It’s Mental Health Awareness Week so we thought it was a good opportunity to talk about issues close to our hearts: mental wellbeing and worthiness.
The mental wellbeing of our team members is one of our top priorities - we regularly conduct anonymous surveys to get a sense of how we’re doing as a team, what people find motivating and demotivating and if anyone has any concerns about their work or how we operate. We’ve been very lucky to be able to continue working even during Covid-19 but we’ve also made it clear that all team members should prioritise their wellbeing and safety during this time (as always!). Some days have been harder and not as productive as others, and that’s okay.
We’re not mental health professionals or experts and we know no one size fits all when it comes to mental health, but we wanted to share a few nuggets of wisdom that we’ve found helpful and interesting over the years - with the help of some pretty inspiring people we’re about to quote. Basically what we want to say boils down to four things:
1) Feel your feelings,
2) Happiness can be yours,
3) You’re allowed to set boundaries,
4) It’s okay to ask for help :)
1. Feel your feelings
“Emotions need motion. It’s important we acknowledge what we go through. One unfortunate byproduct of the self-help movement is we’re the first generation to have feelings about our feelings. We tell ourselves things like, I feel sad, but I shouldn’t feel that; other people have it worse. We can — we should — stop at the first feeling. I feel sad. Let me go for five minutes to feel sad. Your work is to feel your sadness and fear and anger whether or not someone else is feeling something. Fighting it doesn’t help because your body is producing the feeling. If we allow the feelings to happen, they’ll happen in an orderly way, and it empowers us. Then we’re not victims.[...] Sometimes we try not to feel what we’re feeling because we have this image of a “gang of feelings.” If I feel sad and let that in, it’ll never go away. The gang of bad feelings will overrun me. The truth is a feeling that moves through us. We feel it and it goes and then we go to the next feeling. There’s no gang out to get us.”
From the article “That Discomfort You’re Feeling Is Grief”, Harvard Business Review, March 23, 2020
2. Happiness is yours for the taking
“For me happiness isn’t a full orchestra of noisy joy. It isn’t being rich, or being famous, or being popular or successful. For me, happiness comes in tiny, nebulous bursts of gloom-piercing sunbeams. And when those moments of happiness come, live them, breathe them. Reach out and hold them, recognise them, in those precious moments make sure you take note of every aspect of how you feel and remember it. Experience it, embody it, memorise every detail of it, write it down if you have to, so you have evidence, so that you know for sure that happiness, however fleeting, can be yours, just as surely as it can be anyone’s. That you’ve been happy, and you will be again.”
3. Set boundaries
“Boundaries are not easy but I think they are the key to self-love and I think they’re the key to treating others with love and kindness. Nothing is sustainable without boundaries. [...] Boundaries are freaking important. They are not fake walls, they’re not separation, boundaries are not division - they’re respect. It’s here’s what’s okay for me and here’s what’s not.”
The wonderful Brené Brown in this YouTube video about boundaries.
4. You’re more than just a number - and, yes, it’s okay to ask for help
Please don’t let this culture we live in trick you into believing that you’re worth is tied into your productivity, weight, number of followers or likes, bank account, dress size or salary - you’re so much more than a number. You are worthy and lovable no matter what those figures are. And remember it’s okay - scrap that, it’s necessary - to dedicate time for self-care, set boundaries, feel your feelings and ask for help when you feel like life gets too much. It’s okay to need other people - you don’t have to do it all on your own, and you don’t need to wait until you fall apart before reaching out. One day someone may help you put the pieces back together, and on another day you can return the favour, to them or someone else. Remember, we’re all connected.
That was from yours truly xx
If you’re concerned about your own mental health or that of a loved one, you can find a list of different helplines and support groups here. Well done for taking the first step - you’re so much more powerful and cherished than you could ever know!