It’s one of the best days of the year. The day that you are all encouraged to ask friends and colleagues “R U OK?”. And to take the time to listen to their answer. So do it. Take a few minutes to go for a coffee, a walk, whatever, and have a chat with someone you care about. You never know – they could be desperate for a shoulder to lean on and a listening ear. You could make their day. You may never know how much you helped them out.
The recent suicide of Robin Williams has brought to our attention yet again the sad truth – depression does not discriminate. It can affect anyone. And it does. He was quietly fighting his own black dog, while bringing laughter to the rest of the world.
One in five Australian’s will experience depression this year and around half of us will be affected by a bout of depression sometime in our lives. And if you are fortunate enough to avoid it, you’ll be surrounded by others who are not so lucky. Your colleague’s smile might be a disguise, hiding their inner battles. Your friend’s jokes might be a tactic, used to avoid personal questions. Because discussing the truth is more than they can manage in a two-minute conversation.
With suicide the 10th leading cause of death in Australia, we owe it to ourselves and to each other to do something about it. For other leading causes of death, like heart disease, we can make healthier choices to improve the odds. So when it comes to suicide, we need to start making emotionally healthy choices.
It’s the little things, like finishing work on time and giving ourselves five minutes before we run in to collect the kids. Snatching mini-moments of peace & quiet. Recharging our batteries with fresh air, good food and plenty of exercise. Keeping a day in your diary completely free.
These habits will build up your personal strength and stamina. Which makes you less prone to breaking down. And far more capable of helping others who need your support.
As a friend often says, we can’t give from an empty bucket. So fill your bucket up today and use it to ask someone, R U OK? And if you really want to make a difference? Aim to have a meaningful conversation with someone new each day.
If you or someone you care about is at risk of suicide, call the Suicide Call Back Service on 1300 659 467 ore register for online counselling. They’re here to help.
Gretchen Masters loves helping everyone to get fitter, healthier and happier. With the solid foundations of an exercise science degree and over 10 years experience in the fitness industry, Gretchen knows how to help you to get the most out of your training.
Gretchen’s biggest project these days is Spring – a national campaign delivered online to fight depression. Held each September, members follow daily fitness plans, eat good mood food and access meditation podcasts. They track their mood and watch it soar. All of the profits from Spring are donated to mental health charities.
Gretchen also delivers corporate wellness programs and writes regular columns for Inform magazine. When she’s not busy boosting health and vitality all over Australia, you’ll find Gretchen planning her next trip to France. Each July, Gretchen shares her passion and guides groups from the French Alps to Paris, following the Tour de France.
For more information
P 1300 65 25 66