'Self-Audit' Your Well-Being

28 Oct 2021

We have been in lockdown again, this time for more than 2 months now. This forced change in our circumstances will most likely have taken a toll on most of us. It is absolutely vital that we take a step back and evaluate our own well-being, a reminder which many of us will have come across more than once recently either through our own workplace or through the media.

Mental health problems are common and are an important societal issue.

If this sounds unimportant and you are tempted to weather this through by just ‘steeling’ your nerves and resolve, then consider the following statistics. Since the pandemic, 42% of employees had experienced a decline in their mental health according to a 2021 global wellbeing survey by Aon. Well-being was lower in 2021 compared to previous years where it remained very consistent and negative emotions also increased. Up to a third of performance is attributed to our well-being. The higher our well-being is, the better our job performance.

It is also important that you take action to resolve it.

Factors that affect our well-being include positive emotions, relationships, engagement, meaning, accomplishment and negative emotion, all of which are measurable on a frequency scale. Of these, relationships consistently feature as most important to our well-being. I have personally found talking to someone who understands my situation very effective for my own mental well-being. Getting the affirmation to acknowledge the reality of my situation is not only comforting but also uplifting and empowering. If not possible to talk to anyone, reading articles on similar situations really helps. Several articles online support the tough reality of the current pandemic on us and provide valuable advice as well. If getting more work done solves your pain points during lockdown, then you can also do that. But in doing so, it is imperative to be mindful of what you are doing and why you are doing it. Beavering away senselessly as a distraction may only heighten the anxiety after a while and lead you away from improving your mental health in the long term. Finally, just take some annual leave and go on a break. You deserve it. But do take action.

NZQC supports mental health as well as a holistic approach to well-being.

The simplest action we recommend is to do a self-audit. Just as during auditing, we call out any non-conformances in a system as well as affirm conformances to uphold quality, your own self is also a system that needs to be audited for quality. To address ‘human quality defects’, we need to do a self-audit and call out any ‘non-conformances’ to our well-being and take action to correct it. The most obvious self-audit corrective action to take is to treat ourselves with kindness.

We can liken the self-audit exercise to a simple Plan-Do-Check-Act cycle on ourselves which will enable us to take practicable steps to keep our own personal system in good shape. For example:

Plan – to take a periodic break from work, how best to take that break and for how long and under what circumstances.

Do – take the break when you said you would.

Check – for how the break or recess in your day or week is helping you. If you like talking to someone over the phone, is that better or is having a nap better or is going for a drive better or is listening to music better?

Act – on the type of change you want to see implemented in your routine and compare with earlier routines. 

So do a self-audit today and let kindness be your corrective action. Not only will you be thanking yourself later but so will your whanau and friends for being able to spend some quality time with you.

And when you feel up to it, do the same for others i.e. do an ‘external audit’. Ask around how everyone is feeling. Let us spread the kindness where we can and improve everyone’s well-being. 

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