[Editorial note: Eppie Lau, our staff, attended this year’s Global Social Entrepreneurs Network Conference in Mumbai in October. She met lots and lots of social entrepreneurs all over the world. They are determined to create social change. Read her third post here, and the first and the second!]
Day 3 began with a wonderful 5 minute morning yoga. True to our name the ‘Zen Zone’, a teammate from UnLtd Tamil Nadu led us in some simple breathing exercises.
Sitting there that morning after what had been a pretty intense day for my mind, it was such a peaceful tidbit moment that allowed me to mentally refresh myself for the upcoming day.
Splitting up into different groups again, my first session looked at Mental Health in the workplace.
In an increasingly technological world that favors science – how do we link back spirituality with mental health and well being? What are the different ways that we can combat stress to avoid burnout and imbalance?
Collectively we agreed that perhaps the answer should start with self-awareness. By recognizing and being in touch with our mental and physical states, we learn to understand our limits, and set the boundaries to say no. Through acknowledging that at some point, there is only so much we can do, it helps us to release the desire to overly control our surroundings, and instead accept that we can only be in control of our reactions to our surroundings.
In an office context however, one participant asked, ‘How can I convince my colleges of the worth of spirituality as a way to combat stress?’
After much discussion on the value of yoga, meditation and spirituality, the conclusion was – you really cannot convince others. Every individual has their own way of dealing with stress, and so it’s very difficult to argue that one is better than others. What’s most important then, is to always be mindful and attuned to everyone’s emotions in the office, and to always be empathetic even when the stress is evident and tensions are running high in projects.
Something quite interesting that I’ve definitely thought about, is the lack of education in mindfulness/awareness in mental health. In university, whilst many of us were taught how to analyze, how to think critically, how to write academic papers, how to do write CVs, resumes etc, none of us were actually taught a) how to manage our time, b) how to prioritize our tasks & time to actually get stuff done, and finally c) achieve all these things without burning out.
There were simply no lessons on understanding the different methods of coping with stress, or how to maintain a healthy sleep/study/socializing balance. It seemed as though these skills would somehow develop organically, or perhaps, be acquired after we began our journeys into the work force.
Being in the start up scene has also highlighted some of these issues more acutely. Burn out seems to be a very frequent scenario for entrepreneurs. Working day in and day out on their company, often at the expense of sleep, family, friends etc, entrepreneurs are at the forefront of accidentally tipping the scale into all work and no play.
Hence, it becomes extra important for us as a co-working space and incubator to take care of our start ups not just as a company, but also of their founders as well individually, so that we can ensure that everyone is healthy, inside and out!
Stay healthy, and stay happy out there, entrepreneurs!