Gratitude

Planting positivity – what you need to know about the art of gratitude

In a world as unpredictable and crazy as ours, it’s easy to forget to be grateful. We go about living our lives the same way each day but did you know that actively practising the art of gratitude can change your life? 

Actively expressing gratitude has been proven to improve levels of anxiety, depression, stress and it changes your way of thinking where you no longer dwell on the negative but start to focus on the good in your life. However, having an attitude of gratitude is more than just saying “thank you”. 

What is the art of gratitude? 

The art of gratitude goes hand in hand with living a more mindful life. When you focus on being mindful, you are trying to be more present in all that you do. By being more present, you slow down your daily routine and you’re more cognizant of your life and the people around you.  

When you practise the art of gratitude, you also slow down and focus on the good in your life and the good in the people you surround yourself with. 

The art of gratitude, at its core, is simply living a happy and fulfilling life. It’s where you regularly take the time to be thankful for all that you have, to thank those around you and share in the abundance of life. The more you do this, the more good you start to attract and by just practising gratitude, you are planting the first seed of positivity. 

Related: Living With Gratitude: How To Make Every Day Count

How to practise the art of gratitude 

This isn’t a difficult task. There are no major changes you need to make. The main thing is to slow your day down and focus on what you have to be thankful for. You can do this by;

Journaling 

Create a gratitude journal, nothing fancy, a notebook will do just fine. 

Every morning or every evening, hide your phone away for a little while and sit in a calm and happy space (my favourite is outside on the patio with a cup of Rooibos tea). Now take the time to reflect on your life, the people in it, your achievements and write down a list of things to be grateful for. 

Some examples could be; your furry companion, your health, the job you have or even that you made it out of bed that day (this is a very important one if you’re going through a tough time). 

You can list as many things as you want to but we recommend at least listing 3-5.   

Saying thank you

This sounds obvious but have you ever held a door open for someone or let them into your lane during heavy traffic and not been thanked? It’s not the best feeling. 

Now you don’t have to throw a parade for every person that does something nice but simply acknowledging that someone helped you goes a very long way. Take the time to actively thank those who have made your day a little easier. 

If you have a friend or family member who has been a ray of sunshine in your life recently, send them some flowers or even a text letting them know that they’re appreciated. 

Making others feel good has a direct response to how you feel. 

Having daily affirmations 

You can use your gratitude journal or simply do this in front of the mirror but as much as you’re grateful for all that you have, you need to be equally grateful for all that you are. 

Some self-love can drastically change your perceptions and feelings. Be thankful that you are here, that you are an incredible person, a good friend and someone who is valued. 

In the same way that you’d take some time to write in your journal what you’re grateful for, take the time to pause and be grateful that you are you.

Meditating

Similar to being mindful, meditation and focusing on your breathing is a great way to practise being grateful. 

During mindful meditation, you are focused on the present moment without any judgement and often during this time while you focus on your breathing you think of a word or a phrase like peace or happiness. With the art of gratitude though, you can focus on what you are grateful for and let those beautiful thoughts manifest in your subconscious. 

Take a look at how to master meditation here

Planting Gratitude

How planting positivity can change your life 

Planting seeds of positivity and letting them flourish into multiple facets of gratitude can transform your life in a variety of ways. Listed below are some of those ways; 

Gratitude shifts your focus

You begin to see the positive rather than the negative and as you begin to master the art of gratitude, the negative in your life won’t have a great hold over you and you will navigate your way through it better. 

Being grateful makes you feel happier

The more grateful you are, the more you start to realise how good your life actually is. 

You’ll be less materialistic

This doesn’t mean that you won’t have the drive to acquire all that you want in life but you won’t be as focused on getting the next best thing. You’ll be satisfied and grateful for what you have been blessed with. 

You’ll be less likely to experience burnout

As you use mindfulness and the art of gratitude to navigate your way through life, you’ll begin to live a slower-paced life that will feel more manageable. You’ll begin to prioritise important tasks and work through them in a much calmer manner.

You’ll improve your physical health

You’ll start to sleep better and feel more in tune with your body and its needs, encouraging you to be more physically active (through yoga, going for walks etc) and have more time to focus on your and your needs. 

You’ll begin to develop patience, humility and wisdom

As you slow down and focus on the good in your life, you’ll begin to feel more at peace and more inclined to enjoy the smaller things in life and all it has to offer. 

The art of gratitude is another way of practicing self-love and getting more out of this life. Life gets busy and with all that we have faced during the pandemic, it is so important to actively seek the sprouts of positivity all around you.

Female Health Checks

5 Important Health Checks Every Woman Should Do

As women, we are in between trying to balance careers, children, families, social lives and so on. And because of how busy life gets, it can be hard to remember to look after your own health on top of it all.

