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Breaking the Silence on Mental Health

Breaking the Silence on Mental Health

Breaking the Silence on Mental HealthAs we navigate through March, the narratives around our economy and personal wellbeing are becoming increasingly intertwined. Recent discussions have highlighted that we’ve entered a recession, a fact that many of us had sensed long before it was officially acknowledged. The evidence lies in the everyday – our shopping bags offer fewer items for more money, fuel pumps take longer to fill our tanks without reaching full, and the cost of leisure activities, from a night at the theatre to a simple gym session, all seem to be on an upward trajectory.

This financial strain inevitably impacts our mental health, a topic that, thanks to social media, is gaining attention. Posts about mental health resonate with many, attracting likes and comments, but it begs the question: Are we taking meaningful action beyond the digital gestures of support?

The Shift in Conversations

At my local Nuffield gym, I’ve observed a significant conversation shift. Where once the latest football scores of Chesterfield dominated the talk, discussions about mental health and wellbeing are now becoming a hot topic. However, these conversations often surface only when individuals are in crisis, highlighting a worrying trend towards reactive rather than proactive mental health support.

Taking Action for Mental Health

It’s crucial not only to talk about mental health but to take concrete steps towards improving it. Here are six resources for support:

  1. Hub of Hope: A comprehensive database for local mental health support.
  2. Samaritans: Immediate support for anyone in emotional distress.
  3. Rethink Mental Health: Resources and advocacy for those affected by mental illness.
  4. Mind: Information and support for mental health issues.
  5. Text Shout: A 24/7 text service for people in crisis.
  6. Mental Health Foundation: Promotes understanding and support for mental health

The Power of Mental Health First Aid

Mental health first aid training is a life-saving skill, equipping individuals with the knowledge to support those experiencing a mental health crisis. This training is vital, teaching us to identify, understand, and respond to signs of mental illnesses and substance use disorders. It’s about creating a society where mental health is treated with the same urgency as physical health.

Why Mental Health First Aid Matters

For employers, investing in mental health first aid training is not just about compliance; it’s about creating a culture of empathy and understanding. This training fosters a supportive atmosphere in today’s hybrid and office working environments, ensuring employees feel seen, heard, and supported.

Let’s Be the Change

In emphasising the significance of mental health, notable figures have lent their voices to raise awareness. Among them, Prince William has poignantly remarked, “Mental health is just as important as physical health,” underlining the essential nature of addressing mental wellbeing with the same urgency and importance as physical health. This statement from a global figure not only highlights the universality of mental health issues but also encourages a more open and supportive dialogue around the topic.

I invite you to join me in breaking down the barriers surrounding mental health. By training in mental health first aid, you’re not just helping others but fostering a more compassionate society.

Mental health matters as much as physical health. It’s time to prioritise both and make a difference. Please get in touch with us directly for details on upcoming mental health first aid courses throughout 2024, for group bookings send me an email. Let’s break the silence and support each other in every way possible.

Mike Lawrence: Health & Wellbeing Enthusiast and Mental Health Advocate

Hi, I’m Mike Lawrence, and I’m dedicated to enhancing mental health and wellbeing. After overcoming significant health challenges, including brain surgery, I’ve committed to a journey of self-improvement and helping others. My adventures range from thrilling skydives for charity to transformative travels in Thailand. I share insights from my experiences and key learnings from impactful audiobooks. Join me in exploring holistic health and wellbeing, and let’s embrace life’s adventures together!

Feel free to connect with me through email at hello@mikelawrence.co.uk or Linkedin. For more detailed insights and stories from Mike, click here to read the latest blogs.

Mike Lawrence Health & Wellbeing Management Consultant

 

Poor Mental Health Gen Z

Navigating Wellbeing From Baby Boomers to Gen Z

Navigating Wellbeing: From Baby Boomers to Gen Z

Navigating Wellbeing: From Baby Boomers to Gen Z A recent article from The Guardian has highlighted a concerning trend: individuals in their 20s are now more likely to be out of work due to ill health than those in their early 40s. This statistic is alarming and prompts us to question why this is happening. Is it due to increased workplace stress, lifestyle factors, or the lingering effects of the pandemic?

The Changing Conversation Around Wellbeing

From my experience, the conversation around wellbeing is shifting, especially among the younger generation. Unlike baby boomers, who often refrained from discussing their wellbeing due to stigma and a different frame of reference, younger individuals are more open to talking about their mental and physical health. This openness is a positive step forward, but it also reveals deeper issues.

Why the Concern?

Several factors contribute to the rising concern for the wellbeing of younger professionals:

  • Rising Cost of Living and Debt: The financial pressures of today’s economy, including high costs of living and student debt, weigh heavily on younger generations. This financial strain can lead to significant stress and anxiety, impacting their overall wellbeing.
  • Housing Market Challenges: The dream of homeownership is becoming increasingly out of reach for many young people, adding another layer of stress and uncertainty about their future.
  • Job Security and Career Changes: The concept of a job for life is now outdated. The World Health Organisation suggests that young individuals may need to change jobs up to 15 times during their careers. This lack of job security and the need for constant adaptation can be stressful and challenging.

5 Tips to Improve Navigating Wellbeing From Baby Boomers to Gen Z

  1. Open Communication: Encourage open discussions about mental health in the workplace and at home.
  2. Financial Planning: Seek advice and education on managing finances and debt to reduce financial stress.
  3. Lifestyle Balance: Prioritise work-life balance with flexible working hours and remote work options.
  4. Continuous Learning: Embrace the idea of lifelong learning to adapt to career changes positively.
  5. Support Networks: Build a strong support network of friends, family, and professionals for guidance and support.

My Thoughts

The shift in conversations around wellbeing is a vital change, reflecting a broader societal shift towards recognising and addressing mental health issues. However, it’s clear that the challenges facing younger generations are multifaceted, involving economic, social, and personal factors. As attitudes slowly change, it’s crucial that both employers and society as a whole take steps to support the wellbeing of younger professionals, acknowledging the unique pressures they face.

Conclusion

The trend highlighted by The Guardian is a wake-up call for all of us to pay closer attention to the health and wellbeing of the younger workforce. By understanding the “why” behind these issues, we can create healthier work environments that support young professionals and contribute to a more resilient and thriving society.

Your insights on this issue are invaluable. What do you think contributes to the health challenges younger professionals face? And how can we, as a society, support their wellbeing? Join the conversation and share your views.

Mike Lawrence: Health & Wellbeing Enthusiast and Mental Health Advocate

Hi, I’m Mike Lawrence, and I’m dedicated to enhancing mental health and wellbeing. After overcoming significant health challenges, including brain surgery, I’ve committed to a journey of self-improvement and helping others. My adventures range from thrilling skydives for charity to transformative travels in Thailand. I share insights from my experiences and key learnings from impactful audiobooks. Join me in exploring holistic health and wellbeing, and let’s embrace life’s adventures together!

Feel free to connect with me through email at hello@mikelawrence.co.uk or Linkedin. For more detailed insights and stories from Mike, click here to read the latest blogs.

Mike Lawrence Health & Wellbeing Management Consultant

 

Resting at home 4 day week

The Four-Day Workweek A Future of Work and Wellbeing

The Four-Day Workweek: A Future of Work and Wellbeing

In the relentless pursuit of balancing work and life, the concept of a four-day workweek has transitioned from a distant dream to a tangible reality for many. A year after the world’s most extensive trial of a four-day workweek concluded in the UK, the results have sparked interest and led to a significant shift in how work is perceived and conducted. With over 60 UK organisations taking the bold step to reduce work hours to 80% for the same pay—under the promise of maintaining productivity—the outcomes have been overwhelmingly positive.

This shift, led by the think tank Autonomy in collaboration with 4 Day Week Global and academic partners, has shown remarkable improvements in employees’ physical and mental health, work-life balance, and overall life satisfaction. Moreover, businesses have seen boosts in performance, reduced staff turnover, and enhanced recruitment and staff wellbeing.

