With absenteeism drastically rising each year costing the UK economy £73 million annually workplaces are constantly looking to improve the working environment and culture for their people. In addition, they need to focus on individuals who may be suffering from an emotional well being or mental health concern - sometimes a severe one.
How can you, your HR team, your leaders, your managers and your colleagues do this and look after their own well being?
Inspired by Mental Health Foundation's 5 Ways to Wellbeing during this year's wel lbeing week I want to look at the 5 main ways MHF suggests to improve and maintain well being at work and in life: best possible work life for ultimate employee health, happiness and work well being.
The Mental Health Foundation (MHF) suggests 5 ways to improve and maintain well being at work and in life:
2. Get Active
3. Be Mindful
4. Keep Learning
5. Give to Others
Connect - MHF suggests we get to know our colleagues, our neighbours and meet new people in order to feel a sense of community, to create strong relationships. Not only does this lead to a drop in feeling lonely our new friendships also provide us with fun, laughter and a support network.
Exercise - not only releases those feel good endorphins but is yet another way we can get outside, get fresh air, promote fitness and a healthier life and is a great way to connect with others. Getting active needn't be expensive - a walk or job around your local park or get a group activity going at work such as netball, rounders or yoga.
Be Mindful - whether that be through meditation, yoga, gratitude journals or a simple de-stress exercise such as the below Non-Meditation, we can reduce our stress triggers and keep calm even when faced with large challenges. By minimising stress we are less prone to anxiety, depression, anger and other negative emotional & mental health concerns. Non-Meditation Meditation: Sit still in fairly quiet area where you will not be disturbed - gently close your eyes if appropriate - Find 3 objects in the space and internally describe each one to yourself; include everything about each object in as much detail as possible - the colour, the weight, the material etc. - Listen for 2 sounds and describe each sound fully to yourself - the pitch, the timbre, how loud it is. - Take a sip of a drink or a small bite of food and again describe it in as much detail as possible - the texture, the temperature, the taste. By taking the time to do the above your mind re-focuses away from what is causing stress and allows you to take control over your thoughts.
Keep Learning - to promote life long learning in order to keep our brains healthy and promote a sense of achievement as well as up-skill in our careers and add to our development. I learn so much from podcasts as they fill a dull commute and an even duller run!
Give to Others - focuses on feeling good when we give to others as "Evidence shows that helping others is actually beneficial for your own mental health and in turn your well being. It can help reduce stress, improve your emotional well being and even benefit your physical health." (MHF) How can you help others? By giving your time? Your expertise? Your advice?
If you are struggling at work or can see a need for a workplace well being programme then get in touch with me to see how I can help you.