lifestyle, Wheelchair life

Solitude, Stress and Sanity – World Mental Health Day

We all have mental health, just like we all have physical health. People have their different struggles. I’m pretty rubbish at running.

De-stressing, unwinding, and letting off steam isn’t always as spontaneous or easy to achieve when you rely on the assistance of others to do stuff.

I’m not sure that in the midst of a debate or tantrum as a teen it would have been quite as effective had I just said ‘hold on a sec, I need to get someone to slam the door for me’. There was no storming up the stairs or pulling the duvet over my head. When someone has to put that duvet over your face it’s more their win than yours

I’ve never got up in a huff or stress or panic and just left the house for a brisk walk leaving everyone behind. I probably could, after I’ve asked someone to move my arm, get my scarf, open the door, plus the gate. I’d get so far and be stuck, my arm dead or not being able to press the button for the little green man to allow me to cross the road. I’m not fast enough to risk it without.

By that point the moment has gone really.

It doesn’t need saying but, it’s been a bit of a year has 2020. I don’t think anybody ever expected it, and nobody’s life has been left unaffected.

You can’t do as many of life’s usual distractions or joys.

Here are a few things I do to relax or de-stress. Ways I keep life in balance. Some more useful in current times with restrictions and myself still semi-shielding. Some for that day in the future and those times in the past when life wasn’t quite so upside down.

Mostly they are ways to escape from the monotony of life’s essentials. The issues with my health and the frustrations inaccessibility can trigger.

Get outdoors

People say how going for a brisk walk can help them de-stress, motivate them, clear their head. It goes the same with wheeling for me. And it’s not the exercise, unless you count my one finger. It’s the air, the movement, the change of scene.

This has been a more important one of late as I haven’t been able to enjoy some of the other out of house adventures. Wandering around a quiet street or place can make the different to a day and your mindset.

Just getting outside sometimes is actually enough though, particularly on the sunnier days when you can feel the warmth on your skin. I’m luckily to live in a fairly quiet area with not much traffic noise or rowdiness.

I also have a small obsession with tress.

A photo taken looking up into the trees. There are two big tree trunks, lots of branches and green leaves. Blue sky can be seen through them.

Have a natter

Be it talking it out, opening up, or just plain talking about the latest box set. Having a chat can help to level out what’s going on inside or distract from it for a little.

Friends are important. Good friends. Those you can talk nothing with and everything with. Going for a brew, a cocktail, a slice of cake.

That three hour texting session with a friend about nothing at all can be everything.

Ranting to you lot when a situation angers me, accessibility frustrates me or makes me just plain sarcastic laugh.

Take some time

Solitude can be rare with my disability, I need on call assistance 24/7. Even if I’m not actually alone, though, taking some time out from interaction is good for unwinding. It could be time reading a book, watching a film, writing a blog post, painting my nails, or just watching but not really watching tv. Time when thoughts focus or disappear.

Massages

Ok so it’s been well over a year since I’ve had one, and I’ve probably forgotten what it’s like. Any excuse for a pamper is good though, when that me time is much needed. It could be a face pack at home or a full on day at the spa. Time to focus on nothing but relaxing.

Be creative

I’ve spoken about my crafting obsession, but in all seriousness I’m not sure what I’d do without creativity.

When I’m counting my stitches or dividing up yarn I’m generally in another world. Occupied.

I’m a fidget, we’ve discussed that before. So if I’m not crafting then I end up scrolling social media, which is nowhere near as relaxing and comforting as the repetition of counting squares.

Creativity feels like letting something out. It’s more about the process than the finished piece I think. Sometimes it’s as simple as colouring. Sometimes it’s writing a really long blog post.

Social media

Since my social media detox experiment I’ve been continuing to take a step back. Usage can easily creep back up, but having a set day or time with scrolling banned really helps.

There’s a lot of good in the social media world too. Groups of likeminded people, groups with people going through similar experiences and situations that can relate and support.

Music

Live music is the real escape, and what I usually plan my year around. It’s been a weird one not being able to attend any live entertainment.

Listening to music from my youth (I’m old enough to have a youth) can be good for chilling out and remembering good times.

Not that there aren’t still good times. But you know.

Laugh out loud

They say laughter is the best medicine. The process of laughing actually releases endorphins that help stress, make the body feel good and can even temporarily reduce pain.

Fake laughing can apparently do the job but that does feel a bit odd.

I really enjoy going to see stand up comedy, being in the moment and cry-laughing can do wonders for the mind and face muscles!

Rewatching that favourite comedy show or film is a great at home alternative, particularly at the moment. Netflix have a load of stand up shows available too. I highly recommend some Russell Brand.

Reading

Books are my go to escape. It’s something I like to take huge chunks of time out of my schedule to do. I prefer to set aside a whole afternoon or even most of a day so that I can become fully absorbed in the story.

I’ve also become quite the fan of audiobooks when I want to take chilling to the next level.

Cats

Stroke them, talk to them, get head butted by them and sat on with their claws slowly piercing your skin. All are distractions in some way!

There are other pets available, but it goes without saying that cats are superior.

Puzzles

Mostly on my phone these days, though I loved a good crossword magazine way back when.

Games, puzzles, sudoku, colouring and the like on a phone or tablet are great for on the go unwinding or having that few minutes of time out when feeling overwhelmed. Sitting in a waiting room, during long car journeys or avoiding conversation on public transport.

Not only can these be absorbing and distracting, they’re also great for keeping the mind active. I just try not to overdo the screen time.

I’m a little addicted to this jigsaw app at the moment, but it’s great seeing the image appear.

A screenshot of my puzzle app. A misty scene with a church in the distance. Some of the jigsaw pieces are missing.