This is why creating healthy habits for yourself through eating healthily, exercising and meditation is so crucial because you need the energy and ability to tackle your everyday. Over and above creating healthy habits, it’s also very important to ensure that you have regular health checks. The reason why health checks are so important is that they can improve your quality of life, prevent complications and detect potential problems early, which can ultimately save your life in the long run.

So the question is: What health checks should you be getting?

Female Health Checks

1. Pap Smears

As you enter adulthood you should be going to get regular Pap Smears. According to WebMD you should go for the test “every 3 years from ages 21 to 65”. The purpose of this exam is to test for cervical cancer in women. It can also reveal changes in your cervical cells that may turn into cancer later.

2. Mammograms

A mammogram is a screening for breast cancer. It involves compressing the breast between plates so that X-ray images can be captured. According to nationalbreastcancer.org “women 40 and older should have mammograms every 1 or 2 years”.

3. Blood pressure

Having regular blood pressure tests should happen throughout your life. According to heart.org, “blood pressure numbers of less than 120/80 mm Hg are considered within the normal range”. To maintain a healthy blood pressure range you need to follow a healthy diet and incorporate regular exercise into your life.

4. Skin examination

Regular at home skin examinations should happen every month. You need to start getting in the habit of scanning your skin for any new moles or start pointing out changes to existing moles as they can be an early sign of skin cancer. According to cancer.orgfinding it early when it’s small and has not spread, makes skin cancer much easier to treat”. If you have a family history of skin cancer it’s best to go for regular check ups with your doctor or dermatologist.

5. Dental checks

From the moment you get your first tooth and through your whole life you should be going for regular checks with your dentist. According to nhs.uk “people with good oral health will probably need to attend only once every 12 to 24 months, but those with more problems will need check-ups more often”. This way you can spot early signs of decay and any other problems.

 

Self Care

There’s more to self-care than you think

We hear words like self-care and self-love a lot lately. These words are thrown around so often that they begin to lose their meaning and we start to feel overwhelmed with what we’re supposed to do. 

Is self-care eating that extra-large slab of chocolate you’ve been eyeing or is it taking a day off of work to recharge? Let’s unpack what self-care really is, the different types of self-care and why it’s so important to actively practise self-care every day. 

What is self-care?

Self-care is far more than you may have originally thought. It’s not overindulgence, it’s not about being selfish and ignoring all your responsibilities, there’s a little more to it. Self-care is about taking care of yourself holistically

It’s looking after yourself physically, mentally and emotionally so that you are healthy in mind, body and soul to accomplish everything you need to and so that you can dominate each day.  

In order to achieve optimal self-care, there are 5 types of self-care that you should focus on. 

 

Self-care Tips

Different forms of self-care 

1. Physical 

The first step to self-care is looking after your body. Now, this doesn’t mean working out for 2 hours 5 days a week. It just means that you will make healthier choices so that your body can run efficiently. 

It’s important to remember that there is a connection between your mind and your body. In order for your mind to be healthy, your body needs to be healthy too and vice versa. 

To be physically healthy, you need to make conscious decisions about the food you’re eating, how much sleep you’re getting and the physical activities you love.  

If you’re new to physical exercise, give these tips a try at home!

2. Social 

This is often something we don’t think about as self-care but the COVID-19 pandemic has made it clear how important social self-care is. 

This involves having healthy relationships with friends and family. It can be easy to let close relationships slip, life gets busy and it can be exhausting trying to keep up. This is made even more difficult by a pandemic that limits your social interaction. 

It’s important to set aside time to maintain your relationships. Take a couple of minutes out of your day to check in with your friends, set up a video call or meet for coffee (when it’s safe to do so). There’s no right or wrong amount of time to spend with friends and family but it’s important to nurture these relationships. 

3. Mental 

Your mental wellbeing is just as important as your physical wellbeing. Just like you exercise your body, you need to exercise your mind. 

Mental self-care includes doing things that keep your mind active. Find things you love to do like reading or even downloading apps that focus on keeping you mentally fit. 

Another way to take care of yourself mentally is by journaling. You can start by writing what you’re grateful for each day and some self-affirmations. This will help you develop a healthy inner dialogue. 

4. Spiritual 

Spiritual self-care is unique to everyone but it definitely aids in your self-care process. It involves finding something that helps you develop a deeper sense of meaning and connection with the universe. 

You can do this by meditating, focusing on your religion and praying or discovering your own spirituality.

5. Emotional 

Your emotional self-care is so important. It is vital to find ways to handle difficult and uncomfortable feelings and emotions. 

Do you feel your emotions or do you have a habit of ignoring them? Confronting your emotions is necessary for your overall self-care so they don’t fester into something far worse. 

Find ways to process your feelings by maybe chatting to a friend you trust, going to therapy or writing your feelings in a notebook every day so you can process what you went through that day. Have a look at how you can live a more positive life here

Why is self-care so important?

As we said, self-care is not laying on the couch all day binge-watching series, self-care is putting your mental, physical, emotional and spiritual wellbeing above everything else. 

