Yesterday we kick-started Mental Health Awareness Week 2021 with a catch up from Emma at PAPYRUS. All week we’re getting up close with special guests and charities to open up the conversation on mental health!
This time, we’re getting the low down on influencer and Mental Health and Wellness Consultant, Penny (@pennybelle). Penny opens up about everything from living with ADHD to the importance of self-love and loads more…Check it out ⬇️ ⬇️
Tell us a bit about yourself! What led you to be a Mental Health and Wellness Consultant?
I was 30 years old when I first began to understand that mental health is as important as physical health and that it’s something we ALL need to be comfortable talking about. Before then, I knew NOTHING. If anyone said the term ‘mental health’ or ‘mental health issues’ around me, I pictured someone wild, erratic, crazy or dangerous. This only changed when I was told I had ADHD, Anxiety, Depression and CPTSD (complex post-traumatic stress disorder) all in the space of a year. It hit me hard because I was ‘a big adult’ yet had never even contemplated the fact that I needed to consider looking after my mental health.
I had no idea that my daily struggles (symptoms) were common and that they could be worked on, managed and even reversed in some cases. Coming to this realisation was very liberating for me and helped me understand other people a lot more too, so I’ve made it my mission to provide that clarity and freedom to others through my consulting. I teach, coach, mentor and speak to people about mental health and wellness so they understand what’s going on in and around them and are equipped with the tools to work through the hard bits.
You’ve spoken about your ADHD diagnosis on Instagram. How does this affect your daily life?
I only really notice the affect ADHD has on my life when I’m struggling, which isn’t actually good because there are lots of positive traits us ADHD-ers have too. The main ADHD symptom I struggle with though is the inability to focus – I’m easily distracted. People with ADHD are known to have an interest-based nervous system and an under stimulated brain, which means we find it very hard to start or focus on things that don’t genuinely interest us. When you have to sit in meetings, pay bills, send emails or anything else important but non-stimulating, it can feel almost painful to focus on those things and for me.
I find that I run around looking for dopamine rushes in other things to get motivation but label myself as a chronic procrastinator, which isn’t very helpful. I’ve learnt ways to manage it and just need to make sure I’m realistic with my time and loving on myself when it feels overwhelming. Side note: ADHD-ers are usually quite bad at judging time and how long things will take too so being deliberate about time management and making use of alarms and scheduling is vital for me.
How important is it that you share your experiences with others?
Very! People need to hear how normal it is to not feel ‘normal’. If I had been exposed to people speaking about things I struggled with so openly, I’d have been able to identify what I was going through, let go of stigmas I’d picked up and get some help.
How do you use your platform to raise awareness about mental health?
I see it as a toolbox that people can come along and grab stuff from. I speak about my own experiences, I teach about different mental health symptoms and issues, share tools on how to manage, prevent or reverse them and I have LIVE conversations for my Instagram series where I speak to amazing people who struggle or have struggled with their mental health but have found wonderful ways to cope and love on themselves.
Why is self-love so important?
Self-love isn’t just a feeling of unconditional acceptance for ourselves, love is a verb too. It’s something we do. Loving on ourselves daily is how we honour and look after ourselves. It’s caring for ourselves and creating an environment that causes us to thrive. This can look different for everyone but it’s one of the most beneficial things we can commit to. We must identify that it’s not associated with vanity or selfishness because so many people carry guilt when they have this misconception. It’s about putting our well-being first and feeling at home with ourselves.
Create an uplifting morning routine so you start your day right and full of light!
How do you think that nature can play a part when improving mental health?
Nature calms and grounds us. Even nurturing plants at home has a beautiful, calming effect on our mental state. You don’t have to go to the woods, a beach or a long walk to engage with and benefit from nature, although those settings and experiences with their unique sounds and smells are extremely powerful in helping us let go of tension, clear our mind and find balance within, there are some simple ways to connect with nature and mediate whilst doing so.
What are your top tips for relieving stress that we could all practice?
1. Don’t forget to breathe, find some breathing exercises online that are specific to what you are feeling. You tube has loads and you will be shocked at how much breathing you weren’t doing lol
2. Create an uplifting morning routine so you start your day right and full of light!
3. Think about what you are thinking about. Catch negative thoughts when you realise you are worrying and replace them with good ones.
4. Drink 2L of water a day to flush toxins out that can cause brain fog.
5. Journal your feelings, plans, prayers, goals, EVERYTHING. Write your life right by connecting with and getting to know yourself through journaling. This creates clarity and drives out confusion which often causes more stress.
Stay locked in to the JD blog all this week for more guests and more discussions around mental health!