“Energy understood can be best unlocked” – Joshua Awesome
Earth day was recently celebrated, a day I recall met me in the city of Cape Town, where I was on a working trip for South African Tourism’s industry briefing as keynote speaker, coaching psychologist, and mental health professional.
The industry briefing precedes Africa’s Travel Indaba, an annual tourism industry event that has existed for over three decades, and due in three days from my writing this article, offering opportunities for a restart, reconnection, revitalization, for the travel and tourism industry.
You, me, we, can only unlock a door if we have the keys, or a safe that one has been given its access codes or combination details. South Africa lost, during the lockdown, over twenty-eight billion rands (R28 billion), about one billion eight hundred and twenty million dollars ($1.82 million) due to mental health and stress, as all other African nations lost much more combined; covid and or covid stress is still having its impact on the entire earth, which is why prioritising our wellbeing is important towards succeeding, more than ever before.
According to the World Health Organisation, mental health is fundamental to our collective and individual ability as humans to think, emote, interact with each other, earn a living and enjoy life. On this basis, the promotion, protection and restoration of mental health can be regarded as a vital concern of individuals, communities and societies throughout the world.
Which is why I began the engagement talking about the need to understand one’s state of mental wellbeing and would like you to reflect on this question: How often do you check in on your mental health?
Taking time to consider how you’re feeling today? How you’re feeling physically and mentally and how it changed over the course of the day are all layers and important pieces pulled together revealing the state of one’s mental health for the day.
Daily, your thinking plays a key role in your overall mental health. So, thinking rightly, leads to feeling right; then we can talk right and act right. Though unhelpful thoughts show up, understanding they are thoughts and you, me, we are not those thoughts are how we go and grow through towards looking after ourselves.
Sleep is one of the things that’s suffered during the very first set of global lockdowns as covid 19 ravaged the entire earth. I recall a client walked into my coaching psychology practice in Sandton City with some allergy drops in his right hand and his notebook in the left as I noticed his eyes tearing in the course of our consultation and stress-o-meter assessment. The eye drops had been prescribed by his General Practitioner (GP), reflecting during our time together the sleep loss emerged during our session as we discovered he had lost about 43 days of sleep in over 2 years.
Our physical health can have a significant impact on our mental wellbeing, which is why we need to get good night sleep, so: How did you sleep last night? Are you eating a balanced diet and being dehydrated? Take a moment to reflect on these questions, should they trigger thoughts, things within you, then those are cues for you to consider getting help. Just like we get our vehicles serviced so they don’t break down on the road the same way we need to take our brain /mental health for assessment, support and treatment so it doesn’t drag us somewhere we do not understand.
Don’t trivialise the stressors and stresses filling your stress container for they need to be unlocked, understood, drained, through help, possibly from mental health professionals, counsellors, coaching and clinical psychologists and psychiatrists.
Let me conclude with this story: A football match had been arranged for some young boys; sadly the referee didn’t turn up, putting the boys in a state of discomfort that led to someone being asked to substitute as referee. But he had no whistle, there were no markings for the boundaries of the pitch and also, he didn’t know the rules nearly as well as some of the boys.
The football game sooner than later descended into complete chaos, some started shouting the ball was in, while others said that it was out. Truth is, the substitute referee wasn’t sure, so he allowed things to run. Then the foul started. Some cried, “Foul.” Others said, “No foul.” Since he didn’t know who was right, he allowed them to play on. Then the boys began to get hurt. Soon after, the original referee arrived; at this time three boys were lying down ‘injured’ and all others shouting at the substitute referee. Then the whistle was blown by the original referee, reorganising the football game, because the right hands stirred things in the right direction and it turned out fun and fruitful.
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