Chakra’s Mental Strength for the Nation Tour is in full swing. We delivered two powerful full-day events around creating mentally health workplaces during Leeds Wellbeing Week in March and launched our masterclass series with Leeds Rhinos’ Stevie Ward as keynote speaker.
Last week we moved on to Manchester for Mental Health Awareness Week and had a great day exploring the most prominent mental health issues affecting workplaces and what support strategies colleagues could use to encourage mentally healthy ways of being for all staff.
On Wednesday 13th June, we visit York. Men’s Health Week is fast approaching and we have another event planned to further reduce the stigma around men’s mental health. We have all heard much about the rates of suicide being significantly higher for men than they are for women and the most recent ONS data reinforces this saddening statistic again, with 75% of people ending their own lives being men and boys. Suicide is the ultimate cost of mental health difficulties and we seek to apply an early intervention approach to tackling mental ill-health at the earliest stage.
This means picking up on feelings of anxiety, depression and stress and responding to ourselves in a way which encourages feelings of control and security and eroding those of helplessness and fear. Together, we will unpick each mental health diagnosis, understanding the signs, symptoms and indicators as well as medication and treatment options and healthy coping strategies for each.
Harder to Tell
There are differences in the way men respond to situations of mental ill-health and it is important to acknowledge how we can use a range of support strategies to support male colleagues and understand what is most effective for them specifically. Problems with alienation and isolation are likely to result from damages to pride, purpose and meaning when working with men and they are coping strategies for these are again more likely to come in the form of destructive behaviours, substance abuse and involvement in high-risk activities. We know that men are less likely to use mental health support services than women due to fear of stigma and therefore more likely to suffer in silence.
Our York event will pay particular attention to issues of anger and aggression and how these feelings are often an indicator of our long-term mental health circumstances. Anger is often used to ‘mask’ other, more vulnerable feelings, and our exploration of what anger can tell us and how we can express it more healthily will encourage an emotionally intelligent way of thinking and promote our understanding of personal patterns to a greater degree. The outcome is the ability to monitor our own state of mental health, ours and others’ indicators of poor mental health and the knowing of how to move to a more positive state of mind through greater self-awareness. Anger is a normal, healthy emotion. It is only when we hold on to angry thoughts for longer than necessary that it may become damaging to our mental health and blur the clarity of thinking.
We have an all-male guest-speaker line-up for our Men’s Health Week event and our guest speakers will share their personal stories of mental health difficulty and recovery, what helped most and expert insights into what it means to be a mentally healthy man.
Lupton Fawcett’s Specialist Lawyer, Nathan Combes, will help us in unpicking the legal requirements and boundaries relating to mental health at work. This informal discussion is designed to help us shape our policies in ways that ensures we are supporting our teams most effectively but also avoiding the opportunities for costly claims to be made.
We will end with a relaxation exercise, led by Darren Good. The form of relaxation that Darren will use derives from Kung Fu practices and involves particular movements of the physical body which result in calming effects and feelings of overall positivity and balance.
Join us to support your workplaces to embrace a mentally healthy culture and equip teams with the knowledge and skills to support each other.
There are strictly only 20 places available for this event. Secure your place now via Eventbrite.
When we officially launched, way back in April 2016, we had no idea what the coming years would have in store, and now we can’t even think where they have gone!
Today we turn a grand total of TWO years old and are delighted to say that we have changed lots of lives and positively impacted many workplace cultures throughout our journey to-date. From one-to-one therapy, to taster sessions, to long-term training courses and most recently support from a Leeds Rhinos’ rugby legend and the launch of a national tour… it has been an absolute whirlwind so far and despite the rollercoaster ride, I would not change a thing.
Mental Health is Real
Mental health is real. I have my own story of mental health difficulty and I am certain that many others reading this will have, too. I was fortunate enough to experience the gift of therapy to aid my recovery from trauma and it was this that led me to the immeasurably rewarding and fulfilling career that I am now thrive in.
Recovery from a mental health issue requires vulnerability, courage and most importantly support. The humanness within us needs compassion, safety and understanding in order to heal. Sometimes the desire to ‘feel better’ is overwhelmed by toxic thoughts and feelings that are immensely difficult to ‘switch off’. Fortunately, we are able to implement practical support strategies, introduce effective coping mechanisms and enhance our levels of self-awareness to encourage a healthier way of being.
Improvements in productivity are a natural outcome of mentally healthy workplaces that manifest stronger working relationships, cultures of openness and honesty, greater trust and ultimately mentally strong, energised teams.
The organic and real outcome of this is a workplace where staff want to give more naturally as we are investing in human capital, the adoption of an early intervention approach and a team of people that see their place of work as more than a 9-5; an opportunity for them to present their ‘best self’ and continue to challenge themselves with personal growth and development. We have a duty of care towards our teams and when we take mental health seriously, it brings multiple benefits that are in everyone’s best interests.
