STRONGER TOGETHER: Breaking down the "busy" for our mental health

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Last updated: 16/08/2021

By Tanya O'Shea, IMPACT Community Services' Managing Director

"STRONGER TOGETHER" is a weekly column where Tanya explores key issues. This week Tanya talks about mental health and the importance of breaking down the "busy" in life.

Tanya O'Shea, IMPACT Community Services Managing Director
Tanya OShea IMPACT Community Services Managing Director

If there’s one thing I hear on a day-to-day basis, it’s that people are busy.

Busy in their jobs, busy in their social lives, and even busy during time at home.

I look back to when the COVID-19 lockdown was effective in our region last year, and while we were worried about what the future held, staying home provided many people with a feeling of relief.

People weren’t busy anymore.

Almost overnight the daily rush of life had been put to the side, and people were grateful.

Grateful to be able to take a breath and pause… and take stock of the small things in life; our pets, gardens, health, and immediate relationships.

I remember one mother in particular during that time who told me she no longer felt the pressure to “keep up with the Jones’s”, and commented on how nice it was to be able to have a weekend at home without any social interaction, free from the feeling of doing things just to please others.

But lately I’ve noticed people have slipped back into those routines of busyness.

The stillness has seemingly slipped away, replaced once again by the mad rush of the rat race. The need to be everything to everyone.

It makes me wonder if people realise the reality we have welcomed back into our lives, or if it’s something that has crept its way back in gradually.

Whatever the reason, it’s important to reflect on our wellbeing regularly to make sure that we are okay.

Are we feeling frustrated? Anxious? Sad or withdrawn? Overwhelmed, perhaps?

When it comes to mental health, most people do not have a huge vocabulary.

And for some, it can seem impossible to describe exactly how they are feeling.

Whilst this emotion word block is not uncommon, and it is sometimes easier just to categorise our emotions into large, non-specific categories such as “I’m good”, “I’m bad”, “I’m happy”, and “I’m sad”, diversifying your mental health vocabulary is important for everyone.

Checking in with ourselves allows us to keep on top of these feelings, and address what might be causing them.

Understanding how we are feeling and being to articulate it is just as important, and you can Google the ‘Feelings Wheel’ or the ‘Wheel of Emotions’ if you would like to find out more.

We all get busy, but if it’s having negative and ongoing effects on our mental health and wellbeing, we need to take a moment and ask ourselves why we’re choosing it.

If lockdown taught us anything it’s that we can say no to things that are too demanding of our energies, and the world won’t actually end.

Prioritising our mental health and becoming selective about our attendance at events are important steps towards achieving a balanced, happy life.

It’s not only okay, but necessary to take time to rest, recharge, and regather our lives.

I’ve said it before, but we can’t pour from an empty cup.

If you ever feel like it’s all getting too much, reach out to a trusted friend or family member who can be a supportive ear.

Often voicing our concerns and mapping out a plan of attack can relieve a lot of the stress we put on ourselves.

Alternatively, if more advanced advice is required, our mental health department offers a variety of programs tailored to differing levels of support.

For more information you can contact our Mental Health department on 07 4153 4233 or visit impact.org.au.

Please note: This website may contain references to, or feature images, videos, and voices of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples who have passed away.

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