Featured Self Care

Decompression Zones: What Music Festivals Really Need

A targeted approach to decompression zones may help attendees with post-festival recovery

Mud, grime, rain, and slime may be pretty consistent with every festival-goer’s experience. And the physical or spatial anxieties of attending a weekend-long music festival in the countryside are by no means trifling. The sleeplessness, the noise, hygiene (or lack of it), and the sensory overload, none of it is easy. Any seasoned festival-goer will tell you they’ve had moments when they’ve questioned their commitment to an erratic festival itinerary or to $30 fries. And, it’s worth noting how physical discomfort or inconvenience bleeds into the overall experience of attending a music festival. So, when it comes to dedicated decompression zones or chill-out spots that are designed to help attendees de-compress or relax, certain parameters are of utmost significance.

Mental health first aiders are usually trained to look for signs of stress, anxiety and panic attacks, and provide immediate psychological care. However, music festivals can also make an effort to help alleviate the physical constraints of a frantic weekend. But, do all music festivals need spaces for attendees looking to wean themselves away from the visual or auditory overload? In a way, yes. 

decompression zones at festivals
© Instagram – Creamfields South

It boils down to what makes a festival experience ‘worth it.’ Is it the music, the camaraderie, the lack of routine and the sense of being a part of something relevant for a weekend? Or, is it something more elementary, like being away from home for a weekend and not having to think about rent or inflation for 48 hours? While the answer may vary on who you ask, assistance with mental flare-ups is a necessity for all. This calls for physical spaces and set-ups that can act not just as a retreat but also as a sort of therapy – one that also helps in the transition to post-festival recovery.

The priorities

Attention to substance usage and a realistic approach to the psychedelic experience is a must-have for the post-pandemic festival circuit. One organization working to tackle this issue is The Loop, a UK-based non-profit NGO promoting harm reduction and wellbeing through drug checking, especially at festival sites. One of their main priorities is to educate festival-goers about the importance of the set and setting.

“When someone decides to take psychoactive drugs, they are taking something which has the potential to change their perceptions, feelings and thought patterns. How this shift in conscious experience unfolds is still influenced by other factors,” their website points out.

decompression zones at festivals
© Instagram – Shambhala Music Festival

“If you’re too cold – or too hot – when taking drugs you’re more likely to have a bad time. The weather can also increase your risk of coming to serious harm. Hot weather increases the chance of you getting too hot on MDMA and suffering hyperthermia, which can be fatal. If it’s very cold you can pass out on drugs like alcohol and GHB and suffer hypothermia,” it adds. 

PsyCare is another such organization run by harm reduction specialists that works towards protecting the mental and physical health of festival attendees (they’ve worked with festivals like Sofft Nights and Another Love Story). But, besides crisis management and psychedelic first aid, health services at music festivals can also provide decompression zones equipped to help attendees with post-festival recovery.

Down to brass tacks

For attendees in their 30s or 40s, a music festival is a gruelling affair. According to American Addiction Centers, fifty-seven% of people attending live music events admitted to using alcohol or drugs, with more than 93% consuming alcohol. It’s important for all attendees (especially older ones) to stay hydrated, flush out toxins and also work towards reducing inflammation and soreness. Returning to work after a three-day stint of sleeping in cramped positions and relying on beer and chilli cheese fries for sustenance is truly hard, and no number of Instagram reels can make you feel better. Unless of course, your post-festival recovery begins from the site itself.

Grounding, DIY activities, decompression zones, and attention to some basic endurance-building workouts can truly help festival-goers maintain their stamina and also recuperate quicker post an unpredictable weekend. Immersive indoor experiences are a great way to help attendees cope with the rigours of a strenuous weekend. 

©Instagram - Magnetic Fields Festival
©Instagram – Magnetic Fields Festival

Massages and some basic sleep care units are also great ideas and can help attendees cope with a demanding festival itinerary. The idea is to help attendees get back to their lives as painlessly and quickly as possible. Educating attendees on natural supplements and helping them balance their serotonin levels after the festival can go a long way in post-festival care. 

