Meet the Trainer – Simon Shepard
We’re back this month with another meet the trainer. This time, we’re speaking to Simon Shepard about the importance of wellbeing as more and more organisations refocus to put personal health at the forefront. We find out about the increasing importance of wellbeing as well as teaching medical professionals to look beyond the physical.
Could you start by telling us a little bit about your background?
I’m a physiotherapist by background. Over the last 30 years, I’ve been overseeing personal health, wellbeing and performance which involves talking to organisations about the human and the humane side of performance. I look at the intersection which sits between wellbeing, resilience and balance, but also getting the job done.
Why is wellbeing so important?
In the last 20 years we’ve seen incredible advancements in digitisation, processes, different forms of communication and different ways of working using technology. But this means that people forget that human beings still exist. The development of a human being doesn’t just happen. We’re putting more and more demands on people and yet we’re giving them less and less support. That supportive side is incredibly important. Certainly, the events of the last couple of years have brought this back onto the map for everyone.
What does delivering wellbeing training look like?
We help people create a sense of purpose in their lives. Not just in their working lives, but all aspects of life. If you’ve got some energy and you’ve got some focus on what you’re trying to achieve, then you’re probably going to be purposeful.
The training helps open up the conversation around how you stay energised. There are some basics like sleeping well, relaxing, eating healthily, exercising and having good relationships. Equally, we look at staying focused at work. How do you make sure you switch on for life away from work? So many people say, ‘I need to switch off when I get home’. I would say you need to switch on. To what you want to do and what you enjoy in life. It’s giving people permission to have those conversations.
Do you find it difficult to provide techniques unique to every individual participant of your wellbeing training?
The most important thing is that the person makes it personal to them. There are all sorts of generic messages, but we need to move away from the generic and encourage people to take ownership. We need to help people realize that just doing what someone else is doing isn’t necessarily going to be right for you. So don’t just follow the crowd.
The biggest challenge to people’s mental health is when you are living a life that isn’t aligned with the way you want to be living. If this gap is significant, then there’s going to be an internal conversation that isn’t healthy. The challenge for a lot of people is they don’t know where they want to be in life. So, the first thing is to get people to articulate ‘where do you want to be’?
How do you reach those who view wellbeing as superfluous?
The key is to speak in their language. Start from a point of ‘are you interested in being healthy and happy?’ I’ve yet to come across anyone who isn’t. If we’ve got this interest, then there’s a conversation.
There needs to be a paradigm shift. Unless you look after yourself and your people it’s going to be very hard to do anything well in life. For me, wellbeing is a skill. Resilience is a skill, and it’s a skill that will help underpin a lot of the things you want to do. Technically, strategically or intellectually. If you want to deliver good care, then it’s going to be pretty hard if your people are functioning on an empty tank or if your people are struggling to connect with the task in hand. Once people understand that, it’s easier to adopt wellbeing.
Learn more about wellbeing
Wellbeing is a blind spot for many medical professionals who only focus on the physical. But a healthy body needs a healthy mind as well, otherwise it all falls apart. Make sure you don’t neglect the most human part of us with our comprehensive course on wellbeing. Click here to find out more.