Sunday, May 28, 2023

How Are You Today, 2020? The Best Advice from Jacinda Ardern, John Campbell, Jenny-May Clarkson & More

Let's be friends!

The books we're reading, the vibrators we're using, the rants we're having and more in our weekly EDM.

When we first started our How Are You, Today series back in June, we had no idea how popular it would become – and how many wonderful, honest and meandering conversations we would have with some of our most famous Kiwis. In this compendium, we present to you the entire collection of chats – and the advice or answers that still sticks with us today.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern on… the philosophy that stops her from getting overwhelmed
Clarke says to me sometimes… you eat the elephant one piece at a time. And it’s… [laughs] it’s quite a graphic metaphor, but it’s that theory of taking whatever challenge there is – and in this job, I’ve found that to be entirely true – that no matter what challenge there is, take it day by day, one piece at a time. You’ve always got to have a view of where you’re going, because there has to be that wider perspective of ‘the plan.’ And then once you’ve got that plan, it’s just to take each day as it comes. Take the next challenge and the next challenge and the next challenge.

And as you go, recognising that ‘today felt a little bit harder than usual, I may need to give myself a little bit of time out at the end of the day, spend some time thinking about what that end goal is again, and then get back into it.’ No matter what you do, whether you’re a 16-year-old in school exams… some days, that day could feel as overwhelming for them as it does to feel in charge of a country. It’s all relative. The philosophy is the same – take each day as it comes.

Breakfast co-host Jenny-May Clarkson on meeting ‘the one’ when she was 41 – and why she wouldn’t have had it any other way
I think the thing is I don’t see it as a chance meeting – I see it as we had to travel our own journeys and that at the right time we would meet. I mean, of course you don’t know that while you’re living life and going through your ups and downs and feeling hopelessly out of love. But I look at the age we were when we met – Dean was 39, I was 41. We’d lived some life! That first night we had all those upfront conversations, like, “do you want more kids?” All those questions you usually wait a while before asking in a new relationship. Well, I figured, I’m too old for that! At 41, if you don’t want kids mate, that’s cool, but I’m moving on! I think it was less about chance, and more that we were meant to be, we just had an individual journey to travel to get to this point together.

Whakaari/White island survivor Kelsey Waghorn‘s advice for people recovering from physical or mental trauma
Always ask for help when things are getting too heavy. Lean on friends and family, and/or a counsellor. Remove/unfollow people/pages, etc, that don’t benefit your headspace. Eat good food, and listen to good music. Keep telling yourself “this is temporary” because you will find yourself in a better place to cope physically and/or mentally at some stage – you just have to be patient and trust the process, as hard and horrible as that is.

The Project presenter Kanoa Lloyd on the power of therapy – and finding a therapist that fits your style
I had tried therapy when I was in my teens and twenties and ended up, like a lot of people, becoming jaded… It was until much later, until I turned 30. There was regular life stuff going on but also a new, high-profile, stressful job and I thought ‘should I dip my toe back in it again?’ This time, I went about it in a really mindful, considered way. I treated it like I would treat a story; I did a lot of research, I approached a number of people and I set up appointments [with a couple of them] and said ‘I’m shopping around and I’m not sure if counselling is for me but I want to try and see.’

When I found my therapist, who I still see now three years later, she was really understanding about that. She wasn’t going to take it personally if I quit – and just starting a relationship on that basis, it really worked. It’s scary for people, there is so much stigma and you think ‘if I’m going to therapy, does that mean I’m crazy?’ so being brave enough to reach out to somebody in the first place is a bit like ‘this should work immediately!’ But you don’t do that with a gym or someone who cuts your hair, all of those things are a process to figure out what you like. Maybe you’re an F45 person and maybe you’re a Pilates person? It doesn’t matter.

Media personality Brodie Kane on coping with redundancy (a very 2020 subject)
It was really tough, and it actually really hurt. I loved that job, I absolutely loved that job, and it was worth getting up every morning for. I hate mornings, but to get up at stupid o’clock for that was fine. I miss it, but you know what? Shit happens sometimes and I think, I’m not going to say that bullshit ‘everything happens for a reason’ thing, but when life deals you a card like that, you just have to stop and say, ‘Ok, that’s happened. What now?’

The most important thing is to never take it personally. A couple of close people around me said that to me early on, and I really did hold onto it. That piece of advice really, really helped because I get how when your sense of pride, and your source of passion and energy is taken away… well, I can see how it could eat away at you. 

