Connection and our Mental Health

Melbourne is now in its second week of lockdown 6 and the feeling is low. In my many conversations over the past week, the words flat, unmotivated, sad, heartbroken, and heavy have been used to describe how people are feeling.

We, humans, are social creatures we thrive on connection with others. One of the greatest impacts on our health and wellbeing is our feeling of connection and belonging. With the current impacts of lockdowns staying connected has become increasingly difficult and yet more important than ever.

Feeling disconnected and not belonging leaves us feeling isolated and alone. Loneliness can have a significant impact on our physical and mental health which is clearly taking its toll when you listen to the language being used to describe how people are feeling.

When the connection is lost, we are more likely to see increases in:

  • Depression and suicide
  • Cardiovascular disease and stroke
  • Increased stress levels
  • Decreased memory and learning
  • Antisocial behavior
  • Poor decision-making
  • Alcoholism and drug abuse
  • The progression of Alzheimer's disease
  • Altered brain function

Before we ever heard of COVID-19 Smart Company reported in September 2019 that the mental health of our 2.2million small businesses in Australia is at a crisis point. The mental health issues among small business owners in Australia are more than double the national average.

Over half of small business owners compared to 1 in 5 of the general population are living with mental health issues from stress, low-level anxiety to depression.

Data on the 2020 -2021 period has not yet been released but I can only imagine the mental health of our small business owners being even higher.

So, what can we do?

  • Find ways to keep connected
    • Call a friend, family member, colleague, or customer. Check-in with the purpose of brightening their day and yours.
    • Play virtual games together like Golf Clash, Kahoot, Ticket to Ride, Water Cooler Trivia.
    • Join a group – check out the meetup platform for a range of groups. We’d love to have you join ours buildingconnections.com.au
  • Process your feelings as they come up instead of letting them build up. Let yourself be okay with whatever feelings bubble up.
  • Stick to a routine of sleeping, eating well and exercising
  • Breathe deeply and fill your lungs with fresh air…when you don’t need to wear a mask that is.
  • Be kind to yourself and others… kindness is contagious
  • Take control of your thoughts… you get to choose where you put your focus. Focusing on gratitude and appreciation is a great place to start.
  • Reach out for support when you need to “A burden shared is a burden halved”

Reach out to your:

  • Accountant or Financial Advisor
  • GP
  • Coach or Mentor
  • Building Connections community

Help:

  • Beyond Blue 1300 22 4636
  • Lifeline 13 11 14