What fills your cup? – Looking after your mental health

What fills your cup? What drains it?
What depletes it? What destroys it?

These are all important questions to ask yourself when trying to figure out what kind of self-care you need and how you can take care of your own mental health.

We all need a break from time to time to keep ourselves well rested and ready for the busy days ahead. We need to give ourselves permission to take a break and recharge our batteries.

But how do we rest?

Here at Phase Trust, all staff have a Wellness Action Plan which is a great way to keep each other accountable for our mental health and well-being. We are encouraged to highlight triggers that adversely impact our well-being as well as ways in which we can refill our “cup”.

When it comes to the children and young people we work with as well as our own children, we, as adults, are important role models. We are all a work in progress, but thankfully we don’t have to be perfect to be a good example.

It is so important that we model to the children and young people around us how to look after our mental health. Talking openly and honestly with them can be the best kick-starter for a child to learn about their mental health, but their learning will be massively consolidated when they see what they have been taught about mental health being modelled in real life by those they look up to and respect.

A challenge:

1. Check in with yourself regularly – Be Mindful

How full is your cup? Are you running on empty or are you overflowing with fullness and able to give out from that overflow? Although giving is great, we can only give out to others when our cup is not running dry.

What are you doing for you? And double check that what you’re doing for you is filling you and not draining you too because that can catch us out.

Which activities/tasks that you have to do tire you? Can you do any of them less or find something to do afterwards that would reenergise and refill your cup?

2. Keep connected – and be honest

Who are you surrounding yourself with? “Show me your friends and I’ll show you your future” – was a message from our local youth pastor. And this is incredibly accurate in our lives today. If we live with people who deceive or lie to us, we will struggle to trust; if we live with people who encourage love and support us, we are much more likely to thrive.

How do you personally like to connect? That’s equally very important to notice where things can drain us or fill us. Take a second to think what kind of social environments you find helpful, enjoyable and even the ones that you find tiring.

3. Set goals and Keep learning

What do you like to do – what fills your cup? Do you have a hobby that you like to work at? This could be a craft, a skill, a language, and so many other things. Setting aside specific time to focus on what fills your cup can be so beneficial to your mental health, it helps you remember that you are important and helps you to remember and sparks joy in your life even if things seem dark. Having something to focus on or aim towards can be a really helpful step to bring some hope and passion back into the things you love a d helps to keep our mind focussed amongst the craziness that life can be.

4. Keep active – mentally and physically.

This one is pretty self-explanatory but keeping active is great for your physical health and your mental health and they often go hand in hand. A fun fact about exercising is that it improves brain performance. Cardiovascular exercise helps create new brain cells. This enhances brainpower and brain activity. And it also helps us to feel happier!

Just incase you don’t believe me here’s some extra facts from a specialist Dr Kelly McGonigal…

“When you exercise, it increases endorphins, dopamine, adrenaline and endocannabinoid – these are all brain chemicals associated with feeling happy, feeling confident, feeling capable, feeling less anxiety and stress and even less physical pain,” McGonigal says.

And getting active outside is even better for us…
“Exercising outdoors has an immediate effect on mood that is extremely powerful for depression and anxiety. Because it induces a state in your brain that is very similar to meditation, the state of open awareness,” McGonigal said.

Exercising has so many different health benefits so why not have a go. Exercise doesn’t need to be strenuous; it could just be going for a walk for half an hour a day. But the most important thing is that you keep it consistent as that is where you’ll see the most benefits.

Another key part about staying active is taking rest when you need it and taking it regularly too which is what we mentioned at the start of this blog. Because our body’s recover during times of rest that will affect our minds just as much as our body’s as we’ve just discovered. If you notice that what you’re doing currently to rest isn’t very relaxing and isn’t doing what you hoped it would for you, you might need to rethink of a different method.

Sometimes, for example, a swim in the sea would be my go to in the summer to autumn when I lived in Cornwall, but a noisy leisure centre on the weekend isn’t quite the same here in Halesowen and wasn’t particularly relaxing for me so I had to rethink that and instead changed it to a walk with some music around a nice area I know of- which funnily enough kept the theme of nature involved.

So how full is your cup, do you need to recharge better and what are you going to do about it? No one can make these decisions for you, it’s totally up to you how you choose to recharge, because you know yourself better than anyone else. Make time for yourself! Remember you are important and that your mind and body is valuable and so precious…take care.

Amber Murphy
Primary Worker