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Mind Work is a corporate wellness specialist that works towards improving employee engagement and overall wellbeing.
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Keeping on top of your mental and physical wellbeing

WFH VOL2: Routine

This word scares many of us, yet it’s a necessity for survival in one way or another…

Whether you’re a fan of routine or the very word gives you the shivers, THIS is the time to include one into your daily lives.

Week two completed — How are you feeling? Still holding in there? Whether you’re struggling with the lockdown or finding it ‘a walk in the park’, all this down-time can be used in such a way that you will emerge from this feeling confident, motivated, focused, recharged and ready to win at life. How? With a killer routine…

Week 3 is about to commence — As I mentioned in last weeks post about Habits, Routine is what will support your efforts and assist in these new behaviours forming into your new ‘good habits’. Ok so let’s assume you’re on board with this, you’re open to designing a lockdown-routine that will see you arise post-lowdown in peak physical, mental and spiritual shape…

I know I know, this probably won’t be the first time you’ve attempted to incorporate a routine into your life in the name of personal development — but this is for sure the first time you’ve attempted to incorporate a daily routine into your life during a global pandemic.

(Again, I have to do another shout out, but this time to the community spirit I’ve seen so much of. It’s a beautiful thing that I’m seeing so many exhibit…. Let’s just say that after the early days of the toilet roll stock-pilers, my faith in us humans wasn’t where it is today. So this is a mention to all those banding together, being considerate for the less fortunate and clapping outside their homes at 8 pm for the NHS.)

New times new you — Let’s design a routine;

Routine

/ruːˈtiːn/

noun

  1. A sequence of actions regularly followed.

Action — What are your current actions? Are they pushing towards your 360º approach to health (I go on a lot about health being a 360º thing i.e. Mind, body and spirit as you’ll probably figure out over the next coming weeks. I will go into more detail about why it’s important to pay attention to all three if we’re to truly experience fulfillment and happiness).

If there were to be only one thing I could give you take into the weeks ahead to consider when designing your routine, it’s this: PUT YOURSELF FIRST — Parents, please continue to feed your kids… What I mean by this is that it’s OK to do things for you, actually ‘OK’ isn’t the word, it’s NECESSARY. When you look after no:1, you’re in a much better position to look after no:2 and no:3 or however many numbers you have to look after.

When you’re feeling good, calm, stress-free and at peace, you’re able to give more, care more, nurture and support more, which is why it’s so important to ensure you’re fully charged if you’re wanting to make any kind of positive impact.

Ok with that said, I mentioned last week that I’ll be supporting you all by providing some of the fundamental tools and practices needed to get you through the next few weeks which will ensure an easy transition back to the ‘new version’ of normality.

I’ll be introducing new topics each week to cover a 360º approach to your wellbeing i.e. Your mind, body, and spirit. Next week we’ll be looking at Motivation, and how to find, and most importantly, how to keep it.

If you’d like to jump ahead and grab a free eBook that covers some of the things I’ll be touching on how to — Be your own Life Coach — simply follow the link. Re Routine, consider these 5 steps;

Step 1: Set yourself a goal that you’d like to achieve whilst in lockdown (and beyond)

Similar to step one in last weeks ‘Habits’ blog post, know what would your routine be geared towards. If your goal is to get overweight and finish Netflix’s library, then we know what would be needed for that… I’m hoping that’s not your goal. But find it, is it a financial goal, a fitness goal, an emotional goal or something else?

Step 2: Research the actions that will need to be taken to achieve the goal

Don’t be put off by the word research, it sounds like work because it is, but it’s working on you, which I’d suggest is the most important thing we should constantly be working on. Look at what others have done to reach the same goal (youtube is a great resource — after reading).

Step 3: Prioritise

Time to get real. You find that the higher the difficulty of any given task, the lower it may find itself on the to-do list. Visualise the outcome in order to know what your priority is. Feel the outcome, connect to it, live it. Then decide where your new goal fits on the hierarchy ladder.