Certain foods can also help festival-goers replace the serotonin levels in their brains, which can help regulate their mental health the morning after the festival (pairing high-tryptophan foods like turkey, chicken, milk and tuna with high-carbohydrate foods can spike your insulin levels and move a greater amount of the tryptophan to the brain, producing more serotonin). 

At their core, festivals need to graduate to a more intelligent design – a more resourceful, informed, and helpful model that can offer leisure and care to a broader demographic without them having to resort to luxury experiences or premium services.  

Art + Culture Featured

Self-Help Books for Young People Struggling With Their Mental Health

Need a hand with your mental health? There are lots of self-help books out there that may hit the spot! Here are a few to get you started…

It’s no secret that young people are facing a mental health epidemic. COVID-19, crumbling political systems, environmental catastrophes and the rise of social media are all contributing to a profound impact on people’s mental well-being. And the statistics are alarming! As a result, many young people are looking toward alternative methods of therapy, that are often cheaper and easier to access – such as self-help books. Here is a list of self-help books that are easily digestible for someone with little prior knowledge. 

Some other honourable mentions (Hello Giggles)

According to Young Minds, one in six children aged 5 to 16 has reported having mental health issues. What’s more shocking is that from 2018 to 2019 – so before the pandemic – 24% of 17-year-olds have self-harmed in the past year, with 7% having self-harmed with the intent of suicide. With an underfunded NHS, and a lack of mental health support in schools, colleges and universities, they have been left alone to deal with their issues. So, it’s no wonder self-help books are becoming so popular.

An Untehtherd Soul 

The Unethered Soul
The Unethered Soul Book Cover (Blue Mind Sky)

Don’t be put off by the outrageously kitsch front cover, this book is pretty much one of the most well-known books for those seeking a more spiritual way out of a hard place. The author, Michael Singer, has decided to interpret eastern spiritual philosophies into a more digestible read for western audiences. The book starts with the basics and gradually gets into more depth. It is a clear description of how the mind works, and how past traumas can program the mind into a negative set of patterns. It also offers a set of simple instructions on how to clear the blockages and open your mind, body and soul to a more joyful way of life. This book will equip you with everything you need to know to begin your mind-altering journey. 

The Power of Now 

Self-Help Books
Tolle with Oprah (Rotten Tomatos)

The Power of Now is probably one of the most well-known and successful self-help books of all time. Since being published in 1997, it has sold over 3 million copies in the US alone, and has been translated into 33 different languages – it is even a firm favourite of Oprah Winfrey. And, there’s a reason for this success, as it has changed the lives of millions of people. In a nutshell, the book is a journey into living in the present moment. Eckhart Tolle, the author, tells the reader how living in the now is the gateway to a happy life. When you look at the past, you get depressed, when you look at the future, you get anxious. Life only happens in the present moment, and if you want to escape suffering, then you must aim to live in the narrow window of the now. It’s one of the easiest things to do to change your life, but also the hardest. But, Tolle has a clear set of instructions based on his own hardships, and after a few chapters, you already notice a profound shift in your psyche. If you make it past the hippy-dippy first chapter, then you’re in for a life-changing experience!

The Chimp Paradox

Self-Help Books
The Chimp Paradox (Tandem Financial)

The Chimp Paradox: The Mind Management Programme to Help You Achieve Success, Confidence and Happiness – is the full title. And, the long title is necessary because it actually helps you achieve all these things. The book uses the metaphor of your inner chimp – that everyone has – which is basically your inner wild self who is chaotic and uncontrolled. Via mind management techniques, it helps you tame your inner wild and control your emotions. It does this by following a three-step process: first, recognise how your mind is working; then, understand your emotions and thoughts, and finally, it teaches you how to manage yourself and become a better person. This book is particularly good for those who have ADHD tendencies. 

The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck

Self-Help Books
Book Cover (Medium)

This number 1 New York Times best-seller, written by Mark Manson, has sold over 10 million copies, in just 6 years. The immense appeal of this self-help book is the blunt approach to therapy, which has a heavy dose of humour. It teaches the reader how to cut through the crap, and “show us how to stop trying to be ‘positive’ all the time so that we can truly become better, happier people.” The important premise of the book is that it teaches you what to care about and what to not care about, and how happiness, resilience, and freedom come from being aware of the rubbish that surrounds you. 

