October is Mental Health Awareness Month in Australia.
To raise awareness and promote better mental health for all, we asked the team some questions to get their insights on mental health and wellbeing.
As part of your daily routine, how do you take care of your mental wellbeing?
Fiona Apostolos: For me, how I start my day is really important. If I get that right, I feel like mentally stronger to deal with whatever comes
Harry Dettmann: If I don't have a routine, I feel the training wheels fall off pretty quickly. The big one for me is diet and exercise. If you ignore those two key factors, it is really hard to feel good up here.
Beth Waker: With your mental health, sometimes you can feel like you're trapped in a bubble, especially if you're trapped in your thoughts. Sometimes, just to be near nature or something that actually brings you out of that and, it sounds really lame, but like touching a tree or just touching the grass or the ground that you're on or whatever kind of brings you out of it, and it makes you realise “oh, yeah”, and it gives you perspective of where you are.
How can workplaces positively contribute in supporting people’s mental health?
Mads Hallett: It's that overarching sense of psychological safety and being able to be yourself and express yourself at work that's always helped to really normalise mental health check-ins. It just makes it okay to to reach out and say, if you're having a two out of 10 day or if you're having a 10 out of 10 day.
Will Jackson: Just being really human. Nobody is bulletproof 100% of the time, nobody's energy is bulletproof 100% of the time, there's gonna be ebbs and flows. I think it's the responsibility of the leadership at every level to spot those things rather than just going, “oh, somebody is depressed” or” somebody has anxiety”. It's being able to recognise things far earlier and proactively deal with them.
Justin Edge: Having services for therapy or a psychologist, and counsellors as well, regardless if it's personal or professional. Keeping the conversation quite open as well. So, myself in particular, I will openly speak about going to therapy and things I'm going through. Fostering an environment where people feel comfortable to talk about mental health is really positive as well because there's a stigma around it, especially with men.
Mitch Etherington: Everyone's really different, and that's really important to understand. Like for me, you know, all of the social activities and extracurricular activities outside of work is really important, but that's me.
Sarah Hadj: Work flexibility is really important. Giving people control over their days, when they're starting work, when they're finishing.
How do you integrate work and life for better mental health?
Harry Dettmann: For myself, coming into the office really helps, keeping a human touch to what we do. Whilst we're doing this on Zoom right now, I prefer to be in front of people.
Fiona Apostolos: I really like to carve out time for myself, time for my friends, time for my family. But I think that you can say that, but it's just about also making sure you're really present in those moments.
Beth Waker: I've got loads on today, and I can set this boundary, and people are gonna be understanding about it or they're gonna respect it. You know, if I've got loads going on this week and I want a no-meetings Friday because I've been back to back the whole day before, then that's what I need to do. Then I don't have to expend more social energy the next day, and I can just really focus on the things that matter.
What’s your ultimate self care routine?
Kevin Upton: Self-care at work is also really important. So I try to remain mindful throughout the day. It's really easy to live in a world where we can't wait to finish work, and we wish we were somewhere else. Whereas, if we kind of lean into the opportunities that have been presented to me and the problems that I'm getting to solve every day and really just live in the there-and-now, rather than living for the Friday, I just find my week is just so much more pleasant.
Mads Hallett: Ultimate self-care routine for me happens on the weekend, and it normally needs to start with not being too hungover or dusty from anything the night before. It'll start with making a cup of tea, making normally some poached eggs or something delicious for breakfast, reading the paper, maybe going to do some exercise and then spending the afternoon cooking. I find nothing sets me up for the week quite as well as being able to have that time on the weekend.
Vanita Nathwani: First thing in the morning. I don't even open my laptop, I barely look at my phone, I go outside and I walk for 30 to 45 minutes, and I try and not always listen to music or listen to podcasts. I try and just be with my thoughts and notice things about the trees and the sky and the smell, and I use it as a real way of checking in with myself. It's really nothing fancy, but it works.
Why do you think talking openly about mental health is so important?
Kevin Upton: In some cases, I don't think that we give ourselves enough credit where credit's due. And I think just by talking about it and going, “hey, I had a shitty week” - it just It just helps the dialogue, it helps people heal, it helps people know that there's help out there, and it helps people know that they're not alone.
Harry Dettmann: I mean, how much better do you feel when you're problem-solving and you have to talk to someone or you have to work it out with someone else and just getting out your idea of the problem to them and then them throwing something back at you that you weren't able to see or think or feel because you're caught up in your own head? I think if you apply that same style to problematic emotions or ways that you're feeling in your own head. I don't know why the outcome and the process shouldn't be any different. So it really does pay dividends just to get it off your own mind.
Beth Waker: I'm always prepared to be pretty vulnerable with people, even if maybe I don't necessarily know them that well because I think it offers you an opportunity to connect with someone. If you're willing to be vulnerable, then perhaps they might be as well. You can certainly get stuck in this bubble of thinking “I'm the only one that has this problem” or “am I the only one that thinks that thought or is feeling this way?”. And it's really, really easy to to think that you're alone. I know that's such a cliche, but it's so true that you really you really aren't
Do you have any tips on how people can effectively navigate change?
Mads Hallett: Change is hard, for sure. Change is constant, which I find really helpful to remember. So, sometimes I think we can surprise ourselves if we can take out that surprise factor that can sometimes help and be living more in a state where we expect change and we know what's gonna happen. So we adjust our lives around to make sure that we've got some capacity and tolerance to take on that change.
Justin Edge: Listen to how you feel and your emotions and being open and honest and communicating.
Vanita Nathwani: Register what the feeling is that you're feeling. Then sit with that for a bit and kind of, you know, let yourself be with that feeling. And then I think it's about moving forward through the change, checking in with yourself constantly on how you're feeling and going back to that initial thought. What happens with change is it tends to be a roller coaster, and you'll experience a gradient of changes. You know, it might be uncertainty and fear in the beginning, and then a level of acceptance and then a level of really starting to enjoy it and embrace it.