Tag: mental health Page 1 of 5

When family wears thin

Reading Time: 6 minutes

Some of us have spent the past 18 months apart from our families, some of us have spent more of it with them than anticipated. Here Kitty Wheater, Mindfulness Chaplain, explores how to approach our family relationships.

In E. Nesbit’s children’s book The Phoenix and the Carpet, written in the early twentieth century, four children discover that the ordinary-looking carpet in their nursery is woven from magic thread, and can take them anywhere they please. Adventures ensue: to a deserted French tower, a Caribbean beach, and all over London. At some point, under the onslaught of exploits and muddy boots, the carpet begins to wear out. One of the girls takes to it with needle and thread, but does it quickly, and so it cannot be a perfect job. On the next trip, the children huddle tightly on the magic bits – but despite their best efforts, two of them fall straight through the dodgy patch, and land with a bump and a scrape on a London rooftop.

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A summer contemplation 

Reading Time: 5 minutes

Summer has finally arrived and with it some of us may notice a change in mood. Here Kitty Wheater, Mindfulness Chaplain, shares how to check in with yourself and make the most out of the long, warm summer days.

Was there ever anything more fortuitous than the ending of the academic year in May? The bustle and franticness of exams, the inboxes full of emboldened emails, the perky Twitter threads – suddenly the clock strikes midnight, the sun comes out, and the world goes quiet. Yes, there are things to do: there is a semester ahead, books to read, and plans to make; but there is a softness in the air, a scent of summer, and a warmth that makes weary limbs unfold.

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Thirty days of wild 

Reading Time: 4 minutes

This fortnight, Kitty Wheater, Mindfulness Chaplain, shares how we can make the most of the sunnier summer months to appreciate the nature all around us.

‘How is it June already?’ friends say. As the world opens up and Edinburgh throws aside its woollens, we might be forgiven for the sense that mere minutes ago it was snowing. Our cheeks are still tender from the biting wind and the early dawn is an affront to lockdown-weary heads. But suddenly there are drifts of tree petals in the streets; an hour on the Meadows leaves us pink; comfrey, tulips, and alliums bloom in back gardens; and all the birds sing. We can finally raise our heads from our desks, and breathe in some summer.

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How to cope with eco-anxiety

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Mental Health Awareness week last month took nature as its theme, recognising the positive impact that the natural world can have on our wellbeing. But what happens when the health of nature is the very reason for us to feel sad? Meet eco-anxiety, a long-established phenomenon that’s gaining new ground.

Here, SRS Communications Manager Sarah Ford-Hutchinson explores the concept of eco-anxiety and what we can all do to soothe and be soothed by nature.

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Anxiety: an owner’s manual

Reading Time: 7 minutes

This fortnight, Kitty Wheater, Mindfulness Chaplain, reflects on how we can learn to protect our own mental health by recognising and dealing with the creatures that live within us…

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Breaking the stigma on mental health

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Often when we talk about mental health, we instantly think of mental health illnesses like anxiety and depression, when in fact, it encompasses good mental health too.

Here, Melanie Peak, People and Money Systems Trainer in the Service Excellence Programme, shares her thoughts on mental health stigma, and why we should all be thinking of our mental health as a spectrum. 

So what do we mean by mental health? Well, it is our overall emotional and psychological wellbeing. It governs our ability to cope in certain situations and can be influenced by many factors. How much resilience we have can play a huge part in this. Resilience develops over time, based on our learned behaviours and our lived experiences. So what one person can cope with, another may struggle. We may also gain strength through our support network. But again this will be different for each of us.

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Unlocked, an eighty-year-old oyster

Reading Time: 4 minutes

This fortnight, Kitty Wheater, Mindfulness Chaplin, reflects on a keepsake from a trip to the beach.

