One of the most important practices I have incorporated into my daily life is that of gratitude. It might sound like new-age nonsense, but at its heart is the simple premise that we should look for the good in life, even amongst the bad. And even when life is objectively not going well, look to the strengths we have to turn things around.
Some people are naturally ‘glass half-full’ types. I’m not. So I need to work at it.
For some people, keeping a gratitude journal or using an app can help. I find that keeping a pseudo-diary on instagram really helps me. If you’re one of the doubters, take a minute to think about three good things in your life right now – as significant as your family or as seemingly insignificant as that lunch you just ate – and I bet you’re feeling a bit better.
In the spirit of gratitude, I’m going to just take a couple of minutes of your time to share one of the things I’m most grateful for this year – my colleagues and my workplace.
I haven’t had the easiest of starts to 2019. It began with a period of particularly bad anxiety – daily panic attacks – and then I knuckled down to prepare for major surgery (I had a gastric sleeve operation on 30 January). Recovery has not been without its stresses.
Throughout this time, my team and my managers have been fabulous. Every day, colleagues check in on me, ask how I’m feeling physically and mentally. During my recovery leave, I received daily text messages and so many flowers I contemplated opening a florist (plus a particularly cute sausage-dog tea towel from the colleagues who guessed I probably had a few flowers already). On the first day I could eat solids again, one colleague made me the most delicious vego ‘meatballs’ I have ever eaten (even if my new stomach could only cope with one). My team shouldered my leave admirably making my return to work stress-free.
It’s not just my colleagues – my manager has role-modelled exactly how managers should be. When I was struggling with my energy levels during the pre-op diet, my manager proactively discussed how to manage my hours and we agreed I should work part-time for a bit (and importantly, my team respected this, not overloading my calendar). She genuinely cares about everyone in her team, and shows it.
This is a workplace where I, and others, feel comfortable sharing our personal wellbeing plans. As I begin this new physical journey – and continue a mental health journey that has lasted a lifetime – being able to share my strengths and my triggers with those around me is invaluable. It only works because we know we have each others’ backs.
So yes this is a bit melodramatic and emotional, but it matters because every day I am grateful to come to work here.
When I talk about creating a mentally healthy workplace in the role I hold at Beyond Blue, this is exactly what I am talking about. Creating a culture where people care for one another. One where people’s problems are not seen as such, but are encountered firstly with respect, and then with solutions.
I first wrote this post on LinkedIn. If you’re a business boss, check it out here.