Commonwealth Games Gold Medallist and Head of Athlete Training, Dame Kelly Holmes Trust
You might be wondering why you’re reading an article by an Olympic swimmer in a campaign about employee wellbeing. However, there are clear parallels between the importance of wellbeing in work and sport.
You often hear athletes talking about a positive mental attitude and focussing on clear goals, but these aren’t just cliches. Without the ability to think clearly and look after your mental wellbeing, your ability to deliver on the pitch, pool or court will be impacted. The same is true for the workplace.
Times are so difficult right now, it’s more important than ever that we take the time to consider and look after our mental wellbeing. We’ve all seen sports stars encouraging people to get active, but we train athletes to work on a different level from that. Competing at an Olympic or Paralympic Games comes with the highest pressure imaginable. You have this one opportunity to deliver your best so it’s crucial that you arrive at the Games in the best position possible to achieve that.
Learning how to take time out
To be able to consistently train at a high level, you need to know when to be able to switch it on to do those hard sessions and when to switch off and relax, to allow yourself to re-charge the batteries.
The same is true of the work environment. It’s impossible to work at 100% capacity for 100% of the time, by stepping back and considering your mental wellbeing, this gives you the best opportunity to perform consistently at your best.
Times are so difficult right now, it’s more important than ever that we take the time to consider and look after our mental wellbeing.
Tips to help employees thrive
Athletes spend their lives managing this process in order to succeed at the highest level and our athletes now work with businesses to deliver workshops around improving business performance and managing wellbeing. These wellbeing tips from our athletes can help organisations and individuals thrive in the workplace:
- Get to know your colleagues, take notice of changes. Are they quiet, under more stress than usual, reach out to them to have a chat if so?
- Be flexible with staff, allow them time to get outside in daytime during sunshine hours to get some exercise or connect with the outside world.
- Train your staff – give them an understanding of mental health and stress management.
- Look at the Five Ways to Wellbeing – connect, taking notice, be active, keep learning and give.
- Build in time in your day to move, stretch and be active.
The Dame Kelly Holmes Trust