Featured Self Care

Libra Season: Create Balance In Your Relationship

Libra season is upon us friends, and with it, the call to get our lives and loves back in balance!

Libra is the sign of the scales and it is all about the balancing act of life. This season is urging us to ask ourselves, where in our love lives are things a little out of whack? If you are feeling like there are places in your current (or even past relationships) where things are not exactly equal, or not quite adding up, then it’s a great time to even those scales and get things back in balance. Here is a simple 3 Step Plan to take advantage of Libra season and do exactly that!

1. Take Inventory

libra season

So often in our relationships, we fall into roles and patterns. We are the caretaker, the breadwinner, the homemaker, the emotional supporter, etc. But sometimes, these roles and titles aren’t always the healthiest for us or the relationship. Relationships are a team effort and to make them successful both people within them have to carry their own share.

Now to be fair, of course, there will be times along the way when one partner will need a little more support than the other. Someone loses a job, someone gets sick, some major life occurrence happens, and one partner might need to help the other one out a little more. That’s understandable. That’s life. But, when the relationship was set up that way, or the period of assistance goes on longer than is healthy or becomes a habit,  then it’s time to make some changes. And there’s no time like the present!

So, take some time with yourself and your partner to figure out how the relationship is divvied up. Is one person always responsible for the money, the household chores, or emotional support? And, take a look back at past relationships while you’re at it, are you able to see any patterns? For example, do you feel like you are always the one carrying the financial burden? Or are you always the shoulder to cry on? Now is the time to take a good long, look at those patterns and how you feel around them, in both current and past relationships. If something feels out of balance, then it’s time to move on to step number 2!

2. Talk It Out

Libra Season

On an additional note, Venus, the planet of love is also currently in Libra, which is very supportive of harmony and balance in relationships. So it’s a great season to work out any differences that may be springing up. After you and your partner have taken inventory, talk it out! Does someone need to pick up a few more chores around the house? Is someone needing to take on a little more of the financial load?

Or maybe it’s a problem of a bigger scale, like one person always feels like the emotional supporter, but doesn’t feel they get the same in return. Now is the time to diplomatically, kindly but very honestly talk to your partner about your needs in the relationship. If you hate doing the dishes and it ruins your whole night, be honest about that. Maybe your partner will be open to a swap or investing in a dishwasher. You never know what solutions you can find until you ask! It could actually be a relatively simple fix.

And, if it’s not, that’s ok too. Sometimes relationships take us rolling up our sleeves and doing some hard work, and that can look like therapy, couples or individual, picking up some extra hours at work, or learning how to say no to outside commitments that take away from the relationship. All of these solutions may feel overwhelming at first but for the health of you and your relationship, they will be totally worth it!

3. Take Action

Libra Season

So now that you know your plan, it’s time to take action. Figure out the best ways to take that first step, then do it! We mean, a plan without action is pretty meaningless, don’t ya think? So how can you start today and put that plan into motion? Is it making a therapist appointment, pricing dishwashers, pulling out the want-ads(or LinkedIn these days) or even just telling your partner how much you appreciate them? Use all of those Virgo tools and tricks we learned from last season and put that plan into action. Make a list, make a call, whatever it is, take that first step, today. You (and your partner) will be so glad you did!

Going through these steps successfully not only helps get things into balance, but it can also create trust. When you collaborate and work out a problem as a couple it builds communication and conflict resolution skills and helps create a strong and yes balanced, foundation for the relationship. It also creates a sense that no matter what problems come your way as a couple, you will be able to work through them. So take the calm, balancing energy of Libra season, and use it (and these three steps) to your advantage!


Community Featured

Four-Day Week Trial in UK to be Made Permanent

After four months of trial, many firms participating in the four-day week experiment have decided to make it permanent, to widespread joy and acclaim from employees

In May this year, some companies across the United Kingdom began a trial of the four-day week. And, while not all firms decided to move forward with the four-day work week, at least 70 companies have agreed to adjust. Considering that around 73 companies participated in the trial, that’s almost the entire list of participants.

The key reason that most companies have decided to continue the new working schedule is that partway through the trial, data showed that productivity had been maintained or even improved at most of the firms. So, contrary to popular belief, a four-day work week doesn’t necessarily hinder productivity. 