A Leap Towards Enhanced Wellbeing and Productivity

The trial’s success stories come from various sectors, including marketing, advertising, professional services, and even traditionally rigid fields like construction and healthcare. This diversity illustrates a condensed workweek’s universal applicability and potential benefits across various industries. Notably, most participating organisations have chosen to continue the four-day workweek, with over half making the change permanent. Such a pioneering move challenges the traditional five-day work model, suggesting that a shorter workweek is not merely a fleeting trend but a sustainable, beneficial practice for both employees and employers.

A Comparative Look: USA vs Scandinavia

The idea of a reduced workweek first gained traction in Scandinavia, known for its progressive work-life balance policies, before making its way to the USA. Scandinavian countries have long been at the forefront of implementing work-life balance initiatives, including flexible working hours and extensive parental leave policies. The success of these initiatives has paved the way for the four-day workweek trials, which have been met with positive feedback regarding employee satisfaction and productivity.

In contrast, the adoption rate in the USA has been more gradual, with companies experimenting with the concept on a case-by-case basis. Despite this, American companies’ growing interest is driven by the promising results from the UK and Scandinavia. The comparison underscores a global shift towards reevaluating work norms to enhance wellbeing and productivity.

Mental Health and Work-Life Balance

One of the most compelling arguments for the four-day workweek is its impact on mental health. The additional day off gives employees more time to rest, pursue hobbies, and spend time with loved ones, contributing to lower stress levels and higher job satisfaction. This shift benefits employees’ mental health and translates into higher productivity levels, as well-rested and happier employees are more likely to perform better.

Your Voice Matters

As this conversation about the future of work and wellbeing evolves, your insights and opinions are invaluable. Whether you’re in favour of the four-day workweek, sceptical about its feasibility, or simply curious about its implications, your perspective is crucial. Could your organisation benefit from a similar shift? Are there challenges that might outweigh the benefits, or is the potential for enhanced wellbeing and productivity too significant to ignore?

The four-day workweek represents more than just an extra day off; it signifies a reimagining of work, productivity, and wellbeing. As we look towards a future where work-life balance is not just a goal but a reality, it’s time to engage in this critical discussion. What do you think? Would you welcome a four-day workweek in your company? Let’s explore the possibilities together and consider how such a change could improve our lives.

Liam Kenealy, Employment Solicitor at Lupton Fawcett, invited me to a round table discussion on this topic. He says, ‘There are some practical barriers to such a model, but I think the biggest one is mindset of employers. We have worked 5-day weeks for so long, many employers simply cannot see how a 4-day week could work. I get there will be some industries out there where it would not work, but with some thought, these should be few and far between.’

With employee wellbeing and work-life balance becoming more important, I can see 4-day weeks becoming the norm.”

This conversation is not just theoretical; it’s a call to action for organisations and individuals alike to reconsider the structure of our workweeks to improve our health, productivity, and overall life satisfaction. As we navigate this evolving landscape, your voice is crucial. Share your thoughts, experiences, and whether you’d embrace a four-day workweek in your own life. The future of work is in our hands, and together, we can shape it to foster a healthier, more productive, and more balanced world.

Mike Lawrence: Health & Wellbeing Enthusiast and Mental Health Advocate

Hi, I’m Mike Lawrence, and I’m dedicated to enhancing mental health and wellbeing. After overcoming significant health challenges, including brain surgery, I’ve committed to a journey of self-improvement and helping others. My adventures range from thrilling skydives for charity to transformative travels in Thailand. I share insights from my experiences and key learnings from impactful audiobooks. Join me in exploring holistic health and wellbeing, and let’s embrace life’s adventures together!

Feel free to connect with me through email at hello@mikelawrence.co.uk or Linkedin. For more detailed insights and stories from Mike, click here to read the latest blogs.

Mike Lawrence Health & Wellbeing Management Consultant

 

Self Love

Uncover The Importance of Self-Esteem and Emotional Health for a Balanced Life Amidst Global Challenges

Uncover The Importance of Self-Esteem and Emotional Health for a Balanced Life Amidst Global Challenges – Get Actionable Tips Now.

In the tapestry of modern life, where the threads of global events weave patterns of complexity and constant change, the importance of nurturing our inner world becomes ever more evident. With February marking the observance of both Boost Your Self-Esteem Month and Emotional Health Week, there is a poignant reminder that amidst the global noise, the quiet cultivation of self-appreciation and emotional wellbeing is beneficial and essential.

Why Focus on Self-Esteem and Emotional Health Matters

Self-esteem is the mirror through which we view ourselves, often reflecting back the complex interplay of our thoughts and experiences. It is our sense of personal worth and the foundation upon which we build our interactions with the world. Oprah Winfrey’s sentiment encapsulates this beautifully, emphasising the power of defining the world on our own terms, thus resisting the external pressures to conform to judgments that are not our own.

The benefits of fostering healthy self-esteem are profound. It is a barricade against the tumultuous tides of life, providing resilience against mental health challenges, enhancing our relationships, and empowering us to pursue our aspirations with conviction. During Emotional Health Week, we are reminded of the synergy between emotional resilience and self-esteem, where one reinforces the other, creating a harmonious balance within our psychological ecosystem.

Self-Esteem in the Digital Age

Our digital age, awash with images of curated perfection, can often erode the shores of our self-worth. The relentless comparison facilitated by social media platforms can lead to a relentless pursuit of an unattainable ideal, sowing seeds of doubt and self-criticism. The call to action is to invest time in ourselves, find those everyday affirmations that bolster our sense of self, and remember that what we see online is often not the full spectrum of reality.

The advice is clear: take a break from social media, embrace activities that nourish the soul, and surround yourself with positivity.

A Holistic Approach to Boosting Self-Esteem

Beyond digital detoxes, self-care is paramount. Simple lifestyle changes like a healthy diet, regular exercise, and engaging hobbies contribute significantly to our sense of self-worth. In the process of self-discovery and understanding, we learn to replace negative criticisms with positive affirmations, a practice that requires patience and persistence.

The Pyramid of Self-Esteem

At the base of self-esteem lies

  1. self-worth
  2. self-efficacy,
  3. and self-agency.

These three pillars form the bedrock of our self-perception, influencing our interactions and ability to cope with life’s challenges. We must learn to appreciate our successes, recognise our strengths, and set achievable goals to bolster these. By doing so, we construct a self-image that is robust, resilient, and reflective of our true potential.

Cultivating Emotional Health

Emotional Health Week encourages us to prioritise our emotional wellbeing by recognising the signs of emotional distress and addressing them proactively. By acknowledging our feelings, setting healthy boundaries, and seeking support when needed, we can navigate the complexities of our emotional landscapes with greater ease and confidence.

Navigating the Global Stage

Why does this all matter, especially when the world’s stage is crowded with pressing issues? It matters because the strength of our global community is a reflection of the individual wellbeing of its members. When we are grounded in healthy self-esteem and emotional wellbeing, we contribute to a more resilient, compassionate, and understanding world. We become better equipped to face global challenges with a sense of hope and collective purpose.

In essence, the journey towards enhanced self-esteem and emotional health is an ongoing process that requires mindfulness and a concerted effort to engage with ourselves and the world in a positive, affirming manner.

As we embark on this journey, let us remember that each small step taken is a stride towards a healthier, more balanced self and, in turn, a more harmonious world.

Mike Lawrence: Health & Wellbeing Enthusiast and Mental Health Advocate

Hi, I’m Mike Lawrence, and I’m dedicated to enhancing mental health and wellbeing. After overcoming significant health challenges, including brain surgery, I’ve committed to a journey of self-improvement and helping others. My adventures range from thrilling skydives for charity to transformative travels in Thailand. I share insights from my experiences and key learnings from impactful audiobooks. Join me in exploring holistic health and wellbeing, and let’s embrace life’s adventures together!

