R U OK? Day is coming up on Thursday the 9th of September. It is a day of action, where we are all reminded about the importance of checking in and asking friends, family, neighbours and colleagues if they are OK. In this uncertain and challenging environment, it’s never been more important to reach out and start a conversation with someone that we think may be struggling with life’s ups and downs. If your gut says something’s not quite right with someone, chances are they might need a bit of extra support from the people around them.
Remember, you don’t need to be a trained expert to reach out, just someone who is willing to listen and not judge.
If you want to reach out to someone but aren’t sure how, you can start a conversation with these four steps:
1. Ask are you OK?
Be relaxed friendly and concerned in your approach. Make sure you have plenty of time for the conversation. Mention specific things that have made you concerned for them, like ‘You seem less chatty than usual. How are you going’
Don’t rush the conversation or interrupt. If they need time to think, sit patiently with the silence.
3. Encourage action
Ask what support they think would help get them through this difficult time. If they have been feeling really down for more than 2 weeks, encourage them to see a health professional.
Pop a reminder in your calendar to check back in with them. Stay in touch so they know you are there for them.
Taking care of your mental health, no matter who you are, has never been more important. The following tips may help you prioritise your mental health by setting up a healthy routine:
- Get enough sleep: Aim for an average of eight hours. A lack of sleep can lead to moodiness, exhaustion and cause stress along with other health issues.
- Switch off: Limit the amount of time you spend looking at screens. Take a break from the blue light and take a walk outside, read a (physical) book, do some stretches or meditate.
- Check in: Set aside time to connect with loved ones. Many people used to use the commute to correspond, with a lot of us at home now, make the time to talk to friends and family.
- Move your body: Exercise has a variety of benefits, not just to the body but to our mental health as well. Even moderate levels of exercise can be beneficial. With lower amounts of incidental exercise occurring for a lot of us, it’s even more important to take a walk, go for a run or work up a sweat.
- Watch what you eat: We often think of food determining how our body looks, however it also determines how we feel inside. Putting healthy and high quality foods into your body can help you feel better.
If you need some more tips on how to take care of your own mental health, check out our recent blog. Remember that if you or someone you know needs support, there are resources available. Please see the following support services that are free and available to use:
Support Services for Australia:
- Lifeline Australia: 13 11 14
- beyondblue Info Line: 1300 224 636
- Kids Helpline: 1800 551 800
- Black Dog Institute: 02 9382 2991
- Reach Out!
- Parentline: 1300 30 1300
Support Services for New Zealand: