Today we’d like to introduce you to mental health influencer Annie Bartley. Annie is a Creative Director and Designer who works at Bed Head Studio. She also designs some of the trade publications that many UK based hairdressers will regularly read. Mum to 10 month old baby Vivianne, and ‘canine son’ Colin, her much loved French Bulldog/Chihuahua cross, in the last year Annie has established herself as a spokesperson for mental health with her very honest and informative Instagram account: @annie_you_ok
More recently Annie has launched a website: www.anniebartley.co.uk to raise awareness of mental illness and raise funds for Rethink Mental Illness through the sale of quirky designs inspired by her love of tattoos.
Anyone who knows Annie will confirm she’s loud and exuberant with hair that varies from bright red to peachy-pink. In fact, her hair has been significant in her own mental health she says, as she was made to feel different as a child because of her ‘ginger’ hair. But, Annie’s mental health took a dive 12 years ago, leading to several problems including an eating disorder, for which she still receives support today. From her own experiences she has devised many healthy coping mechanisms, and as someone who mainly works from home (in ordinary times), she is the ideal person to now give you some ideas to ensure you maintain your own well-being over this period of social isolation.
“This is SO super important,” says Annie. “Get up at the same time you would normally get up, change out of your pajamas, shower and breakfast and make a ‘to do’ list of all the things you aim to achieve each day. This creates a sense of normality and productivity.”
“It’s really important to move to a separate space in your home when taking a break. Even if it’s just moving from your desk to the sofa! Change your environment.”
‘Take care of your bodies!!” she says. “It’s SO easy to binge eat on crisps and cereal 24/7, go to bed at 2am and only get exercise when you’re walking to the fridge! We are so limited with our activities, so eat lots of vegetables and get your body moving, whether it’s stretching, deep breathing or running, and give yourself time to just BE.”
“Focus on what you can control and let go of what you can’t”.
Things you CAN control:
Things you CAN’T control:
“We are so lucky to have a plethora of technology,” says Annie. “Social Media outlets enables us to stay connected with friends, family and colleagues. Make sure you make video calls so you can see everyone’s lovely face! And think up new ways to hang out with friends.”
‘Google Meet’ to take part in some classic games with friends such as a virtual Pub Quiz, Bingo or Netflix or even cooking dinner together.
Other Apps to look at:
“Your daily routine has disappeared and this can cause high anxiety for many people, but that’s OK. Remember, you can create new routines, and a new normal, but keep in the back of your mind this mantra: This is temporary and it will pass”
“Find things to lift your mood. Look at the amazing things our communities do to help people and all the positive things that happen in the world,” says Annie. “I love memes, they are my life! And I follow funny compilation videos of dogs and baby goats in pyjamas!
“One of the things I have used to support my mental health is keeping a diary. Particularly when I am struggling. It is so important to get your thoughts out of your head and onto paper,” says Annie. “It really helps looking at that thought in a different perspective and also lets you keep track of the pattern of your thoughts and feelings so that you can identify triggers that will help you in the future.”
“This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to learn a new skill, so don’t waste the opportunity!”
“More than anything – take this opportunity to get stuff done!”
“It is SO important to be open and vocal about what you go through mentally”, says Annie.
MOST OF ALL, TAKE IT ONE DAY AT A TIME:
Try not to look too far into the future. Focus on getting through each day.
Remeber, these are temporary measure and you are not alone.
Together we are stronger!
Annie has created a handbook filled with ideas and tips to help you balance your wellbeing at home. Download it for free.