Many employees feel refreshed, have improved well-being and their productivity is boosted during a shorter work week, allowing them to be more efficient during four days than they would be across five. As a result, employees that spent more time than they really need to fulfil their jobs at the office now can use their time to relax, while time-wasters are cut off to increase productivity.

four-day week trial
© Getty Images

The initiative was proposed by 4 Week Global, which also runs the trial in different countries. Joe O’Connor, chief executive of 4 Week Global, stated that he’s learned how for many countries, it’s a fairly smooth transition, and for some, there are understandable hurdles. The trial was run for 4 Day Work Week, and most of the data were researched by scholars from Cambridge and Oxford Universities. 4 Day Week found out that employees could save money and parents with two children could save £3,232.40 on average per year or roughly £269.36 per month.

One of the companies to open up about their participation in the trial in the UK was Waterwise, which admitted that the team is currently happy, though incorporating the new schedule took some time getting used to at first. Most employees love having an extra day of the week to do chores and wind down without sacrificing their duties. 

Companies in the UK taking these measures might motivate companies in other parts of the world to do the same, possibly even entire countries in a couple of decades’ time. Trials are also happening in the US, Ireland, Australia, and New Zealand.

New Zealand-based company, Perpetual Guardian, conducted a similar trial study of a four-day work week where employees kept the same productivity level, and also showed improvements in job satisfaction, work/life balance and company loyalty. They also experienced less stress.

Globally, it seems a four-day work week also benefits workplace equality, allowing people not in employment due to childcare responsibilities to spend more time with their families.

Featured Self Care

What is Yin and Yang and Can it Help in Your Life?

How the ancient Yin and Yang symbol could have a powerful impact on your mental health

Climate disasters, pandemics and wars are becoming more common features of modern-day society. As the world is becoming more noticeably unstable, so is our mental health. Now, more than ever, we are looking toward ancient philosophies for the tools to live a balanced and meaningful life.

Yin and Yang tattoo
A classic Yin and Yang tattoo (insider)

As far as ancient symbols are concerned, none is more prevalent in western contemporary culture that the yin and yang. In the ’90s the symbol found its way into the fashion industry and it was even one of the decade’s most popular tattoos. But, more recently, the symbol has lost its cool and its time that it is reclaimed for its meaning, rather than its design and image.

What is Yin and Yang?

The essence of Yin and Yang is hard to grasp at first, but once it clicks, everything makes sense. The principle of the philosophy is that “everything contains the seed of the opposite.” Meaning that everything in life is connected and inseparable. Whether it’s dark-light, male-female, hard-soft or old-young, the pairs of equal opposites attract, compliment and are relative to one another.

According to Britannica, Yin is the symbol of earth, femaleness, darkness, passivity and absorption. Yang on the other hand consists of heaven, maleness, light, activity and penetration. Both elements are represented by the black and white of the Yin and Yang symbol and both are complete as a circle. In the black, you will see a white seed and in the white, a black – which demonstrates how both are dependent on one another. 

In your day-to-day life, you can see Yin and Yang everywhere. John Bellaimey’s Ted Talk explains the philosophy well, by using the analogy of Star Wars. Darth Vader has the potential for goodness, and Luke has the capability to follow his father to the dark side. But, Yin and Yang can also be applied to less obvious areas in everyday life: in the ocean the crest of the wave is yang, and the trough is yin; a car’s brake is Yin, and the gas pedal is Yang; an egg shell is Yang, and the egg is Yin.

Origins in Taoism 

Yin and Yang origins in Taosim
Taosim (Asian Inspirations)

Yin and Yang dates back to the third century BCE in China and has a strong influence on every area of Chinese society: from medicine to culture in general. The symbol belongs to the spiritual teachings of Taoism. Taoism believes that there is the ultimate power in the universe that’s called the Tao (the way). Taoists believe that living in harmony with ‘the way’ is the truest way to live. If you attempt to go against the natural forces in everyday life, then you will run into trouble and cause suffering: as swimming against the stream is always more difficult than swimming with it. 

How can the Tao help me?

