Stories From the DAD crew Dr. Doug's 2021 Wellness Tips A service we've identified as being at the heart of what DAD strives for is a variety of professional services to support mental wellness holistically, with the acknowledgement that there are various pathways to help. We were so fortunate to have DAD's Specialist Psychiatrist, Dr. Doug Blomeley, sharing our Summer Drive Day. He spoke with our crews during the morning briefing and between laughs and knowing nods, shared his advice for looking after our mental health into 2021. The feedback we repeatedly received throughout the event was that Dr. Doug's chat was a firm highlight of the day, so he's kindly offered a summary of his top wellness tips for 2021 to keep us inspired. So here they are, to recap on Dr. Doug’s wellness tips for 2021… in no particular order! 1. Connect with others. In your own way, through your preferred activities and avenues. For many of us this is through a social drive, but for others there may be other preferences. Initiate contact with someone you haven’t seen, or spoken to in a while. The value of human connection can’t be overstated. We’re not all social beings, but many of us are, so try to find and explore new avenues to connect if this is something that appeals to you. 2. “Lose the fog”. My tip is to do this by practising living in the present moment. It’s easy for your mind to get caught up in future worries, but simply practice being connected to the present moment, focusing your senses in the here and now. Personally I think driving is the perfect avenue for this, as you need to be maintaining 100% focus, clarity, and be present - failing to do so would be very unsafe! I’ve often experimented with a variety of ways to make this even more enjoyable again, such as going for a drive on a cold morning with all my windows down, but the heater turned up full. Engaging with all of your senses and acknowledging them helps keep you in the moment and prevent those feelings of fog/dissociation from creeping in. 3. Keep going, and keep active. For many of us, 2020 meant more time at home and more time away from usual activities and pursuits. It’s easy to get stuck in a “cycle of inactivity” whereby we start to do less, therefore get more tired, and when we more tired we feel like doing even less, and this vicious cycle can easily creep up on us and grow a life of its own. We don’t always feel like going out and doing things, but finding people, activities, and ways to make the active choice to involve yourself in regular activities (whether these be necessary or enjoyable things), this is a simple and easy way to remain well. 4. Be kind to yourself. Sometimes when we’re not feeling great, self-esteem is going to be non-existent. It’s easy to get caught up in patterns of self-criticism and self-loathing. Practising the compassion we show to others in our life, and turning this inwards towards our self is a skill that we can all benefit from. While self-esteem might fluctuate and come and go, practising the ability to be kind to yourself, be gentle to yourself, and not set unrealistic standards is a self-management tool that we can always have at hand.