Your mental health – How much do you honestly think your employer cares about it?
Do you feel that they care more about business results than the mental health of the people they manage?
I was motivated to think about this question and write this post as a result of another blog post I saw. A woman that sent an email to her boss to say she needed to take a mental health sick day got a really cool response. You can read about it here
What do you think your boss would say if you sent an email saying you were having a mental health sick day? Would they respond kindly or would they respond asking for an update on your work! In many cases bosses lack empathy towards employees.
Is mental health in your workplace taken as seriously as physical health?
It might be slightly different of course with an obvious physical illness. You know the sort of thing, leg in cast, swollen eye, streaming cold or sporting injury. Or even an operation where you are actually in hospital and completely unable to work ,so the boss can be satisfied you are no good to them whatsoever for a while.
Most people have sympathy towards physical illness don’t they? ‘Awwww, that looks sore’ or ‘you poor thing, hope you are feeling better soon’. But is there the same level of sympathy towards mental health or is there still a bit of a stigma? Many people are not keen to openly talk about depression although mixed anxiety & depression is the most common mental disorder in Britain, with 7.8% of people meeting criteria for diagnosis and 4-10% of people in England experiencing depression in their lifetime.
Is there still a mental health stigma?
Why is there any stigma or lack of support for mental health issues in the workplace? Luckily, high profile people like Price Harry are really helping matters by talking about it. He has openly said how the death of his mother, Princess Diana affected his mental health and wellbeing.
You might not think there is a stigma as you may be lucky to be in a workplace that is supportive of mental health issues like Laing O’Rourke. But there clearly is a huge problem 49% of people saying they would be unlikely to tell their boss about problems such as anxiety, depression or bipolar disorder. Only 35% said they’d be happy to tell colleagues.
They say people leave companies because of bad bosses….
Some workplaces are almost archaic in their support of mental health issues. Managers that are so wrapped up in their own careers and living and breathing ‘work’ that they forget the people that work for them are PEOPLE. It makes a real difference when your manager bothers to get to know you as a person. Asks after your family, makes you feel like a human.
And when you have a mental health issue and you manager is supportive, wow! That can really make or break your happiness at work. Maybe they support you be making changes to your hours, or your workload or support appointments for you to get professional help.
Or maybe they simply respect that not every day you are able to put in your most amazing performance or effort. It doesn’t make you a less committed or able employee. Businesses are obsessed with number of hours worked when actually you can be just as efficient and if not more in less hours if you are happy and supported.
It’s time for employers to wake up and smell the bachs remedy
It is so shortsighted for employers not to consider the mental health of it’s employees part of its strategy and company ethos.
In business speak, the costs of not doing so are massive with mixed anxiety and depression estimated to cause one fifth of days lost from work in Britain.
Things that don’t help mental health at work are:
- Unsupportive company ethos
- Systems and processes that cause stress
- Regular overworking
- Lack of ‘Wellbeing at work’ initiatives
- Lack of support from managers and HR
- Lack of appropriate training
- Unrealistic targets and timescales
The things on this list cause stress and anxiety in abundance. Both of which can lead to depression and absence from work.
Some companies are wellbeing aware
Luckily 500 smart companies have signed up for the Time to Change Pledge to challenge mental health stigma and discrimination across England.
In a really great guide from Mentalhealth.org.uk they explain that good mental health practices have to start with managers. They advise looking out for these things in employees:
- Sensitive to criticism
- Loss of confidence or humour
- Making more mistakes
- Lack of concentration
- Not taking breaks
- Becoming introverted or extroverted
- Displaying stress
- Looking tired
- Lack of motivation
Prevention will pay dividends
There is also a great deal that can be done at prevention level which starts with having an open approach to mental health. Talking about it in the company and being supportive of people working their contracted hours and not regularly expecting more. Have realistic job descriptions and treat people like people.
Of course people want to do a good job and be successful, it’s good for self-esteem and motivation. But they also want lives and energy to enjoy themselves!
Some companies cottoned onto the benefits of having a workforce who nurture their mental health a while ago. Some of the best are mentioned here
If you know a company that are good at caring about the mental health of their employees, please give them a shout out in the comments of this blog. They deserve it 🙂
There is a very simple sum too which sums up why employers should care about mental health.
