Kickstarting 2021 by Making Time for our Mental Health and Wellbeing
2020 was undeniably one of the most challenging years for everyone. Home, work and learning life, as we knew it, was flipped on its head. Pivoting, connection and digital were words frequently in the spotlight as the world tried to understand and navigate sudden change. Underpinning this came a new sense of awareness and increased conversation about how our mental health is interconnected and integral to our overall wellbeing.
Nearly 78% of Australians said their mental health had worsened since COVID-19 and nearly 60% said mental health concerns had impacted their productivity in the past year.
What was life like at Primary in 2020?
At Primary we completely shifted the way we worked; from regular face-to-face meetings with clients and the team (including our beloved brainstorm sessions), to going completely remote (where Zoom fatigue became a real thing).
With this change came initial fear, doubt, confusion, and stress. The reality of the quick shift looked different for everyone – some were managing little ones at home, others were sharing workspace with roommates, and the occasional lucky person appeared to be attending a meeting from Hawaii (thanks to Zoom backgrounds).
It also brought something special, a keenness to stay connected and an alertness to each other’s mental wellbeing. One of the greatest things we implemented were morning catch ups where we got to see one another’s faces, hear about everyone’s projects, and have a laugh.
We have returned to work in 2021 feeling refreshed and energised, but also conscious of the still present and lingering uncertainty around what the future holds for home, work and learning environments.
Towards the end of last year, we were lucky enough to work alongside the National Mental Health Commission and people living with mental illness, to develop an online community-led initiative encouraging all Australians to prioritise their mental health during summer by #MakingTime for things that matter to them.
During the development of this initiative, the Commission had conversations with people experiencing mental illness and those who care for them about their challenges over the past year and what has helped them through. What did we find? Everyone’s experience has been different, and so too is what helps them get through, but what they make time for matters and can positively impact their mental wellbeing.
Working alongside leading organisations on pivotal initiatives provides the opportunity for our team to look within. Based on our learnings from last year and our desire to thrive personally and professionally, here is what the Primary team is #MakingTime for to support our mental wellbeing in 2021:
- Conversation: the morning team catch ups continue, but teams are also heading into the office once a week so we can chat over lunch together.
- Creativity: encouraging one another to try new things and pursue passions. If 2020 taught us anything it is that trying something new can result in hidden gems and talents.
- Celebration: sometimes we can move quickly onto the next thing without recognising the time, effort and success of our work. We are making a conscious effort to recognise the amazing work our team does, even if it results in blushing!
What are you, your workplace and your family making time for this summer?
The Commission is encouraging people to share what they are making time for with the rest of Australia, so together we can inspire and support one another in difficult moments. You can get involved and find out more by visiting www.nmhcmakingtime.com.au.
By Danielle Cuthbert, Primary Communication