Feel free to connect with me through email at hello@mikelawrence.co.uk or Linkedin. For more detailed insights and stories from Mike, click here to read the latest blogs.

Mike Lawrence Health & Wellbeing Management Consultant

 

never lost hope, hope, sand-2636197.jpg

Thriving Amid Uncertainty Cultivating Mental Wellness and Resilience

Thriving Amid Uncertainty Cultivating Mental Wellness and Resilience”

Confidence How To have It And Keep ItIn an age where uncertainty seems to be the only certainty, the shadow of the post-COVID era looms large, weaving a complex tapestry of emotional, psychological, and societal challenges. This pervasive uncertainty has become a central theme in our lives, sparking discussions in various settings—from Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) courses to intimate conversations with colleagues and clients. The lingering sense of fear and the collective dip in vibrational energies call for a nuanced understanding and robust strategies to navigate these uncharted waters. Drawing inspiration from Stephen Covey’s seminal work, “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People,” this blog aims to explore the intersection of uncertainty and mental health, offering insights and strategies to foster mental wellness and resilience.

The Era of Uncertainty: A Mental Health Perspective

Since lockdowns and the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, an undercurrent of fear and uncertainty has unmistakably altered our collective mental health landscape. This shift has manifested in various forms—be it in MHFA courses, therapy sessions, or casual workplace discussions—highlighting a universal struggle with the unknown. In his book, Stephen Covey’s distinction between the Circle of Concern and the Circle of Influence provides a powerful framework for addressing these challenges. By focusing on aspects within our control, we can mitigate the impact of uncertainty on our mental health.

The Psychological Toll of Uncertainty

Uncertainty can be a fertile ground for anxiety, stress, and a pervasive sense of helplessness. This psychological toll is compounded in the post-COVID world, where the future seems more unpredictable than ever. The key to navigating this landscape lies in understanding the mechanisms of uncertainty that trigger our stress responses and finding strategies to counteract these effects.

Strategies for Building Mental Wellness and Resilience

  1. Empowerment Through Influence: Embrace Covey’s Circle of Influence by taking actionable steps towards what you can control. This approach reduces feelings of helplessness and fosters a sense of empowerment.
  2. Cultivating Acceptance: “Acceptance does not mean resignation,” as Michael J. Fox aptly puts it. It’s about recognising the reality of a situation and finding ways to move forward.
  3. Mindfulness and Present Moment Awareness: Grounding techniques and mindfulness practices can help diminish the anxieties tied to uncertainty, encouraging a focus on the present moment.
  4. Building Connections: As Brené Brown emphasises, connection is the essence of human experience. Sharing our vulnerabilities and fears can create a sense of belonging and support.
  5. Positive Actions for Resilience: Engaging in activities that promote physical and mental health is crucial. Exercise, nutrition, and adequate rest are foundational to resilience.
  6. Embracing Change and Growth: Viktor E. Frankl’s insight, “When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves,” reminds us of the growth potential inherent in facing uncertainty.

Navigating Financial Uncertainty: A Tip for Tight Budgets

In times of financial strain, it’s essential to remember that many effective self-care practices are low-cost or free. Exploring nature, practising meditation, or simply engaging in heartfelt conversations with loved ones can be profoundly healing. The key is to find joy and comfort in the simple things that nourish your soul.

Conclusion: A Call to Action for Mental Wellness

The journey through uncertainty is not one we walk alone. By leaning into the strategies discussed and drawing inspiration from the wisdom of thought leaders like Covey, we can navigate the complexities of our current landscape with grace and resilience. Let’s commit to taking proactive steps towards mental wellness, embracing the uncertainties of life as opportunities for growth and transformation.

As we continue to adapt and thrive amid the uncertainties of the post-COVID era, remember that our mental wellness and resilience are not just personal achievements but collective victories. Together, we can forge a path of healing, growth, and profound well-being.

Mike Lawrence: Health & Wellbeing Enthusiast and Mental Health Advocate

Hi, I’m Mike Lawrence, and I’m dedicated to enhancing mental health and wellbeing. After overcoming significant health challenges, including brain surgery, I’ve committed to a journey of self-improvement and helping others. My adventures range from thrilling skydives for charity to transformative travels in Thailand. I share insights from my experiences and key learnings from impactful audiobooks. Join me in exploring holistic health and wellbeing, and let’s embrace life’s adventures together!

Feel free to connect with me through email at hello@mikelawrence.co.uk or Linkedin. For more detailed insights and stories from Mike, click here to read the latest blogs.

Mike Lawrence Health & Wellbeing Management Consultant

 

Thailand Phi Phi Islands

Transform Your Wellbeing Five Essential Self-Care Strategies for a Balanced Life

Transform Your Wellbeing Five Essential Self-Care Strategies for a Balanced Life

The Power of Retreats: A Journey to Self-Discovery

I recently delved into an enlightening article in The Guardian about mental health and sports performance. This brought to mind my personal experiences with retreats, which have been pivotal in my mental wellness and personal growth journey. Following a LinkedIn post about these retreats, the resonating feedback inspired me to share more.

Embracing the World: My Retreat Experiences

Mangosteen Ayurveda & Wellness ResortMy retreat experiences around the world have been nothing short of transformative, each offering its unique blend of relaxation, self-discovery, and connection with nature. Let me take you on a journey through these retreats and share how they’ve reshaped my perspective on self-care and mental well-being.

Swiss Alps: Meditation Walks and Storytelling

In the Swiss Alps, the retreat was a harmonious blend of meditation walks and mindfulness amidst breathtaking mountain views. I vividly recall the serenity of walking through the alpine landscapes, each step a journey towards inner peace. The mindfulness sessions were particularly memorable and filled with rich storytelling. Although the stories were narrated in German, I was fortunate to have the English versions shared over dinner. These stories, set against the backdrop of the majestic Alps, added depth to my meditation, making each session an enlightening experience.

Sri Lanka: Ayurveda, Yoga, and Nature

Sri Lanka Retreat Sri Lanka offered an immersive experience in Ayurveda, yoga, and connecting with nature. The retreat centred around holistic wellness, with treatments and oils meticulously tailored for rejuvenation. Gong baths provided a unique auditory meditation experience, resonating with the natural surroundings. A standout memory was spotting turtles on the nearby beach, a reminder of the serenity and beauty of nature. However, the most challenging yet rewarding part was the all-day purge or detox. While not the highlight in terms of comfort, it was a crucial component of the cleansing process, contributing significantly to the overall wellness experience.

Thailand: A Focus on Ayurveda and Oils

Mangosteen Aryuveda & Wellness ResortMy time in Thailand was a shorter version of the Sri Lankan experience, with a strong focus on Ayurveda treatments, especially the use of therapeutic oils. The retreat emphasised the importance of holistic healing, combining ancient practices with the tranquillity of the surroundings. The oils used in the treatments were vital for physical wellness and mental and emotional rejuvenation.

Looking Ahead: The Next Adventure

I’m already in the planning stages for my next retreat later this year. Each journey has been a step forward in my understanding of mental wellness and self-care. These retreats have taught me the importance of taking time for oneself, embracing new cultures, and the profound impact of integrating different wellness practices into my life. Stay tuned for more updates on my upcoming adventure and the unique experiences it will undoubtedly bring!

These retreats have been more than escapes from everyday life; they’ve been pivotal in my journey towards a deeper understanding of myself and the world around me. From the meditation walks in the Swiss Alps to the Ayurvedic practices in Sri Lanka and Thailand, each experience has contributed to my personal growth and wellness journey. I look forward to sharing more insights and stories from my next retreat, continuing this journey of exploration and self-discovery.

Integrating Self-Care into Daily Life

But true self-care extends beyond these retreats. Integrating regular spa days, weekend getaways with friends, and family outings into my routine has been essential. These moments play a crucial role in refreshing and rejuvenating my spirit.

