May 4-10, 2020 is the Canadian Mental Health Association’s designated “Mental Health Week.” A time to draw awareness to mental health and a time to bring it into the conversation. I believe now more than ever, that a focus on emotional well being is of utmost importance as we continue in our current crisis. Many people are isolated at home without their support networks: Without friends, family, co-workers, team mates, childcare providers, partners etc. On top of that, there are many financial uncertainties to navigate as our world is starting to re-open.
We are fortunate to have today’s technology so we can call, text, email, FaceTime and Zoom, but how connected are we really? What is your answer when someone says “Hi! How are you?” How often do you say, “I’m good! Or I’m fine, thanks”
What does “I’m fine, thanks” really mean?
What if it really means….
- “I’m not feeling like myself right now and I’m worried about my family’s health and what’s going on with my work, and I’m really not coping and I need someone to talk to”
- “I have been up all night with 2 little kids and I am basically running on coffee and I feel like I have been run over by a truck and I’m so tired I can’t even think straight”
- “I am feeling pretty positive with all the kindest pouring out and the creative ways we’re taking care of each other and it really gives me hope”
- “I’m grateful for your friendship because I know I can always count on you and that means the world to me”
Truth is, is that we say fine when we are ecstatic, exhausted, grateful. Or even freaking out. Every time we go through emotions, we miss out on a chance for connection. (*mentalhealthweek.ca)
I am certainly guilty of this. I can not count how many times I have answered “I am doing good! Or fine!” When in reality, I was not sleeping. I was without my partner who works on the front line, worried about my kids, worried about my small business, worried about my coaches and how to pay them, worried about our members who have come to rely on us for their own physical health, mental health, connection and community. There is a lot of pressure to be strong, positive and lead through this crisis. For the most part, I did feel that way but “I’m fine or even worse, I’m good!” rolled off my tongue more times than it should have. So many missed opportunities for real connection.
CMHA’s mental health campaign #getreal is about tuning in and not missing out on a chance for connection.
Here are some tips on how to do that:
- Check in on how you really feel. It’s not “fine” Get in touch with what is really happening inside
- Be generous. Research continues to show that by giving to others, you give to yourself
- Practice listening. Listening is a skill, and we can all use practice
Stay connected. Stay healthy . Stay fit.