What I’ve learnt about mental health

by Lulu Trask – May 13, 2021

A survey by mental health charity Mind last June revealed that 60% of adults felt their mental health was worse during lockdown. In the 11 months since then, we’ve been in and out of even more lockdowns, so it’s not hard to imagine how this past year has affected our wellbeing.

Many of us will recognise feeling, well, a bit ‘blah’ throughout the pandemic. So much so, in fact, that The New York Times has labelled this as “languishing”, which it describes as “the neglected middle child of mental health”. And let’s not forget all of those for whom mental health has been a daily struggle since before COVID-19 was even part of our vocabulary.

In 2021, mental health has taken on a new weight, whether the pandemic has made you aware of your mental health for the first time, or exacerbated an existing or even lifetime struggle.

At Wardour I feel really lucky that as soon as the first lockdown began, more than 12 months ago, it was made extremely clear that our mental wellbeing was the company’s first priority. There were small (but helpful) things, like full-company meetings taking place twice a week, and daily team meetings, to keep everyone connected and talking. Anyone struggling with working from home has been encouraged to speak to senior management to ensure they’re top of the list when it comes to a staggered return to the (new!) office, and the many, many “thank you”s we’ve heard from senior management for simply keeping going in a difficult time have gone a long, long way. Sometimes, it’s just the small things.

But equally, the bigger things can have a pretty big impact too. It’s because of the pandemic that I’ve tried two things to support my mental health that, previously, I don’t think I ever would have tried. So here’s a little bit of first-timer’s insight, just in case anyone’s pondering ways to boost the physical and mental wellbeing of their staff.

When it became obvious that lockdown wasn’t going anywhere, optional Zoom Pilates classes were put on for us twice a week. The class was full of first-timers like me, which our brilliant instructor took into account (I use the past tense here because a steadily growing pregnant belly meant I had to sadly bow out after a few months). Physically, the classes really helped to improve my flexibility, which I was aware was not getting tested enough in the new commute from bed to kitchen to desk. Our weekly lunchtime class was a great way of breaking up the day and guaranteed that I got away from my desk for some physical exercise, and our Friday morning classes were fantastic for getting energised for the end of the work week and the weekend ahead.

As it became clearer that lockdowns weren’t going anywhere for a while, mindfulness courses were offered – an opportunity that a huge number of the Wardour team grabbed with both hands. Lots us started the course not really knowing what mindfulness was, but I can safely say that each week, after each class, I start the day feeling calmer, less anxious, more relaxed, and ready to face whatever challenges colleagues and clients might throw at me! In fact we’ve just finished a class and I’ve already had my most productive morning this week! It’s taught me – and I think a lot of my colleagues – about the importance of being in tune with how we’re feeling, no matter how much that varies day to day. And when our mental health is on such a cliff edge, being in tune with our emotions, and acknowledging them, is so important.

So this Mental Health Awareness Week, let’s remember that mental health is something that affects everyone. Keep talking and keep sharing. The physical and mental toolkit I’ve built over the past 12 months will stay with me forever, and I hope will prepare me for any challenges that come my way in the future.

#MentalHealthAwarenessWeek 2021

Published May 13, 2021

Read more

How to avoid ‘greenwashing’

With COP26 fast approaching, businesses around the world are placing sustainability at the forefront of their content marketing campaigns.

Tips to creating engaging podcast content

​Podcasts are now a must-have for any marketers toolkit. Here are a few tips and ideas for making your podcast a success.