Five Tips for Regular Mental Health and Well-being

  1. Embrace Short Getaways: Discover the rejuvenating power of mini-breaks.
  2. Connect With Nature: Unveil the therapeutic effects of the great outdoors.
  3. Incorporate Mindfulness: Learn how daily mindfulness can centre your thoughts.
  4. Find Joy in Everyday Activities: Explore the therapeutic impact of hobbies.
  5. Maintain Social Connections: Understand the mood-boosting benefits of socializing.

Conclusion: The Continuous Journey of Self-Care

I’ve learned through my retreats and regular self-care practices that well-being is a multifaceted journey. I encourage you to find what works for you: a retreat, a weekend break, or daily mindfulness. The goal is to create a sustainable practice of self-care that supports your overall wellbeing.

Final Thoughts

Remember, self-care is a personal journey that profoundly impacts our quality of life. Let’s prioritize our mental health with the same urgency as our physical health, enriching the very essence of our lives.

Mike Lawrence: Health & Wellbeing Enthusiast and Mental Health Advocate

Hi, I’m Mike Lawrence, and I’m dedicated to enhancing mental health and wellbeing. After overcoming significant health challenges, including brain surgery, I’ve committed to a journey of self-improvement and helping others. My adventures range from thrilling skydives for charity to transformative travels in Thailand. I share insights from my experiences and key learnings from impactful audiobooks. Join me in exploring holistic health and wellbeing, and let’s embrace life’s adventures together!

Feel free to connect with me through email at hello@mikelawrence.co.uk or Linkedin. For more detailed insights and stories from Mike, click here to read the latest blogs.

Mike Lawrence Health & Wellbeing Management Consultant

People celebrating completing their Mental health first aid training session

Discover the Impact Join Our Upcoming MHFA Courses 🌟

Discover the Impact: Join Our Upcoming MHFA Courses 🌟

MHFA England Instructor MemberNavigating the complexities of mental health is a journey that transforms not just the individual but also the communities around them. Our recent Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) course attendees have embarked on this transformative journey, and their experiences are a beacon of inspiration for all of us. By diving deep into their stories, we uncover the profound impact that understanding, empathy, and support can have on mental well-being. Let’s explore how our courses have empowered attendees and how you can join this movement towards a more supportive world.

A Journey of Empathy and Support 🙏

Reflecting on their experience, one attendee remarked, “A fantastic learning opportunity.” They highlighted the challenge of discussing mental health openly and appreciated the supportive environment our instructor, Mike facilitated.

This feedback underscores the essence of our courses: creating a space where difficult conversations can happen with grace and understanding. Through these conversations, we can break down barriers and stigma and foster a community of support.

Empowerment Through Education 💡🤗

Another participant shared their journey towards empowerment, saying, “A really great course that has given me a good understanding of mental illness and how to support people.”

This empowerment is the cornerstone of our goal: equipping individuals with the knowledge and confidence to support mental well-being. Through our courses, attendees transform into advocates for mental health, ready to make a difference in their communities.

Excellence in Instruction: The Role of Our Instructors 👏

The impact of an instructor like Mike cannot be overstated. Described as “very professional, compassionate & understanding,” Mike exemplifies the qualities that make MHFA instructors stand out. His dedication not only enriches the learning experience but also inspires attendees to carry forward the lessons learned with confidence and compassion.

Join the Movement: Upcoming MHFA Courses 🚀

Are you ready to be part of this transformative experience? Whether you’re looking to refresh your knowledge or embark on a new journey of understanding, we have upcoming courses tailored to your needs:

  • MHFA Refresher Course: Scheduled for the 20th of February from 9 AM to 1 PM, this course is designed for those who have previously completed an MHFA course within the last three years. It’s a fantastic opportunity to update your skills and recommit to supporting mental health.
  • Next MHFA 2-Day Course: Starting on the 4th of March, this online course runs from 9 AM to 5 PM and is open to anyone looking to deepen their understanding of mental health and how to offer support.

Your Path to Making a Difference Starts Here

Don’t miss this opportunity to enhance your understanding of mental health and strengthen your ability to support others. Click here to find more information and to reserve your place in our upcoming courses. Whether you’re a returning attendee looking to refresh your knowledge or new to the MHFA community, these courses are a stepping stone towards becoming an effective ally in mental health support.

Be the Change: Book Your Place Now

Embarking on an MHFA course is more than just an educational commitment; it’s a step towards creating a more understanding and supportive world. By joining our courses, you’re not just gaining knowledge; you’re becoming part of a movement dedicated to breaking down the barriers surrounding mental health.

Click here to explore our upcoming courses and secure your spot. Whether you’re revisiting your MHFA training or starting fresh, now is the time to take action. Let’s work together to spread awareness, reduce stigma, and create a supportive community for everyone.

Mike Lawrence: Health & Wellbeing Enthusiast and Mental Health Advocate

Hi, I’m Mike Lawrence, and I’m dedicated to enhancing mental health and wellbeing. After overcoming significant health challenges, including brain surgery, I’ve committed to a journey of self-improvement and helping others. My adventures range from thrilling skydives for charity to transformative travels in Thailand. I share insights from my experiences and key learnings from impactful audiobooks. Join me in exploring holistic health and wellbeing, and let’s embrace life’s adventures together!

Feel free to connect with me through email at hello@mikelawrence.co.uk or Linkedin. For more detailed insights and stories from Mike, click here to read the latest blogs.

Mike Lawrence Health & Wellbeing Management Consultant

 

Mens Mental Health - Self Care Exercise

Supporting Men’s Mental Health Navigating the Challenges of Today

Supporting Men’s Mental Health: Navigating the Challenges of Today

In recent years, there has been a significant and welcome shift in men seeking support for their mental health, reflecting data trends in the UK. Historically, men were less likely to seek help compared to women, often only reaching out when in crisis. This delay in seeking support is concerning, as it can lead to severe consequences, affecting their lives, families, and communities.

Data Insights: MeMen’seluctance to Seek Help

Data from the UK Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) reveals that men are indeed less likely to visit doctors for routine check-ups or discuss mental health concerns. A study conducted by the Mental Health Foundation highlights that men are more prone to use negative coping strategies, such as alcohol and recreational drugs, to manage stress and emotional challenges. 40% of men polled said it would take thoughts of suicide or self-harm to compel them to seek professional help.

Economic Pressures and Mental Health

Male Stress Cost of Living One critical factor contributing to men’s mental health struggles is the current economic landscape in the UK. The rising cost of living and job insecurity have created a significant gap between personal income and expenditure. Men, who may have traditionally been seen as primary breadwinners, are feeling the strain as their earning potential erodes.

 

Let’s delve deeper into the data. According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), the cost of living in the UK has been steadily rising, with inflation rates reaching multi-year highs. This living cost surge directly impacts individuals and families, particularly those with limited financial resources. This financial strain can be particularly distressing for men who have long been responsible for providing for their households.

Consequences of Not Getting Support

  • Men are less likely than women to visit a pharmacy when they are sick
    On average, men see their GP 4 times a year compared to the 6 six times a year that women go.
  • Men visit a pharmacy an average of 4 times a year in contrast to the 18 that women go.
  • 9 in 10 men only like to trouble their doctor or pharmacist if they have a severe problem.

The Reasons why Men put of Visiting their GP

  • Fear
  • Too busy
  • Lack of discussion
  • Sign of weakness

Real-Life Client Struggles

Consider John (I have replaced his real name), a man in his 50s who faced mounting stress at work due to job insecurity. This stress led to a drinking problem as a coping mechanism, affecting his marriage and overall mental health. JoJohn’story is a poignant reflection of the experiences of many men grappling with the pressures of modern life.

