The Mind Matters – World Mental Health Day
"It’s OK to not be OK," in a picture perfect world it can feel difficult to admit that you might be struggling with your thoughts and emotions, and even more so in the workplace.
October 10th was World Mental Health Day - a day for global mental health education, awareness and advocacy against social stigma. It was first celebrated in 1992 as the initiative of the World Federation for Mental Health, a global mental health organisation with members in more than 150 countries.
Rackspace marked the day with a number of initiatives to promote awareness and compassion - one of our core values. Here are just a few of the activities organised on the day:
“It is impossible to feel grateful and depressed in the same moment,” Naomi Williams.
A whiteboard was placed in several locations with sticky notes for Rackers (Rackspace employees) to name the things they are grateful for. In this simplest gesture it’s possible to change perspective if only for a moment. A few of the notes listed on the board in Hayes: teammates who make me laugh, family, fresh water and my cats Billy and Basil.
“Do not judge me by my success, judge me by how many times I fell down and got back up again,” Nelson Mandela.
True resilience is demonstrated by a person’s ability to adapt to challenging circumstances while maintaining stable mental wellbeing. Resilience can change and grow with time. With this point of view three workshops were run by members of the Lavender group, Alex Kennett, Anchal Kaushal and Hellen Allsop. Rackspace Lavender is made up of Racker volunteers who share a mission to support wellness in the workplace. The workshops provided Rackers with an open and safe forum to explore strategies to cope with life’s challenging situations, in a healthy way.
Rackers were also asked to submit their top tips on how to be resilient and here are a couple from across the globe submitted in Switzerland, Australia, Germany and UK:
- To visualise the positive outcome and focus on the feeling that the positive outcome allows you to experience. Positivity creates more positivity.
- To fully disconnect from time to time, whether this is by going on a longer vacation/traveling, spending a weekend abroad or organising a fun night out with friends.
- For me the most effective coping mechanism in stressful and emotionally draining times is to maintain a healthy work-life balance by spending quality time with close friends and family and to explore new places around the globe.
- Spending conscious time away from my busy life - usually in nature and with animals - it grounds me and gives me a bit of quiet time. I also tend to learn from my 2 year old that how unashamedly he takes on anything, fails and keeps trying, I try and not think about what everyone thinks when dealing with something new or unknown to me.
“Meditation is like a gym in which you develop the powerful mental muscles of calm and insight,” Ajahn Brahm.
The benefits of meditation have been well documented. As well as providing a calming break, it has been found to help reduce blood pressure and increase attention span. With this in mind, Racker Sumit Sharma, an experienced practitioner of mindfulness and meditation, recorded a 15 minute audio clip to help those interested in developing this skill.
“You cannot always control what goes on outside. But you can always control what goes on inside,” author unknown.
Yoga has been found to relieve stress and reduce muscle tension, improve concentration and calm the nervous system all of which improve overall feelings of wellbeing. There was a special yoga class sponsored by the Rackspace gym provider Nuffield Health where one of their instructors came to Hayes to hold a class onsite.
At Rackspace, culture is celebrated as the primary element that makes us a great place to work, with one of our mottos being, ”It’s OK to be me at Rackspace”. Certainly, the result of this acceptance and celebration of the individual was illustrated by how World Mental Health Day was acknowledged. Learn more about our culture.