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.”

Christmas Festivities

Navigating Christmas in the UK Amid Rising Costs: A Time for Reflection and Adaptation 🎄

The Changing Tide of Christmas Celebrations Amid Economic Challenges

As the festive lights of Christmas begin to twinkle across the UK, the joy of the season is tinged with the sobering reality of a challenging economic climate. The United Kingdom, like many parts of the world, is grappling with a significant rise in the cost of living. In October 2023, the inflation rate dipped to 4.6%, a decrease from the 6.7% recorded in the preceding month. 

However, this relief is slight, as the prices of essentials, particularly food, remain significantly higher than in previous years, with food prices in October 2023 being 10.1% higher than a year earlier.

Christmas Spending: A Glimpse Into the UK’s Festive Budget:

Despite these economic headwinds, Christmas spending in the UK shows a surprising trend. Britons are expected to spend an average of £602 each on Christmas gifts in 2023, marking a 40% increase from the average spend of £429 in 202​​0. This uptick in spending, against economic challenges, highlights the deep-seated value placed on the festive tradition of gift-giving. However, it also points to a potential strain on household finances, with nearly 23 million Brits (43%) planning to cover their Christmas expenses using credit cards.

Diverse Spending Patterns Across Generations and Regions:

This year’s spending patterns reveal interesting dynamics across generations and regions. Generation Z is leading the way in festive spending, planning to allocate an average of £828 each on Christmas gifts. In contrast, baby boomers are taking a more frugal approach, with an average spend of just £39. Geographically, the highest spenders are in Scotland, with an estimated average spend of £924 per person, followed closely by Londoners who plan to spend around £841 per person. 

Northern Ireland tops the charts regarding the percentage of people indulging in gift buying, with 91% of residents participating. It’s interesting to note the gender dynamics, with 89% of women planning to buy gifts, though their average spend is lower (£503) than men (£716​​).

Reflecting on Personal Circumstances and Celebrating Responsibly

As we observe these trends, we must reflect on our financial situations. Are we stretching our budgets too thin for the sake of tradition? How can we balance the joy of giving with financial prudence? This Christmas, perhaps more than ever, calls for a balance between maintaining festive cheer and being mindful of economic realities.

Mike’s Christmas Practical Tips

As someone who delivers a range of health and wellbeing talks, seminars, and workshops, the most popular topic in the New Year is always financial wellbeing. So, here are my top tips before we go for our festive break:

January Sales: While Black Friday has passed, the January sales offer excellent opportunities for savings. Keep an eye out for deals, especially on more significant purchases.

Help for Households: The UK government offers various supports through the ‘Help for Households’ campaign. Visit helpforhouseholds.campaign.gov.uk to find out what support is available to help with bills, childcare, travel, and energy savings.

Turn2Us: If you struggle to pay bills and essential living costs, Turn2Us can assist with benefits, grants, and other aid forms. Visit their website at www.turn2us.org.uk for more information.

StepChange: For managing debts and coping with rising energy and food prices, StepChange offers free and impartial debt advice. Visit www.stepchange.org to learn more.

Energy Company Support: Many energy companies financially support households struggling to pay their bills. Check with your provider or explore options like the British Gas Energy Fund.

Single Occupier Tariff: Some water companies offer a Single Occupier tariff. If you live alone, check to see if you’re eligible for reduced rates.

Voucher Codes: Always look for a voucher code box when shopping online. Finding and applying a discount code can save money, and these savings add up over time.

Food Banks: If you’re facing food insecurity, seek local food banks. Your local authority website should have information on locations and access.

Council Tax Reduction: Contact your local authority to see if you are eligible for a reduction in your council tax.

Negotiating Bills: Don’t hesitate to haggle with providers like Sky, phone companies, and other subscription services. Calling them directly often yields better results than online negotiations.

Conclusion: Embracing the Essence of Christmas:

In conclusion, as we navigate the complexities of an economically challenging Christmas, let’s not lose sight of what makes this season exceptional – the warmth of togetherness, the joy of sharing, and the spirit of kindness. This year, let our celebrations reflect our love for others and our understanding and adaptation to the world around us. 

