Tips for supporting mental health in the workplace
World Mental Health Day took place this week (Oct. 10). It’s observed to raise awareness and mobilize efforts supporting mental health around the world.
This year’s theme was “Young people and mental health in a changing world,” putting the spotlight on the importance of helping young people build mental resilience at an early age. The prevalence of technology and being connected 24/7 was noted as sources of additional pressure and stress on young people.
For employers, this year’s theme is relevant as organizations put a greater focus on mental and overall wellness at work, and as younger demographics enter the workforce.
A recent study by the World Health Organization estimated that for every $1 spent to scale-up treatment for common mental disorders, there is a return of $4 in improved health and productivity. With this in mind, here are some tips for supporting mental health in the workplace from this year’s coverage of World Mental Health Day.
- Be more mindful by thinking “like a toddler”: Think about the way a child stops and really notices something, like a spider’s web, and do the same. Make the most of the moment instead of rushing through your day. (BBC)
- Practice mindfulness: This helps to regain control, and direct and keep your attention on what’s important. It can also help with negative emotions by letting you observe your thoughts instead of getting carried away by them (BBC)
- Make the most of internal communications channels: Raise awareness through blogs, factsheets, tips for managers, useful web links, and FAQs. You can also use posters, noticeboards, staff newsletters, magazines, and intranet and internet pages to get the message out. (Mind.org)
- Provide options for employees: Initiatives such as flexible hours, job redesign, addressing negative workplace dynamics, and a supportive environment can benefit workers with mental disorders immensely. (Study via National Center for Biotechnology Information)
- Prioritize trust: In teams with a solid foundation of trust, individuals will feel safe and comfortable coming forward with personal struggles that might impact their work. Building trust pays off in higher performance and improved mental health. (Forbes)
- Invest in wellness: A comprehensive, holistic wellness program starts with a corporate wellness assessment. Uncovering the needs, desires, and goals of your employees and organization is crucial in tailoring an effective employee wellness strategy. Stress management and mindfulness workshops, resilience training, and coaching are vital offerings for your employees. (Forbes)
…and tips for managing stress at work
Time recently covered expert-backed ways to manage stress at work. It provided some interesting tidbits about stress in the feature. For instance, the top three stressors for Americans today are uncertainty of the nation’s future, money, and work, according to the American Psychology Association.
The article adds that there are better ways to manage stress at work, with some tips from experts. Here are some highlights:
- Set realistic expectations: We set ourselves up for failure by constantly looking for something bigger and better (a better job or partner, for example). Focusing on what you’re doing now “can help mitigate stress about what is next.”
- Confide in someone: Literally, find a confidante, at work or in life, to lean on, and who can call out when you’re in a stress spiral.
- Practice S.E.L.F. care: This stands for serenity, exercise, love, and food.
Lastly, try these practical suggestions for being happier at work
Yes, the always-on, social media universe may suggest that people are always happy – effortlessly (frustratingly) so.
First, it’s impossible to be happy all the time, and second, that belief only exacerbates the problem. You have to work at it – and from Nataly Kogan, co-founder of happiness company Happier, here are a few concrete tips to do just that.
- Start your day with doing something that makes you feel good. Pause and enjoy your morning beverage. Go for a walk. In short, be present in an action that you enjoy.
- Help a colleague. It doesn’t have to be a huge task – it could be as simple as grabbing them a coffee or asking if they need help on a project.
- End the day with a “gratitude pause.” You’re probably thinking, “If I’ve had a terrible day, why should I take a moment to be thankful about it?” The short answer is that you need to train your brain. Kogan writes that we’re conditioned to focus on what’s wrong, which makes it difficult to be happier. But by thinking about something we appreciate in our days, we can train our brains to fight that “natural negativity bias.”