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

 

The Importance of a good nights sleep

Why Sleep Matters Especially Now

Why Sleep Matters, Especially Now

The importance of a good nights sleepAs we embrace the festive cheer of December, it’s crucial to remember the importance of balance, especially regarding our wellbeing. 🎄✨

Strike a Balance This Festive Season: Embrace Rest and Avoid Overindulgence

With Christmas around the corner, this time of year can be exciting and stressful. We’re often tempted to stretch our days and nights, juggling holiday preparations with end-of-year deadlines. 🌟📅

But here’s the thing – sleep is not just a luxury; it’s a necessity. It’s particularly crucial for students gearing up for exams and for all of us navigating life’s complexities. A good night’s sleep is like hitting the reset button for your brain, mind, and body. It’s our natural way of rejuvenating, ensuring we wake up refreshed, revitalised, and energised. 💤🔋

The Pitfalls of Overindulgence

Late-night celebrations and extra drinks seem tempting as we enter the festive spirit. But moderation is key. Overdoing it can backfire, stimulating rather than relaxing us and impacting our ability to get quality rest. 🍹❌

Remember, while celebrating is part of the season, it shouldn’t come at the expense of our health. Overindulgence, particularly in alcohol, can leave us dizzy, tired, and unresponsive the next day. This not only affects our immediate wellbeing but, if not managed, can contribute to long-term mental health issues. 🧠🚫

Embracing a Balanced Approach

So, as we count the holidays, let’s consciously try to strike a balance. Enjoy the festivities, but also prioritise rest and self-care. Here are a few tips to help you maintain this balance:

  1. Set a Sleep Schedule: Try to go to bed and wake up simultaneously every day, even during the holidays.
  2. Moderate Celebration: Enjoy the festive treats and drinks, but know your limits.
  3. Relax and Unwind: Set aside time for activities that help you relax, whether reading, a warm bath, or meditation.
  4. Stay Active: Regular exercise can improve your sleep quality and mood.
  5. Connect Meaningfully: Spend quality time with loved ones, sharing festivities, support, and understanding.

In Summary

The festive season is a time for joy, reflection, and connection. We can enjoy the best of both worlds by balancing celebration with rest and moderation. Here’s to a holiday season that leaves us all feeling merry, bright, and well-rested! 🌟🛌

Free Sleep Audio

Click here on the link provided. You’ll find a soothing sleep audio I use with my clients here. Feel free to listen and download it to help improve your sleep quality. Let this be your first step towards better rest and a more energised life!

Happy holidays, and remember, your wellbeing is the best gift you can give yourself and others!

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.

Teh Awesome Adventures o Mike's 60th Year!

Reflecting on 2023 Celebrating Achievements and Embracing 2024 with Optimism

Reflecting on 2023: Celebrating Achievements and Embracing 2024 with Optimism

Mike Lawrence Health & WellbeingAs we approach the end of another fast-paced year, it’s time to take a step back, appreciate our accomplishments, and look ahead with hope and determination. Ellen Goodman’s wise words resonate: “We spend January 1st walking through our lives, room by room, drawing up a list of work to be done, cracks to be patched. Maybe this year, to balance the list, we ought to walk through the rooms of our lives… not looking for flaws, but for potential.”

The year started with uncertainty as I faced the challenges of recovering from a brain surgery known as pituitary apoplexy. Uncertainty loomed over whether I would fully regain my sight. I spent considerable time at home and in the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery, contemplating my future. Despite the odds, I had already decided that there would be a focus on self-care and wellbeing, which would shape my work moving forward.

Achievements

Mangosteen Ayurveda & Wellness Resort Sky Dive Charity Jump!Thailand Phi Phi Islands

1: Health and Wellness Transformation

In 2023, a journey to improved health and wellbeing was one of the most significant milestones. Despite initial challenges following medical issues, I successfully shed 9 kilos. This accomplishment was a testament to the power of determination, dietary changes, intermittent fasting, exercise, and a positive mindset. It taught me that our mindset plays a pivotal role in achieving our goals. In 2024, I’m eager to explore holistic health further.