We live fast-paced lives and it’s so easy to lose yourself in the hustle and bustle so you really need to slow it down. Start living a more meaningful life and be more cognisant of what you’re feeling every day and make sure you are actively looking after yourself.  You deserve it!

This is a life we should fall in love with not simply begrudgingly go through it.

Toxic Relationship

How to recognize a toxic relationship and practice self-care?

Sometimes you need a little help recognizing when something isn’t good for you, especially when emotions are involved. Here are some red flags that your relationship might be toxic and how you can care for yourself

As human beings we are wired for connection, we come into this world ready to connect. Relationships are such an important part of the human condition we tend to take them for granted. We all have an inherent desire to connect with others. Relationships are the glue that holds us together during stressful times, add meaning to our life, create stability, increase our emotional stability, allow us to learn and grow, give us a way to understand ourselves and add to our feelings of meaning in life. 

Healthy relationships are vital to having healthy emotional and mental health, just as toxic relationships can erode our sense of wellbeing. In fact, poor social connection and loneliness can be as detrimental to your life expectancy as smoking 15 cigarettes a day. So while you are focusing on eating well, moving well, practicing self-care and pursuing a health work life balance, you could be undoing all your hard work by staying in a toxic relationship. 

The thing is it is not always easy to recognize when a relationship is toxic, especially with emotions involved. And relationships always have a context you need to negotiate and a dynamic you need to understand. A healthy or toxic relationship can be with a significant other, a family member, authority figure, work colleague or friend. A toxic relationship can be familial, friendly, romantic or professional. As part of being well, we at Wellbe want to encourage you to practice self-care in all facets of your life, including your relationships. 

What is a toxic relationship?

A toxic relationship is any relationship which results in either party feeling unsupported, experiencing excessive negative implications and conflict and where one party seeks to undermine the other. Disrespect is usually a key feature. Yes, every relationship will go through ups and downs but what makes a toxic relationship different is that the negative impact outweighs the positive, causing emotional, physical and mental harm to either person. When one person in the relationship consistently undermines or harms the other, whether it is intentional or not, a relationship can be considered toxic. In fact, you may realize you are perpetuating the toxic behaviors without even being aware. Often times a toxic relationship may not even be a fault of either person, but rather because of an incompatible pairing. For example, a people pleaser might end up with someone who is stronger and more controlling, causing a toxic situation where the one person consistently sacrifices their needs to gain the approval of the other.

The other thing is, people who are toxic in a relationship may have very good reason to be, but that does not make the relationship ok. Essentially despite the cards you have been dealt, there are things you need to let go. Often times those who are abusive, toxic or bully others are modelling this toxic behavior on past experiences they have had. Sometimes the toxic individual is someone with mental health disorders such as anxiety, depression or past trauma. Perhaps, the person on the receiving end of the toxic behavior will have experienced it in their childhood, causing them to accept the same themes as acceptable in their later relationships.

It is important to note that a toxic relationship may be an abusive relationship. And abuse is never ok. If you suspect your relationship is abusive you should reach out to someone you trust or get professional help. 

Toxic Relationship

What are the red flags of a toxic relationship?

When you hear the term toxic relationship, your mind probably jumps to a situation which is violent, abusive or involves harassment. The truth is most toxic relationships are subtler. Sometimes the warning signs can be missed and we end up staying in them for longer than we should, compromising our wellbeing. Here are some red flags to look out for in your relationships.

How does the relationship make you feel?

Reflect on how a relationship makes you feel, if any of the below describe how you feel most of the time in a relationship it may indicate it is toxic:

  • Consistent unhappiness: any relationship which makes you feel anxious, sad, frustrated or angry could be toxic.
  • Negative shifts in your mental health, personality or self-esteem: any relationship which makes you feel depressed, anxious, perpetuates an eating disorder, makes you feel worth less than you did previously or causes you to change and withdraw from your usual personality.
  •  Negative impact on other relationships or how you spend free time: any relationship which causes you to withdraw from relationships that usually bring you joy or if your relationship makes you feel guilty for pursuing things which usually give you joy. 
  • Feelings of guilt: if another person consistently makes you feel guilty or ashamed of who you are, what you enjoy or your lifestyle it may be toxic.
  • A worse version of you: if you find that you are becoming a version of yourself you no longer like and consistently display your worst character traits, it’s time to consider whether this relationship is healthy.
  • Drains your energy: sometimes after spending time with certain people we feel drained and exhausted, often avoiding that person if we can. This is a telltale sign that the energy in the relationship is likely toxic. 

Do you recognize any of these toxic behaviors?

