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

 

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Thriving Amid Uncertainty Cultivating Mental Wellness and Resilience

Thriving Amid Uncertainty Cultivating Mental Wellness and Resilience”

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

The Era of Uncertainty: A Mental Health Perspective

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

The Psychological Toll of Uncertainty

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

Strategies for Building Mental Wellness and Resilience

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

Navigating Financial Uncertainty: A Tip for Tight Budgets

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

Conclusion: A Call to Action for Mental Wellness

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

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

Mike Lawrence: Health & Wellbeing Enthusiast and Mental Health Advocate

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

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

Mike Lawrence Health & Wellbeing Management Consultant

 

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. 🌟✨

 

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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!

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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’.

believe in yourself

Rediscover Your Confidence The Antidote To Good Mental Health

JOIN THE WAITLIST FOR 

REDISCOVER YOUR CONFIDENCE THE ANTIDOTE FOR GOOD MENTAL HEALTH

Mike Lawrence health wellbeing consultant SheffieldIf you’re feeling stressed, worried about the future, or the covid experience has affected your confidence business and your family. And looking to start taking back the control COVID took from you. So that you feel more motivated, confident, and back in control of your life again. The rediscover your confidence the antidote to good mental health course is just what you need.

Give yourself credit for what you’ve already achieved and how far you’ve come. You are the type of person who is always looking at improving your mental health and wellbeing, listening to motivational YouTube videos to find solutions to your challenges, subscribing to Headspace or Calm to help you with lack of sleep, stress, depression and anxiety. Or, the alternative – taking a range of prescription drugs for many years to manage your wellbeing, but you don’t seem to be getting any better? And no one seems to get to the root cause of your problems because it keeps recurring? If that sounds like you, then you’re in the right place.

By the end of this program,
you will have…

  • Good Mental Health
    You will feel more motivated, confident, and back in control of your life again so that you’re able to achieve and do the activities that you’ve always wanted to do.
  • Visible Behavioral Transformation
    Clients like you typically see results within 3 to 6 months of taking the course when they follow and implement all the steps.
  • A Step by Step Framework to Support You
    Provide you with a step by step framework and roadmap so that you can navigate back to where you belong. The reason why most people quit is that they don’t have any accountability. What gets measured gets done, following the framework and tools that I provide, will help you to stay on track and achieve your goals.
  • Discover the Hidden and Deep-Rooted Problems that play Havoc with your Mental Wellbeing
    Understanding the root cause of your problem, the issues that have been holding you back for many years and now you have a plan at last to overcome them.
  • Healthy Coping Strategies for Managing Your Mental Health
    Develop healthy coping strategies which will enable you to manage current and future bumps in the road and recognise the signs and symptoms before they surface.

Course Overview

In this five-week course, you will go from feeling stressed, anxious or depressed to feeling more confident and back in control. The covid experience has affected your confidence, business, and your family. You may feel like you’ve forgotten who you are, or you are simply trying to find a new direction in life. Well – if you want to start taking back the control COVID took from you, you’re in luck! In the rediscover your confidence the antidote to good mental health course, you’ll learn essential tools and tips to help you fulfil your true potential.

What People Are Saying

Haworth Ward-Drummond“At the age of fifty-two, you imagine you’ve got most things about life and relationships sorted out. But sometimes.. stuff happens that knocks your heart, soul and spirit about. When this happened to me, I am eternally grateful that it felt right to trust Mike to be able to share what was going on. His extensive experience, balanced blend of coaching and counselling, sensitive listening and varied techniques truly helped me process my feelings and in turn, regain my natural happiness. Thanks Mike.”

 

Be First to Know When The Doors to Rediscover Your Confidence The Antidote To Good Mental Health Opens!

Get ready for a treat! You’ll receive email alerts for special bonus offers and be notified as soon as the doors open so you get in ahead of the crowd.

Join The Wait List

 

FBFirstAider

How to Become a Mental Health First Aider

Mental Health First Aider

According to the Centre for Mental Health, two-thirds of surveyed people will require help for existing mental health challenges that have been made worse by the pandemic.

Approximately 8.5 million adults will require support for anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorders and additional mental health problems in the future. Equivalent to 20% of the adult population 

Since the introduction of the 1981 Health and Safety (First Aid) Regulations, physical First Aid assistance in the workplace was a requirement. 