2: Skydiving for a Cause

2023 brought thrilling adventures, including a heart-pounding skydiving experience from 14,000 feet over Nottingham’s stunning skies. Beyond the adrenaline rush, this adventure had a purpose: raising funds for the Mental Health Foundation. It reinforced the idea that stepping out of our comfort zones can lead to extraordinary accomplishments while supporting a vital cause.

3: Exploring Thailand

Amid a bustling year, I realised the importance of rejuvenation. After intense recovery and a fast-paced life, I embarked on a transformative journey to Thailand. I savoured Ayurveda treatments there, relished nourishing vegetarian cuisine, and immersed myself in Thai culture. It underscored the significance of self-care and the need to pause and reflect.

Top 3 Audiobooks of 2023

2023 was also a year of enriching knowledge through audiobooks. Here are three noteworthy picks:

Audiobooks

The Plot Nadine Dorries - The Political Assassination of Boris JohnsonAll over the world, our ability to pay attention is collapsing. In the US, college students now focus on one task for only 65 seconds, and office workers on average manage only three minutes. New York Times best-selling author Johann Hari went on an epic journey across the world to meet the leading scientists and experts investigating why this is happening to us – and discovered that everything we think we know on this subject is wrong.Are you anxious and not sure why? If you answer yes, then that’s completely normal; you are human! Our brains aren’t evolved for the complexities and complications of modern life. So for his next trick, Derren Brown will reboot your brain, with the help of world-renowned experts. By drawing on wisdom and insights from modern psychology to ancient philosophy, Derren demonstrates how you can rise above your brain’s limitations and think yourself into a more fulfilling, less anxiety-ridden and perhaps happier life.

1: “The Plot”

“The Plot” provides a gripping look behind the scenes of political intrigue, revealing the hidden forces shaping our world and offering a unique perspective on leadership dynamics.

2: “Stolen Focus”

“Stolen Focus” explores the reasons behind our diminishing ability to concentrate, challenging the notion that it’s solely a personal failing. It provides insights into regaining our focus in an age of distractions.

3: “Derren Brown’s Boot Camp for Life”

“Derren Brown’s Boot Camp for Life” is a transformative guide to rebooting our minds. Drawing wisdom from psychology to philosophy, it offers a path to reduce anxiety and lead a more fulfilling life.

As we enter 2024, let’s carry the spirit of celebration and growth. Each achievement, adventure, and audiobook has contributed to our personal development. If you were to look back on your year, what would be your three most significant achievements? Please feel free to share. Drop me an email!

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.”

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. 🌟✨

 

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.

World Mental Health Day 10 October 2023

World Mental Health Day More Than Just a Day on the Calendar

World Mental Health Day is upon us again, dedicated to raising awareness of mental health’s challenges, triumphs, and nuances. Countless articles, social media posts, and campaigns each year champion the cause. But as we mark another year and another World Mental Health Day, one can’t help but wonder: 

Are we genuinely paying attention?

Back in May, the UK observed Mental Health Awareness Week. Yet, does having two significant days in a year translate to twice the impact? Or are these awareness days just a ceremonial nod to an issue that demands sustained attention and action?

Delivering mental health first aid courses both online and in person, I’ve witnessed firsthand the transformative power of education and awareness. Signposting individuals to professional help or teaching them to initiate conversations about mental health can make a difference. However, the reality is a mixed bag. While there are organisations genuinely committed to the cause, many others seem content with mere lip service.

From my experience, organisations that actively pursue mental health initiatives often have champions within their ranks — individuals with lived experiences or a personal connection to the cause. Yet, the overarching narrative I frequently encounter is familiar: “We don’t have the budget” or “We don’t have the time.” It’s disheartening to see such a crucial issue brushed aside.

Our government, too, sends mixed signals. While there’s been a notable increase in the suicide prevention fund — a move that promises to provide vital support to thousands in need — there’s a troubling inertia elsewhere. The First-Aid (Mental Health) Bill’s stalling is a glaring example. Scheduled for its next stage on 24th November 2023, it’s now uncertain when, or even if, it will be taken up. What message does this convey about the government’s commitment to mental health?

Awareness days, while crucial, cannot be the total of our efforts. They should be launchpads for year-round initiatives, policy changes, and sustained conversations. Otherwise, we risk them becoming echo chambers where only the already converted listen.

Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) training is more than just another course – it’s an urgent call to action for everyone, from business leaders to grassroots community members. Imagine if, in every room you entered, there was at least one individual equipped with the knowledge and skills to support a person undergoing a mental health crisis. The ripple effect of such preparedness would be monumental.

When you undertake MHFA training, you’re not just learning – you’re committing to being that beacon of support in someone’s moment of need. This is our collective responsibility. For organisations, embedding MHFA into regular training schedules demonstrates a proactive approach to mental health, a commitment that extends beyond tokenistic gestures.

So, here’s a call to arms: let’s prioritise MHFA training. Make it as commonplace as first aid for physical injuries. Equip yourself and your teams with the tools to understand, empathise, and assist. Our society’s mental wellbeing is a collective responsibility, and this is a vital step in safeguarding it. 

The Path Forward

Awareness is the first step, but action must follow. Here’s what we can do:

Year-Round Initiatives: Organisations should integrate mental health initiatives into their annual plans, not just align with global awareness days.

Government Action: The government must prioritise mental health in tangible ways, including passing relevant bills and allocating adequate funds.

Education and Training: More professionals should be trained in mental health first aid, ensuring that help is available and accessible when needed.

Community Engagement: Grassroots movements, community conversations, and local support groups can help sustain the momentum and make mental health a part of the public discourse.

In conclusion, as we commemorate World Mental Health Day, let it be a reminder that our commitment should extend beyond the confines of a single day. Our minds, our rights. Let’s put our minds to the task and focus on raising awareness and driving tangible change for better mental health for all.

Climate Change Affects Our Mental Health, and What We Can Do About It: An Urgent Call to Action

Climate Change Affects Our Mental Health, and What We Can Do About It: An Urgent Call to Action

The Multi-Dimensional Crisis of Climate Change

Climate change is a crisis that goes beyond just melting glaciers and scorching summers; it’s a crisis that penetrates the human psyche. Recent UK surveys show that 65% of the population feels anxious about the effects of climate change. Moreover, women appear to be more affected than men, with 69% of women indicating anxiety as opposed to 61% of men. As for younger generations, a staggering 20% of those aged 16-24 are willing to sacrifice family plans, stating they’d opt for having fewer children to help alleviate the crisis.

If the pervasive anxiety and life-altering decisions weren’t enough, scientific studies show that rising ambient temperatures and increased air pollution have a pronounced effect on mental health. The range spans from general anxiety to a significant rise in emergency department visits for mental health issues.

Immediate Impacts: Mental Health in the Wake of Catastrophes

The climate crisis isn’t a far-off scenario—it’s happening now. This year alone, extreme weather events have made headlines globally, from cyclones in southeastern Africa to wildfires in Chile and Canada, not to mention unbearable heatwaves across Asia. More recently, the return of El Niño has thrown another wrench in the works, raising global temperatures and sparking even more natural disasters. One such catastrophic event occurred on September 11 when Storm Daniel caused unprecedented flooding in Libya, leaving thousands dead, missing, or displaced.

Such catastrophes have a profound psychological impact. Imagine losing your home, community, and sense of safety overnight. These events can lead to many mental health issues, including anxiety, depression, PTSD, and suicidal tendencies.

Empowering Through Education

Knowledge is one of the most powerful tools to combat the climate crisis’s mental strain. Understanding the science behind the events unfolding around us can transform paralyzing fear into proactive advocacy. Consider engaging with the wealth of scientific literature available, from reports by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) to peer-reviewed journal articles.

Practising Self-Care Amid Chaos

Amid this crisis, it’s crucial to remember the importance of self-care. Whether it’s yoga, journaling, or even simply setting aside an hour each day for ‘digital detox,’ these activities can offer a valuable respite from the constant flood of distressing news.

The Therapeutic Spectrum: More Than Just CBT

While Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) remains popular for treating mental health issues, it’s not the only tool in the shed. Counselling provides a safe space to explore your fears, while life coaching offers a structured plan to tackle stress and lifestyle changes.

Building Resilience: The Community Aspect

But emotional resilience is not built in isolation. Across the UK, local cooperatives are emerging that focus on growing organic fruits and vegetables. These initiatives provide a more sustainable lifestyle and a sense of community, boosting emotional resilience.

Regarding mental health and climate change, we are far from powerless. Through education, self-care, therapeutic interventions, and community engagement, we can better prepare ourselves emotionally for the challenges that lie ahead.

