Our health and wellbeing have become more important than ever over the past year, and whilst lockdown restrictions are easing for most people in the UK, it's important to still check in with yourself and make sure you are doing okay! We caught up with the lovely Mollie Davies from The Breakdown to discuss all things wellbeing!
Tell us a little bit about The Breakdown and what you do…
We are an online mental health magazine telling the real and raw stories of people who’ve experienced mental illness – in any way, shape or form. Ultimately, we want to deliver important news and stories to people across the world, but do it with wellbeing in mind. We want to always be an honest, realistic platform that pushes for change.
I think the past year has been hard for everyone in different ways, how have you found it?
The last year has been so incredibly tough. I’ve been lucky in that I can work from home. I live with my Mum, and we get on very well - we’re best friends. I know that I’m very fortunate to be in a situation where my life, for the most part, has remained unaltered. It’s just the social and scary side of things. I got a puppy just before the first wave to help with my mental health, and she has been incredible.
What do you find helpful for keeping your mental health and wellbeing on track?
I set reminders on my phone, even for things like taking time to do breathing exercises. I try to help myself by taking supplements, vitamins and herbal teas. I smother myself in hot water bottles because they comfort me. I do all of this, as well as taking medication and receiving therapy - I think it’s important to acknowledge that if you need medical support, there is no shame or failure in that. But for me, the small things I do at home are there to help me with keeping myself in check, holding myself accountable almost for looking after myself as much as I can.
Do you have any advice for those who are worried about lockdown lifting and going back to the ‘norm’?
This is actually something I’ll be touching on soon in an upcoming article. It’s a very scary time, and we haven’t seen anything like it in our generation. I think remembering that personal boundaries are not just for a pandemic, but should always be something we have. If you don’t want to go out for dinner, say no. If you don’t want lots of people in your house, you don’t have to. Everybody travels through life differently, and I think we’ve learned that during the pandemic. Try to remember the good sides of what life was like before these social changes happened, and remember that this is just a bump in the road. We’re all in it together too - and I think that’s comforting.
What are your top tips for dealing with stress?
My top tips would be: developing a breathing strategy that works for you when feeling panicked, listening to what your body needs from you and trusting it, and surrounding yourself with people who love you, and you love too. Nobody has to be in your life if you don’t want them to be.
A lot of people have found that their homes have become their safe havens over the past year, have you found the same?
Absolutely - but mine always has been. My Mum, Olive (my incredibly cute basset hound) both live with me, my best friend lives two doors up, and friends and family very close. I’m so social (a real Leo!) that I find no problem in keeping contact with people, even if it’s virtual, which is obviously harder. I’ve spent more time decorating, gardening and getting to know what makes me happy.
Many people have found new hobbies, had time to spend with their families and kids over the past year, do you have any positives you can take from lockdown?
Absolutely. I think it’s taught us plenty of things. Practicing good hygiene, treating everybody kindly, reignited a community spirit, respect for our key workers, and that everybody is going through their own journey and battles. There has been a lot of eye-openers for people in terms of realising what life can really be like, and whilst we’ve learned it in a horrible way, we can take forward the positives. I’ve also done lots of sewing, baking, more writing than ever, as well as DIY.
- Favourite flower? A peony (unfortunately their season is very short, so the house is full of them when it can be)
- Animal? A tricky one. Domestic animal, a dog without a doubt - specifically a basset. But, I do love giraffes, penguins and otters. Please don’t make me choose!
- Food? My Grandma’s roast dinner or fairy cakes with runny icing and sprinkles - all about comfort!
- Drink? An amaretto sour if it’s alcohol, or a glass of cold milk
- Three things you can’t leave your house without? (Let’s pretend face masks don’t count!) My phone, a lipgloss and my EPI pen
- You can invite three people over for dinner (past or present), who would you choose? Oh this is HARD. My Great Nan (Little Nan) who has passed, Stevie Nicks, and Victor Hugo
We'd love to hear all of your stories and what you got up to over lockdown? Did you renovate your home, find love for gardening or pick up a new hobby? Let us know in the comments below.