What a solo cycling journey taught me about mental health

This blog post is part of a series on men’s mental health for Movember. In this series, different men give their perspective on male mental health. What does it mean to deal with mental health as a man?

In certain cases as with the interview below, people have had the courage to reveal their identity. This is both brave and vulnerable, congratulations to them!

What made you want to share your story? Please introduce yourself

Dirk Spits

My name is Dirk Spits, 39 years old. Between September 2013 and May 2015 I solo-cycled from the northern tip of Alaska to the southern point of South America, an expedition of over 30.000 km that took 20 months. I did this for my foundation called 99%RIDE, raising funds and awareness for small NGOs concerning children’s and educational projects.

During the expedition I experienced the most difficult (mental, physical and emotional) situations I have ever come across. The mental component has always fascinated me, and now I am always pleased to be able to share my story and experience with others.

Continue reading “What a solo cycling journey taught me about mental health”

Shining a spotlight on men’s mental health

Men's mental health
Photo by Helena Lopes from Pexels

After the success of last year’s mental health awareness week campaign, I was wondering what I could do this year that would build on it and continue to add value for the readers of this blog.

As I started listening to podcasts such as The Authentic Dating Series, the Sanctus podcast on mental health, The lonely American man, attending talks and hearing people like Kevin Groen speak, I became more aware of issues such as toxic masculinity, and other societal pressure men have to deal with. This got me thinking about the impact it has on their mental health and their ability to talk about it.

Continue reading “Shining a spotlight on men’s mental health”

Finance and mental health: how to weather the anxiety of COVID19?

Guest blog post by Ana Herrero-Wallace

Financial anxiety induced by COVID19

Financial anxiety

Since March we’ve all been thrown into chaos due to COVID19, and the implications of that on our mental health are still being discovered. One of the aspects that’s cause for concern is personal finance, and yet there doesn’t seem to be a lot out there to help us get through it. 

It’s absolutely normal to have financial concerns in such uncertain times, whether you lost your job, are not sure how secure your current role is, or are worried about your investments and how to make it through the storm. Or perhaps due to media coverage, you’re worried about whether or not you should buy/sell, if you’re going to lose money, if you should invest at all or what to do if you already have. These are legitimate reactions to have right now, and we’re all experiencing the uncertainty.  

Continue reading “Finance and mental health: how to weather the anxiety of COVID19?”

how my mental health affected my financial situation

Over the summer I listened to a few financial podcasts and was inspired by one particular episode in which the guest was talking about her childhood and how it had deeply affected her relationship with money. This got me thinking about the connection between finance and mental health and how they influence each other, and I decided it was an important topic to cover.

If you think about it, personal finance and mental health are both topics that aren’t really talked about that much. If you want to learn how to manage your finances properly you have to seek out information, but conversations about money can still be considered taboo in certain societies, and no one is ever taught financial literacy. Yet our financial wellbeing has such an impact on our general wellbeing, it strikes me as strange we don’t address it more often.

For this blog post since I don’t have much experience myself, I put out a call for contributions and was fortunate enough to have a few people respond. The following is an interview/guest blog post by Celine who was willing to share her story. I hope you enjoy, and thank you to her for contributing!

Continue reading “how my mental health affected my financial situation”

Secrecy around mental health at work

Secrecy around mental health at work
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

Previously I talked about the idea that mental health is bad for your career, in fact busting the myth wide open. But along with this commonplace myth come a load of other issues. Enter: secrecy around mental health at work.

While the topic is gaining momentum, we’re still not in a place where people openly volunteer information about their mental health in the workplace. Thanks to COVID19 I’ve seen the media and employers paying far more attention to mental health, which means companies are looking for ways to address the issue and bring mental wellbeing to the forefront of their agenda. I couldn’t be more excited!

Continue reading “Secrecy around mental health at work”

Mental health is bad for your career

As always, one of the reasons I write these posts and maintain this blog is to raise awareness around mental health so there are fewer myths and we’re able to talk about it more openly.

One of the main challenges with mental health and people feeling comfortable speaking up is that there is still a lot of stigma around it. We’ve definitely made progress but we’re not yet in a place where you can openly say to your employer “I suffer from depression” without being afraid of getting fired.

So today I want to address this common myth that mental health is bad for your career and break it down. Why do we believe this, what are the fears and most importantly, how do we overcome it?

Continue reading “Mental health is bad for your career”

Job hunting and mental health

Job hunting and mental health

Long read

The past few months I wrote a few posts revolving around the corona crisis, but there’s one very important topic I haven’t covered yet – you guessed it – job hunting.

