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    Many of you will know, I work for Rackspace and sometimes we get up to some fun quirky stuff.
    I’m most often asked if we actually do any work. Trust me we do, it’s work hard, play hard.

    A year or two ago, very spontaneously, we bought a bunch of watermelons, a ton of rubber bands and sent out a dubious email, that went something like:
    “The watermelon challenge!
    Come to the back of the building at lunchtime, bring a spare tee!”
    I was of course in on the action, we’d seen a clip, I think from the slomo guys, where in pairs you’d add a rubber band to the watermelon, till kaboom.
    Watch their clip here:

    and ours linked below;


    Watching this video back, got me thinking, about #pressure, about how we always add it on and sometimes can’t cope and possibly explode like the watermelon.
    A few days ago marked World Mental Health Day, a global day to promote awareness and advocacy against social stigma.

    There are many things that can affect our mental health, I’d like to break some stigma and openly talk a little about #pressure and how it affects me.
    It adds up right?
    I think sometimes we do it to ourselves.
    I resonate with anyone that feels like they are under pressure or when their small pressures in life just don’t go away.

    I have an awesome job at a cool company and outside of work am involved in many national projects and charities.
    Each of these takes up some of my time, which I willingly contribute.
    When preparing for a workshop, event or a publicspeaking engagement, I get stressed, I fret, I’ll worry about particular logistics or the doom if everything goes wrong and pear-shaped. We all have some of these worries and its okay to have reservations.
    During some of my prep, I’ll worry about the worst case scenario, play it through my mind, or procrastinate till I no longer become time efficient. Before I know it, a whole hour has gone, been wasted in just worrying. This stresses me out further. Can you see how this can turn into a never-ending cycle?

    Generally, we are so harsh on ourselves. I am guilty of this. If I’ve made a small mistake or inadequately prioritised my time, or missed out on an opportunity, I beat myself up over it, over not taking advantage of a situation; I’ll really genuinely give myself a hard time, mentally.
    It’s so strange that we decide to feel this way.

    I urge you to identify times in your own life you choose to give yourself a hard time, at first become aware.

    Some will not get this school of thought, as they are not necessarily harsh on themselves, but maybe they don’t give themselves enough credit either.

    I can recall times I have worked on an event or certified in a new area, but not celebrated, not cared enough to have joy over the small things, I’ve moved straight onto the next chapter, to the next goal, to the next challenge. I’ve been asked hey are you not happy for what you have just achieved or pulled off and often the answer has been no, or that it’s nice, but much work is left to do. This isn’t healthy and more recently have learnt to celebrate the little wins, and be micro-ambitious too! It’s great to have large goals and want to be successful and make our way in the world, these large wins can develop from the smaller, quick wins.

    Its okay to have ambitions to take over the world, let us not worry over the destination, enjoy the path and master our own minds along that journey.

    Even if we know we are under the hammer, we don’t stop to add to the todo list, add those daily tasks, add to the unnecessary rigmarole or daily stress and strife of life.

    #Pressure and stress can take many forms, and when we keep applying it, it can up and manifest itself as many ugly heads.
    …. till one day we burn out, we have an outrage or we break down.
    This happens to the best of us, even those amongst us who are tough cookies, humans are built to sustain, to withstand a hell of a lot.

    If these feelings are not addressed, anxiety can build up, the whisper we sell ourselves, that sickening conversation about failure and inability to do well. The overall distaste that sometimes we let build up. It’s horrible and you don’t need to fall victim to it.
    Breathe, take a step back, meditate, speak to someone, be proactive in stripping away these pressures.

    I am aware also of a school of thought about the ‘snow-flake culture’. I get it, people aren’t sometimes as tough as they used to be, maybe that’s the problem, maybe the understanding of social pressures or not having someone to talk openly with has led to this culture. or maybe not? each case will differ, but what is for sure, is that we are all human with emotions and feelings and sometimes those get the better of us.

    Let us all be aware of our friends and family and lend a shoulder out, get in contact with someone you haven’t for a while.
    and just don’t be so harsh to others, we are all fighting our own battles, be a support structure in someone else’s life.

    I enjoy listening to some music, some self-inflection and positive affirmations.
    There are many projects you can call or text, maybe search online for World Mental Health Day for a handy article and never ever be ashamed to ask for help.
    There are also some cool apps I like to use like SattvaHeadspace and Calm which you can use to help you through some tough times.

    Don’t let the pressure add up, when you realise it, do something about it.
    I’m always open for a chat, and if like me, you want to openly talk about stuff, get online, drop someone a text, drop a comment below.

    Have you done the watermelon challenge?
    When were you nearly at your breaking point?
    Do you feel pressured?
    What do you do to calm down and regain control?

    Care to break some stigma and share your thoughts on mental health?