What’s your name and what do you do for XLP?
My name is Cerys Cotterill and I’m the Mentoring Manager for Lewisham and Greenwich at XLP.
What does mental health mean to you?
Mental health is really important to me. I spend a lot of time thinking about it and talking about it with people. I’m realising how much it has an impact on our day-to-day life.
I can’t remember ever talking about mental health when I was growing up. It’s being talked about a lot more now, which I think is really positive. I can look back and see times that my mental health wasn’t great, but I didn’t understand what was going on, and I felt really confused. But now mental health is a thing we’re aware of, and I’m so much more aware of when I’m struggling, and how to look after myself.
Why bother looking after your mental health?
I didn’t really talk about my emotions when I was younger, but all that bottling up made me feel isolated and overwhelmed. I’m realising that when I’m able to share how I’m feeling I feel free. Connecting with others brings freedom. Sharing helps you connect with people and helps battle those feelings of isolation. Bottling up emotions is lonely, but sharing emotions, although scary, brings freedom.
I’ve found that self-care really works. Anxiety can get worse when you’re dehydrated and tired, so even just something little like drinking enough water and getting enough sleep can really help. I’ve also found that exercise and a healthy diet really help. It’s going to be different for each person, and you have to find something sustainable that works for you.
Remind yourself daily that you’re important. Sometimes I have a phone background of a positive message that helps me remember. Mental health can have triggers that negatively affect us – this works the opposite and triggers positive feelings instead.
Any final thoughts?
There’s a therapist I follow on TikTok. She’s @drjuliesmith and she’s great! If you’re on TikTok, get that on your feed.