Mental Health has become a frequently discussed thing in 2018, so I thought why not write a blog about it! I can’t believe that one in four people in the UK will have a Mental Health problem/issue at some point in their life. Some Mental Health problems we would class as mild and short-term and some can be life changing. What’s crazy is we can spend time in our office for people every day, and because mental health issues aren’t physical health issues we wouldn’t even know that someone was suffering.
Mental Health issues are difficult to spot, almost a non-visible disability and it’s scary because a lot of people suffer in silence. I feel it is important that awareness is raised sooner rather than later so we can provide those suffering with the help and support that they need. Whether that be providing support in the workplace, as a friend or in the family home. The world is full of people battling their own emotions every day, it is important to recognise the people who are screaming out for help. Even the ones you would least expect!
What inspired me to write this blog was the recent Lloyd’s TSB advert, #GetTheInsideOut if you haven’t seen it, please click this link and take a look!
The campaign created by Lloyd’s includes some celebrities including Professor Green, whereby they play the ‘Who am I?’ sticky-note game and try and guess some common and not so common Mental Health issues. Here are some common issues we may have heard of or know someone who struggles with;
Anxiety – A common one, usually where you feel considerably worried about any small thing, fearful and uneasy about things in everyday life. Sometimes worrying (from my experience) can be hard to control and can also cause headaches, tension in your muscles, anxiety attacks, insomnia, panic attacks and sometimes can lead to depression.
Depression – Much, much more than feeling unhappy, depression is continuously feeling sad for weeks and months sometimes even years on end. Depression isn’t just a one or two-day thing, it is where you feel sad persistently no matter what. Common symptoms do vary but can come in a variety of forms including feeling tearful/crying regularly, a feeling of hopelessness and lack of self-worth, losing interest in hobbies and things you would usually enjoy at excel at, excessive tiredness, lack of sleep and/or insomnia, loss of weight due to eating little and having no appetite.
How do you support your employees suffering with Mental Health problems?
- As a manager, you may already be aware of employees with Mental Health problems and if so, then great – this is your opportunity to support them including regular coffee/tea chats and encouraging your employee to talk openly to you, at an early stage. To do this you need to ensure you are approachable and able to respect confidentiality.
- If your employee finds it difficult to speak with you, possibly referring them to the GP would be the best option. From there, they will be able to receive advice from a professional which may lead to counselling, psychotherapy or medication.
- If you employee is tearful and upset on a regular basis within the workplace, ask for a quiet 1:1 with them, re-assure them over a slice of cake and explain that you understand what they are feeling/experiencing, and that you can offer support where necessary within the workplace.
- If the employee starts displaying signs of re-lapse, this may be where you can offer a change in their work-load and/or time off to recover.
How do you know when workplace stress gets too much?
A common factor of stress can be work-related. But how do you know when enough is enough? Some stress can be good. Wait, that sounds a little crazy! But a little bit of pressure can work wonders for your mindset, targets and achievements. Stress can keep you on your toes when you know you need to meet that deadline, it keeps you energised and determined to perform. But what effects can it have mentally and emotionally when it gets too much? Those long hours, long commutes, hours on the tube or stuck in traffic. That demanding manager or client with the ever-growing list of ‘things to do’ can often leave you feeling worried, anxious, overwhelmed with little room to breathe or think! Even sleepless nights and the inability to cope with your work load. Common causes of stress in the workplace can include;
- Excessive working hours due to lack of staffing (overtime) leaving you overworked.
- Fear of losing your job.
- Pressure to meet unrealistic deadlines or expectations of a client/peer.
How to cope when you are feeling stressed at work;
Have you ever heard of the saying ‘a feeling shared is a feeling halved?’ One of my favourite sayings! Speaking out to your manager/co-worker’s will work miracles for your problems and worries. Simply sharing your stress with someone and talking it through I can guarantee will leave you feeling relieved. All you need is someone with a pair of ears to listen to you! Even if you feel like you’re moaning, all your colleague needs to do is nod and offer advice. They don’t even need to fix it!
I’m stressed, how can I help myself?
- Make time for regular exercise – I know how hard it is to exercise when you are down, but it truly does wonders for your mindset. Even if it’s attending the local boxing class to relieve stress or take a jog down your local park or beach. Anything to get that heart rate pumping! Not only will you probably lose weight and tone up, but you will also meet NEW friends, increase your energy, increase your mood and feel 10x better in your mind and body.
- If stress is piling up at work – take a minute outside of the office, have a 10-minute coffee and clear your mind. Take your office dog (if you have one) around the block or pop out with your colleague and talk about something non-work related to take your mind off things!
- Eat well! Make smart food decisions, forget the McDonald’s and the Gregg’s. Eat GOOD food that will energise you and make you feel on top of the world. Lots of minerals, protein and vitamins.
- Avoid smoking – although it’s the first thing you might want to do when you’re stressed to your eyeballs. Believe it or not, it shoots your anxiety levels even higher.
- When you’re stressed you may enjoy the odd wine in the middle of the week, which is totally fine! (I’m more of a gin drinker) but remember to drink in moderation. Not excessively. Sometimes drinking alcohol can make you feel like you’re forgetting all your worries. It’s only temporary, not an answer.
- GET YOUR Zzz’s! Meaning, get a good night sleep. Get yourself into a routine and avoid looking at your phone after 9pm. Just have a little ‘me’ time and unwind watching your favourite programme (Love Island)? Or reading your favourite book.
I’m stressed in work, what can I do to reduce it?
- Get up early and give yourself time to get to work, plan your day and don’t start your day rushing around.
- Prioritise and organise your day, get yourself a diary if you need to! But popping things down in your diary will de-crease your anxiety to forget things and help you feel ‘organised’ (does for me anyway)!
- If you have a large project to do, or lots of things to do on your list – break them down. Don’t do it all at once, put them into baby steps and do one little thing at a time.
- Resist trying to achieve everything perfectly. This is one of my personal biggest habits! Fearing I won’t be able to do everything perfectly because I have too much to do. Don’t set yourself targets to fail. Strive to provide excellence and people will recognise your efforts. Always.
- Be P O S I T I V E! No negatives vibes. If you’re going to have a bad day, change it. Prevent it. Thinking differently, do differently. One of my favourite quotes recently is;
‘Self-discipline begins with the mastery of your thoughts. If you don’t control what you think, you can’t control what you do’
- As a recruiter, it is hard to remain focused when you are let down by candidates. But don’t try and control the uncontrollable. Don’t get ‘bogged’ down worrying about things that are out of your hands. What’s happened has happened. Focus on your next task rather than stressing about the behaviours of others. If it helps, see the funny side of it and move on with your day.
- Be proactive – the grass is only greener where you water it. Activity is always good for keeping busy and remaining on the go!
- Messy desk? CLEAN THAT UP! Untidy desk, untidy mind. Get yourself a nice new note book, give your desk a wipe, get yourself a nice new pen and smash it!
And to anyone suffering with a Mental Health issue, please remember;
You are never alone.
Never forget that you are loved.
Never doubt that someone surely cares for you.