It’s not surprising that wellbeing is hot on the agenda for many HR professionals. There are the obvious gains for business performance with employees being in good health physically and mentally. According to a session held at CIPD’s Annual Conference and Exhibition last year research has proven that a higher level of wellbeing in organisations leads to more productive workers.
But caring about the wellbeing of our employees isn’t just about getting more out of them. The duty of care for other human beings around us should in my opinion be enough to make that matter.
Every seven years a survey is done in England to measure the number of people who have different types of mental health problems. It was last published in 2016. The statistics don’t make pretty reading. According to this research generalised anxiety disorder and depression top the rankings with many people experiencing both at the same time. According to reports by Mind UK one in four people will experience a mental health problem each year.
So, how do we look after our own wellbeing and encourage others to do the same?
The answers may lie in a new book written and published by Alison Swift called ‘My Wellness Toolbox’. Alison was one of the speakers at a #SpaceToBreathe event centred around the topic of wellness hosted by Center Parcs in their Sherwood Forest location. The book contains 26 tools that Alison uses herself to look after her own wellbeing. She was inspired to write the book having recovered from her ‘rock bottom’ a period in her life that followed an eight-year long battle with anxiety and panic attacks. Her practical tools range from simple techniques you can employ daily through to longer term strategies to cope and remain well.
There have been two points in my life where I personally have suffered from significant mental health issues so the toolkit resonated with me. Tool number 14 in Alison’s book relates to positive people and tool number 11 looks at affirmations. These are techniques I have been using without realising it. There are plenty of new tools in there that I haven’t come across. I’ll be picking the ones that I consider useful and adding them to my own armoury for sure.
The simplest tools are the first four that Alison writes about in her book. They are something that you can do very easily and don’t cost anything. They are water, breathing, turning up the music and turning off the media. Alison describes in her book the health benefits of water as well as the specific reason drinking water can be a huge help in keeping anxiety attacks at bay. Breathing is number 2. We shouldn’t forget the power of calm breathing and the physical and mental benefits this brings about in combatting the effects of stress, depression and anxiety. Number 3 relates to turning a thing on which relates to a playlist of music that has a positive impact on you. In contrast, tool 4 focusses on turning off referring to the idea of taking a break each day from the constant flow of media we are exposed to.
I am grateful for the time Alison spent with the group yesterday, for how she bravely shared her story and for a book that I believe can be very useful for many. We have a duty to look after ourselves and those around us. Those that have suffered any period of being mentally unwell will know the importance of staying well to aid a long-term recovery. For those fortunate enough not to have had this experience, I believe it’s a useful reference point to keep it that way.
Read more about Alison’s story in her book, My Wellness Toolkit available on Amazon.
And if you're interested in learning more about the benefits of the outdoor world in the lessons learned at Center Parcs, check out this article on Space to Breathe.