Happy staff = staff that want to make customers happy = happy business = attracts high quality employees that want to work there = happy business etc
In short, caring about your brain is a no brainer 🙂
A quick word for the self employed
As you are your own boss, you are responsible for your own mental health. Self employed people can be so enthusiastic about their businesses that they let their self-care slip. Don’t let this be you! If you are in business you will know that you need to play both the short game and the long game and this applies to your physical and mental health too.
Schedule days off and holidays. Make sure your customers and clients know your working hours so your ‘free time’ does not become ‘work time’.
So many people leave Corporate life to enjoy the benefits of being self employed and actually ending working harder and longer. Nothing wrong with passion for your business, but if you burn out you won’t be able to do very much at all.
You have personal responsilbity for your own mental health too
Of course, work is not the only cause of mental health issues. Problems can arise after a life changing event, illness or for no reason at all unfortunately. There is loads you can do to take care of your own wellbeing and keep mental health issues at bay. Then you can enjoy your work and the rest of your life to the best of your ability.
Sign up for the free 21 Day Wellbeing Challenge
I’ve seen enough ‘frazzled’ clients to understand that prevention is always better than cure when it comes to mental health.
You might want to sign up for my free 21 Day Wellbeing Challenge which is an easy to follow plan for busy people. Just sign up via the pop up here on my website.
What do I mean, depression is like burnt toast?
I know you might be thinking… how is depression like burnt toast! Please let me explain….
Last year, I put some toast in the toaster and it blew my electrical fuse. A friend suggested I empty the crumb tray as that might have caused the problem. So I did that and used it again.
I had a working toaster again for a few months. Until it happened again. I had been emptying the crumb tray regularly as suggested by my helpful friend but this time I just didn’t want to risk keep using it in case it did some real damage to my electrics.
So I found a way to get around it. I started using the grill on the oven instead. The problem with this is that grilled toast needs watching and with other things to do I would often end up burning the toast which caused problems!
This workaround to the real problem of no toaster that I had created has other issues too. Such as:
- Sometimes I would be low on bread and it would be annoying to waste that burnt bread
- It was time consuming as I would have to start again when I burnt it
- There was no control over how brown the toast should be like I had on the toaster
- It was slow for the grill to heat up
- I had to remember to turn the grill off again
I needed to take action and stop burning the toast
So yes, I know it sounds like I’m moaning a bit and I certainly didn’t lose any sleep about it, but this did go on for months and I could have done something about it much sooner!
I just needed to take action. I’m not sure why I didn’t do anything sooner.
Maybe life got in the way or there was just too much choice of toasters so I couldn’t decide which one to get. All I know is that it caused me irritation many times when it didn’t need to.
I found the right toaster for me
One day I was in Asdas and I saw a toaster which I knew would look good in my kitchen. I had a read of the features and liked what I saw. 4 slices could be cooked at once, you can cook from frozen wow and it even takes bagels due to it’s extra wide slots! So I bought that toaster and me and the toaster have lived happily together ever since.
I won’t say it’s changed my life but it does cook the toast perfectly and very quickly. And I just love a bit of brown seeded with peanut butter.
So how does this relate to depression?
As a Hypnotherapist who specialises in depression, I have developed a programme to help people overcome depression. The things that my clients who overcome depression always say are:
‘I never realised how much control I could have over my depression’
‘I wish I had done something about this sooner’
‘Life feels very different’
How much burnt toast are you going to put up with?
I want you to know that you do have more control and possibilities than you think. Please do get in touch if you would like a free consultation.
I use the word ‘depressed’ in a light sense here because it’s what people say when they don’t feel ok. But of course there are varying degrees of depression. Some people dip in and out of depression over the course of their lives and others maybe have it once or twice. If you never feel depressed in your life you are an exception.
But some people are uncomfortable with the word ‘depressed’ and would not like to openly say that’s how they feel. As a society we need to change this because 1 in 3 people will feel depressed in their lives and everyone will not feel ok at least once in their lifetime.
Maybe we need a new word or phrase for depressed! How about:
Low on beans
Find the pearls
Even if you don’t like the word or consider yourself to feel ‘depressed’, you would probably welcome some ways to feel better about yourself from time to time. Here are some ideas.
