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Weathering mental wellbeing in 2020

Executive coach Geraldine Gallacher shows how London accountants can prepare for all mental weather this year by having the right gear and the right ideas.

Geraldine Gallacher

January 2020

I really like the description of mental health being like the weather. Sometimes it’s good, sometimes it’s fair and sometimes it’s really bad.

It de-stigmatises poor mental health as it normalises it and helps us see that we are all on a spectrum. Having had my own brush with panic attacks brought on by extreme insomnia, I’ve learned the hard way that anyone’s mental health can take a battering.

I am now well equipped with some good techniques for calibrating and coping with mental weather. As they say, there’s no such thing as bad weather, just bad weather gear!

So, here are some weather management tools:

Imagine that you are a circus act with three fitness plates wobbling on sticks: personal, career and job. You have to keep giving all three plates a little jiggle every now and again to stop them crashing to the floor.

Job fitness

Many people focus on getting the day job done to the exclusion of the other two plates. Fuelled by an underlying fear that if we don’t accomplish our to-do lists, conquer email traffic and attend most meetings our performance will be called into question.

Will it? Nowadays, jobs are not very well delineated and most of the people I coach simply cannot do everything that’s expected of them. Most people’s to-do lists and inboxes are still full at the end of the day, which feels stressful. Although it feels counterintuitive, jiggle the other two plates rather than overly focus on the Job Fitness plate. 

Personal fitness (physical and mental)

Return to basics and make sure you are getting sufficient sleep, exercise and nutrition. Mentally, feeling happy supports all three of these goals. Does your job give you a sense of purpose and chime with your values? Does your job let you be your best self?

Career Fitness

Focusing on your career rather than getting on with the job in hand can feel slightly self-indulgent. But once you find a job that plays to your strengths, chimes with your values and gives you meaning you will find that spinning the three plates is not hard at all. Periodically review what your strengths are, what gives you a sense of purpose. We can’t all be in our ideal job, but we can strive towards it. A sense of direction helps to prioritise those endless tasks in your day job.

Prioritising like this is not self-indulgent, it’s just part of wearing sensible bad weather gear.

Geraldine Gallacher is Founder and Managing Director of Executive Coaching Consultancy

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