It’s OK to not be OK.
At GJK’s recent RU OK Day event, our guest speaker, Priscilla Lund reminded us that it’s OK not to be OK.
“We need to understand that it is OK not to be OK. When this awareness comes into play and we are open to the conversation that we’re having a bad day and feeling a little down, kind of like having a headache, let’s look after it and treat it as we would a physical ailment,” said Priscilla Lund, Workplace Counsellor, D’Accord.
She went on to say “we’ve been good at physical fitness and nutrition over the past 10-15 years and now we are becoming aware that we also need to be caring for ourselves mentally. We need to realise stress is a real thing and we need to address the external environment that causes us to think in a certain way that lifts our anxiety and stimulation in our body. Stimulation is good for the body as it makes us get up and go, but when it becomes over-stimulated and we get stuck in ‘fight or flight’ mode for long periods, then we start to become non-functional.
In the workplace it is important to understand that if we’re continually doing organisational change, if work is constantly piling up, or we are talking negatively to each other and maybe not realising the language we are using, all of this can start to build up stress, which can bring on anxiety. If the pressures aren’t released and keep building, this may be detrimental to our mental health.
That’s why mental health is so important and why we need to be looking out for each other and more importantly ourselves. We need to understand that it is OK not to be OK. When this awareness comes into play and we are open to the conversation that we’re having a bad day and feeling a little down, kind of like having a headache, let’s look after it and treat it as we would a physical ailment.
We need to feel into an emotion, be aware of it, acknowledge it and be a little curious and gentle with ourselves as to why, as opposed to being judgemental and I shouldn’t be feeling like this. Remember, it’s important to ask RU OK?” and it’s also important to let someone know when you’re not.”
She later pointed out that it is important when you ask the question “RU OK?” to someone you feel may not be, and they say ‘yes’, that you check a little further. One way is to ask them if ‘yes’ is on a scale of 1-10 with 10 being the best you’ve ever been, where are you today?
Just because they said ‘Yes’ doesn’t mean they are. Nor does it mean you are done because you asked the question and they have answered. Remember, you’ve asked them RU OK? because something has made you think they aren’t. If they open up to you, listen with an open mind, you’re not there to provide solutions. Perhaps encourage them to take action, such as seeing a doctor and check-in to see how they are going. If they don’t open up and keep saying they’re OK but your gut is telling you otherwise, just keep checking in to show you are there if they need you.
It is important for organisations to raise awareness around the importance of mental health and wellbeing by encouraging connectiveness, compassion, working as teams and creating collaborative environments so we can care for each other.
We are doing this at GJK through our Wellbeing Calendar, Training and Employee Assistance Program (EAP) and our family culture, where collaboration and caring for each other is part of our DNA. Through these we are building a work environment where mental health is not seen as a ‘thing’ but just part of life and that it is OK not to be OK.