STEPS TOWARDS GOOD MENTAL HEALTH PRACTICE IN THE WORKPLACE

Workplaces that promote mental health and support people with mental disorders are more likely to reduce absenteeism, increase productivity and benefit from associated economic gains (World Health organisation report May 2019). If this is the case, then investing in the mental health of your employees will not only benefit them but also the business. 

Awareness of mental health is increasing, but we still face a world where people with mental health problems try to keep their feelings hidden because they are afraid of other people’s responses. Fear of discrimination and feelings of shame are among the top reasons people give for not telling their colleagues about their mental health problems.

What is mental health?
Mental health is the way we think and feel and our ability to deal with ups and downs. Mental health is something we all have. When we enjoy good mental health, we have a sense of purpose and direction, the energy to do the things we want to do, and the ability to deal with the challenges that happen in our lives. Our mental health doesn’t always stay the same. It can fluctuate as circumstances change and as you move through different stages in our lives.

What are mental health problems?
We all have times when we feel down, stressed or frightened. Most of the time those feelings pass, but sometimes they develop into a mental health problem. Different mental health problems affect people in different ways. If we have significant challenges in our home or work life, the chances are that it has an impact on our mental health. Mental health problems can have a lot of different symptoms and signs.

•    At work, someone is more tired than usual.
•    A person might make uncharacteristic mistakes, find it hard to motivate themselves, their timekeeping might slip, or they may be short tempered.
•    A person may look or feel very tired or drained.
•    A person might isolate themselves, avoid colleagues or appear distracted.
•    A person may procrastinate more – or grind to a halt altogether. Alternatively, they might speed up or become chaotic and taking on more work than they can manage.
•    Outbursts of anger or emotion
•    Absences from work
•    Not looking after their appearance as they normally would.
•    You may see signs that they perhaps drinking more in the evening.

The time has come to stop talking about the importance of good mental health at work and to start taking action and show employees how we can all take steps to improve our own mental health, and build our resilience and our ability to cope with adversity. Having good working conditions and a culture that promotes mental health will lead to satisfied and productive workers and the betterment of the entire company.

Below are steps organizations can take to create a healthy workplace and improve an employee’s wellbeing and improve your mental health

Sleep Well
Poor quality or lack of sleep can lead to unmotivated and stressed out teams/ individuals. Sleep is essential to our mental health. Listen to your body. Without good sleep, our mental health suffers and our concentration goes downhill.

Relaxa Can offer: 1hour Sleep workshops that can be run as Lunch and Learn sessions.

Emotional Health
Relationships are key to our mental health. Working in a supportive team is hugely important for our mental health at work. Try and make sure you maintain your friendships and family relationships even when work is intense – a work–life balance is important. Stress can also be a big factor in ones mental health. Looking at ways to avoid or deal with stress will also be hugely beneficial.

Relaxa Can offer: 1hour workshops on a variety of Mental wellbeing topics that deal with stress and work life balance  that can be run as Lunch and Learn sessions. In addition, we can run 20-min mini Stress and Lifestyle consultations.

Keep active
Regular exercise can boost your self-esteem and can help you concentrate, sleep, and look and feel better. Exercising doesn’t just mean doing sport or going to the gym. Try to make physical activity that you enjoy a part of your day. If you work in an office it can make a huge difference to get out for a walk or do a class at lunchtime.

Relaxa Can offer: 1hour Fitness workshops on a variety of topics that can be run as Lunch and Learn sessions. In addition, we can run 45min/1hour Yoga, Pilates or Tai chi classes.

Eat well
A diet that is good for your physical health is also good for your mental health. It can be hard to keep up a healthy pattern of eating at work. Regular meals, plus plenty of water, are ideal. Try and plan for mealtimes at work – bringing food from home or choosing healthy options when buying lunch.

Relaxa Can offer: 1hour Nutrition workshops on a variety of topics that can be run as Lunch and Learn sessions. In addition, we can run 20-min mini diet and Nutrition consultations.

Take a break
Workers who do not take enough breaks are more prone to burnout and stress. However, automatic phone alerts or apps to remind you can help. It could be a five-minute pause from what you are doing or a lunch break at work. A few minutes can be enough to destress you and give you some ‘me time’. Mindfulness is a form of meditation that involves paying attention to what is happening, as it happens. Mindfulness practice can help us to be more present with ourselves, our work, and our families.

Relaxa Can offer: 45mins/ 1hour Mindfulness sessions or Meditation/ guided visualisation sessions that can be taken at the start or end of the day or over a lunchtime period.

Drink sensibly
We often drink alcohol to change our mood. Some people drink to deal with fear or loneliness, but the effect is only temporary. If you feel anxious you may drink too much and end up behaving in a way you’d rather not, which will increase feelings of anxiety in the medium to long term.

Keep in touch
Talking about your feelings can help you maintain your mental health and deal with times when you feel troubled. 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. Identify someone you feel comfortable with and who will be supportive. If you don’t feel able to talk about feelings at work, make sure there’s someone you can discuss work pressures with – partners, friends or family.

Parts of this article are taken from the Mental Health Foundation website.

 CALL Relaxa on 020 3303 0980 or email sales@relaxa.co.uk for more information and prices.  
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Specialists in Health Promotion & Wellness Services for Companies UK-wide