Mental Health Awareness Week is a pretty important date in the calendar for us here at Eleven. Despite the fact that mental health is now a boardroom priority for roughly 63% of businesses, it’s suffered an inexcusable stigma over the years. So we understand the importance in raising awareness about our wellbeing and continuing to have open and honest conversations about it.
We recognise that our staff may sometimes face certain challenges in their personal or professional lives that are hard to deal with. This is why we offer a confidential and professional life management Employee Assistance Programme, provided by Health Assured, which provides a qualified counsellor who can offer emotional or practical support. It’s available 24 hours and completely free for our team to use, meaning they have access to support whenever it’s needed.
This year’s Mental Health Awareness Week focuses on the theme of ‘nature’ – which seems particularly fitting after a year where we’ve had our freedom to go outdoors somewhat restricted. Now that restrictions are lifting and the warmer weather is just around the corner, there could be no better time to venture outdoors and find our way to wellbeing.
The ‘5 Ways to Wellbeing’ provide a guided set of pillars which can help us improve our mental health, focusing on themes of social connection, activity, mindfulness, learning and giving. Our agency chose to collectively take care of our mental health this year by joining in with the campaign in the following five ways.
We’ve experienced some fantastic growth as an agency over the past year, having welcomed four new people to the team since we went into lockdown. Although we sadly can’t quite meet up as a full team yet with there being so many of us, we managed to meet up in pairs this week in various places around the North West, either during our lunch breaks or after work. Whilst we still can’t wait until we can all be together again, some face-to-face interaction after such a long time was just what we needed to feel more connected.
Physical activity is notoriously linked with raising our endorphin levels, and it doesn’t necessarily have to involve running marathons. We chose to get active as a team by engaging in some of our favourite outdoor pursuits this week, from exploring Leicester with some friends to doing a spot of gardening. It’s incredible just how uplifting being outdoors can be and we didn’t let the weather scupper our plans!
Being in a state of ‘mindfulness’ has long since been connected to a positive mental state and can help us to learn to appreciate the small everyday joys that sometimes go unnoticed. One resource that has been especially helpful in helping us to achieve a state of mindfulness is the Headspace: Guide to Meditation series on Netflix. The eight-episode series was released in January and is a beginner’s course in meditation. With insightful commentary and reference to the studies and science that back-up the approach, this series gives viewers a sort-of toolkit they can use to reap the benefits of meditation in their everyday lives.
Learning new skills isn't just good for your brain - it can also be really enjoyable and bring great a sense of fulfilment. We know the importance of upskilling here at Eleven, which is why each and every member of our team is enrolled on a personal learning and development plan.
We offer our team access to a range of fantastic learning and training resources including Skillshare, Agency Hackers and HubSpot. Ongoing learning and development ensures that we as a team are not only sharing best practice, but also keeping the service we provide to our clients current and relevant. Sharing knowledge cross-discipline also aids in collaborative and more considerate working.
Giving encapsulates many things – from showing goodwill and generosity of spirit to giving presents and giving up our time. Evidence suggests that ‘giving back’ or helping others promotes wellbeing for all ages. In our case, everyone in the team was given an hour of their working week back to enjoy an outdoor activity of their choice, as one of the ways of looking after their wellbeing this week. We also found ourselves pleasantly surprised with an unexpected package of sweet treats that was sent in the post to every member of staff at the start of the week. It was a really simple act but provided a really uplifting start to our working week.