Rachel Egan is the Communications Officer at Mind and a self-professed ‘pint sized mental health campaigner who prefers prosecco to tea or coffee’. Already sounding like a woman after our own hearts, we’re taking a sneak peek into a typical day in Rachel’s world to see what she gets up to. Prepare for pooches, pad thai, and preparation for Mental Health Awareness Week…
7.20am My alarm goes off. Convinced it should still be the middle of the night, I hit snooze twice before reluctantly pulling myself out of bed and into the bathroom. It is time to check my weight. I had an eating disorder in my teens, and thought I had nailed this whole recovery thing a few years ago. Turns out my eating disorder is stubborn and still comes to visit me sometimes. I know I should know better than to base my self-worth on a number on the scale, but recovery is an ongoing journey.
8.34am The train is due right now. It’s late as usual but there is a very pleasant surprise on there once it does arrive; meet Winnie, an Italian Mastiff who is sharing my carriage today. I am a huge dog person: my parents have a lively Westie called Osgood too!
9.30am I get to work and check my emails. The Media team send us a round-up of mental health-related news stories every day, in case we get any questions about them on social media. Today, it’s my turn to moderate Mind’s Facebook page, which means I respond to comments on our posts and signpost people who need our help to our information page or support services.
12.30pm It’s lunchtime and today the Fundraising team are hosting a ‘Lunch and Learn’ session session about Crafternoon – a fundraising initiative where people get together to craft and raise money for Mind. People are eating their lunch during the session but I find eating in large groups difficult. So, after bungling my crochet, I head out to have lunch in the park.
2pm It’s our planning meeting for Mental Health Awareness Week (14th-20th May 2018). This year’s theme is stress and it is important that Mind has a strong campaign and we use this as an opportunity to signpost people to our free materials and info booklets. We also discuss developing some special resources and plan new content for social media.
4.30pm Back at my desk and I chat to some colleagues about the upcoming photoshoots for our Policy and Campaigns team. Having good social support is really important to help me stay well at work. My line manager knows this because everyone at Mind has the option of creating a Wellness Action Plan that records what helps you stay mentally healthy at work.
7pm I am in the gym; this is where I unwind and relax after the day. Recently I switched up my routine to focus less on burning calories and to focus more on building strength and confidence. It’s helping my recovery – both in body and mind.
9.00pm After throwing together a Quorn Pad Thai and managing to drop crushed peanuts all over the floor, I grab my laptop to make the final preparations for my upcoming Youth Mental Health First Aid (YMHFA) course.
YMHFA teaches people to spot the signs and symptoms of mental illness in young people, then respond and provide support on a first-aid basis. As an Instructor I deliver this course to parents, teachers, social workers or anybody else who wants to learn more. I have one coming up this weekend, so I send the attendees a reminder email about the details and check I have enough manuals for everybody.
10.30pm Feeling sleepy, I get into the shower, using a lovely shower gel I got for Christmas and emerge feeling warm, refreshed and ready for bed. After some stand-up comedy on Netflix (Jack Whitehall anyone?) I finally turn out the light about 11pm.