CAs and ICAS staff share their mental fitness top tips
From listening to heavy metal to peaceful walks in the countryside, CAs and ICAS staff answered our recent LinkedIn post to share top tips for looking after your mental fitness.
ICAS President Indy Singh Hothi CA has three core activities in his ‘personal mental health toolkit’. These are taking walks in nature, exercising three times a week, and doing a 5 to 20-minute mindfulness meditation session each morning.
Poppy Collinson, Director of Business Development at ICAS, offered a couple of great tips, one less arduous than the other: “Sea swimming has been so good for my mental health, even when it involves getting up at 4am for summer sunrises. Being out of your depth in the sea and feeling like a tiny speck on the planet has a brilliantly levelling effect, as does eating cake with friends afterwards. Also, every now and then I schedule a 'cancel everything' day where I sit on the sofa and read all day – bliss!”
If any one area is neglected, you will feel 'off' overall.
Samantha Frost CA, Director at Think Wellbeing, offered a couple of tips, first of which was to know your own mental-health triggers: “Only when you recognise in yourself that you're not on great form, can you take action.” Her second tip was to look after your wellbeing in a holistic way, “understand what's happening with your physical health, your hormones, particularly in relation to your age, your levels of 'overwhelm', your nutrition, etc. If any one area is neglected, you will feel 'off' overall.”
Sarah Speirs, ICAS Executive Director Member Engagement and Communications, had one of the more unusual answers. One of her main ways to switch off from the stress of life is bee keeping, “I know that may sound counter-intuitive, but it is both relaxing and fascinating at the same time.”
It can help power you through the day.
Alan Burnet CA highlighted how caring for your physical fitness can in turn benefit your mental fitness: “Taking regular breaks and exercise, getting involved in activities like yoga and Pilates, where you are in and appreciating the moment, helps with mindfulness and breathing. Also, it’s good to have an understanding of the importance of a balanced diet and the food groups that can help power you through the day.”
Davide Tedesco, Digital Marketing Executive at ICAS, uses regular mind and body check-ins to keep his mental fitness in check: “I have a couple of alarm clocks set for short meditations of 3 to 5 minutes. These make my day so much better and help me centre myself and focus.”
I find that listening to music distracts and recharges me.
Andrew Henderson CA, Associate Director in the Business Tax team at Deloitte Aberdeen, offered a range of tips he’s been trying over the past couple of years. Some of these relate to working habits, including taking work calls when out for a walk, either online or through face-to-face ‘walk and talks’. He also mentioned the importance of being open with your team and your employer and asking for a working pattern that best fits you, and suggested that benefits can be derived from better planning of your day-to-day activities: “Prioritise a short list of items each week or day, for personal or work purposes that would make a big difference to you and focus on these – reflect on what you have achieved rather than what you haven’t. And block your diary for personal things that are important to you and treat that time with the same respect as work meetings, etc.”
ICAS Deputy President Clive Bellingham CA’s relaxation tips revolve around music, but not the kind you might at first consider. He’s a fan of heavy metal, including bands Killing Joke, Ministry and Tool. “I love the sound of the electric guitar. I find that listening to music distracts and recharges me.”
Talking can help me deal with difficult times.
Vikki Douglas, Senior Manager, Professional Development at ICAS, highlighted several key activities that help manage her mental fitness. These include mindfulness meditation, taking walks with her partner and their Dorset Old Tyme Bulldog, Bella, singing, and connecting with other people: “I talk with family, friends and people in my support network, as talking can help me stay in good mental health and deal with difficult times.”
Paula Wilcock, Director of Quality at ICAS, was another with a range of core activities that help her stay balanced: “Exercising four times per week, walks by the sea or water as much as possible, cooking meals from scratch using fresh ingredients, and meeting a friend for coffee.”
Join the conversation on LinkedIn and share your top tips for looking after your mental fitness.