Step 4: Diarise

Don’t go mad and put a crazy amount of tasks in your diary. That will only add stress to the stress. Let’s make this achievable and fun — Achievable does not mean easy — What needs to be replaced? Where will all these new good-habits fit into your daily routine?

Step 5: Mirror talk

It may sound a little silly but it’s been a game-changer for me. Take yourself to the mirror and have a word with the person looking back at you. Let them know why you want this, why it will work, and that together it’s already done.

Bonus Step: Accountability Partner

If you’re feeling brave, drop me an email with your goal and your new routine and I’ll check in on you to make sure we’re keeping on the wagon 🙂

I’m on contact@mindsetmason.com

To get the ball rolling, here are a few links to some FREE wellness practices to keep you active in the meantime;

For the mind:

Personal Development reading list

For the body:

10-minute breathwork session

Live On-demand Yoga

Fitness programme

For the spirit:

(Here is a little video that guided me on my path)

Ted Talk — Science and Spirituality

Insight Timer for meditation

NOTE: If you (like many) find keeping to your best intentions a little challenging at times, gamify it and reach out to a friend/accountability partner to keep you on the ball.

Any questions? Feel free to drop me a line; contact@mindsetmason.com

If you’re looking for something a little more robust to keep on top your physical and mental fitness; The Home 360º Programme

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Keeping on top of your mental and physical wellbeing

WFH VOL1: Habits

Easy to pick up, hard to put down…

We’ve now completed our first official week in lockdown, and it seems that most of us have survived it with our wits still intact. But, how are we all feeling about the week ahead — Week 2?

(Quick shout out to those in the NHS working their butts off to keep on top of this pandemic, and a further shout out to the wellness professionals offering free classes to keep us all moving while much of the world stands still.)

I expect that this week maybe a little more daunting, especially as we start to look forward and consider the likely possibility that the 3 week lockdown period will be extended. Fear not, it doesn’t have to be all doom and gloom, as bad as this thing is, it’s happening and if I’ve learned anything from my years of working with people in crisis is that acceptance is a powerful and useful tool.

We must accept that it’s happening, as we have no choice. However, we do have a choice as to how we wish to respond. Let us look at a few responses to the lockdown that I’ve heard over the last week:

“I’ve just been taking it easy, I like the extra time in bed and making the commute to the kitchen”

“I’ve had a few glasses of wine each night and catching up with friends via video call, it’s been nice”

“I’m going to need some more Netflix recommendations”

Do any of the above resonate?

We are in a time of crisis and I agree that we have to make ourselves feel calm and comfortable to keep our panic levels down, but on the other side of the same coin — when will your physical and mental fitness work its way back into/into your everyday life?

Surely you must have thought about it, and probably decided that this week (week 2) may be the week you start, if so, use this post as a reminder, if not, use this post as a sign that your wellbeing must take priority if you’re to get through this with minimal physical, and minimal emotional damage.

habit

/ˈhabɪt/

noun

1. A settled or regular tendency or practice, especially one that is hard to give up.

See, even the definition says that they’re hard to give up. Solution? Don’t pick them up in the first place. Now is your opportunity to pick up the habits that will serve you well. Good Habits — Just as an FYI, this post isn’t just something to get you through the COVID-19 pandemic, this is the chance for you to literally decide and design the (elusive) version of yourself that you were looking for before this whole thing hit us.

So over the next few weeks, we’ll be supporting you by providing some of the fundamental tools and practices needed to get you through the next few weeks to ensure an easy transition back to the ‘new version’ of normality.

I’ll be introducing new topics each week to cover a 360º approach to your wellbeing i.e. Your mind, body, and spirit. Next week we’ll be looking at Routine, their importance, the benefits, and how to implement.

