Time to Talk Day comes to Wonder.


Feb 06, 2020

Today is Time To Talk Day. Sponsored by Time to Change (our pledge to change the way we think and act about mental health), the day provides an opportunity for companies to add to wider conversations that are already happening – and enables us to have our own.

Mental health problems affect one in four of us, yet too many people are made to feel isolated, ashamed and worthless because of this. Time to Talk Day encourages everyone to be more open about mental health – to talk, to listen, to change lives.

Our theme for the day was 'being in your colleagues corner'. Being open about mental health and ready to be in your colleague’s corner can make a positive difference to you and them. And sometimes we say we're fine when we're not – so today we held a few different activities to encourage Team Wonder to open up and start those conversations.

This morning we encouraged everyone to take some time out from their day, fill their cups and chat to their colleagues over a proper tea break.

Then this afternoon we welcomed Fontanna Kennedy, an organiser of holistic health development groups in Waltham Forest Conscious Care Community. Fontanna's mission is to nurture wellbeing by supporting people to find the resources, self worth and values necessary to talk about and take care of their mental health – and we were lucky enough to experience two workshop sessions first-hand:

1) The Work – we learnt more about this practice, to allow us to access the wisdom that always exists within.

2) Laughter Yoga – to reduce stress, support a stronger immune system, increase fitness, mind/body connection, inner peace, and resilience.

Fontanna also shared some of her experiences at our fortnightly company meeting, and we caught up with her afterwards to ask her a bit more about Time to Talk Day, her practices, and how we can best support each other.

What does being a Time to Change Champion involve?
It means that I help raise awareness of the stigma and the stereotypes around mental health. I run local events and talks in a variety of places which supports this elevation of wellbeing for people in a number of ways.

Today you have joined us in taking part in Time to Talk Day 2020. What does Time To Talk mean to you?
Its an invitation for us all to connect more to ourselves and to each other and have those important conversations, the ones that really matter, about our mental health, our wellbeing, the way we think, and the things we may be struggling with that we are afraid to open up about. It invites us all to find a safe space, to find a person we feel safe with, to have these conversations.

Why do you think people still feel awkward talking about their mental health?
It is really about overcoming the fear of judgment. I feel like people carry a lot of judgment on themselves, as well as a fear of the judgement that they have received – maybe in the past when they were honest and vulnerable. It makes people shut down, when they’re received badly. It also takes a lot of courage for people to recognise in themselves they need help – this is their reality right now and the kind of thoughts they are having – and get to that point where they are actually able to vocalise it.

How can we break the ice and get the conversation flowing with colleagues and friends who may be suffering?

There’s a number of different ways to approach these conversations. One of the best comes from simply having an awareness that when you ask somebody, “How are you? Are you ok?”, people will not necessarily tell you the truth on that first ask – so one of the conversation starters is to ask twice. When that happened to me on the Time to Talk training, the first time I was asked I didn’t respond with my ultimate truth. But when I was asked again, the initial response I felt in my body around fear and judgment had had a chance to settle – and I felt like that person was genuine and was really interested and I felt a bit safer to speak my truth.

Tell us a little bit about Laughter Yoga...
Laughter Yoga that was a life changer for me, specifically for my wellbeing. I was at a point where I felt really low, but was inspired one day to take responsibility for my own emotional wellbeing and I found Laughter Yoga. I saw a weekend course advertised, jumped on it, and it was the first time in a long time that I was belly laughing on the floor, rolling over. It was the most amount of fun I’d had in a really long time and I realised that if it worked for me, someone who was really depressed, it can work for others. It was through Time to Change I’ve now had the opportunity to meet the right people and be able to offer this back to the community.

And, how does The Work work?
Laughter Yoga hits the emotional wellbeing and the The Work hits the mental. Byron Katy invites us to look at whats informs our beliefs and we go through a journey through four questions to get a deeper awareness and real realisation around our false beliefs. It is one of the most profound transformational tools that I use and I love sharing it with others!

Anything else to add about Time to Talk Day?
I am a real advocate for people finding their voice and finding their own unique creative expression and embracing their individuality. Time to Talk Day is a vortex of safety and the perfect opportunity for people who have been struggling to embrace the moment and to explore something that they’ve never done before. It is the most fulfilling thing, take the leap of faith and you'll no doubt inspire others.