The focus on well-being, particularly in a workplace setting has gained more attention and traction over the last couple of years which is of course excellent news for employees and organisations. Research also shows that it makes good business sense – a 2020 study by Deloitte reported a £5 return for every £1 invested in well-being. In addition, the campaign to end the stigma surrounding mental health issues, led by Mind and the positive way that individuals, leaders, businesses and organisations have responded to this shows that there is an appetite for education and change around the way that these themes are discussed and dealt with within work.
There are of course, lots of different ways we can attend to our well-being and we are becoming increasingly aware of how important it is to practice self-care as part of modern life. Perhaps for the first time, many of us are beginning to recognise the significance of our well-being and the extent to which it actually underpins everything we do, encompassing the physical, psychological, emotional, social and spiritual aspects of our lives.
At 3b, our primary focus is on supporting organisations and their people to work on their mental well-being. What goes on in our minds impacts profoundly on our behaviour, including our interactions with others. ‘The mind is the battle ground’. In our work with leaders and managers, one of the exercises we often start with is to ask them to capture what good mental well-being looks and feels like for them, so they have a clear starting point and something to work with and refer back to throughout our training or coaching programmes. By simply taking time to reflect on this and consider questions such as; how do I want to be within my day? and, how do I want to feel? opens them up to the possibility that things can be different if they are perhaps struggling with overwhelm, anxiousness or feeling stressed. And if their mental well-being is already good, then it’s about exploring what’s working well and how to keep that going. By looking at themselves and their own well-being first, it places leaders and managers in a stronger position to then consider the mental well-being of their team members, as well as building a more empathetic approach to what can sometimes be a challenging subject.
Wha’s your approach to mental well-being?
As we move out of lockdown and back into our workplaces – it’s likely there will be something different for each of us to work around or adapt to. How we support ourselves and each other as we make this transition will set the scene for how we want to focus on our mental well-being now, and in the future. And this is where we have an individual and a collective responsibility to take care of our mental well-being for ourselves and for others. It also provides a fantastic opportunity for organisations to put into place any measures they may have been considering as part of a well-being strategy, in order to demonstrate to their people just how important it is to support good mental well-being within the workplace. It’s possible that you may have focused more specifically on your well-being over the last three months and that there are things about the way you used to work that you’d like to change or improve upon in terms of maintaining any good well-being habits you have started during the lockdown. It might be that your personal well-being has had to take a back seat due to looking after others, or perhaps it simply hasn’t been something you felt able to focus on, and the return to work is an opportunity for you to address that for yourself. Maybe you’re a manager who feels strongly about ensuring your team’s mental well-being is moved up the agenda – not just to improve sickness absence figures, but because of a genuine desire to see your team as ‘whole people’ – thinking, feeling, doing human beings, who might need some additional support especially at this uncertain time.
The thing about mental well-being is that it affects us all. So, in one way it’s a shared concept that potentially everyone can get on board with. However, it’s easy to assume that it means the same to everyone and that what each of us needs will be the same. In reality the opposite is true. Mental well-being is personal, it’s individual and unique to each of us. How we approach it, what it means to us and what we need from it will be different for you, me, our colleagues, our managers and our teams. And this is a great starting point – to have that awareness and appreciation that one size does not fit all. Because, this is more than offering gym memberships, meditation beanbags, healthy snack alternatives and lunchtime yoga sessions – (which of course do have value and can support our well-being.) This is also more than training and appointing Mental Health First Aiders – (an excellent and much needed initiative.) This is about what happens on a day to day basis, whether the culture within our workplaces – ‘how we do things around here’, takes a preventative approach to issues such as stress, workload and burnout by encouraging honest conversations and placing mental well-being at the core. After all, looking after our minds will improve our outlook, our creativity and our productivity plus it’s likely to have a more positive impact on our overall health and physical well-being.
Discover what works for you
So why not use this World Well-being Week to consider your own mental well-being needs? Think about what good mental well-being means for you and perhaps what you already do to support this? Then identify what else you might need. It could be establishing a more intentional morning routine that sets you up for the day ahead. It might involve taking a few minutes of meditation before you start work. Making sure you take your lunch break and if you are desk based, stepping away from your laptop or workstation at certain points within the day. Maybe you could allow yourself some ‘daydream’ time where you stop thinking about the work or anything in particular and let your mind wander, perhaps as you take a walk or find a space where you can look out of a window. The best way to discover what works for you is to try out some different approaches and techniques until you find something that feels right for you. Then as you practice, you begin to build this into your day and you can start to notice any changes.
At 3b we have a wide range of tools and techniques that can easily be slotted into your working day, with an emphasis on what’s practical and what works for you. For World Well-being Week we are sharing some of our techniques and resources, plus a taster session of our 3b Mind Matters Model, specifically designed to support organisations and their workforce around their mental well-being. You can access these via our LinkedIn page, so do connect with us to find out more and let us know how you are taking care of your mental well-being.