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This is such a loaded question.

It has very little to do with the supposition that the person wants sixty seconds of your time.

What they’re really asking is, “Do you have time for us to have a conversation because I’m feeling really stuck/upset/in trouble/need money and want you to help. By the way, it’s going to take far longer than one minute, but I thought if we could start with one, we could take it from there.”

When Kelly recently asked me “If I had a minute?”, I immediately said sure.

Kelly is a dear friend. She’s had more than her fair share of shitty things happening in her life, and being the stoical, non-complaining person who takes everything on the chin; if she’s asking for an ear or a shoulder, she gets mine, every time.

Dealing with the unthinkable, the tragedies and disappointments of life, affects us all.

While we’ve all got that deep well of inner resilience we can draw on, sometimes we need just a little more.

That can take courage and vulnerability to ask, because no one wants to be a burden to someone else.

Listening to Kelly that day helped us both.

It helped her to better understand her situation and to know that she had my unconditional support.

It helped her to feel less weighed down by what had happened and to ditch the associated guilt and fear that it was her fault.

It made her feel more empowered to know what to do next and take that first step towards resolution and healing.

It helped me to get the full picture of the events that had caused Kelly to feel stuck.

I wasn’t there to solve her issue. I was there to listen, carefully, actively, without judgement. To be a true friend and to show I care.

Have you ever had that time when you shared a worry with a friend and the simple act of telling your story made you feel so much better?

 

In today’s complex and rapidly changing world, many of us are struggling with the rising tide of high stress. We did so well during the strange time of the global pandemic. We complied with all the new restrictions and limitations on our usual freedoms. We sucked freely on the straws of uncertainty and anxiety, holding on to the glimmer of hope things would get better. Which they did.

But and it’s a big but, we expended so much energy and effort during those days, it’s left us depleted. Not glass half empty, but with an empty tank. Things you used to handle easily appear now more challenging. However much more you put into your work and performance; it feels like you’re sliding backwards. You wonder if there’s something wrong with you, that it’s a sign that you’re burning out or have lost your edge.

There are many, as in many, in situations similar to Kelly. That’s why it’s important we all take the time to make time to listen.

Because the more we have to deal with, the more we narrow our mental bandwidth of coping. It gets harder to think, let alone clearly. It feels exhausting, so you don’t have the energy to get on top of the issue and it can feel very isolating.

As a lifestyle medicine physician, I advocate for empowering individuals like you to take charge of your own health and well-being, by putting in place those activities that feed your soul and bring you joy.

Today, Kelly’s looking great. In fact, she’s looking fabulous.

How do you respond when someone asks you, “Have you got a minute?”

Dr Jenny Brockis

Dr Jenny Brockis is a medical practitioner and internationally board-certified lifestyle medicine physician, workplace health and wellbeing consultant, podcaster, keynote speaker and best-selling author. Her new book 'Thriving Mind: How to Cultivate a Good Life' (Wiley) is available online and at all good bookstores.

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