Perhaps it is easier to identify a toxic relationship by looking out for behavioral red flags. The toxic relationship could be characterized by of the following patterns of behavior:

  • The other person only calls you or spends time with you when they need something
  • Time spent together is always focused on them or conversation centers around what they want to talk about
  • They put you down or make fun at your expense in front of others
  • You always leave time spent with them feeling negative, drained or worse about yourself
  • They are aggressively competitive towards you, often jealous and controlling
  • They bring drama into your life and behave in a way that makes you uncomfortable
  • They often disrespect you, forget to include you or exclude you from things
  • They gaslight you, making you question your feelings or perspectives
  • You have to walk on eggshells around them

How to practice self-care when you are in a toxic relationship

Depending on who the relationship is with, it can be very difficult to resolve, fix or end the toxic relationship. We want to encourage you, that part of caring for yourself is finding a happy medium between having healthy boundaries, healthy self-esteem and having healthy relationships. In fact, there is never a situation where it is ok to compromise caring for yourself to meet someone else’s needs. It brings to mind the lyric from a Jason Gladwin song that goes, “I set myself on fire to keep you warm”, and that is not ok. 

It is important to remember that there is a difference between toxic relationships and abusive relationships. There is never an excuse for an abusive relationship. If your relationship is drastically impacting your self-esteem, isolating you or causing severe physical and mental distress, we recommend you contact a professional and seek help. 

In a toxic relationship, whether you can fix the relationship or not, actually depends on both of you. The other person must also be willing to change and heal the toxic patterns. Here are some things you can do to ensure you take care of yourself:

  • Accept responsibility for your part in the relationship and letting the toxic behaviors become a pattern. 
  • Set healthy boundaries by recognizing when things make you uncomfortable or feel bad a make a point pushing back.
  • Learn to be assertive in a polite and kind manner letting the other person know when they are doing something you do not want to accept.
  • Don’t dwell on the past, start to focus on building new and positive patterns in your relationship.
  • Find support through a friend, support group or even therapy as sometimes you just need someone to encourage you and figure out why you let yourself get into this toxic pattern in the first place.
  • Practice healthy communication with a focus on how you speak to one another, tone of voice and your body language.
  • Heal individually to heal the relationship together, as we mentioned there is usually a reason people act the way they do and sometimes you need heal yourself before you can function in a healthy way in a relationship.

A word from WellBe&Co 

Through the sharing of knowledge and experience, we want to help build communities, organizations and individuals become the most optimal version of themselves, both physically, emotionally and mentally.  

Your health is your wealth so make lasting changes, one habit at a time.

The WellBe Team

CHOCOLATE STRAWBERRIES

CHOCOLATE STRAWBERRIES

DIFFICULTY: EASY

TIME: 5 MINS
SERVES: 1-2

A serving of antioxidant-rich fruit that doubles as a delicious dessert!

INGREDIENTS

  • 6-8 medium strawberries
  • 2 squares dark chocolate of choice (70%
    cocoa)

CHOCOLATE STRAWBERRIES

METHOD

Use 20-30 sec intervals to melt the chocolate in a small microwave-proof cup. Dip the strawberries in the
chocolate and place on a plate. Refrigerate until set.
Use vegan or dairy-free chocolate to make this recipe either vegan or Paleo-friendly.

DOWNLOAD YOUR CHOCOLATE STRAWBERRIES RECIPE HERE

Mindfulness

Be Ever Present: The Art of Mindfulness

We often get consumed by the hustle and bustle of daily life. We find ourselves going through the motions every day without being too conscious of it. This often leads to feelings of burnout or unfulfillment which is why mindfulness has become such an important art to master. 

When people say the word ‘mindfulness’, a variety of thoughts may cross your mind; “has this got to do with spirituality?” “Do I now have to start meditating?” “I really don’t have time to add another task to my day”. And most importantly, “what does mindfulness do and does it work?”

We’re highlighting the importance of mindfulness and showcasing how easy it is to add it to your daily ‘To-Do List”.  This blog is going to take you through the journey of mindfulness – from what it is, all the way to how you can practice it. 

What is mindfulness?

Simply speaking, mindfulness is being 100% present in every moment. 

The Mindful Blog describes it as “the basic human ability to be fully present, aware of where we are and what we’re doing, and not overly reactive or overwhelmed by what’s going on around us”.

Mindfulness is something innate in us that we are all fully capable of doing but due to our busy lives and the allure of social media, we easily forgot to be present in the moment. This makes mindfulness something we need to practice daily.

If you ever catch yourself really noticing what your senses are experiencing or you’re deeply aware of your emotions and your thoughts, you’re being mindful. The art of mindfulness includes learning breathing methods, using guided imagery, and other practices to relax the body and mind. In the long run, these practices will help calm your mind, body and soul. 

What are the benefits of mindfulness?

The art of mindfulness is not merely focusing on the benefits of it. The goal is to practice it daily and slowly begin to notice the changes your mind and body will experience. 

When we solely focus on the benefits something can have for us, we often forget to completely immerse ourselves in the journey. That being said, there definitely are a variety of benefits to mindfulness. 

