This is the Masawa Minute – mental wellness, social impact, and impact investing snippets from what we’ve read the last two weeks + where you can get active.
Time flies, but the challenges we’re experiencing while trying to learn to live with the pandemic are still the same. This Masawa Minute is about mental wellbeing at work – what the problems are, how they can be solved, and how we can start talking about them. We hope you learn something that might help you become more aware of your mental wellness and remind you to care for it once in a while. Stay well!
Masawa is turning 1! To celebrate, we’re hosting “Playing Mind Games”, an event to bring lighthearted fun to the heavy topic of mental health. Save the date! December 8th, 17–18.30 CET. More info will follow!
We have exciting news from our friends at Conscious U – Spoon Rooms are now available in German in collaboration with Freunde fürs Leben!
If it’s your first time hearing of Spoon Rooms (although it’s hard to believe), it’s a weekly video conference where you can meet people to just be with them, talk and share. It’s an alternative to nerve-wracking video calls where people talk over each other and nothing ever goes smoothly, offering a safe place to be yourself. Currently, the calls take place in two languages – English and German. Don’t miss the next ones! [Thanks, Nadja!]
It’s a conference that will take place the upcoming weekend – November 13-14th. It starts on Friday evening with a keynote speech and several panels on the intersectionality of mental health, covering topics like mental health and climate change, economics, racial justice, human rights, and more. Saturday’s focus will be on working in global mental health, advocacy as well as community-based solutions.
This terrific program will be carried out by excellent speakers, including Vikram Patel (a professor and a co-founder of numerous mental health organizations, one of the TIME’s most influential persons in 2015), Erica Esposito (the Campaign Officer for United for Global Mental Health), Yvonne Ochieng (the Youth Engagement Coordinator for citiesRISE Nairobi-Kenya) and so many others. The tickets cost $5-$15 and are absolutely worth it. See you there!
What we’re reading…
1 in 6 workers is experiencing a mental health problem at any given time, so it’s almost guaranteed someone in your team is living through that right now. In Britain, stress is said to be the reason for nearly half of the working days lost due to health issues. When you calculate this time for every single worker, that’s quite a lot of days.
Recognizing that, Deloitte prepared a report making a case for employers investing in their employees’ mental wellness. One of the most important arguments is that such investment offers a great return – £5 for every £1 spent, to be precise. In contrast, poor mental health costs UK employers £42bn – £45bn each year, and it’s only getting worse.
That sounds like an amount of money you’d rather save and employers are starting to realize that. However, no matter if you’re an employer or not, Deloitte’s case provides amazing insight into the wellbeing of various employee groups and shares solutions. If you don’t have time or mental bandwidth to go through the entire report, Sanctus helpfully provided a summary. No excuses! [Thanks, Joshua!]
Mental health struggles are incredibly prevalent among entrepreneurs because they tend to be independent, driven, and overworked. They’re also especially sensitive to experiencing stigma and being labeled. Due to this fear, they often avoid seeking help, which makes them sink deeper and feel even more hopeless.
One of the tips the article suggests for entrepreneurs is to understand that biology plays a significant role in mental health. Mental illnesses are biological diseases rather than a reflection of one’s character and abilities. Also, it’s way more common than people tend to think.
Helping founders improve their mental health and the wellbeing of their teams is a big focus at Masawa. We believe that only when founders themselves are looking after their wellbeing will their teams be able to achieve their full potential and maximize the positive social impact of their products and services.
Anxiety affects our lives profoundly. It disrupts what we’re doing and thinking, it affects us physically and alters our reality. It also messes with our decision making – actions driven by anxiety are generally known to be poor choices. Here’s how it hijacks our judgment:
There’s growing evidence that cognitive decision making is linked to subregions of our prefrontal cortex. It’s the newest part of our brain in terms of evolution. It plays a highly significant role in everything that requires conscious, rational thinking – understanding rules, consequences, planning, problem-solving, and so on. Anxiety disrupts these regions by disengaging specific neurons, which leads us to bad decision making.
When employees are experiencing anxiety at work, it dramatically affects their performance in a negative way. The key to avoiding this is rather simple yet highly challenging: it’s learning to reduce anxiety. There are many ways to do that and everyone discovers what works for them individually. That being said, having anxiety support mechanisms in a workplace could be a big help. But first, breathe. [Thanks, Niels!]
Are you working on a computer? Are you reading, attending events, shopping, talking to people on a computer too? If you answered “yes” to more than one of those questions, you likely know how it feels to suffer from digital fatigue, which, with our entire lives and even work having moved online, is stronger than ever.
Digital fatigue can feel like a lack of energy, mental clarity, burnout, but instead of having some time to rest in the evening, there are other responsibilities – household tasks, children, spending time with our partners.
What can we do about it to avoid suffering long-term mental health consequences? How do we improve our work-life balance?
The first tip suggests intentionally making the time to improve your work-life balance. It’s something many of us know we should do but still never do it. You need to be intentional about it and schedule a time for breaks and other activities on your calendar – that will ensure you never miss them and help resist the urge to work ten more minutes. Read the article for a couple of other tips – we already took notes!
So it’s been established that we’re living in a difficult time and experiencing stress, anxiety and depression more than ever, which follows us into our workplaces. However, even with formal support communication channels at work, it can be hard to start the conversation. How can we do it?
First things first – decide what you want to share. Determine who you’re talking to and what you’re comfortable with telling them. Find the balance between how much you need and want to disclose. Having mental health issues is not a sign of weakness and taking a mental health day off should be the norm. Having a break for your mental health does not diminish your experience, your competency, and the value you bring.
When talking to other people about their mental wellbeing, consider asking more than, “How are you?” It’s a typical conversation starter, but precisely because of that most people won’t go into detail about the true state of their wellbeing. Also, make sure that you’re creating a safe space for people to share their thoughts and feelings. For example, it could be a private Slack channel for checking in and sharing mental health resources or having regular chat sessions.
What a crazy week last week in the world of politics, ay‽ Oh wait, it wasn’t just politics, it was the world of economics, rights, media, all the other worlds, no‽ Yes, we can breathe a sigh of relief that the elections are over, but are they really? In any case, it’s an important moment to take a hard look at divisiveness and remember that even those on the ‘other side’ need to feel a sense of belonging without being judged.
As the year comes to an end, start thinking about fun ways to celebrate the ups and downs of this crazy time that is 2020 with your remote colleagues, friends, and loved ones. That said, make sure you save the date for Masawa’s “Playing Mind Games”
PS: “‽”, the funny character you just zoomed by is an interrobang, a question mark and exclamation point in one. Use it wisely.
Be the first to receive news about Masawa the mental wellness, impact investing, and social impact space, and enjoy inspiring, thought-provoking content.