Let’s chat Mental Health with Nick Robinson, Olivia Arezzolo and Holly Ransom

Posted by Adam Jelic on

This week is an important week for MiGOALS, and something we are truly passionate about.

Mental Health is a large part of the foundation of MiGOALS and the products that are created.

In an effort to break the stigma and open a discussion we sat down with some amazing and influential Goal Diggers to talk about all things Mental Health.

Remember to take time to check in with ourselves and others and spread awareness on the impact of Mental Health.

What does Mental Health awareness mean to you?

Nick: Being open, transparent, and vulnerable in how you're feeling to take steps to improve your own mental health, as well as creating a space that allows others to feel comfortable to do the same thing

Olivia: Exactly that - awareness. It’s being conscious of what we say and how we act - and how these factors reflect our inner worlds.

Holly: To me, mental health awareness is akin to being an intentionally conscious human personally, locally and globally. I check in with myself throughout the day, asking internal questions like 'how are my energy levels today?', 'where am I feeling discontent or worried?', 'how can I support myself fully to get done what I need to get done?'. On top of these internal checks, I'm intentionally aware of the people around me, whether that means my partner, work colleagues, or even the rockstar barista making my coffee. I try to consciously check in by asking people about how they're feeling, but in ways that let them go beyond 'fine'. I make sure I know the names of my work colleagues' kids so we can talk beyond the task at hand, I know my neighbour's hobbies so I can get a sense of whether they're taking care of themselves, I'll find out about my barista's life goal and ask how they're tracking towards it. It only takes a simple act of kindness to brighten someone's entire day. 

Do you make a conscious effort to talk about mental health on your social media?

Nick: Absolutely! It's the main reason that I have somewhat of a following on social media. I fit an external stereotype of a young bloke that typically wouldn't talk about topics that are hard to talk about, which really helps people resonate!

Olivia: Definitely. After suffering depression, bulimia and anorexia as a teen, and anorexia into my recent years, I feel it’s so important to let my community know - all of us, even those who seem bubbly and bright (that’s me!) struggle from time to time. And that’s completely ok. 

Holly: Since my own bout of depression a few years ago, I have consciously integrated mental health into everything I put forward as a leader. So many times people have written to me and expressed how much it helps them to know that depression and mental illness can happen to anyone, and anyone can move on from it. I think normalising the need to speak about mental health has come a long way during this global pandemic. The idea that it's okay to not be fine, and to let people know we need support, has really taken hold. And the beautiful thing is that when we go to that vulnerable space, and people, even strangers, wrap their virtual arms around us, we come away feeling so much stronger. 

Do you think more should be done to make Mental Health support more accessible to everyone (front line workers, students, people living alone)?

Nick: Definitely, our mental health is the most important part of our health in my opinion, it's something we technically live in, deal with, and manage 24/7, even while we sleep. Mental health should be a priority in terms of support. 

Olivia: Yes - definitely. More government funding, without a doubt.

Holly: 100% yes our frontline workers, students and people living alone should have more support. Mental health is a systemic issue and so requires a systems-based response. The biggest thing is that a huge amount of our government spending on mental health is reactive, paying for the line up of ambulances at the bottom of the cliff, rather than proactively funding a healthy garden wall at the top of the cliff. As with the environment, we tend to act only when the crisis is in full swing. It's so convenient to look the other way until that point. But true leadership means going first into the future. And that's what we need in the mental health system. 

Are there a few techniques that you have learnt over the years to help you keep on track of your mental health? 

Nick: When I find myself slipping into a bit of a hole or rough patch with my mental health, the first things I look at are what I'm eating, how much sleep I'm getting, how much exercise I'm getting, and how much time I spend on social media. When I pinpoint what I can cut back on or work on in regards to these things, I focus on and improve them which usually makes a big difference.

Olivia: Keep up my daily routines which keep me balanced. My morning routine - meditation, journaling, checking in on my habit tracking for example - it’s fundamental. Movement, nature and music are my other go-to’s. Another thing that is often overlooked, but so important, is diet - having regular meals to keep blood sugar balanced. And it goes without saying - sleep is imperative too - it underpins all of the above - our physical and mental health rely upon it.  

Holly:  Yes! And I would love to talk you through my go-to mental health strategy which I feature in my recent book 'The Leading Edge'. I interviewed Dawn O'Neil AM for the book, the former CEO of both Beyond Blue and Lifeline. She told me that in the same way, we wouldn't expect a single support beam to hold up a building, we cannot expect a single mental health strategy to ensure our wellbeing. Instead, it's important to challenge the idea that being resilient falls entirely on one's own shoulders. Rather than just expecting ourselves to 'be more resilient’, how do we develop a set of resilience tools and relationships in order to bring that reality to life?

Dawn had a powerful way of conceptualising the idea. She said 'One of the strategies I love thinking about is our hand, and how we care for something by wrapping all of our fingers around it. Having one strategy is not enough. To me, our five fingers represent the need to have five support strategies to help us stay mentally healthy.' So grab a pen and paper, here we go: 1) Write down your social wellbeing habit: How are you keeping in touch with people? 2) Write down your time out habit: What are your time out mechanisms to break up the routine? 3) Write down your "exer-scapism" habit: Managing a build-up of stress and anxiety can be helped by exercising or escaping via an activity such as dance, singing, or yoga. 4) Write down your mindfulness habit: how will you be more present and engaged in life? Breathing? Single tasking? Time in nature? 5) Write down your kindness habit: How are you showing up for others, and for yourself? Checking in on neighbours? Journalling?

Do you journal or keep a diary to keep you on track with your goals and commitments? 

Nick: No, I don't but it is something I would like to try. I do have a section in my notes though where I often dump a lot of my thoughts which helps to clear my mind a bit, or sometimes I'll make a TikTok if it's something that I feel others can relate to so it then benefits me and hopefully at least one other person. 

Olivia: Yes - 100%! I journal each day - it keeps me on track.

Holly: Absolutely and I can unashamedly say that MiGoals is my number one tool in this regard. Currently, my dog-eared, scuffed, well-loved Goaldigger Diary is right by my side.

We feel incredibly lucky to have collaborated with these amazing individuals for this message, please support them by following them on social media, and join their journey.

Instagram links:

Nick Robbo https://www.instagram.com/_nickrobbo/

Olivia Arezzolo https://www.instagram.com/oliviaarezzolo/ 

Holly Ranson https://www.instagram.com/holly_ransom/


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