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13 Ways To Help Cope In A Mental Breakdown.

We’ve all had those days, we’ve all experienced a breakdown for one reason or another.

Having a #mentalbreakdown, is a mental and emotional stress that interrupts your normal day to day living. It is NOT a mental health disorder. It’s what makes you unable focus on what you should be doing, what makes you worry, has you feeling like you have brain fog and can’t cope. We’ve all had those days, we’ve all experienced a breakdown for one reason or another. Whether something breaks in the house the day hubby flies out, the car won’t start, kids are not doing as asked and it’s all happening at once, then you may have a breakdown.

I’ll be honest, as a mum and #FIFO wife, oh I’ve definitely had breakdowns. I lose my shit. I’m human. My child pushes me to the limits, I ask him to do something nicely, and then again and then again and then again and then depending on his reaction or the result, I may in fact lose my shit.

I yell, scream and feel like the absolute worst, and most horrible mum while I’m doing it and know I should stop and can’t. And when all is calm, I have regrets, I think; what was I doing, or how I could have done better, is this going to impact him for life, will he remember this horrible screaming mum forever, will he now behave in such a reactive way as well, will he become a yelling screaming mess when he has kids (learned behaviour)? I also just have moments every few months, as we all do, when I’ve had enough, where work is exhausting, work is hard or not going well, or maybe my husband and I are just having a clash in moods and opinions, maybe just everything seems to crash at once.

Whatever your break down is, whether it’s similar to mine or whether it’s more, such as you’re in pain, poor health, building a house, changing jobs, family issues, school issues, friend’s issues etc. – whatever it is, try one or all of the following tips.

How to keep your cool in a mental breakdown:

  1. Breathe. Big, long and slow deep breaths. You have probably heard this a lot, but breathing does so much more than keep you alive. It reverses the fight and flight adrenaline and cortisol running through your body when you lose your stack. Breathing helps calm you down to feel better. Breath in through your nose for a count of 4, hold for 4 and breath out through your mouth for a count of 6. Do at least 5-10 deep breaths as it takes your focus away from the stress and onto the breathing.

  2. Walk away. It gives you time to breath, think and recoup. I tell my son that mummy needs a ‘time out’ or that I need to walk away or I’m not going to respond appropriately towards him. I ask him to let me walk away so I can calm down and that I will return in a moment to talk. This gives me time to breath, calm, and think of a better response without breaking down.

  3. Go for a walk or do some exercise. (Boxing is great) Walking gives you a break or time out where you can breathe, relax and think about why you are having a break down. Walking and exercise releases those happy endorphins making your feel better, so that is great to help with mental breakdown as movement and exercise give you the opposite feelings that breakdowns give.

  4. Call someone you trust. (Ask for help) Someone that will listen to you and if you need it, guide you in a positive manner. Go for a walk with someone to talk it out. It has been proven that this tactic works on destressing and uplifting your mood. You may also get some great advice and tips.

  5. Meditation. It has proven results that meditation relaxes, improves serotonin in the brain (the happy endorphin) and is a time out for you to just be, look at yourself and actions and see what and how you can improve without the shameful feelings or regrets. Meditation is relaxing, there is no expectations and you feel amazing after it.

  6. Have a #wine. I’m not saying you become dependent or alcoholic, just have a glass and go sit on your own, relax and have a quiet moment. Just keep in mind that too much alcohol and caffeine will in fact add to your body’s stresses which defeats the purpose of calming yourself.

  7. Speak to a professional counsellor or psychologist. Don’t be scared, they are trained in this and they have good skills and advice. Find one you’re comfortable with. It doesn’t make you weird or weak and no one has to know if you don’t want them to. Did you know that both the FIFO employee and their immediate family have free access to the mine sites ‘Employee Assistance Program’? So there is counselling available to you should you need it free of charge.

  8. Scream into a pillow. It takes away that immediate stress without all your neighbours hearing you and calling the police. You will feel better and be ready to move on.

  9. Go to the beach. Did you know looking at the ocean has been proven to lift your mood? Walk in the cleansing water and breath in the clean fresh air, you will automatically feel better and think clearer.

  10. Have a relaxing tea. Chamomile has calming effects. Even just the process of making tea will help you to calm as you will have put your focus to something else.

  11. Go throw a pillow, ball or stress ball hard at the ground. It won’t break anything that you will then regret later when you’re feeling better, and it will assist in removing some of that immediate stress.

  12. Create a ‘break down jar’. It’s like a swear jar. Every time you have a break down but a dollar in and when you have calmed, look at the jar and ask yourself it is getting full fast? What can you do different? Were you over worrying or stressing? Will it matter in an hour or a day? What can you do different next time so you don’t keep paying money out? And be honest, pay up when you break down.

  13. Get some good #restfulsleep, it helps to keep your stress levels down and gives your brain a chance to rest so you can think clearly each day. Don’t stare at your phone before bed then attempt to sleep. The blue light from your phone effects your wake to sleep cycle, and don’t sleep with it next to your head especially with the Wi-Fi or data is on. Stop eating a couple of hours before you go to bed so your body has finished its digestion. Keep your room dark and cool and write your worries down before you sleep so you’re not going over them in your head all night, and throw them away in the morning. This will all help you towards getting a restful night’s sleep. I know I’m grumpy if I have had a terrible sleep.

If you have tried all of the above and still feel at your wits end and you really feel that your break down is not manageable, then please seek professional advice from your GP or psychologist/psychiatrist. You could also seek out alternatives such as Neuro Linguistic Programming professionals or similar as they help you to reprogram your brain in a positive way. (#Positive Mindset).

Life and all the activities associated with it can be hard, and we are human in that we feel sad, happy, stressed etc. and it’s how we manage the good and the bad that helps us grow and shine. I’m learning and trying every day not to lose my shit and yes in the heat of the moment I forget all of the above, but I’m getting there and I’m so much better now with my reactions then I used to be. The break down jar has been my most successful fete at calming my farm, as I can physically see my reactions by the coin build up in the jar.

Enjoy the good times, don’t beat yourself up if you have a breakdown, you're normal and discuss your breakdown if you can, it helps saying it out loud so you can hear it for yourself, so the person involved understands why you lost it and broke down. And please attempt deep breathing to de-stress your body. Stress has damaging effects to your mind and body.

Follow Angela Knight's journey @knightandkay



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