We now know so much more about the way our physical health and mental health are intertwined. Look at the fact that when you are stressed and run-down that you are more likely to get a cold or the flu – your body has a poorer immune response when you are stressed, meaning fighting bugs is more difficult. We also know people with a window in their room recover from cancer quicker and you are more likely to recover if you have a positive attitude and a belief in your recovery.
Or if you’re a parent or have worked with children look at the fact that children who are tired or hungry (‘physical’) are either thoroughly miserable or behave in less than ideal ways, or both if you are really unlucky. You know what they need is some food or a good night’s sleep, but can you get them to the table/into bed? Not without considerable blood, sweat and tears (theirs and often yours too). As people we are just the same, after a late night or disturbed sleep we are grumpy as anything in the morning and find it very hard to be rational, calm or use our kind words to the rest of our family.
It seems a bit crazy to me that we even have separate services for Physical Health problems and those for Mental Health. Doesn’t it make more sense to see someone as a whole person rather than thinking we can treat a bit of a person and then everything will be ok. In the current set up you have to see one person to fix up your broken leg and another to talk to about how miserable you are that you can’t play football because of your broken leg. People aren’t really like cars – with spare parts that can be replaced. Something that happens to a part of us has an impact on all of us.
So nurture your mind and your body. Eat well and relax too. Do some exercise and exercise your brain thinking happy thoughts or challenging your negative ones. Be nice to people and notice nice things around you. And train your children to do the same. We should be teaching them to see the connections between their bodies and their minds and helping them to keep both healthy. Watch this space for more ideas on how…
In the meantime, Hang in there, get some sleep and look after yourself.