How Do You Manage Your Own Mental Health at Work?
Our employees’ wellbeing is of utmost importance, there’s no denying that. But so is your’s. You couldn’t support any of your staff if you’re not looking after your mental health which is often overlooked because of your own pressures and stresses within the workplace and sometimes in your personal life.
This week our team of panelists reveal what they do to make sure they’re ok.
For me, mental health is often about taking a break from work. I do this by taking the time to go for a walk before and after work (usually as part of my commute), and I use this time to do things that make me happy and relieve stress. Sometimes this is talking with friends and family and other times it is just taking in the sights of Boston Common. I occasionally throw on some music or a podcast as well.
Nick Patel, CEO of Wellable.
I have adopted a range of habits, tips and tricks which helps maintain my own mental health at work. Most recently, I’ve started a gratitude journal where I write something I am grateful for each day. This lets me really focus on what I appreciate and not take important aspects of my daily life for granted.
I exercise frequently throughout the week and eat as well as I can which always improves my mood. I enjoy lunch time walks with different employees and encourage new members of staff to join us which means I always get to speak to new people and have met great friends in the process.
Renae Shaw, Head of HR at Search Laboratory.
For me, being very clear about what I am and what I am not responsible for in employment is a key. Being continuously aware of these boundaries helps me know what I need to do, what I can delegate to others, and when I can walk away from the office and focus on other parts of my life and identity.
Dr. Lee Keyes, is a Psychologist and Emeritus Director at the University of Alabama.
We have some great policies, procedures and tools to keep us well here at Mind. Tools like the Wellness Action Plan help identify triggers that may impact our mental health and wellbeing. Our flexible working patterns and regular one-to-ones help us to manage our time effectively and reduce factors that would cause us stress or impact our wellbeing negatively. Personally however, I find the following helps:
- Taking a lunch break and getting some fresh air
- Blocking out time for planning and defining my work – and delegating!
- Managing my inbox but not being a slave to it
- Refreshing my ‘to do’ list at the end of the day
- Reflecting on what is working well – keeping a “success log” of my achievements
- Making sure I’m maintaining a life outside of work
Emma Mamo, Head of Workplace Wellbeing at Mind.
We all have our own values, and these relate to different areas of our lives. Work is one of these areas…but only one. If we aren’t careful the work value can be the only area of our life, we are attending to.
Our behaviours become out of sync with our values…mental health deteriorates. As such I make sure I regularly revisit my values and make a commitment to engage in behaviours that energise everything I consider important regularly.
Brendan Street, Professional Head of Emotional Wellbeing at Nuffield Health.
I have various techniques that I have learnt over the years that will help me to deal with any anxiety or low mood that I experience during the working day. Particularly helpful to me are “grounding” and focussed breathing. Meditation also helps and I try to get at least 10 minutes at the start of the day to give myself focus and calm. In addition, I make certain I have time to take my dog for walks and to enjoy the company of my friends – near and far.
Shona Davies, Founder of Shona Davies Consulting.
Balance is always something I try to remember. Working in a scale up environment can often be stressful and as a result I have learnt to prioritise taking lunch times and switching off when on holiday. The power of conversation also shouldn’t be underestimated – as they often say, a problem shared with a colleague or friend is a problem halved. At Perkbox we believe that a culture of transparency, communication and psychological safety is the way forward.
Chieu Cao, Co-Founder of Perkbox.
We try to practise what we preach as much as we can! We have a highly flexible approach to our working practices as we know that when employees feel in control of their working practices have better job satisfaction, productivity and happiness. When working in the office, we try to eat lunches together, take walking meetings away from our desks and have numerous employee perks such as having dogs in the office, free fitness and meditation classes at lunchtimes and treats for employees such as massages or and free healthy lunches.
Lucy Faulks, Co-founder of Elevate.
Too much stress or pressure will impact on my mental health at work, I manage this by being open and talking to colleagues. I am lucky to work in an environment that is supportive and it is okay to talk about ‘not being okay’.
Paula Whelan, Head of Diversity & Inclusion at Right Track Learning.
I am not an expert on this subject, but I try to maintain balance. I ask myself quite often: what’s the worst that can happen? Usually, it’s not that bad – it’s stuff I can deal with. I personally make a conscious effort to not make up or believe stories. I also believe in exercise, hobbies and work-life balance. I think any time you get too wrapped up in something and you are out of balance it causes problems. If you have a balanced life, then you have other things to rely on when life gets tough in other areas.
But there’s a lot that goes into mental health, and we can’t always solve what’s wrong with us. That’s why mental health counseling and anxiety and depression prescriptions are sometimes important. If you break your leg, it won’t heal properly without professional care. The same thing goes for anxiety and depression — sometimes you need professional care without trying to manage it yourself.
Nicole Thurman, Vice President, Talent Management at CHG Healthcare.