Before I get started I should point out that I’m no expert in Mental Health or indeed Wellbeing in the Workplace. I’m just a person with a view , in particular a view from a remote/home working perspective.
For years, our physical health has been at the forefront of everyone’s mind when it comes to staying fit and healthy. We’re constantly reminded that we need to eat less and move more. We’re constantly told to live a healthy, balanced life to prevent illness and disease. We’ve been shown how to do this, whether it’s going for a walk, joining a running club, working out at home or in the gym. But arguably our mental health hasn’t been given the same treatment. Well not until recently and particularly during the Lockdowns and isolation of the Covid Pandemic where quite rightly we have seen a new focus on Mental Health and Wellbeing.
Clearly our mental health should be a priority because as we are all aware poor mental health can be just as dangerous as poor physical health. Some of us may be guilty of assuming that mental health disorders were related to illnesses such as depression or having suicidal thoughts but ultimately mental health literally refers to the health of our mind.
So how can we try to keep our minds healthy ?
Doing exercise and eating healthily do play a vital role in keeping our minds healthy, but they’re just a small piece of the puzzle.
It’s no surprise that life has been flipped upside down for most of this year. And while working from home isn’t a new concept for me, it does bring a whole new set of challenges to our wellbeing which take time to adjust to. With all the additional pressures that we’re trying to deal with on a daily basis, it comes as no surprise to hear that stress and burnout are on the rise. Clinical Psychologist, Dr Kaile Ross talks about her SEEDS acronym in this article, which stands for:
S - Social
E - Exercise
E - Education
D - Diet
S - Sleep
She says that planting the SEEDS of healthy living during times of stress helps to counteract the harmful effects of chronic stress whilst boosting mental and physical health.
I spoke to Charlotte Carter, Mindset & Performance Coach at Charlotte Carter Coaching , to ask for her top three tips on creating healthy daily habits that will boost our mental health.
Here’s what she had to say:
1. Gratitude is the best attitude!
Write a gratitude journal every night before you go to bed, listing all the things that you’re grateful for that day. It can start with being grateful for water, or coffee, but over time you’ll naturally become grateful for the more meaningful things.
Find at least 15mins in your day to have fun and escape from work mode. This can be dancing around the living room for 15mins, listening to 15mins of a podcast, or simply laughing for 15mins. It really is the best medicine.
3. Connect to nature
Take a short walk every day, even if it’s just around the block. Being out in fresh air will lift your mood, being surrounded by nature or greenery reduces the stress hormone AND you feel like you’ve done something.
What is great from my point of view is both the SEEDS approach, the simple Gratitude Escapism and connecting with Nature advice are totally doable and in fact perhaps MORE doable in flexible work from anywhere work environments. I’m not suggesting there are any simple one size fits all solutions, but for me the important thing is we are now talking about Mental Health. Workplace Wellbeing is an integral part of this and moving forward Remote Workplace Wellbeing.
We must keep Mental Health Centre Stage along with Physical Health. Many charities, organisations and individuals have been doing their best to use their voice and share their message, to educate the masses on why looking after our mental health is so important: Mind.org.uk is a fantastic resource to help people navigate themselves through the mental health minefield. Having looked at the mind.org.uk website, there’s a huge variety of information available to us about how we can improve our mental health in the workplace .
Another useful link is :https://www.sikeinsights.com/post/a-remote-managers-guide-to-psychological-safety
So take care of yourselves and those around you...simply asking ...‘Are you OK?’ can be a great start.
If you are an employer try to have systems and processes that easily enable people to seek help as required. Employees don’t be afraid to ask for help and maybe even help your employers in putting together the appropriate Wellbeing plans and processes.
Be Healthy and Happy and do your best to be nice and look out for one another!