Blog: Why do I do this?
I was not an anxious child, or an anxious teenager, and I definitely wasn’t an anxious student!
When I joined the world of work, doing a series of high-pressure jobs I began to develop a more anxious outlook on life. I was never doing enough, I was also missing something, I had to work harder and harder to make sure I was delivering to the standard I thought was expected. Over the years I learnt to prioritise my job over everything else, if work was going ok and I was putting in the hours (sometimes 16-18 hours a day) then everything would be fine. I was heading for burnout for years, just about holding it together with scotch tape and wine!
Then my Mum died. Quite suddenly. I was working and living halfway round the world in Singapore and had to get on a plane back to the UK. On that flight I thought about how I’d spent so much of the past few years in my head thinking about work, time I could have spent being more present with my Mum, the woman I had enjoyed being with more than anyone else I knew.
Life is short. I was wasting it being miserable.
Losing my Mum gave me the jolt I needed to stop prioritising my job above my own mental health. It taught me that the only aim in life is to be happy, and whatever gives you that happiness is your success.
Having spent the past 5 years prioritising and working on my own mental health I have learnt so much about myself, about how I want to live and also that you can have a successful career while prioritising your own wellbeing.
The right type of company culture, an open and supportive line manager, access to resources and champions that promote wellbeing mean you can have both.
That inspired me to set up my own business to help use my experience and hard lessons learnt to support organisations in developing and designing employee wellbeing strategies. To bake employee wellbeing and talking about mental health right into the culture of a company, to equip line managers to support those who need it and to empower individuals with their own self care toolkits.
Wellbeing strategies lead to happier, healthier, and more productive workforces. They lead to a reduction in sickness and attrition. They benefit the bottom line just as much as they benefit engagement and culture. For me it really was a no brainer – our people are the heart of our organisations, they should be taken care of.