6 B’s of Better Mental Health (During Lockdown)

Lisa Westgate is my people.  She is a  rockstar who genuinely cares for people after having been through some serious stuff herself.  She is an expert in her field, and I am so pleased she is in my circle.  Some great advice here for all of us, especially at this time in our history! – Bek

Lisa Westgate

Firstly, we need to acknowledge that these are unique times. Please know that it’s okay to feel angry or upset or unstable or like somebody has just put you in some sort of spinning ride at a theme park and switched it on well before you are ready. However you are feeling at this time is valid, there is no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’.

We also need to appreciate that Australia has really not had a break since September last year. The bushfires meant many of us did not get a break between 2019 and 2020. Even if we had time off work allocated to ‘Holidays’, many of us did not get a chance for an emotional break. Many of us have been in a heightened emotional crisis response state for over six months. We need to recognize in that context of ongoing crisis, sometimes things start falling apart and our mental health can suffer. It is NOT a sign of weakness it’s a sign of humanity.

My intention with this piece is to give you some simple processes, tools, and ideas to put into action in the coming weeks and months. Use these as a resource that you can come back to on multiple occasions when you need reminders.

Breathe

Here is a simple breathing technique used in many industries including military and law enforcement globally. The cycle is 4-6-8-7. This breathing pattern is a variation of pranayama based yogic breathing championed by Dr. Andrew Weil’s 4-7-8 and ‘Box’ or ‘Tactical’ breathing which follows a 4-4-4-4 pattern. Begin by exhaling all the air in your lungs then take a deep breath in for the count of four, hold that breath in your lungs for the count of six, exhale that breath for the count of eight and then hold no breath for the count of seven, repeat this cycle four times. The reported effects of this practice twice a day for several months is a lowering of blood pressure, heart rate, and other positive physiological changes. Although, you may notice that even doing that now has helped put you at ease. Now that you have this tool, use it regularly and everything suggested after will be easier to manage.

Balance

This word is thrown around a lot. What does it actually mean and how can you implement that in the real world?

For some, balance can be about scheduling and planning. Having structure and allocating time for all activities creates a sense of control for those that enjoy systems. For others, listening to your gut, tuning into your body is the way to go. Too much structure can create undue pressure. If you are working from home and also have family members home too, just do the best you can. This may mean changing your work hours to suit family activities or temporarily rearranging some furniture to give yourself a workspace. You may not have the room to this and run your business or do your work from the kitchen table. You can’t make time or save time, but you can decide how to use time. Most importantly, in my opinion, is to give yourself points for trying and remember all anyone can ever do it give it their best shot.

Boundaries

Boundaries can get a bad rap. Think about boundaries as an opportunity to keep things in, rather than cast them out. Understand you are only one person; you can only do so much. Healthy boundaries assist in keeping you under your ‘overwhelm threshold’. Overwhelm is a typical feeling in our current situation. A simple way to practice safe boundaries is the simple two-letter word ‘No’. Saying no to added workload, pressures from kids and perhaps expectations of your partner lets people know where your boundaries are. It also, importantly, reaffirms them for yourself. Stay true to your boundaries and avoid burnout.

Budget

Part of setting healthy boundaries is that you create an opportunity for budgeting. Not necessarily in the financial sense, but in the time and energy sense. Acknowledge you have a finite amount of energy allocated for each day, especially under these crisis management conditions. When we are running on amygdala-based drivers like fight, flight or freeze, your capacity is limited. Be sure to budget and utilise your energy in the most ‘bang for your buck’ way. This means being judicious in who and what you give your energy to, be conscious of how much energy you are allocating to a particular person or activity. Save some for your loved ones and for yourself. Use boundaries to enforce your energy budget.

Breaks

Take them. Give yourself one. If you are working from home, in particular, you have the ability to structure your day as you wish. This is a double-edged sword. Many will find it difficult to establish and maintain a routine that facilitates proper breaks, both physical and mental.

