Supporting Mental Wellness Together: The Role of Occupational Therapists in Fostering Community Connection
Written by Marli Groenveld Occupational therapists (OTs) provide a unique perspective within the field of…
There are so many times in our lives where we feel panicked and overwhelmed. It’s hard to feel balanced when life ‘gets on top of us’. With each small, but life-altering crisis we can pause and question – is this anxiety fitting with the initial reason? Am I ok, right now? Unfortunately anxiety can become a serious health problem once it becomes a habit, something that is part of our everyday. The root of the word “anxious” is the same as the root of the word “anger,” the Indo-German word “angh,” which means “to constrict”. The signs of anxiety include short or holding of breath, tightness in the chest/muscles, irritability with others or ourselves, rapid heart beat, restlessness, feeling tense or wound up, amongst others. Let’s face it, sometimes we don’t even know we are stressed until someone else points it out. But there are some things you can do to break the habit of the Serial Worrier. Here’s some ideas to try.
1. Define what you want. It’s not practice that makes perfect, because if we practice the same thing over and over, we repeat the same patterns. Decide what you want and then practice that – PERFECT PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT.
2. Bring awareness to the physical and emotional changes in your body – truly pay attention so you know and understand yourself. We are better able to manage stress if we can identify it in ourselves. And then be kind.
3. Sleep is vital for EVERYTHING. Make sure you get at least 7 hours a night. Consider postures such as ‘legs up the wall’ as a part of your bedtime routine. This posture reverses the flow of blood, relieves swollen feet and ankles, stretches the back of the body, helps us to feel calm and relaxed and prepares us for a good sleep.
4. Less processed food, and more whole foods.
5. It will be ok – the problems that we had when we were a child, last year, last week, are not the same problems we have today. Everything changes, and when we realise nothing stays the same and that is ok, we suffer less.
6. Do things that help you to feel good, both on your own, and with others. Find people that make you happy and enjoy time with them. Annabelle Taylor is an Occupational Therapist and Yoga Teacher. She feels passionately about helping people to find greater joy and contentment.