As you will know wellbeing at work is a key passion of mine. I know what it is like to get ill through working too hard and putting everyone elses needs ahead of your own health. A few years ago, I was working in a consultative role I mainly enjoyed but it was a tough environment and I wasn’t happy. I was working silly hours driving beyond the health and safety guidelines, working with bullying clients and quite frankly draining myself. I was counting down the weeks until a break at Christmas. Everything seemed to be draining from me and I wasn’t topping it back up!
Eventually my body said no more and I ended up with a rate viral attack of rhuematoid arthritus, which went from a sore wrist to being resident in every joint in my body within three hours. I can tell you first hand it f***ing hurts! I couldn’t dress myself. My illness took me away from work for 2 weeks and it was 3 months (with lots of acupuncture and a serious re think about how I was working) before I was feeling myself again. I consider myself lucky. Some people are ill for much longer and I don’t do being ill very well.
So you can see why I might be on a mission to make sure you don’t ever have to get ill to have a wake up call!
Recently, I signed up to do Arianna Huffington’s Online Thrive Course in partnership with Oprah no less. The Thrive book is a great book if you haven’t read it and focusses on redefining success and wellbeing at work – click here for more info. The world we work in is definitely changing with information overload, the ability to work through our sleep, demanding clients, the pull to live an extra ordinary jam-packed life.
And all of this got me thinking. How are you monitoring and creating a working environment and culture that supports both you and your teams’ wellbeing?
Happy healthy workers = happy clients and happy profits after all.
Are you living true to your unique culture? Do you create a culture of flexibility and empathy for your staff? Are you providing ‘wellbeing benefits’ as well as financial and personal development ones?
To help you get going, I have summarised Arianna’s top tips for success in todays very thoroughly modern workplace (and how to avoid burn out) in the following blog. The book is jam packed with so much more and definitely worth a read.
As always, I would love to know what you think.
Enjoy JP x
- Wellbeing – Find time to meditate. If it was good enough for Steve Jobs, it’s good enough for us. It’s no longer an activity bestowed only on the hippydom market. It’s made it mainstream, and the scientific benefits of meditation are finally catching up with what the enlightened crowd have always known to be true. It helps your creativity, it reduces your risk of depression, anxiety, alzheimers and other mental emotional ailments.
If you want to learn meditation the easy way, get in touch with Effortless Jo. She also offers to come to your company and teach groups if you can guarantee a group of no less than 8 people and she’s fab. Click here for more info.
- Sleep – Yep I know some of you young uns think it’s over rated but when you’re working at warp speed, sleep is essential. Arianna suggests you check into your sleep routine and remove all electronic devices from your bedroom ESPECIALLY YOUR PHONE!! Yes I did just say that. Aim to get half an hour extra than you’re used to. Use a different alarm and leave your phone in the lounge. She also recommends that you have a switch off time in the evening where you stop looking at your device. I have found this immensely liberating. I also turned off my alerts for social media and now allocate two slots in the day ‘to play’. I refuse to be a slave to social media… !!
- Get outdoors and move – Thomas Jefferson claimed ‘ the object of walking is to relax the mind’. So take your next 121 outside and have a walk. I used to take a lot of my team’s 121’s outside and we’d walk around the campus, sometimes with a take out coffee. A problem faced side by side will always feel more embracing and safe than a face to face one. Fresh air, nature, a change of perspective might just unlock those creative juices too.
- Get wisdom – learn to listen to your inner intuition. ‘Intuition not intellect, is the open sesame of yourself’ Einstein. Meditation helps me to do this. A more lighter way of tapping into your intuition is to follow this little exercise. Ask yourself a question with the word Truth at the beginning and then notice if your energy feels lighter or heavier. For example, ‘Truth – should I take on this new client?’ If your energy feels lighter you’re intuition is giving you the go ahead. If it drops…. You might need to dig a little deeper before deciding.
- Let go of that which doesn’t serve you. I think this one needs very little explanation. I notice sometimes I have a sanctimonious version of me that pops up into my head occassionally and usually she’s judging me or giving me a hard time. I’ve learnt to befriend her and gently put her back in her box, but this took time. I know she’s trying to help me grow but quite frankly she’s not always helpful. So notice the voices you have and ask yourself, is this helpful and kind? If it isn’t, they need to be told to ‘do one!’
- Embrace gratitude – another easy one. Buy yourself a posh pad. Write a daily list of all that you’re grateful for in life. And one day challenge yourself to write 100, I bet you find it totes easy!
- Experience wonder. This section is all about ‘just being’. It’s about coming back to the moment we’re in. After all it’s the only one we ever have right? Breathing is a great way of becoming present (are you breathing? I hope so. Slow it down. Deepen it. Notice and release any tension from your body. Better? Good!). Find something which ignites joy and expand with that feeling whenever you need a good check in. And finally be forgiving. Judgements of you and others should be banned.
- Arrianna’s final section is all about GIVING. We’ve been talking random act of kindness in the marketing world for oodles of time but how often do we embrace it for ourselves and those we love? Kindness doesn’t need to cost either, a compliment can have more value than a physical gift. Take time to notice people, compliment them and give where you can. You will feel more alive and connected.
- And finally – Get a dog! Ok well Arianna talks about a furry friend but most of you will know I’m slightly dog obsessed. Dogs are a fantastic example of being in the moment and their love knows no bounds. To inspire you, here is a recent pic of Murphy and his magic flying ears….. (PS he just had his 1st birthday !!!)
- Be you. (this is my add on to Arianna’s list). Simples.