It's important not to underestimate the impact on our mental health when we don't have our most basic needs met. I've really acknowledged over recent weeks and months just how much a disruption in sleep patterns or a reduction in the length or quality of sleep overall; affects my mood, feelings and reactions.
This again brings us back to the need for self care and to remember analogies like 'you can't pour from an empty cup'. On the days after the least amount of quality sleep, tolerance is much lower and it can also literally feel like you have nothing left to give. This obviously becomes even harder when you are caring for others.
Today I was reminded again of the impact of not having all of our basic needs fulfilled on our general psychological state. Last night we discovered a water leak in the house and it has resulted in having to keep the water mains turned off for the majority of the time. We do not currently have an end point to this; not knowing either when it will be fixed or how long it may take to resolve. The overall stress of the situation, plus the removal of a basic human commodity for myself and those I'm responsible for, has had a big impact!
I was reminded of Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs and how it is very difficult to progress with much else or have the chance to reach your potential or actually flourish, when your essential needs are not provided for or you have unexpected obstacles. Equally, it was another lesson in gratitude for usually having running water at our disposal and a relative amount of freedom to live the life we wish to have.
Although it is very difficult for most people to push through these kinds of challenges, due to the mental impact; with the right support we can all do our best to focus on what we do have and try to keep everything in perspective. At least for most of us in the Western world these kinds of obstacles are usually short-lived or are at least not forever.
Next time you have a really great undisturbed sleep or a lovely refreshing shower, clean water to drink or similar, try not to take these for granted and feel grateful for having those needs met as it allows you to achieve more and work towards goals.
If however you are really struggling mentally at the moment due to feeling that your basic needs are either threatened or not fulfilled, please reach out to an organisation for further practical or emotional support, there are several on our help pages. Counselling can also be helpful in understanding how you feel about situations going on in your life currently or from the past, so it's definitely worth considering.
Wishing you a peaceful summer and improving mental health and happiness, Louise x
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