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My Whole Self Day

Today is “My Whole Self” day (MHSD; created by Mental Health First Aid England), a day that reminds us that we shouldn’t have to hide parts of our identity when we come to work. Wherever we are working from it is important to feel supported to bring our whole self to work; this is better for our wellbeing and better for business. Our workplaces play a huge role in our lives; we spend approximately a third of our lives at work! So it is important that we can feel relaxed in our identity at our places of work.

As part of MHSD the NRT and LT teams were invited to take part in La Palma Discs: based on the popular UK radio show, where celebrities are invited to talk about which music they would want to listen to if they were stuck on a desert island. They are also asked which book and luxury they would bring with them.

So the teams were asked: imagine you are going to be castaway to La Palma – possibly forever! Which 3 songs, 1 book and 1 luxury item would you bring?

It became quickly apparent that many of our scientists and engineers would rather make complicated work decisions rather than narrow their passion for music into just three songs. But they persisted and the final playlist shows that the most popular music genre is rock and the most popular decade is the 2000s!

The distribution of music genres is shown in this plot (created here)

and the full playlist can be found here. With these additional songs (not available on Spotify): I Don't Get Enough (Went Down To 'Frisco Just For The Disco Mix) – Theaudience and El Vega Life: Mi Paraíso.

Only one song was submitted by more than one person and that was Viva la Vida by Coldplay.

The book selection showed that the NRT and LT teams are always keen to learn, even when stranded on a desert island: Astrophysics Quantities by CW Allen and a Spanish grammar book were two of the book choices.

In the style of the radio show, the stranded participants would also have access to their chosen religious text and the complete works of Shakespeare. Some people chose multiple texts within one book, there were duplicate choices of The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy – Douglas Adams and Lord of the Rings – J R R Tolkien; maybe if they were stranded together they could share a copy? One participant also chose a book of essays and speeches: Sister Outsider by Audre Lorde.

For some, the book was the hardest thing to choose, and some opted for dystopian novels such as Ken Follet: The Pillars of the Earth, Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson and Dune by Frank Herbert. Other choices included Historias del Kronen by José Angel Mañas ‘a quite accurate description of 90s young people!’, Gangland by Howard Blum ‘an excellent book that chronicles how the FBI broke the New York mob’, La aventura del universo by Timothy Ferris and Catch 22 by Joseph Heller.

As for luxury items it seems that the most popular choice was a musical instrument of some sort. There were 3 guitars, a fiddle and a cello; quite the ensemble if all stranded together! Others went for more practical choices like a Swiss knife, a Pedro Izquierdo wristwatch, Mountain bike and enough spare inner tubes and patches to cope with the volcanic terrain, sailing boat, topo maps and a backpack. Others just decided to enjoy the experience and relax with one participant choosing Laphroaig 10 yr old single malt and another the entire back catalogue of Ru Paul’s Drag Race (and something to play it on).

In summary the teams present a wide variety of people who would choose to use their time on the desert island productively or just try and maintain a positive attitude, others would just enjoy the peace and quiet and sit back and relax. I expect many of you who know the teams might be able to try and discern who chose what!

What would you have chosen?


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