Mentally Well Practically
Being mentally resilient requires one to take practical steps; steps to overcome challenges and grow as a person. This is especially so in a time of global pandemic where everyone is fighting some kind of crisis various levels. We have been working in the last few months to help share practical tips in helping people to navigate these challenging times and stay mentally resilient.
We thank CNA for covering our work in “hacking” mental well-being. It is indeed encouraging to see how various other changemakers are also starting meaningful ground-up initiatives to support our community during this time.
‘HACKING’ MENTAL HEALTHWhile sharing one’s struggles with strangers can offer occasional catharsis, James Lim, the founder of social enterprise Emmaus Strategies, wants to create long-term, tangible and accessible solutions for the individual where mental well-being is concerned.Lim, who is also a member of A Good Space, started a COVID-19 quiz that required 226 participants to make self-assessments of their stress level in five categories: Digital, physiological, relational, vocational and psychological.The quiz found that four in 10 reported elevated stress levels; the top three stressors were relational, physiological and digital; and at-risk groups included youth and those with mental and physical health concerns before COVID-19.Separately, Lim organised Hack Care, an online COVID-19 mental resilience hackathon. Participants rallied to “co-create solutions” to mental health challenges, such as those expressed in the quiz, and to put together a resilience toolkit.He believes that when the circuit breaker ends, “mental well-being isn’t going to be people’s priority any more” — once they become overwhelmed with work. So he wanted to come up with “operationable” solutions.These include opting for the radio rather than television or other screens as an entertainment source, exiting chat groups that are emotionally draining, and using mealtimes to transition between different parts of one’s routine.“When I was dealing with burnout, many ideas given online were principles-based: Things like you need to take care of yourself, you need to draw boundaries. Okay, I know I need to take care of myself, but how?” he said.“MIT (Most Important Task) helped with my sanity and routine, so I put it into the toolkit. Let’s be realistic — we can’t do much in these times. This means I focus on the top two or three tasks, then I call it a day and spend time with my kids.”
James is the Lead Thrive-Synergist & Founder of Emmaus Strategies; a social enterprise that “fuels good”. It does this through Mental Well-Being programmes for individuals and organizations, as well as Strategic Volunteer Partnerships consultancy and training for non-profits.