If you’d like to jump ahead and grab a free eBook — Be your own life coach — simply follow the link. Re your habits, consider these 5 steps;

An easy trick for this is to close your eyes and visualise your perfect day — What time do you get up, what do you have for breakfast, what does your morning routine look like. Do this for your week, and your month. How awesome is that you?

We’re talking habits, not addictions here although there can be a fine line. Habits can be ingrained into or subconscious, but bring mindful of them i.e. bringing them to the conscious mind is the first step to letting go of them.

A little NLP technique for you — Take your list of habits, and simply acknowledge when they arise. By having the awareness of when the habits arise/their triggers — we allow the conscious mind to beat the subconscious to the punch.

Go back to your perfect day exercise — What did you do regularly. What habitual behaviours did you exhibit and contribute to your day, week, and month?

Just to give you a clear distinction between the two — A habit is an action we do often in a regular and repeated way. Routine is a regular way of doing things in a particular order. The main difference between habit and routine is that habit is a recurrent with little or no conscious thought whereas routine requires a high degree of intention and effort

In the meantime, I encourage you to start this very moment — we have a lot more time on our hands and this is the very same time we’ve all been asking for since forever. If you’ve ever said ‘Only if there were more hours in the day’… now there is so use them well, use them wisely, use them in the name of personal development.

To get the ball rolling, here are a few links to some FREE wellness practices to keep you active in the meantime;

For the mind:

Reading list

For the body:

10-minute breathwork session (An amazing way to start your day)

Live On-demand Yoga

Fitness programme

For the spirit:

(Here is a little video that guided me on my path)

Ted Talk — Science and Spirituality

Live Meditation – Every Friday 07:30pm

App –  Insight Timer for meditation

NOTE: If you (like many) find keeping to your best intentions a little challenging. Gamify it and reach out to a friend/accountability partner to keep you on the ball.

Any questions? Feel free to drop me a line; contact@mindsetmason.com

If you’re looking for something a little more robust to keep your physical and mental fitness out; Check out The Home 360º Programme

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Wellbeing “Hacks” for your company

Wellness aka Wellbeing… It’s way more than a hot topic. It is now an actual thing… a necessary thing.

But I guess the question is – to all my HR, L&D, Head of People people, Employers, and anyone else who’s been given the responsibility of looking after the health of your employees – What does wellness mean to you?

Do you believe there is real value in keeping your people well maintained and in good health? Let’s (for the sake of this post) say that you do agree with us and that looking after your teams will have a positive impact on all aspects of the company, including the bottom line – What are you currently doing for your employees?

Yoga?

Massage?

Workshops?

All, none, or some of the above? What’s the engagement like? Were the offerings asked for by the employees or did you just give it to them? Finally, is your company one of those that has a ‘Wellbeing Day/week or even month’ and offer nothing else for the rest of the year?

I realise I’m asking a lot of questions here, but I’m hoping that these same questions may start being asked internally.

Yes, I know, It’s true… There may not be instant gratification for the leaders, c-suite, or shareholders, etc and it may take a minute or two to see it’s true value, HOWEVER, there is now proof, actual hard data, real evidence that investing (properly investing) in wellness programmes will allow your company to enjoy an ROI as this one-of-many studies suggest

Going back to the barrage of questions I asked; Many companies may call a wellness provider in to deliver some wellness stuff without knowing what wellness actually is, or may simply wish to tick a box. We encourage you not to be those guys.

True wellness is a 360º thing, i.e. mind, body, and spirit. Mental, physical and spiritual health (more on spiritual health in the near future) needs to be addressed if we are serious about making a real positive impact. Mind Work believes that the ‘Mind Matters Most’ which is why we encourage companies like yours to initiate any wellness solution by having a better understanding of where your employees’ minds are at.

 

No need to panic as there are a few simple mini-hacks for companies of all sizes to implement starting from next week:

 

Hack 1:

Hold more 1:1’s and mean it. By ‘mean it’, I mean the line managers need to show up i.e. ask the right questions and really listen to the answers. We all just want to be heard right? True communication is a fundamental component for your employees to feel that they are valued.

