‘Mind Yourself’ – Mental Health & Wellbeing with Martin Furber

March is a really busy month for me as a therapist. It’s the month when many people come to see me, having fallen by the wayside, in terms of their New Year resolutions.

Gym memberships gather dust, diets falter, and self-improvement plans have fallen by the wayside. Feelings of guilt and failure creep in, as old, unhelpful habits replace all the previous good intentions from what was just a couple of months ago.

Maybe, it’s time to reframe these thoughts.

Failing at a resolution isn’t failure, it’s feedback. Think of it as valuable information about what works and what doesn’t work for you. Maybe the gym routine wasn’t sustainable, or the diet plan felt restrictive and isolating. This knowledge empowers you to adjust and try again, not give up entirely.

So, forget the resolutions, they didn’t work did they? Set some intentions instead. Intentions are less rigid and more focused on why you want to change. Do you want more energy for your family? More time for hobbies? Connecting your goals to deeper values makes them more meaningful and sustainable. Ditch the all-or-nothing mentality, rigid goals often set us up for disappointment. Instead, adopt a flexible, long-term approach.

Start small and specific, don’t overwhelm yourself with drastic changes. Choose one small, achievable action you can do consistently, like a 10-minute walk or one healthy meal per day. Small wins build momentum and confidence.

Stop being so hard on yourself and celebrate progress, no matter how small. Remember, change takes time and is rarely linear. So many of us tend to be kinder to others than we are to ourselves. Treat yourself with the same compassion you’d offer a friend who is struggling.

Surrounding yourself with supportive people who encourage and uplift you can also make a world of difference, so this is a great opportunity to reconnect with someone, make that phone call you’ve been meaning to make.

The changing season offers the chance to shift your perspective. So, ditch the “resolution regret” and embrace a more flexible, compassionate approach.

March is also the month of ‘World Sleep Day’. It’s a global campaign highlighting the importance of sleep for our physical and mental health.  While we spend roughly a third of our lives asleep, it’s often the first thing sacrificed in our busy schedules.  However, prioritising sleep isn’t a luxury – it’s a necessity for a healthy mind and body. Look at any other mammal you can think of, they all prioritise their sleep, something we as humans, with our busy lives, tend not to do.

The relationship between sleep and mental health is a two-way street. Poor sleep can exacerbate mental health conditions like anxiety and depression, while pre-existing mental health issues can often lead to sleep disturbances.  Studies have shown that people with insomnia are three times more likely to develop depression.  On the other hand, getting enough quality sleep can significantly improve your mood, emotional regulation, and cognitive function.

During sleep, your brain isn’t just resting – it’s actively consolidating memories and processing emotions.  This is particularly true during REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep, the stage characterised by dream formation and rapid eye movements.  Research suggests that REM sleep plays a crucial role in emotional regulation.

Imagine your brain as a filing cabinet.  During waking hours, we accumulate experiences, both positive and negative.  REM sleep is like the filing clerk, sorting through these experiences and filing away the important ones, while discarding the emotional baggage associated with less important events.  Without adequate REM sleep, these emotions can linger, potentially leading to increased vulnerability to mental health problems.

Here’s something else that your sleep can help with – weight loss! In the pursuit of a healthier lifestyle, many individuals focus on diet and exercise, often overlooking a crucial element that plays a significant role in weight management – quality sleep. As it is World Sleep Day next week, it’s the perfect time to tell you about the profound impact that a good night’s sleep can have on achieving and maintaining a healthy weight.

Numerous studies have confirmed the intricate relationship between sleep and weight management. Sleep deprivation can disrupt the delicate balance of hormones that regulate hunger and satiety (feeling full or satisfied), leading to increased cravings for high-calorie, sugary foods. When we don’t get enough sleep, the levels of ghrelin, the hormone responsible for stimulating appetite, rise, while leptin, the hormone that signals fullness, decreases. This hormonal imbalance creates a perfect storm for overeating and poor food choices.

Inadequate sleep can also hinder our ability to make mindful food decisions. Fatigue and sleepiness impair cognitive function, making it more challenging to resist tempting snacks and make rational choices about portion sizes. When we are well-rested, we are better equipped to make conscious, healthier choices, about the foods we eat.

The impact of sleep on metabolism is another crucial aspect of weight management. Quality sleep promotes a healthy metabolism, ensuring that the body efficiently processes nutrients and burns calories. In contrast, sleep deprivation can lead to a sluggish metabolism, making weight loss more difficult to achieve and sustain.

That’s it for this month. If you would like me to cover any other subjects to do with mental health and well-being please get in touch, I’d love to hear from you.

Please feel free to send me an email with SAHIR HOUSE in the subject line to

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