There is a concept referred to as ‘active resting’. I learnt this years ago and it profoundly changed my ‘spare’ time. The idea is to develop some deliberate insight into your own ‘happiness strategies’, the activities that add to your energetic fuel tank. For example, spending time in nature, cooking, reading a mind-expanding book, any activity in which you ‘lose time’. These activities do more than just give you a break away from work or home duties, they provide your conscious mind with a distraction, allowing your subconscious mind to process emotions and feelings in the background. Like your computer running a scan in the background while you play solitaire. Write these down and allocate time for them in your energy budget.

Active resting is completely different in outcome and intention to bingeing on Netflix, which also has a place.

Be Kind

The importance of kindness cannot be overemphasised in current times (and always). Kindness, gratitude, and contribution are at the opposite end of the emotional spectrum to fear, anxiety and individualism. To a great extent, they act as somewhat of an antidote to these base emotions. If you find yourself overwhelmed by media, either traditional or social, people in your life that are catastrophizing, and the general state of the world, take note. Breathe, create balance, say No, switch off, step outside, breathe again, be kind to yourself and consider how lucky we are to have connection via modern technology, clean air (getting cleaner) and fresh water and find a way to help someone else. Perhaps share this article with them. Be well and I look forward to seeing you on the other side.

BIO:

Since outgrowing PTSD post a decade long Ambulance career, Lisa Westgate founded Freedom Mindset Training. She shares her expertise in areas of mental health, self-care and Neuro-Linguistic Programming both Live and online.

Lisa is a regular guest presenter and has a successful working relationship with Victoria Police and other organisations particularly related to her passion for frontline mental health care.

Lisa is a contributing author in the Amazon Number 1 Bestseller, ‘Changemakers: IWD edition’. Changemakers and her e-book “3 Keys to Outgrow Trauma: an alternative perspective from lived experience” are available via her website.

Website: www.lisawestgate.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/lisawestgateptsd

LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/lisawestgate

Instagram: www.instagram.com/lisa_westgate_

Email Lisa at lisa@lisawestgate.com

Guest Blogger 2020 resilience

5 Projects To Build Your Community

I met Kirsty after we were both showcased by YMag, and when we finally met in person we just clicked.  As a result of that, she has assisted in the build of a new project I’m working on. She is interested in DIY Marketing and  creating custom digital products and I totally recommend her services. This blog is a timely piece of advice during some very uncertain times. Becky Paroz

Guest Blogger Kirsty Fields

Creating IP in a business is incredibly important to both stand out in your market and will result in making money. But how do you go from having an idea and creating the IP for it, to selling your idea? What’s more, if your market is flooded with similar solutions and there’s lots of sales messaging available what can you do to start a successful pathway? Build a community. This community can exist in different formats, online or offline, be geographically based or not. You build a community from your clients, networking and industry connections, contractors and suppliers, friends, referrers and collaborators. What all these different groups have in common, is that they collectively make up your community. If something happens to one sector of your community, it’s likely you’ll maintain other sectors.

Here’s five small projects to launch to help build your community to be able to formalise and grow a “list” of contacts to formalise a communication strategy. This activity alone is key for you to sell to in the future, but always the way in which you can mass-communicate information, education, support and awareness. And a portion of your marketing mix that is always left unnurtured, and therefore an untapped asset to your business. Each one of these five projects can be implemented using simple technology to capture information from your community if you haven’t done so already.

This will allow you to turn each of the five projects into a new community group to connect with directly as a smaller group, or as part of your wider community. And you could use all five of these projects together for a bigger more impactful outcome offering a variety of styles catering to individual interests.

  1. Create a freebie
  2. Start a pop-up Facebook group
  3. Run a short-term challenge
  4. Host a low-priced ticket masterclass or workshop (online or in person)
  5. Run a private bespoke event offering membership

Create a Freebie

Creating freebies are perhaps the easiest of the lot! Sending your freebie out via a sign-up scenario means you capture an email address as a minimum. Popular freebies include E-Books, webinars, podcasts, tools like calculators, discounts, or mini versions of a service/product like an audit or consult. Save your work in easily accessible formats e.g. PDF files, downloadable Zip folders or links to hidden pages on your website and give access to them only after you collect the private information of each user that allows you to communicate with them in the future.

