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Our unique and inclusive culture is defined by our people. Take a look at their experiences to understand how they've helped shape the way we work and interact with each other.

Tackling Anxiety

May 30, 2023

Tackling Anxiety

Beth Bolton, Senior Benefits Advisor, shares an overview of what our well-being guild got up to throughout mental health awareness week to raise awareness of the support available to our people and to open the conversation about mental health.

Last week was mental health awareness week, and the theme was anxiety. Mental health is important all year round, and as Todd mentioned in the Wellbeing Guild's last blog our commitment is to empower people to be the happiest and healthiest version of themselves and have more great days. In collaboration with a few of our different networks, the Mental Health First Aiders, the Disability & Neurodiversity and the Career Kickstart network, we used the week as an opportunity to raise awareness of the tools and resources available to support our people and to open up the conversation about mental health.

In true Auto Trader style, we tried to be creative in our approach and introduce a range of exciting and fun activities throughout the week, enhancing our people's mental health. From virtual chocolate-tasting workshops to singers in our canteen – we made sure there was an activity that was accessible and appropriate for everyone.

Take a look at what we got up to:

Coffee chat with our Disability & Neurodiversity Network

Our Disability & Neurodiversity Network started the week with a coffee chat to discuss how Mental Health can be classed as a disability and how physical disabilities can impact mental health.

The network provided an open and safe space to discuss mental health and disability, and it was a great opportunity for everyone to learn more about the topic.

"Just One Thing"

Inspired by Dr Michael Mosley, we shared a range of surprisingly simple small things designed to fit easily into people's daily life that is scientifically proven to improve mental and physical health and well-being.

We encouraged people to try 'Just One Thing' every day throughout the week, such as 'take a break' and let their minds wander. Our brilliant internal design team created a Mental Health Awareness-themed colouring sheet, and we plotted them around the office for people to help themselves too. We also enabled remote workers to request a 'Just One Thing' pack to their home addresses.

Another 'Just One Thing' activity was to eat chocolate which obviously went down a treat. In my opinion, it wasn't as exciting as being encouraged to eat a large Cadbury fruit and nut or caramel; it was only to eat two squares of dark chocolate, but no chocolate was left at the end of the day! Jokes aside, we asked people to let us know how it has benefited their mood. Megan said:

"It definitely gave me a little mid-afternoon mood boost around the time that I started to have a lull, and I found that the dark chocolate was just enough sweetness to feel like a treat. I would recommend it!"

Mental Health First Aider Drop-In (with cake!)

We have over 16 mental health first aiders at Auto Trader who are trained to assist people who may be experiencing a mental health crisis, for example, a panic attack while at work, as well as helping anyone who could be developing a mental health condition or have a known ongoing mental health condition.

The team hosted a drop-in session to give anyone the opportunity to have a coffee and chat with someone from the network to find out what support is available to support them, their team, or colleagues, whatever the reason may be.

Virtual Mindful Chocolate Tasting Workshop

Stretching the City hosted a virtual chocolate-tasting workshop, which was an immersive and sensory experience that brought the wonderful world of chocolate and mindful eating directly to people's homes!

Using the principles of mindful eating and professional chocolate tasting, those who joined the session (which was fully booked!) mindfully tasted a variety of the single-origin chocolate that was delivered ahead of the session.

Chocolate is an exciting ingredient with even more flavour complexity than red wine, making it the perfect ingredient for a sensory experience.

Managing Anxious Thoughts Workshop

Anxiety is a natural reaction to stress or a threat, a feeling of unease, worry or fear. It's normal for us to feel anxious from time to time, but it's important to be able to recognise the signs if these feelings start to impact everyday life.

Stretching the City hosted a virtual workshop that considered the causes and origins of anxious thoughts, identifying self-care strategies, developing coping strategies for dealing with negative news or anxious scenarios and learning to manage your mindset. This was extremely insightful and really highlighted some effective techniques to enable our people to channel anxiety.

Mood and Music

Did you know that listening to music releases the feel-good chemical dopamine in your brain?

It may or may not be obvious, but there's a link between Music and our Mental Health. Throughout the week, we were joined by an incredible singer from Monotones who played acoustic music in our canteen over lunchtime and took lots of requests to give us all a lunchtime boost. The Little Mermaid's upbeat acoustic version of 'Under the Sea' was a big hit!

Our music club and others across the business also created a playlist called 'Anti-anxiety Anthems' for everyone to contribute and listen to, which was fantastic.

Mood and Money

There's often a link between struggling with money and mental health problems. Feeling low can make it harder to manage your finances, and worrying about money problems can affect your mental well-being by causing stress and anxiety. The sooner people can begin to think about and tackle your money problems, the easier it'll be to take control. We shared resources from our financial well-being providers, Money Helper and Salary Finance, for anyone with money worries affecting their mental health.