Strength is an interesting concept.  Strength of character, body strength, strength of will, having the strength to get up. Resilience is another, and one that is often used to complement strength – someone has strength and resilience.

Since COVID-19 began, these words, strength and resilience, have been used extensively to encourage people to go on, to get up or to face the future.  We’ve seen from the past few quarterly Pulse Survey’s run by the Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCIQ), some interesting insights regarding the impact the past couple of years have had on businesses when it comes to strength and resilience.

I have been lucky enough to speak with health professionals and I always ask the question ‘have you seen an upswing in mental health issues?’ The answer is always ‘No – but we have seen an increase in situational stress!’

A precursor to mental health issues, situational stress is the body’s reaction to being under almost constant stress, and it is absolutely treatable with some simple exercises.  

Ask a business owner if they have any issues with mental health, the answer is ‘No, I’m just under a bit of stress!’ A bit of stress, that usually involves sleepless nights, upset stomach, fatigue, poor decision making and a raft of other symptoms.

The Chamber is working with others to bring in programs that support mental wellbeing and decrease stress, but there are some things you can do right now to help yourself.

Go for a walk with a few supportive friends – you don’t need to talk, just be present and in the moment.  Do a yoga or a tai chi class or two or join a meditation group.  For me, when the weather’s good, I take down my kayak and go for a paddle.  No phone, no family, just me on the water, and it always surprises me how little time it takes to clear the fog.

Do what you need to do to look after you – manage the stress before it grows beyond your control.

Tim Sayer is the president of Bundaberg & District Chamber of Commerce.