Ten Tips for Coping with a Tough Time

Friday 28 July 2017

Ten tips for coping when you're having a tough time

A blog dedicated to Mum (07.05.1962 - 24.07.2010)
and Nan (05.08.1920- 14.06.17).

kerri mum2Our mental health is complex, precious and fragile. Mental health is sometimes misunderstood and stigmatised, yet when at its best it is resilient and strong. Mental strength and positivity are key in supporting  us to meet our ambitions and maintain a positive mind set.

As a young person growing up I had never thought about the term ‘mental health’. I had everything a child could ever wish for and more, all because of my Mum, she encompassed everything - she was my best friend, my stylist, life coach, chauffer, accountant, and breadwinner.

Like many mothers my Mum played all roles. Until she became ill back in December 2009. In July 2010 after only a month in hospital my beautiful Mum passed away, leaving 20 year old me and my sister who was then 10, motherless.

kerri nan2This is when I really began to understand my mental health and just how precious it is. I can’t think of many things worse than losing your mother and for me I still struggle on a daily basis with my bereavement. I have dark days when I question my existence and I have more positive days filled with laughter.

I am by no means an expert but I thought I would share some actions that I have taken to try and make life more positive, to live through the grief and to motivate myself to achieve what my Mum and Nan would have wanted for me.

Ten tips that help me when I'm feeling low:

1. Get up, get moving – don’t press the snooze. A simple thing like getting up and pulling the curtains back, and opening the windows, making my bed and having a shower makes all the difference.

2. Keep occupied/ find what motivates you– this could be through home responsibilities, hobbies, work or volunteering. For me, joining the Young Women’s Trust advisory panel gave me a new lease of life. I met other young women and had amazing opportunities - who would have thought I would be on live TV advocating for young women and sharing my story?! If you’re a young woman with experience of living on low or no pay, I’d strongly recommend getting involved.

3. Have time for yourself – sometimes when we are trying to please others we overlook our own emotional needs and the time we need to focus on ourselves.

4.Don’t over burden yourself and don’t hesitate to ask for help, as my Nan always said ‘no person is an island.'

5. Nature – I have never been one for the outdoors and though I moaned at times, my boyfriend and I have been going to parks and forests. I am slowly starting to enjoy the outdoors and it helps me to feel more positive.

6. Exercise your body and mind - I play tennis, meditate and am learning self defence.

7. Try and meet others who have been through the similar things, it helps the feeling of isolation. My Nan would say ‘remember there are always others going through something worse than you’. Why not join the Young Women’s Facebook Group?

8. Recognise your achievements no matter how big or small, and try not to focus too heavily on other people and their lifestyle, especially on social media. You never know what their life is really like. For me every day is an achievement.

9. Stay resilient - though it is hard, never give up. With every knock back it takes even more strength to get up again but perhaps the time/opportunity wasn’t right for you and something better is on the horizon.

10. Get Support - Young Women's Trust offers the amazing Work it Out service where you are assigned a personal coach, who will support and guide you with whatever you may be struggling with. I used the service and my personal coach Yasmin boosted my confidence every step of the way. I will always be thankful to her and YWT.

by Kerri Leung-Sykes