A BRAZEN APPROACH TO TACKLING MENTAL HEALTH
“Head of Happiness??”. My response, when Brazen’s CEO, Nina Webb, asked me to take on the role. Did this mean I had to walk around smiling at everyone in the office? No, as it turns out, it was something a little more serious. A role which would involve helping to take care of (and understand) the mental wellbeing of my colleagues in the agency.
I know it’s not new news that the PR sector is tough (that’s tough on mental health). It’s a 24-7 culture, the round-the-clock buzz of social media and news – punctuated with the continuous ping of emails.
We’ve all been there, still at our desk, eating a takeaway, pouring over a last minute brief, when we’d rather be at home with our feet up in front of Netflix. It becomes second nature that the last thing you do before you go to bed and the first thing you do when you wake is pick up your phone to check emails and the news – doesn’t it?
There’s huge pressure on all of us PRs, and that’s why we are set to tackle things head on, here at Brazen, with 2019 being our Year Of Wellbeing.
Recently we took part in our first agency wellbeing activity – a Yoga Workshop with Yoga Life in Altrincham. It was fascinating to understand the importance of sleep and how it’s impacted by screen viewing *note to self – stop scrolling through the Mail Online post 9pm*. We talked about how to notice the signs off stress and taking the time to ask yourself if you’re happy (and having the courage to make changes if you’re not!). We practised some mediation techniques plus indulged in a hot yoga session – and wow did I ache the next day! The whole team came away feeling uplifted.
Here are some of the simple things that struck a chord with me:
- Remember to always be kind. This is hard sometimes when you feel stressed, but as we all know, showing kindness will not only make everyone you come in contact with feel happier, but it will attract kindness right back to you!
- Stay off those emails first thing. Leave the iphone firmly on the bedside table. Spend a little time just being still in bed, and even better, be still and think about the day ahead of you – visualise how successful it’s set to be.
- Make use of a really good app to help your mental health and wellbeing. Headspace or Calm come highly recommended. I’ve downloaded Calm to my phone already J
We all know the importance of work/life balance, so as Head of Happiness, I’ve also implemented Wellbeing Time. This means that everyone will be taking two hours out every month to do whatever makes them feel good. So far, the team has been enjoying time in the gym, mediation, taking trips to the hairdressers and taking loved ones out for lunch. It’s been wonderful to have such positive feedback about how something so simple has immediately made a difference to how people feel.
We’re also running weekly Wellbeing chats with all members of the team, focusing on staff happiness – plus finding out who needs support and what we can do to help.
Plus, I’m also taking part in a Mental First Aid course this week, which will train me to identify and tackle mental health issues.
There’s lots more to do, of course, this is only the start, but I can safely say that being Head of Happiness is probably the most important job I’ll ever be asked to do.
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