1 – Help someone. This doesn’t have to be a lot of effort but it will have a big impact on your self esteem. It could be as simple as sending someone an article you have seen that you know would appeal to them maybe for their hobby or job.
2 – Make something. You could cook something, or design something or write a letter or poem. The positive energy that flows when we are creative feels good. The secondary gain is that you have something at the end of it to eat, use or read.
3 – Take time to listen to someone properly. Really listen. Hear the subtle words that they use that tell you how they are really feeling. Take an interest in them. When we feel low, we turn our attention inwards. By turning your attention outwards you will be reminded that everyone has their problems, everyone needs support and everyone has something to offer the world. Including you 🙂
4 – Do some reflection. Look back on old photos and notice how fluid your life is. There will be happy times, times of doubt, times of change, times of adventure. Remember that you have survived everything that has happened to you so far and you will have the highs again. Pick a happy photo of you and display it somewhere. That is the same you as now.
5 – Plan something. We love to imagine, to visualise. It excites and interests our minds. Maybe you can plan a holiday or trip. Or changes to your home. Or a way to treat yourself or to learn something new. This is a world of possibility. A world in your fingertips on a keyboard (ok, or smartphone). There are millions of adventures you could take, some expensive, some free. alone or with others. Near or far. The world really is your oyster.
his blog is one in a 30 day series about self-development and practical lists we will be making to enhance our lives. I’m using these blogs to provide coaching and advice in my capacity as a qualified coach and Hypnotherapist working locally in West Sussex and Worldwide on Skype.
Quick review of yesterday’s list:
Yesterday you wrote a list of way breathing could help you get more control. Take 3 deep breaths to remind yoursefl.
Your feel better list
Today’s list is to write a list of ways you could make yourself feel better when you are not ok. Try and make them simple because keeping it simple is less overwhelming.
See you tomorrow.
Have you ever wondered what the difference is between Hypnotherapy and Mindfulness?
In October I was at two Mind, Body, Spirit events speaking about Hypnotherapy and delivering a Hypnosis workshop. Both times I Hypnotised about 40 people and help them let some worry go and feel good about themselves. The feedback was good and I met some lovely people and bought a lovely Tibetan singing bowl (which I will write about separately another time).
One question that came up several times was how is Hypnotherapy different to Mindfulness, so I thought it would be good to answer that in full. Hopefully this table will allow you to compare the two therapies.
||Hypnotherapy is delivered by qualified Hypnotherapist who will use language and other techniques to relax your conscious mind and communicate with your unconscious.
||A mindfulness practitioner or audio recording will use language to bring your attention to the present and think less about other things.
|Can you do it yourself
||A good Hypnotherapist will teach you self-hypnosis. I use the example of a Hypnobirth client who has to know how to deeply relax when the need arises!
||Yes, lots of people do it themselves but lots can’t or don’t make the time to.
|Where did it originate
||In the 18th Century, an Austrian named Frank Anton Mezmer was credited with the discovery of hypnosis. Mezmer would hold large healing ceremonies at his estate.
In 1840 a physician named James Braid made hypnosis accessible to the medical community and many other physicians began to incorporate hypnosis into their practice. Dr. James Esdaile was one such physician, he performed over 2500 surgeries in Calcutta, India using hypnosis for anesthesia.
In 1950, both the British and American Medical Associations declared hypnosis to be a useful therapeutic tool.
|Mindfulness has its origins in ancient meditation practices.
It originated in India.
The founder of modern day Mindfulness is Jon Kabat-Zinn who founded the Stress Reduction Clinic at the University of Massachusetts Medical School in the late 1970’s.
|Who offers it
|What does it feel like
||Deeply relaxing in the mind and body with long lasting connection to your ‘calm place’. You will be able to move but you probably won’t want to. You are not asleep and can even have your eyes open during hypnosis.
||Relaxing in the mind and body with connection to your ‘calm place’. You will probably have your eyes closed but are not asleep.
|What are the benefits
Connect to unconscious mind
Make long lasting changes
Own your mental state
Connect to unconscious mind
Be aware of the present
Connection to self
Own your mental state
|How much does it cost
||Between £65 and £100 a session with between 2 and 4 sessions required.
||Between £10 and £25 a session with the average course lasting 6 to 8 sessions.
