As the leaves start to change colour, and the mornings get a little cooler, it’s a good time to take note of our mental well-being.
Recently, consultant psychologist Rob Gordon visited Christchurch to speak about the impact of stress and disruption on recovery. Rob talked about how four years on, we all need to look after ourselves, this is not only for people with acute mental health issues, but a message for everyone.
Overall, Christchurch residents are facing what he referred to as a “degraded quality of life” and that the physical implications of living with this stress for a prolonged period of time can be quite damaging, if we don’t recognise and act accordingly to balance that. He explained the physical phases in disaster recovery – the initial adrenalin rush , followed by the ’endurance mode’ which involves cortisol on our nervous systems (where we just get by with our routines, but are not feeling particularly creative), the impact on our hippocampus (the part of our brain responsible for our sense of identity) and then the cellular fatigue stage (you know when you give yourself a weekend to look after yourself, catch up on sleep and eat healthy food, but still wake up tired…), and then how we need to really work on recovery from this stage.
So part of an effective recovery strategy means focusing on the well-being of the people who live in our city, and according to Rob Gordon, now is the time to really be focusing on this.
So how do we do that? Well, thankfully, Christchurch has a brilliant local initiative, based on expert research and best practice to help us along the way. We have mentioned before the merits of the ‘All Right?’ campaign, but felt it was time for a reminder of how important this is, and to encourage as many people as possible to check out their website, and look out for their new ‘compliments campaign’ coming out in the next week or so.
One of our Christchurch Green Party staffers while out walking her dog, popped into the supermarket, and came out to find one of the All Right campaign compliments stuck to her dog’s collar.
It’s a great way to brighten someone’s day, and now is a really good time to support this and the well-being of those around us. Sometimes just a bit of awareness, and being able to recognise that our behaviour might at times be symptomatic of stress, may just help us all self-adjust a bit.