Please share your thoughts or drop me a message if you have any tips on how you plan to celebrate this Christmas while managing your budget, and let’s inspire each other with ideas and stories of a meaningful, cost-conscious festive season. 🌟✨

 

remembrance day, poppy, poppies-3811394.jpg

This Remembrance Day Veterans Are Being Encouraged To Get Support For Their Mental Health

 

Addressing the Invisible Wounds of Combat through Innovative Approaches

The mental health crisis among veterans, particularly those who have experienced combat, is a growing concern that demands urgent attention. A staggering report from a recent JAMA Neurology study reveals a more than 10-fold increase in suicide rates among U.S. veterans from 2006 to 2020, underscoring the inadequacy of current treatment strategies.

In the U.K., the situation is similarly alarming. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) remains a prevalent issue among veterans. Statistics show a significant number of these brave individuals have PTSD, a condition often exacerbated by their experiences in combat. The National Health Service (NHS) strives to provide support, yet the complexity of mental health challenges in veterans calls for a multi-faceted approach.

As someone who has worked closely with veterans, I’ve seen firsthand the profound impact of combat on mental health. Some challenges they face are the memories of lost comrades, the strain on personal and professional relationships, and the struggle to reintegrate into civilian life. My approach involves talking therapies, which have proven beneficial in managing these difficult memories and experiences. These therapies are not just about coping with past traumas; they’re about rebuilding a life with new strategies for wellbeing.

The Benefits of Self-Care in Veteran Mental Health:

  • Meditation: Enhances resilience by developing the ability to cope with stress and recover from adversity. Regular meditation practice leads to mental flexibility and a healthier stress response.
  • Gratitude Exercises: Strengthens relationships by fostering a positive outlook that enhances empathy and deepens connections with others.
  • Counselling or Talking Therapies: Improves self-esteem by providing safe spaces for self-exploration, leading to greater self-awareness and confidence.
  • Talking to Friends and Family: Boosts physical health by providing emotional support and reducing feelings of isolation, which can positively impact physical wellbeing.
  • Mindfulness: Mindfulness practices help in managing symptoms of anxiety and depression, contributing to overall emotional wellbeing and mental health stability.

Self-care strategies like meditation, mindfulness, and expressing gratitude daily have shown remarkable results.

They are encouraging veterans to maintain open communication with trusted friends and family members, which further aids in their mental health journey. The Armed Forces Covenant in the U.K. reinforces this need, ensuring that the armed forces community receives the same standard of healthcare as any other citizen. Information leaflets published by the MOD offer guidance on how veterans can access these services.

The Mental Health Foundation highlights that depression, anxiety, and alcohol problems are common among personnel and veterans, in addition to PTSD. Recent studies, such as those conducted by the King’s Centre for Military Health Research (KCMHR), suggest an increasing trend in help-seeking behaviour, especially among women.

Innovative perspectives like the brain energy theory of mental illness provide new hope. This theory offers a different understanding of mental health issues, potentially leading to more effective treatments.

Our collective responsibility is to ensure our veterans receive the care and support they deserve. We can significantly improve our veterans’ mental health and wellbeing by integrating traditional medical approaches with holistic self-care practices and new scientific insights.

Contact Information for Support:

Remember, seeking help is a sign of strength, not weakness. Let’s work together to support our veterans in their journey towards healing and resilience.

Mike Lawrence Health & Wellbeing

Surviving and Thriving A Year After My Pituitary Tumour Surgery

Surviving and Thriving A Year After My Pituitary Tumour Surgery

The Unexpected Turn

Mike Lawrence Health & Wellbeing

Imagine delivering a two-day Mental Health First Aid course, feeling a sense of accomplishment after a successful first

day, only to find yourself in an entirely different world by the next morning. Overnight, I was rushed to a hospital in London, three hours from my home, and was diagnosed with a pituitary tumour.

The Onslaught of Thoughts

The whirlwind of thoughts that followed was overwhelming. There I was, lying in a hospital bed, far from home, pondering over my clients and my self-employment finances during the challenging times of lockdown and COVID-19. The uncertainty was daunting – would I regain my sight? Could I drive again? These negative, debilitating thoughts seemed unending.

Finding Strength in Focus

But amidst this chaos, I found an unexpected strength within me. I decided to focus on one thing at a time. The first and foremost was my recovery. Hospitalisation was the initial phase, where I battled not just the physical ailment but also the mental toll it took. The next stage was transitioning home and starting rehabilitation, where the love and support of friends, family, and clients played a crucial role.

Reintegrating with Renewed Emphasis

And finally, the phase I am currently navigating is reintegrating into my work life, with a renewed emphasis on self-care. As I write this article from the serene setting of Sutton Hall Resort in North Yorkshire, I reflect on the journey I have been through.

