For Children's Mental Health Week 2018 (5-11 February), Place2Be's Head of Service for the South Sarah Kendrick suggests 5 ways in which celebrating what makes us unique can be good for us at work.

It might not surprise you to hear that as many as 8 in 10 of the pupils supported by Place2Be in one-to-one counselling struggle with self-esteem. But it's important to recognise that we, as adults, can doubt ourselves too. And while we don't always treat it as seriously, it can knock us back and stop us from being the best version of ourselves.

Celebrating 'Being Ourselves' during Children's Mental Health Week and beyond can help us achieve more and make better connections with others. Here are 5 tips for work.

Downtime isn't optional!

It may seem odd putting this at the top of the list but how we engage in life - in our wider context, our community, our family - is what helps us bring the best version of ourselves to work. So take every opportunity to do your thing! When we can, it's important to relax and have fun, whether that's reading a book in bed, going to the pub with friends, playing a sport or something else entirely.

Value your skills.

It can be tempting to leave our lives at the door and minimise the impact they might have. But we bring our experiences to our work and sometimes it's worth stopping and recognising the strengths in this. Inherent skills or those that you've developed out of adversity or challenge really do matter.

Appraise yourself fairly.

Among all the things we should be doing or haven't quite got around to, we can lose sight of what we're succeeding at. If you did well, tell yourself so, even if it's something small. Being ourselves means recognising our achievements.

Ask yourself why.

Why do you do what you do? When we're bogged down in the day-to-day, it's easy to lose sight of our purpose. In his book 'Start with Why', Simon Sinek encourages us to re-examine it, believing that this is central to motivating ourselves and feeling engaged. And it works.

"Everyone has a WHY. Your WHY is the purpose, cause or belief that inspires you. Knowing your WHY gives you a filter to make choices, at work and at home, that will help you find greater fulfilment in all that you do."

Thankfully, we are all different!

Anyone who knows me will be aware that my attention to detail is often not great. That's why I surround myself with team members who have really great attention to detail (as well as other skills that I lack). Knowing what our challenges or deficits are means that we can value those who have complementary skills and qualities. If we were all good at the same things, we'd never get anywhere.

Place2Be is the UK's leading children's mental health charity providing in-school support and expert training to improve the emotional wellbeing of pupils, families, teachers and school staff.

For Children's Mental Health Week 2018 (5-11 February), Place2Be is encouraging everyone to celebrate 'Being Ourselves'. Find out more and get involved in the campaign, https://www.place2be.org.uk.

Sarah Kendrick

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