This week we mark RU OK Day – and I would argue that this has never been more important than it is this year – when so many of us have been challenged by the Coronavirus – the lockdowns, the economic struggles, the sense of uncertainty and more.  While there are certainly some who are finding the silver linings to time at home with loved ones, the majority of us are experiencing some element of challenge right now.

This is why RU OK day is so important – as a reminder to stop and ask ourselves and each other how we are doing.

I know the day is aimed at asking each other if we are OK – but in this week’s assembly I am reminding the boys of the need to take a few moments to check in on themselves too – much like the way we are instructed to put on our own life jackets first in an air emergency, it is hard to provide support to others at times when we are struggling ourselves.

The five daily habits of the Wellbeing Hive are aimed to build wellbeing and to provide a recipe of kinds to promote positive mental health.  Make sure you CONNECT with others – that means if you are at home with family, taking meaningful chances to converse and spend quality time together, over dinner, over a board game or a puzzle and over a genuine conversation about how you as a team are travelling.  You also need to ensure you keep connections up outside the home – ensuring we stay in touch with people, issues and ideas outside what can sometimes seem like our own little bubbles.  Are you making sure you EXERCISE each day – and taking time to enjoy sunshine and fresh air? I think many of us have come to realise in lockdown the important role that just getting out plays each day.  I schedule mine religiously – as I realise that the humble dog-walk can change my mood immediately. What about being CREATIVE? A project helps us enter a state of flow (high engagement) and gives us a great sense of achievement, which is why both the boys and the girls campuses have Performing Arts projects happening right now.  But being creative can be different for different people -gardening can be creative as can sorting and re-organising and building for example.  What about READING AND MINDFULNESS, which admittedly I join together a lot as I find reading one of my best ways to be mindful – and other way I deal with stress.  While some may find lockdown too quiet, others may find constantly being at home with others means you are constantly stimulated – too much even. Let’s not be afraid of quiet.  I think we need quiet.  I might even take this up in another article, I mean it so much!

If you are able to build your wellbeing and consciously nurture it with these five habits, you will be better able to check in on others on Thursday.  And if you can – my challenge for you is to do so.  Remember that:

  • Some people have been working from home since the beginning of the first lockdown
  • Some are separated from family by border closures
  • One in four households are occupied by singles – meaning long periods lacking the simplest of physical touches and everyday interactions
  • Some have been separated from their passions and purpose
  • Some have been balancing work and helping their children with online learning for an extended period of time
  • Some in remote areas have inconsistent access to technology and are even further removed from friends, family and resources
  • Many people are at the end of their physical, emotional and financial resources

This year they are focusing on having the whole conversation rather than just asking if you are OK – and again,  what an important perspective to take.  Asking if someone is okay often is the beginning to a longer conversation – not the end of one.  This video has some great suggestions for how to go about this, but remember you can always suggest help through contacting organisations such as Beyond Blue, or by visiting the GP for a Mental Health Plan.