When did you last check under your carpet?

Bansky street cleaner – Chalk Farm, London

It’s not that unusual for people to cry when they work with me.  Stopping the daily busy-ness and task-focused activities to pause, reflect and to think well can often bring things to the surface that people hadn’t noticed were there.  Our always-on and busy lives lead us to sweep things under the carpet and carry on with an “it’s all fine” and “I’m fine” face on.  Sometimes a client’s upset is “normal level” upset, sometimes it’s a symptom of medically-recognisable anxiety for which they need different help than I can provide.  And when I say anxiety, don’t picture “jibbering mess, barely able to function”.  Instead picture the reality which is genuinely what’s in front of me – capable, confident leaders who are very skilled at what they do and who are able to hide their anxious turmoil REALLY well.

It happened to me too.  Not anxiety but definitely the surfacing of a collection of stuff which I’d been sweeping under my carpet for about a year.  For me it was starting yoga that brought my tears to the surface and my yoga teacher tells me I’m most definitely not the only one.  Taking time out to spend an hour in my own headspace while doing gentle yoga poses, flows and meditation gave me that non-task-focused space to allow my hidden stuff to come to the surface.

Since then yoga has become a weekly class and I don’t cry.  Doesn’t mean I never will, nobody and no life is perfect, but for now I’m not.  I’m also going to seasonally-timed yoga & art retreats for 5 Sundays this year.  They’re amazing, luxurious time out from everything.  I’ve worked with a fantastic therapeutic coach who helped me look deeply into myself and my past to reconcile some things and help me feel OK as I move forward, which has also helped with some relationships around me.  Still some work in progress but a definite, significant shift, and lots of learning about me as coach.

And so what?  Well, all this reflection was prompted by reading some good news in the world of mental health – that organisations are starting to make talking about mental health OK and that they’re providing solutions.  The fact that The IOD are talking about it and not just The CIPD is a significant step in the right direction.  Being able to help people consider a range of support options is brilliant to meet different people’s needs.  Yoga doesn’t work for everyone, and neither will coaching, but an Employee Assistance Programme might, or counselling, or medical support, staff networks or buddying, and more.

For me, coaching on its own provides fantastic headspace to reflect, and I’ve also expanded what I offer to clients, making walking coaching and yoga + coaching definite options for those who want to give them a try.

Whatever’s right for you, the more you can address the causes and check under your carpet more regularly the better.

 

[Photo credit :https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Bansky_street_cleaner_-_Chalk_Farm_(1205714884).jpg]

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