You know here at ECBC Manchester we love a campaign, especially a campaign that helps promote being kinder to ourselves. This month we are focusing on how we can look after ourselves more and love ourselves for who we are. Self-kindness plays a massive part in promoting a positive mental health and this month we are providing you with advice on how you can be kinder to the most important person – you.
Today’s #SelfloveSeptember post is written by Natalie, who works for the NHS as a mental health practitioner and in her free time designs therapy doodles on Instagram. She tells us a little bit more about her Tidy Mind Doodles and why doodling has made a positive impact on her mental health.
Hi, I’m Natalie and I work as a mental health practitioner for the NHS programme IAPT which provides mental health support for adults using Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT).
I was finding that, despite knowing useful behaviours and thinking styles to prevent burnout and stress, I was not following the advice I was giving. So one day I brushed aside all the excuses which had stopped me from starting for so long, bite the bullet and decided to give it a go.
I started by making a note of metaphors, ideas and tips which patients told me that they found really useful. Being dyslexic, I was keen to create simple, colourful accessible tips that would encourage me and others to look after ourselves. I started doodling and then added them onto the social media account on Instagram.
Tidy Mind Doodles combines my CBT training with my love of drawing. The doodles are only simple, but they break down some of the therapy tools my clients find most helpful. Before I started Tidy Mind Doodles I did not I often prioritised practical or productive tasks over leisurely fun activities.
However, setting time aside to be creative and let loose with my ideas on paper was an excellent way to do something just for me.
It also helped me to just be in the here and now as I was so focused on drawing in that moment rather than thinking about my plans for tomorrow or how my day had gone. These doodles hope to encourage a more positive dialogue between friends, family members and colleagues in a light-hearted way. They have also been used in workplaces to boost morale in hospitals , GP Surgeries, schools and office spaces.
If I was to give advice to anyone living with a mental illness or struggling with their mental health I think my favourite thing to tell my clients is to treat yourself like you would your child or a dear family member.
We tend to be so kind, supportive and thoughtful when our friends are going through a rough time but we are not always that nice to ourselves. If we are feeling stressed or overwhelmed, then talking ourselves down is just going to make us feel worse.
Thank you Natalie for sharing your story and designing your inspiring doodles. You can follow Natalie on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. All doodles used in this blog are Natalie’s design and belong to her.
If you would like to share your experience living with a mental illness or how you help with your mental health please do get in touch.