Home Business & Industry Sarah Cardwell Promotes Workplace Well-Being Through Personal Experience

Sarah Cardwell Promotes Workplace Well-Being Through Personal Experience

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Making time to ensure we look after our well-being isn’t something we always prioritise, especially in our workplace, whether that’s in an office or working from home. Our workplace is often where we spend most of our time, and we need some tips to help. Prevention is always better than waiting until the problem arises. Sarah Cardwell, a workplace wellness facilitator, visits companies to share her story and some simple tips to start the conversation. The best part is that they’re completely free.

Sarah Cardwell, 41, from Sheffield, had been under her GP’s care since she was 16 for mental health concerns. She was put on medication and diagnosed with depression. Therapy wasn’t considered an option then, so drugs were the only answer. Over the next 20 years, Sarah battled her feelings and emotions, kept up with the growing medication, and believed it was depression. However, there were as many highs as lows in her life. When her mum became unwell in 2015, she returned to her GP, feeling it was more than depression.

She was referred to the local mental health team and over the next three years received support from a CPN, clinical psychologist nurse, assessments, and various appointments. It was exhausting but educational, and it soon became apparent that the issue was bottling up emotions and never taking care of her mental well-being.

In 2018, Sarah was finally diagnosed with EUPD (emotionally unstable personality disorder), also known as borderline personality disorder (BPD), after three years of intense assessments. EUPD describes problems with emotional instability, anxiety, and a pattern of self-destructive behaviour. “It wasn’t like saying I’d got a broken leg – it was me. I was broken. It felt like a life sentence. I was told that most people with BPD would be ill forever, unable to have healthy relationships or any stability in life.” She left her job at a digital charity and spent two months not leaving her home, not seeing or speaking to anyone.

Despite being awake all night and asleep all day, Sarah was unable to find the support she needed. After losing her mum to ovarian cancer in 2015 and her best friend to suicide in 2016, she felt alone. The waiting lists for support were long, and she felt there was nothing she could do.

Sarah turned to personal development, mindfulness apps, podcasts, and books to find ways to help herself. Her toolbox grew with coping mechanisms, distraction boxes, and anxiety kits, along with blogging about her journey, warts and all.

After two years, she finally began DBT (dialectical behavioural therapy) for an intense 10 months of group and individual therapy. “It was life-changing, and I felt like I could finally be a mum, wife, and friend.” She began to put the pieces of her life back together.

With therapy, support from family and friends, and a lot of continued personal development, Sarah went into remission in 2020. Since then, she has longed to help others with her experience and tips.

Sarah has always blogged for herself, mental health charities, and the Huff Post, arranging wellness days in the community, but she has always wanted to do more. Last year, she began working with a company that offers complimentary workplace wellness experiences. Sarah now goes into the workplace and shares a moment of peace during the day. It’s an opportunity to create a space to talk, with tools such as gentle breathing exercises, a de-stress ritual, and a worksheet of tips for employees to focus on wellness.

“Our wellness experience is ideal for giving employees some tips and techniques to create a restful and mindful experience wherever they are. It is being loved by corporate companies all over the UK. We have some great resources and products to support creating a restful and mindful experience.”

Sarah says, “I feel like I’m giving back, and in my experiences, I’m able to share a little of my journey. I’ve had some great feedback, and the idea is to just give everyone a space to talk, share, and learn. It’s not rocket science stuff, just some basics to get people thinking about it. One of the biggest things is breathing techniques.”

Sarah runs complimentary sessions for all workplaces, ranging from 20–45 minutes for groups of four people upwards. “I’ve been there as an icebreaker to meetings, a lunchtime relax, or as a day dedicated to wellness.”

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