Hi my name is Nes,
I’m the creator of @we.are.mindful. I am Algerian British, and my family came to the UK in the mid 90’s to escape the Algerian civil war. I currently work as an assistant psychologist and I created @we.are.mindful to share psycho education and practical tools that are simple and accessible.
From my perspective, wellness is a combination of both mental and physical health, living in line with your values and having the ability to bounce back from difficult situations. My view is that when we are well, we are able to show compassion to ourselves and others and put the boundaries we need in our lives to protect our emotional wellbeing.
If I had to rank my current state of wellness from 1-10 I think I would put my current state at about a 7. I recently got accepted into a clinical psychology doctoral program which brought a lot of joy, but the pandemic we are all adjusting to means that I haven’t really had a chance to let it sink in.
We are navigating through a really uncertain time and there are days that have been challenging for me. I have struggled to maintain a self-care routine with my busy family life. I have been fortunate to have the support in place to keep me at a “7” (mostly running, binge watching Netflix and making sure I spend some time on my own each day).
I can recall my most difficult period of life was during my teen years. My family came to the UK when I was a preschooler, but the impact of displacement meant that my childhood was filled with instability and change. This led to experiences of anxiety and impulsive behavior in my early teens.
I recall making a conscious decision focused on my own personal growth. This shift occurred when I noticed the impact my thoughts and actions were having on my education and future. I was fortunate enough to have therapy at a young age which helped me make sense of my difficulties and led me to a career in psychology.
Through the ups and downs my strength has come from my faith, my mum and friends who have always supported me, and through learning healthy coping mechanisms.
I was introduced to mindfulness during my undergrad education and it really helped me to defuse from my unhelpful thoughts and ride the wave of the emotions that came with them. I chose to do my dissertation on it, and my love for the area just kept growing. I then went on to study it at masters’ level, my practice has only continued to grow. Through mindfulness I have noticed a shift not only in how I respond to my own experiences, but how I relate to the experiences of others. It has made me more open, non-judgmental and accepting of internal and external experiences. It is not for everyone, but I do think most people can find some benefits in the philosophy of it, if not the practice.
I look forward to improving my clinical skills and knowledge during my doctorate program. Personally outside of my education l look forward to learning more about how I can maintain my own mental wellbeing through my diet nutritional psychology is something that interests me. .
I am a huge believer in maintaining a balanced diet for optimum mind/body health, but I still have a lot to learn about the nutritional value and impact of various foods. I know for example that what you eat can impact you brain, such as blueberries and walnuts improving cognition and increasing neurogenesis. These are the kind of areas I would love to learn more about so that I can take a more holistic view on my own health and encourage others to do the same.
Although I have a lot to learn, what I’ve learned in the last few years of my life is that it’s ok to express your emotions. I grew up in a culture that doesn’t encourage this, and at the start of my work experiences I found it difficult to reflect on my feelings during supervision. As I became more comfortable in sharing my thoughts and emotions, I noticed a shift in my confidence at work and general wellbeing outside of work. I definitely think noticing your thoughts without judgement and accepting them as part of the human experience is important and useful on any healing journey.
If I could give any advice to others, my advice would be at the beginning of any wellness journey, when you’re setting your goals consider your values in the process. Find out the why to your what, so that you can focus on the things that are truly meaningful to you.
I also think asking yourself some reflective questions like what does a “well you” act/ talk/ feel like? Can be really useful in helping you set out meaningful goals. I believe doing one small thing towards your goals each day is important, no matter how small this helps to keep you accountable and you can then build on the time or steps you take each day as you keep progressing. Don’t be afraid to pause and reflect on how far you’ve come, sometimes we get so caught up in what we haven’t achieved yet that we don’t think about what we have achieved!