Take the Next Step: Connect with an Expert

If this blog post resonated with you and you’re looking for more tailored advice on managing climate anxiety and mental health, the next step is just an email away. Don’t let the overwhelming feelings of climate change paralyze you. Reach out for expert guidance and strategies to build emotional resilience in these challenging times.

📧 Email Mike Lawrence at hello@mikelawrence.co.uk to take the first step towards a more resilient you.

Your voice matters; together, we can make a difference for the planet and our mental well-being.

 

Lunch and Learn

Turning Your Therapy Side Hustle into a Full-Time Profession A Realistic Guide

Ah, the tantalising dream of turning a passion project into a full-fledged career. As the mental health sector burgeons, the prospect of transitioning your therapy side gig to a profession feels enticing. But let’s be clear: it’s not merely about having the expertise or the good heart. To truly thrive, you need business acumen. Here’s my two-penneth on how to make this ambition a reality.

The Power of Mentorship

I vividly recall the early days of my venture, when a leading PR maven in Sheffield, having listened to my vision, charmingly dismissed it as a ‘lifestyle business’—but that moment of redirection led me to invaluable resources. That’s the magic of having a mentor or business coach. These experienced guides don’t just offer advice; they’re the lighthouses on your entrepreneurial voyage, illuminating pitfalls and opportunities alike.

Network Like Your Career Depends On It (Because It Does!)

You might think networking is the domain of suited-up corporate folks. Wrong! Therapists like you and me need a network – not just for referrals but also for collaborative growth. Sites like Eventbrite are teeming with local business networking events. And then, there are tailored communities such as The Growth Community and BNI. The latter instil the ‘Give As Gain’ ethos, which isn’t about selling but educating others about your ideal client. The right network turns peers into your personal marketing squad.

Remember, each networking mode has its quirks. Online offers convenience, face-to-face promises depth, and hybrid? The best of both! Your goal? Become the therapist everyone “knows, likes, and trusts.”

It’s Not Just Business, It’s Personal

Recognise this: you’re not merely offering a service but catalysing life transformations. So, price your services rightfully. And it’s not just about that session hour. Consider the prep, post-session documentation, and the plethora of unseen tasks. You are your brand, and your price reflects your value.

Show Me the Money

Making a career leap demands financial acumen. So, seek grants and funding opportunities. For instance, when I ventured into becoming a Mental Health First Aid Instructor, Sheffield Launchpad was my financial godsend. It might take grit and a bit of resourcefulness, but with a hawk-eyed search, you can locate the funds to ease your transition.

Boundaries and Resilience

Every so often, doubts and setbacks will knock on your door. In such moments, let a personal mantra or quote reignite your fire. And as you grow, don’t shy from seeking external support, be it a virtual assistant or a marketer. Know which hat you don at every juncture – are you the therapist, the marketer, or the admin today? But amidst this hustle, remember to hit pause. Rest is not just crucial; it’s non-negotiable.

The Final Word

Turning your therapy side hustle into a full-time profession sometimes feels like threading a needle in the dark. But with a strategic approach, a robust network, financial planning, and oodles of resilience, you’re setting yourself up for success.

Embrace this journey with its highs and lows, for on the other side lies a fulfilling career waiting to be moulded by you. Take the leap, and your future self (and those countless lives you’ll touch) will be eternally grateful.

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A Leap of Faith Skydiving for the Mental Health Foundation

Though not necessarily brave, I’ve always considered myself an adventurer at heart. Maybe a bit daft, even. In my work as a mental health first aid instructor and a private practice consultant, I see people who grapple with social anxiety, stress, and depression.

I often preach the gospel of stepping outside one’s comfort zone. But hey, it’s easier said than done, right?

Inspired by our ancestors who braved saber-tooth tigers and trekked miles for food, I took the plunge for the Mental Health Foundation. But this leap was more than just a tick off my bucket list; it was deeply personal. Last year, I had a pituitary tumour removed. That intense experience made me reevaluate my priorities; ever since then, self-care has been at the top of my list.

Now, back to the plane. My instructor, Josh, was a pro. His pre-jump brief was as exciting as listening to a speech by Rishi Sunak, which oddly calmed my nerves. “Place your hands across your chest, wrap your legs around the underside of the plane, and head back,” he advised as if telling me how to tie my shoes.

