MENTAL HEALTH WEEK 2018
FIGHTING THE DARKNESS
- Georgie Okell
For Mental Health Week 2018 we're sharing the story of our trainers to understand how they have overcome adversity, learned to embrace their emotions and how they are focusing on their mind as well as their body.
Georgie Okell, who began her career presenting on Channel 4 hosting shows such as T4, along with being a competitive skier and regular marathon runner, is one of our original Rumble and Ride instructors. Even with her successful career, Georgie has faced emotionally testing situations and learned to deal with a darker side of herself, which in turn has helped her find a maintainable balance in her life.
I’ve struggled with my mental health for a long time, specifically with bouts of excruciating depression. I did a lot of avoiding dealing with this, moving countries and careers always thinking the next place or thing would fix me. But I was always taking my problems with me, so despite the career success and the spells living in LA and New York, my mental health remained rocky. About a year ago things got so rough that I had started to have suicidal thoughts on a daily basis and ended up going to my doctor and was prescribed with antidepressants. They helped for a while. I combined this with seeing a therapist, immersing myself in exercise and practicing meditation. A lot of that stuff was useful, and still forms part of my life. For me though, the big change came when I finally got sober in September of last year, combined with the realisation that I needed to focus on stability rather than ‘success’. Removing alcohol from my life has made a huge difference to my ability to cope and function on a day to day basis.
But regardless of this change I still need to make sure I’m getting enough sleep, finding the time to meditate every day, feeling able to talk about my emotions when I’m feeling down and just taking each day at a time. I’ve had to reframe how I look at my life. I thought I was someone who loved living in the extremes- the crazy highs and the lowest lows. This isn’t sustainable. I now realise what I need is overall stability and focusing on embracing a life that serves and fulfils me whilst also being useful to other people.
"I thought I was someone who loved living in the extremes- the crazy highs and the lowest lows"
I’ve made taking care of myself a priority for the first time in my life and it’s incredible how much of a difference that has made. In hindsight, this seems obvious, but I spent so many years punishing myself and feeling sorry for myself. If you’re also stuck in this rut of thinking that this is the way you are and that you can never change, don’t restrict your potential. It’s about re-wiring the way we think to allow us to approach situations with a new and healthier mentality.
Going through these challenges and facing dark parts of myself that I never want to revisit has all been part of the journey allowing me develop into the person I am today. I hope that some of my habits and rituals can also help others on their journey.
MEDITATE AND APPRECIATE.
Each morning find time to mediate and write a gratitude list. It might seem like effort but it’s worth every second. 10 minutes out of your day is nothing.
FIND A BIGGER PURPOSE.
Having a goal is an incredibly helpful way to keep yourself on track mentally. Whether it’s a marathon, planning an adventure trip, investing in charity work, finding something that excites and motivates you will give you that energy. Focusing on something bigger than yourself will help to keep everything in perspective. Turning your attention to the people around you and how you can be useful to someone else can also make a bad day a much better one.
ALLOW YOURSELF TO RECOVER.
Sleep is key. Realising this has been a huge part of stabilising my emotions. It’s not just about letting your body physically recover, those extra hours switching off will help to refresh and reset a positive mind-set. Put your phone on the other side of the room half an hour before bedtime and don’t pick it up again til you’ve done your meditation and gratitude list in the morning.
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