Yin and Yang has roots in Taoism
Geographic origins of Taoism (Wikimedia)

If you incorporate the tao (the way) into your everyday life, then you may ease suffering. Most of the suffering of the world comes from the thought, and not the thing itself. How many times have you cancelled a meeting with a friend, and lay awake at night thinking about their reaction? ‘Maybe they won’t want to meet with me again,’ ‘maybe they were looking forward to it,’ ‘maybe they were going through a tough time and they needed my support.” Well, nine times out of ten, the friend will message you back the next day saying that it really doesn’t matter and that they were tired anyway. But even if they were upset with you, your worrying thoughts at night will not change the facts. Your friend will feel what they feel anyway, so there’s no point in causing yourself to suffer. Basically, each day has a natural flow, the more you follow it, the easier it will be. 

Most importantly, the symbol of Yin and Yang represents balance. It’s a reminder that happiness needs sadness and sadness needs happiness. Think about it, how many times have you had a weekend of partying with your friends, and when it’s over, you feel intense sadness, emptiness, and loneliness? This is your indication that you have had a wonderful time, as you can’t have one without the other. So, next time you are sitting at your office desk, hungover and sad, just remember, that this is natural, accept it, and move on.


Featured Self Care

Tom Holland Announces Social Media Break to Protect Mental Health

MCU’s Spiderman, Tom Holland, is taking a step away from social media

Fans and followers of Tom Holland (26), the “Spider-Man: No Way Home” star, have noticed he’s been absent from social media in recent weeks. Turns out, he had deleted both Instagram and Twitter from his devices. He downloaded Instagram on Sunday to announce what was going on in his life in a three-minute video. Tom Holland has 67.7 million followers as of writing.

Holland stated that social media apps have become harmful to his mental state and that he spirals when he reads things about himself online, “I have taken a break from social media for my mental health because I find Instagram and Twitter to be overstimulating and overwhelming.” He mentioned how he had spent probably thirteen or fourteen years acting, and the exposure has certainly affected his mental health for the worse.

Many celebrities and influencers commented on the post, with even Justin Bieber commenting “I love you, man” and a heart emoji. The Brothers Trust, the charity set up by Nikki and Dom Holland, parents to Tom and his three brothers, also shared the video on their Instagram account.

Tom Holland and Zendaya
Tom Holland and Zendaya © Getty Images

Stem4 advertises itself as a teenage mental health charity, and they have four apps: @calmharmapp, @appmovemood, @clearfearapp, and @combmindsapp, which can be downloaded for free. 

The video had several million likes and Holland took the opportunity to promote Stem4, a charity that supports positive mental health in teenagers through its four different apps. He had personally used all of them and noticed improvements in his mental health.

He also mentioned that stigma on mental health had taken a toll on his pursuit of happiness and that while he’s aware that asking for help and seeking help isn’t something we should be ashamed of, it’s still easier said than done.

Holland stated that he’d disappear once more and also thanked his fans for their love and support. The video is nearly a week old, and it’s unclear when Holland will delete his social media accounts again or if he backed out from the idea. There’s a possibility that the Spiderman actor is just waiting for more people to watch the video before making good on his promise.

Other celebrities near his age group have taken similar measures in the past years, including Selena Gómez, Shawn Mendes, Camila Cabello, and more, making their mental and physical health a priority over their careers.

Community Featured

HIV 40 Years Onwards: Have we found the cure?

A 5th Patient is ‘cured’ of HIV

During the Summer of 2022, an American man (who chose to remain anonymous) was publicly declared to be the 5th and oldest ever patient at 66 to be ‘cured’ of HIV after he was given a bone marrow transplant to treat leukaemia, a cancer of the blood. It is believed that the bone marrow donor was naturally resistant to the virus, having a mutation in their CCR5 protein that meant the virus could no longer enter the patient’s white blood cells. 

Following said treatment, the patient has since stopped taking antiretroviral medication that he had been consuming for decades and has now been in remission from HIV for 17 months. The man highlighted that he was “beyond grateful” that the virus was no longer present in his body, stating that: “When I was diagnosed with HIV in 1988, like many others, I thought it was a death sentence. I never thought I would live to see the day that I no longer have HIV”.

