“Same Sea, Different Boats”
Our challenges may be unique but we can all take the same positive steps to boost our wellbeing.
At T-Cup our ethos is simple: Reflect, Insight, Action. We believe that when people become more self-aware of the areas that have the potential to impact their wellbeing, they feel more empowered and motivated to take positive action. As a data-driven wellbeing company, our proven formula is aligned with the World Health Organisation’s (WHO’s) holistic definition of wellbeing and we measure mental and physical health across several interrelated wellbeing categories.
To demonstrate the value of this information, we took a deep dive into the community data from the last twelve months and found that there were some notable scoring differences between the genders. Young males, in particular in the 20’s age group are showing a rather sharp downward trend in overall wellbeing.
This may have something to do with how young people, especially young men react to mental health issues. Last year, a survey of over 1000 boys and young men carried out by youth mental health charity Stem4, found that 37% of those polled were experiencing mental health difficulties. Worryingly, researchers found that nearly half (46%) of respondents wouldn’t feel comfortable asking for help if they were anxious or depressed for fear of being perceived as ‘weak’ or ‘less masculine.’ The survey concluded that this pressure of hyper-masculinity serves as a barrier to young men seeking help before they reach crisis point.The most remarkable shift in the female scores is to be found in the 40’s age group where overall wellbeing scores have declined, notably Success which is down by a whopping 10%. This could be explained by the fact that women in this age group are likely to be managing the effects of menopause which can have a huge impact on working life. A report by the Fawcett Society and Channel 4, which polled 4,000 women aged 45-55, found that 10 per cent had left their job because of symptoms of menopause.
This insight enables us to shine a spotlight on the otherwise invisible challenges that some of us are facing and our clients who use our CheckUp solution can pinpoint potential problem areas and take positive action to support their workforce. After identifying lower health scores amongst females, one of our clients, Unum recently introduced a new Reproductive Health Policy including menopause support which has had a positive impact on wellbeing scores and is helping to redress the gender imbalance.
Working On Wellbeing
Whilst age and demographics may vary, the common ground that applies to every one of us is that we can all take steps to improve our wellbeing in a way that is accessible to us. Regularly reflecting on the areas which impact us can pinpoint those aspects of our lives which could benefit from some attention so that we can take steps to address them. We may all be in different boats but to weather the storm, we still need to secure the hull, hoist the sails and make sure the captain is focused to navigate our way through choppy waters!
The T-Cup team are a diverse and insightful bunch and we all have one thing in common; we are passionate about mental health and wellbeing and truly believe that everyone has the potential to thrive. We asked our gurus to give us the lowdown on what they believe are some of the key factors to consider on our wellbeing journey.
Garry Pratt, our Future of Work consultant, has found that higher levels of creativity and teamwork can be found if we combine activity with green spaces. “No one does their best thinking in the office or sitting at their desk. And almost everybody already knows that fresh air and the outdoors is the place where they get inspiration, do their best thinking and incubate new ideas. Often what they don’t always accept or realise is that this is real, deep work – it’s not bunking off”.
Our Happiness Consultant, Gary Luff, believes that giving is a powerful way to boost our mood. “Giving is one of the most effective ways of increasing our happiness, especially if you can see the impact of your gift and it’s a cause you care about. It doesn’t need to be a lot. For example, if you care about global health, a donation of £1.60 (to the Against Malaria Foundation) will provide an anti-malaria net for two people to sleep under for three years.”
Gary is a firm believer in the power of systems thinking and this same holistic approach is a key factor in our wellbeing journey. For example, making time for physical activity could have a positive impact on our sleep which means we will feel more rested and less stressed which will likely boost our mood.
Feeling happier means our relationships could flourish and our self-esteem could grow meaning we’re more likely to say yes to opportunities that come our way. The delicate interplay between each of these key areas means that by taking baby steps to improve just one of them, the ripple effect could spark positive changes across all other aspects of our lives. Our Flow Consultant and mindfulness specialist, Lucy Stone believes that we can develop self-awareness through regular meditation practice and mindful living. “A daily check-in, a moment of reflection or mindfulness each day enables us to stop and focus in on ourselves for a while. This might be to regulate our breathing or notice thought patterns and behaviours if we are having a stressful time or just to take a moment of gratitude if we’re having a good day. The science shows that we only need to practice mindfulness meditation for around ten minutes per day to feel the physical and mental health benefits and it might be as simple as sitting quietly for a few moments and taking some deep breaths in between meetings rather than rushing from one to the next.”
The systems thinking approach underpins the philosophy behind our new WellCup app which is due for launch next month. We aim to give everyone the tools they need to thrive and our new interactive wellbeing companion has been created to maximise that potential. Along with reflective practice, you will find breath-work audio to help you focus before delving into resources and thought pieces to expand the mind and level up your toolkit. As well as gentle workouts and instructional videos you will be able to choose a challenge from the library or devise your own to start turning positive actions into habits.
Back to Basics
The speed of modern-day life and constant digital connectivity means we are increasingly disconnected from the physical world around us and it’s easy to lose sight of the simple pleasures to be gained from being present in the moment. Doing something for others, being outside in nature and focused breathwork are simple, mood-boosting strategies which are within easy reach of all of us. Whether we’re in the first flush of youth, coming up to midlife or approaching our golden years, our only limitations are the ones we set for ourselves.