Positive Shift: Men Embracing Mental Health First Aid

online mental heath training course being ran on zoomThe positive shift in men seeking support extends to mental health first aid training courses. These courses aim to equip individuals with the skills to help others in distress. For the first time, I have witnessed more men than women in attendance, reflecting changing attitudes towards mental health within society.

The Priory’s findings share my experience that men were more likely than women to seek help. Dr Bijlani says, “Traditionally, men have been less likely to seek support for mental health issues. This is probably for several reasons, including stigma and the traditional ‘strong male’ stereotype still prevalent in our society – the idea that expressing emotion is a sign of weakness.” Because of the toll the pandemic has taken across genders, Dr Bijlani says she is “not actually surprised to learn that more men are now coming forward for the first time”.

Navigating the Challenges: 5 Key Steps

As we approach the intense holiday season, it’s crucial for everyone, especially men, to prioritise their mental health. Here are five essential steps to consider:

  1. Take Time Out for Recovery: Use the holiday period to take breaks, go for walks, and carve out moments of relaxation. It’s essential to dedicate some time solely to self-care.
  2. Talk to Someone You Trust: Sharing your thoughts and feelings with a trusted friend, family member, or professional can provide much-needed support and perspective.
  3. Identify Stressors: Recognise the sources of your stress and work on strategies to address them. Don’t let it accumulate to a breaking point.
  4. Seek Immediate Help in Crisis: If you’re feeling suicidal, engaging in self-harm, or struggling with depression, don’t hesitate to seek professional help immediately. Reach out to helplines or crisis intervention services.
  5. Plan for Positive Change: As we approach the new year, create a plan for positive changes in 2024. Identify the areas in your life that need improvement, seek help, and commit to making those changes. Consider appointing an accountability partner to support your journey.

Embracing Self-Care: Daily Rituals

Men Self CareSelf-care is an integral part of maintaining good mental health. Create a list of self-care activities that resonate with you. Start with one and build from there. Activities can range from meditation and gratitude exercises to short walks, gym sessions, breathing exercises, or simply spending time with friends and loved ones.

In Conclusion: The Power of Conversation

In conclusion, the increasing number of men seeking support for their mental health, supported by UK data trends, is a positive shift that should be celebrated. It’s essential to recognise that seeking help is not a sign of weakness; it’s a step towards better mental wellbeing. As we approach the New Year, let’s reaffirm our commitment to mental health and encourage open conversations about our challenges. Remember, you are not alone on this journey. In the words of R. H. Sin, “You are “stronger than you think and more loved than you believe.”

never lost hope, hope, sand-2636197.jpg

Beyond Awareness: Integrating Mental Health into Everyday Life

As we wrap up Mental Health Awareness Week 2023, it’s crucial that we reflect on the spotlight that has been shone brightly on anxiety. We’ve aimed to raise awareness, hoping people can better spot early warning signs and understand that everyone’s mental health journey is unique and often challenging. Yet, as we approach the end of this dedicated week, we are left with a vital question: has it been enough?

Awareness days, weeks, and months come and go throughout the year. They serve as important reminders of various health and societal issues. However, when it comes to mental health, it’s time to ponder: are these moments of spotlight creating a lasting change? Or are they just temporary blips in our collective consciousness?

A Brief History of Mental Health Awareness

Mental Health Awareness Month, celebrated in May in the U.S., dates back to 1949. The initiative was introduced by the Mental Health America organisation, founded by Clifford Whittingham Beers, a mental health advocate with firsthand experience of the challenges faced by individuals with mental health conditions.

Each year, a theme is selected to be highlighted throughout May. The UK and the US have chosen to focus on anxiety for this year’s Mental Health Awareness campaigns. The US campaign carries the theme “More Than Enough“, a strong message of hope, inclusion, and the need for comprehensive mental health support. It underscores the belief that all people, regardless of where they stand in their mental health journey, deserve support, resources, and a compassionate community.

On the other hand, the UK also places a spotlight on anxiety, aiming to educate the public about the signs of anxiety disorders and promote early intervention. Both countries strive to raise awareness about this prevalent mental health issue and advocate for better resources, support, and understanding for those affected.

A Global Perspective on Mental Health

Investment in mental health services has been a point of concern across the globe. The World Health Organisation (WHO) has stated that countries spend, on average, only 2% of their health budgets on mental health. Despite the high mental health conditions worldwide, resources and funding for mental health issues are still scarce. The WHO has called for increased investment, particularly after the pandemic, which has exacerbated mental health conditions globally.

In the U.S., mental health has been recognised as a crucial aspect of overall health. However, funding remains an issue. A report by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) indicated that in 2020, only 43.3% of U.S. adults with mental illness received treatment.

Meanwhile, the UK government has pledged to provide ‘parity of esteem for mental health, meaning it should be given equal priority to physical health. However, recent data suggests that the reality is far from this commitment. In 2020, mental health trusts received only 13% of the total NHS budget, despite mental health issues making up 23% of the disease burden.

My Thoughts on the Future of Mental Health

While raising awareness is crucial, it’s time to make mental health a part of our everyday lives. It should be woven into our education system early, becoming part of the curriculum so children learn how vital wellbeing and self-care are.

Instead of selling the concept of mental health and leaving it to companies’ Employee Assistance Programmes or corporate social responsibility, mental health should be embedded into our societal fabric. It may be a stretch, but as reiterated in this year’s campaign message from the USA.

“All people, no matter where they are on their mental health journey, deserve support, resources, fulfilment and a community that cares.”

In conclusion, let’s not limit our concern and action for mental health to specific days or months. It’s a year-round commitment. American philosopher and psychologist William James said, “The greatest weapon against stress is our ability to choose one thought over another.” Let’s choose thoughts of empathy, understanding, and continuous support for mental health.

Let’s make mental wellbeing a part of our daily lives, from the classrooms to the boardrooms, and encourage open conversations about mental health. Let’s invest in resources, education, and support systems. Because everyone, no matter where they are on their mental health journey, deserves support, resources, fulfilment, and a caring community.

We all have a part to play in this, and every small step we take can lead to significant changes. In the words of Mahatma Gandhi, “Be the change that you wish to see in the world.”

The importance of training in the new Mental Health First Aider (MHFAider®) in the workplace

Let’s start the conversation 

Today is World Mental Health Day 2022, it highlights the fact that mental health issues can affect anyone at any time.

The theme this year is ensuring mental health becomes a global priority.

Focusing on our own mental health first and looking at all aspects of our life.

Work is a huge part of this, and the office environment has changed for employees and businesses.

In recent years, we’ve seen a global covid pandemic, economic decline, cost of living crisis, the adoption of hybrid working, the great resignation and a recruitment crisis. It has taken its toll on employees, and now – more than ever – they need mental health support in the workplace.

So, what responsibility does a business have for its staff in this area?

Obviously, a business has a “duty of care” and “corporate social responsibility” but is that enough?

Mike Lawrence Award-winning Health & Wellbeing Management Consultant and MHFA England Instructor Member suggests not:

The latest report from Deloitte suggests employers see a return of £5 on average for every £1 invested in staff wellbeing,

Independent study and evaluation demonstrate that employees who become an MHFAider® are able to:

  1. Have a conversation with improved mental health literacy around language and stigma
  2. Recognise those that may be experiencing poor mental health and provide them with first-level support and early intervention
  3. Know how to access a dedicated text service provided by Shout and ongoing learning opportunities with MHFA England
  4. Know how to use the MHFAider Support App®

By becoming aware and informed, managers and employees can more readily spot the signs and symptoms of mental health issues and provide the proper support.

Lawrence is hosting a Mental Health First Aider (MHFAider®) training course Redbourn Parish Centre, The Park, Redbourn AL3 7LR on the 20th and 21st October

Which learners will become a Mental Health First Aider (MHFAider®) and receive three years of certification, plus access to ongoing benefits.  