This topic is close to my heart as I’ve been unemployed, and have experience with the ups and downs that come with it. Now due to coronavirus things are different: many people have lost their jobs unexpectedly, perhaps overnight or without much warning. This creates difficult conditions in which to be searching for a new job, not to mention the mental health struggles that come with it.

Continue reading “Job hunting and mental health”

The emotional damage of working in a toxic environment

Photo by Nathan Cowley from Pexels

It’s been a while since I wrote a blog post on the topic of mental health at work. Understandably a lot of other things have happened the past few months, but this remains my core area of interest and where I want to break down barriers. I decided it was time I got back to it, and was listening to Esther Perel’s podcast “How’s work” when this topic came to mind.

Continue reading “The emotional damage of working in a toxic environment”

Mental health is everyone’s problem

Photo by Anna Shvets from Pexels

Wow! A lot has happened in the past few weeks and months. In fact, 2020 has thrown quite a lot at us when it comes to mental health. I’m not the type to write off the year because of that, but I have to acknowledge that it’s come with its challenges and that many people are struggling.

First corona virus hit us hard, and in the past few weeks there have been a lot of uprisings around the world against racism and social injustice after the death of George Floyd. It’s clear to me that these issues and many more are affecting our mental health, they are weighing heavily on us and creating stress. The fact is this isn’t new, many people and especially minorities have borne the burden of their status for decades or even centuries. But it seems that finally this burden is coming to light and prompting new conversations. I can only hope these will also provoke lasting change.

In this context, it felt appropriate to highlight how mental health concerns each and every one of us: mental health is for everyone.

Continue reading “Mental health is everyone’s problem”

Mental health myth busting

Photo by Craig Adderley on Pexels.com

This year I’ve taken a lot more to video for several reasons. Partly, I am more comfortable with it now and it’s an easier format to share as if I were talking to you. Partly because I finally have video editing software that means I can make half decent videos. 😅

Regardless, I was inspired to start a myth busting series around mental health. In these videos I cover the following topics:

  1. Therapy is only for crazy people
  2. Vulnerability is weakness
  3. Just “turn off” your negative emotions
  4. Don’t be so emotional, it’s not professional
  5. Feeling depressed? Just throw yourself into work
  6. Mental health is bad for your career
Continue reading “Mental health myth busting”

The road to recovery – my mental health journey

Emma Brooks
Emma Brooks

If you’ve followed me over the past few years, by now you might have followed bits and pieces of my mental health journey too. It all started with my blog post “living with anxiety“, and since then I’ve gone on to share more via YouTube. Below is a summary:

And in this blog post as you might have guessed, I want to cover the topic of recovery.

Continue reading “The road to recovery – my mental health journey”

The importance of feeling supported

The importance of feeling supported

The theme for this year’s mental health awareness week is kindness, and in light of that I want to talk about the importance of feeling supported when you’re experiencing mental health issues.

The Mental Health Foundation chose this theme because “kindness strengthens relationships, develops community and deepens solidarity. Wisdom from every culture across history recognises that kindness is something that all human beings need to experience and practise to be fully alive.”

Continue reading “The importance of feeling supported”

Why it’s important to have mental health conversations

As you may know, it’s always been a goal of mine to break down the stigma around mental health and encourage people to have more open conversations about it. That’s one of the main reasons I continue to share my experience, to help encourage others to open up about their own difficulties.

Now with COVID19 we are going through a public health crisis, but it’s also going to become a mental health one. That’s why it’s so important for us to have mental health conversations.

Continue reading “Why it’s important to have mental health conversations”

How being isolated affects your mental health

How being isolated affects your mental health
Photo by Erik Mclean from Pexels

Most of Europe and the rest of the world has spent at least a month if not longer in various forms of lockdown. From not being allowed out without permission to partial confinement, our reality has changed a lot due to COVID19. With that, we are facing the new reality of spending a lot of time alone, and the implications for our mental health.

Continue reading “How being isolated affects your mental health”

becoming comfortable with uncertainty

Becoming comfortable with uncertainty

This blog post had been in my bank of ideas for a while, and now seems like a fitting time to write it. In case you’re reading this years later or have been living under a rock, right now we’re in the middle of the corona virus crisis. Corona what? Basically, a “flu like” virus that’s gone rogue and is causing havoc (don’t quote me on that scientific description). For a humorous interpretation see the below (in French)

But back to serious business, we are now collectively going through a time of uncertainty. And that can be scary, so what can you do to deal with it?

Continue reading “becoming comfortable with uncertainty”