March 30, 2023 Edition

8 tips for better mental health at work

To celebrate Mental Health Awareness Week, we wanted to share some tips that weve found helpful for better mental health at work.

Most of us spend the majority of our time at work, so having a job we enjoy is good for our mental health and wellbeing. As the saying goes, if you find a job you love, youll never work a day in your life. Good mental health at work is essential, and there is strong evidence that workplaces with high levels of mental wellbeing are more productive.1 But even in a job we love, there can be busy periods which can leave us feeling stressed and overwhelmed if we dont have the right support in place. During those times, its important to still focus on your mental health. Weve put together some tips to help you cope and thrive.

1. Find time for yourself and take regular breaks

2. Change of scenery

3. Healthy lifestyle

4. Getting enough sleep

5. Minimise distractions

6. Set realistic targets (in and out of work)

7. Connect with others

8. Positive mindset

1. Find time for yourself and take regular breaks

Its important to take regular breaks during your working day. Stretch your legs, have some time away from your screen if you work on a computer, let your mind relax. You could use your break time to meditate, do some yoga or breathing exercises, or listen to a podcast. If you can fit in some quick exercises, you will feel more energised. Exercise has a positive effect on your mental and physical health.

2. Change of scenery

Getting outside, getting some fresh air, and connecting with nature has been proven to have a positive effect on your mental and physical health. You might enjoy some time to yourself, or you could meet up with a friend or a colleague. You could walk around the business park, your local park or sit in the garden if you work from home. Perhaps you could walk to the shop and get lunch rather than drive.

3. Healthy lifestyle

Eating well and staying hydrated have a direct impact on your mental health. Its essential to fuel your body with the right food and drink, such as plenty of fruit, vegetables, and water, and reduce your bad fats and sugar intake. Its also good to reduce your caffeine intake. If you turn to coffee or fizzy drinks when you need an energy boost, it could make you more tired in the long run. And too much caffeine can stop you from getting a good nights sleep. Having a fitness or a wellbeing buddy to bounce ideas off and challenge/ encourage each other can also help.

4. Getting enough sleep

And speaking of sleep, make sure youre getting enough. When things get busy, your sleep is often the first thing to suffer. But not getting enough quality sleep can make you feel tired during the day, resulting in making mistakes and poor decision making. Try to get an average of 8 hours sleep per night, although this can be hard to do with kids, as we all know. Some people find it helpful to set an alarm for when they want to go to sleep as well as when they want to wake up in the morning. Its about finding what works for you and your lifestyle.

5. Minimise distractions

When you know you have a busy period coming up at work, try to minimise other distractions. Its ok to say No to requests and set healthy boundaries, its not the right time to take on a new project or responsibility. You cant do everything, so dont stress yourself out trying to.

6. Set realistic targets (in and out of work)

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If youre feeling overwhelmed with the amount of work you have to get through, it helps to break it down into manageable chunks. You could write a to-do list or even use a dedicated app or software to help you prioritise tasks and plan your time. If technology can help take some of the strain, let it! If youre struggling, dont be afraid to ask for help. And dont forget to plan some time for self-care activities. Have a look at the template weve created you can download it here[1]. Its an interactive pdf so you can save it to your desktop and type your answers directly onto it, or print it out and write on it.

7. Connect with others

Its good to talk about how youre feeling. Identify HR or Mental Health representatives within the company. However, if you dont feel comfortable talking to them, find someone you can talk to a colleague, partner, friends and family. People who are more socially connected to their family, friends, or community are happier, physically healthier, and live longer, with fewer mental health problems than less well-connected people.2 Find a friend(s) who support your goals and work together. Power in numbers and encouraging and supporting each other can have a really positive effect.

8. Positive mindset

We hope these tips will help you to develop a positive mindset. Positive thinking and a positive mindset are so important because they can have a beneficial impact on physical and mental wellbeing. Being able to approach lifes challenges with a positive outlook helps you cope better with stress, in and out of work. You cant always change what is happening, but you are in control of how you think about and react to a situation.

 Consistency is the key, and if your current coping strategies arent working or are damaging your health or happiness, you have the power to change them. You wont develop any of these habits overnight, which can be challenging. But its essential to keep going, taking small steps to progress and see the long-term benefits.

 

RESOURCES

For advice

http://www.mentalhealth.org.uk[2]

http://www.mind.org.uk[3]

https://actionforhappiness.org[4]

https://mentalhealth-uk.org[5]

https://www.health-in-mind.org.uk[6] Promoting positive mental health and wellbeing in Scotland

 

Mental Health & Wellbeing Courses

https://www.sja.org.uk/courses/workplace-mental-health-first-aid/[7]

http://https//mhfaengland.org.uk[8]

 

Sources

https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/publications/how-support-mental-health-work[9]

https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/statistics/mental-health-statistics-relationships-and-community[10]

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We wanted to share this beautiful cartoon by Charlie Macksey. Visit Charlies website www.charliemackesy.com[11] to find out more about him, his work and his book The Boy, The Mole, The Fox and The Horse.

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If you are struggling with your mental health, please be brave and ask for help.

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