Mental health problems at work are common. At least one in six workers is experiencing common mental health problems, including anxiety and depression.
You might not be talking about it, because mental health is still a taboo subject. And many people feel scared and confused about confronting the issue at work. But there are small, simple steps you can take to look after yourself and make your workplace mentally healthier.
Reclaim your lunch break
Why not make the most of that precious hour – or half hour – by staying away from your computer or phone. Instead, try reading a book or engage in a conversation with a colleague.
Organise a picnic
Take advantage of the summer sun and make the most of clean air and good food with your colleagues.
Hold a group activity
If there’s a green space near your workplace why not organise a game of rounders or football, hold a guerrilla gardening session, or a group walk? Take time to enjoy the outdoors and get re-energised for an afternoon of productive work.
Take up a challenge
Local sponsored walks or marathons are a great way to keep active. Sign with your colleagues and train together during lunch breaks. Participating as part of a team can give a communal sense of achievement when you complete the challenge. You could even support Mind’s work by signing up to one of our running events.
Whistle while you work
If you’re feeling stressed, listening to a calming song can take your mind off work for a few minutes and help you unwind and refocus. Research has found slow, quiet music can encourage relaxation and reduce anxiety.
When you’re working hard to complete a task, music can also help eliminate distractions around you. By blocking out the noise of your fellow workers, machinery or bleeping phones you can focus easier on the task at hand.
Listen to your favourite song as a simple treat to yourself. Rewarding yourself is a great way for your general wellbeing, giving you some added motivation so you can better tackle a big workload.
Are you often the last to leave work?
We know you’ll have times when you need to work overtime to meet deadlines, but try to make this the exception not the norm. Long hours means you may be working harder, but not better – they’ll quickly take their toll on your concentration, productiveness and health.
Create clear boundaries between work and home
Try not to let work spill over into your personal life. If you need to bring work home, designate a separate area for work and stick to it, you’ll find it much easier to then close the door on work.
Start a To Do list
At the end of each day, go over your list and write up one for the next day, when your thoughts are down on paper, you’ll find it easier to not think about work.
Use the time on your commute home to wind down from work
Read a book or listen to your music to set aside some time to yourself. Maybe try cycling part of your journey or getting off a stop early to take a shortcut through a park or quiet streets. These little actions can really help you to switch off.
Ask for help
If you feel your workload is spiralling out of control, take opportunity to discuss it with your manager or supervisor. If you can't resolve the problem of unrealistic goals, organisation problems or deadlines in this way, talk to your personnel department, trade union representative or other relevant members of staff.
Find this article and more mental health resources at www.mind.org.uk