To say that the past year has been intense, would be the understatement of the century. It has definitely felt like we were all in survival mode, running on fumes, but it's so important to remember that it’s ok not be to be ok!
To say that the past year has been intense, would be the understatement of the century. It has definitely felt like we were all in survival mode, running on fumes, as well as trying to make the absolute best effort at getting through it.
Now, more than ever, conversations surrounding mental health are vital. In a survey conducted by Mind, after the first lockdown, they found that over 60% of participants experienced mental health issues during it. And a growing percentage reported no previous poor mental health and wellbeing problems beforehand, now battling issues with anxiety and depression. Our mental health has become yet another casualty of the virus.
But it’s so important to remember that it’s ok not be to be ok!
This is something I cannot repeat or say loudly enough. We are all on completely unique journeys with our mental health. Different life experiences, coping mechanisms and scars, so it’s only natural that we struggle or thrive in our wellbeing in our own time. Don’t compare yourself to, or try and keep up with anyone else (often something I need to remind myself). There is absolutely nothing shameful or taboo in asking for help.
So let’s break the stigma, and keep these conversations going all year long. In this blog post, I am going to delve into ways that we support mental health at 3 Sided Cube as well as some techniques that have been helpful for me personally.
As part of our culture, we focus on activities that get all of the team cognizant of having healthy bodies AND minds. Some of the ways mental wellness is supported by Cube are:
Targeted team building
Sure, we have tons of light-hearted fun and challenges planned by management to help us grow together. But, they also make sure to carve out time for us to take stock of our own wellness. Recently, we were able to have Daran Bailey, from the Aster Foundation join our HHH (Happy Half Hour) meeting and spend the time carefully educating and sharing coping mechanisms with us.
At the end of a long work week, it was invaluable to sit (virtually) with my colleagues and take stock of our own and collective mental health.
Alongside these sessions, our irreplaceable (just like Beyonce) Operations Director, Jen took it upon herself to lead us in meditation. It was much needed, and everyone that participated benefited immensely from the time taken to do that. But she had one more trick up her sleeve and sprung a laughing yoga session on us. If you have never done that, I cannot recommend it highly enough, nor have I laughed that hard in far too long!
Lift-ups and Recognition
As we were JUST talking about everybody’s favourite meeting/cocktail hour, I would be remiss to not mention a beloved tradition during it. At the end of every meeting, just as we are all about to log-off and begin the commute home, (from the kitchen table to the couch) we do lift-ups. The floor is open to all of us to big up our fellow Cubes and note something particularly rad they did that week. From help with a particularly sticky work situation, to support in a personal problem, we get to express how much we *see* and appreciate each other.
Those parting lift-ups always wrap up the week on the very best note and make me infinitely proud to be part of a team that values the importance of gestures like that.
Mental Health Checks
Something I really miss about the office is how electric it is. With so many of us working in our cheery HQ, our relationships grow so organically. We care about each other. Those conversations you have while making your coffee are so impromptu and special. The life events or crap days, we’re all there for. So when we had to close the doors and work from home, it felt like we had lost all of that invaluable interaction with each other.
And thus, ‘The Lil’ Act of Kindness List’ was born. While it wasn’t quite the same as having a dance-off in the kitchen, it did provide the opportunity for all of the Cubes health and happiness to be accounted for. The Operations team makes sure to check in on every one of us and offer support if it’s needed. On those tough lockdown days, it can be a lifeline. But, on a not so bad one, it’s just nice to know someone is thinking about you.
My personal, favourite part of being in the office, was our Friday Lunch tradition. Every single Friday, without fail, every single Cube would gather around the giant kitchen table and demolish a lunch that Operations had arranged for us. Nothing beats being all squished at the table, gossiping about each other weeks and finding endless reasons to laugh (and steal people’s fries that weren’t very vigilant). I don’t want to oversell this here, but it was the literal, actual best.
And I am so so happy that other people felt the same way because it has evolved virtually! I mean, I’m not able to steal my co-worker’s food, BUT that human interaction without work being involved is just so refreshing.
I love that 3 Sided Cube recognises how vital our mental health is, and constantly strives to offer support for it. But I love even more that they acknowledge that sometimes, the aforementioned support, isn’t enough. So they offer, to each and every one of us, to help supplement our therapy should the need arise. It is no questions asked, no strings attached, just talk to Jen and they help work out the logistics of how they can help and cover the cost.
The global situation is causing impact on our lives like we've never seen before, so it was kind of a no-brainer for me to introduce a new benefit that helped to empower our team to look after their mental health. Offering counselling as a benefit is not new, or rocket science, but I really wanted to do something to let our team know that it's ok to not be ok and that as their employer, we actively want to support them. We do lots around wellbeing and physical health already at Cube, but as we start 2021, I think prioritising our mind health and looking out for each other has got to be the no.1 focus for us all.
Even though it is refreshing to feel so supported in the workplace, outside of work, I have found that tech can be really useful to help with my mental health, particularly over the last year. Here are a few of my own personal tips…
It’s important to remember that what works for some, won’t necessarily be helpful for others. So listen to yourself and choose a course of action that is tailored for you. Should you not know where to start, these are excellent resources for advice and support:
Published on January 25, 2021, last updated on March 31, 2021