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Lough Neagh Monster Dunkers on Tour January 2019

Mental Health Awareness Week-What steps are you taking to protect your sanity?

Mental Health Awareness Week 2019

We are now beginning to understand the importance of Mental Health and talking more about when we are feeling down. Mental health awareness and especially self -care I think for self-employed is vital as we often don’t have colleagues or a boss to spot the signs when we are struggling. What steps are you taking to protect your mental health? When I’m feeling anxious or tired or down, I simply put my towel and swimming hat in the car and off I head to Lough Neagh. My sanity is cold water dunking!

On the 10th May last year, I attempted to go swimming in just my swimsuit in very cold Atlantic Ocean in Portrush. If anyone has never been in the Atlantic Ocean at any time of the year let me tell you it’s fairly Baltic! Little did I know that day that it would take me on a journey that would change how I manage anxiety levels probably forever.

After that day in May, I became really interested in cold water swimming or ‘dunking’ as it’s called and on 6th October 2018, I joined with glee the inaugural dunk of Lough Neagh Monster Dunkers who meet almost every day now in Lurgan. For the last 7 months come rail, hail or shine I’ve been swimming in the never balmy temperatures of Lough Neagh at Oxford Island with other water baby crazies. The benefits of cold-water swimming have been widely reported but for me it’s the utter sense of calm it brings.

I’m writing this in #mentalhealthawareness week because at a stage in my life I was so stressed I put my back out several times because of the all the tension I was carrying, broke my bottom 2 teeth as I was grinding them so much and had a knot the size of Everest in my stomach most of the time. Fortunately, that is no longer the case.

The slogan for this year’s Mental Health Awareness week is #bebodykind and you would be surprised by the amount of people I’ve met who told me they won’t come swimming because they are so body conscious .I’ve never much taken notice of my weight as long as I can comfortably fasten my jeans. In the dunkers we come in all heights, widths and sizes but we have learned not to care as when you are in the water there is no ego!


Infographic fromNHS

Bebodykind infographic

So next time you are feeling a bit anxious, pack your sense of humour, your swim suit, a towel and a flask of tea and head down Oxford Island way!

I want to have optimal mental health so I can provide the best service I can to my clients. In this vein I’m collaborating with 3 other Virtual Assistants , the VA Heroes NI to have an event on 5th June to help other small business others keep their sanity. As entrepreneurs ourselves we know how stressful life as an entrepreneur can be! You can book your ticket HERE and if you have any questions or any tips on keeping sane, don’t hesitate to contact me.

#upthedunkers #bebodykind #mentalhealthawareness #saveonsanity #mentalhealthawareness week 2019

Email: alison@virtuali.uk

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Guest blogger for Sensei on the topic of VA Heroes collective

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