Mindfulness for Mental Health and Well-being, February 2020

HCF (Hospitals Contribution Fund) is a not-for-profit health insurance fund for Australians. They have an 85-year history of providing support for hundreds of thousands of Australians to lead healthier lives and to get the most from our health care system.

Leadership is a key focus within HCF. The People and Culture department recognise the benefit in bringing together all staff, nationwide, that have a leadership role. In February 2020 they held a National People Leadership Forum with the theme of ‘Positive Minds’. I had the great pleasure of offering four 45-minute sessions of Mindfulness for Mental Health and Well-being. The large group of 160 people were divided into four groups of 40 and these groups rotated through my session and three others during the full day event.

Each session was experiential and educational. The 45 minutes began with jumping in to a mindfulness body-scan experience for about 10 minutes. This was then discussed at their table and with the larger group. The middle section provided mindfulness education covering; what mindfulness is, what it isn’t, how it relates to positivity, some high level neuroscience, formal and informal mindfulness and tips and tricks to establish mindfulness personally and within the work environment. The sessions ended with another mindfulness experience and a take away challenge to implement mindfulness into the participant’s daily lives.

The sessions were very well received.

“Thank you for your fantastic contribution, it was brilliant.” – Keith Maitland, Acting Head of Talent and Capability. And from Janice Isaacs, the Health and Wellbeing Relationship Manager: “From my take on the session and the people that were with me, they thoroughly enjoyed the presentation and there were a couple of call outs in the final total group session when asked what was the best take away of the day.”

In March 2020, HCF made enquiries about Press Pause Mindful Moments™ as a resource to support their employees. Press Pause Mindful Moments is a well-being resource that is made up of five 12-minute mindfulness audios that can be accessed as a paid break for people to help reset their nervous systems during stressful times. In early April, Press Pause Mindful Moments was launched for their 1200 employees to access. Here are some testimonials from the staff:

Press Pause Mindful Moments has provided me with the tools to manage my day with calmness and clarity. Catherine’s voice makes listening to the audio recordings an absolute pleasure. Taking the time to breathe, focus and re-set has made a huge difference to my perception of and reaction to any challenging situation I might be subjected to. – Lin

Press Pause Mindful Moments has really helped me whilst working from home. Working from home was something that I was not ready for and i like to keep really busy and active. It took a while for me to come to terms with the WFH arrangement and then I discovered Press Pause Mindful Moments. These audio files helped me to relax, take the anxiousness out of WFH and focus on what was in front of me. I used the body scan everyday just before lunch. It was a great way to switch off from the work in front of me and tell myself that now is the time to nourish my body with good food and calm the mind. ‘Choose your Anchor’ was another one that I tried to listen to 10 minutes before the end of the day. Refocus the mind away from work and keep it focused on something else other than work to allow me to stop at 5pm and walk away. When WFH it is easy to keep working past the end time, however these audio’s assisted with making sure I found the balance. As I can also access these audios on my phone, I find myself listening to the breath sensing audio when I hop into bed. Thank you Press Pause Mindful Moments and HCF for looking after us. – Emma