September 14th, 2016 By Jack Morton
Each year, the London Jack Morton office asks for nominations for Charity organisations whom the office will support the following year. This year the charity that received the greatest number of votes was Mind
Mind is an independent organisation that relies on fundraising for its work to provide care, support and information for the 1 in 4 people who experience mental distress every year in the UK, as well as campaigning vigorously for change. Mental health can be a sensitive and often misunderstood subject, but mental health problems can affect all of us directly and it is easy to see what some of the causes may be – the pressure of deadlines, physically demanding work, maintaining a healthy/work life balance and many more factors as we all seek to survive in an ever increasingly fast paced world.
As with every year, a wonderful number of volunteers from across departments came forward and, as we are all event organisers, we of course held a kick off meeting!
We started to pool together ideas to create a calendar of activities spread out through the entire year and where possible, alongside key dates such as sporting and national events and relevant awareness days. This was a great session and it was clear there was fantastic potential to not only raise a lot of cash, but to really invigorate and improve the welfare of our colleagues. And key to any successful concept is a strong tagline/name. We wanted a name that would represent our aim for the year, to not only fundraise, but also to promote the idea of nourishment, well-being and positivity. And so the Jackpots were formed!
So what are the Jackpots actually doing? Alongside the Jack Wellness programme and initiative, they have been busy organising the following activities:
Yoga is an ancient practice of breathing, focus and physical movement that brings tranquillity and a greater connection with oneself and benefits to everyone who takes part. People from all departments at Jack come to the mat once a week and practice for over an hour under the lead of a yoga teacher. This regular practice works not only to improve flexibility and physical strength, but also to release stress and improve concentration.
Mental Health Awareness Week
The week commencing 16th May was Mental Health Awareness Week, so the Jackpots wanted to do their part to raise awareness and promote workplace wellbeing. Together with Jack Wellness, the Jackpots arranged daily activities and colleagues enjoyed home-made smoothies, massages, yoga and a walking lunch, all topped off with a Prosecco trolley for some Friday fizz.
Over the summer, we have been running a 6-week programme of Life Drawing classes here in the office. Life drawing is observational drawing based around the subject of a nude model. Drawing in this way encourages the mind to look at space and shape differently and to develop skills not only in observational drawing, but in truly focussing the mind, time management and self-motivation. The classes have been a great success, contributing handsomely to our year of fundraising for Mind, and bringing together colleagues from different departments across the business to exercise their minds outside of their usual day job.
Our biggest event of the year is set to be when 11 Jack Mortonites do something truly extraordinary and take part in Tough Mudder on 24th September. Working in events, we are mentally prepared for most challenges, but this is going to be the toughest yet as we run, swim, dive, scramble, crawl and drag our muddy and exhausted bodies around a 12-mile obstacle course. Obstacles include ‘The Blockness Monster’, ‘Arctic Enema’, ‘Electro Shock Therapy’, ‘Everest’ and ‘Birth Canal’! Certainly not for the faint-hearted. To prepare, we are holding training sessions that the rest of the company can join for just a small donation.
Our target amount is over £4,000 and you can still sponsor us here.
Cake sales, sweepstakes and so much more!
Throughout the year, we have also held numerous themed bake sales, such as our Champion Bake Sale for the Olympics and an Easter cake fest. We have run sweepstakes for the Grand National, Olympics and a guess-how-many-Easter-eggs-in-the-pot competition. In June, we held a Charity Pub Quiz attended by Jack employees, friends and family to test our knowledge and fundraise for Mind – a great night that encouraged some healthy office competition! We are making our own small contribution to being sustainable by selling off items and props left over from events, with all proceeds going to the charity pot. We have also gone beyond just raising money for Mind, but have also put our talents developed at Jack to use, providing prizes such as hotel nights in Las Vegas and dinners at 5-star hotels for a gala dinner, and venue research for Mind’s fundraising events.
All of these events and activities have been hugely successful, and we are so delighted that we have already raised £5,300. And we still have more to come, such as pottery classes, lunchtime cinema club and a series of mindfulness sessions. Yet, our success is not only measured by the money that we have raised, but we are confident in saying that the London office is a more connected, happy and healthy office through our efforts.
So in the spirit of well-being, we will leave you with some tips to help achieve a happy and healthy mental state of mind:
- Boost your self-esteem: If you set yourself a number of smaller goals and work towards achieving them, you will feel satisfied and proud of yourself when you achieve your ultimate goal, and feel more positive about yourself as a result. And don’t forget to reward yourself for the goals you do achieve.
- Forgive yourself when you make a mistake, or don’t achieve something you hoped for. Try to remember that nobody’s perfect, and putting extra pressure on yourself doesn’t help.
- Take short breaks: Everyone knows the British love a cup of tea, but taking short breaks throughout the day, as well as at least half-an-hour away from your desk at lunch, is hugely beneficial to your well-being. Go for a short walk outside if you can.
- For a better sleep: Turn off electrical screens, TVs, computers and phones before you sleep. All of these items stimulate your brain, making it hard to relax.
- A healthy diet is key to a happy and calm mind. You may find it easier to relax if you avoid stimulants such as coffee, cigarettes and alcohol. Some people also find eating a healthy diet helps them to manage anxiety better. Top tip: eat greens with every meal!
- If you find these tips helpful and want to learn more, or if you are experiencing a mental health problem, please go to the Mind website: http://www.mind.org.uk/
The Jackpots are: Esther Clark, Pavlina Nehrebecki, Zara Mannings, Lucy Kingsman, Georgina Pope, Kiki Kowalski, Katie Gibson, Lewis Robbins