Managing The Mind - Mental Health Awareness Week

May 13, 2024
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Safety isn't just about fire extinguishers and PPE. We care deeply about the mental health of our team, with many initiatives in place to help. As part of Mental Health Awareness Week 2024, Fire Safety Tech, Darren Stewart offered to write a piece for our website.

Managing the mind is very much like dealing with the seasons of the year.

Its no surprise that for myself and probably for a large percentage of people, Spring/Summer time I love and Winter time I dislike. Personally the whole of last year was, in the famous words of the  late Queen Elizabeth, an “Annus Horribillis” ( Latin for a Horrible Year).

I had rejoined the Flare team and had hit the ground running going to Europe for my first offshore trip of the year.  In the background I was dealing with some difficult issues so I used that time being away from it all to ponder my next steps in life.

Would I wallow in despair and gloom and let myself be overwhelmed with it all? Or… see this as not just a fresh start in my working life but also a chance to bolster and sharpen my skills in learning to manage difficulties and becoming stronger mentally? Well as we find ourselves at the start of UK springtime, I can gladly say that I have used the previous time to learn to become more resilient with challenging issues. Ive pushed forward and stepped up in all aspects of my life. Waking up every day with a challenge to make it as positive as I can.

Making changes and learning positive habits isn’t hard, in fact its very rewarding and enjoyable. The hardest part is getting started, keeping momentum and being consistent! Here are some of the things I did to change myself to a more positive mindset.

(This is – and always will be – a work in progress!)

I suffer with low mood in the darker, colder months, so I take a high strength Vitamin D supplement (the sunshine vitamin) during that period. I let myself go with the flow of the early darker evenings and have earlier bedtimes, kind of hibernating through that period I suppose.  No matter the weather I always make time every day to get some fresh air and some daylight , come rain, snow or storms!

Throughout the past year I have started reading a lot more. There is a whole new world of self improvement books and believe it or not, there are some very good ones out there!

I try and aim to exercise 3 times a week. Training and exercise can feel like a chore but believe me its “money in the bank” when it comes to the affects it has on your state of mind and happines.

I talk to people more. Even if that’s through a text message or a post on social media which gets people to interact. I make conversations with new people and have met some incredible personalities through working abroad and in the north sea. The world is full of interesting people with lives so vastly different to mine.  Those are very enriching experiences. Ive made loads more friends through chatting to new people ive met on my travels.

I try and spend more time having outdoor adventures. Wether that’s hillwalking with pals or cave exploring with my son. We spend most of our lives around screens and under  artificial lights. We need to break away from it as often as we can.

I walk a lot. I dress for all occasions. That comes under the exercise part but it soon became like therapy for me. I stick on earphones, listen to music and dress to the weather. During the walk I internalise events of the past , present and the future . I talk to myself and coach myself on how to deal with them. This therapy is free and it works !

Of course much like the seasons our mental state has ups and downs. Whether that’s  Stormy moods or a Spring in our step. I get through those darker  times knowing that spring is always around the corner.

Thank you for your openness and honesty, Darren.
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