Yesterday was ‘R U OK?’ Day. A day where we are asked to check in on each other with the simple question “Are you OK?”.
The RUOK charity aims to battle depression and prevent suicide through creating a more connected world.
I thought about recent conversations with friends and family about depression, anxiety, mental health and well-being. In the course of those conversations, I received some advice towards managing my own well-being. I thought I’d share it here:
Close your eyes and imagine you have a protective bubble around you, an outer layer that protects and keeps you safe, happy and healthy. Now consider how that bubble is impacted by things that happen in your life. Things that cause you stress and worry, sadness or anger or anxiety or frustration. These things all poke and prod at your bubble, they stretch it thin, wear it down and can push you and your bubble to bursting point.
There are also things that strengthen your bubble, that add extra protective layers, that increase your bubble’s flexibility and resilience. These are things that make you happy, like being loved and giving love, spending time with family, being outdoors, watching a good movie or reading a good book, having a drink with a friend, taking time for yourself, resting well, exercise, experiencing joy, friendship [you know what your happy things are].
When you’re not feeling OK, your protective bubble is in trouble. There’s a thinner veneer between you and the world. Doing the things that strengthen your bubble will help redress the balance. But sometimes it’s not enough.
I’m not trying to simplify mental health issues and their management. Mental health is complex and treatment is specialised. I’m simply sharing something I found useful in considering my own well-being.
I can’t personally check in with you for R U OK? Day, but I can ask you to consider this: are you looking after your own protective bubble? Are you making time to refill your cup? Are you taking a breath? R U OK?
Please consider checking in with a friend or family member and asking them the same question.
If you are struggling, please talk to someone you know. And please don’t leave it too long to find help.