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Opening up about the importance of mental health and wellbeing

 

From growing a mindfulness community to adopting healthy habits, our Global Wellbeing Manager, Maya, is passionate about good mental health and wellbeing. Read about just some of her impactful work at Barclays, and how she’s helping us put wellbeing first.

 

Thinking back, I’ve always been interested in mental health and wellbeing, but studying psychology at university took it to a whole new level. It’s something I’m incredibly passionate about – and ultimately that’s what attracted me to my current role: Barclays’ Global Wellbeing Manager.

I started here as a HR graduate, rotating across four different teams over two years.

Early on, I met someone within the Wellbeing team at Barclays and heard all about the team’s work. I remember thinking then how amazing it was to find a whole team dedicated to employee wellbeing.

After that, I got involved in wellbeing initiatives throughout my graduate programme. I joined the Early Careers wellbeing working group, ran sessions on apprentice and graduate wellbeing, and gave presentations on the support Barclays could offer. Fast-forward to September 2020, and I’d made the move from graduate to Global Wellbeing Manager.

 

Building a community of supportive colleagues

Last year, we ran a successful six-week mindfulness basics course with an external mindfulness practitioner, leading to the creation of a mindfulness community. Colleagues completed some training to support with facilitating their own sessions for other colleagues and share the benefit of mindfulness with teams across Barclays’ globally. We’ve even established a mindfulness committee, to keep on growing and creating long-lasting positive impact around Barclays.

I also organise events and sessions on wide-ranging topics – like linking up with the charity Refuge to raise awareness about domestic abuse, and educate colleagues on how to give and receive support. It’s all part of making sure people better understand what they can do, and how they can look after themselves too.  

Aside from all this, I’m an active member of Win, Barclays Gender Network. In 2019, I founded and launched a six-month charity mentoring programme, connecting Barclays colleagues with employees in the charity sector. We’ve partnered with over 25 charities and had 200+ mentor and mentee partnerships formed through the programme – it’s something I’m particularly proud to have achieved during my time at Barclays.

 

Finding a new rhythm

My work with Barclays means I can encourage others to actively look after their wellbeing and develop healthy habits, especially in light of everything that happened in 2020. Personally, I adopted a new morning routine where I didn’t just wake up and jump straight into work – which is so easy to do when we’re working from home.

Now, I’ll take a bit of time every morning to enjoy a cup of tea as I read and write positive affirmations, as well as jotting down what I’m grateful for. I’ll also always try to go outside to stretch my legs and get some fresh air. They’re little things, but it gets me in the right mindset before settling at my desk and starting on my to-do list.

 

Adopting healthy habits

Since I’ve shaped my own morning routine, I’ve reflected a lot on the ways we can all adopt healthier habits. What I’ve found is that it needs to be something that’s really easy for you to implement. For example, I’ll keep my book and journal within reach on my bedside table, making it almost effortless to read and write a few things down each morning.

Of course, that’s just my personal experience and I know that everyone’s different. Some may love the idea of writing in a journal; others may want to be more active. It’s about being open to trying different things out, and whatever it is that makes you feel good, go for it. Remember, it all helps to boost your wellbeing and mental health.

 

Recognising that everyone’s different

To me, it’s so important for businesses to remember that the support they provide colleagues can never be one-size-fits-all. Every one of us is experiencing life differently, from graduates starting out, to working parents juggling careers and childcare.

We need to recognise our differences, and that there are times when some groups aren’t okay and need support in different ways. For businesses and leaders to acknowledge that is a powerful thing. More importantly, it’s vital for everyone’s mental health and wellbeing.

 

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