Why I’m reclaiming my mental health

I spent this weekend with a group of girlfriends on a hen do in the middle of a forest and it was divine.

shadow of a woman holding a bow in the middle of a wooded area

This particular group of friends all work in the forensics industry as do I (in my day job), and as such we are spread all over the country and only manage to meet up once or twice a year.

On a walk through the forest the talk turned to how we were all feeling about life as only happens when you really relax and feel comfortable with those who ‘get you’.

As I listened intently to this inspiring group of women I was struck by how many of them had struggled with their mental health and feelings of inadequacy over the last few years.  I had certainly been feeling the same but hadn’t felt ready to discuss it before now.

We examined the cause of these feelings and felt they had largely grown out of working in an industry that is fiercely competitive and lacks opportunities for progression.  Each and every one of us had somehow begun to blame ourselves for this lack of moving on up the ladder despite it being entirely out of our control, and as a result had begun to feel inadequate to the point where our mental health was truly suffering.

I’m not sure if its a generational thing or maybe its down to our personality types but we had allowed our careers to become all consuming and certainly for me, the only thing I could think about, yes even at 4am.

Me and my little girl 8 months old on my last day of maternity leave in a cafe sat in front of a wall of faux green plants

In the last year or so we have all gone through changes in our personal circumstances. Some have gotten engaged, some have become unwell, endured the death of a loved one or become a Mum for the first time.  These changes have made us rethink our unhealthy obsession with our careers.  We all felt that we were using up the best of us on our jobs, which meant there was nothing left to give to our loved ones and after that, certainly nothing left for ourselves.

So we’ve all independently begun practicing ’self care’.  Yes I know that's such a buzz word right now, but in our case it was overwhelmingly needed. We've not been doing anything fancy or that costs the earth, but we've made small changes such as leaving work on time and getting outside into nature, enjoying our garden's or balconies and watching things grow and change through the seasons.  We’ve started to pay more attention to the world around us rather than just rushing from home to the office and back again and we’re all really beginning to see positive changes in the way we feel.

So if this resonates with you, leave the office an hour early tomorrow and go for a walk somewhere green or sit in your garden or on your balcony once you get home, breathe in that delicious fresh air, plant some seeds, nuture them and watch them grow into beautiful flowers.  I promise you, it will be your reawakening.

Smiling dark haired woman (me) wearing red lipstick and a black tshirt with a hand drawn floral and feather design on it in the middle of some woodland

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