|Where does it take place?
||In Hypnotherapist’s therapy room or on Skype.
||Widely available and usually in a group in a therapy practice or local hall.
|Is it safe for children?
||Yes, but I would recommend that the Hypnotherapist has special training to deal with children
||Yes, mindfulness has been introduced to many schools with fabulous results
|What it is
||A mental state where the conscious mind is relaxed and the unconscious is present. A relaxing feeling where different solutions can be found to problems and issues to make permanent changes for the better.
||A mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations.
|What is isn’t
||A mechanism for making pyschological and behavioural changes
|What’s good about it
||Hypnosis accesses the unconscious mind where everything is stored, including our past experiences that affect our behaviour and emotions. If you have negative behaviours or thought patterns they will be because of something stored in your unconscious mind.
||For people looking for a way to relax, it is a superb practice. It can ease stress and give you a better sense of yourself. It also helps with worry as it focuses your mind on the present.
|What’s not good about it
||Some people are worried that Hypnotherapy will make them do something they don’t want to do, reveal secrets or control their mind. None of this is true. Stage Hypnosis is very different to Hypnotherapy.
||It doesn’t make changes in the unconscious to help with unwanted behaviours.
There are mindfulness books, videos, audios and online courses to help you gain the knowledge, skills and techniques to boost your mental wellbeing and make mindfulness part of your overall approach to life.
|What can it help you with?
||Relaxation and finding inner calm
Finding inner calm
Living in the present
|Is it approved?
||Hypnotherapeutic treatment has been approved by the BMA (British Medical Association) as a form of ‘orthodox’ practice (as opposed to complementary or alternative medicine) for over 70 years.
||Widely supported by the BMA and NHS.
|Where can I find out more information?
||Call me on 07530 890089 or email me for a free consultation. We can discuss your issue or requirements. To experience relaxation go to my free relaxing recording here.
||There’s a nice 2 minute video on mindfulness here
So what is it that you are looking for?
I hope the comparison of Hypnotherapy and Mindfulness is useful and gives you an insight into both practices. It might be that you are reading this because you want to manage your own mental state better. I just want you to know that there are lots of ways you can manage your own mental state and it is important for you to do so. You help prevent or help depression or anxiety Yes, really!
I’m currently doing daily videos on how to manage your own mental state over on my Facebook page. It would be lovely to see you there 🙂
Why sign up for my newsletter?
- You can get every new blog sent to you if you sign up here for my newsletter and you will also get a free relaxing recording
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The working mums easy recipe for a stress free life
Do you feel stressed? Maybe you have a stressful job or you find raising children stressful. Or are you just very busy and no one really understands that stress is unavoidable for you? Maybe you feel like stress is just the norm and you need to ride it out, wait for the children to get older or wait for retirement.
Being stressed due your circumstances is actually a bit of a myth. Some people can cope with a lot going on and not feel stressed at all. Others feel stressed more easily. The difference is the way we handle our minds; that is our thoughts and how we respond.
What is true is modern life is getting busier and busier and mind management might not be at the top of your to do list. A lot of people now make time to work out and keep their body fit as they have realised they can be stronger and healthier for longer when they do this. But the mind needs work do. It controls the body after all!
Maybe you don’t often find time to cook. There are plenty of tasty things available that you don’t need to cook right? But how about a recipe to reduce your stress? That doesn’t take a lot of time and effort. That you have all the ingredients for already. That will be delicious when you savour it and you will be delighted that you discovered it.
You brain is constantly being reshaped throughout your life by your experiences and thoughts. You can weaken or strengthen pathways in your brain by the thoughts you have. The more you worry or stress the stronger those networks get. But if you focus on being calm or positive, these pathways can also strengthen (even when you feel overwhelmed).
There is a part of the brain called the Amygdala which manages your fight or flight response and the productions of stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline. Although the Amygdala is two small almond shaped areas of the brain (the structure is actually a bit bigger) it is very important and powerful. Mindfullness and meditation are great techniques for focusing attention and awareness so the Amygdala has less control. Regular meditation settles your mind and helps you manage your emotions more effectively. Regular meditation and mindfullness practice reduce the size of the Amygdala (your brain almonds).