 

Hack 2:

Internal Comms – Simply send out emails suggesting wellness/stress combatting articles. Some may read them, some not, but it brings the topic up, shows you’re aware that people may be suffering in silence… It shows that you actually give a sh*t.

 

Hack 3:

Simple but effective – Surveys. Again, be sure to ask the correct questions if you’re wanting the results to genuinely reflect the wellbeing or your employees. Gear the results towards the physical and mental health of your teams, not towards performance and company culture.

 

 

If you have any questions, please feel free to get in contact: mason@projectmindwork.org

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Start the work

Here we are again, another week at work. Despite how you’re feeling this morning, being here at work is actually a good thing, and among all the challenges we face here day-day, I encourage you all to be grateful. Now I’m not saying to be thankful for the difficult people and conversations that you may face, or for you to be happy about the workload and the late-night you may have to pull to send it off. Nor am I asking you to enjoy the anxiety and stress that builds up all too frequently. But, just to acknowledge the simple fact you have a job that you’re being paid to do it, and of course, not to forget you have the ability to leave if you wish… Yep, I know that last one is pretty loaded but ultimately it’s the truth.

That being said, although you can get up and walk out if you like, that’s not what I’m suggesting here. Leaving your job is a conversation for a whole other blog post, one which would include buzz words such as ‘values’, ‘purpose’, ‘fulfilment’ and all that good stuff – But for now, we’ll keep on topic.

I have an idea to offer you that can be used to make the job less of a struggle. We all have bills to pay, which means working/having a job is a must (So let’s just accept that for now)… but before doing others work i.e. the type that is supposed to take place between 9-5 but always ends up being later – the real work needs to be done on one’s self.

That’s correct, what I’m talking about here is self-work/personal development. After all, if we spend most of our waking day working for someone else, does it not make sense that the rest should be spent working on ourselves? Invest in yourself and watch your stock grow!

Why do I need personally develop? I hear you say. In my humble opinion, it’s through personal development that true happiness and more importantly ‘fulfilment’ is found. So if our days consist of work followed by television, the pub, oh and a visit to the gym a couple of times a week to make ourselves feel better – then, of course, we’ll eventually hit the ‘Unhappy Wall’… Hard!

If you’re not looking after your mind, body and spirit (yes spirit) then work life will have a larger negative impact than necessary. I touched on this in last weeks post in Step 3 – but thought I would try and encourage you to take it a little further and approach your personal development as THE most important aspect of your life, after all, if you’re top of your game you’ll be of better service to everyone, both inside and out of the office. 

Personal development can be anything from improving a talent you already have or learning a new one, aiming for your potential, swapping negative habits and thought patterns for positive ones. It can be something simple like time management and finding a routine that serves you… for routine, a book named THE MIRACLE MORNING is a game-changer.

My question to you is ‘What do you currently do in the way of self-improvement?’ Or maybe you don’t need to improve, maybe you’ve got it all sussed out and happy to be exactly the same person you are today until the end of time? If so then I’ve wasted your time and you may discontinue reading now, BUT if you have the self-awareness to realise that some work could be done, then let’s focus on that.

When we decide to work on ourselves, external situations become less important, have less control over us, it loses its power. You become your prime objective, you are your no:1 motivation, and almost bulletproof to all the BS that we often see around us. 

The problem with ‘self-work’ is that many see it as exactly that – ‘Work’. The truth is, it’s unlucky that it will happen overnight, or even over 2 nights… studies say that it takes 66 days for a new habit to become a behaviour, but what’s 66 days out of a lifetime? Another great thing is that you do not need to go through this change alone. There are plenty great coaches out there (Myself being one of them – visit www.mdr-coaching.com for more info) that help clients stick to their goals, overcome their challenges and to hold them accountable to ensure success.

