Let there be light! Longer, warmer days and nature awakening are just some of the reasons why May puts a spring into our step. This season is all about rebirth and growth - it’s the perfect time to start afresh. This month we’ll be looking at how we can boost our own wellbeing by showing our support to others, and why ‘Loneliness’ has been chosen as the theme for Mental Health Awareness Week 2022, which takes place between 9th-15th of May. We’ll also examine why people so often find it difficult to ask for help in practice, and suggest some ways that you can overcome fear to ask for what you really need. If you would like help with ensuring your employees can focus on wellbeing this spring by introducing a workplace wellbeing programme tailored to your needs, then please contact us today to discuss how The Performance Club can become part of that journey. Live Support in Times of Crisis The world is currently facing a cost of living crisis. These changes are not only expected to impact people living with a mental health condition – but also increase the likelihood of stress and anxiety developing, as worrying about money, healthy eating, and having a poorly heated home are three factors that have been proven to negatively affect your mental health. Money and mental health problems are often interlinked, and together these issues can create a worrying cycle that can lead to problems in other parts of our lives, putting stress on our relationships and general ability to function at our best. The good news is, that with so many people being affected, we can all empathise - or at least, sympathise - with one another. Now, more than ever, it’s important to support those around us as best we can. You can show that you care in a wide variety of ways, even if you’re not able to financially help someone who you know might be struggling. A simple act, such as openly asking a loved-one how the changes are likely to affect them, or offering guidance and signposting towards further support can be enough to show someone that you are there for them during times of change, and help them to feel less isolated in their struggles. If you’d like to find out more, you can read VeryWellMind’s guide on How to Cope with Financial Stress, and also discover why generosity isn’t just about doing good (it helps you to feel good, too!) in this article by Forbes. Learn Less Loneliness - More Connection Loneliness has been chosen as this year’s theme for Mental Health Awareness Week 2022. Psychologists define loneliness as ‘the gap between the social connections you would like to have and those you feel you experience’. We all feel lonely at times – it’s a natural human emotion. We’re biologically wired for social contact, and loneliness is our signal that we need more. But its affects reach far further than this. Medical researchers have concluded the heightened risk of mortality from loneliness equals that of smoking 15 cigarettes a day or being an alcoholic, and exceeds the health risks associated with obesity. Our society is changing fast. Technology enables so much - but convenience and cost efficiencies are driving more and more interactions online. And with many adapting to home and hybrid working, we need to embrace this change while building and maintaining meaningful connections with our colleagues. You can learn some useful coping strategies in 15 Things to do if You’re Feeling Lonely, brought to us by the Mental Health Foundation. You can also read BeliefNet’s useful tips on how to support someone else who might be feeling isolated. Play Asking for Help in Practice Few of us enjoy asking for help. As research in neuroscience and psychology shows, the social threats involved - the uncertainty, risk of rejection, potential for diminished status - activate the same brain regions that physical pain does. And in the workplace, where we’re typically keen to demonstrate as much expertise, competence, and confidence as possible, it can feel particularly uncomfortable when it comes to reaching out. Remember, that asking for help is likely to be less embarrassing than failing at whatever you’re finding difficult. If the problem you’re seeking help for is an aspect of a team project or social event, know that you’re letting other people down by not seeking help - you’re not the only one affected if you refuse to take opportunities to learn, grow, and perform to the best of your ability. It’s important to be direct – don’t drop hints, sigh or simply hope that others will pick up on your body language. Clearly explain what you need help with. In this acclaimed set of podcasts, ‘Unlocking Us’, author Brené Brown proves that humans are hardwired for connection, and that connection requires courage, vulnerability and conversation. This series encourages us to be brave enough to express what we need, and navigate the variety of responses that we might receive from others in the process. Pause Our Book of the Month is ‘The Comfort Book’ by Matt Haig This Sunday Times Bestseller presents us with a strange paradox - that many of the clearest, most comforting life lessons are learned while we are at our lowest. But then, we never think about food more than when we are hungry - and we never think about life rafts more than when we are thrown overboard. The Comfort Book is a collection of consolations learned during the hardest of times. In it, we are reminded that we can always nurture inner strength and hope, even in our busy, chaotic world. Author Matt Haig has been refreshingly open about his struggles with his own mental health, so it is useful for anyone in search of hope, looking for a path to a more meaningful life, or just in need of a little encouragement along the way. Happy reading!
All in all, spring is a great time for your health and wellbeing. From the warmer weather and longer days to the fresh produce and abundance of activities, there are plenty of reasons to love this season. So make sure to get out there and enjoy it! Your mind, body, and soul will thank you for it. And if you can enjoy May while also making some meaningful connections with your friends, family, colleagues and communities, then that’s even better. It’s vital that we listen, notice and connect. Don’t be too shy to ask for what you need. As we’ve outlined this month, helping others is a great boost for wellbeing – so don’t deny others the opportunity to provide that help to you – it is always mutually beneficial! We are in this together, seeking change for the greater good. And together, we can achieve it. If you'd like to find our how The Performance Club can work with you and tailor training packages to meet your individual needs - with a unique emphasis on performance - then please get in touch with our friendly team. Best wishes and Happy Spring! Stacy Thomson Founder of The Performance Club sent on behalf of all of the team