Life in the legal profession can be demanding, pressurised and stressful. It's unfortunate that law rates low overall as an industry for psychological and psychosomatic health with stress, anxiety and depression emerging as issues to be reckoned with inside Australia's top law firms.
MinterEllison is a leading Australian firm based in Melbourne set on boosting employee wellbeing and refocusing on health and wellbeing at a cultural level. In order to kickstart a renewed focus on wellbeing within the company's culture, Amanda Watt, a partner at the firm, engaged Gone Bush Adventures to create a nature-based wellbeing masterclass experience that could have an ongoing positive impact in every day life for her team.
In responding to Amanda's brief and designing the learning journey for this full day Close & Wild wellbeing adventure, we enlisted the support of executive wellbeing and life #coaching specialists, Shannah Kennedy and Lyndall Mitchell (The Essentialists). Together, Shannah & Lyndall were tasked with bringing to life their signature wellbeing masterclass workshops in a bush-walking setting while leading facilitation of the wellbeing masterclass and learning journey for the group throughout the day.
Given its proximity to Melbourne CBD, range of walking routes and unique scenery, the You Yangs Regional Park presented a very attractive natural environment to host the single day offsite event. Once we had selected a specific walking route to compliment the delivery of the #workshop sessions, the participating team received a briefing and completed online medical checks to ensure the planned adventure was appropriate for the fitness and physical ability levels across the group.
With background checks complete and #wellbeing program ready to be delivered, we loaded the buses with our excited guests and left the hustle bustle of Melbourne CBD for the peace and tranquility of the You Yangs. As it turned out, a heat wave struck Melbourne on the day of the event, but with a few extra precautions such as packing water spray bottles, extra cold drinks, hats and sunscreen, we were ready for adventure!
After just 50 minutes on the road, the group arrived to a healthy breakfast at a scenic picnic area within the park. Having breakfast before the session ensured everyone was well-fueled for the walk also provided few moments for the group appreciate the scenery and change of pace before the wellbeing masterclass sessions kicked off.
Soon after, we were in full swing with the wellbeing masterclass sessions, which played out along the walk as a combination of engaging mini presentations, reflection questions, guided meditations and physical exercises led by Shannah & Lyndall. Participants were also guided through an accompanying worksheet throughout the walk that included action items on a wide range of areas to help implement positive wellbeing changes into everyday life.
The walk itself took in a range of scenery and natural environments as we explored the western section of the You Yangs including a side trip to the Bunjil Geoglyph.
Along the way, the group heard about the geology, history and ecology of the park from the Gone Bush guiding crew led by local ecologist Nathan Wainwright. We were even lucky enough to spot two koalas resting high up in the branches of river red gums, providing a great opportunity to discuss the lives of Koalas in the You Yangs region.
There were a number of extended breaks over the course of the walk, in which the group were made comfortable on picnic rugs in the shade while engaging in components of the workshop sessions led by The Essentialists. Despite temperatures soaring above 30C, the group remained focused and intensely involved in exploring wellbeing strategies, reflecting on personal experiences and capturing action points to integrate into life beyond the walk.
After 4 hours on the trail a final rest stop was taken while enjoying expansive views westward from the park towards Melbourne. The group the finished the walk arriving at another scenic picnic area within the park where the wellbeing workshop sessions were debriefed over cold drinks before a gourmet BBQ lunch was served.
By 5pm, we had returned to Melbourne and bid our farewells to the #team. There was a real buzz in the air on the return journey, reflecting the positivity of a group who had started their year in a state of connection, joy and commitment to their wellbeing as a team.
We'll be checking-in again with the team a little down the line to hear more about how well they've managed to integrate the lessons and insights from their Gone Bush wellbeing session into their daily lives. On a final note, we'd like to thank Amanda Watt once again for instigating this adventure experience and bringing wellbeing into focus within the MinterEllison business. Wishing all involved continued health and wellbeing!
Snapshot of client feedback (collected anonymously from MinterEllison participants)
"The setting was perfect for discussion of wellness topics/strategies. Great practical strategies and tools!" - Participant, MinterEllison wellbeing adventure
"Wonderful to get out of the city and into the bush. The Essentialists were great facilitators - very knowledgeable and personable" - Participant, MinterEllison wellbeing adventure
"A great time and a fantastic team! The meditation overlooking the gorge was stunning. Highly recommend. Such an amazing day!" - Participant, MinterEllison wellbeing adventure
Overview of Gone Bush Close & Wild adventures
Led by our team of captivating facilitators and nature guides, our half day and full day Close & Wild adventures are designed to make a big impact on your culture, leaders and performance in a short amount of time while exploring the best that nature has to offer within 1 hour of major Australian CBDs. Learn more here.