The plane taxied down a short runway under a cloudless sky. Perfect weather—unlike the cancelled jump a few weeks prior due to bad visibility. We reached an altitude of 14,000ft, and I found myself afloat among skydiving aficionados and charity-driven daredevils like myself.

Josh handed me goggles so tight they made me look like a cartoon character whose eyes might pop out at any moment. Then, the plane’s door opened, and for a fleeting moment, I imagined myself getting sucked out like in a bad action movie.

One by one, people took their leaps. I mimicked a mantra in my head, “Hands across the chest, feet under the plane, head up, wait for the tap, then Superman.” Finally, it was my turn.

As I inched closer to the edge, my brain screamed, “What the bleep are you doing, Mike?!” But before I could complete that thought, gravity took over. I was tumbling through the air, screaming, but also oddly liberated.

Josh gave me the much-anticipated tap. I thrust my arms forward, miming Superman, grinning like a madman. And just like that, the sheer terror transformed into an adrenaline-fueled euphoria.

As we descended, Josh handed me the parachute controls. “What happens if you let go?” a devilish voice in my head wondered. Ignoring it, I swivelled left and right, marvelling at the beauty below.
Eventually, Josh guided us toward the landing zone. “Legs to the chest, then out in front,” he instructed. And we landed like pros—or rather, he did; I was just along for the ride.

“What was it like?” the cameraman asked. “Absolutely insane!” I blurted out, my heart still racing.

This was not just a thrill-seeker’s dream but a defining moment that combined personal growth, healing, and advocacy for a cause I deeply believe in mental health. Skydiving was a literal and metaphorical fall into a new understanding of life and resilience, a perfect symbol of my journey from a patient to the pinnacle of self-care.

Thanks to this experience, I’m even more committed to championing mental health. I took a leap for myself and everyone who has been where I was. So, let’s soar to new heights together in our collective fight for better mental health.

Would you like to help, too? Please spread the word, donate, and let’s make a difference. Because sometimes, a leap of faith is what it takes to move mountains.

Mangosteen Group Photo

My Personal Path to Wellbeing at Mangosteen Ayurveda & Wellness Resort

The Rejuvenation Journey

Introduction

Life’s challenges had recently consumed me. A pituitary tumour diagnosis, months of recovery, and the mounting pressure of returning to work left me in dire need of a sanctuary. That sanctuary? The Mangosteen Ayurveda & Wellness Resort in Phuket, Thailand.

A Unique Retreat: Mangosteen Ayurveda & Wellness Resort Authentic Ayurveda in Thailand

Mangosteen is more than a resort; it’s a haven for those seeking genuine Ayurvedic healing, with professionals trained to an impeccable standard.

Choosing the AyurYoga Panchakarma 7-night Retreat

Why I Chose Panchakarma

After my health challenges, I sought a programme tailored to rejuvenate me, and Panchakarma seemed just right. The retreat’s offerings, from personalised treatments to nourishing Ayurvedic cuisine, promise holistic healing.

My Treatment Programme

Over seven days, I underwent various treatments, from Abhyanga massages to detoxifying procedures.

Personal Reflections: More Than Just Treatments

Each day brought a fresh wave of relaxation, energy, and rejuvenation. I felt my stresses melt away, replaced with newfound vigour. While I expected peace, the profound sense of refreshment was a delightful surprise.

Ayurvedic Doctor

During the final consultation, my Ayurvedic doctor remarked at the end of my programme, “You’ve lost 5kgs, but beyond that, your energy seems more balanced, more harmonious.” It wasn’t just about weight but the transformation inside and out.

Educational Insights into Ayurveda

With roots in ancient India, Ayurveda is more than a medical system; it’s a way of life. Centred on the ‘doshas’ or bodily humour, Ayurveda teaches balance. I was intrigued to learn more about the benefits of the oils and treatments; therefore, My Ayurvedic doctor introduced me to the “Textbook of Ayurveda: Volume 1 – Fundamental Principles of Ayurveda” by Dr Vasant Lad, a foundational text. Additionally, I was given the Ashwagandha supplement, known for its rejuvenating properties.

