From creative agency boss to company founder, Rebekah Brown is now on a mission to reframe midlife as a superpower.
I've arrived at a sense of liberation at what midlife can offer.
What drew you to working with Unmind?
Unmind's approach to mental health feels honed for the world we live in; contemporary, technologically clever, honest, inclusive – it looks to embrace and elevate the complexities of the mind – and, as a result, removes the stigma. We all have mental health. It's what makes us human.
What does the statement "We all have mental health, all of the time" mean to you? What is your experience with your own mental health?
For me, the statement is circulatory, perhaps deliberately so?! I'd interpret it as being an expression of the fact that the health of our mind is constantly in flow, for all of us – as is life. My mental health has needed increased focus and care as I entered midlife – and specifically perimenopause. Anxiety, sleeplessness, brain fog, a sense of "not quite feeling yourself" – all of these are common symptoms of menopause, a natural biochemical stage of life that all women will go through. And yet, many of us fail to recognise what's happening. That was true for me – I struggled alone for far too long. And when I did effectively self-diagnose, I found my doctor as ill-informed as I had been. It's taken time to feel mentally resilient – and has been the result of increased self-care, as well as connecting with others and looking at how I fuel my body too. I've come to a point of acceptance in where I am in life. And arrived at a sense of liberation at what midlife can offer.
What is one way that you take care of your own mental health every day? Why is this habit so important for you?
I meditate, pretty much without fail, for 10 minutes right after my shower in the morning. Try it! I made the mistake of assuming I needed to be in yoga clothing, surrounded by candles and cushions. But actually, the floor of your bathroom, the space by your kettle... the platform while you're waiting for the train... all are totally valid environments in which to meditate. It's not a competitive sport. You can't 'win' at it. It doesn't require kit. It's also not a sticking plaster. I view it as pre-emptive care. Doing it every day keeps the good health funnel full – and makes me more resilient on tough days.
What book would you say has had the biggest positive impact on your life? Why?
Non-fiction: Bolder, Carl Honore – because it presents the facts around ageing. And irrefutably shows how fulfilling but also how significant we are to society and business as our experience grows.
Fiction: A Gentleman in Moscow – this has become a favourite over time, and feels particularly beautiful now because the protagonist experiences a very specific kind of lockdown with such grace and humility.
If you could encapsulate the key piece of wisdom you've acquired over your life in regards to your own mental wellbeing, what would that be?
You can achieve all that is possible in a calm and peaceful manner – this was a mantra handed to me when I was an undergraduate stressing about my finals. It continues to bring me real comfort when I feel the world is asking too much of me.
Unmind members can hear more from Rebekah by taking our two new Series, Menopause 101, and Talking About Menopause.
Menopause 101 is created for those wanting to support others through the process. It gives insight into the menopause experience, helping you to feel confident opening up conversations about the topic, and support those going through it.
Let's Talk Menopause looks at the science behind the menopause journey, and offers real-life stories and actional insights to help you thrive through midlife.
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