We're thrilled to introduce the latest member of our panel of experts, Susan Tomlinson, a coach, counsellor, psychotherapist, and founder of Create the Space, a London based wellbeing practice. She works one-on-one and with groups, running experiential workshops to develop greater psychological insight and emotional wellbeing.
"Spending the first part of my career as a TV producer for both the BBC and Channel 4, I continued working as a journalist while raising two young children – before realising the pressures of that industry were too much if I ever wanted to see my children, so I retrained as a psychotherapist. Because of this experience, I am keen to bring these two worlds together in my work with women in the workplace. I specialise in working with stress and anxiety and my passion is supporting mothers as they find their way back into the working world.”
“I am thrilled to be a Health and Wellbeing Expert for 2to3days, as I passionately believe that women need to be visible in the workplace, so their contribution at both work and home can be fully recognised, valued and emotionally supported. 2to3days goes a long way to guiding and celebrating women, while allowing businesses and the workplace to appreciate and benefit from their worth.”
Invest in your mental health
Finding mental and emotional space can be difficult in our busy lives but just like going to the gym, or eating healthy food, mental health is just like our physical health – it needs looking after. Without it, we don’t have the space to reflect, understand ourselves and therefore make conscious, clear decisions about our lives.
As Carl Jung, the Swiss psychoanalyst, put it: “Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate.” As a coach, counsellor and psychotherapist, I’m delighted to support the 2to3days community of women and employers start the journey of unpacking those unconscious thoughts and behaviours.
What does investing in mental health at work really mean?
Recent global talent research from Mercer, showed that real commitment to workplace wellness was among one of the most important qualities employees wanted in their workplace - in fact the survey found that one in every two employees wanted to see a greater focus on wellbeing from their employer.
Employers that are willing to listen to their employees by offering truly flexible workplaces have made the first step in investing in both their own - and their employees mental well being.
It means that employees are more likely to bring their whole selves to work - and that makes for workplaces that are more genuinely more diverse and open minded.
These kind of workplaces are open to understanding that being vulnerable is, in itself, a strength. They are unafraid to mention the “f word” - feelings.
They are willing to make the unconscious culture of their workplace, conscious, and that means hearing the answers to difficult questions like: what does it really feel like to work here? What isn’t working for people? How do we fully support those who are feeling stressed and overwhelmed?
These are the employers of the future. They are not just “ticking” the mental health box. They are genuinely open to creating the kind of culture where people thrive, not just survive. And that means creating a workplace that is more likely to attract - and retain - some of the best women in the business.
Valuing women and mothers
Very often women and mothers feel under-confident and undervalued, as so much of their work, is invisible and intangible. Much of our society is focused on what mothers should achieve, with precious little focus about all that they do, and all that they psychologically and emotionally carry for the whole family – or indeed the workplace – on a daily basis.
As psychotherapist Naomi Stadlen, who wrote What Mothers Do, Especially When It Looks Like Nothing, puts it: “The essentials of mothering are invisible. It’s hard to explain them in words.” So, if there isn’t the vocabulary for describing all the work that mothers do, it remains unconscious, unrecognised and unvalued.
Time and time again, in the consulting room, women have explained to me the exasperation they feel at not feeling valued for their contribution - at not feeling seen. And because the language to describe this emotional labour is largely non existent, they are also very rarely able to see their own value. So much of my work with women and mothers is around building confidence in their own self worth because if they can value themselves, they can communicate that value to others.