Gibsons, the independent jigsaw puzzle and board game company, are looking to encourage people to start puzzling during Mental Health Awareness Week, which is why they have teamed up with online jigsaw website, Jigsaw Puzzles Direct, and are holding a Half Price promotion from 14th-20th May 2018.
Mental Health Awareness Week was established to educate and increase awareness about mental illness, and this year the focus is on stress and how employees and employers can create a mentally healthy workplace where everyone feels valued and supported.
Gibsons are proud of their workplace which has been cultivated over the years to create an open and safe environment for the entire team.
‘As a family business, our culture has always been important, but it is a bit of a passion of mine so I have worked hard to build upon this,’ says Kate Gibson, MD. ‘Dealing with stress in the workplace is essential to a happy, thriving business.’
Approximately 1 in 4 people in the UK will experience a mental health problem each year and in England, 1 in 6 people report experiencing a common mental health problem (such as anxiety and depression) in any given week (Mind.co.uk, 2018). Mental health problems can range anywhere from anxiety and depression, to PTSD and bipolar disorder, and worries about things like money, jobs and benefits can make it harder for people to cope.
‘The culture at Gibsons is central to who we are… our team meetings always begin with a look at what we’re proud of since the last time we met,’ she continues.
‘We’ve introduced a buddy scheme where everyone pairs up with someone else in the office for a couple of months at a time. They may go for a coffee together or play a game, allowing them to get to know one other better, share any concerns and have some fun… we have table football and there is always a puzzle on the go in the kitchen, encouraging people to switch off and do something else when they need to.’
Among other health benefits, completing jigsaw puzzles are shown to reduce stress by occupying and engaging the mind on an activity that is both meditative and satisfying. (SPBH.org, 2017). What’s more, while it makes for an excellent solo activity, when solved in a group it can also bring people together. MindUK reports that loneliness and mental health are intrinsically linked, as having a mental health problem increases your chance of feeling lonely and feeling lonely can have a negative impact on your mental health (Mind.org, 2018).
Solving a jigsaw engages both of the brain’s hemispheres, which enhances our ability to focus and successfully placing a puzzle piece to create the wider picture encourages the production of dopamine, the neurotransmitter that regulates mood and affects concentration, motivation, memory and motor control (Dr Newton, 2017). Refocusing the mind away from negative and stressful thoughts decreases your cortisol and blood pressure levels, making both your body and mind healthy (Dr Newton, 2017).
‘We hold regular coffee mornings with no agenda, but to chat and take time away from our desks,’ says Kate. ‘Some of our employees have been with us for 20 years, and this loyalty makes us a family business in more than one sense. We recognise the importance of a home life balance and how vital this is to someone’s wellbeing- if people feel valued, they will work hard and everybody benefits.’
Mental Health Awareness Week is a great opportunity to open up and start a discussion about mental health. There are lots of ways you to get involved, head over to Mind’s website to find out more.