The support systems you need for thriving mental health
Who is in your support systems? As humans, we thrive when in communities and surrounded by supports. But in modern times (and especially throughout the pandemic), as a whole we have really felt the impacts of being isolated and alone.
We ALL need a range of people in our support systems. When I talk to clients about who is in their support system, they usually just list friends and family. Don’t get me wrong, friends and family are amazing and should hopefully be everyone’s first point of call! But don’t limit yourself to just these people.
When thinking of what supports should be in your stress toolbox, consider the following:
Let’s start with the most important, your loved ones. Anyone who you consider in your close circle should be listed as a personal support for you. Think of family (immediate and extended), friends, even pets!
If you work or study, you likely have supports in these areas. Colleagues, classmates, study buddies. Additionally, all tertiary education has student support and counselling options (usually low cost), and a lot of workplaces even have Employee Assistance Programs (or EAP’s) which provide free counselling for their employees. If you are feeling stressed or overwhelmed, research your options.
Most of us belong to different communities and they can be so supportive because we have things in common. Perhaps you belong to a church group, or a sporting club, or a local community hobby group. Maybe a gym, or a mothers group, or anything really!
One positive that came out of the Covid-19 pandemic was that we saw an explosion of online services and supports that didn’t exist before. Everyone had to transition to online and hopefully most of this is here to stay! Sure, social media can be toxic sometimes, but there is so much positive connection and validation that can be found as well. Consider how you receive support online. Maybe through chatting with online friends and followers on Instagram, online forums, specialised Facebook groups etc.
Finally, I strongly believe everyone should have professional supports in their lives. This can be a psychologist like me, but also counsellors, therapists, helplines (e.g. Beyond Blue, Lifeline), specialised services and more.
Watch the full video here: