Here in Aotearoa New Zealand, it’s Mental Health Awareness Week so I thought I’d share a little something with you all like I did last year, says Sophie Handford. 🌼
‘It can be so easy to just put on a brave, composed, smiley face to cover everything up that we might be feeling or experiencing inside our own heads.
For me, this response to inner challenges manifests because of many different reasons — not wanting to burden those around me, not wanting to be seen to be ‘weak’, to instead use my time to help others who might need me.
The mountains in our heads
Many of us will have had experiences with those mountains inside our own heads, the constant dialogue firing back and forth in our busy minds, the self-doubt, the anxiety, the imposter syndrome.
I experience ALL of this and I am now acknowledging it is there.
Through noticing and then being open, we begin building a shared understanding of what we each experience and the tools that help us overcome the mountains. 🏔
The expectations of others put pressures on
I do put a lot of pressure on myself based on what I perceive other peoples expectations of me to be and also because of what I know I’m capable of and the impact I know we can create collectively.
This doesn’t mean we need to achieve it tomorrow, in a week or even in 5 years.
Life is a marathon
Life is a marathon and not a sprint and the more right and happy we feel in ourselves, our whole selves (acknowledging the mountains in the journey too), the easier it is to truly step into our unique purpose and fulfil that through tangible mahi. ✊🏽
The Sophie you see dancing crazily, smiling, laughing is me, but so is the person that experiences self doubt, negative self talk and anxiety. ❤️ I love both versions.
I’m sure you’re all experts at checking on your friends and whānau but just a reminder as to how important this really is, even those who may not show signs of needing support. Check in to just let them know you love them, that you’re always here if they need you & that you’re proud of them ✨
Together, we got this but it’ll take all of us.
People creating those spaces, people spreading love and compassion, people sharing their stories, people walking alongside their friends and whānau.
We all have a role to play in creating a society of hope, true happiness and love.
Sophie Handford is a councillor on the Kāpiti Coast District Council — and she also plays a leading role in the campaign against a climate catastrophe.