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Being mindful of the mind

A focus on mental health at the Sentinel Homes Conference

Even though our franchisees are all technically running their own businesses, there’s no denying that working together has its benefits – we can share expertise, experience and knowledge to improve our businesses, and the service we offer to clients. Basically, when one of us wins, we all do! That’s why every year about this time, Sentinel Homes franchisees from all over the country gather to reconnect and learn.

Getting our heads healthy

This year’s conference was all about mental health. As owners, we have a responsibility to keep our people safe and well – and that includes their mental wellbeing. It’s a big topic and one that’s fraught with misunderstanding and fear, especially when you butt up against the ‘harden up’ attitude that’s still so prominent in our Kiwi culture, particularly among men.

So, for four hours led by an expert, we explored the idea of what it means to be mentally well, how brain chemistry works and some common disorders and triggers. It was an eye-opening session that gave us some practical tips for caring for ourselves and each other – simple policies we could implement that improve balance for our teams, like having good routines and stopping to eat lunch in a nice spot.

We also learned some of the common signs that someone is struggling, and how to ask questions when we spot something wrong. The reality is that mental health is a human health issue and it impacts us all, either directly or indirectly.

Helping our teams stay well isn’t just the right thing to do – it also pays dividends for our clients and our businesses – wins all around, really!

Christmas cheer (wine, dinner and a ferry ride!)

It wasn’t all serious stuff – there was a bit of Christmas spirit going around too.

The fun started with a slap-up dinner at White and Wong’s in Auckland’s viaduct. Stu Shutt, our managing director, gave out a few gifts, spoke about the year that was and welcomed our newest franchisee, Tony O’Brien, who’s just opened up in the Bay of Plenty. The next day the fun continued with a wine-and-cheese tasting at a bunch of beautiful wineries in Auckland’s north west, then lunch at Little Creatures brewery. A ferry ride took everyone back to the city for dinner at Wildfire and a wander around to see the city lights.

It’s been a really big year for us all, and just like we learned in the first day of our conference, it’s taking the time out to reconnect, reflect and have a laugh that can make a huge difference to our wellbeing!

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