Speaking Out: Raising Awareness

In January 2023, I spoke out about my experience in a press release titled “Surviving a Pituitary Tumour: Why Prioritising Our Mental Health is More Vital Than Ever”. My condition, pituitary apoplexy, results from bleeding within the pituitary gland. Fortunately, the tumour was non-cancerous, but the experience was a stark reminder of how easily we overlook the signs of struggling with mental health.

The Wider Crisis

This experience has made me acutely aware of the mental health crisis affecting not just patients but those in high-stress jobs as well. A report highlighting that 45% of UK police officers suffer from mental health issues is a testament to this grim reality. Moreover, the waiting times for mental health treatment in the NHS and the plight of patients in A&E departments underscore the urgency of addressing this crisis.

The Power of Mental Health First Aid

Mental Health First Aid Instructor Through my ordeal, I found solace and strength in the knowledge I had gained as a mental health first aid instructor. This training equipped me with skills and strategies that were instrumental in dealing with my traumatic event. It’s crucial to understand that mental health first aid isn’t about diagnosing or treating mental health issues. It’s about recognising signs of a mental health crisis in yourself or others and providing support until professional help is available.

A Call to Action

The journey has been challenging, but it has been enlightening. I urge everyone to pay close attention to their mental health and wellbeing. Practising self-care daily and learning about mental health first aid are vital steps we can all take. We must also advocate for better mental health resources and support in our communities and workplaces.

As we navigate these challenging times, let’s remember to care for ourselves and each other. Our mental health is as important as our physical health, and it’s high time we prioritise it. If my story can inspire even one person to seek help or support a loved one, then sharing it has been worth it.

Join the Conversation

Your mental health matters. Join our Mental Health First Aid course, engage in community discussions, or reach out for support. Together, we can create a world where mental wellbeing is not just a goal but a reality. Let’s make mental health first aid as common as physical first aid. Join me on this journey – for yourself, your loved ones, and our community.

Thai Boxing

The Mental Health Benefits of Paying It Forward

I was on holiday in Thailand recently and was excited to participate in a Thai boxing session at the Rawai Muay Thai boxing gym. While standing in line, excitement mixed with confusion as I grappled with the foreign currency, I realised I was 60 Thai Baht short. Just as panic began to set in, a lady who had overheard my conversation with the management kindly paid the difference. Her simple act of kindness was a surprising and appreciative gesture that made my day and got me thinking deeply about paying it forward.

When was the last time that you paid it forward?

The philosophy of paying it forward, where we help others without expecting anything in return, brings numerous mental health benefits. Here are seven compelling examples, each backed by scientific research:

Boosts Happiness

Participating in activities created to assist others can evoke happiness. Science supports that those who give back are generally happier. Helping others triggers an instant feeling of joy, and realising that someone’s life just improved because of you boosts the “happy hormones.”

Reduces Stress and Lowers Blood Pressure

Rachel Piferi of Johns Hopkins University and Kathleen Lawler of the University of Tennessee conducted a study that proved supporting others socially led to lower blood pressure. This biological response helps reduce stress, improving overall mental and physical well-being.

Encourages Longevity

An interesting study conducted by Doug Oman of the University of California, Berkeley, in 1999 revealed that up to 44% of older individuals were less likely to die over five years if they volunteered for two or more organisations. This result held true even when considering other healthy habits, highlighting the potential longevity benefits of selfless acts.

Strengthens Social Connections

Building bridges between people and paying it forward encourages empathy and connection. It fosters community and unity, reminding us we all share the human experience.

Inspires Mindfulness and Gratitude

Being mindful of others’ needs and acting generously encourages gratitude. This positive loop can lead to higher levels of contentment, happiness, and overall mental health.

Promotes a Positive Outlook on Life

Experiencing kindness can shift one’s perspective, instilling a sense of hope and optimism. This positive outlook can be a powerful force in improving mental health and nurturing a more fulfilling life.

Builds Self-Esteem and a Sense of Purpose

Aligning actions with personal values and principles boosts self-esteem and imbues life with purpose. Knowing that you are making a difference in others’ lives enhances self-worth and offers a rewarding sense of achievement.

A Chain Reaction of Kindness

Paying it forward often creates a chain reaction, inspiring others to do the same. It creates a domino effect where one act of generosity leads to another, multiplying the positive impact on individuals and communities.

