How workplace wellness is being redefined
Facilitating the growth of emotional intelligence through mindfulness results in positive outcomes, like better mental health, overall life satisfaction and greater wellbeing of individuals and work teams.
Here’s an inspiring example of how Stephanie Jenkins, one of our Diploma of Wellness Leadership Program students, implemented her course learnings to achieve her goal of supporting the wellbeing of her team, particularly during the pandemic.
“When I began my journey into Wellness Leadership, I couldn’t have imagined what lay ahead as the pandemic began shorting after I enrolled. Prior to commencing the course, I was very interested in the wellness space, but was not very active. I had previously tried to focus on the wellbeing at work , but didn’t have the knowledge or skills to put it into practice. From completing the ASWA Wellness Tracker when I first started the Diploma of Wellness Leadership, I discovered that Mindfulness was my lowest scoring of the 8 principles of wellness. After speaking with my course mentor, I was comforted to know that the cumulative data results of the ASWA Wellness Tracker identifies Mindfulness as one of the lowest-scoring principles of Wellness nationally. I was keen to focus on improving both my own Mindfulness and that of my teams, across the duration of the course and beyond.
As the course includes practical personal and team wellness skills within an organisational wellbeing framework, as well as emotional intelligence, strategy development and leadership skills, I discovered my emotional strengths, I clarified what my personal values are and importantly, I defined how I want to live and work moving forward.
One of the biggest focus areas of the course is prioritising our own wellbeing and how to encourage others to prioritise their wellbeing. Part of this is through helping others understand, manage and develop their emotional intelligence. If we are all more aware of our emotions and the emotions of those within our team, we are more likely to be present, focused, productive and supportive. These are all important skills in achieving our targets and make coming to work an enjoyable, enriching and rewarding experience.
One of the ways that I have done this is through running mindfulness exercises for our team at the beginning of meetings, calling on individuals to reflect on their state of mind and encouraging them to be present for the duration of the meeting. I have also created a mindfulness toolkit for self-exploration in this area as the key to emotional intelligence is being aware of ourselves and those around us. Inclusion is important to me and I always like to encourage others to offer suggestions in the way we run wellness initiatives at work. By asking people for their thoughts, it can get them reflecting and thinking about their own emotional state, others emotional states and what needs improving. It helps to personalise the experience and helps to build a positive and trusting working relationship.
One of the ASWA mantras is ‘Progression, not perfection,’ and when developing wellness plans for individuals, I learnt to break it down into smaller chunks to avoid overwhelming the individual, as the goal is to make wellness practical, flexible, and achievable. As my competencies and confidence increased and the conversation of wellness became something that was more comfortable with my team, when feelings of stress or even physical discomforts were brought up, I was able to use this as a prompt to link them to my “what’s on offer” sheet, and also confidently suggest options such as reaching out to the EAP or attending a Soft Tissue Chiropractor appointment.
During meditation sessions we discuss as a group any topics we want to focus on. I also discuss any feedback and thoughts that the team are having during their ASWA Wellness Within course which is available for development of team members’ own personal wellbeing skill and includes the ASWA Wellness Tracker. This has helped to keep wellbeing front of mind and reminding everyone that their health, safety and wellbeing matters, which was one of the goals of the wellness strategy that I developed during the course. This has become even more important during the last 18 months as we’ve all had to adjust to some pretty big life changes.
Safety, health and wellbeing have been vital during a time when we are re-defining what workplace wellness means right now, as we can’t even imagine what the future will hold. My emotional intelligence has grown significantly and I am establishing myself as a Wellness Leader within my organisation, even though I am not part of the HR team. The knowledge I have gained from my course has enhanced my wellbeing, both at work and in my personal life, and I am really excited to see what comes next from here as I continue to support and integrate wellness wherever I can.”
By Stephanie Jenkins – Diploma of Wellness Leadership Graduate.