The hard truth people need to be aware of is that individual action on health and wellbeing isn’t as meaningful unless institutional action is happening right alongside it, writes Camille Wilson.
Mindfulness has suddenly become the topic of conversation. We are hearing a lot about our mindfulness can reduce our anxiety, stress, and, ultimately, make us more present to what is happening around us. This article isn't to disagree with any of these facts.
I, myself, am a avid endorser of all things mindfulness and meditation. For anyone who has seen me speak to audiences, almost all my talks have an element of mindfulness within it and will continue to do so.
Imagine this though. You have 50 employees all stressed to the core because there is far too much work to do, not enough time, and, quite frankly, your organisation's resources are on the verge of driving everyone into the ground before the new year.
Typically, these days, our thought process is "Oh, we just need to get some initiatives to de-stress everyone". Whack some yoga classes at lunch time (which nobody can attend because they are too busy).
Give them a mindfulness practice (which nobody understands or uses) and host a rockin' Christmas do, and we are sweet. But, giving someone these tools and opportunities to de-stress is a very different agenda than working on taking away the thing that is causing the stress in the first place.
Giving someone the tool to be mindful and work on being healthier is next to redundant unless you are providing a workplace that is actually psychologically healthy.
This means frequent and common streams of communication between employees and management; manageable workloads; genuine work life balance; inclusive culture; and, above all else, managers that understand their role in applying a little bit of humanity to those that they work with.
Mental health doesn't stop and start at clinical disorders. There is a world of knowledge within our own minds that can create happier, healthier employees, that ultimately impact on your customers, clients, and how we do business.
Strategies should be incorporating these factors to provide a lens of human onto them, and make them realistic, rather than a document that gathers dust until year-end.
Camille Wilson is the founder of Grow Together Now.