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The twentysix guide to staying mentally resilient in 2018


Anna Valentine-Appleby is our Head of HR and all-round lovely person. As well as being owner of a truly brilliant(!) name, she is also a firm believer in the importance of good mental health. So, this #MentalHealthAwarenessWeek she’s kindly agreed to give us her top tips on staying mentally well in the busy busy world of digital and beyond:

1. Train your mind

  • Master your mind! We may not be able to control what thoughts come into our mind, but we can control what we do with those thoughts, so adopt some healthy thinking techniques. Tiny Buddha has some good tips.
  • Learn from your mistakes, don’t berate yourself. Think about what you can learn from the situation and how you will do things differently next time, not looking backwards but forwards.
  • Be kind to yourself. Some people wouldn’t dream of talking to their nearest and dearest in the same way that they talk to themselves. Doing yourself down is only going to make you less healthy. A healthy happy you will mean you are better for those around you, so be nice to yourself, for their sake as well as your own.
  • Let go. Concentrate on what’s in your circle of control and let go of the rest. I’m a Mental Health First Aider at twentysix and this is one that comes up a lot. You only have so much in a day so don’t waste it worrying about things that you can’t change or influence.

2. Be active

  • Get outdoors! If you have the room, and we’re based next to the canal tow path so we do, go for a walk or a run at lunch. A lot of people find fresh air helpful for clearing their mind.
  • Visit the gym. If you don’t have the space, go to the gym! We provide discounts at some of our local gyms as part of our staff package, not just because we know staff like to work out but because physical exercise has an impact on mental health too!
  • Do some yoga! Yoga is a great way to get your muscles moving and you can meditate at the same time. We do yoga at twentysix every Monday and it’s a great way to focus your mind on the week ahead.
  • Get up from your desk. With desk-based jobs it’s easy to forget to move, I’m guilty of it. Go see a colleague in person instead of sending an email. And use the stairs not the lift.

3. Sleep well

  • Ditch the late-night ruminating. Never go to bed thinking about a problem or your to-do list. If it helps, keep a notepad (not your phone – see below) to make a note of the things that you’re thinking about.
  • Meditate. Being calm before bed will help you get off to sleep quicker and better.
  • Don’t sleep next to your phone. Get a separate alarm clock. Trust me.
  • Don’t look at a screen before bed. This includes laptops, tablets, mobile, smart watches, all of it. We’re a digital agency so there are a lot of gadgets in the office and people dedicated to social media and online experience but it’s been proven that the blue light in screens tells your brain to stay awake so switch them off or read a book instead.

4. Talk about it

  • To friends and family.
  • To support groups.
  • To professionals. We provide a list of external support for out staff that’s free to access, confidential and available 24/7.
  • To colleagues. At twentysix, you can speak to your line manager, any of our wonderful HR team and our Mental Health First Aiders, me and Creative’s Zoe Bell.

5. Do something that makes you or someone else feel good!

6. Have some quiet time

  • Make sure to take a lunch break and get out of the office. We are perfectly located for a stroll around Leeds city centre. Don’t book meetings over lunch. Running on full steam all day won’t help you be the best you can be. Consider your colleagues too when booking meetings – stay away from the lunch slot.
  • Spend time away from your screens and notifications to quieten your mind and re-charge.
  • Meditate. We love our Monday lunchtime yoga but in between I recommend using an app like Headspace to take time out from everything else.

If you need any more information on mental health in and out of the workplace, we find Mind really helpful! Alternatively, if you like the look of the above why not come work for us? Check out our vacancies.

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