When you’re mindful, you are able to reduce your stress levels, gain insight and awareness of not only yourself but the world around you and enhance your performance in everyday life. You are able to gain a completely different perspective into your life and the lives of those closest to you. A perspective that is free of judgement, prejudice and full of positivity

According to the Mayo Clinic, mindful meditations have shown to minimise: 

  • Stress
  • Anxiety
  • Pain
  • Depression
  • Insomnia
  • High blood pressure (hypertension)

Mindfulness has also proven to: 

  • Improve attention
  • Decrease burnout
  • Improve sleep
  • Improve diabetes control

Mindfulness

How to practice mindfulness 

Now that we’ve explained the beauty mindfulness has to offer, it’s time to dig into how you can practice being mindful every day. There are a variety of simple techniques to use so we’ve listed a few. 

1. Pay attention

This sounds slightly obvious, if I’m living and doing tasks then, of course, I’m paying attention. 

Well, not necessarily. 

Paying attention means more than just being there and doing something. It’s about slowing down and actively noticing the world around you through all 5 of your senses and really thinking about how it makes you feel. 

2. Live in the moment

This means putting your phone away and being present. Don’t think about how cool this would look on Instagram and snapping a selfie as a result. Instead, be intentional with what you’re doing. Be open and accepting of all that is around you while being completely aware of your thoughts and feelings. 

Living in the moment also means being truly appreciative of what you have and those around you. 

Of course, you are going to be battling with fighting off plaguing thoughts that naturally enter your mind. But the trick is to accept and acknowledge those thoughts, and then let them go as you release them. 

A good way to look at your thoughts is as though you are sitting on the side of a busy road, watching the cars pass you by. Your thoughts are the cars. And you can either choose to pick a car to travel in – aka – a specific thought – or you can simply sit and watch them go by. This is the practice of peace and being present. It is the art of not allowing your thoughts to control and take over your mind. It is giving you the ability to control which thoughts you focus on and which ones do not deserve your attention. 

3. Accept yourself

If you don’t accept yourself, you will feel less inclined to be mindful because mindfulness opens you up to being vulnerable and taking a deeper look into yourself. You need to practice self-love and self-acceptance and truly love yourself like you would a close friend. 

4. Focus on your breathing

If you are feeling negative or anxious, you need to take a step back and fully focus on your breathing. Take a deep breath in and close your eyes, focus on your breath as you breathe out and pay attention to how the air moves through your body. Carry on breathing in and out focusing on the feeling of your breath. 

There are more advanced ways of practising mindfulness like through meditation where your breathing and your thoughts come together but for now, we’ve left you with the basics to get started. 

Some facts about mindfulness

  1. Mindfulness is not something that’s unfamiliar to you, it’s something we all know how to do. Life just has a way of taking over in some moments. 
  2. You don’t need to change who you are to be mindful but it requires you to use simple practices to open yourself up completely.
  3. Anyone can do it. From children to the elderly, this is something that is so easy to master and will truly transform your life.
  4. Mindfulness is something you need to be conscious of as often as possible. You need to train your brain to actively be mindful. 
  5. Being mindful can assist you at your job as well as in your personal life. When you’re mindful, you have a higher chance of being innovative and finding effective solutions to difficult problems. 

Take a moment now to truly be mindful. Sit back, breathe in and focus on your senses. In a short amount of time and with practice, you will truly transform your life.

RICH TOMATO SHAKSHUKA

RICH TOMATO SHAKSHUKA

DIFFICULTY: INTERMEDIATE

TIME: 35 MINUTES

SERVES: 6

Eggs are a nutritional powerhouse, while tomatoes are rich in the antioxidant lycopene.

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large onion + red bell pepper, chopped
  • 2-3 tsp minced garlic
  • 2 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tsp ground cumin ½ tsp smoked paprika ¼ tsp red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 1 -2 cans crushed tomatoes
  • 2 Tbsp chopped fresh cilantro or parsley
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 5 to 6 large eggs ½ cup crumbled feta

RICH TOMATO SHAKSHUKA

METHOD

Preheat the oven to 190C. Warm oil in a large, oven-safe skillet (preferably stainless steel) over medium heat. Add onion, bell pepper and salt. Cook, stirring often, until tender and turning translucent (4 to 6 mins). Add garlic, tomato paste, cumin, paprika and red pepper flakes. Cook for 1-2 mins, stirring constantly, until fragrant. Pour in crushed tomatoes with juices and add cilantro. Stir and let come to a simmer. Reduce heat and gently simmer for 5 mins. Turn off heat, taste, and add salt and pepper as necessary. Use the back of a spoon to make a well near the perimeter and crack the egg directly into it.

Gently spoon a bit of the tomato mixture over the whites to help contain the egg. Repeat with remaining 4 to 5 eggs. Sprinkle a little salt and pepper over eggs. Carefully transfer skillet to oven (it’s heavy) and bake for 8 to 12 mins. They’re done when the egg whites are an opaque white and the yolks have risen a bit but are still soft. Using oven mitts (both hands!), transfer the hot skillet to a heat-safe surface like the stove. Top with the crumbled feta, fresh cilantro leaves, and more red pepper flakes, if desired. Serve in bowls with crusty bread on the side.

