World Mental Health Day will be here on Thursday 10th October 2019.
This is a wonderfully useful opportunity to raise and add to the wider discussion about mental health, whether that's in the workplace or in your personal life. In recent years mental health awareness has certainly been on the rise, however there is still plenty of stigma hanging about... I believe that we need to continue our efforts by regularly keeping mental health in our conversations as well as continually looking to improve specialist skills.
Much of the remaining stigma tends to be around mental health conditions which are lesser understood and also those that are more frightening, such as suicide. With suicide being the focus for WMHD 2019 there's lots that you can do and get involved in! Check out www.time-to-change.org.uk for loads of resources and more.
If you'd like any training for your workplace on suicide prevention, please do get in touch. We're here to help you make an impact and it would be our absolute privilege to work with you.
September is well known for being a month of new beginnings and that is certainly the case for me! Just a couple of weeks ago we welcomed a new arrival into our family... our first baby, a little boy who we've named Teddy.
With this monumental change many challenges have naturally arisen, however the overriding factor is most definitely beholding the miracle of new life and nothing brings it home quite like having a child of your own.
Over the coming months I look forward to sharing a little more of our new adventure with you. One major question that springs to mind... is it possible to run a business and look after a baby? I hope so! Although I don't intend to drop everything, my involvement will be in a much reduced capacity so that I can appreciate these precious early months. Much of Olive Branch's daily business will be in the capable hands of my trustworthy colleagues and I hope you have a warm experience should you communicate with them.
What's new on your horizon? As you take on new challenges or walk into a fresh season, I hope the positives outweigh the negatives! May you continue to grow as a person and make an impact as you go about your daily life...
Feel free to comment/ discuss! See you next time.
The Summertime blues might sound like a strange phrase but it's not unusual for many people to struggle. As summer approaches there's often a sense of excitement and anticipation! If you've been looking forward to the summer for a while, the reality can sometimes let you down. Here are a few common reasons why:
So what can you do to help yourself/ gain a much-needed boost...?
Many of the topics I blog about could be explored for hours, and therefore choosing which path to go down is always a challenge in itself... That is certainly the case with this one! A number of the courses we run merely touch on self-esteem however I want to highlight it this month because it directly correlates with emotional well being.
According to some studies, us Brits rank one of the lowest in self-esteem (especially relating to body image). I find that pretty concerning and one can only assume that therefore our emotional well being must be pretty low down too!
Now, there's not a lot we can do about the weather which is clearly a factor, but what other things influence our self-esteem and therefore well being? Here are a few:
Do you have a tendency to criticize yourself? If so, stop now - it does more damage than you may think! Become more aware of the language you use to talk about yourself, value yourself and make a conscious decision to pay yourself compliments... It's not a quick process to alter your self-concept but changing the way you talk about yourself will in time change the way you feel about yourself.
Peter Radford is an inspirational, motivational presenter whom we have the pleasure of working with. This month I'm delighted to share his article on finding purpose. His way of thinking really resonates with me... I hope you find it helpful too!
Many organisations have a purpose statement of some kind but for many it is little more than words on a website. The principle is very simple – in order to score you need to be clear what you’re aiming at! If you and the people you work with don’t have clarity about your purpose then the chances of achieving are greatly reduced. To use a sports analogy, you’re a bunch of people having a kick around in the park; you’re not a team. And you’re certainly not on track to win the league. This applies on an individual level as well as where teams are concerned.
Finding your purpose is not always easy but here are three pointers I’ve found helpful.
There is no such thing as a life free of hassle and stressful situations… even if you live on a remote island far from civilisation, it wouldn’t be realistic to expect that. Whether a colleague has annoyed you, there’s been a pest invasion, you’ve got noisy neighbours or family disagreements - nobody’s life is perfectly tranquil. Challenging scenarios will always exist and most of the time they are beyond control (at least to begin with!)
As we know Easter weekend falls during April this year, and it is ALSO stress awareness month. So I'd like to consider a few ideas for keeping stress at bay amid the chaos.
Make time to find your outlet and get anxieties and frustration out of your system. Perhaps that could involve any of these:
March is a time of year that often inspires a good spring clean! It tends to involve clearing unwanted items from the home/ garage/ wardrobe, reorganising personal space, and generally going a bit Marie Kondo… or for the green-fingered among us, perhaps creating a fresh and improved outdoor space. Whatever it is, once it’s done, the results often leave one with feelings of great satisfaction (and mild exhaustion).
I for one will probably embark on some sort of ‘spring clean’, or at least think about it!
So - whilst we’re on the topic, how about a spring clean for yourself? I don’t mean a shower (let’s hope that’s already a regular occurrence…) but more of a pause and reset. Many of you reading this article are committed to helping others – it comes naturally and is also part of your profession. In the midst of unpredictable and demanding working environments, I think it’s important to be reminded that before you can help others, you need to help yourself… And this is not something to be sniffed at or overlooked!
Here are 6 ideas to get you started with your pause and reset:
What else would you add? Let me know in the comments!
This month it feels very timely to be reflecting upon media use and the potential impact on both ourselves and our young people today. Childline says children now face a "constant onslaught from cyber-bullying and social media." The charity says social media is leading to youngsters "comparing themselves to others, and feeling inferior, ugly, and unpopular as a result." The difference for children in our modern society, is that there is no escape after 3.30pm... Bullying continues on, whatever the device.
For many parents out there, there is a need for more equipping in technology - not only to keep abreast of new developments but also to be empowered to step up. Maintaining an open relationship that enables our children to share their online world, is increasingly as important as knowing about their face-to-face experiences. For many more vulnerable young people (especially those who are socially anxious) , their online world, may feel more real and dominant than day to day life. We hear from our expert Zoe Dale, as she shares her thoughts and experiences:
If you work with young people and are concerned about self harm and media use, join us in London on Thursday 21st March where Zoe will be leading our specialist study day.
See more here.
So... what about you? Do feel like you might be addicted to social media? If you've got some spare time and fancy listening to a quick podcast, check out this 'Beyond Today' episode from BBC Radio 4 on 'How bad is social media for my mental health?'
Some interesting ideas for consideration and well worth a listen!
It's well-known that staff feel more valued and happier in their work when employers invest in them, prioritising their wellbeing and job satisfaction. One of those ways is of course putting time aside for meaningful training, so that individuals feel encouraged and equipped for the days ahead. I don't often blog about feedback - however at this time of year for any individual, reflecting on all the positives can be inspirational and help prepare one's mindset for the year.
The staff at Marymount International School gathered together before their pupils arrived back for a new term and what a warm bunch they were! In the pictures above, star presenter Esther delivers a morning workshop on 'Building Resilience in Young People'.
Here's what the headmistress said:
"This is great professional development...really! Faculty enjoyed terrific tips from Olive Branch today at our in-service. Joy, self-care and resilience: What a way to start the new term!"
What did the staff think? Here are a few snippets:
"Well presented, reassuringly positive."
"Much needed insights into resilience building with teenagers."
"It was very useful for my students, especially in my PSHE class. Also, I will out these contents into practice in my personal life."
"I really enjoyed the entire workshop."
"Increased understanding of mindfulness. Great techniques in calmness and caring for others."
"Insightful and thought-provoking."
If you decide you'd like to invest in your staff in this way, give us a try!
I'm Jemima, founder of Olive Branch Consultancy and passionate about delivering excellence with sensitivity and care.