Building Mental Fitness
I was inspired to read lots about all the great awareness and action on R U OK? day last week to help promote meaningful conversations and listening to support mental health awareness. A topic close to my heart having a couple of family members affected in this area.
Personally, with two small children, working and training hard I know keeping on top of my mental and physical fitness is paramount to showing up my best self. A few ways that I have found to help manage the mental side:
- Morning routine – A morning breathing / meditation routine before the world wants your attention – currently I’m doing four rounds of Wim Hof’s breathing exercises and this 10 minute ‘morning ritual’ insight timer meditation. If the boys wake up during this time they now know to leave mummy “who’s doing her meditation”. Sometimes they join too!
- A couple’s day off once a month – Those with small children will know the weekends aren’t always very restful and it can be hard to get quality couple time. My husband and I have started taking off a day a month whilst the kids are at preschool to get some quality r and r time together.
- Taking a vacation – Like many of us our 2020 holiday plans plunged into oblivion and we have been powering through the COVID changes. We suddenly stopped and realised we needed a family week away to take some time off the grid and have booked a week away on the South Coast soon. This recent HBR article ‘Thinking of Skipping Vacation? Don’t!’ highlights the power or taking a vacation: “It results in improved productivity, lower stress and better overall mental health. It also spurs greater creativity — for example, Lin-Manuel Miranda conceived of Hamilton while on vacation”. I loved the analogy how elite athletes take the time to recover after working towards a big goal
Through our Tenfold Australia multinational community we’ve been hearing about ‘zoom fatigue’, mental burnout in Victoria from working and trying to school kids at home. In light of this and with Mental Health month coming up in October we devoted our last EA pod to mental health in the workplace.
Here were some tips / resources shared from the collective wisdom in the group that we thought may benefit others:
- Mental Health First Aid Training – Getting a Mental Health First Aid accreditation was recommended to help both colleagues at work and family and friends outside of work. With COVID the training has gone virtual (you can read more here).
- Mental Health anonymous surveys – One company shared how through anonymous employee surveys there has been an ability to destigmatize mental health as a subject as others see the results of what their colleagues are suffering with. A question shared that you can use with your people to then do a deep dive: “What is causing you the most amount of worry and stress at the moment?” (choose all that apply): Spouse/partner relationship, Work pressures, Parenting concerns, Caregiving for older parent or loved one, Personal finances, Job uncertainty, Health concerns, Isolation, COVID, Other
- Care Packages – The importance of “care packages” was highlighted as both a way to increase employee engagement as well as a genuine sign of appreciation. For those in Australia can recommend Pretty Green.
- Activities to help promote positive mental health – A range of initiatives were shared including the introduction of wellness activities like chair yoga, running a mental health initiative and regular meditation sessions.
- Purposeful Pause – Notion of the purposeful pause and the Windowswap app to help facilitate this tuning you into beautiful scenery from around the world.
In another recent gathering with our CxO functional heads community we heard some tips from Meredith Hellicar on leading through a crisis, including making time for self-care with ensuring time for exercise, time away from the screen and time for thinking. One idea was to introduce laughter classes into the workplace. In terms of how to manage ourselves at work Meredith shared:
- Be intentional about How and Where you spend your time, both as an individual and a team. Include in that what you are NOT going to do.
- Making “To Be” as important as “To Do”. Suggested choosing two qualities to focus on each day to ensure you are more humane, i.e. care, kindness, respect.
What have you implemented for your own mental health personally and / or for your workplace? Love to hear any ideas. It is also great to see some purposeful not for profits in this space including Gotcha4Life and Waves of Wellness helping communities.
Another way I like to try and look after my mental health through learning is listening to podcasts recently listened to Oprah’s SuperSoul Conversation with Deepak Chopra ‘Spiritual Solutions’ which had a lovely quote from Deepak at the end which I thought linked to mental wellbeing.
“how do you begin to lead a more spiritual life?, well the goal ultimate goal of all goals is to be happy, okay so if you want to be happy make somebody else happy, if you want to find the right person in your life then become the right person, if you want to see a change in the world then you become the change you want to see in the world. That’s what Mahatma Gandhi said, so in your personal transformation is the future transformation of the world, in your personal transformation, there’s no social transformation in the absence of personal transformation.”
Wishing you well with your mental, physical, spiritual, emotional and all other elements of well-being. Life’s a journey!
Here are some tips to help you improve your mental fitness