Conclusion

My experience in Thailand was not merely an enjoyable holiday memory but a poignant reminder of the transformative power of kindness. Paying it forward carries profound mental health benefits that reach beyond the individual and touch the lives of others.

A single act of kindness can spark warmth and humanity in a cold and indifferent world. So why not take the initiative and perform an act of kindness today? You never know whose life you might change – it might even be your own.

Mental Health Awareness Week

Embracing Anxiety How It Can Benefit Us and Support Mental Health Awareness

As Mental Health Awareness Week (15th – 21st May 2023) approaches, it’s essential to acknowledge that we all have mental health, just as physical health. Anxiety is a normal part of life and can benefit us in certain circumstances. In this blog post, we’ll explore the benefits of anxiety, its impact on our lives, and how we can create a more understanding environment for those who struggle with anxiety. Let’s come together and start a conversation to support each other better and raise awareness about mental health.

The Upside of Anxiety:

Anxiety is often seen as a negative emotion, but it’s essential to understand its benefits. At its core, anxiety is a natural response to perceived threats or challenges. It can help us stay alert and focused and perform better in certain situations. For example, anxiety before a job interview or an important exam can push us to prepare more thoroughly, ultimately leading to better outcomes.

According to a study by the American Psychological Association, moderate anxiety levels can enhance memory and cognitive performance. It’s also believed that anxiety can help us develop resilience and problem-solving skills. In essence, anxiety can be a driving force to help us adapt, grow, and overcome challenges.

Recognising the Impact of Anxiety:

It’s crucial to recognise that while anxiety can be beneficial, it can spiral out of control and become a mental health issue. According to the Mental Health Foundation, around 1 in 6 people in the UK experience a common mental health problem like anxiety or depression in any given week.

When anxiety becomes chronic, it can significantly impact our daily lives and the lives of those around us. Maintaining relationships, performing at work, or engaging in everyday activities may be challenging. In such cases, seeking professional help and support from friends and family is essential.

Creating a Supportive Environment:

One of the best ways to create a more understanding environment for those struggling with anxiety is to start a conversation. Sharing our thoughts and experiences can help break down mental health stigma and foster a safe space for discussion and understanding.

Here are some ways we can contribute to this conversation:

Share your personal experiences: Open up about your own experiences with anxiety, whether it’s through social media, blog posts, or simply talking to friends and family. Sharing your story can help others feel less alone and encourage them to seek help if needed.

Be empathetic and understanding: Listen to the experiences of others without judgment and offer support when appropriate. Sometimes, just being there to listen can make a significant difference to someone struggling with anxiety.

Educate yourself and others: Learn about the different types of anxiety disorders, their symptoms, and the various treatment options available. Share this information with others to help raise awareness and reduce misconceptions about anxiety.

Encourage open dialogue in the workplace: Talk to your employer about creating a supportive work environment for employees with mental health issues. This could include offering mental health days, providing resources and support, or even organising mental health awareness workshops.

Practice self-care: Supporting your own mental health is essential in supporting others. Develop healthy coping strategies such as exercise, meditation, or time in nature, and encourage others to do the same.

Support mental health organisations: Donate to or volunteer for organisations that provide support and resources for people struggling with anxiety and other mental health issues. Your contribution can make a significant impact on someone.

Be patient and respectful: Remember that everyone’s experience with anxiety is unique, and it can take time for people to manage their symptoms effectively. Be patient with those who are struggling, and always show respect for their feelings and experiences.

Spread the word: Use your social media platforms, your voice, and your actions to help raise awareness about mental health issues. You’re contributing to a more understanding and supportive society by spreading the word.

Create inclusive spaces: Encourage clubs, schools, and other community organisations to create inclusive environments where people with anxiety and other mental health issues can participate without fear of stigma or judgment.

Offer practical help: Sometimes, people struggling with anxiety may need assistance with everyday tasks or activities. Offer to help when you can, as even small gestures can make a big difference in someone’s life.

In conclusion, this Mental Health Awareness Week is an opportunity for all of us to recognise the impact of anxiety on our lives and those around us. By understanding that anxiety can be beneficial and challenging, we can start a conversation to support each other better and create a more understanding environment. Let’s unite and use our collective strength to raise awareness, reduce stigma, and improve mental health for everyone. Share your thoughts, experiences, and coping strategies in the comments below, and let’s continue this important conversation together. 💚

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

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

 

 

Choices

Will Christmas Be Your Tipping Point?

