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What did you do to protect your mental health through lockdowns, loss of tribe, and social connection?

by Shaun Kober
July 12th 2021

In this episode, I answer a question from a listener on what I did/do to protect my mental health.

Journaling is a big part of the process for me, because it allows me to practice gratitud... More

you know what is up guys? Welcome to this episode of the live train reform podcast on your host Sean koba. During today's short episode, I'm gonna be answering a question from one of my followers slash listeners. Uh, I went away for the weekend and do a little mini staycation in the north of Phuket. I turned my phone off did somewhat of a tech fast as well as a food fast, digital detox, uh, journal. I napped, I walked along the beach, I chilled, red etcetera. So I asked a question on my instagram, which I'm going to answer in today's episode because it is definitely relevant for a lot of people around the world, particularly people in Australia at the moment who are going through the lockdown processes again. So, um, I've just got back to work over the last couple of days, last thursday the gym reopened so I could go back to work, but I hadn't been able to work at the gym for three months prior to that.

The question that I'm gonna be answering is comes from Maddie Mac and his questions. His question is, what are the things that you did to protect your mental health during lockdown? Uh, deal with loss of tribe and social connection. Um, great question mate. Uh, this kind of ties in with what I did over the weekend where I went away, I switched off, I remove distractions and I started journaling and basically gave myself some clarity on where I was at what I was grateful for um, as well as projected, uh, what I wanted to work towards for the remainder of this year along with some action steps that I could take to implement those things. Um so going back to the first lockdown last year in March, I actually, once the gym closed I wrote down all of my values, everything that was important to me. Um and if you're watching this on youtube, I've got that piece of paper right in front of me um if you're listening to this on the podcast, then I will attach the post, the social media post that I did last year that lays everything out.

So basically I looked at what was important to me, I wrote down my list of values um as my three main headings um and then I put in some subheadings around those three main headings. Alright, so my main headings were health and immune system, growth and development, and then relationships and finances okay under the main heading, which was my Number one priority was health and immune system was my subheadings of sleep, hydration, hormones, gut health, nutrition, movement, meditation, and sunlight. So that meant that when I was looking at my calendar and my schedule on a day to day basis, I was making sure that I was doing a number of those things under those subheadings every single morning to kick off my day because that was that was my number one priority. Okay then my growth and development was my second priority. Um I just started my podcast. So those subheadings were podcast, content, recreation, um, purpose schedule thai lessons courses, write articles, listen to podcasts and read books.

So um when I look at those subheadings, I was also looking at my calendar and slotting in times where I was going to work on those things. My third main heading was relationships and finances. And the subheadings were spend only what you need mates, minimalism three calls per week, minimum family and online coaching. So again look at my calendar, look at my schedule, where can I slot these things in? Where can I? Organ is basically my life and all of these things that I want to achieve and prioritize, where can I put them into my schedule? Okay and then I basically just organized my schedule on a day to day basis to ensure that I was doing all of those things and some mornings when I was feeling a little bit flat I was feeling a little bit tired then instead of maybe doing a hard heavy training session um you know I might have just got some sunlight, did a little bit of a stretch, made sure I drank heaps of water um etcetera. Okay, eat good food to make sure I maintain gut health and immune system alright.

But then what I would do is instead of doing um podcast content creation, which obviously takes a lot of research, a lot of energy um etcetera. Then you know, maybe I'll jump on my phone and call some friends or family or people that I wanted to connect with my tribe and build that social connection. Okay. Then there was other days where I was feeling good, I was in a little bit of a flow state. I was feeling quite creative. So then that whole day I might have been going through Podcast content creation. I think one day I recorded like three podcasts um, and then edit it all down. Um, got it all uploaded, wrote the bio, the description, etcetera, etcetera. So, you know, I think writing down what you value is extremely important because then you can look at prioritizing uh, where you going to slot those things into your day. Okay. So that was last year's lockdown. Um, at the, we went into lockdown for a couple of months and then the gym reopened again and then it kind of went back to business as usual. Um, but what I did towards the end of the year was again, I did some journaling.

