We were delighted to be joined by the ubiquitous Ruby Wax during Mental Health Awareness Week, for an engaging and entertaining conversation with partner Emma Danks on mental health. She has clearly studied the subject deeply, and was refreshingly honest about her own struggles, and her solutions.
As Taylor Wessing's Wellbeing Partner, I wanted to share a few points that Ruby spoke about that resonated with me.
The first was that everyone's limits are different. The key is to read your "mental barometer" every day, feel the tipping point into stress or overwhelm coming and adjust your behaviour or your workload to manage the situation as best you can. As a firm, I think we are great at recognising everyone has different levels of resilience and we are good at spotting when our colleagues might be struggling; it's all part of our social contract with each other.
The second was the Frazzled Café concept which Ruby has started. A group of people, many unknown or not well known to each other, coming together in an non-judgmental way to share how they are coping and feeling. I think most organisations would benefit from this safe forum to vent and express; it's very healthy, and we really encourage this at Taylor Wessing. What I particularly resonated for me when Ruby was talking about this was the attendees of the Frazzled Café were so keen to just be themselves – I've always thought this desire for authenticity, including in the workplace, is so important and how empowering that can be for us. I loved her quote about this: "We've spent so much time alone, we've busted ourselves."
The third was that it is perfectly normal for us to feel fear or anxiety – it's a completely human response to certain situations, and comes up in the workplace too of course. The key is recognising it, even leaning into it a bit if we feel able, and not to ignore it or suppress it. Ruby also emphasised the need to be kind to ourselves too, and these are all tools to help us detach from those uncomfortable feelings, or at least put them in perspective.
The final point was Ruby's comment about the huge benefits to our wellbeing of spending time in nature. As a species, historically we would have spent much more time in nature, our biorhythms and behaviour being regulated by nature, and this last year has reminded us of the need to immerse ourselves in nature more, and the tangible health benefits that come from that.
We hope that the conversation resonated with all our guests, and has given everyone a new perspective on improving their mental health, and some tools to help with that. As a firm, this is a key priority for our people, but we also acknowledge our place in and responsibility to our community of clients and alumni on this topic. If you would be interested in staying involved in our wellbeing work we'd be delighted to hear from you.
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