In this virtual chat, John Kirwan and Dr Fiona Crichton go through some of the things they’ve been finding difficult about lockdown. As John notes:
“Yeah I was unusually anxious yesterday. On the first day I thought “ah stuff it, I’m not going to get up, I can’t be bothered”… which is not like me at all. And then I was really anxious last night because I am home alone, which is not like the last time either. So a few things have changed for me… but I decided to sit with that emotion and work out a bit of a plan.”
They go over a range of helpful, simple advice to support wellbeing – like only checking the news once a day and getting outside for some exercise – and chat about anxiety and why we experience it.
Reminder: all UC students in New Zealand have free and full access to the Mentemia wellbeing app. For info on how to download and sign up using your UC email address, check out this page.
Resilience is one of the key ingredients to building healthy communities, but there are times when we need more than just resilience. These can be moments when we don’t know the right answer, or when life has thrown so much crap at us that the path ahead isn’t clear. That’s when we should turn to others for help.
Helping hands can come in many forms. They can be friends, family, whānau, spiritual leaders, hairdressers, personal trainers, and flatmates. They can be other members of the UC community, including advisors in Atawhai Ākonga | Student Care and Te Waka Pākākano, UC Chaplains and Te Whare Hauora | UC Health Centre staff.
The important point is to start with someone. If you can’t think of someone you know (or you can but they draw a blank on how to help), keep trying. You can phone the service numbers below, click the “Support Services” tab on the UC Website, or the ‘Wellbeing’ button on the UCGO app.
Atawhai Ākonga | Student Care
Here’s a paradox to puzzle over: rather than seeking happiness in life, you might be happier if you didn’t.
As a Counsellor, I rarely use the word ‘happiness’ with others. Instead, I use words like ‘acceptance’ or ‘on-track’. For example, I might ask ‘how acceptable are things for you right now?’ or ‘how on-track do you think you are right now?’To me, this is less pressurising and promotes flexibility in thinking/emotions and a greater range of wellbeing beyond that of being happy.
To help someone to achieve a state of happiness can be a daunting task for both counsellor and counselee alike. And while I encourage you to enjoy happiness when it happens (maybe it happens when you are doing your favourite past time?), uni study often leaves limited time for such pursuits.
Rather than promoting the pursuit of happiness, why not make the existing world of study and work as acceptable of an experience as it possibly can be? And if it is not acceptable, take some actions to get it there.
The questions I’d be encouraging you to ask yourself are these:
- What is the first sign of unacceptability of experience (spoiler alert: usually the answer relates to such things as not coping)
- What’s your go-to action to get things back on-track and into the acceptable range of experience?
- Once back on track, what is the important thing to do/thing to maintain this acceptable position? Are you doing it? If not, can you include it in your schedule?
I hope this is useful!
Karey Meisner, PhD, MEd (Dist), BA (Crim & Psy)
School of Health Sciences/Kura Mātai Hauora
Clinical Educator – Counselling
Registered Counsellor with New Zealand Association of Counsellors
ICYMI, here are some recent blog posts in this wellbeing blogpost series: