10th Oct was the International Mental Health Day. Social Media channels from the professionally upmarket Linked In to the more social and gossipy Instagram , Twitter and Facebook – we re flooded with posts on mental health . Some were true stories , others affirmations of support for the importance of mental health . If you were to glance through them – you would probably come out with the warm and fuzzy feeling on how compassionate and aware the globe has become on issues of well being and mental health . Is that really the case ?
In recognition of the importance of the mental health day and to show their commitment to the well being of the employees , the HR department came out full swing with all guns blazing . if you were to take a look at my calendar, each day was crammed with online wellbeing workshops. The day started with online Yoga (titled Yoga for rejuvenation) then there were several mindfulness workshops . It almost would seem like mindfulness is the new global trend , the new fashion statement . Experts talked about it , did some brief mindfulness meditations guiding participants patiently and responding back fiercely as some bored executives typed – “when will this end” in the Q&A window . There were workshops on laughter with a stand up comedian in tow and a series of workshops on breathing too . Several panel discussions on selfcare , wellbeing and the importance of taking a break were held with global leadership . The HR team wanted and got full marks for employee engagement . Report card for the year made.
Only that most employees has calendars far too busy to really benefit from these programs . They had line managers shouting on the phone while the yoga instructor was asking them to avoid distractions and focus on their breathing . If one declined a meeting as they wanted to attend a wellbeing workshop seniors would roll their eyes and say , really ?
Corporate well being is a multi million dollar industry now . From global leaders to corporate doyens everyone is opining on wellbeing “hacks”, everyone teaching a new formula for meditation and some rehashing the same old “Ten Tips for Happiness” You may be told that X meditation gave the Kadarshians a sexy marriage or Y chants are behind the glorious life of ABC superstar .
A newbie – you start out – with a resolve to be at the peak of your wellness and dream about living mindfully the life of the aforementioned superstar- but demanding bosses ,conflicting meetings and nagging spouses make – the resolutions fall by the wayside until the next wellbeing week .
Wellbeing both physical and mental – requires deep personal involvement and investment in my humble view . The exorbitantly priced meditation coach who is paid by your organization cannot meditate for you everyday and make you peaceful .Ditto for mindfulness – it may be a global trend – but if the only thing you are mindful about is putting that mindfulness quote on your facebook DP, it won’t work ! And the ten tips on happiness -ask Google- it will gave you 100 but none will make you happy
Wellbeing in my humble opinion means being well physically , mentally and emotionally . And while companies across the world are now investing in these buzzwords , at the end of the day wellbeing is deeply personal .
Not so long ago, I was worried about my wellbeing . I was fatigued , had diabetes and spiralling blood sugar and was anxious most of the time . Having faced debilitating depression in life , I was afraid too of falling in the abyss of darkness and hopelessness again . While I wrote about how I halved my HbA1C (glycosalyted haemoglobin) and got a grip on my diabetes(here) , once the lockdown started the efforts got washed out and the sugar levels rose again as did the anxiety in life with work and family issues . Having swung many times on the yo-yo pendulum of emotions – I wanted to have an anchor of stillness and stability in life . That anchor has been os.me and Black Lotus . But my consistency faltered .I wasn’t consistent earlier with BL – missing meditation on a lot of days – but I saw the dramatic effect on my well being and peace when I was regularly completing tasks and packs .
Those 20 odd minutes invested in the morning gave such a kickstart to my wellbeing that all through the day no matter what the external stimulus I was able to be centered around gratitude , peace and kindness – but the key to getting there was consistency which was hard to master. Amazingly, I felt more purposeful and more driven. I got a tighter control on binge eating which I used to do whenever I was too tensed and I could force myself to go out for my walk .
My mantra that worked was to set the daily goal of completing the day’s tasks on BL and get going . I can’t think of more magical 20 minutes .
It’s a war for well being strategies and apps out there – each one being touted as the ultimate panache for all of life’s ills and each the silver bullet to nirvana . But irrespective of the hype – we must find our own way , face our own struggles and conquer our own limitations to progress to move towards really being well . No matter what the clamour or the trend in the world outside , the fountain of wellbeing must spring forth inside of us .
Please do share you story and any silver bullet you may have found for wellbeing !