HIV Cure Getty Images
HIV Cure © Getty Images

As mentioned above, the man became the fifth ever patient to have HIV become undetectable in their body following a diagnosis many years ago. The first, Timothy Ray Brown, was treated and ‘cured’ in Berlin. Whilst the second patient came later and in London, the third was declared merely days after the second. And, in a further breakthrough, the fourth patient is believed to be the first-ever woman to be cured of the virus. 

Clearly, headway is being made regarding finding a cure for HIV-positive patients, which is not only a big step for medicine and healthcare across the globe, but for the LGBTQ+ community who have continuously faced discrimination at the hands of the association with the supposedly ‘uncurable’ and deadly virus. 

Community Featured

Depression is not Caused by Chemical Imbalance says Study

The study into serotonin disproves a theory believed for decades.

It is estimated that 8.3 million people in the UK alone take antidepressants daily. Citalopram, escitalopram and sertraline are some of the few drugs that are given to patients that are struggling with anxiety and depression. But, a new study has changed the way we see depression and its treatment, as it is revealed that a chemical imbalance or low serotonin levels are not the root causes. This scientific finding has opened a pandora’s box of potential for future treatment plans.

Antidepressants (The Independent)

The study, by scientists at the University College London, found no link between chemical imbalance and depression. Although this news will change the way we see antidepressants, doctors up and down the country are urging people not to stop taking the pills as the medication is still an effective treatment plan for those struggling with their mental health.

The lead professor of the study, Joanna Moncrieff, commented on the findings: “It is always difficult to prove a negative, but I think we can safely say that after a vast amount of research conducted over several decades, there is no convincing evidence that depression is caused by serotonin abnormalities, particularly by lower levels or reduced activity of serotonin.” The consultant psychologist then hints at her concern at the exponential increase in prescriptions by doctors in recent years: “The popularity of the ‘chemical imbalance’ theory of depression has coincided with a huge increase in the use of antidepressants.” She continued: “Thousands of people suffer from side-effects of antidepressants, including the severe withdrawal effects that can occur when people try to stop them, yet prescription rates continue to rise.”

Joanna Moncrieff disproves link between chemical imbalances and depression
UCL’s study lead, Joanna Moncrieff (Daily Mail)

It wasn’t until the 1990’s that SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) began to take hold of the general population. In just 30-plus years, 1 in 6 people in the UK is taking medication for depression. Since the discovery of the drugs, there has been a narrative pushed that a chemical imbalance is the cause and these pills are the solution. However, many doctors and psychiatrists have been arguing that this has been false. Finally, there is a comprehensive study to validate their doubts. Although this is a major breakthrough, it doesn’t necessarily offer any solutions or explanations as to what the cause of people’s depression is. But, it does mean that research into other avenues can now be explored more thoroughly.

Antidepressant side effects when treating depression
Potential side effects of SSRIs (Very Well Mind)

85-90% of the public are under the impression that a chemical imbalance causes depression, which has impacted people in a variety of different ways. “All I know is getting on an SSRI changed my life for the better,” said one Facebook user. “[Antidepressants] gave me a quality of life I’ve never imagined. It helped resolve some of the issues that led me into addiction,” they continued. Whilst it is exciting to imagine future treatments for depression, it is important to remember that SSRIs are an effective treatment plan for many people. And, stopping cold turkey can have damaging consequences. “It is high time to inform the public that this belief is not grounded in science,” said UCL’s Joanna Moncrieff.

Community Featured

Paddy Pimblett: A Powerful Message From the Most Unlikely of Places

UFC’s Paddy Pimblett Shares Poignant Message on Mental Health Following Friends’ Suicide

Over the weekend, all eyes were on UFC’s Paddy Pimblett as he fights his way to victory against component Jordan Leavitt. But, it wasn’t the vicious chokeholds or the shin-slamming kicks that got everyone talking, rather, it was Paddy’s frank post-fight interview discussing mental health.

