More than 650 people logged into last week’s World Mental Health day employee forum, featuring comedians Claire Hooper and Dilruk Jayasinha, reminding us to be kind to ourselves and of the value of humour and gratitude when navigating difficult times.
The event can be watched on our past events page on the coronavirus website.
The comedians, who are good friends, presented to us in partnership with Mental Health Australia.
They contrasted the year they’ve had in lockdown – Dilruk living alone in his Melbourne inner-city apartment and Claire, with her husband and two small children, living and home schooling in Brunswick. One experiencing the challenges of solitude as an extreme extrovert, while the other craved some alone time, having spent all but two hours of the last seven months with her children.
They addressed common topics, such as the real sadness of being so far away from parents and family for the year and possibly for Christmas.
Dilruk, who has worked hard in the past with a therapist, was very open about the tactics and techniques he uses to stay positive, such as a gratitude exercise, but saying he’d realised it was important during this time to be kind to himself and others and not be so ‘judgey’.
He said this time reminded him of Viktor Frankl’s quote – ‘an abnormal reaction to an abnormal situation is normal behaviour’.
Claire acknowledged it was exhausting to keep yourself positive and grateful, even though she knew there were plenty of things she should be grateful for, like her family, health and home.
They shared plenty of vulnerability and humour and it is well worth taking the hour to have a listen and see what elements you might relate to.
Claire and Dilruk thanked the employees of Monash Health for their hard work and incredible commitment in the face of anxiety and stress, and wondered, when we had the first Australian COVID patient all the way back in January, did we know something really big was coming?
Dr David Moseley joined in with the Q&A session at the end, to tackle the serious questions and reminded us that one of the ways we can help someone who is struggling, is to be open about how we are feeling and that we are finding things really hard. Modelling the behaviour is important – be open and honest and even if the person doesn’t talk, they will feel that someone else understands.
Explore more ways to look after your mental health and wellbeing on the coronavirus website.
Approved by Karen Lowe