Mental health is a hot topic for companies and employees. The World Health Organisation considers stress an epidemic and often the first cause for mental health problems – the connection is clear. We now have a pandemic on top of it, COVID19 is here. Two for one. How can we get ready for what will happen after? How can we support each other? How can employers support us?
We are obviously in the middle of a crisis and as it develops we’re likely to see more of a financial impact. I have been speaking with artists, creative minds, kick-ass entrepreneurs to think about future landscapes and how the world we know could – and actually should – change. We feel this is an opportunity to reset and address those dynamics we know are toxic – emotionally and environmentally – hence why I have put together some ideas and trends to discuss this global issue. Some of the take-aways will look more into what we can do as individuals and within our community, whilst other proposals will have to be business and/or government led.
CHAPTER 1 | We are grieving globally and rediscovering our creative identity!
New hobbies, new skills |We are all together in this. The pandemic is impacting everyone regardless of your gender, race, origin or social class. Actors, politicians, famous superstars – even Tom Hanks and Boris Johnson – have caught the virus. Getting to know those stories that relate to us is important and social media in this new moment of physical distancing has been very helpful. We have seen whole nations synchronising to clap and support the people that are saving lives daily. We are reconnecting with old friends, doing more webcam chats than ever before and getting creative.
We are hungry to learn, and this is a key opportunity for companies. Some of us have more time now, and we seem to finally be happy with the idea of reading those books that have been lying around the house for years and why not – get that work certification you have been procrastinating on. HR has an opportunity to push content and learning modules that now we want to learn.
Music for the soul| At Cornerstone we have launched Cornerstone Cares a free online portal and we are sharing a series of tips for people to stay sane at home. One of the tips was to learn a new skill, like learning to play the guitar, for example. Music is one of many ways to stay mentally healthy. Dr. Sarah Campbell, entrepreneur and founder of Play Well for Life, tells us how music and creative arts have proven to be healing specially for kids and people suffering from dementia. She sees strong potential in music to overcome grief and stressful times. Another take-away from this crisis is that artistic expressions such as music can help us build resilience. Sarah also says “everyone knows that people use music to regulate their emotions”. And here’s another example of how music has a positive impact on communities: “Coronavirus: Social distancing gig on a houseboat “ (video)
The same logic is applicable to art. Painting, creating a video, drawing or cooking have become soul healing ways to spend time at home in a healthy way. Those rituals connect us with our inner-self and have a similar impact as mindfulness and meditation. We are so focused in a task that we concentrate fully on our actions and so without being aware we are living in the present. A positive post COVID19 consequence is that we are discovering new hobbies, passions, reconnecting with our creative selves and learning to spend more quality time alone.
TIPS TO EMBRACE CREATIVITY
- Do not be scared to fail
- Get out of your comfort zone and try something that is new
- Reach to your community for input
- Share your creative results and evolution
- Support others in your network
- Be kind (read Liggy Webb’s article “Kindness in a crisis”)
TIPS FOR HUMAN RESOURCES TO EMBRACE CREATIVITY
- We are hungry to learn – give us access to training
- Make training relevant, I want to apply what I learn outside of work
- Highlight creative thinking and innovation examples in your monthly newsletters
- Encourage managers to give time back to their teams to work
- Reward leaders that embrace creativity
TIPS FOR MANAGERS TO EMBRACE CREATIVITY
- Teach your managers to make work fun and be creative
- If you run a team, have creative ice-breakers before the team meetings
- Speak to your team members and ask them if they have been doing something creative
- Showcase those peers that are learning a new skill
- Share stats about how creative expressions improve your mental health
- Give your team time to have fun and learn