TV personality and actor Kim Crossman on how her definition of ‘what makes a successful life’ has changed as she’s grown older
When I look back at my successes which, 10 years ago, if you’d have said to me ‘Kim, you’re going to achieve this,’ I would have said ‘you’re out of your mind, that’s so rad.’ But in actuality, achieving them has never made me feel like ‘I’ve arrived.’ There have been multiple moments in my life where I have assumed that, once I’ve got there, I would feel that overwhelming sense of relief and joy, and feel present, like I had finally arrived at what I’ve been working for. Yet, history tells me that I have yet to feel that feeling. But I know that’s the feeling that I’m chasing. And I had always assumed it would be in work, but what I’m trying to do is be more open that it might happen in a different arena.

Covid-19 longhauler Freya Sawbridge, on how the debilitating (and on-going) symptoms of Covid-19 made her grateful for her previous big life decisions
The fact Covid-19 is so up and down creates a hideous game of mental snakes and ladders. I’m generally a very contented person but I’ve reached some very dark places these last six months. In the depths of the illness you just think “if this is me for the rest of my life then I don’t want it”. Then my nephew visits or I laugh with a friend or my writing gets published and the sun shines a little again.
I’m sure the experience has taught me a lot but right now that’s hard to see because it’s hard to gain perspective when you’re still in the fog. What I will say though is that getting sick has affirmed to me the life choices I made before I got sick (living in as many different countries as possible and not staying put for a job).
My sense of peace in my darkest times came from knowing I’d lived how I wanted to my first 26 years. Life can change in an instant and I think we should all do the things that burn most deeply inside us before the chance gets taken away.

Supernatural actor Jared Padalecki on living with depression
I say constantly that there’s no shame in dealing with these things. There’s no shame in having to fight every day, but fighting every day, and presumably, if you’re still alive to hear these words or read this interview, then you are winning your war. You’re here. You might not win every battle. There are going to be some really tough days. There might be several tough times in any given single day, but hopefully, this will help somebody to think, ‘This isn’t easy; it is a fight, but I’m going to keep fighting.’

Mental Health advocate Jazz Thornton on why asking for help is the most important first step you can make – and the lifestyle too that helps her mood
The biggest one is asking for help, early. I was someone who – and I think it could have a lot to do with New Zealand culture – I would kind of wait until I was in crisis before I would ask for help. It seemed too minimal and ‘you don’t want to waste people’s time with something so minimal!’ so I would wait until I had a full meltdown to then reach out. And one of the things I’ve learnt is that’s not a healthy thing to do. And so now if I’m feeling anxious or overwhelmed, I speak up straight away. That way, you’ve got people walking through with you, so you don’t say out of the blue ‘Oh, I’m suddenly in crisis.’ But also, keeping in a routine and exercise. We talk about it a lot, that exercise is good for mental health, but I actually rate it so much now. I only started going to the gym a year ago and I was like ‘Shoot, I should have started doing this earlier.’ It makes my mind so clear.

Radio presenter Sarah Gandy, who also helps raise awareness for breast cancer prevention, on how to be a good friend to someone going through cancer treatment
People worry so much about saying the wrong thing that they don’t say anything at all and unfortunately that doesn’t go unnoticed – I wish it wasn’t the case, but do you notice the people who don’t reach out. So please do reach out, send a joke, send them a cute photo, say “hey I’ve been reading this really good book and I think you’d like it”, any of those things! What was amazing was the people who came out of the woodwork who I hadn’t spoken to in years who were dropping off breakfast after surgery, or asking to walk my dogs for me, or pick me up from chemo.

Singer Stan Walker on how forgiveness sets you free
For me, forgiveness is a complex thing but it’s a simple thing. You see people walking around, unable to forgive and carrying that with them everywhere they go – it’s written all over their face, it’s this ugly disease that keeps them alive.

It’s so powerful when you’re able to forgive yourself, and forgive other people, because you feel free. It’s the ultimate freedom, to be able to be yourself and live your life and find out your purpose of living. It’s a powerful thing, but a lot of people find they just can’t, so I hope that maybe this book might help them to be able to do that – to go on a journey to forgiveness.

Breakfast co-host John Campbell on living (and working) with imposter syndrome
I don’t know any broadcasters who don’t from time-to-time suffer from imposter syndrome. Because if you don’t suffer from imposter syndrome, if you face the world so unequivocally sure that you have things right, then I don’t think you’re going to be a very interesting broadcaster. You certainly won’t be full of curiosity or doubt or all the things that most avail us to be empathetic and engaged. So yes, from time-to-time, you find yourself saying, ‘Wow, I’m having a tough day today, I don’t know how I’m going’. Jenny-May will often say to me, ‘I don’t know how I’m going today’ and I’ll say, ‘Well you’re going great!’ because she always is. So I think it’s important we notice and affirm ourselves and if we see someone is struggling to do that, that you give them the message that their true self matters.

