I’ve had enough
Excuse the slightly dramatic title, but I want to do something a bit different today.
I sat down last week to think about what resources I could share with our mental health advocates newsletter (completely unsubtle plug here), and I drew a blank.
Yes, I probably could have shared some in-depth articles, helpful tips for creating a more healthy workplace culture and for better supporting employees and colleagues…
And then I just thought, is that what people really want or need right now?
I’ll get into this in a bit more detail below, but I started thinking about what I really need right now…and it’s certainly not strategy guides.
I’m absolutely exhausted to be honest.
This year has really taken it out of me, and I’m doing what I need to do to get through to the end of the year.
But finding the energy for reading a bunch of useful resources, for thinking about high-level things like changing workplace culture…it’s just not there right now.
And I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that this is true for most of you too.
Sure, I could send you a bunch of “how-to” guides, but do you have the mental capacity or energy to do anything with it at the moment?
I think what we all really need right now is an arm around us, letting each other know that we all feel the same, and we’re all in this together…crawling to the finish line that is 2020.
I met up with a friend a few weeks ago and a chat I had with him inspired a lot of the conversation for this newsletter.
We did that classic guy thing of talking about sport and gaming for a bit, making a few stupid jokes, talking about how different a draught pint tastes from the ones we’ve got in the fridge.
Then I started sharing how I’ve been feeling recently.
It went something like “I’m fed up to be honest. Like, I’m okay for the most part and there’s no crisis, but life just feels like such an effort at the moment. I can’t be bothered to talk to anyone or do anything, and I just feel knackered”
About halfway through me talking I could see the visible relief in his face.
I asked “have you been feeling the same?”
And then he echoed everything I’d been saying but had, of course, been bottling it up and not talking about it.
Thinking it was just him feeling this way.
So I made a point of checking in with more friends in the same way, and also sharing some of this online. It was generally always the same story – people feeling exactly the same, and expressing relief that it’s not just them.
And so that’s where I got to with my newsletter.
I’m not doing my best right now.
I’m struggling a bit actually.
It feels hard to write those words and a bit exposing, but that’s the truth of it.
The last two mornings I’ve woken up with what’s felt like an iron grip around my heart and shortness of breath.
I’m skipping breakfast in the morning as I’ve got no appetite.
A couple of things have happened in my personal life recently which have felt so much more insurmountable. Where I’d normally be able to shrug them off, I’ve felt them weighing down heavily on me.
And everything is annoying me.
The internet is a bit too slow. The house is a bit too cold. But then the heating makes it too hot. My cat’s a bit too lazy. The door’s a bit too creaky. Everything is just… a “bit too much”.
And I hate this. I prefer being upbeat, positive and jovial. But I can feel that my patience and my emotional energy is running thin.
I don’t write this to ask for pity or sympathy.
I don’t write this to be self-indulgent or to moan.
I write this because I think a lot of you will resonate with the above. And if you don’t I’d bet money that you know someone who would. A family member, a friend, a colleague.
What I’ve talked about in this newsletter is the single most important thing we could be talking about right now when it comes to mental health and wellbeing.
So I share it to, one, say it’s okay.
But more importantly to give others permission to share. If you read this and it makes you go and check in on one friend, then that’s my job done.
Yes – resources, guides, links, policy examples etc etc are all important and needed, and we’ll continue to share them in this newsletter.
But it’s storytelling that really makes an impact, and really inspires us to make a change. To make use of the resources and the strategy guides.
So that’s where I’ve got to.
My hope is that you read this, and it resonates.
Maybe you’ll reach out to me, letting me know that it’s resonated and how you’ve been doing recently (I’d love that by the way).
Maybe you’ll reach out to a friend or a colleague and check-in with them.
Maybe you won’t do any of those things, but you’ll read this and stay silently comforted, knowing you’re not alone. And that’s okay too.
But I hope it inspires something in you.
If there’s one message I could leave you all with today, it’s to take a break over Christmas. Switch off, unwind and relax as best you can. We all need it.
That’s your useful resource, strategy, tip and how-to all tied into one – take a break.
Stay safe and have a good break,