Exploring Resilience via Lifes Burning Issues

Author: Mick Morris (Page 2 of 92)

From lockdown to freedom

As my state went into the first COVID lockdown, on one of the first mornings, this Haiku was my reflection looking out the view from my back yard, as Autumn took hold of the landscape.

Golden leaves falling

On zephyr of changing season.

Life changes, like that.

Like all my poetry it was not just lockdown, more a reflection on life and how it changes and what the change feels like.

The written word, sometimes mine, more often the words of others have been a constant source of comfort, challenge, learning and wonder throughout the various stages of challenging periods of life.

This period of Covid lockdown and the changing patterns of interaction have been no different.  A few poems have emerged as, like many, I have worked my way through making sense of the world in its latest iteration. The poems hidden amidst the writing required for work or study, or activism in the community. Sometimes with questions…

What hour

Is my friend

In darkness?

Sometimes the sense of a shrinking world

Knowing,

the universe

Is expanding,

Feeling though,

contraction.

Eyes drawn

To the horizon,

While being crushed

by claustrophobia.

During lockdown I’ve read and read and read. I’ve participated in a few writing challenge prompts, a 30 in 30 poetry challenge, 

Out there, twinkling luminescence attracted gaze,

the inky space, thoughts. 

In here, the dark cosmos my scrutiny, pursuing creation’s spark.

Weightless liminality the existential bridge.

Today is what many have labeled “Freedom Day” as my state emerges from the recent extended lock down.  

Victory?

Verdant victory,

Pent up energy release,

Spring shoots, life returns…

The question is “Freedom” to what?  

Whatever you do, pause occasionally and reflect – this “freedom” comes with a societal acceptance that there will be daily deaths from COVID.  There are many in society for whom this “freedom” is scary, the elderly, those with sick children, or children with, those with chronic disease that make them more susceptible. Don’t let their lives be diminished, by the reporting of deaths being contributed to by underlying conditions.

As life “returns” and public places become crowded, stay safe. Think of others. Be pleasant, follow the rules.

Am I OK to ask R U OK?

Can you give yourself the thumbs up?

R U OK day is on the doorstep. There will be conversations and social media posts galore about reaching out and asking the people in your life if they are OK. A vital service checking in on the welfare and safety of those around you.

The creators of R U OK day, ask people to consider a couple of quick questions about being in the right headspace, having time the team needed and being ready to genuinely listen?

What does it mean to be in the right headspace? Pause for a moment, ask yourself this question: “Am I OK to be asking RUOK?”.

The world has been a very different place for many of us in the past 18 months, with the impact of the COVID pandemic, lockdowns, debates of all sorts about the right or effective approach to dealing with the public health problem, adapting our ways of working and dealing with many associated issues. Have you done an honest assessment of yourself, and how you are?

How do you ask yourself if you are OK?

Here are a few questions to help yourself do this assessment:

  • Has my behaviour changed?
  • Have my feelings / overall baseline mood changed?
  • How is my sleep pattern?
  • Apart from the impostion of lockdowns/social distancing – I am avoiding people? (or am I avoiding people more than usual if you are a strong introvert)
  • Am I cynical and disengaged?
  • Am I still finding joy and fulfillment in the things that once brought me joy?
  • How are my eating/alcohol consumption patterns?
  • How is my “self talk”?

If your honest responses to yourself suggest that you might not be OK to ask someone else R U OK, then it is important that you take the time to initiate some self-care!

It’s OK to not be OK! But it is not OK to languish in it and not take action to move towards being OK.

There are many great resources to do more structured assessments of your own mental health, and great resources that can be of assistance to yourself and others if you find yourself or them not being OK. You can find these through organisations like Beyond Blue , The Black Dog Insititute , Sane Australia and of course R U OK. Don’t forget many workplaces also have links to services and mental health programs.

For those who want a deeper dive, I also recommend a couple of books – Learned Optimism by Martin Seligman (and his related books), and Change Your Thinking by Sarah Edelman.

If the response to your own self assessment is “I’m OK”, great! Then I encourage you to take the time on R U OK day to check in and make sure someone else is OK too. Here are another 50 ways to reach out to someone without directly asking “How are you”.

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