Start a pop-up Facebook group

Pop up Facebooks are a great idea to contain a small group to WOW new people to your community, service them with some education or access to freebies and a supportive community. It also allows you to entertain them, provide great service from you or your team. It also provides a closed area for you to market directly to them. The key to success with Facebook groups is brand-relevant visually appealing and professionally structured content. Your time and effort needs to go into the group before it’s populated, allowing you to turn up Live instead of the stress of daily content creation. This is never fun!

Don’t delete your Pop Up group once the original purpose has run its course. Reuse the group repetitively, as you’ll find those who valued it the first time (plus those who may not have given their full attention, or needed better timing), won’t leave of their own accord. That allows you to add to your group quarterly or half-yearly with a membership number that impresses the viewer.

Run a short-term challenge

Short-term challenges can be great fun and you can pick up community members with savvy social campaigns when you run them. Think hashtags for engagement, cross-platform participation with Instagram, and entertainment all the way. Just like any other campaign you run, lead-in time is everything! Promote it for at least 6 weeks organically before day 1 to maximise numbers. Your email communication should be short, sharp and clear across the time of the challenge with your own example included each day. Remind participants with scheduled email campaigns that include daily or every second day reminders the week it starts. Selecting daily winners from participants is a great draw card, as is a collaborative challenge. You can also run a short-term challenge in a Facebook group – or create a Pop Up Facebook group for this purpose.

Host a low-priced ticket masterclass or workshop

We run low-priced workshops regularly. Several times a year in fact, and the feedback we receive from clients every time is that they enjoy and appreciate an intimate gathering of like-minded people. It allows for a more personalised approach, but also allows you to maintain a low budget in many areas including choice of venue, catering and print/marketing collateral requirements. To secure the number of guests you need by following an event plan rolling out over a 10-12 week period. This is an ideal time frame to allow you publish a variety of events marketing information from the time you launch, to the date of the event. This allows you to run one per quarter as part of a regular onboarding process. And don’t forget, this event could be a digital event with video conferencing or Live video in a private group setting.

Run a private bespoke event offering membership

If what you have to offer doesn’t support a low-priced anything, then a bespoke private event is more likely to hit your target! Along with a higher price tag, an impressive location, providing experiential program features, bespoke events offering membership as the kicker are a big hit with women in particular. Think retreats – spiritual or corporate in nature – providing elements that may be perceived as difficult to organise in a day to day circumstance, or that may be considered luxurious. Include add-ons, have varied pricing structures to snag guests earlier or provide a higher price tag for a distinct purpose. The activity of community building is a long game and requires patience. However, it’s genuinely one of the most successful marketing activities a company can undertake for longevity.

Though it takes a long time to build a huge list, once you’re in the hang of it and include it in your marketing activities, you will feed into your database with ease. Suggestions above are superficially based on social media activity or events based. These are my own areas of specialty at Social Ocean, which is an events marketing agency. Combining your online social presence with face to face events is a highly successful mix, that will not only assist in building your list but create your raving fans!

KIRSTY FIELDS – BIO

Armed with over 20 years’ experience in the event management business, Kirsty Fields has co-ordinated everything from kids’ events to national sports games. After a successful career in sports, she embraced modern marketing and promotional techniques.

Her passion for training clients in social media, digital marketing and branding has been combined to present her multi-award winning business Social Ocean a bespoke events marketing agency.

Kirsty’s experience in event management and coordination, and the small business space, backed by her passion for marketing, makes her an ideal source for all things related to events, small business, marketing, social media and branding.

LINKS FOR SHARING

Social Links:

Website (relaunching this month): https://www.socialocean.com.au

To follow along with Social Ocean, and for regular tips and tricks, join them on

Facebook: www.facebook.com/socialoceanau

LinkedIn Page: www.linkedin.com/company/social-ocean-au

Instagram Page: www.instagram.com/socialoceanau

Pinterest Page: www.pinterest.com.au/SocialOceanAU

Guest Blogger 2020 resilience Uncategorized