Believe in the Minutiae

With the current climate extremely positive in allowing it to be ‘ok not to be ok’ with one’s mental health, it got me thinking about how we cope with living on a knife edge and what happens when that precarious balance becomes dislodged and we free-fall.

What catches us? What is our individual security blanket?

In the Human Givens belief structure, we have certain innate needs that we need in our life to facilitate wellbeing. When one or more of these needs are not met, we experience dis-ease, which creates the issues that highlight the negative aspects of ourselves, beginning the journey into freefall.

For some of us, we can recognise the conception of that fall and start to rectify, but for the majority it takes a crash to realise that the fall is already well on the way to the end destination before we take notice. This is human nature.

The ostrich within us likes to think that ‘everything will be ok if we ignore it’.  Do we ever learn? Ignorance is not bliss, ignorance is the best way to high blood pressure and depression! Society is gradually waking up to understand that you will not be a leper if you admit that all is not well.

Having battled my own issues from childhood, I appreciate that I can now take a step back and see what was and is causing me pain, it has been easier, although not plain sailing to alter situations to negate my dis-ease. It takes time and courage. It takes patience and a deeper understanding of who you are inside to make change that can bring about a breakthrough.

Not all change does the miracle however, but even small steps add up. We tend not to value the minutiae, but this is the most powerful thing to be able to do.  

Family, friends and work colleagues may spot the signs before we have. Those who are able, and it is a skill in itself, will try to help. We may meet key individual’s on our life path who are there to heal, to hold up an ethereal mirror to our behaviours and actions in order to invoke that change.  Often these people are our partners. The ones who hold tightly that security blanket. The danger is that we do not open our eyes until it is too late and we miss the blanket and that person can no longer support us.

Life is tough. Let’s be real. But resilience is in all of us, if we unearth it. Mental health problems occur when we cannot adapt to the changes we experience. We need to find other ways to get our innate needs met – we need to set some goals, however small. Success breeds success. It triggers the feel good chemicals in our brains – a body chocolate boost!

Instead of looking in awe at the huge mountain to climb, take a moment to look closer.

The steps are forming that allow you to gradually climb that mountain with sustainability, with purpose and with belief that you can reach the summit.

To prevent freefall, take time to assess, to open your ears to the world around you. What have you not heard? What are you feeling inside? Who can be your blanket? What is your mountain – and what are your goals?

There is never a perfect time to face reality. It is like the conveyor belt on the Generation Game, it keeps bringing new things to remember, some to keep, some to forget, some to smile at (Cuddly Toy!) but it is your battle to win.

It is ok not to be ok. It is ok not to know what to do. It is ok to take time to come to terms with this. Only you will know when it is not ok to ignore the warnings. With the wealth of social media accounts, initiatives led by the royals and celebs, help is readily available.

“Sometimes when you are in a dark place, you think you’ve been buried, but actually you’ve been planted.”  Happy

Dream BIG, Sparkle MORE, Shine BRIGHTLY

Is workplace mental health worth checking? Does EAP work?

We all have times when life just doesn’t behave. It shakes you up, it messes with your head, it causes angst and upset. The natural thing to do for most, is nothing. It will sort. And a lot of the time we work through our problems, a different day breeds a different outlook on the same issue etc.

But what happens when these life events impact on our ability to function at work? The one place where we need to be firing on all cylinders – our cash cow.

There are work problems and outside work problems. Both are tough and both can cause us to deviate from the focused, driven path we are expected to be on in our employment. If you are someone who hides the build up to the explosion within, then telltale signs may show in your work, leaving your seniors to wonder what is going on. If this is not spotted, then the cracks may not show until the volcano has exploded, which is a difficult to clean up from.  

Companies have been offering the Employers Assistance Programme (EAP) for many years to varying degrees. It is a caveat that shows that the employer cares, that your wellbeing is important. But what is it really like for the majority? In principle, this looks a great scheme. But surely the focus should be on making this scheme obsolete?  If we had a secure knowledge that any deviations in our mental wellbeing would not be seen critically and would be given a voice to be heard early doors, then there should not be a need to have assistance when that ‘closes the stable door when the proverbial horse has bolted’?

Failure and weakness are not traits that most of us like to admit to, or even share, especially within the workplace. With the chance to promote a more proactive mental resilience programme within companies I would like to see the focus shift to maintaining equilibrium rather than fixing the dilemma. A healthy workforce, mentally and physically, is a happier workforce. Productivity is better, sickness reduced, results happen. I commend the more forward-thinking enterprises that have grasped this concept and treat their staff with a nurturing ear.  

“We are all born with innate knowledge programmed into us from our genes. Throughout life we experience this knowledge as feelings of physical and emotional need…People whose emotional  needs are met in a balanced way do not suffer mental health problems. ”

Giving a mental health check as part of an annual review could become the norm, allowing people the confidence to speak in a secure timeframe before urgency occurs. We should adopt a non judgemental approach to dealing with mental health; it is something that gets us all.  Luckily, enlightenment is coming. Views are changing. People matter. Embrace a new way of thinking about personnel. Mental health does not mean darkness.