LOOKING AFTER YOUR MENTAL HEALTH AT WORK
Mental health and discussing it can be difficult for most. You may think you are weak to ask for help yet going untreated or not discussing it can have detrimental problems if buried away or left to fester.
Why is it that we, as a society feel it’s a taboo subject to say we are suffering with our health mentally? We are a lot more open with most of our aspects of physical health, what is the difference?
Mental health includes our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel, and act. It also helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others, and make choices. Mental health is important at every stage of life, from childhood and adolescence through adulthood.
Emotional Health – is an important part of overall health. People who are emotionally healthy are in control of their thoughts, feelings, and behaviours. They can cope with life’s challenges. Emotionally healthy people still feel stress, anger, and sadness. But they know how to manage their negative feelings.
The mind and the body are intrinsically linked. When you improve your physical health, you’ll automatically experience greater mental and emotional well-being. Regular exercise or activity can have a major impact on mental and emotional health problems, relieve stress, improve memory, and help you to sleep better.
Proper psychological health involves a normal emotional, behavioural, and social maturity to a person. This means such a person is in a healthy state of mental well-being, one that they can use to function normally in society and during everyday events. They have good emotional health, the kind affecting how we feel. They also have good behavioural health, involving how we act. Finally, they have great social health, the kind that involves our interactions with others.
Well-being is a positive outcome that is meaningful for people and for many sectors of society, because it tells us that people perceive that their lives are going well. Good living conditions (e.g., housing, employment) are fundamental to well-being. Many indicators that measure living conditions fail to measure what people think and feel about their lives, such as the quality of their relationships, their positive emotions and resilience, the realisation of their potential, or their overall satisfaction with life—i.e., their “well-being.” Well-being generally includes global judgments of life satisfaction and feelings ranging from depression to joy.
How do we help keep ourselves mentally healthy? Here’s 5 simple tips:
1. Learn to reconnect with people again if you are not doing so, pick up the phone instead of sending a text or email. Speak to someone different or new every day if you can. Reengage with people, we stand in queues quite often, start a conversation at the supermarket, ask some how their day went, take the time to listen, tell them how yours was?
2. Regular exercise – 30 minutes of aerobic exercise during the day is vital because it releases chemicals like endorphins and serotonin that improve your mood. If you exercise regularly, it can reduce your stress and symptoms of mental health conditions like depression, anxiety, and help with recovery from mental health issues.
6 best exercise classes for mental health
1. Running (or walking…) If you need motivation to get moving, the ‘runner’s high’ – the clarity and expansion one feels after a jog or sprint session – should do the trick!
2. Boxing. The rumours that hitting a punchbag to release stress and anger is true.
5. Spin classes.
6. Resistance training.
3. Take notice of what is happening around you – work on broadening and strengthening of your awareness. Your body speaks to you in the most amazing ways, trust it!
Studies have shown that being aware of what is taking place in the present directly enhances your well-being and savouring ‘the moment’ can help to reaffirm your life priorities. When your awareness is heightened your self-understanding is also heightened or enhanced and as such allows you to make positive choices based on your own morals and values. Take some time and make some effort to enjoy your surroundings:
1. Get a lovely plant for your workspace.
2. Put up pictures of your family/friends/loved ones
3. Try to keep your workspace clutter free if possible
4. Take notice of how your colleagues are interacting or feeling
5. Change your routines slightly, take a different way to work, try a new restaurant for lunch for example.
4. Keeping your mind active, whether that is through continued learning or just getting back into reading books, doing puzzles. Challenge your brain, it enhances self-esteem and encourages social interaction and a more active life.
Here’s a fact: “Reading can even relax your body by lowering your heart rate and easing the tension in your muscles. A 2009 study at the University of Sussex found that reading can reduce stress by up to 68%. It works better and faster than other relaxation methods, such as listening to music or drinking a hot cup of tea”.
Plus, reading can boost your brain power. Not only does regular reading help make you smarter, but it can actually increase your brain power. Just like going for a jog exercises your cardiovascular system, reading regularly improves memory function by giving your brain a good work out.
5. Get involved in your community if you have lost touch and give a little. Social and community life has always been there, you may have lost touch over the years as your life-work balance may be uneven and possibly the job has taken over slightly.
The feeling of helping others achieve can boost your feeling of happiness and well-being. Try get out there on a regular basis, you will get to meet like minded people and develop relationships and friendships you may not have had the chance to do otherwise. Examples of volunteering would be:
1. Helping with homeless charities
2. Helping with local foodbanks
3. Volunteer at a Charity Shop
4. Helping an elderly neighbour by visiting for friendship or companionship on a regular basis – Age UK have a service that can guide you through this process.
5. Help a local church, you don’t have to be religious, but most are always looking for volunteers to help in the community.
Taken from the website below:
Employers have a duty of care under UK law to protect the health, safety and welfare of all employees (Health and Safety at Work Act 1974) and to assess the risks arising from hazards at work, including work-related mental health problems.
By promoting wellbeing for all employees, tackling work-related mental health issues and supporting staff who are experiencing mental difficulties, you can create a workplace where employees want to work and where they can perform well.