Paddy Pimblett
Paddy Pimblett (Daily Mail)

The day before the fight, Paddy woke up at 4:00 am to find a text message on his phone. To his disbelief, the text shared the news of his friend’s suicide. The text turned Paddy’s world upside down, and he wasn’t sure that he could continue with the fight the following day. Paddy decided to temporarily park his emotions so that he could attend the pre-fight weigh-in. “I just had to do it, I had to stay strong for myself – just everyone around me,” said the Liverpudlian, nicknamed ‘The Baddy’. Paddy then found out that he needed to lose more weight before the fight. The whole time, the grief weighed heavy: “I still had to go and do another two pounds and I thought ‘what am I doing here? Why am I even doing this?”

After the fight in London was over, a distraught Paddy decided to dedicate his victory interview to his late friend, who sadly lost his life to suicide. “There’s a stigma in this world that men can’t talk. Listen, if you’re a man and you’ve got a weight on your shoulders and you think the only way you can solve it is by killing yourself, please speak to someone. Speak to anyone,” he said, speaking from the heart. “People would rather, I know I’d rather, have their mate cry on their shoulder than go to their funeral. So please, let’s get rid of this stigma and men start talking.”

Just hours after the interview aired, Paddy went from a relatively unknown sports personality to the nation’s number one topic of conversation. Clips of his interview were shared throughout social media, alongside powerful messages on ending mental health stigma. “It’s brilliant to see sportsmen like Paddy Pimblett using their platform to spread awareness about mental health,” says one Twitter User. “A breath of fresh air,” said another astonished viewer, who didn’t expect a UFC fighter to open up so publicly.

Paddy Pimblett Fight
Paddy in the ring (MMA)

Paddy’s honest and heartfelt interview on live TV was one of the most powerful moments in sport. People in all kinds of sports are expected to hide their emotions, but with UFC, being tough is part of the act. Paddy’s emotive words cut through to thousands of guarded men, who think that talking about mental health is a sign of weakness. Paddy proves that it takes strength to cry and it takes courage to be open. This is a landmark moment for men’s mental health and male suicide. There is a long way to go, but Paddy’s bravery has sparked a much-needed conversation in a closed-off demographic.

Featured Self Care

UK Workers Begin Four-Day Workweek

Is it time for the ever-coveted four-day workweek to become a reality in the UK?

The pandemic changed the work and business background forever, demonstrating how flexible work is possible and benefits the company. As a result, the UK has begun the world’s most extensive trial of the four-day workweek pattern, with a pilot running for six months and organized by a partnership between 4 Day Week Global, the 4 Day Week Campaign, thinktank Autonomy and scientists from Cambridge University, Oxford University, and Boston College.

4 Day Week Global is a non-profit created by Andrew Barnes and Charlotte Lockhart, aiming to provide ideas to people interested in promoting the 4-day workweek as a new pattern for work. One of their white papers, which can be downloaded for free here, states that 63% of businesses found it easier to attract and retain talent with a four-day workweek.

On top of that, 78% of employees with 4-day workweeks have higher happiness levels and lower stress levels. The four-day workweek would reduce the workweek from an average of 40 hours to 32 hours for the same pay and benefits.

As described by 4-Day Week Global, the trial uses a 100:80:100 ratio model. Employees receive 100% of their salary for 80% of the time in exchange for being 100% committed to increasing the company’s productivity. There are over 70 companies involved in the trial, with many of them providing education, skincare, consultancy, housing, food and beverages.

Could a four-day workweek improve work-life balance?
Work-life balance graphic © Vecteezy

The purpose of the trial is to measure the impact of the four-day workweek on productivity and how it correlates with the well-being of employees, as well as the impact on gender equality. Specifically, researchers will be analyzing how an extra day off correlates with job and life satisfaction, sleep, energy use, health and travel.

The participating companies state how a five-day workweek is an outdated concept. Humans used to work for six days centuries ago, which was reduced to five days. It seems like humanity is long overdue for another reduction. 

However, detractors of the idea criticize the complications that it could cause for some companies, such as scheduling changes. Not all companies can easily shift to a 4-day workweek. Managers might spend more time scheduling work for others when employees are not on the clock, which might lead to overtime.

After this trial, could the workforce go through one of its most significant changes in centuries? We’ll likely find out the answer to all those questions in six months.

It might be that 2023 begins with a majorly positive change in employee satisfaction should a four-day workweek be implemented in full.