Mental Health Awareness – “Follow The Signs”

Look After Yourselves

Last week at work (and actually since lockdown began back in March), we have been having an increase in the amount of emails we receive regarding mental health and looking after ourselves. If you still think mental health isn’t important or “a thing”, then you must never feel any emotion at all, which is impossible because we’re humans.

Anyway, the job I have is kinda stressful at times – part and parcel of working in technical support providing help to customers and colleagues. Despite me enjoying it, the fact is you’re always dealing with problems and constantly under watch because if you mess up, customers can complain, then managers are on you and needless to say, you feel even more pressure.

Sometimes though, there’s a time when you get dumped with everything at once and you have to sift through it, prioritising your responses and dealing with what comes in.

Integration

In a sense, work is much like life. You have a load of things that are going on that you sift through and it can be stressful. Whoever said life was easy?

There are of course different ways of dealing with things but one of the main topics in the emails that were sent to us was that instead of trying to reach that impossible point of “work-life balance”, you should go for “work-life integration“.

Working is a part of life and life is a part of work. If you think your days are to be broken down in to 8-8-8 (8 hours sleep, 8 hours work, 8 hours life), then what are you going to do if you have to work longer to get a project done?

In any case, I’ve been tasked with being the “sole gatekeeper”, as my supervisor is on holiday for a couple of weeks, and it’s made me realise a few things. However, the main lesson I re-learned is NOT to forget to follow the signs & recognise the value of your time & energy, particularly if you start thinking along the lines of work-life integration.

Follow The Signs

Something that a lot of us are very good at is suppressing something called our “inner voice”, or instinct, gut feeling etc. – we all have different names for it – and it usually takes a lot of experiences for us to finally listen and tune in to it. Oftentimes, it’s not until the “straw that breaks the camel’s back” happens and we finally realise there’s a sign that’s actually been there the whole time – we just never saw it.

You know how it is. An incident that’s seemingly small and insignificant if it was considered as a stand alone event. BUT, when it’s added to an already overloaded person, it is enough to produce what might seem as a drastic response but is actually, fully warranted.

Why am I telling you all this? Well, this straw breaking the camel’s back event happened to me very recently in one aspect of my life that I had integrated in, probably a bit too heavily in hindsight.

Best road sign ever [Source]

Recognise the Value of Your Time & Energy

I’m not in the business of airing dirty laundry but if you follow me on Twitter, you’ll have seen that I had started a new series called Havey’s Guides, which was aiming to initially help bring more eyes and awareness to a site called Hive (or PeakD). Actually, if you’ve been reading my blogs, you’ll have seen me mention this site a LOT with the aim of supporting music fans, you awesome followers and other musicians, radio hosts and DJs.

We all know the music industry isn’t the most favourable for music lovers and musicians alike in its current state so I’ve always been interested in finding alternatives. Having been on Hive for over 2 years and taking the time to understand how it works, it seemed like it would be a great place to share with you as a place to thrive and stick with long term.

Unfortunately, there was an incident where one of the main folks on the site who co-runs a curation guild (ironically, this guild is set up to support creatives on the platform), replied, which gave the impression that disenfranchised musicians and music fans aren’t welcome there and it caused a bit of an uproar, understandably. Add to this, an official looking Hive account (to the outsider) said they agreed with that sentiment…

Cue the direct messages to me from those musicians and radio show hosts that saw these replies asking “What’s going on with that?” and shortly after, them saying “No thanks”… It was at this point that I thought to myself that, after trying for about 10 months to spark interest in the music community about Hive, sleepless nights justifying things and getting pretty stressed, “I think that’s enough, I’ll refocus my energies elsewhere!”

Refocusing

EMA

There is good news though. Since I had that epiphany to refocus , I’ve felt a massive weight being lifted and genuinely, feeling happier in myself. I spoke to the musicians in the Electronic Music Alliance and informed them that now I’ll be giving a lot more than I was able to already and network like a beast to help us reach new heights and add to our incredible collaborative efforts so far.

Hive

As for my activity on Hive, this will likely be the last post I’ll be making about it from my website. If you follow me on Hive and are reading this, thank you for your support and banter. I’ll still pop in from time to time with a few comments, continue running the @yourtop3 contest with @plantstoplanks, @cheese4ead and @foxyspirit and support the projects that I am already. I guess you could say, I’m not completely going, just dimming the lights a little.

Havey’s Guides

Now, about the Havey’s Guides series, well, that will be changing tack a little bit. I’ll have more information on this in a future blog but I’ve been getting the old noggin’ going and believe there’s a bright future ahead for it!

Moral of the Story

So I apologise to you if I got your hopes up. I try to always be open and honest about things that I’ve spent time researching and presenting them to you – I just didn’t think I could possibly predict what actually transpired but we live and learn hey!

In conclusion, I guess the main thing I want to get across is to be aware of your mental health, follow the signs, be happy, address the sources of stress and most importantly, look after yourselves!

Nicky

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