This week as part of our Thrive lessons series, and coinciding with Mental Health Awareness week, we were lucky enough to hear from certified Psychological Life Coach, Rebecca Kimberley. Rebecca shared with us her own incredible journey of self-discovery, her current work in the mental health and wellness space. She also shared with us some small changes we can make to our day to day lives that can have a big impact on improving our own mental health.

Rebecca‘s own experience with mental health was a key catalyst for her entering this particular field of work, from initially not knowing that it was mental health issues that she was struggling with to not having the best experience with her GP. This lead Rebecca to want to break down barriers surrounding mental health as well as make resources and support more accessible to everyone.

Rebecca highlighted that big life events, where we experience a lot of change or transition, can often be a common trigger for changes to our mental health, her own was going to university. Most recently she says that Covid-19 has seen her client intake spike with many people having experienced change in a number of different ways, loss of friendships, relationships, work and people.

She went on to talk about how initially many people often don’t recognise that the issues they are experiencing are rooted in their mental health and she frequently hears people say something along the lines of “what do I have to be depressed about…?”. However as conversations about mental health continue to be normalised and barriers and sigma lessen, people are starting to feel more comfortable opening up about their experiences and seeking help where needed.

Rebecca mentions that what’s important is speaking to someone and understanding if and what mental health issues you might be struggling with. From there you can start to explore what is going to help you. Everyone’s journey with mental health is a personal one, what works for someone else won’t necessarily be the same for you, after diagnosis you start to learn a lot about yourself and what you can do to start feeling better.

After her own diagnosis of depression and social anxiety, Rebecca’s GP at the time recommended her therapy and medication, which on reflection Rebecca didn’t feel was the right level of treatment for her. Instead she suggests that her symptoms could have been curbed with smaller changes to her lifestyle such as improved diet, exercise and conversation.

Rebecca suggested a few things we can all easily do in our day to day lives to help improve our mental health. Firstly she suggests that we make time to check in with ourselves regularly. In our fast paced lives, we can often get swept up in just keeping on going and focusing on the task in hand but it’s important that we carve out time to reflect on how we are feeling, making time to actually think about what is making us feel good and what is making us feel bad and making the required adjustments based on these reflections. It’s important to make time to pay attention to and acknowledge how we are feeling as it can help us sense if burnout is coming and take actionable steps to avoid it.

One method Rebecca suggests for checking in with yourself is journaling. You can use journaling prompts, which can be found through a number of free online sources, to help you to think about different areas of yourself. This can be completed daily, weekly or whatever suits you best and can be scaled up or down depending on your need.

Another recommendation from Rebecca is making time to meditate, this could be a little at 10 mins a day. Rebecca recommends both the Headspace and Calm apps which offer a variety of different focus areas for your meditation from dealing with stress to building confidence and sleeping better, there are a whole host of different options to try .

Another resource suggested by Rebecca is the book Good Vibes Good Life by Vex King which she suggests is a must read.

For more information you can visit Rebecca’s website here or for more information about her work and to access her free online resources.

Thanks again to Rebecca for a great session and taking the time out to talk to us.