Mental health has been a much-discussed topic this past year. Although awareness around mental health has been steadily growing, it’s an issue that may be more common than we think. According to the Mental Health Foundation, nearly 1 in 7 people experience mental health problems in the workplace; 12.7% of sickness days in the UK are related to mental health conditions.
This year’s Mental Health Awareness Week runs with the theme “Nature”. With that in mind, we wanted to take this week to look at 5 ways to take care of your mental health at work, whilst incorporating an element of nature where possible.
People may not move as much when working from home but managers can still create opportunities for their staff to get active. Arranging exercise sessions during lunch breaks is highly achievable and costs nothing. Here at Carrot, we have held a month-long fitness competition to encourage our teams to stay active. This month, we’re also sending our teams out on a treasure trail. These activities are not just beneficial to the physical well-being, but also motivate employees at work.
Encourage employees to walk into nature and enjoy the relaxation it can bring. We have organised company-wide hiking trips and walks in the past that have received positive feedback.
Gym or sports club memberships have become a popular item in the employee benefits package. It's a flexible way of encouraging employees to exercise whenever works best for them.
If budget and resources are of concern, why not offer your team a spontaneous early finish on a sunny day so they can make the best of the good weather.
As society slowly opens back up, encourage employees to have group sessions, whether via video calls if you’re still working remotely, or in person as and when teams feel comfortable to do so. By virtually getting together, we can maintain the social connection that’s a vital part of the workplace, but which isn’t so accessible under current circumstances. Wherever possible, organise activities among teams as a great way to bring people together. Regular contact, be it virtual or in-person, allows a more approachable channel that supports colleagues where needed.
Looking for ideas to keep your teams stay connected? Check out our blog here.
Pay a little extra attention to your surroundings, and you’d be surprised how much more you take notice of even on the most normal day. Take a moment to look around on your way through the park, slower your pace on a hike, or take a minute to talk to your colleagues and find out how they’re doing. This applies to introspection too: Be aware of your own feelings and what you may need. Don’t be hesitant to seek support if needs be.
This awareness can also be used within the workplace. If you sense a colleague is struggling or not quite feeling themself, take some time to talk to them and offer your support where possible. This might be by allowing them to talk about things going on within their personal life or to give them the opportunity to offload some of their work tasks. Many businesses now have mental health first aiders, so if you’re concerned about someone’s wellbeing, speak to them, or seek advice from the likes of Mind or the Samaritans.
Learn New Things
Learning new things has known positive effects on the brain. And it’s a rewarding feeling when you see yourself progress through the learning process. Is there a skill/ hobby that you’ve always wanted to pursue? Now is a good time to realise that dream!
As an employer, you can create that environment for your employees. This can be work-related, such as encouraging them to take courses or attend workshops that help develop their skills. It can also be about their private lives; giving them time off work or the occasional longer lunch break so they can enjoy what they love.
Giving Can Bring You More
Giving back is a great culture within a company and, in turn, can bring more benefits. This makes colleagues feel appreciated and even more motivated at work; it doesn’t have to be of a monetary value. Here at Carrot, we recognise everyone’s hard work by offering an early finish at the end of the month, so people have the chance to pursue a better quality of life or enjoy a drink together when things are open.
When working in the office, this can be as simple as offering a helping hand to a colleague that seems a bit stressed or making a cup of tea for one another. Or how about sharing your best practice with each other so you can all grow and further your knowledge base.
Although this week will help to highlight mental health awareness, our mental wellbeing at home and in the workplace should be of top priority all year long. What better time than now to practice these tips in the workplace and let your colleagues know they are supported.
If you’re in need of support with your mental health wellbeing, here are some organisations and networks that specialise in providing it:
Mind - https://www.mind.org.uk/
Anxiety UK - www.anxietyuk.org.uk
CALM - www.thecalmzone.net
Samaritans - www.samaritans.org.uk
Young Minds - www.youngminds.org.uk