“How are you?”
“Ah, I’m ok.”
It’s the standard answer to a question that’s asked thousands of times a day. The words pop out so fast that we don’t even think about what it means. Wikipedia says it’s the most spoken and written word on the planet. And if Wikipedia says it it must be true :-D
But are you? OK, I mean? I mean, it’s easy to say I’m OK, but are you really?
Thanks to all the social distancing and restrictions and handwashing, most of us are thankfully staying Covid-free, and we’re grateful for that.
But the reality is that things are pretty crazy for us all right now.
We’re dealing with all sorts of stuff. Grief. Checkpoints. Loss. Joe Wicks. Fear. Relief. Cabin Fever. Testing. Holiday homes. Anxiety. Stress. HomeSchool. Shopping. Overwhelm. Income worries. Panic. The Curve. Caregiving. Experts. Working from Home. Zoom. Loneliness. Stir-Craziness. Wifi problems. Houseparty. Handwashing. Kids NOT Handwashing. Sadness. Gratitude. Compare-itis. Exam Stress. Uncertainty. Grey Roots. Comfort Eating. 2Km limits. Joggers. Baking. Queues. Anger. Strawberries. Free events. Offers. News. Cocooning. Lost Jobs. Advice. Joy. Statistics. Sunshine. Relationship worries. TikTok.
It’s a lot.
This isn’t a sprint, it’s a marathon - an endurance event - and we’re in this for the long haul. And as any marathon runner knows, the first 20 miles is only half the marathon. We need to conserve our energy so that we don’t hit the wall and risk severe burnout, mental illness and a vicious circle that ends in a very dark place.
So yes, maybe it is easier to say I’m OK, but it might not be the best option for you right now.
Maybe it’s easier to say I’m OK, because if you pull that plug, if you acknowledge that you are finding it tough, that you’re exhausted by it all, that you can’t think straight, that you hate working from home, that you’ve got guilt because you're shouting at the kids, that you can’t face another queue at Aldi, that you want 5 minutes peace and quiet, or that you don’t want to get up in the morning, maybe you won’t be able to stop the tears and that you’ll lose control completely.
You won’t. It’s the opposite. Even when there’s so much going on that you can’t control, accepting that things aren’t ok is the first step to gaining real control over your life.
Connect with someone you trust, and answer the “how are you” question honestly and ask for help. That help, a friendly ear, someone else doing the cooking for once, an email to the children’s teacher, resilience training, mental health support, psychological coaching, whatever works for you, that is what will allow you to rest, refuel and restore your peace of mind so that you can get back to REALLY being ok.
Take back control. You've got this.
Directionality is still very much open for business, so if you are an employer who feels your employees might benefit from some emotional and mental support, if you think their ‘OK’ might be covering up a ‘NOT OK’, please contact us and we will design a resilience programme that meets your needs.
We are also proud to be supporting 2 incredible free initiatives which might be the help you or your friends and family need right now:-
- Frontline healthcare and emergency workers can access free coaching sessions with Niamh on www.connectacoach.org
- The general public can get free psychological first aid sessions with Niamh through www.alustforlife.com.