Recent research suggests that approximately half of the population will experience a mental health issue in our current job. Therefore, it’s easy to see why the employers, the public, and mental health campaigners are now lobbying for mental health first aid to be given equal legislative status in the work environment.

MHFA (Mental Health First Aid) is the mental health equivalent of physical first aid for those who may not be so familiar. The concept originated in Australia, and in this country, MHFA England is the leading licensed provider of MHFA training. Mental Health First Aiders can spot the signs of mental ill-health and help provide early assistance for someone developing a mental health issue.

It’s important to state that those trained in MHFA aren’t necessarily counsellors or therapists; instead, they act as the first point of contact and offer initial support through non-judgemental listening and guidance.

MHFA England has been working to establish MHFA skills in communities, including schools, universities, the armed forces, and businesses.

More companies are slowly waking up to increasing mental health support in the workplace, with many already using MHFA England training as part of their strategies.

Corporate Social Responsibility

Employers have a ‘duty of care, which means they must do all they reasonably can to support their employees’ health, safety and wellbeing.

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, there was a developing and underlying mental health crisis in the country—every year, one in four adults experiencing mental illness.

Though talking about mental health has become much more common, and there’s more discussed in the media, including Simone Biles, the American gymnast, and Naomi Osaka, there can still be a real stigma in the workplace.

As a result, many employees don’t come forward until they’re unable to cope. Do you have any processes in place to recognise the early warning signs and react if a problem arises?

Employer Benefits

Training employees in Mental Health First Aid within your organisation inspires people to talk more openly about mental health problems, encouraging early detection, enabling recovery, decreasing stigma and creating a positive working culture and environment.

Therefore, the benefit of having an MHFA England qualified Mental Health First Aider in the workplace provides a vital contact for any employee experiencing a mental health issue.

This communication could vary from initial conversation to signposting somebody to get appropriate help in a crisis.

Takeaways

Everyone who completes the course gets:

  • A certificate of attendance to say you are a Mental Health First Aider
  • A manual to refer to whenever you need it
  • A quick reference card for the Mental Health First Aid action plan
  • A workbook including a helpful toolkit to support your mental health

Reservations

If you would like further information or would like to have a chat about booking onto a course, please don’t hesitate to call me on 0114 2670 081 or email enquries@mikelawrence.co.uk.

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

 

Christmas Card

Preserving your Mental Health over the festive period

Preserving your Mental Health over the festive period

The festive break is almost upon us and the countdown to Christmas has well and truly begun. If you’re like me, you may be thinking, “How will I get everything done?” Christmas brings its challenges—particularly this year, with the ever-changing rules around social distancing and who you can have in your bubble. It’s certainly a period of time that many people can find quite stressful.

During a month where energy, money and ‘happy appearances’ are overstretched, unhealthy food and alcohol tend to be readily available. It’s understandable that your mental health may fluctuate.

The pandemic has been one of the biggest challenges many of us have faced in our lifetimes. People have lost loved ones to the virus and other conditions during 2020. The ongoing threat to our lives has seen some people make huge changes, such as beginning divorce proceedings or moving house. Hundreds of thousands of people have been made redundant this year, and the pressure felt by those who run non-essential businesses—as well as employees within the hospitality, travel and tourism sectors—has been significant.

No doubt we’re all looking forward to Christmas this year, given what 2020 has thrown at us. Even though the pandemic has made us truly appreciate our families, disputes can often occur when we spend more time with them.

The following tips will help you manage the Christmas period so that it doesn’t weigh down on your Mental Health and Wellbeing.

Seek Help and Ask for Support

Arguably one of the busiest and most stressful times of the year can be the run-up to the festive break, as you race to clear the workload on your desk and meet your boss’s deadlines. Don’t be afraid to seek help and be realistic with what you’re capable of producing.

 

Plan Ahead

Evaluate your workload, review everything you’ve got to do. Set a list of priorities and identify what really has to be done before the festive break, and what can be deferred until you return. If you don’t have time to get everything done before you go on leave, speak to your manager to discuss solutions.

Time Management

If new job requests hit your in-tray, don’t feel obliged to take on the work. Manage other people’s expectations when it comes to realistically completing the tasks. They may not have sight of your workload nor be aware of your current schedule, deadlines or priorities.

Take Time Out

Ensure that you take breaks away from your desk or workstation. Exercise and take regular breaks throughout the day are essential for your mental health as well as your physical health. The Pomodoro Technique is a popular time management method to assist you in getting through tasks in short bursts while taking regular breaks that would ordinarily distract you, therefore enabling you to complete them.

