Everywhere you look at the minute there’s something about personal well-being, happiness, mindfulness, mental health awareness. And if you’re a cynic on this stuff (like I used to be!) then you might be thinking …

…when will this fad come to an end?

I have to say that I’m hopeful it’ll stay. Surely it has to stay, to become engrained into our being, our habits, our behaviours. As a coach you might expect me to talk about behaviour change but I recognise that’s not something that resonates with everyone. If it doesn’t then lets look at perhaps some more hard-hitting reasons you might want the ‘mindfulness’ fad to stay….

Did you know?

…Its estimated that mental ill-health currently costs UK workplaces circa £8 billion per year, with 1 in 4 of us in the workplace affected by it and a shocking 50% of absence in business being noted as a consequence of mental health illnesses. The even scarier thing is that those stats are predicted to rise!

Is that really such a big deal?

Absolutely! Let me start by sharing a memory with you ….Years ago when I was working in HR, I recall a conversation with an employee. Let’s call him Bob for the sake of the story. Bob was telling me how he had suffered from stress & depression in the past which had thrown his life totally out of balance, his physical health, his family welfare, his overall being. One of the things I remember most about the conversation was Bob’s comment to me that he was sure it would happen to all of us at least once in our lives.

Hmmmm… something tells me with the stats the way they are something that Bob may well have had a point.

So why am I telling you this?

It frightens me to think that its circa 22 years now since Bob’s mental ill-health experience and even though the years have passed we are still talking about what we can do to raise awareness in the workplace. And we’re also faced with those mental ill-health experiences increasing further, potentially becoming the norm.

So what can we do about it?

I’m sure you’ve heard of that good old saying that two heads are better than one. So I encourage you to do just that, put two (or more) heads together and talk about the solutions to this openly as a team. Whether you’re a leader, a manager or a team member spend some time collectively reflecting about the mental health of your team. How easy would it be to add to the agenda on your next team meeting or discuss it with colleagues over lunch?

Here’s 5 simple questions to prompt that discussion and begin to ease the feeling of mindfulness overload…

In that team reflection and discussion, I encourage you to be open, be honest, and put yourselves in the shoes of those who are affected by mental ill-health. In doing that I’d encourage you to consider the following 5 questions…

  • What can you do to educate yourselves about mental health in the workplace?
  • What can you do to raise awareness with others in your organisation?
  • What can you do to support one another in your own mental well-being?
  • What activities can you incorporate into the working day that promotes good mental health?

And finally lets commit to action…

  • What one thing do you commit to as a team to ensure a more mindful way of working?

I’d encourage you think of your mental health like an everyday routine. Think of your activities in the same way that you log on to your computer in the morning or make that routine cup of tea first thing. Activities that are so engrained in your behaviour that they are now everyday habits.

Sharing is caring…

If you have experiences that you’d like to share that may well help others look after their mental health, raise awareness or prevent mental ill-health occurrences in the first instance then please feel free to add your comments.

Needing a little extra support?

If you’d like to explore how my specialist 1-1 coaching and team programmes may work for you or your teams in achieving a balanced state of mind and improved well-being then please get in touch. I’d be happy to discuss this further with you.

Before I go …

A little reminder that 10th October 2015 is World Mental Health Day. And whilst this year it falls on a Saturday – don’t let that affect what you commit to in the workplace. There are many more working days left in October that you can engage with your team on this really important topic.

 

Quiet the mind and the soul will speak

Ma Jaya Sati Bhagavati