5 Simple Tips - employee mental health
The thing is; talking about your feelings isn’t a sign of weakness; it’s part of taking charge of your wellbeing and doing what you can to stay healthy. Talking can be a way to cope with a problem you’ve been carrying around in your head for a while. Feeling listened to can help you feel more supported. And it works both ways. If you open up, it might encourage others to do the same. It’s not always easy to describe how you’re feeling. If you can’t think of one word, use lots. What does it feel like inside your head? What does it make you feel like doing? Many people feel more comfortable when these conversations develop naturally – maybe when you’re doing something together.
You spend the majority of your life at work, with colleagues, of which some become friends,
It is time that employers gave the safe space and confident environment to facilitate conversations between colleagues/friends in the workplace. Employers should introduce "Tea and Talk" and initiative by the mental health foundation.
National rail (40,000 employees) delivering some amazing work about encouraging the conversation "ask twice" and "it's ok not to be ok" campagnes, Heathrow Airport doing also delivering on mental health strategy, offering staff Babylon Health, converting rooms, into relaxing zen spaces, with plants and books, again encouraging the buddy system to facilitate conversations around mental health.
Exercise keeps the brain and your other vital organs healthy, and is also a significant benefit towards improving your mental health. This is because any form of exercise or physical activity will stimulate your endorphins (happy hormones)
"I get a huge buzz from cycling or spinning bikes. Hours later, my legs ache, but I’m still smiling". Let's be clear on "being active" , because we very swiftly confuse this with exercising... It doesn’t just mean doing sport or going to the gym. Walks in the park, gardening or housework can also keep you active.
Experts say that most people should do about 30 minutes’ exercise at least five days a week. Try to make physical activity that you enjoy a part of your day, and so employers should be encouraging their staff to utilise lunch breaks for activity, especially if staff are in sedentary jobs. Invite an external person in to deliver a yoga class etc.
Food for thought
Food can also have a long-lasting effect on your mental health. Your brain needs a mix of nutrients in order to stay healthy and function well, just like the other organs in your body.
A diet that’s good for your physical health is also good for your mental health. A healthy, balanced diet includes:
• Lots of different types of fruit and vegetables
• Wholegrain cereals or bread
• Nuts and seeds
• Dairy products
• Oily fish
• Plenty of water Three meals a day or five smaller snacks throughout the day, plus plenty of water, is ideal for maintaining good mental health.
Try to limit how many high caffeine, sugary drinks or how much alcohol you have.
Employers could look to bring in a dietitian once a month or a nutritionist, to talk to the staff about the benefits of balanced diet, foods in moderation, foods to avoid, guidance on reading food labels, education around diet plans, and managing macros/ckal etc. This is going beyond the just the usual "we provide fruit for out staff".
Pass on your Passion
Bring your passion to work...What do you love doing? What activities can you lose yourself in? What did you love doing in the past? Enjoying yourself can help beat stress. Doing an activity you enjoy probably means you’re good at it, and achieving something boosts your self-esteem.
Concentrating on a hobby, like board-games, tending to plants or doing crosswords, can help you forget your worries for a while and can change your mood. It can be good to have an interest where you’re not seen as someone’s mum or dad, partner or employee. You’re just you.
Even 30 minutes of sketching lets you express yourself creatively, I hard of someone who created a group called "stitch and bitch" where women come together to have a laugh and banter and bounce of each others character while they stitch and sew together. Employers could offer employees the chance to teach their colleagues their passions even in just 30 minutes a week, so everyone learns something new, everyone experiences leading and vulnerability and group work aside from their day job.
Sharing is Caring
Caring for others is often an important part of keeping up relationships with people close to you. It can even bring you closer together. Why not share your skills more widely by volunteering for a local charity? Helping out can make us feel needed and valued, and that boosts our self-esteem. It also helps us to see the world from another angle. This can help to put our own problems in perspective.
Find out more about volunteering at www.do-it.org. uk. Caring for a pet can improve your wellbeing too. The bond between you and your pet can be as strong as between people.Looking after a pet can bring structure to your day and can act as a link to other people. For example, some people make friends by chatting to fellow dog walkers.
How an employer can support this is;
a) nominate a charity or local voluntary group to support, and encourage your staff to be involved, and you as the senior members engage too.
b) create a sense of shared purpose of caring for people prior to profits, and perhaps demonstrate that implementation of all the above means you not only support the people who work for you but the wider community you are situated within. Something as simple as walking clubs, chess clubs, go and tidy a local run down park...