Flexible Working

You may want to consider asking for flexible working. Many employers that were previously not keen on allowing such practices have now cottoned on to the benefits that come from their employees working from home, once they were forced to adopt this way of working during lockdown periods.

Manage your working day better by coming in early or staying later, if this is viable, and get your work done during quieter periods.

Christmas and New Year

If you’re working between Christmas and the New Year, have a list of Duty Managers or people that you can contact should you require any assistance. The office tends to be less busy and staffing levels lower over the festive period; some people enjoy working at this time of year, due to fewer distractions that allow them to get more work done. You can also use this time to catch up on projects and that dreaded admin.

Christmas Cheer

Relax, unwind and enjoy. Make sure you treat yourself. Enjoy seeing the people in your bubble and try not to think about work.

PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE DO NOT

…check your work emails unless it’s absolutely essential. If you have to do this, restrict the number of times you do so and consider turning off the respective notifications.

Health and Wellbeing

If you don’t have an exercise routine in place, try not to overindulge on unhealthy food or drink. It’s vital to use your holiday to relax and unwind, but trying to stay active should make returning to work less of a worry.

 

Plan your Return

  • Create a list and prioritise important tasks, so you know what you will need to do on your return
  • It’s advisable to leave a couple of days free from meetings and deadlines so you can hit the ground running on your first day back
  • If you created a checklist of tasks to complete in the New Year, make an immediate start to gain momentum
  • Whether you’re returning to work the day after Boxing Day, or you’re taking a longer break, don’t allow your usual routine to slip too much

Hopefully, these tips will help you return to work feeling fully refreshed and energised.

I hope you have a lovely festive break!

If you’re considering raising awareness within your organisation of Mental Health or Health and Wellbeing, please get in touch and book your free 40-minute consultation.

Telephone 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

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

workplace wellbeing mental health Covid

Working from Home Can Negatively Impact Your Mental Health & Wellbeing Unless You Act!!

workplace wellbeing mental health CovidDue to the current Coronavirus pandemic, many UK employees are now working from home for the foreseeable future. This will be the first experience for a huge amount of companies and employees.

Working from home has its advantages but being away from the office and social interaction of an office can take its toll.

Research by the Office of National Statistics highlights that 30% of UK employees worked from home during 2019.

Also, a United Nations report 2017 found that 41% of remote workers reported high-stress levels, compared to just 25% of office workers.

Remote working becomes the new norm for many; its imperative businesses change and put the appropriate mental health and wellbeing policies in place to ensure their employees feel part of the organisation and don’t become detached.

For some businesses forced to make the transition, they will have found themselves ill-equipped to deal with this change. They don’t have a wellbeing policy, managers don’t have regular meetings with their team, the environment is toxic, or there is a culture where there’s a lack of trust.

Employers are now having to pivot while learning new skills on how to manage a virtual workforce some with little or no experience.

I know of some employees who are currently furloughed and tempted to take advantage of this break from the norm where they felt stressed from work and suffer from mental health issues which they haven’t previously reported to their boss.

If you struggle with anxiety or depression, working from home has the potential to aggravate feelings of isolation and prolong inactivity.

6 Actions Managers Can Adopt to Improve the Wellbeing of Their Team – Home Working

  1. Enrol on an online management training course – I have managed remote teams, and from experience, it’s an entirely different skill. Organisations are having to rely on managers to rally the troops and keep everyone motivated. But this is in the backdrop of seven in 10 employers failing to train first-time managers, and the problem is widespread. With the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills estimating the cost of poor management and leadership to the UK economy at £19bn a year through lower productivity.

 

  1. Review your management style – In a remote working setting, there could be a tendency for managers to be task-orientated and too little on fostering relationships with their remote team. This kind of transactional management can be the route taken by managers who are task-orientated and want to get the tasks done but fail to acknowledge the importance of their team. Such a management approach can worsen the feeling that comes with remote working and can contribute to the stress of working from home.

 

  1. Introduce daily briefings – In a desperate attempt to become agile, and connect with employees now, who are working remotely. Some companies have introduced breakfast scrum meetings, whereby teams check in daily via video call to rally the troops, provide an update of company news and to check in on everyone’s wellbeing. It’s more important than ever that employers keep in touch daily with their team through telephone and video conferencing.