Broadcaster Sharyn Casey on how writing helps her process her emotions – and helped her feel less alone after miscarriage
I wrote a piece after our second miscarriage and it was because after our first one, I felt so completely alone and so isolated. We’d just lost the most important thing that had ever happened to us and we had never even considered that a miscarriage could happen to us. I’ve always liked writing – even when I was young and I was bullied at school, Mum would always say to me ‘Write it all down and get the feelings out.’ So, I wrote it down and then sat on it for a couple of months and then the more I found out that people close to me had had miscarriages and they all said no-one talked about it. One night I was like ‘F—k it, I’m just going to post this.’ It gave a beautiful meaning as to why it had happened and if it helped someone else, then it felt like my babies had this big purpose with their existence, if that makes sense?

Amanda McConchie, who has lost two stillbirth babies in the past 18 months, on using Instagram as a tool to connect during difficult (and remote) times
Being overseas meant that I haven’t had to face people right away, I haven’t had people see me at my worst. It’s taken away that fear of facing people. So as a substitute, I’ve used Instagram as a tool because you can say what you want to say but you can also hide behind it, you can then switch off and do what you need to do. Whether that’s sleep, cry, go for a walk. It’s also been a good way for people to know ‘Okay, shit, they’re going through a hard time at the moment, this is how we can help or be understanding or just be aware.’ It’s made it easier for people to process – they know what’s going on and the channels are open. Because I’ve shared that information, I’ve invited people in and they can ask me questions, and not worry they’re going to upset me.

Comedy star Brynley Stent on the difficult reality of body image for how you feel about your own body, in a world of body positivity
I spent so much money a year trying to be skinny – and that’s part of my other journeys, not just acting. And as a comedian, you never want to be completely hot or Botoxed up to your eyebrows because you don’t want to be perfect, you want to be yourself to be funny.

But this industry, you can’t just be one thing. I want to do everything – I would love to be on a drama. But then you think, are they going to cast me on that show if I look a certain way? There are demons, and I still need to do a lot of work to get me to the place that I think my friends should be at about their bodies, you know what I mean? I heard the most beautiful thing the other day, my friend said to me ‘When your friend talks down about themselves, the best comeback ever is you turn to them and say, “Don’t talk about my friend that way.”

I love that so much. If I have a friend that says “I look ugly” or something, I say, “Don’t talk to my friend that way!” and it makes them realise how they talk to themselves. It’s gentle but it gets the point across!

Movember Country Director Rob Dunne on why we need to check in on our guy mates
As men get older, their group of friends gets smaller and we’re not good at keeping that circle of friends as we drop out of those settings, whereas females are fantastic at it. So I try really, really hard to continue to have those settings – stay involved in sport at my local clubs, stay involved in my boys’ sports teams; about three or four times a year I have different reasons to get together with my best friends from high school. Sometimes there are a couple of beers involved but I can tell my wife it’s all under the guise of men’s health!

It’s really important to still do that because you can ask so many guys when was the last time you talked to your best mate from high school, or your best man at your wedding, and they’ll say three months, six months, 12 months… which is too long. It’s hard – so you have to keep getting on the phone to your mates, keep finding opportunities to catch up. It’s too easy to say ‘I haven’t got time’, but I find if you treat mental health like you do work or exercise by putting it in the calendar, locking it in and making a commitment, it helps a lot.

Mother’s Day Gifts: Does ANYONE Understand What We Actually Want!? (Hint: It’s NOT Hand Cream)

On Mother’s Day, some of the gendered gifts range from ‘why would we want that?’ to just plain sexist. Sarah Lang looks into what...

From Barre to Bootcamp: Is Your Body Complaining About Your Punishing Workout Regime? Practice Some Self-Care With These Top Recovery Tips!

Are you trying your best to stay fit and active, but finding those subsequent aches, stiff joints and niggling pain putting you off working...

How To Be Helpful To Others in the Aftermath of These Extreme Weather Events (And How to Ensure You Put Your Own Oxygen Mask...

Here we go again - with large parts of the North Island now affected by the historic weather events yet again, here's a list...

Did You Get Fooled by THIS Headline About Prince Harry?

Prince Harry has been in the headlines a lot this last week – whether it was an analysis of how his family interacted (or...