 

DOWNLOAD YOUR RICH TOMATO SHAKSHUKA RECIPE HERE 

POSITIVE EMPLOYEE EXPERIENCE

WANT A THRIVING WORKPLACE? CREATE POSITIVE EMPLOYEE EXPERIENCE

By Jessica Brownlee

Our tips and insights into being successful at work you do, by valuing and investing in people …

Growing your business and being successful is hard, especially in times like these. We all want to make more money, smash those business goals and just feel like we are achieving our best lives at work. And yes, your customers are the heart of your business. But your employees and people you work with are the life blood. Think about it, you cannot get a single thing done without your people. Literally, not a single thing (barring what you can achieve on your own steam, of course).

When we think of increasing our business or product value we often immediately think of the customer. But what about the employees and people driving the value? Just as customer service has transformed over the years, along with the customer, into customer experiences (the holistic perception customers have of your brand or business stemming from every interaction they have with it) so too do we need to transform our employees’ engagement and happiness by intently focusing on their employee experience. After all your employees are your first customer, and the human side of your brand. 

If the fiscal side of employee experience doesn’t captivate you (we all have different motivations) consider how much of our lives we spend at work and that you as a brand or employer have the power to make someone’s workplace, and by implication life, better, more positive and happier. If there is ever a time to flex your altruistic muscles and show some kindness to others, the middle of a global pandemic and on-again-off-again lockdowns would be it!

POSITIVE EMPLOYEE EXPERIENCE

The deal with Employee Experience

A positive employee experience is more than just a decent place to work. Employee experience is a combination of your workplace culture, the physical work environment and the tools and technology which enable the work. As an example, when you go to work you want to experience a sense of belonging and shared purpose (culture), where you feel safe, can attain goals and grow while working in a healthy, safe and well environment with a technology or machinery that enables you to be efficient and perform. As leaders or business owners if we don’t address and manage all the factors impacting our employee experience we may pay a heavy cost. To convince the stoic and unmoved out there, here are some tangible examples of employee experience impacting the bottom line:

 

  • It is a proven fact (by science, people) that a happy employee is 20% more productive, imagine losing 20% of your employees’ production every day for a year. That’s a full day a week, almost full week lost a month just because your employee is unhappy. 
  • An engaged workforce outperforms one that is lackluster by tripling profit to 147% profit per share.
  • A positive employee experience creates an engaged workforce. Annually disengaged employees cost the USA $450 to $550 billion a year!
  • Managing your employee experience allows you to shape your culture and culture eats strategy for breakfast.
  •  To have talent and the best employees who give of themselves at work, they need to feel appreciated, and that means more than a competitive paycheck. Google increased employee satisfaction by 37% thanks to their investment in employee support.
  • Another hidden cost of poor employee experience is the increase in sick leave and absence, an unhappy employee takes 15 more sick days a year.
  • If you are in a highly competitive industry, positive employee experience can give you the edge with increased innovation and performance from your employees. Happy people just think and work better!

Insights into Your Business’ Employee Experience 

If we want to focus on cultivating positive employee experience, a good starting point is understanding what and where it is now, establishing your status quo. Understanding your employee experience can be simplified into two main focus areas:

  • What do your employees expect, want and need?
  • How does your business design the solutions to meet the wants, expectations and needs of employees?

You can understand your employee experience by evaluating three things:

  1. The physical space: 

Evaluating your workplace design and its impact on interactions, daily work life and wellness.

  1. The workplace technology: 

Embodying frictionless technology that enables and supports performance.

  1. The company culture: 

Understanding and building the right behavioral norms, values and policies on what is acceptable inn your workplace.

Tips to cultivating positive employee experience

So you have a good idea of what employee experience is, why it is important to you and how to evaluate and understand your current employee experience. Hopefully, you feel energized to take action in addressing your employee experience, for your business value and for your employees. Here are some tips to assist you in starting to build a more positive employee experience:

Foster Psychological safety

Yes, it sounds complicated, but no it is not. Simply, psychological safety is merely about giving people the freedom to bring their whole selves to work while feeling valued, connected and accepted. To create increased psychological safety at work we need to approach others with positive regard, allow failures and successes, treat people with dignity and act inclusively. Our interactions, especially the leaders at work, need to down regulate fight or flight responses and allow people to be calm, energized and focused.

Communicate with your employees

An important part of employee experience is communication between the business, leaders and employees. Great communication starts with listening. Actively listen to your employees. You can create discussion boards, virtual collective spaces and even schedule team lunches that allow open communication. Really listen and try to understand what motivates and demotivates your employees, try put yourself in their shoes and understand their day-to-day lived experience. Storytelling is a great way to share ideas and communicate with employees. Host town halls or social media campaigns to keep them feeling connected.

