Focus on Wellbeing from Bag Daddy’s Doctor in Residence
How Full Is Your Cup?
Uncertainty is part of life. Paradoxically there is absolute certainty that we are living in a time of great uncertainty and, given the preceding two years, we’ve been living in this state for a prolonged period.
In these uncertain times ‘normal’ stressors and avenues of anxiety can be heightened, impacting on our personal wellbeing. The idea of personal wellbeing may seem quite simple, but given the complexity of life, having the tools and awareness to check how our own wellbeing is doing can be tricky. Many find the ‘cup’ analogy useful: the amount of liquid in that cup is our level of wellbeing. Things like stressors, anxieties and life events deplete it. On the other hand activities, exercise, socialising and mindfulness can top it up. Simply put, there has to be a balance between how much is being taken out of the cup with what is being put back in.
So, how full is your cup?
If you’re thinking “ok”, then that’s great to hear. Maybe then think about how you will keep the level topped-up as we head into the winter months. How will you make it a routine thing, a habit even? If you’re thinking “I’m coping – but not by much” then sounds like that cup needs topping-up. Who can you talk to and what positive activities can you do in your week for yourself? Everyone is different so there will be something that works for you, but the general rule is that little and often is more effective than lots but rarely. So try and do something regular, work it into a routine which, over time, will become a habit.
If you’re thinking “I have little or nothing left” then, firstly I am sorry to hear that is the case. Secondly, this is worrying and it’s time to act. Who can you talk to about it? If you feel you can’t talk to someone you know then how about someone trained to help? You can call Samaritans (www.samaritans.org) on 116 123 to speak to trained counsellor any time of the day or night. What if you don’t want to talk but still want to reach-out? Then text SHOUT (www.giveusashout.org) to 85258 (the numbers are the middle row on your mobile), again, at any time and their trained counsellors will communicate via text messages. If you feel you need to see someone face-to-face, or you may need more structured clinical support, then book into see your GP – do let them know if it is urgent.
You may find that you are doing pretty well, but you are concerned about someone else. Why don’t you use the ‘cup’ analogy on them and see where they are? Or watch out for warning signs which include prolonged low mood, loss of motivation, loss of getting joy out of things they normally would do (and maybe they aren’t doing those things), loss of appetite and disturbed sleep. If you spot these then ask more questions, ask if they want to talk and offer them whatever help you can.
There’s a huge number of self-support resources out there, so to narrow it down here’s three links that many find useful.
- The ‘cup’ analogy in more detail and with useful guidance how to top-your-cup-up
- The excellent charity Mind (options include ‘Get Help Now’ including in an emergency, helplines and a ‘A-Z of Mental Health’)
- NHS Mental Health which includes a wide range of resources including a depression and anxiety quiz, and self-referral for psychological therapies
If you, or someone you know, ever needs help then always please remember that all the organisations here, and lots more like them, have people waiting to help right now or whenever needed.
Bill Kawai-Calderhead is an Army Doctor, Baddy Daddy Co-Founder and Wellbeing Advocate