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Reflections: 3 September 2020

by Shaun Kober
September 3rd 2020

In this short episode, I reflect on the tragic news I received over the weekend of a mate and former colleague and Army veteran taking his own life.

Mental health implications are on the r... More

Hey guys, welcome to today's episode on my reflections. Now, just a word of warning that today's episode is going to be a little bit samba, I am going to be speaking about mental health and suicide. So if that's not a topic that you can stomach at the moment, then probably best to switch off. The reason I'm Bringing this up is because one of my mates and former colleagues from the army committed suicide over the weekend and it was an absolute shock to all of the boys and I received the message whilst I was sitting in a cafe on sunday morning and I just broke down in tears in the middle of a cafe. Um but it took me a few days to process that, and I've been in contact with all of my mates and uh you know, we've had an open conversation and had some dialogue around the mental health implications that a lot of guys are feeling and this is the veteran community, but this is this also carries over to the wider community due to the covid pandemic.

Now, obviously, um people are losing jobs, they're in financial distress, which is putting um strain on relationships and things like that. So we need to understand that the mental health implications that are going to be caused by this pandemic um is going to be widespread amongst the community. So we need to do what we can to look after each other and look after ourselves. So the whole idea of this episode is to give some tools and techniques to allow you to put some processes in place that's going to basically put you on the front foot and be able to deal with this situation as best you can. So the first thing that I want to bring up is that I don't listen to the radio or watch the news or anything like that, because when people are tuned into the news and they're constantly hearing all of these bad things happening around the world, then it puts you into this stress state.

And of course we need to stay up to date with what's going on okay. But we also don't need to inundate ourselves with all of this information that might not pertain to us. So one of the biggest recommendations I can give here is to switch the news off and maybe have like one website that you go onto each day to gather your information and you know, make sure that that make sure that information is objective. One thing that I don't like about journalism these days is it's very subjective. They will give you the facts, but then the journalists will also put their own spin on things and it's sensationalized as well because that's how they, you know, that's how they gain viewers. That's how they get people clicking on their websites and things like that. So um just be wary of what you consume because we are a product of our environment and that is not just what we eat and drink. This is also the people that we hang out with um the social media that we use, the people we follow and the news mediums that we consume as well.

Now, the second thing that I want to talk about is giving yourself some purpose. I know they're still our countries and states around the world that have gone back into lockdown. I just got off an interview yesterday with my mate Tristan Rose um and that interview is going to be dropping next monday um but he's back in lockdown and they've basically been in lockdown since I think March this year. So they spent a lot of time indoors um with a lot of restrictions and that's having massive implications on mental health and one of the big things here is giving yourself purpose, giving yourself some structure, giving yourself some direction every day, A lot of people are going to feel hopeless when they essentially lose their job or they lose their community um and their social standing because a lot of people identify with who they are, that is their personality.

So we need to redirect our purpose and give ourselves some structure. So look at things that you want to develop. Look at things that you want to grow. Look at things that you have maybe wanted to work on, some projects that you've wanted to work on, that you haven't had time to do, but now you have a little bit of time. Okay, and then redirect your attention and your focus towards that area because personal growth is an extremely important part of my life. And it is one of the Swiss Eight principles which I'm an ambassador for and obviously I'm going through my Swiss Eight miniseries right now. And personal growth is a big one for me. That gives you that purpose. That gives you that direction. That gives you that something to get up and work towards. Because if we're not growing, we're dying. We never stay in the same place, We're moving in one direction or the other. So we don't want to be sitting still.

We want to be moving in one direction, ideally towards growth. Now, the next thing I want to talk about is obviously social isolation is going to create some problems. We are social creatures and we evolved in communities. So when we are isolated, that does have an effect on our mental health. So, again, this is a good time to get onto zoom, get onto WhatsApp, get onto all of those um these, these mediums to be able to contact people and get in contact with people that you haven't spoken with in a long time, contact your friends, contact your family, something that I do. I'm not in lockdown right now. But when I was in lockdown, I was literally scheduling a call with friends and family every second day I'd block out an hour and I'd go right, I'm calling three people on monday Wednesday friday and I'd do 20 minute blocks each and I just spend an hour just catching up with people, um talking to them and you know, seeing how they're doing and talking about what I was doing.

And I think that's extremely important right now. We are so socially connected yet so socially disconnected. Um, and you know, it's not about messaging someone, it's about hearing someone's voice. I think that is a lot more powerful than just sending a message and checking in on someone. Another big piece of the puzzle for me is having structure. When we go to work, we go to the gym, we go for dinner, we hang out with friends, et cetera. We have these rituals in our life, we have these habits, we have this structure. Once we're not going to work or once works limited or whatever is happening, we're restricted. Then we start losing those structures. We start losing those routines. Now it's important to reinstate some form of structure because again, that gives you some purpose that gives you some direction. Now a big one for me is when I first went into lockdown, I actually wrote down my values, I wrote down the things that were most important to me that I then put into my daily schedule and you know, I worked to a timetable as if I was at work, even though I wasn't leaving the house and that was important for me.

