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My Whole Self Day – supporting our colleagues and their hobbies

For this year’s My Whole Self Day, we’re joining Mental Health First Aider England in their campaign for employers to encourage colleagues to bring their whole selves to work.

Today and every day, we’re proud to support our colleagues in their hobbies and achievements outside of work. We caught up with Area Manager, Kevin Smith and Business Support Director, Paul Bradford on their interesting and out-of-the-ordinary hobbies and how they have a positive impact on their wellbeing.

Click the buttons below to find out how Kevin’s involvement in musical theatre lead him to make meaningful connections and how Paul’s karate skills help him both in and outside of work:

I’m a member of Carnoustie Musical Society and have been now for 31 years. My mum and dad were members before me and used to take me along to rehearsals when they had no baby sitter. Something obviously stuck as I never really left and I started to go back on my own when I was old enough to join. We put on two shows yearly – a main musical show in our local high school theatre. Recently I have also stepped off stage to produce/direct and stage manage a few shows. This has allowed me to put what I had learned over the years on stage into everything that goes on behind the scenes.

What I love most about it is that I met my now wife, Claire, when she started doing the shows in 1996, and it is a passion we’ve shared ever since. This will always be the thing I most love about this hobby – as it brought us together. It has also led to many other great friendships.

My hobby allows us to escape normal life and throw everything into a safe space – free from all of the other pressures of the world. Its pure escapism. It has kept me challenged, keeps my brain engaged and driven – it gives me focus and purpose. Most of all it brings joy. Performing gives me confidence to just go for it at times and believe that I can do something beyond the normal, and know that I can also do it in front of a decent crowd of people!

I am the Business Support Director for Waterman Aspen and have worked here for over thirty years. I started practicing Karate several years before joining WA and I find that these two aspects of myself are bought together both inside and outside of work.

My training sessions each week are a vital part in maintaining my wellbeing and if a session or two are missed this is noticed and not just by myself. Although I’ve still been training as a martial arts student in the last few years, I have spent quite a lot of time in the role of an instructor. The art is all about focusing the mind, body, and spirit to achieve enlightenment through personal development. As a teacher, sharing one’s experience and helping others is very rewarding.

I have always held very strong faith in WA’s secondment business being a people business. People have always been very important to me and concerns for the wellbeing of all have led me to be trained as both a physical first aider and a mental health first aider. The role of being a WA Wellbeing Champion is very dear to me and I always feel privileged when anyone reaches out for advice or the loan of a friendly ear. I find that I automatically carry out the same role in all the other walks of my life.

Not only a week ago I observed a young karate student who appeared to be feeling some emotional distress during a training session. We stepped out of the dojo (hall) for a chat and some breathing exercises. He confided in me some of the personal difficulties he was experiencing, and I was able to provide some support and direction.

The synchronicity was obvious but on reflection, I felt I had just learnt a little more about being myself.

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