Book your wellbeing workshop for mental health awareness week now

This year’s Mental Health Awareness week takes place between 13th and 19th May and the theme is Movement and Mental Health.  This theme may surprise many who perhaps do not equate movement with supporting their mental wellbeing but in fact regular movement is fundamental for good mental health and is something we should all be thinking about.

Humans evolved to move, and as well as the more commonly known physical-health benefits of exercise, regular movement offers many boons for our mental health.  It can help lower feelings of anxiety and depression, reduce negative moods and thinking patterns whilst boosting confidence, self-esteem and improving sleep quality.

In my work as a mental health teacher, speaker and presenter, I have become aware of the legacy of the pandemic that has left many people living increasingly sedentary lifestyles, lamenting that they move less, get outside less frequently and do not exercise as much as they used to.  The pandemic forced on us lives that were home-based, screen-focused and that restricted our ability to stay active and hybrid working has cemented this lifestyle. 

We all now navigate a new-normal that generally means we engage in less movement.  Gone is the walking to the station of the regular commute, the nipping out to the coffee shop, the walks at lunch and going to the gym after work and these movement-based activities are not being replaced.  Research shows that around 34 per cent of men and 42 per cent of women do not engage in enough activity for good mental health[i] and Public Health England have said that we are 20% less active than we were in the 1960s, a percentage they expect to rise to 35% by 2030[ii].

With the unprecedented demand on NHS mental health provision, there has never been more of an urgent need to get back to previous habits, to get up and move more to support our mental wellbeing.  And remember, movement does not simply mean exercise (although regular exercise is important!), it includes all those small moments of stretching reaching, walking and dancing that are part of an active life.  Here are some ways that you can begin to improve your level of movement and exercise:

Stretch More: A great way to bring more movement into your day and to reap some much needed benefits is to take a few minutes every hour to get up from your desk and stretch.  This simple act gives you a break from screen time, increases serotonin levels, helping stabilise mood and reduce stress, helps break up the stress hormones stored in our muscles and relieves tension and headaches. A few minutes every hour soon builds up!

Choose to Move: I know it sounds obvious, but one way to up our movement levels in daily life is to, well, do more movement.  Look for ways you could be more active where you might otherwise choose a more sedentary option. Make going for a walk part of your day, perhaps during a lunch break or other times when you might otherwise drive, such as the school run or popping to the shops. Take the stairs instead of the lift, engage in activities like gardening or doing YouTube yoga stretches and why not take 5 minutes on your own to dance to your favourite tunes, boosting movement and dopamine!

Exercise: Although regular informal movement is essential, the importance of regular exercise cannot be ignored.  According to the NHS, adults should be looking to engage in 75-150 minutes of exercise a week, meaning any activity that raises your heart rate and makes you breathe faster!  We all have differing levels of fitness, mobility and experience of exercise but there are activities and exercises out there to suit all needs.  Start slowly and build and look to engage exercise that you can enjoy as this will help sustain you!  Join a group or a club to help build momentum through shared experience.  Look online for exercises that suit you and get involved. It can be tough at first but the benefits to your mental health soon become clear and you will thank yourself for having taken the first step.

Mindful Movement and Flow: Not all movement has to be about pace.  Focusing on slow, deliberate movement through the practice of Mindfulness has been shown to improve attention, reduce stress, anxiety and symptoms of depression. Similar to yoga but with an emphasis on easily accessible and familiar movements, mindful movement helps us focus the mind and enter the “flow state”, reducing the mental chatter that can feed negative moods and mental health issues. Anyone can do mindful movement and its combination of unhurried moves and present moment focus is a winning combination that will help us manage and work through the stresses of the day.

Getting Started


[i] https://www.harpersbazaar.com/uk/beauty/fitness-wellbeing/a42385380/movement-health/

[ii] https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/physical-activity-applying-all-our-health/physical-activity-applying-all-our-health

Navigating the New Normal

The New Normal offers us many challenges. The reality is that we are still living and working in an ongoing global pandemic.

With lockdown gradually lifting and organisations starting to plan a return to the workplace, a huge number of employees are anxious and uncertain about how to navigate the new normal. According to research:

  • 65% of people are anxious about returning to the workplace
  • 70% of people are anxious about using public transport

A very large number of people across the country are also concerned about returning to a frantic pace of life, are anxious about socialising after a long period of isolation, and many are worried about potential changes in social etiquette.

