This Mental Health Awareness Week, we celebrated kindness, welcoming The Mental Health Foundation’s change of theme. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, self-care and reaching out to colleagues and communities has been critical, and we used the opportunity to pause and think about how we can continue to effectively look after our wellbeing.
We kicked off MHAW with a webinar on utilising the power of positive psychology to maintain high performance. Coach Claire Williamson of Leading Minds highlighted key habits to determine how much stress you experience by increasing your resilience. Some of her top tips included:
- Make small, simple habit changes to improve your mental health and energy. Choose three things you want to start to make a change on this month. Rate yourself out of ten at the end of the day with questions such as: ‘was I productive?’ or ‘did I learn something new?’ Record your scores and and track your progress to identify what good or bad habits affect your ratings.
- Review ways of working on a regular basis and continue to make improvements that enable you to achieve more in less time. Think about what your big ‘must dos’ are today, this morning, this hour. Complete them and then take a ten minute break to recharge. To wind down, set your to-do list at the end of the day.
- Each day, write down five things you are grateful for. Having to think of five makes you dig a little deeper and focus more on what’s good in your life.
We were also joined during MHAW by some of our British Paralympic Association bursary para-athletes on a live Q&A session on wellbeing. Hollie Arnold, Jody Cundy and Ollie Hynd shared how they’ve been overcoming lockdown challenges. With parallels to be drawn between the postponement of the Olympics and exams, we encouraged our people to invite their children to join and hear how the para-athletes have adapted. Key advice included stepping back and taking time to enjoy other activities and breaking big goals into small, manageable chunks so you continue to make progress.
We launched mental health app Unmind earlier this year and used MHAW to spotlight the praise function, where you can send a message of thanks or recognition to a colleague. Receiving a genuine compliment is a fantastic positivity boost, and raises morale and wellbeing for the giver and receiver.
Though our on-site gym is currently closed, our gym manager has been offering virtual exercise classes for our people and is sharing Nuffield’s support during COVID-19 resources internally. Last week these included A guide to self-kindness and compassion and a kindness planner.
Finally, we used the week as an opportunity to remind our people of the services and resources we already have in place through partnerships with a number of different organisations including The City Mental Health Alliance.