Mental Health is a universal human right
How workplaces can help make wellness a daily habit, not just one for the weekends
For World Mental Health Day we spoke with Sarah Fritz, founder of ‘Yes Queen’, a not for profit wellness initiative that aims to prevent workplace bullying through holistic rituals, resources and experiences.
Discrimination, harmful stereotypes and stigma in the community, family, schools and the workplace can prevent healthy relationships, social interactions and the inclusive environments needed for the well-being of all members of society, which is exactly why the workplace (where we spend most of our time) is the ideal place to help educate and set up foundational habits for people to look after themselves and others.
Self care and mental health practices are often reserved by most for the weekends and Sarah believes it is by empowering employers to help integrate wellness habits into their employees' day, every day, will result in powerful change.
Tell us about yourself
I’m in my soft and slow era. I live for long beach days with my family and friends, sunrise yoga, meditation and continuing my Vedic studies. French restaurants are my love language, preferably in France.
This is a such a unique approach to workplace wellbeing, tell us a little about why you started the business and what you hope to achieve?
When employees were experiencing workplace bullying, I went searching for resources and found everything was set up for a victim. My observation was that stress was often the trigger for this behaviour which motivated me to start the first prevention platform around this topic, hyper focused on wellness and self-development.
The spiritually-led offerings we provide are based on my own experiences – the modalities I have explored have led me to being calm and conscious; we want to use these as tools to help bridge a gap between thoughts, feelings, and actions.
With employees devoting up to 5 days and 40-50 hours a week, there must be an element of emotional wellness in business. Employees want to align to brands that foster genuine care and connection and if this is truly present, interactions will naturally be kind and compassionate in nature.
Why is this not a 'quick fix' or 'box ticking' exercise? What are the long term benefits to adding this as poart of your workplace wellbeing program?
Introducing meditation at work - a consistent and long term practice would enhance the physical, emotional and spiritual health of employees.
We held our inaugural Begin Within circle with PIPPA the label on the Gold Coast this week and our intention behind this work, to provide wisdom and practice that serves for life, really landed. From previously fusing these modalities I knew it was transformative, but to witness a work team coming with such open minds and hearts, who received the work so deeply, the energy was totally palpable. Founder Pippa Ridley first words were "that was phenomenal. I see this taking over so many work places."
What are the specific practices employees undertake in the program?
Our new offering ‘Begin Within’ is a 7-session program aligned to the 7 chakras in the body. Employees embark on a journey that includes ancient wisdom, yin yoga and reiki for a complete mind-body-spirit alignment. Each chakra contains a specific energy, and we use this as a conduit to connect to career specific topics to promote a calm, conscious and creative brand collective.
Who runs the program with you?
My dear friend and wellness entrepreneur, Amy Farrow. Amy has dedicated a decade to study and practice Yogic sciences of Vedic wisdom, Yoga teacher training, Meditation, Reiki, and a Master’s Certification in Trauma Foundational Training. Combined with owning her own Yoga studio Boheme + Body and children’s wellbeing not for profit Chase the Sun – Amy is a devoted student, teacher and leader.
Who can/should be taking part?
Anyone of course, but we are largely focused on Millennials, who by 2025 will make up 75% of the workforce. Big data house Deloitte defines Millennials as the “Wellness Generation with top priorities including health and wellness, spirituality, and career.”
This program is ideal for brands and thought leaders that are already consciously operating and open to this work, seeking a deeper and long term wellness solution for their team.
What is some of the feedback that confirms this program is meeting a need of the time?
Here are some very encouraging notes so far:
"This concept is so beautiful and powerful."
"This will be so incredible for all workplaces."
"This offering is quintessential for anyone that works."
"This is so wonderful and so incredibly needed."
"This is exceptional. You can feel the love and devotion that has been poured into the offering."
“This is divine, our team would benefit from this work.”
Any other tips that businesses can incorporate into their spaces to heighten wellbeing?
I’d love to see a dedicated wellness room or corner in workplaces. Somewhere people can retreat to meditate, do some gentle stretching or yoga, breathwork, or simply just take some time in silence. Each employee could be gifted 20 minutes a day, outside their lunch break, to devote to wellness. This small gesture would provide a myriad of health benefits to the individual and the collective.
Tell me more about the sentiment that there is no "work" self or "home" self - there only being oneself and how this is connected to what you do?
Anyone reading this may relate to having a ‘professional self’, or ‘wearing a mask’ at work. And whilst I believe we each have a duty to bring our best selves to work, and uphold the companies’ values, I don’t think we should ever exclude who we truly are. Every single person has a unique gift to offer, and this should be celebrated through our individual expression.
You mentioned you're a not-for-profit, how can people get involved to support you?
Yes Queen is a registered not-for-profit governed by an incredible Board of Directors. If our work resonates with you, you can donate, purchase our merchandise, or book the ‘Begin Within’ program for your team.
We are also always seeking like-minded brands to execute service or product collaborations where Yes Queen receives a percentage of the profits. So far, we have partnered with White November Jewellery and ULUNA Crystals and Wellness who have been instrumental to our evolution.
What other guidance / advice do you offer the businesses that you work with?
I think we’ve played a role in educating businesses and employees to understand that wellness is not just for weekends, it is a daily habit.
I’d love to see brands hiring a ‘Wellbeing and Mindfulness Officer’ – this will be the new age HR.
Can you leave us with one piece of advice for an employer looking for a way to improve their work culture.
Have a clear brand foundation that is public to the team – your why, values and DNA – and live these wholeheartedly yourself. Great work culture is top down. It’s people before profits.
Check out their instagram @the.yesqueen