As an MHFAider® you will be able to:

  1. Encourage a person to identify and access sources of professional help and other supports
  2. Practise active listening and empathy
  3. Discuss the MHFAider® role in depth, including boundaries and confidentiality
  4. Practise self-care
  5. Access to ongoing learning opportunities, resources and exclusive events
  6. Be part of the largest MHFAider® community in England

 

For more information click here

Uncertain Future

Are You Willing To Forgo Anything For Your Holiday?

Uncertain FutureMany of us who’ve not been away due to the COVID pandemic are desperate to get away for some summer sun. Surveys and reports in the media suggest a surge in holiday bookings as demand returns to pre-pandemic levels despite household finances facing a squeeze from surging inflation. Tour operator TUI reports that summer bookings are up by 19%.

Holidays can help with anxiety and stress-related problems by giving us time to relax, have downtime and allow us to use the time to find solutions to problems.

Holidays enable us to catch up on much-needed sleep and rest. Whilst we are sleeping, our brains consolidate information and memories from the day, which improves our mental functioning, problem-solving, memory and creativity.

Holidays boost relationships with friends and family. You get to spend quality time with partners and children, strengthening social bonds. Time with your kids also increases their self-esteem and sense of security and enriches family values.

However, for some, the urge to escape and get away, hoping that the life you left behind will improve on their return, can come at a cost.

Brits Spent up to a Quarter of their Annual Disposable Income on Holidays each Year

Nationwide Building Society’s published spending report revealed that Brits spent up to a quarter of their annual disposable income on holidays each year. Many seem to have no desire to restrain this spending. On average we spend £855 per person each time we go away, then there’s 23% who spend £1,000 or more each holiday, and a family of four could end up paying £3,240 per trip and up to £6,840 in total.

Figures are taken from the online website Moneyfacts reports that the UK’s annual median disposable household income is £31,400. The cost of holiday spending can take up to three months’ worth of income, or a quarter of the expenditure. Disturbingly, not everybody has this money to hand.

As a result, 22% reported that they had to borrow the money to go on holiday, including using a credit card, taking out a loan or borrowing money from friends or family members. Contrastingly, 43% managed to pay for their holiday using savings, while 35% used cash from their bank account, and 11% were lucky enough to have family members to finance their holiday break.

88% of those who had to borrow money said that this was the only way that they could afford to go away. With the average Brit then taking three months to pay off this holiday – and 11% even taking more than six months.

Yet over half (51%) of respondents said they weren’t willing to forgo anything for their holiday.

That’s not all 61% overspend by £250 and 11% overspend by £500 or more.

Then there’s an additional 20% who don’t set a budget, who might still regret spending more than their bank accounts can bear. Undoubtedly, money is one of the most significant holiday regrets, with 25% feeling they had spent too much money. 21% said they didn’t have enough money to enjoy themselves, and 20% thought their holiday was too expensive.

Loss Aversion Theory

One of the drivers behind our behaviours and decision making could be linked to the loss aversion theory. Loss aversion is a concept that people hate losses more than they enjoy gains.

A cognitive bias that describes why, for people, the pain of losing is psychologically twice as powerful as the pleasure of gaining. The loss felt from money or any other valuable thing can feel worse than gaining that same thing. Studies demonstrate that it impacts our judgement, preference, and decision-making process.

Wellbeing activities don’t have to cost you the earth. Many of us know the benefit of regular exercise, walking, meditation or participation in numerous leisure pursuits, pastimes and hobbies.

Imagine the delight of planning a holiday not because you need to catch up on much-needed sleep. You’re suffering from anxiety or spending time with the family because you haven’t seen them due to work demands.

The outcome of your time away is much more rewarding when you regularly invest time and money and prioritise your mental health and wellbeing.

If you’re currently suffering from emotional overwhelm due to the rise in the cost of living or are worried about an uncertain future, or you need help to improve your confidence and are not sure where to go.

Send an email to enquiries@mikelawrence.co.uk, and I’ll send you a free guide on what to incorporate into your daily routine. Or contact me at 01142 670 081 for a complimentary 40-minute wellbeing review, and I’ll share with you tips that can transform your health and wellbeing when you implement them. Remember, ‘If you do not make time for your wellness, you will be forced to make time for your illness’.

The Truth Behind the Great Resignation Highlights the Importance of Employee Benefits and Wellbeing

Why is the “great resignation” happening? 

You might be familiar with the term “Great Resignation”, also known as the “Big Quit”. But what does this phrase mean, and how will the Great Resignation affect careers in 2022?

Professor Anthony Klotz of Texas A&M University coined the phrase to describe many people quitting jobs for reasons associated with the pandemic. 

People worldwide have been walking away from jobs as they re-evaluate their work-life balance amid high levels of burnout.

According to reports, the trend was driven by a psychological and economic shift as companies toiled – and often failed – to lure worried staff to return to jobs, environments, industries and offices that have too often treated workers as expendable. 

The reasons for quitting seem to vary and depend on which survey you read. However, the main reasons cited by experts appear to be,

  • Lack of adequate childcare
  • Health concerns about Covid
  • Burnout
  • A lack of flexible working

Key findings from YuLife-YouGov survey A Look Inside Employee Mindsets During The ‘Great Resignation’ put the spotlight on the mindset of workers in the UK and highlight the changing belief that it’s the employer’s responsibility.  

  • 70% would exercise more if their employer introduced a new policy
  • 66% of UK employees would like their employers to dedicate a block of time, at least once a
  • week, to improve their health and well-being 
  • 62% of UK employees believe stress and burnout at work has increased in their workplace since the start of the pandemic 
  • 51% disagree that their employer takes an interest in their lifestyle decisions
  • 45% of UK employees believe this stress will continue over 2022
  • 45% of UK employees feel that their workplace/working life directly influences lifestyle decisions

Plus, time away from the office has given people the prospect to reflect on what they want from their life and career—providing them with a chance to quit in search of better work opportunities, self-employment, or, simply, higher salaries to meet the rise in inflation and the rise in the cost of living. 

But why were we so unhappy with the old “normal”? The word “normal” could be perceived as the root of the problem. We had to put up with the long commutes to work, costly lunches, and unhappy lifeless offices because we were told and conditioned that all of those things were “the norm”, and if we didn’t accept those practices, we didn’t fit in. A lot of time and effort is spent on trying to be “normal”, but the pandemic has changed our perception. Therefore challenging the need to go back to what was “normal” before. 

Some businesses are pushing back on this, trying to return to the way it was before as the best and only way to manage their employees and conduct business. Yet this old normal didn’t always allow people to reach their full potential because it didn’t allow individuals to reach their true potential. After all, it didn’t cater for our differences. 

Ann Francke, CEO of the Chartered Management Institute (CMI), said that the job market would become “even more fierce as employees seek out new roles that meet their changing demands and aspirations.”

“Just offering big budget salaries isn’t cutting it anymore,” she said. “Managers who aren’t adapting their working models will be left wanting – and their organisations will pay the price.”

Therefore, what should companies be doing about it?

Employee well-being

Burnout, stress and depression are likely contributors likely to lead to an employee quitting. Therefore, organisations must have measures to recognise and alleviate these problems and prevent them from happening.

An excellent way to do so is by restating the importance of;

  • Encourage employees to take regular breaks
  • Enable staff to take time off
  • Execute a mental well-being strategy and policy 
  • Initiate regular employee check-ins 
  • Plan monthly employee appraisals 
  • Invest in training programmes for all employees 
  • Ensure individuals will not be looked down upon if they flag to their manager that they struggle with their workload.

Consider an Employee Assistance Programme to support the team’s mental, including professional help

If you want to learn more about the benefits of an EAP or the value of using a well-being consultant to assist you with improving the well-being of your employees, please get in touch for a complimentary consultation. Email enquiries@mikelawrence.co.uk or call 01142 670 081 

 

3 Ways To Look After Your Mental Health When Working From Home

If you’re stuck working from home, unable to see your work colleagues from day to day, you may find yourself struggling with your mental health.

