Today is R U OK day; very timely considering the currently environment we’re in. Melbourne has been facing various stages of lockdown restrictions since April. Our economy has taken a massive hit with people all around losing their jobs, feeling enormous pressures at work or facing uncertain futures. Social connections are surviving through online channels, if at all. Combined, it’s not surprising that many of our mental health states are currently quite fragile.
I have been feeling really isolated since working from home and not being able to visit family. There are days where I’m grateful for the uninterrupted quietness and other times the silence becomes deafening. I’ve learned to be more forward and open about sharing when I’m not coping. But as the days draw on, I’m finding myself turning my camera off to hide during meetings, becoming more withdrawn from conversations, getting teary over little things and that little voice in my head that says “I can’t do this” keeps getting louder.
A friend asked me what I was going to do to manage this and it was nice to talk about the actionable things that I could work on to get me out of this rut. My solutions were to:
- Schedule days off and actually take them (i.e. not respond to emails; work on my side gigs that I enjoy; be more relaxed in my routine etc.)
- Look at my work schedule and be realistic with what I can actually accomplish within my contracted hours
- Chase the sun! Go for a walks while the sun is still out to get some Vitamin D.
- Have a shower everyday! It’s my favourite way to unwind before bed, so I’m committing to it.
- Listen to my body; when I need to rest, I will rest. Even if it’s just a 15 minute power nap. Naps are the most underrated things that exist.
- Schedule things that I look forward to during the week. This could be scheduling a day off, a night for takeaway, a movie night (without multitasking on the laptop), heading to the nearby lake for a walk with pastries in hand.
Obviously I didn’t list all of these to my poor friend. But some of these are things that can be so easily overlooked; like ensuring you keep up with some physical activity, personal and sleep hygiene etc. It’s easy for these to slip away from the radar when things get muddy and your motivation is low.
So in this year’s R U OK day, I’d like to encourage you, not just to ask a friend if they’re okay, but to ask and be honest with yourself about how you’re doing. You are worth looking after. You deserve to be happy. And you are in the best position to make that happen for yourself.
Not sure where to start? Head to the R U OK website here: https://www.ruok.org.au/
They also have a list of more specific support services depending on the situation here: https://www.ruok.org.au/findhelp
You got this. I’ve got this. We can do this.