Celebrate with us in Manchester
We are absolutely delighted to have supported many fantastic organisations in building a wellbeing initiative that has seen tangible positive outcomes. With gratitude, it only feels right to celebrate with some giveaways!
To mark us turning TWO we are giving you the opportunity to experience our unique psychotherapy approach to workplace wellbeing. Mental Health Awareness Week is fast approaching. This is the biggest event in the Mental Health Calendar and to mark the occasion, we will be visiting Manchester on May 17th. (link underlined text to event Manchester event page)
We will be delivering a powerful full-day masterclass that explores the impact of mental ill-health on your teams and company, unpicking and exploring what mental health issues like anxiety, depression, psychosis, stress and suicidal thoughts really mean. The day will help you get to grips with relevant legislation and avoid costly claims and importantly, to take away a multitude of practical tools and techniques that can be shared with teams to keep them mentally well.
Win TWO tickets for our Mental Strength for the Nation Tour in Manchester
We welcome you to join us and in view of us turning TWO, we will be giving away TWO tickets for our Masterclass in Manchester on 17th May, every week before the day itself, starting today!
If you would like to get involved, this one is simple and it takes TWO seconds. Tell us in the comments who you would love to bring with you as a guest and you could both WIN TWO complimentary tickets to our Manchester masterclass at Irwin Mitchell for Mental Health Awareness Week.
We will pick a WINNER at random every week until 17th May. If that is you, you are welcome to bring your chosen one and take advantage of the day, lunch included!
If you would like to know more, feel free to contact me directly: firstname.lastname@example.org or visit us at www.chakracorporate.co.uk
Well last week was an exhaustive one to say the least… but the great news is we LAUNCHED our MENTAL STRENGTH FOR THE NATION TOUR in LEEDS! And it would not have been possible without our fabulous sponsors and supporters. So here is a massive THANK YOU to everyone who helped make it happen, with extra special thanks to:
James Hesling for a fantastic insight into All Shape Up and some amazing exercises that gave us buns of steel! You are a great speaker James!
Gordon Johnston from LineUp Ninja and Stevie Ward from Leeds Rhinos for sharing heartfelt and inspiring personal stories. It was great to have you with us. Thank you for providing such an honest and raw account of your experiences.
Rebecca Denvers and Glenn Hayes at Irwin Mitchell and Jonathan Oxley, Hayley Macdonald and Rebecca Corina from Lupton Fawcett for hosting our launch events; your support means the world to us.
Rebecca Denvers and Nathan Combes for breaking down and talking us through the legalities relating to mental health at work; ensuring we avoid those costly claims!
Richard Michie for capturing the moments with some great photographs
Jane Vincent and Rachel Deeks from Fortem People for being amazing advocates for workplace wellbeing and believing in our cause
Marcia Clarke for providing our Kwizzbit winners with beautifully presented hampers packed full of handmade and healthy sweets
Mark Walsh for enriching our lives (and training sessions) with Kwizzbit – what a game!!
Nathaniel Birkett for your invaluable ongoing support. You are an awesome advocate for all-things-wellbeing
Ellie MacDonald Tom White and Emily Docherty for some fabulous PR coverage
We are warmed up and ready to continue our tour and the next stop is SHEFFIELD. Join us and mentally energise your workforce!
For a while now I’ve heard more people talk about the benefits of yoga and meditation. In the beginning I was very skeptical mainly because it is often portrayed as a feminine activity. Growing up in West Belfast you would often get teased for doing something out of the ordinary so I perhaps carried that mentality up until my early twenties. I practiced martial arts when I was a young teenager but if it wasn’t GAA it was often accepted. So could you imagine if I was telling my friends I was practicing yoga!!!
Anyway moving away from home to university and surrounding myself with different people has perhaps changed my mentality about a lot of things. My confidence was my biggest enemy when I was younger and that stemmed from being overweight and insecure. Upon turning 18 I changed a lot. I began exercising regularly, started making an effort to go out and get involved and have a better social life and this is when I began to bloom.
Fast forward a couple of years and I find myself in Leeds where I was the happiest I’d been and my self-confidence was booming! I felt in this environment people weren’t embarrassed and people were more accepting at an older age.
I began following a martial artist and MMA commentator by the name of Joe Rogan and he spoke very highly of yoga and meditating and how the two go hand in hand. I always had an interest in martial arts so I followed him closely through social media and began looking into it a little further.
Time went by and I hadn’t made a change, I never took it upon myself to give yoga a go until I returned home from a years travelling in Australia. I was back in Belfast and I finally had the courage to try a local yoga class. At the time I was unemployed and just enjoying not having any studies or work to do hence why I ultimately decided it was time.