This is understandable, as often, just seeing others can brighten your day. Very few want to be stuck at home all day, let alone have to work from home every day. Of course, there are exceptions to this rule.

Consider these ways to look after your mental health when working from home.

1. Try to Get into a Routine

It can be a challenge and isolating to work from home. Often, you may find your attention wandering, or you may be missing your work colleagues.

A routine can help you focus on your tasks.

Use these strategies:

  • Have a space for work that is free of any distractions.
  • Set a routine to get started, take regular breaks, including lunch, and finish work at a reasonable time.
  • Avoid working in your pyjamas.
  • Set specific tasks for the day and prioritise them. Do the most important tasks first.
  • When you finish work, clean up your workspace as you would in an office.
  • If you’re homeschooling your children, it may be a good idea to let your managers know. You’ll want to set up a routine of when you can work and give your children the attention they need.

2. Keep In Touch With Colleagues

To avoid becoming isolated while working from home, keep in touch with colleagues formally and in a more social one.

Try these techniques:

  • Discuss with your colleagues when it is best to contact you and try to remain available during these times.
  • Use MS Teams, Zoom, Google Meet or other video conferencing platforms for formal discussions.
  • Follow up any video calls with a quick note to ensure that everyone is on the same page regarding the actions that need to be taken.
  • You can also use video calling for more informal chats or use other messenger services if it is more appropriate.
  • Check-in with the rest of the team at the end of the workday to get updates. These updates might be work-related, or you might use this time for personal updates.

Try to keep your work and social life separate. When working from home, it is easy for your work and social life to merge.

Not all of your colleagues will appreciate you sharing everything with them, so respect their boundaries, just as you expect them to respect yours.

3. Use Any Support Available

Working from home can be challenging, so if there is support available, make the most of it:

  • Many employers will have support available for their employees, with dedicated apps and websites offering support.
  • Suppose you are currently struggling with a physical or mental health condition. In that case, your employer may be able to make reasonable adjustments to your work schedule, offer additional support from managers or other colleagues, and provide equipment if needed.
  • Look at the self-care techniques you’ve used that have worked for you in the past. Sometimes, you will have to be flexible, especially if you are stuck at home. For example, if you would usually go to the gym to relieve your issues, you could try working out from home using an online class.

Some people will thrive in that environment while others will struggle. Keep these tips in mind, especially if you’re struggling. They can help you remain productive while you’re stuck at home.

I’ve created an easy, effective, robust system that anyone suffering from a lack of confidence, motivation or resilience could immediately apply and benefit from when they work with me. I help people rediscover their identity to feel physically robust and better equipped mentally; ultimately, they feel better control of their lives.

Please get in touch with me directly for more information about how this can work for you. Email enquiries@mikelawrence.co.uk  or call 0114 2 670 081.

Mike Lawrence - Sheffield Live  Radio Interview

Business Live: Jamie Veitch’s Sheffield Live radio show Building workplace wellbeing, confidence and inclusivity with Mike Lawrence

Working from home means many business leaders and employees feel isolated; others experience overwhelm and burnout, or never stop working. He has strategies to protect and support you and your colleagues’ health and wellbeing.

Born and raised in a working-class part of Sheffield, Mike now lives in Chesterfield. But as a young man, he had to move to London to access employment opportunities: covert racism in Sheffield proved an enormous barrier. Has that changed? Is the city a better place now for a young Person of Colour?

Mike “could talk for a week about some of the challenges I’ve had to overcome.” Alongside his one-to-one practice in Sheffield, he now works with many corporate firms and large organisations, enabling them to address discrimination, bias and barriers to inclusivity. He describes initiatives and action, underway and needed, to create a level playing field for all.

 

“It’s important we can still look forward to a great future,” says Mike Lawrence, workplace health and wellbeing consultant.

It’s been a year of immense stress: the pandemic, losses of family and friends, concerns for people’s health, living under restrictions, businesses going under or at risk of it, and horrifying injustices. Mike supports people with depression and experiencing anxiety, so how does he protect himself and what did he do differently this year?

Mike is also frank about a period in his life when his own confidence took a battering and how he addressed this, and describes practical actions you can take to protect and build your own.

Click on the link below to listen to the interview.

Business Live: Jamie Veitch’s Sheffield Live radio show Building workplace wellbeing, confidence and inclusivity with Mike Lawrence

 

 

improve your wellbeing in lockdown

5 Areas of Your Life to Improve Your Wellbeing

improve your wellbeing in lockdownImagine, we bring in the dawn of a new decade in January 2020, you make your New Years’ resolution, set goals such as lose weight, stop smoking, save money, find new love, or seek a new career.

Then we start planning holidays, celebrating special occasions with friends, or book concert tickets (which I did in London) and I’m sure many of you may resonate with that.

Then COVID-19 comes along social isolation and lockdown. 

For many, this is a worrying and challenging time—the most challenging for many of our lifetime.

I contacted a friend recently who works in an NHS hospital in London. She didn’t take my call but later replied by text, telling me that she was scared, frightened, fearful of her life. I tried to arrange a call, but she declined but thanked me. The pain, heartache and suffering that she’s experienced.

She’s not alone, humans, like all species, have a self-defence mechanism to help us survive. The body’s Fight, Flight or Freeze response is designed to prepare the brain and body in case of pending danger, but the threat doesn’t always happen.

In our head, FFF alarms cause our brain to focus on negative memories, probably so it can scan them and avoid danger and negative outcomes. And it can only do this if we have previously been faced with a threat or a challenging situation and learnt how to deal with it.

Anxiety, depression and high levels of stress all harm the brain’s ability to cancel or slow down the mind’s false fight flight or freeze activations.

Making them appear more often; knowing the symptoms of false activations makes it easier to recognise and reduce their effects because what we need to do is bring the body back to equilibrium.

When you change your mind about stress or challenging situations, you can change your body’s physical response to stress.

Health Psychologist Kelly McGonigal implores us to see stress as a positive, advises us to view stress as a positive and introduces an unacknowledged tool for stress reduction: reaching out to others.

Positive thinking increases the chance of positive outcomes. Vice versa! “Think you can think you can’t – either way, you will be right” Henry Ford. Positive thinking increases the chance of positive outcomes.

5 Tips You Can Use Today in Your Personal Wellbeing Strategy:

  1. Personal Insight – Evaluate your behaviour, characteristics or mood change. Or ask some who knows you well that you trust to be your accountability partner.
  2. Personal Coping Mechanisms– Review your current level of fitness, use this present opportunity to go for daily walks, don’t be tempted to overindulge with more food in the house. Create a daily routine for work and pleasure
  3. Supportive Environments– Can’t just pay lip service or tick a box. Otherwise you could create an imbalance. It’s the employer’s responsibility to provide a safe environment for employees to work in. Working from home can create additional pressure; however, stress is inevitable, whether working from home or the office, so speak to your manager if you require support to adjust.
  4. Communicate and Talk– Up your talk time, bring in support as and when required. It’s not a sign of weakness if you need help. If someone says to you, I’m fine, or I’m OK, don’t take that as gospel. Enquire a little more. Ask what they’ve been doing and take a genuine interest.
  5. Create a Pivot Mindset– A pivot mindset emphasises natural changes within our current job and from one position to the next while staying open to a range of opportunities. One constant in life is that things will change, and they’ll change often, and they’ll change in ways we don’t necessarily like. So why not get better at changing? At dealing with change. Why not adopt the pivoting mindset? Because when we do, these changes will be less stressful, less upsetting and it removes the uncertainty. It’s about building a portfolio of lifelong skills, connections, and expertise, and adapting to new tools and tactics.

How you respond to remote working is completely dependent on your individual needs and triggers—if you feel overwhelmed trying to balance family life and work, worried about the future, or your wellbeing deteriorating due to an underlying condition.— and are unsure what to do, consider talking to you HR advisor or line manager for help. Or you can reach out to me and arrange a free 30-minute chat on Zoom about your possibilities.