 

  1. Schedule daily 1-2-1’s – Seeing a friendly face on a video conferencing platform from work can go a long way to improving an employee’s wellbeing and confidence.

 

  1. Undertake an employee audit – reach out to your team, ask them how you can help, do they require any assistance or support. Make them aware of any employee benefits that they might be entitled to.

 

  1. Offer remote wellbeing for employees and family – This could be from an existing provider or an external source. I currently help businesses and charities with remote 1-2-1 coaching for their teams, guided meditation and a range of interactive activities which releases emotional, physical and mental stress and improves resilience.

How your team respond to remote working is entirely dependent on your ability to spot the individual triggers and understand their coping strategies.

If you would like some assistance or discuss how I can help you to develop your wellbeing or someone in your world that you know who requires support, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

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

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

workplace wellbeing Sheffield mental health at work

Workplace Wellbeing – Mental Health At Work

workplace wellbeing Sheffield mental health at workHow many times during a week have you found yourself saying, “I’m fine” to a colleague or friend when in fact you don’t really mean it?

I asked this question earlier this week to a group of employees during a 1-day Mental Health At Work Awareness training session that I was hosting near Sheffield.

The majority of delegates replied that it was common to say, “I’m fine” or “I’m OK”. It appears to be the default unconscious position, so as not to open the conversation further and bring attention to themselves.

A study of adults commissioned by the Mental Health Foundation found that on average adults will say “I’m fine” 14 times a week, though just 19% actually mean it.

While most of us may be happy openly discussing feelings, many of us are not being honest and sticking to a mental script.

This invents an illusion of support. Outwardly we’re habitually checking in with each other, but underneath that, many of us feel incapable of saying how we’re feeling.

Approximately 1 in 4 people in the UK will experience a mental health challenge in a year.

In England, 1 in 6 people reports encountering a common mental health problem (such as anxiety and depression) in any given week.

Worries about things like money, jobs, relationships, the recession and Brexit concern can make it harder for people to cope.

We all possess some form of mental health, and when it’s okay, we have a sense of purpose, motivation, drive and resilience.

Overall ability to cope with whatever challenges and hurdles that life and work throw up.

We all undergo tough times, we become apprehensive, agitated, angry and experience so many different feelings and emotions.

These feelings usually pass, but occasionally they develop into stress, depression or anxiety.

For some, this can be more challenging, and long-term conditions such as depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, paranoia and dissociation disorders, these can affect our ability to perform and engage at work at a consistently high level.

Health and Wellbeing is an issue that the NHS is struggling to cope with.

The Independent reported that people who are seeking help with mental health concerns are waiting in excess of eight weeks to see a GP again after their original appointment.

That’s why employees must recognise that good mental health and proper managerial training, processes and structures are pivotal, and there is growing evidence that organisations that implement health and wellbeing procedures are more productive.

In fact, implementing and addressing health and wellbeing concerns at work increases productivity by as much as 12%.

Thursday 10th October was World Mental Health Day. An opportunity for all of us to raise awareness of mental health issues and advocate against social stigma.

I read a book last year, ahead of speaking at the 4th International Conference on Depression, Anxiety and Stress Management, called Dying for a Paycheck written by Jeffrey Pfeffer.

The author makes clear that the environment we work in is just as important as the one where we live. There is a great quote below taken from the book, which sums up nicely for me the importance of workplace wellbeing.

Your supervisor is more important to your health than your family doctor –

Bob Chapman, CEO of Barry-Wehmiller.

If you think you’re suffering from stress, anxiety, depression or any form of mental health and you are finding it difficult to cope in your workplace, the first step is to talk to a colleague that you trust, your manager or an HR advisor.

Workplace wellbeing is at the top of many companies’ agendas as the impact of work-related stress, illness and mental health issues are better understood.

There are actions that we can all do individually to reduce our exposure to increased mental health within the workplace such as, have a proper lunch break and avoid eating your lunch at your desk, identify your ‘stressors’; are you continually working late in the office or taking work home to complete? How much exercise are you currently doing? What do you do outside of work leisure and social pursuits? And spend more time with family and friends.

I typically help SME’s whose employees are suffering from stress, anxiety and depression and are struggling to cope. If you’re considering raising awareness with your employees or you’d like to learn more about how you can reignite your life and regain your competitive advantage, please feel free to get in touch and book your FREE 40-minute consultation.

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