Half-buried in the sand, it’s the texture that first grabs my attention: black and grey, like corrugated iron, like the skin of a dinosaur. For a moment I am three years old on the beach at Santander, afraid of sleeping beasts beneath my naked toes – and then, thirty years later, I am back on Seton Sands. The wind snatches at my hood, and my feet are damp on shiny sand left snake-skinned by the receding tide. I am surrounded as far as the eye can see by giant oyster shells. 

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Recovering from burnout: James Saville’s reflections

Reading Time: 6 minutes

Recognising and talking about your own mental health is more important than ever. This year’s Mental Health Awareness week offers an opportunity to take some time to check in with yourself and how you’re feeling. Talking about mental health isn’t simply reduced to mental health issues, it’s also about looking after your mental wellbeing and practising good habits too.

Everyone can suffer from bad mental health days and for many, these feelings normally pass. However, sometimes they can grow and you can become mentally unwell.

This is what James Saville, HR Director experienced in 2008. He was suffering from such severe anxiety and depression that he experienced a huge burnout and was signed off work. Here he shares what his own mental health experiences were like, and how he’s learnt to recognise and safeguard his mental wellbeing.

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Nervous system: What the research says about Zoom fatigue

Reading Time: 5 minutes

Most of us have probably suffered from Zoom fatigue at some point during the past year. This fortnight, Kitty Wheater, Mindfulness Chaplin, digs a little deeper, in the hope that sharing the science of it can help us recover.

I first wrote about Zoom fatigue almost exactly a year ago. Back then, in the halcyon days of the early pandemic, we had no idea what was to come. We thought we’d potter along on Teams for a bit and then head back into the office. But time passed, and by the summer, I was hearing of enough exhaustion, agitation, and Zoom-induced despair that I started writing about Zoom burnout instead. The word ‘fatigue’ no longer seems to cut it: people experience anxiety, physical twitchiness, and tearfulness on Zoom, Teams, and Facetime. These experiences feel not only extreme, but also distressing: we don’t fully understand what is happening, or what to do about it, and that makes it feel outside our control.

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Walking for Health

Reading Time: 2 minutes

The theme of this year’s Mental Health Awareness week is nature, so it seems fitting to highlight a new initiative from Sport and Exercise that encourages staff and students to meet for organised walks to improve all aspects of their health.

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The MindLetter

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Dr Kitty Wheater, our Mindfulness Chaplain, has shared her MindLetter features with bulletin since last April, guiding us through the mixed emotions involved in living through this long pandemic.

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One year on, a pandemic survival kit

Reading Time: 4 minutes

This week, Dr Kitty Wheater, Mindfulness Chaplain, reflects on the little things that have helped her survive the past year.

For me, it’s the red joggers. I bought a pair in August, when I returned to Edinburgh after five months in Oxford for lockdown 1.0. They were Marks and Spencers, brushed cotton inside, extra long. After a week, I bought a second pair. Soon I was wearing them all the time: one in the wash, one out. Working from home, there was no situation they did not suit. At the computer, there was none of that waistband difficulty that you get after hours in jeans, and for wandering around the flat they were just a bit warmer than the usual leggings. As the autumnal days turned wintery, I put baselayers under them for my walks, and for the shivering hours at my desk under droughty windows. It feels cheerful to wear red every day, even if no one sees it. Over the last several months, I’ve bought new jeans; I’ve even, in a fit of optimism, bought new work trousers – but they sit in my wardrobe, unworn, awaiting a smarter time. It’s the red joggers for now.

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It can be paralysing at times: living with depression

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Our health and wellbeing should always a priority – and this has been made even more important due to the impact of Covid-19. It’s important for you to feel confident to talk about your mental health and wellbeing and know what support is available.

In this issue, Melanie Peak, People and Money Systems Trainer in the Service Excellence Programme, shares her experience with depression, and the ways she’s found to keep it at bay in difficult times.

I have suffered with depression since the age of eight. To be honest, I can’t remember what it was like to not have it. To not have to analyse each bad day and wonder if it is the start of another downhill cycle. To not have it always lurking in the shadows behind me. To not fear whether I will have the strength to cope with it this time.

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