An interview with Erin Peavey, Clinical Psychology Registrar.
We all struggle with mental health, sometimes in silence. It's really important to remember that asking for help is not weak, it doesn't make you "crazy" and the emotions you are feeling are valid. Mental Health is something we speak about daily at Myles Gray with our team. We recently sat down and had a chat with Erin Peavey, an incredible friend who is a Master of Psychology. For the entire time I've known Erin, she has been studying and for the longest time she has been the most incredible, understanding and open hearted friend. She is a wealth of knowledge and I hope some of her tips can help you.
Q: How can you recognise when you need to take time out for yourself?
A: There are so many different ways that our bodies and minds might tell us that we need to take some time for ourselves, and everyone is different. However, some of the common signs that you might need to take a break include:
- Withdrawing from social events
- Not finding joy in activities that you are doing
- Feeling more tired than usual
- Feeling irritable
- Feeling overwhelmed or anxious
- Over thinking
- Increased teariness
- Always being on the go
- And the list could go on…
Q: Do you have any tips on self care from a mental health perspective?
A: Self care does not have to be extravagant or over the top. Self-care can be as simple as having a shower or taking time to eat your breakfast or lunch mindfully. Self-care can range from getting a massage, engaging in mindfulness, going for a walk, playing sport, painting or drawing, spending time with loved ones or burning your favourite candle.
Self-care can also include asking for help. If you are feeling overwhelmed, go and see your GP to have a chat about a Mental Health Care Plan. If you have a psychologist you see regularly, book an appointment and discuss what is happening in your life. If you need someone to talk to straight away, you can contact LifeLine on 13 11 14 or Beyond Blue on 1300 22 46 36.
Q: What is your top tip for maintaining a positive mindset?
A: Sometimes it can be really difficult to maintain a positive mindset when you are feeling overwhelmed and feeling as though you never take a break. One way to increase your positivity is to engage in gratitude each day. In the morning when you wake up, take 3 deep breaths and acknowledge what you are excited for for the day. In the evening, when going to bed, take 3 deep breaths and acknowledge 3 things you are grateful for that occurred during the day. These could be really small things such as feeling the sunshine on your face or really big things such as getting a promotion at work.
The other tip is to remind yourself that it is okay to NOT feel positive. If we were to feel positive all the time, that would also be exhausting. So it is important to acknowledge your feelings and understand it is okay to have an off day – tomorrow is a NEW DAY.
Q: As a psychologist what do you do support your mental health?
A: As a psychologist, I try to engage in the strategies that I help my clients learning. I try to engage in 5-10 minutes of mindfulness practice each day, whether it is a formal mindful meditation script or going for a mindful walk and engaging all of my senses to take in the world around me. I also play netball and attend the gym as getting my body moving is one way I know that I can support my mental health. I also try to set good boundaries around work and personal life. I try very hard to leave work at work and to be engaged and present at home with my partner and my puppy to enjoy the time I spend with them. I also attend a psychologist myself if I feel that I need some extra support.
Q: Anything else we should know about supporting our mental health?
A: Just to remember that your mental health is important and something to prioritise. If your emotional cup is empty, it is difficult and exhausting to try and fill other people’s emotional cups when you have nothing to give. Try to set aside some time for yourself each day, whether it is 5 minutes or 1 hour – do something that brings you joy and fills your emotional cup.
And remember, ALL your emotions are okay and normal. If you need support, don’t be afraid to reach out.
A reminder, help is always available. If you need someone to talk to straight away, you can contact LifeLine on 13 11 14 or Beyond Blue on 1300 22 46 36.