That was important for my mental integrity. Now, our values drive our behaviors which then create habits and our habits drive our daily actions, which in turn feed your values. So understanding what your values are during these trying times will allow you to stay focused and provide direction are not only what is most important to you, but also purpose amidst the chaos. So for me, my current values were and still are my health and immune system, then my growth and development and then my relationships and financial situations. So I've seen so many people lose their way during times of massive change and have felt the impact of major transition myself and simply writing down and prioritizing what is important to you will bring clarity to what you should be investing your time and energy into. So, these are the tools that I've used to help myself and others through that loss of self identity, purpose and direction.

Now we can only manage what is within our control and a lack of perceived control of our own lives often leads to anxiety and depression, so manage what you can and make the most important things the most important things because first we shape our values and then our values shape us. So going back to my values, my health and immune system is my number one priority because if my health and immune system is on point, then that's going to, you know, restrict or it's going to limit the potential for catching any um illness or disease or anything that's going around okay. And it's also going to mean that I've got a lot more energy and I'm a lot more focused and I'm able to perform at a higher level. So some of the things that I include in my health and immune system that I really focus on is my sleep hydration, my hormones, gut health, nutrition, movement, meditation, and sunlight.

Those things for me contribute to my health and immune system to ensure that I'm safe, I'm healthy. I'm strong. Okay. The next important value for me is my growth and development. So my podcast content creation, I started this podcast when lockdown first kicked off and this is important for me. It gives me that purpose, okay, It gives me something to work towards and I'm growing, I'm learning, I'm developing okay. So that's the second thing is having a purpose and also having a schedule. I write my schedule out every day and that gives me um that direction that gives me things that I'm doing throughout the day and I'm ticking off these things that are essentially, you know, leading me to these small winds and these small winds add up over time and it gives me this little dopamine hit. Um I'm also working on my tire lessons, I'm learning how to speak tired because obviously live in Thailand I'm working through courses, I'm writing articles. I'm also listening to podcasts and reading books.

So, growth and development on both a personal and professional level is extremely important for me and the last one is my relationships and finances, so I'm only spending what I need to spend. I'm being fairly frugal with my money and I'm not spending outside of those means. Um I'm also making sure, like I said before, I'm talking to my mates, I'm talking to my family um a couple of times a week I'm blocking out some time to to make these calls and video calls where I can actually see people's faces and and get That one on 1 face time. Um I'm also focusing on minimalism, Okay, I'm not spending any money or doing anything that's um outside of my means. Everything I'm doing has a purpose. Uh I'm also focusing on my online coaching. Luckily I've will not luckily because I've put these processes in place over the years, but I do have an online coaching business that I've been running for many years. So for me that allows me to not worry so much about my finances because right now the gym's Open, Tiger Muay Thai is open but all of the staff only receiving 50% salary, so I still have that salary, but that is like basically just enough to pay my rent and that's pretty much it.

So um I do have some savings that Ive got sitting in the bank since I've been in Thailand I'm not having to dip into my Australian bank account savings, which I'm grateful for. Um but that's because I do have an online coaching business and I did pivot and I do have that ability to earn some money um via the online platforms. So um the big point here is focus on what is with you within your control and disregard all of the things that are outside of your control because there's no point in adding more stress to your life by you know, reading these sensationalist um news stories and headlines and things like that when you already have a lot of stress in your life. So um the final point that I want to make here is to check in with your friends, everyone is struggling, everyone's going through a tough time. Um you need to check in with your friends, but not not only that you also need to reach out and speak to your friends because if you're struggling yourself, I'm going to sound like an asshole for saying this, but nobody's coming to save you.

If you need help, you need to reach out, you need to talk to other people and particularly guys, okay, I've seen this way too many times in my veteran community, we've lost too many of our boys because there's a stigma around mental health and they felt that they could not reach out and speak to their mates about the problems that they were going through, they did not want to put the burden on to other people, They were happy to help other people but they didn't want to put the burden on other people. And it's a tragedy because we've lost too many of our maids and it never gets easier. It fucking hurts every single time. It's heartbreaking. And for me the most heartbreaking thing is that myself and some of my other veteran mates are putting out all of this content for mental health, all of these tools that we've used over our lives to allow people to take control of their mind, take control of their mental health and this stuff is not being used unfortunately, that for me is a tragedy.

So to wind up the episode, please go onto the website www dot swiss eight dot org and download the app there. That app is going to allow you to build in and structure in the important things in Your lives as eight pillars of health and wellness. We're looking at sleep, nutrition, time management, discipline, fitness, personal growth, mindfulness and minimalism. And all of that content is provided by veterans. Now, I have a training program on that app. Okay, that training program is going to walk you through a really solid training program to keep you moving. My good mate, Tristan Rose has a lot of yoga meditation, mindfulness based work to allow you to get outside of your head, chill out, switch off and relax down, regulate the central nervous system, manage stress.

So head over to that website, download that and start using that app. Those tools are out there. We just need to use them. I will have that website linked in the show notes, but I want to finish the episode with this. You have to invest in yourself. Nobody else will do as much for you as you can do for yourself. That's it for me today, guys, Take care. I'll see you all next monday.

Reflections: 3 September 2020
Reflections: 3 September 2020
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