Foundation encourages Kiwis to get some ‘me time’

The Mental Health Foundation suggests you should take some of that ‘meh’ time and turn it into me time, some time that’s just for you, to do something you want to do. Times photo Wayne Martin.

With lockdown extended in Auckland last week, the Mental Health Foundation (MHF) is sharing its newest campaign – Meh Time to Me Time, encouraging Aucklanders (and all New Zealanders) to take some time every day that’s just for themselves.

“We’ve noticed that this lockdown has been a lot harder on people than others,” MHF chief executive Shaun Robinson says.

“We’re hearing it from essential workers – who aren’t getting the same levels of thanks and kindness they were in previous lockdowns – from people who are really struggling in their bubbles alone and from people who are in bubbles with others but are still finding lockdown is incredibly hard.”

Kiwis have used lots of words to describe how they’re feeling – anxious, overwhelmed, hōhā, over it – but at the end of the day, it all came down to one word: we’re all feeling a bit ‘meh’. And, that’s totally understandable.

“We know it’s hard to find the headspace, time or energy to do something big for your mental health right now,” Robinson says, “and we get that. So we’re asking you to do something little but powerful. Take some of that meh time and turn it into me time, some time that’s just for you, to do something you want to do.”

The MHF understands this message might be challenging. People in bubbles alone might be thinking they get nothing but me time, but Robinson says the most important thing about this campaign is the reminder that it’s vital for our wellbeing to feel like we’re in control of our lives and how we spend our time, so reframing how we spend our time is a powerful tool.

Me time is great for our wellbeing: it helps manage feelings of stress, anxiety and depression and helps us feel happier and more satisfied with our lives.

“Most importantly at the moment, it increases our resilience and our sense of empathy for others, two things which are going to help us get through this really hard time and come out the other side,” Robinson says.

Of course, this campaign isn’t just for Aucklanders. It’s been running quietly on social media for a few weeks and has proven popular all around Aotearoa, with feedback from members of hard-hit industries such as tourism, hospitality and supermarkets that the messages of the campaign are just what their people need to hear – so many things are out of their control right now, but they matter, their mental health matters and their wellbeing needs to be cared for.

“We had a tiny budget for this campaign, and we weren’t expecting it to reach many people,” Robinson says, “But it’s turned out to be what people needed to hear. New Zealanders are used to looking after others, but sometimes we all need a reminder that we also need to look after ourselves.”