Make people feel valued

Focus on fostering a culture of acknowledgement, people have a fundamental need to feel valued and this is true for the workplace. Recognize contributions to the team and company success in meaningful ways beyond monetary incentives. Create the habit of frequent feedback and make a point of letting people know you see them and their efforts.

Give employees’ growth opportunities

A big part of a positive work experience is feeling like you are growing and contributing to something bigger than yourself. Ensuring employees have routine learning and development opportunities gives them the chance to grow and progress. Growth can take the form of free access to Udemy courses or short courses, personalized development plans to one’s career aspirations or creating a learning culture in the organization with knowledge sharing and learning lunches. 

Work Life Integration and Balance

We all want to feel like we have a good work life balance, in essence we want a positive experience at work and at home. As work and life become more integrated it is really up to leaders and business’ to enhance employee work life balance and show employees they genuinely do care for their happiness. Small steps such as increased autonomy and flexibility at work can go a long way to making employees feel empowered and valued. Consider others schedules when booking meetings, perhaps try have stand up meetings instead of sitting in a board room. Be mindful of the emails your forward and who’s mailbox you are filling. And most importantly encourage employees to switch off and recharge, often. 

Integrate the desired experience into people practices

You can’t achieve the employee experience you want without ensuring all other initiatives in the business align. If you want to encourage feedback, make it a weekly habit in the team. If you want people to act inclusive, build it as a measure into your performance management system and include it in onboarding initiatives. Once you have identified the pillars you will use to build your employee experience make sure you integrate it into all the employee touch points to reinforce the change in behaviours and make it stick.

A word from Jessica Brownlee

Through the sharing of knowledge and experience, we want to help build communities, organizations and individuals become the most optimal version of themselves, both physically, emtionally and mentally.  

Your health is your wealth so make lasting changes, one habit at a time.

The WellBe Team


About Jessica Brownlee

Jessica is an industrial and organizational psychologist specializing in learning, leadership, talent, neuroscience and wellness. A self-proclaimed wellness geek, Jessica writes The Humble Humanologist blog to inspire, motivate and uplift others on their work and wellness journey. She is her own boss, running a consulting company, Psychology360 (www.psychology360.org) and consults globally to some of the leading organizations. Jessica also strives to find balance and is an avid yogi and yoga teacher (who is yet to master a hand stand).

Instagram: @thehumblehumanologist

Facebook: Psychology360

Website: www.psychology360.org

Gratitude

Living with Gratitude: How To Make Every Day Count

by Jessica Gaynor

You’ve got one life. These are our tips on how to get the most out of it!  

It’s easy to see the glass half empty right now. After COVID-19, Stress has been labeled as the number  one health pandemic, the global economy has hit one of its all time lows and poverty is rife.  

How can we possibly see the glass half full?  

The Secret to Happiness  

Ah, the age-old question!  

There was a 75 year-long study at Harvard focused on uncovering the most important factor in human  happiness. You might be thinking: financial stability or having a purpose right? The conclusion might  surprise you… It’s a human connection.  

When we talk about human connection, we’re not talking all that social media stuff. We’re talking real  physical and emotional connection with other human beings, and the quality and depth of those  relationships.  

Human interaction can foster a great sense of community and sense of support. 2 Things we have always  needed and will always need as humans to grow within ourselves and within the world. When we have a  sense of community and support, we feel safer and more willing to try new things because we know 

we’ll be backed up by our tribe regardless of the outcome. Not to mention, it’s been proven that daily,  quality social interaction can slow the onset of memory loss and Alzheimer’s disease.  

So get out there and socialise (socially distanced of course!), make those connections, find your tribe and  try new things to get the most out of life and keep your mind healthy. But this isn’t the only thing you  can do to elevate your life…  

We can actually rewire our brains  

Until fairly recently, scientists firmly believed that the brain is unchangeable when we become adults.  Who we are is who we are. Solid, concrete, unalterable brains. Once we’re adults, that’s who we are – no  buts about it.  

Now we understand that the brain can be remolded and rewired to think differently – a term known as  ‘neuroplasticity’.  

If you’ve always got a gloomy outlook on life, fear not – you can change your mindset! If you have a bad  habit, you can change that too (phew!). All thanks to the ever-changing miracle and mystery that is your  brain. The secret to changing the brain is repetition.  

It’s all about habits  

To start thinking differently, you need to create new habits that support the life you want to live. You  need to implement changes consistently. The tried and tested way to build a habit is to ‘habit stack’.  

Habit stacking means doing the “new” habit right after an existing one. For example you could try  meditating and brushing your teeth in the morning – because that’s something you do every day  (hopefully!).  

The more we repeat something or think in a certain way and make it a habit, the faster our brains will be  rewired in line with those thoughts and actions. So let’s make sure it’s a positive change!  