Okay. And what I did was reflected On 2020. I know a lot of people had a really bad year in 2020. Um, and again, I've posted about this before Basically saying, you know, if you had a bad year in 2020, what makes you think that 20 and 21 is going to be different. Okay. So, um, I'll again attach that to the show notes for this podcast episode. Um, but At the end of 2020, I went through my reflections and I did a podcast on this as well, which I also attached, but basically My 2020 reflections, uh I wrote down, what am I grateful for this year and the number one thing that I was grateful for was my friends and family, because luckily for me, prior to the covid lockdowns, I've actually spent six weeks on holidays and doing courses um where I got to spend a lot of time with friends and family. And I literally got back To Thailand like 10 days before we went into lockdown. Um and then I used that time during lockdown to start creating my podcast.

So um one of my grateful for number one Friends and family, I went to Japan for two weeks, went snowboarding with a couple of mates. I went to bali went scuba diving, um you know, trained with some friends, met some new people caught up with old friends and then I went back to Australia and did my yoga course um and caught up with a number of um veteran mates and brothers um as well as met a number of other people um in the veteran space as well and kind of created a really good quality network. The second thing that I was grateful for was personal growth. Um I started a podcast and right now I'm currently at about 100 and 20 episodes. Uh I became a yoga teacher. I read two dozen books, I listened to a heap of um other podcast creators and learned from them as well. And Also completed three courses in 2020. Number three was Korea. So what I was grateful for was that I played a part in Peter Yang's coaching team and last year he won the UFC bantamweight championship, the title against Jose Aldo who is a legend of the sport.

And I just remember sitting at the bar having some beers with some friends and when he got his hand raised, I got up and just put my arms in the air and was just extremely grateful for being able to play a part in his journey and I sat back down and like pull my sunglasses down and looked at one of my mates and you know, I had tears coming out of my eyes. Um The next thing was I started a period ice program for fighters um which was part of the vision that I'd actually written at the start of last year, it might have been, It was 2019. Actually I wrote that down that I wanted to start that. Um The next thing I did was help numerous people through online coaching, which I'm still doing to this day. Um The next thing I was grateful for was my health and fitness. Um I was in a good place. My training was going well. Um I played in a couple of rugby tournaments and I ended up winning most valuable player in the southern province region rugby tournament, we won that tournament and then went to Bangkok and played in the national championship there where unfortunately I injured my hamstring, I tore it um and was out for the rest of the tournament, but that's something that I'll talk about next.

Uh then the next thing I was grateful for was the travel, obviously I got that travel to go back home um go Japan, go to bali, catch up with friends, family etcetera. But what I also did was I knew that I couldn't travel overseas, so I ended up buying myself a car. Now I didn't think that I'd ever need a car um in Thailand everything is pretty close, I've got a scooter, I've got a motorbike but I decided to buy a car because I knew I couldn't travel overseas and I was like well now is a good time to get a car, drive around Thailand, spend this time to you know explore and go off the beaten path and you know um I covered five and a 1000 km around Thailand and went to some amazing places and you know, got to see some of these places that are typically full of tourists, I didn't have anyone there, you know there Was I think four Or five days where I could count on one hand how many foreigners I saw, which was really awesome. Um for me obviously terrible to see for the tourism industry, but um, yeah, it was great for me to be able to experience that.

Um now over this last weekend, What I did with my journaling was I looked at 20, 20, so far and I went through some fixes, some improves and some sustains. Once I did that, then I did some projections. I wrote down my visions for what I want to achieve for the remainder of this year along with action steps, which is something I'm going to share with you guys now, which ties into the original question. Okay, so my number one fix was my injuries since I tore my hamstring in that tournament, that rugby tournament. Um I've had a number of injuries since then I dislocated my shoulder a couple of times. I've tweaked my back a couple of times. Um I'm sure I've had a number of other things come up, but I can't remember right now. Um but yeah, I pretty much had a pretty terrible run with injuries. So my fix for the first part of this year is to, or moving forward is to make sure that I prioritize mobility, um corrective exercise, um Dysfunctional movement patterns, etcetera, started dressing that stuff, make sure that I give my body, the love, the care, the maintenance that it requires for me to be able to train the way that I want to live, the way that I want to, etcetera.