Another screenshot of a different puzzle. This jigsaw is of brightly coloured pencils. Some pieces are missing. There is a selection of jigsaw pieces at the bottom.

What techniques or hobbies do you use to unwind or de-stress?


Title text - Solitude, Stress and Sanity - World Mental Health Day, is placed over a photo looking up in to the trees.

The top third is a photo looking up into the trees. The bottom is a cream background with great text reading Solitude, Stress and Sanity - World Mental Health Day

28 thoughts on “Solitude, Stress and Sanity – World Mental Health Day”

  1. I think it’s so important to find things that work, and they will be different for all of us. Reading helps me – like you, I like to get lost in a good book. Walking in the nature works for me too, as long as we can avoid those pesky people who don’t understand social distancing. A long soak in the bath helps too – I think it’s because I can focus on the water, the bubbles, and there’s nothing for me to do. I know some people read in there, but for me that kind of defeats the object – I just want to lie there and not do anything! I don’t have pets, but for me, it’s hugging a dog! Sorry cats! But I’m definitely team dog! You’re right about friends and laughter – and although mindless scrolling isn’t the best, there are still plenty of things online that I find to make me smile!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m terrible at doing nothing, so my going for a walk is a way to focus on other senses and think less.
      I won’t tell my 4 cats, don’t worry! I like sending time with calm dogs, but the hyperactive ones stress me out a little! 😂
      I hope you’re finding plenty of ways to de-stress in this weird year.
      Stay safe.

      Like

  2. I love these tips for de-stressing. I also love live music and comedy and it’s been so hard not to have those things this year. It’s been great to re-watch Glastonbury, especially David Bowie and catch up with Russell Howard on YouTube but it’s just not the same is it. Stay safe and enjoy your crafting!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It has been great having the opportunity to see things online and by television that maybe you wouldn’t have been able to before. One bonus of all this is that entertainment has been accessible to more people that couldn’t attend events before. But no, it’s definitely not the same.
      Stay safe.

      Like

  3. Spot-on about cats, and natters (luckily I follow enough of you English bloggies to know what you mean), and live music. I’m missing my choir so much now. There’s something about making and experiencing music with others that’s so healing. Hope we can come together again soon!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Absolutely, I think music is something we can all experience together no matter our situation or lifestyle. Hopefully we can attend this in person again soon.

      Ha, I’m glad you understand natter. I never think of terms I use, but I bet much of it is slang of a kind. Do you have a favourite English term?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh my, SO MANY English terms–or even regular words that sound so perfectly English in my head, because Jeeves from Jeeves and Wooster lives in my head. “Quite,” “bit,” and “I say”–all take on that special air when voiced by Jeeves!

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Huffing up the stairs, slamming my door & throwing myself under the duvet as a sulky pre-school child wasn’t my finest moment. But not having the ability to do that can’t be easy, what with the pent up anger needing a release valve. You’re right, that 10 minute delay in getting someone else to do it for you just doesn’t have the same effect. Personally I’ve found plenty of times where I’d like to have a toddler tantrum in the middle of Sainsbury’s, just to bawl my eyes out, scream and writhe around on the floor until someone picks me up, takes me home and makes me a bacon sarnie. I’m sad that we can’t get away with doing that as adults.

    You’ve listed some excellent alternatives for keeping our sanity. I want to get back into listening to music again. I used to accompany my every waking moment with music and now I only ever hear it in the car. I don’t know when that happened, I just stopped playing it as my life lost a lot of the colours in the last couple of years.

    Laughter is definitely good medicine. A chuckle a day keeps the doctor away! Either that or a kick in the nuts will do the trick. xx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ha! I think we should continue with the tantrums as adults, I know some people that’s behaviour isn’t far off!

      I’m the same with wanting to listen to music more often, I still do, but like you say my every waking moment was also accompanied by music when I was younger. Now I only think at certain times that I want to listen to something.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. 2020 has most certainly been a year and a half my goodness. What limits have you stuck with for your social media usage following your detox? I’m a big fan of reading too that’s my escapism. I’m trying to be better at logging off from work about 5 and then doing a few bits sorting out in the house and then treating myself to a good 30 mins of reading before picking Elsie up from nursery. I need it. I’m struggling especially as we’ve got more local restrictions so we aren’t seeing anyone else other than the nursery staff and the staff at Tesco. Steve and I are 99% of the time working from home so it’s been tough. I’m trying to look at the positives though – no commute is definitely one of them.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It must be really difficult with the extra restrictions and not seeing other people. It can feel like you’re always on top of each other when you’re all at home.
      I’ve still seen very few people other than those that come to assist me with care. It’s good getting to see them, but also stressful because of the added risk. I’m yet to go in a shop other than the pharmacy since March. It’s been a bizarre year indeed! And I’m not sure it’s getting much better very quickly.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I have a small obsession with trees also! Remember my #100 day project! I am lucky to be able to stomp out the door and upstairs. That said during this pandemic reading, walking home from work (major to unwind before I come through my front door). Crafts also have been a way unwind (into paint night recently). Realizing what we have taken for granted has been major. Meeting at coffee shops, restaurant, theatre. So stay safe my friend.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Music, reading and being creative helps me out the most. I used to struggle a lot with anger when I was younger because, like you, I wasn’t able to storm off or slam doors. I would do a lot of screaming and crying in frustration. But since I discovered some great online calming music and seated yoga exercises – I’ve grown a lot better at being able to calm down.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I saw a story about how shelter animals are taken to nursing homes, and the animals and the residents bond in a way that is healthy for them bothy. At any age, an animal is a great friend, companion, and source of affection…all of which are great for your health! Your list is terrific!

    Liked by 2 people

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