The good news is that there are many steps we can take to meet the varied challenges and flourish, both professionally and personally.  Our behavioural science team have created a one hour interactive workshop for employees called Navigating the New Normal:

  • Understanding the New Normal
  • Managing the Stress Response
  • How to Cope with:
    • Transport
    • Office / Workplace
    • Socialising
  • Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction
  • Techniques for reducing anxiety: Labelling and Grounding
  • Professional support
  • Self Care Action Plan
  • Communication Tips

For more information and to book the workshop for your employees, contact [email protected]

www.wellbeing.partners

Mental Health First Aid

Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) is an internationally-recognised two day training course, designed to teach people how to spot the signs and symptoms of mental ill health and provide help on a first aid basis.

At Wellbeing Partners, we can provide the Mental Health First Aid training course onsite at your workplace, in four sessions over two days, for groups of six to sixteen participants per training course.  Everyone on the course is taught a set of skills which enables them to support anyone who is experiencing mental health issues.

Our fully-qualified and quality-assured Mental Health First Aid instructor delivers the training programme and is accredited by the Royal Society for Public Health.

The training is designed to fit into four manageable chunks of learning:

  • What is mental health?
  • Suicide and depression – recognise the signs, first aid for depression, how to help someone who is suicidal
  • Anxiety, eating disorders and self harm – recognising the signs, first aid, how to help
  • Psychosis – recognising the signs, first aid for psychosis

The course will teach participants a deeper understanding of all the issues that impact on and relate to people’s mental health; teach practical skills that can be used every day, including being able to spot the signs and symptoms of mental health issues.

Course participants will receive a Mental Health First Aid manual and workbook, along with a certificate confirming they are a trained Mental Health First Aider.

Independent research and evaluation shows that taking part in an Mental Health First Aid course:

  • Raises mental health awareness
  • Reduces stigma around mental ill health
  • Boosts knowledge and confidence in dealing with a person who may be experiencing a mental health issue
  • Promotes early intervention which enables recovery

If you’d like to arrange a Mental Health First Aid training course for your workplace, please get in touch with Nick Winfield at [email protected] or call 07773 767248.

 

 

What is Employee Mental Health?

When it comes to the workplace, there has been a high degree of focus on physical wellbeing for employees, with many companies laying on gym memberships, yoga sessions and massage sessions for staff. But what about employee mental health?

Employee mental health in the workplace is becoming a hot topic and with good reason. Mental wellbeing is vital for us as individuals and also vital for us as employees. Good mental health contributes to productivity, concentration, creativity, complex decision-making, communication and satisfaction.

Reduced mental health diminishes all these facets within us and as a consequence, our work suffers.

Workplace stress and the resulting anxiety may be a cause of mental health issues or there may be other causes outside work. Either way, there will be an impact on an individual’s ability to work. Stress, anxiety and depression can also result in a wide range of unhealthy coping strategies, such as an over-reliance on alcohol or other substances, excessive gambling, OCD, eating disorders or even self harm.

If your company is interested in the issue of employee mental health, improving your employees’ mental wellbeing and providing a duty of care for those who are suffering, we can provide a range of awareness, preventative and remedial services.

Our 60 minute “Managing Stress & Anxiety Workshop” is the perfect introduction to raising awareness and reducing stress-related mental health issues in your workplace. The one hour workshop is for groups of up to 20 people per session. It educates and enables all levels of staff around the issues of stress and anxiety, what the signs are that stress is becoming a problem, and how to effectively manage and reduce their own stress with our evidence-based programme.

We also provide confidential one-to-one Wellness Sessions in your workplace, which give employees a change to “offload” about their work or personal life stresses, or discuss anything that might be troubling them. These one-to-one Wellness Sessions take place in a quiet meeting room or office in your workplace, with a fully qualified counsellor, and are a great way for employees to talk to someone independent, trustworthy and experienced in helping employees with their workplace stress. The Wellness Sessions might be used by employees who have a very stressful job and who otherwise wouldn’t have time or the critical need to seek professional support, or the Wellness Sessions might be used by employees who are having anxiety or panic issues, are drinking too much or using other unhealthy coping strategies to deal with their stress.

Wellbeing Partners can also provide your company with a Mental Health First Aid training programme – the internationally-recognised training programme which provides a group of your employees with the training in how to spot the signs of mental health problems in the workplace, and what to do about it.

If your company would like to start a conversation around creating a mentally health workplace, or to book one of our fantastic employee mental health workshops or services, please get in touch. Call Nick Winfield on 07773 767248 or email [email protected]

www.mindfulnessintheworkplace.org

 

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