Recent weeks have seen much focus on the health of those who sit at the top table, the world leaders, the Prime Ministers and CEOs.
The surprise resignation of New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern highlighted the pressure world leaders face. She cited burnout for her decision to quit, saying she no longer had “enough in the tank” to do the job.
“Politicians are human. We give all that we can, for as long as we can, and then it’s time”
she said in an emotional address that signalled the end of her five-and-a-half years in office.
It is unusual for a politician to admit they are burnt out – but it’s not surprising that the stress of leading a country can take its toll.
Heavy analysis over PM Rishi Sunak’s choice to opt for private healthcare has also led to much debate about how world leaders should be cared for. Margaret Thatcher famously paid for her own health treatment, so she could ‘go in on the day, at the time, with the doctor I choose — and get out fast.’
President Biden enjoys the cover of a full-time physician, like many US Presidents before him. And the French President Emmanuel Macron also has a doctor responsible for his medical needs.
Surely, it’s an easy appointment to justify; an investment in looking after the individual who is tasked with looking after so many others?
Start At The Top
This commitment to starting at the top is something that we at BHSF whole-heartedly support, especially when it comes to mental wellbeing, not just physical health. If business leaders want their employees to acknowledge when things are not going well and they need support, nothing makes that happen more than when those at the top do exactly that themselves. It’s all very well thinking you must stay strong, and that weakness isn’t allowed, but that sends a message to your team that that is how they have to behave, too. It’s counterproductive. If directors are seen looking after themselves and their mental wellbeing, it sends a powerful message that everyone should do the same.
Best analogy for this? Think back to the last time you were on an airplane, and the flight attendant demonstrated what happens if the cabin depressurises. The oxygen masks fall from the panel above. Put yours on; don’t try to help others around you first, including your children.
You have to look after yourself first, and only if you are okay, can you look after those around you. It’s the same with mental wellbeing; look after yours, and it will help you look after your team’s.
In the current perma-crisis world, CEOs and directors have been spinning plates like never before, carrying unprecedented workloads. Little wonder then that the Financial Times reports of executives turning to intense mental-wellbeing therapies to give them the edge and save them from collapse as a business coach behind a new executive retreat at Goodwood comments:
‘super-smart people have brains that are very active, and most haven’t figured out ways of calming them.’
Swiss clinics have always had a reputation for wellness and recovery, but there’s a new emphasis on executive recovery centres in Switzerland designed to give top teams from private equity and investment banks a full medical, psychiatric and nutritional analysis.
If you don’t have the budget for a Swiss lakefront residence with a private chef and full-time therapist, then why not head to a retreat in North Devon or Madeira.
Business leaders from a number of high profile firms are enjoying short breaks that are structured around mindfulness, meditation, surfing, forest bathing….Wherever the destination, the themes are united by the goal of deep relaxation, of slowing down and connecting with the world around you.
So why not lead from the top by making the decision to prioritise your own mental wellbeing and that of your teams, by talking to us today. Call us on 0121 454 3601 or visit www.bhsf.co.uk/workplace-wellbeing