It should only take about 10-15 minutes a day to meditate or practice mindfullness but in my experience of treating stress as a Hypnotherapist, a lot of stressed people won’t find the time. Or they can’t do it by themselves. Or they haven’t truly felt the benefit of deep relaxation because if they had, they would want it again!
To change your state from stress can just a couple of minutes with the right recipe. For a deeper relaxation and to let go of what’s worrying you or stressing you takes about half an hour.
This dish is best served to those that are feeling stressed, worried or overwhelmed. If you are having trouble sleeping, concentrating or feeling any of these physical symptoms as a result of stress you need to make this recipe:
- Heart racing
- Red face
- Uncontrolled breathing
- Finding it hard to concentrate
- Mood swings
The ingredients to a calmer life are super easy to get hold of! You need:
- A body
- A brain
- A quiet place (although once you’ve got the hang of this recipe you can whip it up almost anywhere)
- A relaxation recording
- Candles if you like that sort of thing
- Good intentions
You will also need
If you would like to relax and feel good in 12 minutes you can get my free recording by signing up here. This recording will be yours to keep and can be listened to whenever you want to feel relaxed and refreshed. This is the equivalent to a guided meditation or mindfulness session.
One in 4 people will suffer from a mental health issue. Prevention is key. By learning to manage your stress you will lower your chances of suffering or continuing to suffer in these areas
- Depression and anxiety
- Weight problems
- Auto immune diseases
- Skin conditions, such as eczema
- Heart disease
- Digestive problems
- Sleep problems
- Cognitive and memory problems
If you already suffer from any of the above you will no doubt have noticed how they are aggravated by stress.
I don’t know if you know any stressed people but you might have noticed that they can’t engage properly as they are so caught up in their own stress. They may be fractious, unsettled and rushed. Stress can affect relationships greatly.
So what’s the recipe? How do you make this stress free life?
1 – Know or admit that you are stressed. Don’t fight it. It is not a sign of weakness, in fact you are being strong by taking control of your own thoughts and emotions and managing your health to prevent something nasty.
2 – Own your stress and the management of it. This is a really important step in making changes and applies to weight loss, stop smoking and depression too. When you own your problem, you are becoming accountable and are responsible for the making things better. You will also get great satisfaction and sense of achievement once you have overcome the issue. Changes last if you own them and learn strategies and techniques for making changes yourself.
3 – Find something that works for you. There are numerous books, audios, online programmes, mindfulness classes and courses. But just like there are many types of recipe for paella, there will be some you like more than others and then you will find your favourite.
4 – If the recipe doesn’t work. Modify, find new ingredients and try again. The number of clients I get that say they tried mediation or mindfulness and it didn’t work. Then we do Hypnotherapy and they are amazed at this relaxation that becomes theirs! Once they have connected to that calm place they will want to get back to it and make it their mission to do so. Maybe with my help for a few weeks, but then I teach them self hypnosis and off they go. I give my clients personalised recordings to listen to whenever they like.
5 – Make it often. Make it your signature dish. Savour the flavour and welcome it into your life. Tell other people about it and share the fantastic flavour of calm for a more creative, productive and enjoyable life.
The thing with stress is that people think that it’s part of modern life. And another misconception is that you need to be busy and ‘switched on’ to be effective. This is a complete myth as being calm and in control can give you better creativity and ideas and make you achieve much more (without the angst).
Mindfulness has become popular but Mindfulness, Meditation and Hypnotherapy have similarities in that they all work on slowing the brain down and accessing our subconcious. Hypnotherapy is different in that it can make changes in the subconcious by taking things that are not useful away like phobias, anxiety, smoking and overeating and putting more useful things in like calm and confidence. Hypnotherapy achieves a much deeper level of relaxation than the other practices.
Commit to making changes that will make you feel lighter and brighter and put you back in control. Become accountable NOW. All the power to manage your mind is in you, you just need to learn how to do it and practice often. This can become part of your life.
This is your recipe for a stress free life. You can tweak it, add flavours and spices of your own choosing to really make it your favourite dish.
The cherry on top
If you are feeling stressed and would like to change how you feel, connect with a deep sense of calm within yourself and understand how to manage your thoughts then email me for a free 20 minute consultation. Even after 20 minutes, you will feel different!
Hug (which are known for being calming)