It’s been two years and three months since I started working to support people through the pandemic.
Through this I helped to set up the pillars of the United against Covid-19 campaign, consulted to three Government Departments and many other public and private organisations, delivered so many webinar sessions I’ve lost count, written many Twitter threads and other social media posts, as well as hours of conversations with journalists to support public mental health through news and other articles. I hope you’ve found them helpful - I’ve had lots of great feedback and support for which I am very grateful - thank you.
I have also made lots of YouTube videos supporting public mental health that have been watched for thousands of hours.
And to top it all, I have written for not only some leading news and magazine publications like The Guardian, and The Hill, landed a column on the biggest psychology website in the world, Psychology Today, but also wrote three books: Finding Calm, The Little Book of Sleep, and Steady.
And that’s not even mentioning that my first two were self-published books - which are an incredible amount of work and very expensive to produce, as well as the sunk cost of the time taken to write them, which I funded myself.
On very much the plus side, that succeeded in my goal of not only supporting public mental health but also attracting the attention of a big mainstream publisher (thanks Penguin Random House New Zealand).
I’m sure I’ve missed other stuff out, but you get the drift.
It’s been so very busy
I have been so incredibly busy. And most of that time has been writing or speaking in some shape or form. And until I took a step back to write this, it became apparent to me I hadn’t taken stock for a while.
So, how have I done this? Let me make this clear: I am in a work team of one. I don’t sit in an organisation with major resources and other people to call upon for support.
It’s just me. But it’s also very much not just me.
I also worked with my hired publicists in NZ and the USA, as well as a book editor coach for my self-published book, and my publisher at Penguin, and website designer and manager, editors, the Science Media Centre in New Zealand.
But above all, my wife and my family have been my biggest support. There is absolutely zero chance that all this could have happened without their care, support, and willingness to let me do this for a greater good.
It’s been a massive team effort from everyone, including you, my audience.
But, it’s time for me to take a break from my intense working life of these two years and more. That means I’m cutting right back down on my consulting work for three months initially. I’ll review things some time in mid-2022.
I’m doing this not because I am burned out, but because I am trying not to burn out.
The evidence is pretty clear that it’s not like you wake up one morning and you’re burned out. But I have been noticing more emotional exhaustion since the end of 2021. To be honest, Ive been pretty much holding on ‘til we got past the peak(s) of the Omicron wave in New Zealand.
But I’ve noticed that I’ve been feeling more frayed, less effective.
And I can’t not notice these things in myself. And I wouldn’t be an effective psychologist if I wrote a book saying that people need to notice when they are feeling overwhelmed and take corrective action if I wasn’t practicing this myself, would I? So, I will not ignore it, even though I have deferred it; it’s been nagging at me for a while.
As I have said and written, you can get through things in the short term, but eventually, they will catch up with you.
Hence, this break.
But, I need your help …
I love writing and I want to carry on doing so. But I can’t do it without your support.
I’m so very grateful for all your support so far, reading my work, attending my webinars, watching my videos, and even buying my books. But for me to continue doing what I love, I need your support. And that means your $$$ too.
I’ll still be on social media, writing on my Substack (Editors and Producers: please keep reaching out) and blog posts and my free Noise Reduction weekly newsletter. I’ll carry on making videos on my YouTube channel too.
And that, for me and my family, is more sustainable. More time for me, more time for them.
So, my main focus for these coming months is going to be on my Substack: Noise Reduction and my new 30,000 Days Project: You've got 30,000 days to live (if you are lucky). How are you spending yours?
Here’s how it looks:
If you want to remain a free subscriber to Noise Reduction, you’ll receive abbreviated free weekly editions of the newsletter. Thanks for continuing to be a reader.
If you become a paid member of my community, you’ll get quite a few extras that I’ll be be creating for you:
You will get the full weekly edition of Noise Reduction above and below the paywall.
Paid subscribers will also have the ability to like, and comment on stories that I’ve shared in the newsletter, and discuss with each other too. As paid members, you will have the opportunity to create and share a safe space to discuss serious issues and fun stuff too.
As a paid member, you will also get access to The 30,000 Days Project, including photo essays, writing by me and special guests every now and again, and the occasional podcast too. You can expect this extra content around once a week.
You will also be able to like, comment and discuss on posts in The 30,000 Days Project, and I’ll hold occasional specific discussion threads to help build this shared community.
Every now and again, I will make a post public and sharable. Feel free to share this with your own crowd too.
You’ll also be able to reach me by simply replying to the emails you receive from me - this is a special feature available only to paid members.
I’ll tell you more about The 30,000 Days Project in a couple of days - this email is already pretty long. And it’s a Monday morning. By the time you get this email, I’ll be loading up and on my way to drop our youngest kids at kindy. I’m sure you’ve got things to do too.
But if I could ask you to please consider becoming a paid subscriber today, I’d love to have you on board. Thank you!
p.s. If you would like me to work with you in a consulting capacity, please drop me an email. I’ll get back to you, but it probably won’t be for a few days. But, the good news is that I have partnered with AkoAko to develop a couple of amazing group learning experiences helping you and your organisation to lead and grow through uncertain times. Check it out, and reach out to our team there if it interests you - I think you’ll love it.