10th October is World Mental Health Day and 2017 year’s theme is Workplace Wellbeing.
It’s so important to do things to look after your own mental health and support those around you. Did you know that at least one in six workers experience common mental health problems, including anxiety and depression? Research shows work is the biggest cause of stress in people’s lives, more so than debt or financial problems.
Stress can stop people performing at their best.
While mental health and ways to manage it are slowly starting to become part of workplace conversations, there is still a stigma attached to talking about it openly. This is something that needs to be addressed if we want employees to openly seek support, instead of hiding a mental health issue, which could possibly exacerbate the condition in the long-term if it is left untreated.
A big question many of our business leaders often find themselves asking is how can they communicate mental health in a way that’s both thoughtful and valuable to their employees?
Below are some top tips for staying well at work
Make it part of normal dialogue
Try to find ways to include discussions on mental health in workplace conversations. Employees may not be happy talking about their mental well-being with their manager at work or even with family members. Instead, contemplate having an HR professional who is trained in intervention coaching and has a confidential open door policy for talking about these matters in private.
Today’s rapidly changing business environment often means colleagues are divided across numerous locations, time zones and are often expected to always be available. This may be fantastic for business, but such “always on” culture or environments can result in employee exhaustion and burn-out. Try to make this the exception, not the norm. Long hours means employees may be working harder, but not better – it will quickly take its toll on concentration, productivity and health.
There is strong evidence that indicates that feeling close to, and valued by, other people is a fundamental human need and one that contributes to functioning well in the world. It’s clear that social relationships are critical for promoting wellbeing and for acting as a buffer against mental ill health for people of all ages.
With this in mind, try to do something different today and make a connection.
- Talk to someone instead of sending an email
- Speak to someone new
- Ask how someone’s weekend was and really listen when they tell you
- Put five minutes aside to find out how someone really is
Regular physical activity is associated with lower rates of depression and anxiety across all age groups. Exercise is essential for slowing age-related cognitive decline and for promoting well-being.
But it doesn’t need to be particularly intense for you to feel good – slower-paced activities, such as walking, can have the benefit of encouraging social interactions as well providing some level of exercise.
Today, why not get physical? Here are a few ideas:
- Take the stairs, not the lift
- Go for a walk at lunchtime
- Walk into work – perhaps with a colleague – so you can ‘connect’ as well
- Get off the bus one stop earlier than usual and walk the final part of your journey to work
- Do some ‘easy exercise’, like stretching, before you leave for work in the morning
- Walk to someone’s desk instead of calling or emailing.