Telephone 0114 327 2683 or email enquiries@mikelawrence.co.uk

company health and wellness consultant Sheffield

Looking After Your Health & Wellbeing During The Coronavirus Outbreak

company health and wellness consultant SheffieldAs news about coronavirus (COVID-19) dominates the headlines and public concern is on the rise, we must remember to take care of your physical health.

Good mental health and positive wellbeing can help you better cope with the COVID-19 threat and the uncertainty it’s creating.

I was in the petrol station at the check-out desk paying for my diesel, and my eyes were drawn to the following headlines in the local newspaper.

“Looting thieves steal toilet rolls from a petting farm, and sanitiser from hospitals as coronavirus panic sees supermarket shelves stripped bare.”

Opportunistic thieves pilfered 80 rolls from Heeley City Farm, a popular petting zoo for youngsters in Sheffield, South Yorkshire.

Chesterfield Royal Hospital in Derbyshire revealed supplies of hand sanitisers and gels disappearing from wards and even patients’ bedsides.

Our brains are more attuned to negative news and information, and our capacity to focus on negative details so heavily is to keep us safe and out of harm’s way.

From the dawn of human history, our ancestors very survival depended on their ability to recognise and avoid dangerous situations.

The human brain developed systems that would make it unavoidable for us not to notice danger and thus, hopefully, respond to it.

Here are some actions to consider:

Try to avoid excessive exposure to news coverage. Constant monitoring of news updates and social media feeds about COVID-19 can intensify feelings of anxiety and fear. Consider turning off automatic notifications on your digital device and taking a break from the headlines. Setting boundaries to how much news you watch, read or listen to will allow you to focus on your health and wellbeing, rather than wondering ‘what if?’.

Take better care of yourself, in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak. This includes focusing on things you can control (like having good hygiene) instead of those you cannot (stopping the virus).

Where possible, maintain your daily routine and normal activities. Eating healthy meals, regular exercise, spending time with family, friends and loved ones. Getting enough sleep and doing things that you enjoy, which will have a positive impact on your feelings and thoughts.

Try and focus on things that are positive in your life. The World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends seeking out positive stories and images of local people who have encountered and recovered from the coronavirus. Or those who have helped someone through recovery and are willing to share their experience.

It is perfectly normal to feel stressed, overwhelmed, anxious or upset, among a wide range of other emotional reactions, in the current situation.

Give yourself time to express and notice your feelings. Speak to a trusted colleague, write your thoughts down in a journal, do something creative, practising mindfulness or meditation.

Click here to download your free Westfield Health COVID-19 Guide, information and advice on how to prepare your organisation.

If you’re still worried or anxious about your future and you’d like some help to manage your wellbeing get in touch and book your FREE 40-minute consultation.

Telephone 0114 327 2683 or email enquiries@mikelawrence.co.uk

Winner of one of the 2020 Best 3 Therapists Awards for the second year in a row

Mike Lawrence Holistic Therapies is celebrating – again! They had been recognised for the second year in a row by the Best 3 Awards this week for making a significant difference to local people’s lives. Mike’s mission is to empower people to achieve their aspirations in the workplace and everyday life. The award recognises that mission being made a reality. Against several factors, Mike has been voted one of the Best 3 Therapists in the Sheffield region.

All the therapists faced a rigorous 50-point inspection, which includes local reviews, history, trading standards, ratings, satisfaction, trust, price and their general excellence. Mike Lawrence Holistic Therapies yet again showed real strength in every area.

In the last year, Mike has developed the company to incorporate Mike Lawrence Wellbeing & Workplace Management Consultancy, a global consulting organisation with a difference. They are helping thousands of people in the workplace to achieve personal and business goals, as well as supporting employers to deliver more informed wellbeing support and behaviours. A lot of this consists of education and tools for managers, which the team deliver in-house to medium to large businesses across the country.

Mike told us ‘It means a lot when you set out to help people make small but impactful changes and they come back and tell you how big their strides forward are.

You always hope to exceed expectations but to be recognised for consistently exceeding is such great news for us. It’s been a really interesting year with the development for the workplace wellbeing offer, and to be honest, it’s taken off at some speed! We’re now able to help more people lead happier and healthier lives across the region and beyond’.

To read the inspection process in detail please click on the following link https://threebestrated.co.uk/therapists-in-sheffield

workplace wellbeing Sheffield Christmas stress

Will Christmas be ‘YOUR’ Tipping Point!!

workplace wellbeing Sheffield Christmas stressIt’s Christmas! Time off work. Presents to buy. Drinking and eating more than you would regularly and visiting friends, family, loved ones. The season of goodwill, cheer and demanding work priorities go on the back burner in favour Christmas merriments.

Moreover, in our busy lives, that’s exactly what we need. What’s not to like?

Recently I delivered a couple of workshops for Westfield Health on Mental Health Awareness and Dealing with High-Pressure Situations in a company located in South Yorkshire.

When asked what’s the top source of pressure in your life at the moment is and if there’s one thing, that if changed, would significantly improve your quality of life.

The number one challenge was financial worries.

Research from Barclays determined that 46% of workers were worrying. Also, one in five were losing sleep, due to concerns about money.

Further research exposed that 42% of those asking for help with debt is on medication to help them cope with the emotional consequences.

Barclays also witnessed inadequate monetary wellbeing among workers decreased productivity by 4%. The overall cost to businesses in the UK is estimated to be £120 billion per annum.

Many employees feel embarrassed speaking about monetary concerns in the work environment. Especially if they’re suffering financial hardship, therefore employers can tend to view them as merely a private matter.

Nonetheless, there are indications that change is afoot.

Recent studies reveal that employees want to see companies do more around financial education. One survey indicated that 87% want their company to help with financial literacy.

Anglian Water and Barclays both have financial health and wellbeing programs. They both enhance levels of financial literacy and provide support when employees’ finances are out of alignment. Financial literacy is critical components in the organisations’ overall health and wellbeing strategy and an integral part of the employees’ benefits package.

Today, the reality in the UK is a considerable percentage of the population is living on the brink. One payday away from financial catastrophe.

Four in ten adults have no more than £500 in savings, while the Office of National Statistics (ONS), highlight 16.5 million people have no savings.

Many don’t have a safety net or reserves. Therefore, an unanticipated turn of events, like a severe illness or redundancy, could tip a considerable number of households into financial armageddon.

So precarious are people’s finances that the Bank of England calculate even a 2% increase in interest rates could be enough to tip some over the edge.

A typical household in the UK spends over £2,500 each month. Still, in the run-up to Christmas, our spending habits change dramatically to over £800 extra in December.

What is Your Tipping Point? defined by Merriam-Webster, as “The point at which a series of small changes or incidents becomes significant enough to cause a larger, more important change.”

At what point do you take personal responsibility and do something about it, primarily if it’s affecting your performance and wellbeing at work.

The tipping point for a business must be to engage their workforce and implement a health and wellbeing program that includes financial literacy.

Design a work culture that encourages health through all phases of their lives. Considering most people spend most of their life at work, it’s no wonder that they want to believe that the business cares about their happiness.

Emphasis on employee health and wellbeing contributes significantly to an employee’s entire interaction within the company.

Promoting health and wellbeing is no longer seen as a ‘tick box’ exercise or an initiative that produces ‘quick wins.’

Instead, wellbeing promotion assures that your team enjoy and want to work.

Long term, this has a drastic effect on the business’s performance.

Often health improves many areas of the business. Areas that not only improve productivity but make money.

If you’re considering implementing or adopting a health and wellbeing programme in 2020, please feel free to get in touch and book your free 40-minute consultation.

Telephone Sheffield 0114 327 2683 or email enquiries@mikelawrence.co.uk