Creating an attitude of gratitude  

Expressing gratitude is the single most powerful way to create a more positive outlook on life. When we  focus on what we’re grateful for, we focus on what’s good in our lives. Then, by repeatedly focusing on  the good, we start to create a habit of thinking positively which ultimately extends to the way we see the  world. 

There are a few ways we can change our view on life:  

  1. Keep a gratitude journal 

Did you know that the information we learn with multiple senses sticks more easily? Writing in particular  is a very powerful tool we can use to learn because it engages both our senses of touch and sight. This is  known as ‘multimodal learning’.  

Get yourself a notebook in a size that floats your boat. A bonus for this one is if it looks nice on the  outside so you’re more drawn to pick it up and use it. Keep it in a place where you’ll see it often – next to  your bed is the best.  

Every day – before bed or when you wake up – write down 3 things you’re grateful for. It’s powerful to  write down full sentences that result in affirmations. For example: “I am grateful for my healthy body”.  

When you’re feeling low, have a read through your journal (which over time becomes prey  substantial!). After a year you’ll get to read more or less 1000 things that you get to be grateful for. 

  1. Take -me off social media  

Ever had a “(s)he’s got it all” moment when you’re scrolling? It’s really easy to get down into a slump  because your life seemingly isn’t as good as others’. It’s important to remember that people don’t post  their life’s lows. All you’re seeing are people’s highlights and that’s not real life.  

Set up the screen balance feature on your phone – they all have one! Make sure you’re not  scrolling through unrealistic expectations all day. Put your phone away and sit in the present to  acknowledge what you have in this moment. Why not even have a read through that gratitude journal?  

  1. Breathe 

It’s something we do without even thinking but really should. You know that thing where the air moves  in and out of the body and gives us life? Yeah that one!  

When you focus on the breath, you bring yourself into the present moment and that’s what we all need  the most. We’re always living in the past or the future but very rarely in the present. When we live in the  present we become more aware of what we have and how we feel. Basically, we live life in HD and who  doesn’t want that? Breathing in and of itself is something else we can be so grateful for. 

  1. Exercise  

We’re working even longer hours now that many of us work from home and struggle to set work/ home boundaries. We sit for way longer than our bodies were ever designed to do and our spines  compress, giving us all those (very common) back aches and pains. Set a timer on your phone to take a  break from your desk – that might mean just gebng up and walking around the house a few times.  

Try and exercise for 30 minutes, 5 -mes a week or 20 minutes every day. Your body will release happy  hormones and instantly give you a mood booster.  

  1. Give back  

As we spoke about before, community and connection are a big part of who we are as humans. When  we perceive that we are supported and can support others, we instantly have more purpose in life – and  that’s been proven.  

Why not support a charity or cause? Donate clothes or even your time? Taking the -me to help others  will give you a sense of gra-tude and pride in our communities by working towards the common good  for everyone.  

A word from Jessica Gaynor

Through the sharing of knowledge and experience, we want to help build communities and individuals  become the most optimal version of themselves both physically and mentally.  

Your health is your wealth so make lasting changes, one habit at a time.  


 

About Jessica Gaynor

The human mind fascinates me beyond words. After I was diagnosed with stress-induced Epilepsy, I  started to revaluate the way I was living my life and I became acutely aware of the global stress  pandemic. It’s become my life mission to help others become aware of it too, through meditation and  mindfulness – because awareness is the first step towards change.  

I’m a registered Yoga Teacher and Employee Wellness Coach with a focus on mental health and  wellbeing. I am currently studying towards a certification in Yoga Therapy – a discipline centered around  helping people understand and manage both their physical and emotional imbalances in the body. 

Chicken soup

CHICKEN NO-NOODLE SOUP

DIFFICULTY: EASY

TIME: 20 MINUTES
SERVES: 2

This light chicken soup with added cabbage is an immune-boosting power combo that helps improve hydration, reduce inflammation and ward off bacterial infections.

 

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil or butter½ celery stalk, sliced finely
  • 1/2 medium onion, diced
  • 1/3 cup mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • ½ tsp each dried onion and parsley
  • A pinch of salt and ground black pepper
  • 225 ml chicken broth
  • ½ medium sized carrot, sliced into rounds
  • 120 g shredded rotisserie chicken
  • 2 cups green cabbage sliced into “noodle”
    strips
  • Slices of fresh lemon

 

Chicken soup

METHOD

Add the oil to a large pot on medium heat. Add the dried onion, diced onion, celery, carrots, mushrooms and garlic into the pot and saute for 3-4 minutes until translucent and fragrant. Add the broth, parsley, salt, and pepper. Simmer until vegetables are tender. Add the cabbage and simmer for an additional 8 to 12 minutes until the cabbage “noodles” are tender. Lastly add the cooked and shredded chicken and allow to heat through. Top with fresh lemon slices.

DOWNLOAD YOUR CHICKEN NO-NOODLE SOUP HERE