Are you OK?
Ask it today, ask it tomorrow and continue to ask
Thursday 10th September is RUOK Day. Let’s make it for the whole month, the rest of the year and beyond. It’s important to be regularly asking “Are you OK?” especially during these times. It’s also important to extend the conversation beyond RUOK? to “What are you doing to make sure that you’re OK? What’s working for you? What do you need help with? And during these conversations to share ideas around mental wellness.
Today’s environment is ‘always-on’. More so than ever before. Zoom meeting after Zoom meeting. It takes focus and energy. More connectivity means more to discuss and this generates longer and longer to-do lists. And working from home, can for many, mean ‘wake up and straight to the computer’ with very little down time throughout the day.
Coupled with little exercise, bad snacking habits and the relentless bombardment of COVID news can take a toll on even the most resilient.
So, after the conversation (RUOK?) has started, continue talking about ideas to build inner strength, to build resilience, to cope with the constant noise that our current world is delivering. Talk about tips, ideas, strategies to enhance mental wellness.
Here’s a few ideas to share as you continue the conversation around maintaining good mental health…
Acknowledge that it’s OK to not be OK
Asking for help, for guidance, for a conversation with someone, is a sign of strength. When situations are tough reaching out to others is beneficial for your mental health and well being.
Stay connected with family and friends
They’re your closest support network. The people who won’t judge, who are there to help. Open up to them as to how you are feeling and continue opening up. Laugh. Cry. And laugh again. There will be good days. And days which aren’t so good. What we do know is that we will get through this period of history. We just don’t yet know when.
When WFH make sure you take a lunch break
Everyday. It sounds so simple, yet many people don’t. Take half an hour, take an hour - it depends on how you feel on the day. Leave your desk, prepare a nutritious lunch, go for a walk, turn off your phone.
Have fun by trying something new
Such as reading a book that you wouldn’t normally read (perhaps a classic like Wuthering Heights); experimenting with a totally new cuisine (Japanese vegan); constructing innovative mocktails with unusual ingredients (grapefruit juice, honey roasted pear, cinnamon, nutmeg and vanilla); gardening (it’s now the time to plant summer bulbs and watch them grow over the coming months). Immerse yourself. For one hour. No distractions and enjoy the moment.
Learn to switch off. Physically and emotionally
Take a break. Turn off the phone. A few days, or longer. You may not be able to travel far, yet a change of scenery or a change in routine will refresh and revitalise.
This involves setting boundaries and immersing yourself in a particular task or situation. It means not transferring thoughts and emotions from other areas into this ‘compartment’. Having total focus clarifies what’s important and what’s needed.
Establish non-negotiable boundaries for ‘me-time’
Time to recharge, take stock and reflect. Time to appreciate everything that’s great and a time to be thankful. Simple techniques include having a long bath, lighting a candle or appreciating a scented diffuser, relaxing in the sun or whatever is special...to you.
Focus on ‘controlling the controllable’
There are situations you can control, others you cannot. Don’t waste time and energy ruminating on what you can’t change. Switch the focus and achieve beneficial results from your actions.
Prioritise what’s important, set achievable goals and practice good time management
Decide what’s urgent, what needs to be done by you and what can be done by others. Focus on excellence, not perfection - this way you will achieve excellent results. Perfection, as a goal, will never be achieved because there’s always something more to do. Get an excellent result, not a perfect result. It’s more sustainable for your wellbeing.
Sleep - to be productive, happy, connected and resilient that’s what we all need
A good nights sleep. Make sure you turn off all social media an hour before you retire, don’t go to bed straight after dinner, be in a darkened room that’s quiet and if you do awake during the night don’t think about what you can’t immediately, at that moment, change. It can wait until the next day.