by our guest blogger Joy Mitchell

Move me

During one of my wellbeing programmes, Mary, a participant, was sharing why she enjoyed going outside for a walk.

“Indoors nothing moves, everything just exists there, everything including me is stuck. I go outside and everything moves.

The clouds across the sky, cars and cyclists going past, plants and leaves rustling, birds flapping their wings, and the people around me, their faces nodding, mist from their breath, and feet walking.

Everything moves! Nothing is stuck, it moves and creates waves.

Everything is alive, connected, and I feel alive too!”

She feels:

  • alive
  • motivated
  • hopeful
  • engaged with the world
  • experiencing vitality, presence, and connection with all things and
  • she achieves this through movement.

As a long-time health promotion champion, my interest was sparked by Mary’s story. I think of it often, and it came back to me as I sat down to write this blog post.

Wellbeing and sustainability goals

Feeling spark of happiness in the woods, lifting arms in the air
Happy employees

There are many frameworks and models of wellbeing and of sustainability, and all are useful and serve their purpose.

They can all help businesses and individuals apply processes and systems to achieve their wellbeing or sustainability goals.

Yes, there can be:

  • great improvements in productivity
  • efficiency
  • perhaps achieving certain status
  • or funding
money and bar chart showing increase
Other positive movements

This can be evidenced by data and objective analysis:

  • staff absence reduced by 25%
  • productivity up by 30%
  • £xxx saved through recycling and reducing waste.

That is, if the process is engaged with and sustained.

Often missing from frameworks, is the subjective experience, of carrying out the actions routinely, making it work in the longer term.

  • What motivates individuals to apply and comply?
  • Why would they make effort to do so?
  • What is the main human motivator for making these changes?
  • What is the ultimate experience that sustains it?
  • Surely, is it not to find your own spark? to be connected? to feel alive?

So, let’s get unstuck and experience life. Let’s make a move and create the conditions for change.

Get moving

The first step to create a movement for change, whether in your workplace, your home, your community, or yourself, is to make a move, like Mary did. Move to become unstuck.

Someone going for a walk, picture of feet walking in park
Getting a move on

As you get free and feel the stirrings of change, others will start to notice. You have created the conditions and the permissions for them to become unstuck too.

Make another move, and they will also. Sustain this pattern of moving and you create a momentum that energises and motivates engagement with the experience of change.

Like to move it, move it!

What are some of these initial, but crucial moves to create the spark and get the movement started?

Senior leaders and employers can be initiators

  • Learn about and understand the current context around mental health and workplace stress, so that your organisation’s movement is informed and relevant

People managers can be ‘first followers’ and encourage their teams

Wellbeing colleagues opening up to each other chatting over coffee
It’s good to talk
  • Embed supportive conversations in your routine, so that both you and your staff are confident to discuss personal experience openly, with no stigma

Staff and ALL individuals can contribute to this movement of change

  • Use positive coping strategies
  • generating good health, and
  • look after your own wellbeing

all this will help you become a role model for your colleagues and community, creating the momentum for your movement towards sustainable change.

Get ready…

Start from where you are, make your move. You don’t need to do it all at once.

Here are a few simple wellbeing tips you can use for that first step to personal wellbeing:

  • Schedule meetings to finish 10 minutes before the hour, so that you create a break between meetings
  • Block self-appointments in your diary well in advance, so that you have protected time for learning, reflection, planning
Switch off to be fully switched on
  • Switch off notifications, so that you can concentrate. That ping is designed to distract you!
  • Caffeine can stay in your system for 10 hours. Keep your intake to earlier in the day, so that you can improve the quality of your sleep
Movement breaks
  • Move! Every hour or so, move by stretching at your desk, walking to the canteen, popping outside for air, so that you become unstuck and refresh your physical and mental spark

No longer existing and stuck, but feeling alive and moving freely, experiencing the spark of vitality in every step, every word spoken and every action within your collective movement for change.

Joy Mitchell works with leaders to facilitate workplace culture change. Her vision is for all of us to realise our potential and find our spark. To contact Joy, visit her LinkedIn profile

Categories: Blog