The brain is plastic, (not literally) The brains plasticity refers to the brain’s ability to change throughout life. The human brain has the amazing ability to reorganise itself by forming new connections between brain cells (neurons). Therefore allowing us to lose habits and behaviours that may have been great 10 years ago but no longer serve us.

So in conclusion, please don’t let your life revolve around your work, your work MUST revolve around YOU. In order to take control of your life, you must build a relationship with yourself, your mind, your thoughts and your actions. Be active, not reactive, be the cause, not the effect.

Wishing you all a lovely week. 

Until then, Ciao for now.

If you have any questions on anything discussed, please don’t hesitate to get in contact.

Contact me direct via mason@projectmindwork.org   

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Wellness, Are Companies Really Getting It?…

Credit where credit is due, there are many companies attempting to give this wellbeing malarkey a go. They’ll have the yoga sessions, a workshop, maybe even an app for some reason? Although we do not think this is enough, Mind Work we are still happy to see as it shows a degree of awareness. It’s undeniable, wellness for employees is a hot topic.

 

That being said, it seems that many have not yet quite grasped the whole reasoning behind the “wellbeing for employees movement”.  A ‘Wellbeing Week’ once a quarter simply won’t cut it. As with anything, commitment is a necessity if you want to see beneficial results for your company and more importantly, your employees. We know that a happy workforce will reflect on your company’s overall output so why do so many fall short when it comes to giving wellness programmes the respect it deserves?

 

Company wellness programs are failing, and one of the reasons are that they’re not ‘Programmes’ at all. Similar to the new years resolution of going to the gym and taking one spin class per week and jumping on the scales to be met with the 2 lbs you added, before declaring it’s not working. Don’t get me wrong, the employees (whom of which the programmes are designed to serve) themselves must also take their fair share of the responsibility with an attitude that seems to imply that they feel like wellness at work is something done to them rather than for them. These programs are often superficial/for show – they don’t elevate company culture, inspire commitment, or even tie to the company’s business goals. Any program that alienates, annoys, and distracts those it means to serve will fail to deliver results in the long-term.

 

Here is a great example of this from Henry Albrecht – Founder, CEO & Board Director at Limeade

“There’s no shortage of “wellness gone wrong” examples, starting with the programs that held people accountable for achieving biometric values but never gave anyone a hint that the company understood or cared about their lives. And frankly, for every egregiously punitive approach, there were (and still are) 10 programs barely skimming the surface of their potential. They’re feel-good distractions embraced by those already in the club. As corporate investments and priorities, they rank somewhere between the company party and bean bags in the conference rooms. Do they even matter?

Most corporate wellness (now often called “well-being”) programs have so far failed to deliver on their potential. But the good news is, with a more holistic well-being and engagement model, employers can achieve much bigger results than companies and employees have envisioned to date – results that go well beyond health and health costs to something richer: true work engagement.”

 

There are a number current reasons to why programmes don’t seem to be working. Three of which Henry Albrecht highlighted as being ;

 

1. Wellness Programs Don’t Work the Way Our Brains Work

Although the narrative indicates that the health of employees seem to be the driving force behind the reason of implementation, I think it’s safe to say that the main reason that these programmes have found their way into companies is in order to reduce the costs that poor employee health, both physical and mental rack up i.e. make the company more money (which is totally fine of course).  On one hand we have the fact that healthier people will cost less to insure and less likely to take days off. The influencers embraced this, and the idea spread. There was a second and more suspect premise embedded, though: that you can pay people to comply. Those who don’t participate won’t get the same insurance benefits, effectively shifting costs from willing participants to unwilling ones. And it worked… in a short-term way.

Ultimately, however, this punitive Industrial Revolution mentality often created more resentment than value. It sent a clear message of accountability, which on the upside saved some lives and caught some serious issues early with its focus on important preventive care protocols. No one wants to be told that they need to improve their health to avoid financial penalties; that message absent an immersive cultural commitment to whole-person well-being breeds resentment and won’t help companies with long-term engagement and retention.

