It’s common at the start of a new year to look at our physical fitness; to make changes to our diet and exercise programs, but wellbeing is not just physical. It’s also mental and we encourage our colleagues to regularly review their mental wellbeing to ensure they’re in the best emotional state they can be. There is no denying that modern life can be challenging. Last October, to mark World Mental Health Day, we started an open conversation about ‘mental health at work’. Three months later this conversation has not only continued across our global office network, it has extended. Beyond the original NGA HR pledge of #IWillListen, we have added #MyExperience. Why? Because so many of our colleagues have felt able to open up about their own experiences and are keen to explore more ways to build up their own resilience and that of their colleagues and friends and family outside of work.
Throughout January, we’re encouraging NGA HR employees to tick off as many of the #MyExperience Mental Wellness Challenges as possible. Some are very simple. Others need a little more thought. The great thing is that all can very quickly become habits.
By taking a moment to pause many, too many of us, have realized that we need to slow down, even to stop for a moment, hence the introduction of free access to the HeadSpace App for NGA HR employees. This has proved a great starting point for those of us wanting to be more mindful.
Perhaps the most obvious reminder we’ve had is that we’re all very different. We all react differently to situations and scenarios and there are occasions when even we don’t know ourselves how we might react. We’re learning that behaviors can trigger anxiety and depression in one person when they don’t in an other and importantly, how changes in circumstances can also trigger negative thoughts. We’re also learning that a small change or a tiny gesture can make a huge difference to someone. To this end, we’re putting changes and resources in place to provide support to others and to ourselves. Irrespective of our job remits, we’re all human and all need to feel supported and safe.
There are simple changes that we can all do to make ourselves more aware of each other, not forgetting ourselves. There are simple signs to look out for that will suggest to you that you or someone is struggling. If we all commit to making small differences where we can, hopefully these will become habits we take with us for life. As well as being supportive of others, there’s a lot of personal wellbeing to be had from delivering small acts of kindness. There are times of year that can be difficult for some more than others. A major objective for NGA HR is to lift the stigma that surrounds mental health.