Following UK Mental Health Awareness week earlier this month, I have written a short blog post on how mental health can affect you in the workplace, ways of managing and boosting your mental health and ways that businesses can help their employees.
What are mental health issues?
Mental health is how we think, feel and behave and it includes our emotional, psychological and social well-being. All these things affect how we handle stress, relate to others and make decisions. What goes on at work can affect your mental health and in turn your mental health can affect your work. According to mental health charity Mind, "one in four people will suffer a mental health problem each year".
There are many things that can cause mental ill health, with anxiety and stress being large factors, which can both be caused by problems in the workplace. Things such as working long hours can cause this stress and cause anxiety and depression. Some people can get caught in a job that doesn't align with their core values, which can put unnecessary stress on them.
A study by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (https://www.cipd.co.uk/) found those affected by mental health issues:
Found it harder to concentrate
62% of people found it harder to undertake tasks
37% of sufferers are more likely to get into conflict with colleagues
What you can do to boost your mental health
There are plenty of ways for you to boost your mental health everyday, these can be done at home, on the way to and from work and whilst at work. Making sure your work/life balance is at equilibrium is key. You need to make sure that your stresses at work don't outweigh your home life.
Keeping active can help your mental health – this could involve walking or cycling to work to work at least one day a week or even something as simple as getting off the bus a stop early.
Make the most of your lunch break – try and go for a walk, go for a run or take part in a gym/yoga class. What goes into your body also matters too. Make sure you eat and drink well – plenty of water and nutritious foods.
As well as keeping your body moving, it is good to keep your brain active too. Continued learning enhances one's self-esteem, encourages social interaction and leads to a more active life. Try to read a new book a month or an interesting journal that is not related to your work.
Don’t be afraid to talk to people. If there is something worrying you about your work, make sure you connect with others. Alternatively, if you see someone else who is looking stressed and despondent take time out of your day to see how they are doing.
How employers can help
Businesses also have a large part to play in the mental well-being of their employees. It is important to have a mental health plan in place. This can involve many different things from encouraging employees to talk and also to switch off – you don’t want your employees to burn out. Putting on training courses helps give employees more skills and confidence in the workplace, helping to reduce stress and anxiety.
Employers and businesses that promote and encourage positive mental health will benefit from a workforce that is more productive. This will also be more attractive to new employees.
Mind is a charity that is working to help give people suffering with mental health issues support and the respect they deserve. A link to their website can be found here - https://www.mind.org.uk/