Mental wellbeing is never an easy topic of conversation – even for me! Today, many of us are preparing for extended periods where our working lives, location and life at home remains changed. But among the work admin and homeschooling attempts, are we stopping to ask ourselves, honestly, how we’re coping?
And how can we maintain this transition away from the “real” word if our contact with it is reduced? And if we know that sometime we must prepare to go back again, how much time do we spend ‘adjusting’?
Bombarded with information
Every day we’re bombarded with more information and given more decisions to make. We’re by and large being left to make these decisions on our own. And the ongoing stress of this burden is growing.
I hope everyone is finding ways to stay connected during this difficult time. And that you’re all making time to talk. I don’t mean a Zoom meeting – I mean a chat. A conversation remains the easiest, fastest way to feel a human connection – even in the digital age. But as we clamour over each other to dial in to a webinar or host a Zoom coffee break, are we forgetting the basics?
Conversations can still take place. And not every call needs to be work related. Perhaps this week more than ever, we need our water-coler moments as we digest the latest news and how this will impact our own lives.
For mental wellbeing support and mentoring, I prefer any means that allows me to see other people. Personally, I like the personal interaction and it helps me be most effective at my work. But phone conversations are as valuable as face to face exchanges. Especially for quick, off-the-cuff catch-ups.
The social anxiety and fatigue that continues to hold the nation in its grip demands that we step up and support those that need help. Just reaching out to check on someone can have an amazing effect on their day and reminds them they are not on their own and they have people that care.
Know your limits
I think the caveat to this is to know your own limits….If you are talking to people that need help point them in the right direction. Do not pretend ever to be an expert when you are not!
Every day on social media brings another avalanche of posts of what to do or how to cope. And there are lots of opportunities for an opinion to be presented as fact. But don’t we have a responsibility to just deal in fact in these difficult times?
If we don’t, we are exacerbating the situation by giving credibility to some of the rubbish that is terrifying those reading it.
People look to those who present as experts to be experts and take what they say seriously without fact checking. Anyone who is posting advice, sharing wisdoms or offering assistance has a responsibility to ensure that what we present and endorse is factually truthful.
Unfortunately, I have also seen posts from people specifically trying to play on the vulnerability we are all feeling to sell goods and services. And the mental wellbeing space is not immune to this. We as a community are better than this, this. It’s not an opportunity to get rich quick – it is an opportunity to just do the right thing.
That doesn’t mean we bankrupt ourselves, it instead means that we understand the needs of the community and do our best to meet them whilst earning a living ourselves. I continue to offer services at low or no cost to vulnerable people in dire need. And I’m working closely with hospitality organisations to offer specialist support to this sector.
A message for us all
And alongside all the conversations I’m getting to the heart of the fears that are held across the business community – regardless of area, size of business and length of service. The challenge is not over and for some of us we face the hardest fight in the coming weeks and months. The balance between personal and business health has never been more acute. The message for us all to keep talking, listening and having open and honest conversations about mental wellbeing has never been more important.
I have a lot of letters after my name, they come from many years of experience in this field, so feel free to ask me about them! To find out more about my work with businesses and 1:1 support read a little more here.
I’ve recently made the shortlist for the Oscars of UK Mental Wellbeing Awards – check out the finalists here.