It’s Christmas! Time off work. Presents to buy. Drinking and eating more than you would normally. Visiting friends, family and loved ones (social distancing regulations allowing). It’s the season of goodwill, cheer, and demanding work priorities.

 

 

Cheer is exactly what we need—especially after the year we’ve had, because of the dreadful Covid-19 virus.

Recent feedback from clients, concerning the most significant source of pressure in their lives, showed that the number one challenge is financial security. This is not surprising, given that unemployment has doubled during 2020, and a staggering number of businesses have struggled to survive following various national lockdowns and changes in consumers’ buying habits.

Pre-pandemic, Barclays carried out a survey on the things that keep us awake at night. Bear in mind that these statistics will undoubtedly have worsened due to the fallout of coronavirus.

The study found that 46% of workers were worried about their financial situation. One in five actually lost sleep through their concerns over money. 42% of people who ask for help with their debt take medication to help them cope with the emotional consequences of their money worries.

Barclays also found that inadequate monetary wellbeing among workers decreased their productivity by 4%. The overall cost to businesses in the UK is therefore estimated to be £120 billion per annum—and I reiterate that this will likely equal much more as we stand today.

Many employees feel embarrassed speaking about their monetary concerns in their work environment, particularly so if they’re suffering from financial hardship. Unfortunately, this means employers view such worries as a private matter.

There are indications, however, that change is afoot.

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

Both Anglian Water and Barclays have financial health and wellbeing programmes. These enhance levels of financial literacy and provide support when employees’ finances are out of alignment. Financial literacy is a critical component in these organisations’ overall health and wellbeing strategy, and an integral part of their employees’ benefits package.

Today in the UK, the reality is that a considerable percentage of the population is living on the brink—just one payday away from financial catastrophe. Some families may be in an even worse predicament.

Four in ten adults have no more than £500 in savings, while the Office of National Statistics (ONS) highlights that one in eight people have no savings.

They found that many don’t have a safety net or reserves. An unanticipated turn of events, like a severe illness or redundancy, could tip a considerable number of households into financial Armageddon—and that’s exactly what’s happened to a significant number of people during 2020.

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

A typical household in the UK spends more than £2,500 each month. In the run-up to Christmas, our spending habits change dramatically; we spend, on average, an extra £800 in December.

Your tipping point, as defined by Merriam-Webster, is ‘the point at which a series of small changes or incidents becomes significant enough to cause a larger, more important change’.

So, at what point do you take personal responsibility and do something about it—particularly 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 programme that includes financial literacy. To also design a work culture that encourages health through all phases of people’s lives. Considering that we spend most of our life at work, it’s no wonder that we want to believe the business cares about our happiness.

An 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 hugely positive effect on a business’s performance and improves many different areas—areas that not only improve employee productivity, but which also make money.

If you’re considering implementing or adopting a health and wellbeing programme in 2021, please feel free to get in touch and book your free 40-minute consultation.

Telephone Sheffield 0114 670 081 or email enquiries@mikelawrence.co.uk

 

Could the Current COVID-19 Pandemic Make Your Seasonal Affected Disorder Worse?

Helpful tips for managing Seasonal Affected Disorder—SAD for short, or winter blues—during these uncertain and challenging times.

I hate to say it, but we’re already weeks away from the end of summer.

This year is significantly different for some people; as well as having to manage their Seasonal Affective Disorder, they’re also having to cope with the relentless demands placed on their daily lives due to lockdown—plus, the stress and anxiety of perpetual uncertainty.

I’ve already noticed mood shifts in some of my clients, friends and colleagues.

It’s going to be challenging for people who experience SAD as winter approaches—incredibly difficult, because restrictions imposed by the government will most likely highlight some of the conditions that promote SAD, such as spending less time outdoors.

SAD is a recognised medical condition. You may therefore wish to consult your GP if you believe you might be suffering from the symptoms of SAD and you’re unable to, or trying but struggling to, cope.

SAD is thought to impact two million people in the UK and 10-20% of sufferers do not have any associated symptoms. It’s a concern that afflicts more women than men, and those aged between 40 and 55.

There’s a direct link between SAD and the reduction in daylight hours, due to the lack of sunlight affecting sufferers’ hormone levels and internal body clocks. Symptoms include a lack of energy, increased tiredness, poor motivation, low moods, despair, sleep problems, depression, anxiety and feelings of gloom for no apparent reason—and a craving for carbohydrates and sweet foods, which can lead to weight gain.

