A Moment With - Mari

How do you take care of your mental health?

My mental health journey has become one of full-body care as I've learnt more and more about the mind/body connection. And it's now an absolute priority. As well as engaging the mind to contextualize and understand what I am experiencing, my passion is in listening to the inherent intelligence of the body and the emotions that move through it, allowing the whole mind/body system space to express and be acknowledged. It's taken years to get here and I continue to stumble along the way but I've found its the little things throughout the day that accumulate to make a big difference, including many of the things we are often advised. Time in nature; pausing for a few deep diaphragmatic breaths; sharing and connecting with the one or two close friends I trust most; snuggles with my cat; salt baths or showering (I'm loving cold showers at the moment, which are often great for getting me out of rumination or an anxious mind); putting on my favorite songs and moving however my body most longs to move (this is a daily must for me). I'm also fortunate enough to have developed a daily meditation practice and to have found a therapist I connect well with, two big anchors for my mental health and self-care. Whilst it certainly isn't for everyone and I believe it should be carefully considered case by case, medication has also been a very necessary part of my journey.

Why do you think it's important we talk about mental health?

Ultimately, because it is fundamental to our human experience and the well being of our communities. Unfortunately, there is still so much stigma around mental health and expectations that we are constantly battling with, in a society that encourages disconnection (from ourselves and others) in order to meet unrealistic expectations and uses exhaustion as proof of how valuable we are. Its unsustainable and with stress, burnout, and mental health challenges at alarmingly high rates, the need for effective solutions is critical and that can only happen by coming together in safe spaces, talking, sharing, listening deeply, and honoring what we hear. I believe that every one of us longs to deeply feel connected, the sense that we belong, and when that need isn't met, we suffer, we experience mental and physical pain and anguish. Coming together in supportive connection, in our shared humanity, where we can talk more openly and be lovingly, compassionately and non-judgementally seen and heard as we are feels like the healing balm, the essential antidote to that sense of seperation, where we can begin to remember our inherent interconnectivity and reclaim our heart's voice and the wisdom of our intuition.

Favourite selfcare activity?

Finding a quiet space on my own, putting my wireless headphones on and dancing - freely, wildly, softly, loudly, quietly. In stillness, and in motion.

Favourite quote, song lyric or mantra?

"I would love to live like a river flows, carried by the surprise of its own unfolding" - John O'Donohue

A message to someone struggling?

What you are feeling is so valid. So so valid. The doubt, the fear, the lonliness, the desperation, the shut down. The many flavours of all of these, are arising for really understandable reasons. You may not know why yet, and maybe you don't need to know why yet, but no matter what, you are not broken. You belong, and there's another human here wholeheartedly acknowledging you in all of your humaness. Know that your path doesn't have to look like anyone else's and more often than not, it's a journey of trial and error, of stumbling and rising again, one step, one movement, one breath at a time. And whilst it can feel incredibly and achingly lonely, the truth is that many others are walking alongside you, in their own endeavor - this shared longing - to also remember their inherent wholeness. With gentleness and my whole heart, I promise you are not alone. This darkness, this hardship isn't your forever story. It's a line, a paragraph, maybe even a chapter (and a very important one at that), in an epic tale, with many volumes, about a unique life of ups and downs and everything in between, that absolutely belongs in the library of this infinite universe. It is your birthright to tell this story, one step, one movement, one breath at a time.

If you could have 'a moment with' your younger self what would you say to them?

Whoever and however you need to be right now, I am right here with you. I am listening with my whole heart. Always. Instagram account to link @yogawithmarihalina

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