Okay. Um so I've written out my training schedule, I've written out what I'm going to do when I'm going to do it um when I'm putting putting that into my day, um etcetera. So that's my, basically my fix, the thing that I need to work on. Okay, the next thing I wrote down was improved my improve for this year on reflection of this year so far is my social connection. Um I'm quite disciplined, I'm quite structured when it comes to um ticking off things that I want to achieve in regards to podcast, content, creation, Youtube channel, um thai lessons, study pts online coaching, my own training etcetera, etcetera. So, you know, I'm juggling a lot of things. Um but in saying that my social connection is lacking a little bit. Um so I wrote that down as an improve. So my action steps for building that social connection is to Make sure I call three people per week um friends and family.

Okay, So on my white boards in front of me, um one of my personal priorities was three Calls to friends and family. I've written down six names to call this week. Okay. I already called one last night. Um so I've got another, you know, five or six days to call at least two more people. Um The next thing is social meetups, I've booked in with a couple of friends to go and have dinner with them tonight because I haven't caught up with them for a while. Um I'm going to make sure that I do that twice this week. Um You know, obviously if you're in lockup then you're probably not going to be able to do that. So you know, making sure that you make time for calls organized with people aligned with their schedule aligned with your schedule, jump on the phone, do some facetime, WhatsApp, whatever. Um Even better if you can get a group of people on board a bunch of mates that you can get on a phone call with and you know, just catch up, talk shit etcetera. Um to tie into that. I typically go back to Australia every ANZAC day because ANZAC day is an extremely important day for me um to go home and catch up with my friends and reminisce on our time in the military, tell stories, Talk shit, throw some beers back, have a good time, just be around each other, et cetera.

Now obviously, um, this year I didn't get to do that last year. I didn't get to do that. But what we did was organize big group zoom calls. So you know, last year I literally sat at home and crack the bottle of johnny walker and just sat here and like sipped a few drinks, jumped on a heap of different zoom calls. I think I jumped on maybe five or six different zoom calls and just caught up with friends that I hadn't seen for, you know, some of them 56789, 10 years. Um so that was really cool to, you know, obviously it's, it's not the same as being there in person with someone, but you still do get that connection and you still do um create that tribe mentality. So I think that's a big one for people dealing with the social connection, loss of tribe is just, you know, making time to organize with a bunch of friends to be able to get on a call and um you know, look each other in the face on a video call is typically better than um just a voice call. Um the next thing I want to improve is my time management. Again, I'm juggling a lot of different things.

So um I've actually written down the things that I'm going to prioritize on a day to day basis, uh tying in with everything that I'm doing, but each day is kind of going to have a theme. So what I've written down is to batch my tasks, so that means, you know, I might record a podcast, then I might edit a previous podcast, um then I might upload that um to my hosting platform, um then I might, you know, record the Youtube video, put that up, etcetera, etcetera, so I'm matching tasks that are very similar um together to make sure that I'm not uh taking my attention and spreading it too thin. Um so that's the first thing, batch task, The next thing was focused day. So for monday I've written down podcast, content creation or edits, Tuesday is podcast, interview or creation. Okay, Wednesday is my study based day, thursday is my social media, Youtube content day friday is kind of like my admin day catch up day um just kind of picking up whatever I haven't really finished that week that needs to be done prior to the weekend, then saturday is my explore rest, play day and then sunday is my reflect project and prepared day so that I can look back on the week that was, I can look forward to the week that is coming and then I can prepare for that week as best I can.

Um and then the next thing is my sustain, which is my lifestyle balance. I've got a really good lifestyle balance. Um Again, I organize everything, I'm quite disciplined, quite structured, that means that I can be proactive and on the front foot, which allows me to be flexible when I need to be because I'm all over the things that I need to do, I need to get done. Um I take those things off the list, I'm ahead of where I need to be, so if something comes up, I feel tired, I don't feel like doing something, I want to go and catch up with friends, go to the beach, whatever I get sick or whatever it might be, um I'm still ahead of where I need to be. So my lifestyle balance is good and I've written down um for sustained organization, vision reflect project, prepare, execute, review, adjust and refine. So I'm constantly looking at what's going on in my life, I'm creating gratitude, I'm looking for things that you know I appreciate and I'm grateful for, and then I'm also looking at uh my vision which then allows me to create clarity, which then allows me to put in action steps, things that I want to achieve moving forward, whether that's on a day to day basis, weekly basis or a monthly basis, so hopefully that answers your question maddie.