With our frenetic lifestyles, we often miss vital signals from the sun, and our body clocks suffer as a result. Without decent light in the morning, our bodies don’t produce the hormones we require to wake and feel alive.

When there is less light in the morning, we can also feel less productive.

Staying up for hours after dark can cause mood and sleep problems. Sleep, our overall activity, and how we feel, are all regulated by our body clocks.

When your body doesn’t get the appropriate light signals, you might feel moody, sluggish, and tired. To counteract this, your body needs to produce active, energetic hormones, so that the negative, withdrawal ones are subdued. Positive hormones help to reset your mood, sleep, and energy cycles, so that you sleep better at night and feel fabulous during the day.

The great news is that a Health and Wellbeing Consultant can help you combat symptoms and implement changes in your lifestyle, with quick results.

A Health and Wellbeing Consultant can help you in the following areas: they can keep you motivated, and support you if you’re suffering from stress, depression or anxiety. They can help you understand why you’re feeling tired all the time (TATT), show you how to manage your mood swings, and offer encouragement if you’re feeling despondent due to the impact of the pandemic.

People have experienced AMAZING transformations during the winter blues when engaging the services of a competent practitioner.

I’ve created an easy, effective, powerful 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, so that they feel physically robust and better equipped mentally; ultimately, they feel in better control of their lives.

What one thing will you do this winter to take charge of your winter blues?

If you’re feeling SAD and curious about how you will benefit from working with a Health and Wellbeing Consultant, get in touch with me and book your free 40-minute consultation.

Telephone 07967 052585 or email enquiries@mikelawrence.co.uk

wellbeing consultancy during lockdown

How I Continued To Support My Clients Through Lockdown Due To A Pandemic!!

wellbeing consultancy during lockdownMonday 23rd March seems a long time away, but that was the last client I saw face to face in my clinic in Broomhill Sheffield. I remember the session very well; she wasn’t typical of my clients. They are usually aged between 40 – 50, women business owners who are suffering due to the loss of identity and confidence; who have lost their direction in life due to raising a family, running their own business or driven in their career.

In a nutshell, I help them to rediscover their identity, they gain better clarity, feel more motivated, confident, and in full control of their life.

On this occasion, I was working with a lady who was struggling to cope with her mental health. Her anxiety was affecting her relationship with her partner and her ability to concentrate at work.

The sessions continued over the internet using the Zoom video-conferencing application, as have all my client coaching and consultancy sessions on the easy-to-use platform. However, not everyone is using, or familiar with this programme. Some prefer Microsoft Teams, Google Meet, Go To Meeting, Whatsapp, Skype, Messenger or BlueJeans, described by app developers that it provides an immersive video, audio ad web conferencing experience. It took me ages to download and run this application.

I had to learn how to deal with the unexpected quickly, and oh yes I had plenty of encounters, come on, what would you do if you’re delivering a hypnosis session then you hear a loud knock at the door from the courier driver delivering your Amazon goods? Usually, those items would have been transported to my clinic.

Young children and babies seeking the attention of their mums, then you’ve got the family pets who also want to get in on the act. Or you see the hubby scamper through the bedroom in just his underwear, not realising that his partner has someone else in the bedroom, albeit on the other end of the computer.

Do you want to hear my favourite story? I was delivering an online webinar for the South Yorkshire Expo, which involved sharing my computer screen so that I can present a PowerPoint presentation. I’d hosted a similar event for the Federation of Small Business the week before and a few others during the lockdown, therefore, I was familiar with the setup.

I could see all the delegates online in their little square boxes, some with videos turned off, which is something that I learned to familiarise with rather than being irritated.

The host gave an eloquent introduction then handed over to me. I addressed the online audience and proceeded to provide an overview of my session. At this point, I ensued to share my computer screen, and up popped my carefully rehearsed presentation.

All appeared to be going well, plenty of engagement, good use of the chat facility, and I could see plenty of thumbs up. Until I noted a message in the chatbox, saying “Mike, we only see a picture of a brain.” On my screen, I’d moved on further into the presentation at least seven slides further on.

Oops, my screen share had paused, I’d done this in error and was not aware of this. Therefore, I was yapping away for five minutes or more over a picture of a brain, possibly on a topic which had nothing in common with the brain!!

