mental fitness

April 13th 2020

The week before Level 4 lockdown, I attended a Corporate Health & Wellbeing Summit in Auckland.  COVID-19 was already having an impact on life as we knew it; we all sat one chair away from each other to ensure social distancing, and some of the speakers were unable to attend.

The subject of mental health was high on the list of topics covered.  Mental Illness was described as being lifestyle based, mood disorders, neurological disorders.  “Depression is not a disease – it’s a symptom of the life we’ve led”.  With the pending lockdown, these experts focussed on the flipside. 

The flipside being Mental Fitness

Much like physical fitness, you work at it, you own it, you achieve it through:

Mental Fitness.  The term sits right with me.  And now more than ever we need to focus on our Mental Fitness. 

Mental Health = Mental Wellbeing = Mental Fitness.

Connections.  Keeping connected when you can’t actually leave the house is harder, but not impossible.  It requires you to find new and unique ways to communicate, to get support, to share your experience with the ones you love and care about.   Use technology.  I’m fortunate to have my mum in my bubble, and our daily walks with my son are keeping us communicating, as are the chat groups we have set up with our friends and wider family.

Being active.  A challenge in lockdown, but isn’t it cool watching how people are keeping active in the many ways while being at home?  My family have a farm to be active on, we are really lucky, every day we’ve been walking around the many farm tracks and generally keeping busy outside with activities and chores.  I believe at the very least a walk each day, for whatever length or time, always fills you with that warmth, from the sun and the air.  Choose your active, there’s no right or wrong.

Ikagai.  A Reason to get up in the morning.  Purpose and Goals.  During lockdown we set little goals in the form of activities and projects, to keep a “one day at a time” approach which gives our son reasons to BE each day with a loose structure that he agreed to.  On Monday my son designed a building project with my input, yesterday he found the materials and worked with his Dad to complete it, today it is in testing, and tomorrow it sounds like he’ll be painting it.

By relaxing our daily rush, picking things we all want to do while we’re here together and supporting each other to do those things, we have our reason to get up in the morning, with the goal of ensuring we still have a Mental Fitness at the end of this lockdown.

In normal circumstances it can be hard to know what your purpose or goal should be.  Don’t stress, everyone has different reasons to be, your reasons are yours alone.  Goals are yours alone too, be them big and lofty or small and achievable, nothing is right or wrong, they just are.

We’re over halfway, and we CAN do this. If you’re at a loose end look up Jimi Hunt at www.jimihunt.com, he has an amazing story of his journey and is a very funny man. 

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