Beyond Treatment: Life in Phuket

From ethical elephant sanctuaries to rigorous Muay Thai training sessions and a speed boat trip over to PHI PHI Islands, Phuket offered both relaxation and adventure.

Testimonials from the Resort Owners

Hajo, one of the resort owners, told me, “Your journey, from where you started to where you’ve reached, truly resonates with Mangosteen’s ethos of holistic healing. We’re delighted to have been a part of it.”

Call to Action: Your Path to Healing

Consider your wellbeing. It’s time you treat yourself through a wellness retreat or simple moments of self-care in your daily routine.

Conclusion

My journey at Mangosteen was a lesson in the importance of self-care. Not only did I find physical rejuvenation, but I also discovered the strength within to tackle life’s challenges head-on.

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Reflections on the Secrets to a Longer Life

It’s rather peculiar how we often search for the key to longevity, health, and wellness in today’s fast-paced world. Recently, I chanced upon an article – a veritable treasure trove of information – that delved deep into habits that might add some golden years to our lives. From an everyday person’s perspective in the UK, this exploration hooked me. So, I’ve distilled the article’s essence and wish to share a reflective insight.

Now, imagine a life where your choices at 40 years could add another 24 years to your timeline. This isn’t a hypothetical – it’s based on an expansive study focusing on the lives of US veterans. What struck me profoundly was that despite chronic diseases or conditions, adjusting lifestyle choices still reaped benefits.

The underlying message? It’s never too late.

While the numbers vary between men and women, the pattern is clear: each healthy habit adopted adds a few more precious years. Even as a layperson, it’s evident that our choices compound over time. Essentially, a little here and a little there might lead to a treasure at the end of life’s journey.

Now, let’s navigate the choices. Exercise sits proudly atop the list. Over here, in the UK, we’ve seen a surge in the culture of running, cycling, and other fitness trends. Seeing that regular activity could slash our risk of premature demise by a whopping 46% is invigorating. And it’s not just about gruelling gym sessions; even a brisk walk up the stairs counts!

Another alarm bell – opioids. In recent years, the UK has witnessed a steady rise in opioid prescriptions and related deaths. Here’s a habit we need to pay heed to. Similarly, the importance of reducing tobacco use, managing stress, and focusing on a plant-based diet echoes worldwide health guidelines. It’s pretty remarkable to observe how these choices are universally applicable, no matter where you reside.

But let’s talk about two often overlooked aspects: sleep and social relationships. Sleep often gets compromised in the hustle of modern UK life, where work and social pressures run high. Yet, the significance of a peaceful night’s sleep resonates more deeply now.

Meanwhile, social relationships ring truer than ever, especially in these trying times of isolation. Despite our hyper-connected world, loneliness remains an Achilles’ heel for many, making the importance of positive relationships all the more evident.

In conclusion, this article has reaffirmed my belief – that life’s not just about the number of years we live but the quality we infuse into them.

Whether adopting an active lifestyle or nurturing our social connections, every small effort counts.

Here’s to making choices that add years to our life and life to our years. Cheers!

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 First Aid 2-Day Training Course Ambassador Theatre - Birmingham

Empowering Individuals with Mental Health First Aid A Journey of Growth and Understanding

Mental Health First Aid 2-Day Training Course Ambassador Theatre - BirminghamIntroduction: As an accredited Instructor Member, approved by MHFA England to deliver Mental Health First Aid courses, I understand the critical need for mental health literacy in today’s society.

Recently, I had the privilege of hosting a Mental Health First Aid course, an experience that underscored the power of understanding and empathy. This course opened up conversations, empowered individuals, and strengthened our resolve to support mental health. In this blog post, we’ll delve into the course content, participant feedback, societal challenges surrounding mental health, and future plans for mental health education.

Course Content and Structure: The Mental Health First Aid course, a comprehensive programme spread over two days, was meticulously designed to cover various mental health issues. We navigated the complex mental health landscape, equipping participants with skills to identify symptoms and offer effective aid. The course was interspersed with interactive sessions and role-plays to simulate potential real-life scenarios, enhancing the practical learning experience.

Tackling Misconceptions and Fostering Understanding: We also tackled the many misconceptions that cloud the understanding of mental health. This involved many enlightening discussions that shed light on the realities of mental health conditions and the unique challenges faced by those battling them. Although emotionally charged at times, these dialogues fostered a profound empathy among learners, building bridges of understanding.

