Mental health awareness week – a working from home perspective

This year the focus on wellbeing is more important than ever.  Auckland is now on day 40 in lockdown with the rest of the country in level 2.  It’s easy to get swept up in feeling lost or uncertain during these times.  The focus this year is on Te Whare Tapa Whā, a model that describes health as a wharenui/meeting house with four walls.  These walls represent taha wairua/spiritual wellbeing, taha hinengaro/mental and emotional wellbeing, taha tinana/physical wellbeing and taha whānau/family and social wellbeing which are more important that ever.  Below are daily challenges set up by the Mental Health Foundation of New Zealand to get people focused on their mental health for the week.  Shendi Mani reflects on her mental health journey over the last few weeks…

1. Reconnect with someone you care about

I do have to remind myself that people are only a quick phone call or a message away. Every working day I try and check up with one co-worker that I would normally chat to in the office.  I have had some good conversations about how life is going and it’s always good to connect with someone else who is going through a similar situation.  

Jo Draper leads our daily 15min games session, and every Friday at 4pm we hold a special event, whether it is a quiz, online game or a virtual escape room.  The image to the right is of me hosting our company-wide quiz one Friday afternoon.

2. Get outside in nature with someone

I aim to go on a walk at least twice a day, normally before I start work and again at lunchtime.  This means I get a mental break from my work and it helps break my day up.  Living in Mission Bay does help as the ocean is very calming.  Most Aucklanders live either a walk or short car journey away from the beach. It’s never too far to incorporate a nice coastal walk in your day. I have also taken up cycling which I do frequently as an alternative to walking.

cycling mental health awareness week

3. Te Whare Tapa Whā

For this the focus is on reflecting on what areas of Te Whare Tapa Whā you feel are going well for you right now and what areas you need to focus on.  I take time out of my day to practice yoga which has helped me throughout my life in lots of little ways.  Apart from being good on the body, yoga helps mindfulness and clarity.  Taking time from your day to focus on yourself is always good for both the mind, body and soul.  Jeanette Ward runs weekly yoga sessions for everyone here as a good way for us to start our day and stay connected.

4. Connect through kindness

I think kindness within yourself, and others is so important during this time.  Its easy to lash out on others when you are feeling frustrated or overwhelmed.  Small acts of kindness could include dropping baking off to a loved one or sending handwritten letters.  It could also be a small as showing kindness to your household bubble. Simple things like making someone in your household a tea or coffee go a long way.

5. Come together and reflect

While writing this blog I’ve reflected on the acts of wellbeing I have completed over the last few weeks.  Keeping a journal helps one reflect on recent events and acknowledge the good and bad.  Planning virtual family hangouts or playing a game in your household bubble are all ways you can connect with others around you. 

Overall, mental health week is a time for reflection and if needed a time to make small changes to your day.  More resources can be found here on ways to improve your wellbeing