At Real Active, mental health awareness is at the core of everything we do. We love helping raise funds for youth mental health and donate 10% of our proceeds to The Yoga Foundation and Batyr.
On today's blog, we chat to Christina who has been trained to be a speaker for Batyr, visiting schools and universities and sharing her mental health story and inspiring others.
- Tell us a little about yourself.
My name is Christina and I'm 21 years old. I am a mental health advocate and I do that by sharing my story about overcoming challenges in my mental health at Batyr. Outside of public speaking, I love working with children and I spend most of my time volunteering at schools or gyms, learning from what young people have to offer. I am a lover of reading, chasing waterfalls and I also love moving my body through martial arts - muay thai.
- What led you to becoming a speaker at Batyr?
I’ve always envisioned sharing and inspiring others and would often say to people in high-school that one day they'd be watching my Ted Talk.
Witnessing the bravery, courage and the strength that it took for someone I knew personally (who happened to be a Batyr speaker) to share her mental health story inspired me to also share mine.
- Can you share a little of your story?
My story includes extensive complex trauma with separated parents, growing up in foster home from the age of 3 until 12 years old, moving back with my mum who was substance affected, witnessing violence, couch surfing, unhealthy romantic relationships replicating dysfunction within family dynamics, experiences of depression, anxiety and panic attacks, challenges with receiving help and uncovering trauma in my healing journey as an adult now.
I have a strong support system and receive support through a psychologist and a youth coach/counsellor as a way to take care of myself while I am also fulfilling my purpose.
- How long have you been a speaker at Batyr?
My first time sharing my story as a speaker was in April this year.
- What is the best thing about being a speaker at Batyr?
Other than the office snacks, I have been able to gain a sense of purposefulness by being a part of something larger than myself. Not only that, but you feel like you are part of a family (herd). You feel a sense of connectedness because of the way they take care of the people in their herd.
- What has been your most memorable moment from being a speaker at Batyr?
My most memorable moment at Batyr is my most recent program that I did. It was high in energy, at times chaotic and lots of dancing. But what really stuck with me was when Cass, my colleague, got us to huddle in a circle and put our hands together in the middle and then we shouted “smash the stigma!” as the arms moved down and then up.
I remember getting shivers when we did that. Not because I was cold but because I genuinely felt the beautiful energy of us collectively setting intentions to achieve a goal with our heart and soul. That’s the kind of culture we have at Batyr, we create the impact that we do because we do it with purpose and passion - because we believe in what we do.
- What things do you do to help your mental health?
Self-care looks different to everyone because like the word itself, self-care belongs to the self. It belongs to the individual who is practicing it. Self-care to me is exploring the intention of what I am doing and asking myself what do I need right now?
This means checking in with myself and noticing that different emotions will require a different form of self-care. If I’m feeling lonely, I practice self-care by connecting/socialising. If I feel angry, I video record myself ranting how I’m feeling and what frustrates me.
- What do you think is the biggest misconception about mental illness?
Everyone has mental health, except many choose to show only the highlights of our lives. A lot of people who are suffering mental ill health are stigmatized by the fear of judgment when talking about mental health. We often feel alone and that we are the only ones experiencing what we are because there is a lack of dialogue and conversations around vulnerability - that vulnerability is in fact a sign of strength not weakness.
- Why is it important for you to give back and volunteer for Batyr?
I believe that we are all here to serve each other and it is important that we stay with our herd (pun intended) - humanity. It is important for me to give back because it is my mission to remind others of their light and I can do that by showing others that I can see mine.
- Can you give us an example of how Batyr programs are impacting people?
Here's some recent feedback I received about my talk: "Thank you for sharing your story. It really helped me see that I am not alone"
At Batyr we create an impact by planting the seeds and allowing the young people themselves to water it throughout the years of their own healing journey. It is through vulnerability and messages of hope that we leave young people overflowing with feelings of gratitude and warmth.
- What is your favourite quote or mantra?
Bravery is not the absence of fear, bravery is having fear but doing it anyway.
- Can you recommend any resources for anyone suffering?
Book recommendation: The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle
Podcast recommendation: The Mindset Mentor
Here is a morning routine/ritual that I practiced religiously to help me kick start my self-care journey: SAVERS
S stands for silence - practice any form of silence daily (breathwork, meditation, walking meditation, grounding).
A stands for affirmations - practice a mantra or an affirmation you need to hear and say it out loud repeatedly or journal it down daily.
V stands for visualisation - practice using your imagination and senses to picture what it would feel like to have what you desire in life.
E stands for exercise - practice any form of exercise (going for a walk, yoga, doing a workout or simply stretching).
R stands for reading - dedicate time to choose what you would like to fill your mind (you can read your favourite book, listen to a podcast or read motivational quotes on Pinterest).
And finally, S stands for scripting - journal. Practice writing what you’re grateful for, what’s on your mind? And what intentions you have for the rest of the day.
You don’t have to do them in chronological order and they don’t have to be long practices either. I found this tool was the greatest asset in building a resilient mindset and deepened the relationship I had with myself.
- What would be the one thing you would say to someone suffering right now?
Never give up on yourself because you don’t even know what you’re capable of yet! The best thing I ever did was believe in myself and I want to remind you to do the same.
Christina, thank you so much for taking the time to speak to us. You are such an inspiration and should be so proud of yourself! Thank you to the rest of the team at batyr for the life-changing work you do, we are so honoured so support you!
And a huge thank you to every single one of our customers that have purchased from us and allowed us to donate to batyr. You are making a difference!
Mental Health Warrior & Owner of Real Active