Learner Feedback and Experiences: Feedback from learners bore a testament to the transformative impact of the course. One delegate expressed, “I felt fully invested in the whole two-day course and found every topic interesting… This course has given me the confidence to help someone who may be struggling”. Another participant shared how the course empowered them with skills and confidence, saying, “Feel confident and have gained so many skills. Thank you, Mike.”

Navigating Mental Health Challenges: Addressing mental health requires a blend of knowledge, courage, empathy, and understanding. Delegates found that the course empowered them to navigate mental health crises confidently. One participant shared, “Previously, I may not have wanted to get involved in a mental health crisis due to not being educated enough… but I am now 100% confident in the skills I have learnt.” These statements underscore the transformative power of Mental Health First Aid training.

Looking Ahead – Future Courses: Encouraged by the positive response and enthusiasm of the participants for further learning, plans for more such courses are scheduled online and in person over the coming months. Expressions of interest in advanced courses, like “I really enjoyed this course, and I shall be looking to enrol for Level 3 in the near future.

Conclusion: Hosting the Mental Health First Aid course, a journey of understanding, empathy, and empowerment, was a rewarding experience. The course reinforced the necessity of mental health literacy and its potential to impact our communities’ well-being profoundly. I look forward to delivering more such courses and contributing towards a society that acknowledges, supports, and nurtures mental health.

Rainer Maria Rilke once said, “The only journey is the journey within.” So, let’s continue this journey of understanding mental health and extend our hands to those in need.

If you’re interested in participating in future Mental Health First Aid courses or want to learn more, feel free to reach out. Together, we can make a difference and ensure mental health is a priority for all.

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Five coping strategies to help you combat the cost of living crisis

One of the major reasons for this mental health crisis is the financial strain many people face. With the cost of living increasing and energy prices rising, many people are using their savings and taking out loans to make ends meet.

This financial insecurity can cause significant stress and anxiety and lead to depression, sleep problems, and other mental health issues. This puts a strain on people’s finances, with many having to use their savings to make ends meet. Furthermore, a record number of people are taking out loans to cover their expenses, which adds to their financial stress.

Despite the clear impact that these factors are having on people’s mental health, many still do not seek help. One of the main reasons for this is the stigma surrounding mental health issues. Many people feel ashamed or embarrassed to admit that they are struggling, and so they do not reach out for help. Another reason for the mental health crisis in the UK is the lack of support and resources available for struggling people.

Although many people are in need of help, the stigma surrounding mental health issues often prevents people from seeking the support they need. Many people feel ashamed or embarrassed to talk about their mental health problems, and they may be reluctant to seek help because they are afraid of being judged or misunderstood.

To help combat this mental health crisis, it is important that people take steps to improve their own mental wellbeing.

Just like when we are hungry, we refuel, and when our car is low on fuel, we visit a petrol station, it’s important to seek help when our mental health is at risk.

If you are struggling with your mental health, there are things you can do to help. Here are five practical tips for improving your mental health and wellbeing in 2023:

  1. Reach out to friends and family. Talking to someone you trust can help you feel less alone and more supported.
  2. Practice self-care. This can include things like getting enough sleep, eating a healthy diet, and exercising regularly.
  3. Seek professional help. Many different types of therapists and counsellors can help you work through your feelings and find ways to cope.
  4. Take a break from social media and the news. Constant exposure to negative information can be overwhelming and contribute to feelings of anxiety and depression.
  5. Connect with others who understand. Joining a support group or online community can help you feel less isolated and more understood.

If you are struggling with your mental health and need support, contact Mike Lawrence at 01142 670 081 or email enquiries@mikelawrence.co.uk. Remember, you are not alone, and there is help available. Don’t be afraid to take the first step towards better mental health and wellbeing.

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Train as a Mental Health First Aider (MHFAider®) and receive 3 years of certification

This course is for those who would like to become an MHFAider®, whether in the workplace or as individuals, to gain the knowledge and skills to spot signs of people experiencing poor mental health and be confident to start a conversation and signpost a person to appropriate support.

In addition to the course, you will become part of the largest MHFAider® community in England, gaining access to resources, ongoing learning and 24/7 digital support through the MHFAider Support App® to give you the tools and knowledge you need to carry out the role effectively and confidently whether that be in your workplace a volunteer role or in the community.

