Introducing The Well: A Place to Fill Your Cup
by Gráinne Patterson, General Manager of CoLiberate
Creating Community, Fostering Well-Being
At CoLiberate, our purpose is to enable the mental health support capability of everyday New Zealanders. Many of our team come from a background of being contractors, freelancers, casual workers and self-employed theatre makers. Through coming together to build our company and team, we’ve seen the value that having a community to belong to can bring. We’re hoping to offer the same opportunity for community and connection that we have been able to create between ourselves, with our new initiative: The Well.
The Well is Aotearoa’s first mental health gym in Wellington CBD. It is a place to belong when belonging anywhere feels difficult. No matter where you work, or what connection you feel in your work life, you’re able to come and join a community of like-minded folk in our sessions.
All sessions at The Well are based around four focuses – relaxation, reflection, connection and expression. As The Well moved online during the recent lockdown and its doors temporarily shut, I reflected on ways I’ve found to use my work day and follow these themes in my daily life.
A mandatory part of our work culture at The Well is check-ins. We check-in at the start of every meeting, we check-out at the end, and we request check-ins with people we haven’t seen or worked with for a while. Check-ins are vital to our work – a quick “How are you and is there anything you need?”can help us feel connected, see each other’s workload and often save hours of work in the long run.
Could check-ins be something you initiate at your workplace? If you don’t work for an organisation, do you have other freelancers you can check in with to start the day?
I could put a sign on my laptop that says TAKE SCREEN BREAKS, and still manage to get through a whole day without looking up. If prioritising your care and relaxation feels difficult, try to find ways to combine your work and well-being. Could your Zoom call be a phone call in the sunshine instead? Could you turn on your mobile data and take a meeting in the park? I had a meeting last week with someone who was walking on a treadmill the entire time!
What would help you to make some commitments to making your working day more relaxing?
At the end of each work day, I sit and write down three things I did well. If I don’t, I tend to notice myself around 10pm, lying in bed and thinking about the emails I didn’t get a chance to write. Taking the time to reflect on three things I did really well helps me to steer my thinking towards the many things I did do, rather than the few things I didn’t.
What have you done today that you’d like to pat yourself on the back for?
I’ve found self-expression to be instrumental to my well-being, which has meant I no longer put on a brave face at work if I’m struggling. Checking in with how I’m doing helps me show up as I am, and ask for support when I need it. Giving myself permission to reach out even though it may not seem like the most traditionally ‘professional’ thing to do has helped me and my colleagues immensely.
On days or situations I don’t feel able to do this at work, I think about some things I can treat myself with around the edges of work that help me feel more ‘me’. It could be a coffee with a friend, or taking a lunch break outside in nature, or even simply using some emojis on our work channels to express how I’m feeling that day.
What permission could you give yourself to express yourself more through your work?
A Membership To Mindfulness
After a busy day at work – I can forget that The Well is in my own backyard, even when wellness is in front of me I can forget to prioritise it! They say if you don’t have time to meditate for ten mins, you should probably meditate for thirty. And I’ve been using this as a bit of a mantra to help me slow down and take time to look after myself by attending our well-being sessions at The Well.
Just like a gym, The Well offers monthly memberships to enhance the feeling of belonging and help make your well-being a weekly habit. A membership gives you unlimited access to the timetable of group sessions.
Some are ones you know and love, like yoga and meditation. Some are a little more new to the scene like:
Active mindfulness – The mindfulness session for those of us who can’t quite sit still long enough to convince ourselves that we can do it. Enjoy the present moment while doing something with your hands!
Play Olympics – An opportunity to gain the proven benefits of the play state of mind by engaging in playful, uplifting connection as a group through movement, games and theatre inspired techniques.
Reflective Writing – Pen provocations to get your mind flowing onto the paper. A treasured chance to sit still for a supported personal reflective practice at your own pace, with no writing experience necessary, and all equipment provided!
We understand that support looks different for everyone, which means variety is key when offering people options for supporting their own well-being. We hope you find something that suits you at The Well!
The Well is offering a timetable of 10 sessions every week – check it out here and book yourself in for a free session using discount code #DOGOODJOBS. The Well is open and operating in-person at Level 2.
The only weights you’ll be lifting are off your shoulders!
Gráinne hails from Ireland and has made a home in Aotearoa for the past decade. She began work with CoLiberate as a volunteer, and now works as General Manager of the organisation. Outside of her worklife, she loves writing, roller skating and supporting her community to thrive!