trapped, hemmed in or just not like ourselves (particularly if you ‘live’ for summer, have Seasonal Affective Disorder or a whole range of other reasons). However important it is to think about the effect colder months, reduced daylight and other factors can have on us right now, it is also important to look at how taking care of ourselves now will actually help us to feel better the whole year round. This whole series isn’t just about winter, it is about feeling better now, at whatever time of the year you come to them. There is no expiry date on making positive steps that will impact your wellbeing for the better. Which is why we named the project ‘Kickstart Your Wellness’.
So, it seems more important than ever that we take our wellness that bit more seriously. Given everything that happened last year, it isn’t surprising to see why many people are feeling lower, more anxious and isolated than ever. When thinking about this project, we sat down and thought about how to structure this into a set of really useful pieces and also in terms of actionable tasks (don’t groan at that, we’re not here to make your life busier!). We wanted to create something that wasn’t just based in theories – and after doing quite a lot of research around this, we found that there was actually quite a big gap in taking concepts and actually turning them into actionable steps to feel better. Afterall, that is why we’re here!
It really seemed to break down into three areas that can have an effect on your wellness – activity, mindset and wellbeing. Just as much as these things can be simplified down into three categories, that isn’t to allude to the idea that there are often a complex mix of things going on. They are huge categories, and where you fall in your thinking and where you are throughout these articles may feel completely different. There are so many complex reasons for a lack of a feeling of wellbeing – but these techniques are ones that we have used consistently over the last few years to help our overall wellbeing, as well as research from mental health practitioners. We hope that you can take and try what works for you and that these provide some benefit to you. Each article in this three-part series will focus on a different aspect – activity, mindset and wellbeing but you will also notice that various aspects from within each article flow into other articles too.
Image Description: A landscape image. Fay and Matt sit in a forest on a log eating from Hydro Flask food containers. To Fay’s left is a black Hydro Flask. To Matt’s right is a yellow Hydro Flask. The ground is golden and covered with leaves. They are both dressed in winter clothes. Fay’s Hydro Flask jar is yellow, Matt’s is grey. Fay is wearing brown boots, black trousers, blue coat and grey, pink, white and blue bobble hat. Matt wears black boots, red trousers, grey hoodie and black coat.
First of all, we think it is really important to acknowledge that last year was incredibly hard. Whatever your experience of Covid-19 and the pandemic has been, it would be unfair to say that it hasn’t affected you in some way. Whether 2020 had a knowing impact on you that you are incredibly aware of or you’re noticing subtle things that feel different in your mood – it doesn’t mean that your experience isn’t valid. It is your experience, and you should in no way feel guilty for that. When we feel depressed, down, lower in mood, it can have a huge impact on the way we compare ourselves to others and can often make us feel like our experiences aren’t valid. Feeling like we have no reason to be upset is one of them. Feeling that you have ‘no reason to be upset’ is something we’ve seen and heard a lot through these past few months – but that completely leaves out the notion of what you have experienced, in whatever way you’ve experienced it. Right now, we’d like to ask you to give yourself permission to acknowledge that this last year has been a year of many challenges and to give yourself a break from judging how you feel. We’d love for you to make a deal with yourself that if you can, to read these articles with an attitude of curiosity – and not to come up with reasons why not before you’ve given yourself a head start.
How to spot low mood turning into depression
Whilst it is important to see that this last year has been incredibly tough, it is also important to spot if the low moods and lack of motivation you’ve experienced is becoming depression. Depression changes how you think, feel, and function in daily life. It can have an impact on work, study, eating, sleep, and enjoyment of life and just trying to get through the day can be overwhelming.
When asked about depression, some may say it feels like a sense of darkness whilst others may say it feels like a sense of impending doom. Many also report a feeling of lifelessness or apathy. Depression, if left untreated can become a serious health condition. By understanding the cause of your depression and recognizing the different symptoms and types of depression, you can take the first steps to feeling better and overcoming the problem.
Image Descriptions: A landscape format image.Matt prepares for a walk.He is sat on a low seat indoors, leaning forward,tying the laces on his yellow running shoes.He is surrounded by white walls and there is a black cast Iron radiator behind him. He is wearing black trousers and a brown sweater.His backpack sits on the floor to camera left with two Hydro Flasks – one larger and black, one slightly smaller and green – in front.
10 Common signs of depression
The signs below are by no means a definitive list – you may find you have one, all or some of these symptoms. This might not mean you have depression. However, if you do feel that you have these symptoms and they are becoming a problem for you in your daily life, it is important to reach out to your doctor to see what help is available for you. There are many different ways to treat depression and it is important to try and talk to your doctor about what is right for you.
1.Feelings of helplessnessYou have a somber outlook on life and feel like nothing you can do will help you feel better.
2.Loss of energyGeneral tasks you used to do feel exhausting to you. You have little energy to devote to things and can’t seem to find motivation to do them.
3.Concentration problemsMaking decisions can feel harder as well as concentrating on tasks.
4.Loss of interestYou feel limited in your capacity to feel joy and you no longer have much interest in old hobbies, friends, sex, and social activities.
5.Appetite or weight changesSignificant weight loss or weight gain.
6.Sleep changesInsomnia can be a big problem here, as well as waking early or sleeping in late, as well as difficulty falling asleep.
7.Self-loathingYou are harsh and critical of yourself,often saying harsh things about yourself to others, or reprimanding yourself for not feeling ‘good enough’.
8.Feeling angry amd irritableYou may notice you have a short temper, or get angry, even aggressive more than you’ve noticed in the past (or ever noticed before).
9.Unexplained aches and painsStomach, back, neck pains – as well as a whole range of others can be increasingly noticed.
10.Reckless behaviorYou try to escape your feelings with excessive drinking, drugs, driving, extreme sports.
Image Descriptions: Portrait format image.Fay stands in the centre of the frame holding a bowl of food and fork.Fay wear an oversized blue jumper and there are cupboards and a counter top in the background.