Each month at Vertical Leap, we have a mental wellbeing session at lunchtime where we chat about mental health issues, share stories and learn each other’s coping strategies. We thought it might be nice to share with you what we discussed just in case you’re facing any of the same challenges.
The one thing we’ve discovered in these sessions is that you’re not alone – pretty much everyone is dealing with something in their lives so even if we don’t learn anything ground-breaking in the sessions, just knowing that there are other people in the company that understand can be a huge help. Here’s what we chatted about today:
Self-referral on the NHS
Not everybody knows this but you don’t need to visit your GP if you want to speak to a counsellor – you can self refer via the NHS website. Just search for ‘psychological therapies’ to find the resources in your area. In Portsmouth, you can get an initial assessment within a week or so – this is a 30-45 min chat about what you’re struggling with and then they’ll refer you either to i) online resources, ii) local groups or iii) 1-2-1 therapy, such as CBT. The wait for the latter is 6-7 weeks in Portsmouth (may differ elsewhere) so all in all a great service and available from your keyboard 😊
Quite a few people had experienced this at some point in their lives – doubting their abilities to do their job and fearing that they would one day be exposed as a fraud. They said it’s like having a little devil on your shoulder constantly reminding you that you’re no good at what you do. A great suggestion for dealing with this is to say to yourself: “I feel like this because I have high standards. I feel like this because I care about my job/the company”. That’s a really positive way of processing it!
Roles at home
Some of the females in the group said they put a huge amount of pressure on themselves to not only work full time but to also do everything in the home. This means they’re not sharing the mental load that accompanies that with their partners. This likely came from the role their parents played. Interestingly the younger people in the session said they noticed stereotypical roles much less in their parents when they were growing up so this definitely seemed to be a generational thing.
We talked about the huge negative impact that Instagram can have on you – constantly scrolling through pictures of happy, successful, beautiful people which in turn can massively damage the confidence you have in yourself. It was described as scrolling through ‘endless nothingness’. A couple of people have removed the apps from their phones and have noticed a real difference in their mental health. Jameela Jamil’s Instagram was mentioned as having a much more positive influence so worth checking her feed out.
A few people in the office have been trying CBD oil to help with anxiety and sleep, and have been getting really positive results. We all agreed though that it’s a good idea to run talking therapies such a Cognitive Behavioural Therapy alongside supplements to try and address the underlying reasons for anxiety, insomnia etc.
We touched on this briefly at the end as we ran out of time. We talked about the early signs of burnout (not being able to concentrate, crying for no reason, staying late at work, not sleeping) and how we should look out for these in our colleagues who are unlikely to recognise the signs themselves. We need to get better at saying “that’s enough for today, I’ve done enough” and not feel guilty about it. That’s easier said than done so we’ll definitely do another session on how to spot the signs and prevent burn out.
It’s not always about what you learn in these sessions (we don’t discuss anything ground-breaking), rather it’s about realising and hearing that pretty much everyone is dealing with something in their lives and to know you’re not the only one can be really powerful in helping you overcome your own challenges.