The 10th of October every year is World Mental Health Day that aims to raise the awareness of mental health issues and support mental health. We on Moonchild want to raise awareness on this important topic and met with Nanna who has a background in physiotherapy and experience of mental health-related issues. Today Nanna works with her channels, coaching, teaching yoga, and currently writing her book. We talked about this important topic of mental health, her background, and how to heal from mental health issues in today's society.
To raise the awareness of World Mental Health day Nanna is doing an Instagram take-over at Moonchild's Instagram today! Make sure to check it out here. Nanna is sending live Sunday the 18th at 10.00 CET on Instagram and sharing some of the tools that we talk about in the interview. Make sure to not miss out, by follow the Inspiring Nanna here.
Nanna has a degree in physiotherapy - but during her studies, she was traveling a lot, doing some semester overseas, did volunteering, and was never really that grounded in doing her degree. But she saw that no matter where she travelled, people seemed to have their same struggle and the same pressure. This made her interested in not only looking into the body which she had done with her degree - but to understand that mind & body connection.
After she graduated from her physiotherapy degree, Nanna moved to Bali to live the simple life that she dreamed of and was teaching yoga. During this time she also started writing a book about how we often in these times when we feel stressed out or anxious and are struggling with ourselves, we feel alone as if we are the only ones who are feeling that way which is not true. Now, she is almost done with the book and is working on finishing it.
You seem to be the person who always follows your heart what makes you takes these types of risks?
I feel like I owe it to my 15-year-old self that never did that. My past was dark and heavy and I struggled a lot with my mental health and I have now been in therapy for almost 10 years. She - my younger self was so scared of not being enough for this world and would not do or say anything unless she had calculated it down to the minimum of perfection and it just lead to something I could not get out of until I got professional help.
Nanna explains that for her the every bit of perfectionism or anxiety has been caused by the fear of not being enough. And that not enoughness would spiral into not belonging in this world. Today perfectionism is often sold as something sexy and successful but she explains that she sees it as the opposite - it is the thing that is holding us back and it is that fear that if I am not perfect - then I will not be loved. Our basic need as human beings is a sense of belonging. Nanna ended up in an eating disorder that was eating her up because she just wanted to be loved and belong.
Why do you think that mental illnesses are increasing rapidly especially amongst young girls?
I think especially with mental health right now it is so hard because when I was in high school we only compared each during the hours that when we saw one another. But now the amount of information and the number of people that we can watch and compare ourselves with has increased dramatically. In under two minutes, you can scroll through your Instagram feed and there will be maybe 200 women that our brains can compare it too. And the reason WHY we compare is that we want to belong. We want to see people who look like us and feel like us because then we belong.
What is your daily practice when it comes to your mental health?
I have had to make different strategies for different types of situations. But for example when I need to deal with panic and when I feel like it starts to arise through my body - I have three steps that I go through. So I start with going away from the situation that is causing me panic. Step two is that I speak out what is happening to me which is almost the hardest. And then I always have lavender oil in every purse which I put on my hand and cover my face with them and take three really deep breaths to stop my brain from freaking out. Then I put on really calm music and just breathe.
It has been really important for me to meet myself with a motherly energy that comes in these situations and says "hi, you are okay". When I have come out of these panic moments, I have a few tools that I turn to. One tool is tapping, where we first acknowledge what is happening, tapping into different meridians in our bodies saying I acknowledge that I am really scared, but I will be okay, I have been through this before.
Nanna's therapist has thought her a technique where you talk to her scared or judgemental thoughts like it is a small child and have an internal conversation with yourself which is a helpful tool that she uses.
What is your best advice for a parent or a friend that is being a loved one struggling?
Whenever we see a loved one suffering our natural reaction is to go in and take over a bit and try to solve the problem. But the thing is with the internal journey and mental health in general, at least in my experience is that we cannot force someone to feel better now and we cannot force someone to see a therapist. Of course, we can, but is it that energy that we want them to go there with? I think that with internal work, we need to have a certain amount of willingness and be ready to be helped before other people can help us.
Until our loved one is at that point, I think the best thing we can do is just be there. Just let this person know that they are not alone.
What is your best advice for someone who wants to start journaling?
It is hard for me to answer this question as journaling has always been my way of expressing feelings and emotions. Whenever my head is full I write, it has always come naturally for me. But if it does not come naturally for you, there are so many great guides. One of the best guides that I have come upon is through an Instagram account called @inspiretowrite. She has made a full compendium that is easy to break down with 30 journaling prompts. A good guide of some kind is such a great way to get started.
How do we stop caring about what people or society think about us?
All of those stories that we have been told on what we should do has been told to us by our parents or the society - but not by us. I think one should get a hold on their story and how they want to tell it - what if the story was mine, how would I tell it? Having that conversation with ourselves, out loud, on paper, or with a professional to get an idea of what our narrative is.
Can you give your 3 best tips for someone who is struggling with their mental health?
For me therapy has been huge, asking for help whether if it is a therapist or a trusted person - ask for help. We need each other, we are all just humans and we cannot go through life alone. Then I would say create "my self-care protocol" like these steps and tools that I do in moments of heightened anxiety and this can be anything from a song to deep breaths, going outside. Just make sure it is very specific so at the moment when we need it, we do not have to think. Just like you brush your teeth when you get out of bed. And third I would say create a sustainable habit that you can create daily so that can do such as meditation, deep breath, tapping, or a little tea ceremony. But just have a thing that you do for your mental health every day. Because some of the things we have talked about are things that we just do when it is needed - when the anxiety is there.
If you just like us find Nanna so inspiring and feel called for more guidance from her. Do not hesitate! She offers 1:1 physical yoga and 1:1 coaching sessions. See all her offerings and contact Nanna here.