Over the years, mental health has become a widely discussed topic. There are events and conferences we can attend and online webinars that can be viewed. However, a lot of this focuses on mental health in general terms or focus on specific mental health issues such as depression and anxiety. But what about your mental health in the workplace? How can it be affected by the work you do or the environment you are in? And most importantly what can we do to keep our mental wellbeing in good shape when working?
October 10th was World Mental Health Day, so this is the perfect time to really get stuck into the topic. It's important to be aware of your mental health and whether or not it is being affected by your work.
But to do this, you need to have some knowledge of what mental health is and how it differs from mental illness. Anytime Training offers a 'Mental Health Awareness' course that can help with this, by providing you with information on the signs and symptoms of common mental illnesses and practical advice on working effectively with individuals who are affected by these conditions.
There are many things you can do to keep your mental health in a good place and enjoy your work. These can include:
Taking back your lunch break - many of us have picked up the bad habit of eating lunch at our desks and working through our allotted time. So walk away, go outside if the weather is nice or just move to a different area and let yourself enjoy your break.
Give yourself a good work/life balance - don't constantly work overtime, the long hours will eventually catch up to you and the quality of your work will suffer. And try not to take work home with you, setting boundaries between work and home is a good way to keep your mental wellbeing in top shape.
Listen to calming music - whether you're in the middle of a hard task at work or winding down on your commute home, listening to slow, quiet music is proven to aid relaxation and help reduce anxiety.
Give yourself time for activities outside of work - running, swimming or reading are a few great ways to help relieve stress and take your mind off your work. Joining a club or social group can benefit you even more by giving you a chance to socialise with others.
Finally, ask for help when you need it - don't struggle through anything alone, whether you're facing an issue with your mental health already, or you feel as though your workload is too much, talk to your colleagues or managers and try to find a solution that places less pressure on you.
To check out more ways in which you can improve your workplace wellbeing, visit the webpage for the mental health charity MIND. They have great resources to help benefit your mental health, like their 'Five Ways to Wellbeing' which you can find in the button below!
Being aware of your own mental health and how it is being affected by situations in your life is important, but you should also know that other people may be struggling too. When someone isn't doing their job right or their quality of work isn't up-to-standard, it can be easy to be angry at them but you should take a step back and consider that there may be an underlying reason.
There are many signs that will tell you if a co-worker's mental health is suffering. For example:
Changes in work habits - as mentioned above, if someone's work begins to decline in standard, it could be a sign of a mental health condition.
Changes in mood - if a usually happy and social colleague becomes withdrawn, unhappy or even angry for an extended period of time it could indicate they are struggling. They may even become short-tempered with other colleagues or have mood-swings.
Changes in physical appearance - showing up to work in an unkempt state, appearing tired and run-down could be another sign that your co-worker's mental health is not in a good place.
If you identify these signs with a co-worker of yours, it is important to check in with them. Ask them how their day is going, invite them to have lunch with you or go on a walk. Be understanding and patient with them and their work. If you are particularly worried about them, it could be worth raising your concerns with management, who may be in a better position to offer help.
When it comes to your mental health, stay safe. Stay aware.
Hotline: 116 123 (Open 24/7)
If you are ever experiencing a mental health emergency and do not feel safe please call 999
Keep an eye on our blog page for more updates. Next weeks post will cover Mental Health First Aid!