And these are much bigger, higher-value goals than lowering health costs.

Even when messaged positively, telling people the “right” thing to do and holding them accountable for doing it “or else” is fundamentally out of touch with how people think, work, and act  – and what they want. What exactly do employees want? Barry Schwartz and others have shown that people crave a sense of purpose at work, as well as community, belonging, value, autonomy, and mastery. The science of motivation is the relevant science for voluntary programs. Prioritising these things has the potential to boost the bottom line while making employees happy, too. What’s more, creating caring and supportive companies – with high expectations – will help us take on the widespread isolation and suffering we face as a society.

 

2. “Wellness” Is Largely Irrelevant to the CEO

If you ask a Fortune 500 CEO about corporate priorities, you’ll generally hear a standard list that includes increasing revenue, profit, market share or stock price, serving customers well, globalisation, technology disruption and maybe winning that Great Company award. Some might even go out on a limb and mention attracting great leaders, retaining top talent, or even creating a great culture as a way to achieve these other goals.

Where is employee well-being on the CEO list? Is it even in the top 20? Is it “a given” but not explicitly measured or managed? Wellness isn’t seen as a strategic part of culture creation that can increase engagement and ultimately lead to a company’s success. It’s a check-the-box, unimportant thing that ends up buried at the bottom of a long list of employee perks. For many companies, it’s program number 21 from one of the least influential departments: benefits.

I see this disconnect every day with our customers, both in under-appreciated human capital functions and in the C-suite. And it’s not surprising given the way we’ve sometimes done these programs. But there’s no reason for this to happen anymore. Consider these findings from Limeade:

  • 88% of employees with higher well-being are engaged at work, compared with 50% of employees with lower well-being.
  • 98% of employees with both higher well-being and a higher perception that their company supports their well-being say they want to be working at the same company in one year.
  • 99% of employees with both high well-being and organisational support would recommend their employer as “a great place to work.”

It seems like focusing on an energetic and engaged workforce has potential, but…

 

3. Wellness Programmes and the ROI issue 

Wellness programs have historically been chartered with lowering healthcare costs – but proof of their results has been tough to nail down. One reason is that health costs fluctuate for reasons unrelated to health – like network design, unnecessary surgery, generic drug strategy, economic incentives for hospitals to do more procedures, and other “supply-side” issues. The second and third reasons are the ‘how our brains work’ and ‘irrelevant’ reasons outlined above. But there’s an important fourth reason, too: we have been looking in the wrong place.

Research shows that employee engagement and turnover are much bigger drivers of a company’s financial success (or lack thereof) than medical costs. And well-being has a direct connection to these outcomes.

Taking a broader look at the results associated with an engaged and energised workforce should have the potential to convince a CEO or CHRO to take a more strategic approach to employee well-being. Having a model to help the C-suite see these connections is the key to breaking through the noise.

 

In Summary 

So with all that being said, why is it still such a struggle/almost controversial for companies to invest in wellbeing programmes along with engagement? CEO’s and decision makers should be putting this stuff at the top of their agendas instead of continuing to subscribe to the ‘old-school’ systematic protocols that have been ingrained into the both the companies and the individuals running them.

A new approach from the forward thinking C-Suite is the only to build sustainable businesses in a time where burn-out is on everyone’s lips and more people are quitting their jobs than ever before . Just like that start-up culture prides itself on being ‘agile’, your wellness programmes should be strategised in the way.  Actually including them into the model and the culture of the business instead of a nice-to-have add-on. A genuine focus on not only employees physical health, but mental states of wellness that encompasses their purpose at the company, community, belonging, work well-being, emotional well-being, autonomy, mastery, their energy, and even financial well-being. These are the true pathways to enjoy continuous innovation, loyalty and keeping companies happy in good times and bad.

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