🎶 “Because I’m happy” 🎶
Check out Amy’s five principles to flourish and improve your mental health, as she returns with her second HR blog for the councils…😀
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Happy Thursday to you all! I’m feeling really buoyant and it’s not because the end of the week is drawing close … it’s because of the staff lunchtime choir I attended yesterday which lifted my spirits.
When I was 11-18 years old I sang in a school choir (we even made it to the Royal Albert Hall!) but over the years I slowly stopped singing. This is until the arrival of my son! Since his birth, I’ve spent most of my days singing away to him – nursery rhymes, pop songs, lullabies. You name it, I’ve probably sung it to him and it’s made me re-discover just how much I love singing. In fact, most of my maternity leave was spent going to music themed groups, so I was really pleased on my return to work to hear that a volunteer-run lunchtime choir group had been formed.
It started after the Councils kicked off a focus on being well, based on the five principles outlined by the New Economics Foundation as essential for people to flourish and improve their mental health in and out of work. These are:
– Connect with people around you
– Be active
– Take notice of the world around you and what you’re
– Keep learning
During this lunchtime break, we introduced ourselves (it was a select, but friendly group of 12 this week) and warmed up our voice before launching into ‘London’s Burning’, ‘Wade in the Water’ and ‘Oh Happy Day’. It was a great time and I could see how it fulfilled a number of the principles above – I connected with colleagues that I would have never met otherwise, got some exercise as I breathed deeply and stood talk for that an hour (surprisingly hard work!), took notice of my breath and the sound around me and re-learnt the skills of harmonising and singing in a round. It was brilliant!
And when I got back to the desk, I had an energy that I didn’t have in the lead-up to my lunch break (most probably sleep related – my little pickle of a son had me awake 4 times in the night and had to be taken by my husband to have an hour of play between 4:30am to 5:30am!). I got so much done during that afternoon with my new-found energy and couldn’t wait to get home to tell my husband about my great day!
It showed me just how important connecting, being active, taking notice, keeping learning and giving are to us as individuals. It also showed me (if I put my ‘HR’ hat on) just why an organisation might want to invest time, energy and (dare I say it?) money into providing their staff with experiences like these. Because the benefits for the organisation are limitless! Greater productivity, a boost to team and individual morale, people being more open to learning in their roles as they get more comfortable with learning in general, making contacts across the organisation which might lead to more joint-work being done, decrease sickness as people improve their mental health.
There are more ideas afoot – mindfulness, Pilates sessions and volunteering opportunities and I can’t wait to get involved in them all!