Um anyone that's going through lockdown, I highly recommend um giving yourself some purpose on a day to day basis, because if you don't have purpose, you kind of just going to go, you're gonna flow through your days and you're not really going to achieve anything and when you're not achieving anything, you feel like shit, um you lose motivation, you lose drive, you don't want to get out of bed, you fucking come eat comfort food and you just generally feel like shit. So um what I'd recommend for people going through um those lockdowns is just you know, setting your schedule up and doing things that bring you fulfillment and not only bring you fulfillment but allow you to achieve things every day because in my mind, achievement is it's the essence of life. Like if you can achieve things every day that brings you fulfillment and contentment, then you win the day and if you can do that on a weekly basis, you win the week, you do that on a monthly basis, you win the month, you do that on a yearly basis, you win the year and not every day has to be perfect. Okay, we're not working towards perfection, we're working towards progress as long as we win more days than we lose within a week, we've won the week, we do that over a month, we do that over a year, etcetera, etcetera.

So this question is actually come at a good time because I've recently written down a number of things for another project that I'm working on, um someone asked me a question on what focus means to me and what I wrote down is that focus is the ability to minimize distractions and drive awareness and attention towards a desired outcome by creating an intention that leads to action. So where attention goes energy flows, the sun's rays alone cannot hurt you unless you expose yourself to them for too long. If you use a magnifying glass, however you can focus the rays of the sun, those focus rays can create fire which can either sustain life or destroy life and our focus is essentially the same. So what I do with my technology in particular, my social media is I make sure that I minimize the time that I'm using. I'm not scrolling through. You know the different social media platforms comparing my life to other people.

I'm making sure that when I do go on social media and use that I'm using it with intent I go on I post I answer questions um and then I get off so I'm not mindlessly scrolling through these social media platforms. Um Something else that came up is that the thing that draws our focus and attention are the questions that we ask ourselves and the quality of our life comes down to those questions and how we answer them. How can I prioritize my values? What's important to me? What am I non negotiables? What am I willing to compromise on? What am I not willing to compromise on ask yourself these difficult questions allows you to manage your time, energy and effort on a daily basis so that you can take control of your life and be proactive rather than reactive. We can't always control what happens to us but we can control how we interpret what happens to us as well as how we respond. Between stimulus and response is choice. So at the end of the day you need to control the controllable. I'm going to finish the episode with uh an excerpt from the book.

The satellite of not giving a fuck by Mark Manson because this is basically how I live my life. Everyone in their T. V. Commercial wants you to believe that the key to a good life is a nicer job or a more rugged car, a prettier girl friend or a hot tub with an inflatable pool for the kids. The world is constantly telling you that the path to a better life is more more, more buy more own more, make more fuck more be more. You're constantly bombarded with messages to give a fuck about everything all the time. Give a fuck about new tv. Give a fuck about having a better vacation than your co workers. Give a fuck about buying that new lawn ornament, Give a fuck about having the right kind of selfie stick. Why my guess? Because giving a fuck about more staff is good for business and whilst there's nothing wrong with good business, the problem is that giving too many fox is bad for your mental health, it causes you to become overly attached to the superficial and fake to dedicate your life to chasing a mirage of happiness and satisfaction. The key to a good life is not giving a fuck about more. It's giving a fuck about less.

Giving a fuck about only what is true and immediate and important to you. To finish up the episode. What I'd recommend doing is going on to the website Swiss and downloading that app I'm an ambassador for Swiss Eight which is a proactive mental health program. initially designed by veterans for veterans but has been pushed out to the wider community to deal with the declining mental health over the last 15 months or so through the covid lockdowns, um and the pandemic etcetera. So the Swiss eight Principles are sleep, nutrition, time management, discipline fitness, personal growth, mindfulness and minimalism. And what the app does is it allows you to um put some of these processes in place on a daily basis, implement some mindfulness, give you some um tools and techniques to create good healthy meals, give you some training programs, some mindfulness tips, some personal growth tips. Um you know, basically allowing you to be better at life.

That's it for me today guys, hopefully enjoyed this episode. Any five star ratings and reviews are much appreciated. If you enjoyed this episode, make sure you tag me on your stories, share it to your social media platforms. Tag me so that I can share it as well. Much love Guys, piece

What did you do to protect your mental health through lockdowns, loss of tribe, and social connection?
What did you do to protect your mental health through lockdowns, loss of tribe, and social connection?
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