Annemieke Brouwer talks about mental fitness

We are now living longer, working longer, and the world around us is changing rapidly. Being sustainably employable means being healthy, happy, and full of energy while doing the work that you do. Now and in the future. Good health, a feeling of security, and mental fitness are essential in your everyday life. Both at home and at work. We talked to Annemieke Brouwer, Business Specialist in working conditions & vitality at Conclusion, about good health and well-being. 

June 1st, 2023   |   News   |   By: Conclusion


Conclusion Cares

Annemieke: ‘Good health and well-being covers a variety of aspects. These include a safe and healthy working environment – both in the office and at home – social security, sport and exercise, your career, and your mental well-being. It’s not necessarily about the absence of illness – which, after all, is not something that you can always control. Instead, there’s greater focus on your personal feeling of good health and well-being.’ 

Pim: ‘How does Conclusion invest in mental well-being?’
Annemieke: ‘At Conclusion, we want all employees to be able to work with energy and focus and to be sufficiently resilient in order to cope with any setbacks. Because mental fitness is essential in order to enjoy day-to-day life. It starts with being able to talk about things together, and to identify the issues. You can always talk to your manager, of course, but may sometimes prefer to have that conversation with an external party. This is why we started a collaboration with OpenUp.’ 

Pim: ‘OpenUp?’ 
Annemieke: ‘Just like Conclusion, OpenUp believes in creating a working environment in which employees feel comfortable enough to share their thoughts and feelings. OpenUp makes it easier for employees to contact a registered psychologist. It could be for something big or small and related to work or home life. We offer our employees this service, without restrictions or fees and completely anonymously. OpenUp provides a range of different services. You can contact them for one-to-one online coaching, for instance, for mindfulness consultations with psychologists, for webinars, or for health checks.

They cover eight areas relating to mental well-being and provide several tips and best practices online that you can immediately put into practice in your everyday life. And if you wish to take a more in-depth approach, it is very easy to book a one-to-one online coaching session or a group session.’

Pim: ‘What a great package of services! But how anonymous is it really?’
Annemieke: ‘That’s a good question! Some people find it difficult to contact a psychologist or take part in mindfulness training. And the idea that this service is facilitated by your employer – how anonymous is it really? We only receive user information from OpenUp containing numerical data, such as the total number of employees who have arranged one-to-one consultations, completed a self check-in, or attended a webinar etc. These figures cannot be traced back to any of our companies, let alone individuals.’ 

Pim: ‘Do many people use OpenUp?’
Annemieke: ‘We make OpenUp available to all employees within the Conclusion ecosystem. All the companies were enthusiastic about the option of using this platform. At first, though, we had to wait a while to see whether OpenUp would catch on. One year later, we can now see that we made the right choice. We receive positive feedback from colleagues, and the service is used frequently. We have noticed that it helps improve our colleagues’ well-being, which is why we are proud and delighted to have extended this collaboration.’ 

What else can you do yourself? Annemieke’s five tips for maintaining mental fitness:

  1. Take control. 
    Organize how you want to spend your day and create structure. Set realistic and achievable goals.
  2. This may be a no-brainer, but make sure you exercise regularly.
    Exercise outdoors and in the daytime where possible. Walking and cycling can do wonders. Do you find it hard to make a start? Begin by walking at least 250 steps every hour or a total of 5000 steps during the day.
  3. It shouldn’t be all work and no play.
    Schedule breaks and take some time to unwind in between.
  4. Make sure you have a good home office set-up.
    A place where you can work undisturbed. If your home and work lives overlap too much, this can cause stress.
  5. Eat healthy food.
    You may not always feel like it, of course, but eating a good source of fuel is essential for keeping up your energy levels at home and at work. Make sure that healthy food makes up at least 80% of your diet and less healthy food no more than 20%.