Updated: Apr 14, 2021
I’m Ellie, I’m 23, I’m from north London and a mental health podcaster and advocate. I started “Practice Makes Progress” to encourage open, honest, and stigma-free conversations around mental health. Let’s start celebrating the times we get back up after falling and trying again.
WHAT DO YOU WISH YOU WERE TAUGHT AT SCHOOL ABOUT MENTAL WELLBEING AND WHY?
At school I wish I was taught how to ask for help and it not be viewed as a sign of weakness. I spent so many years drowning because I set these unrealistic expectations for myself that didn’t leave any room for mistakes or failures. So much pressure is put on kids to perform academically and know what they want to do with their lives, but no emphasis is given to emotional intelligence. I’ve learnt so much more about the world and myself by just giving things a go and accepting that life is going to be messy, but we shouldn’t fear that. Schools have a duty of care towards their students and that should encompass their emotional development and personal growth. We spend the majority of our upbringing in education, therefore it should reflect and meet our needs, prioritising things like emotional regulation, communication and mental wellbeing.
ANY ADVICE TO THE YOUNG PEOPLE READING THIS?
Reading, writing and exercising are my “go-to’s” when caring for my wellbeing. I’ve kept a journal for a few years now and I find it incredibly therapeutic to write out my thoughts and keep a check-in with myself almost. Reading is brilliant because often you don’t know how you’re feeling or you can’t quite articulate it, but often you’ll read something and go, “That’s it!”. It’s great.
Exercising is important for our mental wellbeing in so many ways. Not just keeping the body active and healthy, but it can often mean time away from negative thoughts - it’s a great distraction! It takes you out of your head. Not only does the release of endorphins boost your mood, but that sense of achievement and hard work is particularly helpful for someone like me who tends to criticize themselves!
Find what works for you and don’t compare it to anyone else. It’s your journey, your mind, so go at your own pace and learn to put that first.