Mental Health & Hutch
At Hutch we value everyone’s mental health and happiness. And with Mental Health Awareness events across the world in May, we wanted to share how we approach mental health here at Hutch, plus share some of our own experiences in the hope that we might be able to help others.
The wellbeing of our staff always comes first and that means we offer mental health sick days and have trained 9 Mental Health First Aiders to offer support wherever they can. Their role is to be a point of contact in the studio for those who are experiencing a mental health issue.
We’ve also recently introduced a new therapy service to Hutchies, which allows staff to access counsellors via a platform on Slack. Hutchies can book a session whenever they need to and confidently share how they’re feeling with a therapist. They can book a time that suits them rather than committing to a particular time slot each month. Of course, sometimes looking after your mental health is easier said than done, so we asked our Mental Health First Aiders to share their practical tips and experiences of how they take care of their mental health.
Will, 3D Artist, London
I find that mindfulness helps calm me and moves my focus away from external stresses. Spending 10 minutes listening to a mindfulness track or watching a video can really help set my day right.
I also try to go running a few times a week. I’m lucky to live in the countryside and soaking in all the views while doing some exercise really de-stresses me before my work day starts and puts me in a positive mindset when I get to my desk. And for the last 2 years, a group of us have been taking part in the Special Effect Virtual 10K, which has given me another great reason to get outdoors.
Kim, Studio Assistant, Nova Scotia
As someone who used to suffer from panic attacks (and still has the occasional one), I’ve learned to rely on breathing techniques. Breathing is a necessity of life, but we often do it without much thought. So in the moments I become anxious, such as sitting in traffic, running late for a deadline at my desk, stuck in a line up at the grocery store or simply feeling overwhelmed by responsibilities, I bring my attention to my breathing and use a technique such as the 4-7-8 breathing technique, which acts as a natural tranquilizer for the nervous system. At first, it's best to perform the exercise seated with your back straight. Then…
Place and keep the tip of your tongue against the ridge of tissue behind your upper front teeth for the duration of the exercise.
Completely exhale through your mouth, making a "whoosh" sound.
Close your mouth and inhale quietly through your nose to a mental count of four.
Hold your breath for a count of seven.
Exhale completely through your mouth, making a whoosh sound to a count of eight.
Once you become more familiar with this breathing exercise, you can perform it while lying in bed (sometimes I fall asleep which helps me to wake up feeling relaxed and calm. A nap can be as good as a vacation!)
There are lots of different breathing techniques, so try out a few to get the best fit for you.
Arturo, Localisation Manager, London
As someone who lives alone I try to strike a balance between 'me time' and being social so I don't feel too lonely or, on the other hand, socially exhausted. Working part of the week in the office and part at home helps massively, but when I'm at home I try to go for a lunchtime walk/cycle regularly, even if it's just 15 minutes or just nipping to the shops.
When I’m at home, I sometimes struggle mentally with the end of the working day, when it’s difficult to find that separation between work life and personal life - a yoga class or a cycle to the park to catch the last few sun rays help a lot in that regard because it's something that breaks my day (and is finished by the time I want to cook dinner).
Thanks for reading, and good luck with your own mental health journey.
If you’re struggling with your mental health: https://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/guides-to-support-and-services/seeking-help-for-a-mental-health-problem/where-to-start/
The power of mindfulness: https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/publications/how-look-after-your-mental-health-using-mindfulness
Mental health related games and apps: https://safeinourworld.org/games-and-apps/