Our world is currently knee-deep in all manners of immersive, emotionally loaded commentary about all this “new normal”.
There are articles, podcasts, blogs, music, endless content through all hours of day and night.
(I can’t scroll through the media without getting drenched.)
Seems to me, we are all collectively entwined in a delicate dance between (our) power and (our) powerlessness. Oscillating to and from the ends of the spectrum as we live out our private versions of all this… “new normal”.
Mental health awareness has become a common thread across all facets of social dialog this year.
And for that, I am glad.
The adverse effects of involuntary long-term isolation have manifested across our society in all manners of ways that can’t be recorded or read out at press conferences.
The unique situation created by the COVID-19 pandemic in terms of chronic social isolation, physical distancing, and sustained lockdowns across many countries are resulting in various undesirable outcomes with respect to health and wellbeing.
A big chunk of the world population has been encountering newly developed concomitant psychosocial stressors such as prolonged home confinement, depression and panic due to the unknown nature of the disease, fear of contracting infection, vulnerability, working from home, anxiety regarding flow of income, fear of losing jobs etc.
On top of that, abrupt unemployment is posing extreme difficulties for people of low-income groups like small businessmen, migrant workers and daily earners to make both ends meet in this hard time and causing unparalleled distress among them due to the sheer uncertainty of the future.
COVID-19 pandemic and lockdowns have given birth to a hidden current of behavioural addictions.
Lockdown, isolation, loss of job, financial burden, stress, depression, anxiety, phobia and lastly availability of plenty of leisure time for some, all together have put forward a fertile field on which behavioral addictions started growing relentlessly.
I could go on about how grim everything is, but honestly, it was not my intention to point out all the ways we are all quietly suffering.
Better writers with more literary acumen have elocuted and documented our collective pandemic-induced suffering time and time again over these months.
When I sat down this afternoon to reflect on mental health, I suppose, among many things, I was reflecting on my own and that of my loved ones.
I can only speak for myself.
And I wanted to share some of the things that have shined a bit of light in my corner of the world lately.
I’ve recently turned off all social media. And when I have my morning coffee these days, I read books. (Not the kind of books I am meant to be reading. But the kind that makes my heart sing).
I also cling to my daily exercise routines for dear life.
And I find that it helps.
You know what else has helped?
Here at Global Vision, the team gets together twice a week to engage in some light-hearted team chatter.
We get together on Wednesday mornings on Microsoft teams for a coffee where the rule is to talk about anything not related to work.
Due to the free-flowing nature of this dialog, some truly bizarre conversations have been had to date!
Topics can, at any given point in time, shift from politics, to bug infestations, to Crocodiles in florida, to MRI scares, all in the same conversation.
And we laugh. A lot!
Some Wednesday mornings, I laugh so hard during this group catchup, that my face literally hurts. And that smile stays with me, through the day.
On Friday afternoons, we come up with random online games and team building activities to finish off the week.
Over the past few months, we have experienced all kinds of random scenarios on our Friday afternoon gaming sessions ranging from group treasure hunts, trivia, doing presentations about where we were born and raised… to things like home office tours, scattegories and online gaming.
It may not sound “original” but it has truly been a great comfort, especially for someone like me who only joined the company in April and have not even had a chance to meet most of the people I work with yet!
On weekends, I fight the urge to turn on Netflix and check out for the rest of the day.
Instead, I sit and try to write short stories.
Not with the intention of churning out Pulitzer prize winning content.
Not even for an intended audience.
I write, for me.
Even if it is just a paragraph, or a few sentences.
And the joy that brings me is quite hard to reflect in words.
I have also (always) been a non-believer when it came to the power of meditation, gratitude and mindfulness.
But it turns out that I was really missing out.
There are days when it may seem like there are dark clouds overhead and we’re all soaking wet.
But these little rituals have kept me going, on both good days and bad.
Whether you’re stuck in areas of the country which have felt the full force of the lockdown restrictions, or you’re in one of the more fortunate states and your life has more or less returned to normal, I hope you are checking in with our colleagues, friends and family as often as you can.
(After all, we collectively experienced something almost as subtle as a Mac Truck colliding head on with us).
I would love to hear some of your thoughts on your own narratives and reflections on Mental health and how you have fared during this pandemic.
What group activities have you organised to get the team at work together while working remotely?
Do you have any special work rituals or random team building activities that have been popular with the staff?
I would love to hear from you.
And if you are happy to share with all our Council partners from across Australia, I would love to put some of your stories in our next LG Newsletter!
You can write to me any time at firstname.lastname@example.org or call me on 0432465785.
Always a phone-call away if you ever need to reach me 😊