I received a lovely message following an event which said, thanks so much for the time you spent today giving us some takeaways for our mental positivity. Just seeing your wonderful smile all the way through made a huge difference to the day!

Messages such as this are heartfelt, and this is the very reason why I love what I do.

Adapting to this way of working has definitely been an enjoyable learning curve and who knows this may be the new way of working for many of us in the future.

If you know anyone in your world, friends, neighbours, work colleagues who you think would benefit from spending some time with me, please ask them to get in touch. I’d be delighted to arrange a free 30-minute consultation.

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

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

wellbeing in workplace Sheffield neurodiversity

Neurodiversity – Wellbeing In The Workplace

wellbeing in workplace Sheffield neurodiversity

I was recently invited to co-host an HR Future Leaders Seminar in Leeds, organised by Irwin Mitchell Solicitors and Elevation Recruitment Group, on Neurodiversity in the Workplace, which is becoming an increasingly popular topic within HR.

What Is Neurodiversity?

Neurodiversity refers to people with genetic differences such as Dyslexia, Dyspraxia, ADHD, Tourettes and various forms of Autism such as Aspergers.

Neurodivergent people are not unwell; neither do they have a syndrome; it is a difference. But it is a difference that can leave people more susceptible to mental ill-health, which can be created or heightened by inadequate working environments.

It’s estimated that 1 in 7 people in the UK is neurodivergent, inferring their brain functions, learns and processes information differently than others.

Neurodiversity In The Workplace

A survey conducted by the CIPD in 2018 discovered that 10% of HR professionals in the UK acknowledged Neurodiversity in their organisation’s employee management systems. Alarmingly, 72% said Neurodiversity wasn’t included.

A growing number of prominent companies in the USA have reformed their HR processes to access neurodiverse talent; among them are SAP, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Microsoft and Ford.

Managers at SAP say that it is already paying off in ways far beyond reputational enhancement. Including productivity gains, quality improvement boosts in innovative capabilities and significant increases in employee engagement.

Companies have a legal obligation to undertake ‘reasonable adjustments’ to the workplace and the employee’s role that will remove or minimise any disadvantage to them.

The Equality Act 2010  protects individuals against disability discrimination for issues often referred to as ‘hidden disabilities’.

The more common difficulties associated with neurodiverse conditions in the workplace can include, time management, planning and prioritising, organisation, getting distracted by background music, poor working memory (the ability to hold multiple things in your attention at one time). These very often cause stress, and it might be stress that brings them to your attention.

Concentration, excess stress, issues with timekeeping, maintaining a schedule and physical illness are all conditions covered under the term neurodiversity.

Some thrive in a working environment and build resilience towards the difficulties they face, whereas others may struggle to complete specific tasks because of their condition.

In these instances, disclosing these challenges to an employer can allow them to support an individual in the workplace.

  • 24% of the UK prison population has ADHD
  • 16% of people in the UK with Autism have a job
  • 1% of corporate managers have dyslexia compared to a population norm of 10%

How Can I Help?

  • Ask questions to find out how best to help and support your neurodiverse employees. Everyone with a neurodiverse condition is different, and they often have particular strengths
  • Assess the working environment
  • Implement a wellbeing policy
  • Train managers and team leaders how to recognise and spot signs and symptoms
  • Identify employees with neurological variances whom frequently suffer from mental health issues, including stress, anxiety and depression
  • Ensure that you contribute towards creating an accepting and nurturing working environment
  • Provide an environment which encourages employees to disclose any neurological condition
  • Awareness-raising sessions that can help manage your sickness absence rates and improve line management skills, both of which can, in turn, lead to increased productivity
  • Appoint a buddy or mentor
  • Review the employee life cycle and journey

SAP’s neurodiversity program forced managers to get to know their employees and become better managers. Managers also began thinking more deeply about leveraging the talents of all employees through greater sensitivity to individual needs.

We understand that the situations of stress-related absence are on the increase in the working environment.

When this occurs, try and discover if the employee has a neurodiverse condition. Be sympathetic; they may often not know themselves or be embarrassed to talk.

Access to work grants is a pot of government funding support based on your needs, for reasonable adjustments to be carried out. To assist with covering the cost of adequate support in the workplace or getting to and from work. Also, software to translate speech into text and vice versa, life coaching to develop coping strategies to help employees better manage their condition.

If you’re considering raising awareness in neurodiversity, mental health at work, or health and wellbeing in the workplace, please get in touch and book your FREE 40-minute consultation.

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