I couldn’t have been any further from what I imagined yoga to be like. Yes I was the only male there a lot of the time which was expected but I can gladly say I didn’t care. I was over my initial fear and I was reaping the benefits of learning to switch off from the world and getting in touch with my body and mind.
I practiced yoga once a week and for those 90 minutes on a Sunday morning it was often a very surreal experience. I would go as far to say the experiences I had were euphoric being in the most relaxed and calm environment you could only imagine. I feel when trying something new you have to go in with open arms or you are just wasting your time. I’m still no master at yoga and it is extremely physically demanding but the gentle calmness after is worth it! A heavy focus is your breathing, learning to breath properly is surprisingly difficult but again this all adds to the feeling.
I found yoga helped with my personal and work life. If ever I was stressed and practiced yoga I felt miles better and when I was working in the busy nightclub I was able to keep my composure and not get so agitated. Along with the weekly classes I would mediate 10 minutes at the beginning of every day as soon as I wake up. This was my small fix for the day which over a prolonged length of time the benefits were outstanding!
New Year. New Resolutions.
We are almost a month into the New Year and many of us might be evaluating the effectiveness of our resolutions. The New Year traditionally signifies new beginnings, a fresh start and possibly a chance to even start again from something that didn’t quite go to plan in the past.
Every year, most of us set ourselves a resolution that we hope to achieve within the year. According to the recent ComRes poll via The Telegraph the most common New Year’s resolutions are as follows:
- Exercise more (38 per cent)
- Lose weight (33 per cent)
- Eat more healthily (32 per cent)
- Take a more active approach to health (15 per cent)
- Learn new skill or hobby (15 per cent)
- Spend more time on personal wellbeing (12 per cent)
- Spend more time with family and friends (12 per cent)
- Drink less alcohol (12 per cent)
- Stop smoking (9 per cent)
- Other (1 per cent)
Alas, if only it were as easy to stick to our resolutions as it was to make them. On average, according to the ComRes poll, 80% of resolutions will fail by the time it gets to the second week of February. Personally, what I find easier when it comes to resolutions is to set something realistic and small, something that you know can achieve within that year. So even if you have a big resolution it’s more achievable to break it down and create smaller resolutions or goals within that. Kind of like a tick list!
When we create a resolution that’s too big or even unrealistic it simply makes it harder for us to achieve and then this affects our mood and outlook towards the resolution. We can start to feel unaccomplished; negative thoughts enter our mind and ultimately we might decide to give up on the whole idea. Constantly thinking about not achieving the resolution or feeling like we’re not getting anywhere with it pre-determines negative thoughts which then bring our mood down, and when we feel this way, we are unlikely to be able to motivate ourselves towards achieving new things.
An article by Huffington Post suggests;
“When resolutions are too ambitious, we struggle to change our habits, become discouraged when we fail and ultimately give up altogether.”
Another reason to create smaller resolutions is that we feel less pressurised to achieve them. Where having overambitious resolutions might make us feel like we have to have an all-or-nothing outcome, ‘bitesized’ resolutions give us a confidence boost which often encourage us to pursue our goals further! If we miss a small target, we should be able to forgive ourselves and try to get rid of any guilty feelings as quickly as possible. Guilt will push us away from feeling motivated into disappointed with ourselves and discouraged from trying again. The point of this idea is to not create so much pressure for ourselves as this will only lead to negative thoughts and we are setting ourselves up for failure before we even begin!
According to the American Psychological Association, ways to make your New Year’s Resolution stick and stay on track is to do the following;
- Start small
- Change one behaviour at a time
- Talk about it
- Don’t beat yourself up about it and ask for support
Talking about your experience with your friends and family can have a positive effect to achieving your resolution. Using the above can help us achieve our resolutions but I would say that the most important would be to not criticise ourselves if we fall off the wagon for a moment and accept that slip-ups are completely normal and okay and forgivable! And asking for support doesn’t mean we’re less capable of achieving our goals – it actually takes huge amounts of courage.
So what do we do if mess up our resolutions? For example, If you have a resolution which it to lose weight and you break the resolution by eating something you shouldn’t – an idea to come up from this is to get rid of the guilt; so doing something good for yourself which will impact your mood and hopefully make you feel better for the ‘bad’ that you’ve just done. But remember, not completely sticking to our resolutions shouldn’t deter us from thinking we can still achieve them!
Changing our perceptions of New Year’s Resolutions and taking time to consider what is realistic for us can form an important part of us being kind and compassionate towards ourselves; vital ingredients for self-care! Stay tuned for further insights into how we can show ourselves more self-care as we prepare for a month of self-care strategies throughout February! After all, Valentine’s Day is equally about showing ourselves love as well as our nearest and dearest