Every year in Australia, we celebrate R U OK?Day. In 2020, the day lands on Thursday, the 10th of September. As the name suggests, the goal of the day is to remind people about the importance of asking, “Are you okay?” Life undoubtedly comes with struggles, no matter who you are, and checking in with those around you can mean a lot.
It’s fair to say that 2020 has been a whirlwind for everyone. This year, the message that’s being pushed is, ‘There’s more to say after R U OK?’ We couldn’t agree more! Of course, asking “Are you okay?” is a great way to start a conversation. However, what really matters is how we offer support afterwards.
In this article, we’ll be going through how you can check in with your team whether you’re a business owner, team leader or team member. If you’re not working right now, or you’re working alone, your team might be your friends or family. To start though, we want to go through how you can check in with yourself. After all, you can’t fill someone else’s cup if yours is empty.
Turn off distractions and spend time with yourself
Sometimes, it’s important to just check in with yourself, especially if you own a small business or work in one. Everyone is on a different schedule and it might not be realistic for you to take a day off or a weekend away. However, you can carve out some time in your schedule to turn off distractions and spend time with yourself, whether it be for an hour or 5 minutes.
One thing you might want to try is meditation. This has been a buzzword lately, making it sound much more complicated than it actually is. Meditation could involve just counting your breaths for a few minutes or it could involve following a guided meditation on YouTube or in an app such as Insight Timer or Headspace.
Journaling could be a great activity as well. You don’t need an expensive journal or a complicated system. Just put pen to paper, however that might be. You could just start writing whatever comes to mind or you follow a prompt to make it easier. For example, ask yourself one of or a few of the following questions:
- How am I feeling right now?
- What is stressing me out the most at the moment?
- How is my body?
- Am I serving my purpose?
- What can I do to be kinder to myself?
- What are three things I’m grateful for right now?
Prepare yourself to talk to others
Part of the steps to asking if someone is okay is preparing yourself. To make sure you’re emotionally ready, make sure you’re in a good headspace, ready to actively listen and can give as much time as necessary. Understand that the person you’re asking might tell you they’re not okay or might not be ready to talk to you.
Before you talk to others, you’ll want to consider whether the moment is right as well. Make sure you’re somewhere comfortable and private. Figure out if there will be enough time for both you and the other person to have a proper conversation. Finally, don’t forget that you’re not trying to solve anyone’s problems, you’re just trying to show that you’re there for them.
Ask R U OK?, listen, encourage action
The R U OK?Day organisation recommends you to follow four steps when asking if someone is okay, the first three being, ask, listen and encourage action. We’ll discuss the final step, check in, in more detail later in the article.
First of all, approach the person in an open way and ask questions such as, “What’s been happening?” or, “You seem more quiet lately. How are you?” If you’re concerned that they’re not ready to talk or will say that they’re fine, you can have a look at this R U OK? infographic for more tips and tricks.
Secondly, if the person you’re talking to does confide in you, make sure you listen with an open mind. Let them talk for as long as they need to and don’t judge them. A great way to show that you’re invested is by asking questions such as, “How does that make you feel?” rather than sharing your own opinion. Repeating what they’ve said in your own words is another great way to not only show that you’re listening, but to affirm their emotions.
Thirdly, you want to encourage action. Before you offer your own solution, ask questions like, “How can I support you?” or, “What’s something that you’ve done in the past to help with similar situations?” If it feels right, you can share your own similar experiences and how you’ve dealt with them. You might want to suggest professional help as well.
Plan an R U OK?Day activity
There are a number of different activities you might want to run for your team. Of course, before you start planning, you’ll want to double check what the official COVID safe procedures are in your location. Some examples for activities include having a breakfast event, morning tea, BBQ, lunch and learn, or team meeting.
At the Workit Spaces eCommerce Hub, we’ve dedicated this whole month to health and wellness. We’ve planned different breakfasts, workouts and seminars to keep everyone feeling positive. The next event will be a seminar with a health coach on Thursday the 17th. If you’re a Workit member, make sure you come along!
Schedule in reminders for checking in
Last but definitely not least, checking in once is just the beginning. A great way to remember to check in again later on is by scheduling reminders on your phone or diary. Remind those around you that you’ve been thinking about them and that you want to know how they’ve been since you last asked.
This step goes for yourself as well. If you know you have a habit of not paying enough attention to yourself, set regular appointments for you to just spend time with yourself. Figure out what self care means to you and see how you can incorporate it into your life.