In true, slightly slow off the mark style, it’s taken me all month to get organised to write this newsletter highlighting October as Mental health month.
The people of Lithgow and the surrounding rural districts have had a lot of ongoing stresses over the past year and I think it’s actually fitting to be writing this today as it’s 1 year since the Gospers Mountain fire started – who would have thought that that one lightning strike in the middle of the scrub would cause so much destruction? Over 2.6 million acres of our beautiful native flora and fauna burnt, heartache and many tears to those who lost their homes and properties, and a huge amount of stress and anxiety to everyone who lived in our region. Many of us are involved in the RFS and so many people donated their time, money and supplies to keep all our crews going and safe.
The fires were a stressful time for everyone and coming off 3 years of drought it’s no wonder the people of our area were in a heightened state of anxiety and in many cases depression.
In early March I was seeing a lot of people with pain and injuries that occurred during the summer but had not had the capacity to be able to address it previously. Many people were quite upset and had not actually spoken to anyone about their experience during the fires and drought until they came in for a physio appointment. I feel privileged and honoured that people felt they could talk to us and were comfortable to be able to open up about what has been happening in their lives.
Then along came COVID…. This was another level…. An unknown, and everyone was watching the situation overseas and seeing all the terrible images on the TV. No wonder people were again becoming anxious when we started to get cases. The messages we were receiving were confusing and the government and health districts were trying their best to give us the information, but they too were learning as they went.
There were so many uncertainties associated with COVID, none of us were sure of the health impacts, financial impacts and social impacts.
I know many people were really worried about all or at least some of these on themselves, their families and friends.
At Tablelands Physio we have been staying positive and available to our clients to help them through this time and not put anyone at any greater risk. We are truly grateful to all our clients who have been patient with our requests for masks, signing in, embracing the Telehealth options, scheduling dilemmas and incessant cleaning that has for the time being become out new norm.
Back to Mental health month….
I prefer to call it happiness month, but since I’ve missed most of October maybe we can flick it to November instead.
It is well known that the brain has a fight or flight mode. When there are stresses our body and brain go into overdrive to manage the situation, more adrenaline and cortisol is released, and we are often able to cope with quite stressful situations.
Unfortunately, if the stress goes on for a long period of time, we are unable to maintain this heightened level of stress and this causes adverse effects to our physical and mental health.
We get a fatigue and are at risk of developing higher levels of depression and anxiety.
As a Physio, I am managing people with pain all day every day and we know as health professionals that if people are in a level of heightened anxiety, depression or have sleep deprivation, their pain levels are increased and their capacity to cope is diminished.
We also know that by trying to manage our stress and anxieties, often by exercise, mindfulness activities, talking to friends or professionals, we can also have a positive impact on managing pain and our mental health. We are fortunate as allied health professionals that we can help you manage your symptoms and have time to listen.
A few tips that I have been trying to undertake this “happiness” month:
It is important that you look after your mental wellbeing and happiness- it will help you, manage that annoying injury, allow you to cope with whatever life throws at you and allow you to live a more fulfilled life.
If you are worried or not coping we are always about to help as we can, or point you in the right direction. I’ve added a questionnaire to fill out if you would like to see how you are tracking (you’re the only person to get the results). And I’ll include some links if you need more information.
this will put you in touch with the local mental health team if you are worried about yourself or a someone else.
We are always here to support and help you achieve your health goals, get you back doing the things you enjoy and reduce your pain. Check our Facebook or Insta page or ask to join our VIP Facebook group for all our up to date news, tips and advice.
Stay well, healthy and happy.