The 21-day Mental Health Challenge, Day 2: Is being stressed part of mental health?

Yesterday I woke up at 5.30am ready to tackle the day, my mental health checklist in hand. As per the pre-scheduled arrangement, I did yoga, read the Quran, read and had a cup of tea. All was good and zen until the children opened their eyes at 7am.

After that, everything went zig zag. By 8am, I had already refereed a verbal argument between two little humans and shouted after them to pick up their toys. By 9am, I was deep in an internal argument with myself while washing dishes (what will give me greater peace: a clean cups and plates or a lie down on the sofa?) By 11am, I closed my eyes for a quick second only to wake up half an hour later in a panic over being late to a party that we were due to attend.

My husband-ever the zen-master-looked over at me as I was getting dressed and casually remarked that I looked stressed.

It wasn’t even midday but Day 2 was already a failure, or so I thought.

While talking to a good friend of mine (a medical doctor) about yesterday’s ‘failure’, she reminded me that being aware of  these stressful feelings is half the battle against mental illness. Self-awareness is important because it helps us understand who were are and why we behave the way we do. The more self-aware we are, the better masters of our emotions we become. Instead of feeling helpless in the face of stress, we can take control and respond to it in a healthy and productive way.



A free on-demand ‘listening’ app

I was having a really crappy day at work last week when I reached for my phone to look for a distraction from the app store. Quite accidentally, my eyes fell on something that surprised me. I’ll be honest- the ‘cup of tea’ part reeled me in.



I clicked on it and there it was, in the middle of a hectic day full of demands, an app that could connect me to someone anonymous whose only purpose was to lend an empathetic ear (or eyes, in this case.)

7 cups of Tea is a free app that provides on-demand emotional support. Essentially, it’s like having a friend in the palm of your hands just listen to you rant away.

When I clicked on ‘connect now’, I was redirected to a list of possible of topics that were on my mind. I’ve been trying to develop my CV so I picked on ‘getting unstuck’ and I was immediately connected to a helpful listener who promptly introduced herself. We spent about 20 minutes chatting, and she was patient enough to wait for a response from me while I handled my work related business.

Was it a good session?

All in all, it was. My listener was very keen on understanding what my issues were and she even offered a few helpful tips on how to manage stress and to pursue my passions.  The fact that it was completely anonymous and free was a big one for me because let’s face it, counselling can be quite expensive and sometimes all you need is for someone to listen to you unconditionally.

For more serious issues such as suicidal thoughts or self harm, please definitely skip right over to a professional therapist or your local emergency line.

The follow-up

After my session, I received a few prompts on exploring more mental health resources including mindfulness videos, support groups, a wellness plan, and a directory of certified local therapists in my area.

Would I recommend it?

Absolutely, yes. You have nothing at all to lose (except maybe a few frayed nerves). Technology can be so mentally overwhelming but this is one of the uncommon instances where it helps you decompress.

Check it out and let me know if you liked the app!

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