Image: Barry Shimmon Image: Barry Shimmon

A recent major HR study recently surveyed 400 CEOs of SMEs to HR directors of multinationals. When asked how important health and wellbeing was to the business, 19% said it was ‘vital and at the core of the business’ and 51% classed it as ‘important’. Cliff Walker explains more.

Wellbeing became mainstream, and not without good reason. It’s something each and every one of us needs. To address it, there are no shortage of books, gurus, methodologies, practices, TED talks and movements all teaching us how - aiming for same result: peace of mind body and soul. A place of refocus and a bolt of mental stamina to tackle work and life’s scenarios.

Seems a tall order? Whether you’re a teacher, sales rep or head of a 100,000-strong network marketing distribution business, no one’s stress can be compared. More importantly, finding a solution to dealing with it and cultivating a bespoke de-stressing process which works, is a hugely personal journey.

Not quite yet a corporate imperative

Despite being mainstream, the boardroom is slowly, but surely catching up. A recent major HR study recently surveyed 400 CEOs of SMEs to HR directors of multinationals. When asked how important health and wellbeing was to the business, 19% said it was ‘vital and at the core of the business’ and 51% classed it as ‘important’. However, 27% said it was only ‘nice to have, not a business imperative’. Less than half (47%) of respondents said they ran health and wellbeing initiatives, but only 17% said they had a comprehensive strategy in place linking the health and wellbeing of the workforce to the success of the business.

Liberty, equality and connectivity

On the other extreme, France’s ‘right to disconnect’ or no-obligation to respond to emails after hours, is a noble gesture. Personally, receiving a stressful email on arrival at work would make limited impact to my overall stress.

Our stress levels aren’t going anywhere. According to the Labour Force Survey (LFS) the estimated number and rate for work related stress, anxiety and depressing in Britain, has remained broadly flat for more than a decade.

Companies will never take ultimate responsibility for our stress levels. Anti-stress legislation can provide temporary reprieve, but the ultimate responsibility lies with us as individuals, whether employed, or self employed.

These steps will help you create your own relationship to wellbeing, without being told how:

  1. You’re already doing it. You presumably already know a few things which make you feel good about life, that don’t involve alcohol or other quick fixes. Start with scheduling things you already know to work in relieving your stress and making you feel good about life. A drive to the countryside, a massage, playtime with your children, art lessons or gospel choir singing. The list is endless but start with what you know works for you.
  2. Ask the coolest cat. One of the best ways to network and build a rapport with colleagues, future contacts or friends is to ask them how they de-stress as you compliment them for their cool and grounded approach to life. We all know someone like that whom we wish we were more like.
  3. Pick n mix approach to wellbeing activities. For many of us, the 100-day Bikram Yoga challenge, Reiki, horse healing therapy, gardening, cooking are just a sample of stress busters. Dabble with what you think sounds good, let your instinct guide you to the weird and wonderful. You might find a surprise in between decoupage and sky diving.
  4. Mind the gap. Without delving into the wonders of mindfulness, its basic premise is simple. You are not the sum of your current situation, nomatter how unpleasant, the stressful moment has to pass at some point. Mindfulness teaches us to take that step out of the situation and become the watcher. When we have a birds-eye-view of a scenario, we can respond appropriately, rather than a knee-jerk reaction. It prevents pain and stress in the long run if we can learn to do this, the minute things go pear shaped.
  5. Just walk. I said I wasn’t going to tell you exactly what to do, but here I am. I might be considered unadventurous for advocating walking, but the act of doing just that has track record of being mentioned in the bible, to famous anecdotes by present world leaders in transformation, such as Tony Robbins – a man who constantly talks about the importance of getting into ‘state’. Every day for me begins with a 45-minute walk with my dogs around a lake. If I don’t come back to my office with a new idea, solution to a problem or feeling of clarity, I would fear the worst. It’s free, and there are no rules apart from staying off our phones.
Stress is living and breathing part of our lives which finds different ways of cropping up. Making friends with it by having a simple set of non-prescribed coping mechanisms, specific to you, can help you navigate these bumps in the road of life.

Entrepreneur Cliff Walker is an internationally renowned trainer, speaker and author on all aspects of best practice around network marketing.