How to book

Click here to reserve your place, or if you would like more information on individual and group bookings, feel free to get in touch at enquiries@mikelawrence.co.uk or contact Mike at 0114 670 081.

Course outcomes

As an MHFAider®, you will be able to:

  • Recognise those experiencing poor mental health and provide them with first-level support and early intervention
  • Encourage a person to identify and access sources of professional help and other supports
  • Practise active listening and empathy
  • Have a conversation with improved mental health literacy around language and stigma
  • Discuss the MHFAider® role in depth, including boundaries and confidentiality
  • Practise self-care
  • Know how to use the MHFAider Support App®
  • Know how to access a dedicated text service provided by Shout and ongoing learning opportunities with MHFA England

Structure

  • The online 2-day course is structured across four flexible sessions covering 14 hours of content in total.​
  • Each session is a maximum of 3hrs 45mins.
  • Learning takes place through a mix of instructor-led training, group discussions individual and group activities.
  • Each session builds on the previous one, enabling the learner to gain confidence in supporting others using the MHFA action plan.
  • Numbers are limited to 16 per course so learners can be kept safe and supported whilst they learn.
  • Learning content will be as accessible and inclusive as possible (please contact if additional support is required).

Takeaways

  • Everyone who completes this course gets the following:
  • A hard copy workbook to support their learning throughout the course
  • A digital manual to refer to whenever they need it​ after completing the course
  • A wallet-sized reference card with the Mental Health First Aid action plan​
  • A digital MHFAider® certificate
  • Access to the MHFAider Support App® for three years
  • Access to ongoing learning opportunities, resources and exclusive events ​
  • The opportunity to be part of the largest MHFAider® community in England

How to book

Click here to reserve your place, or if you would like more information on individual and group bookings, feel free to get in touch at enquiries@mikelawrence.co.uk or contact Mike at 0114 670 081.

New course and benefits

The workplace has changed for people and organisations. In the last few years, we’ve seen a global pandemic, economic downturns, cost of living pressures, adaptation to hybrid working the great resignation and a recruitment crisis. It has taken a toll on employees, and now – more than ever – they need mental health support in the workplace.

Mental Health First Aiders (MHFAiders®) are crucial to helping boost employee wellbeing as we adjust to a profoundly changed workplace environment. But while MHFAiders® work to support others, they need support too.

At MHFA England, providing support, building confidence and growing a community to drive change is crucial to us. It isn’t a footnote or a half-hearted line in the small print. We’ve spent 15 years generating conversation around workplace mental health, and we understand that being an effective MHFAider® requires learning and support beyond training.

That’s why we offer ongoing support to help MHFAiders® feel confident and empowered – long after they’ve completed their training course.

Additionally, MHFAiders® receive access to exclusive events to continue developing their support for your workplace beyond the training course.

  • The MHFAider Support App® provides training resources and ongoing learning opportunities so that MHFAiders® can improve their support skills on the job.
  • MHFAiders® can help organise their roles with reminders and secure conversation journaling to reflect on their work safely.
  • The MHFAider Support App® works to support the MHFAider® own mental health – the resources within can teach critical self-care skills with the emotion tracker function allowing them to chart their own wellbeing.
  • The app provides 24/7 text support for when MHFAiders® are feeling overwhelmed or need guidance for certain situations.
  • MHFAiders® have access to regular online events that provide further learning and support, allowing them to continue to perform their role confidently and effectively long after receiving their initial training.

Cancellation Policy

  • Payment must be made before attending the course, as this will convert you to a delegate and trigger the provision of your course resources.
  • Confirmation of payment and your booking will be confirmed by email. If you have not received this, don’t hesitate to get in touch with me.
  • To cancel or reschedule, please be aware that only courses cancelled within 48 hours of booking can be refunded.
  • No refund is available on any booking cancellation before the course start date after the 48-hour cooling-off period.
  • A course booking can be rescheduled up to 7 days before the course start date. This can be rescheduled to either an online course or face-to-face.

How to book

Click here to reserve your place, or if you would like more information on individual and group bookings, feel free to get in touch at enquiries@mikelawrence.co.uk or contact Mike at 0114 670 081.

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