Generalising, we spend the majority of our lives at work, which is why it's so important to enjoy what we do. We all have good and bad days, and times where we reflect and reconsider our choices… *sigh* Why do I have to work? Can't I travel to amazing countries and drink cocktails all day? The reality is, we need to earn a living, but the good news is, there are ways we can improve our day-to-day mental health while we're doing it.
This years’ Mental Health Awareness Week’s theme is centred around loneliness, which resonates with many people even more so, since the pandemic. Working from home is one of the changes we've seen and is now the new norm for most - some love it, and are most productive in this environment, others feel lonely and isolated, and are most motivated being in the office. It really does depend on where you work, how you work best, your job role, and your personal circumstances.
A good workplace culture should recognise when an employee feels lonely or isolated, whether they work from home 5 days a week or are based in the office every day. If you’re feeling this way, here's some tips that you could incorporate into your day-to-day to improve your mental health and stay on your best form:
1. Talk about your feelings
Your relationship with colleagues can make or break your work-life. Some people may continue working in a job they don’t enjoy, just because they love who they work with. Whether you work closely with your colleagues or not, it’s great to feel like you can open up when you're feeling stressed or pushed to the limit at work. An open culture where you can discuss your workload or have a good ol' rant, will really help get things off your chest… even if you’re working from home.
2. Ask for help
If you’re struggling, there are ways that could help to reduce your workload and one of those ways is by asking for help. Your manager and colleagues are there to make sure you’re not drowning in requests and tasks, so remember to delegate where possible and ask for support on bigger projects, to help lift some of the weight off your shoulders.
Remember, you might be a superstar but you can’t do everything... no matter how much you want to!
3. Keep in touch
So, your new workplace doesn’t insist on daily catch-up calls… * inner introvert cheers *, but not having that contact every day can become rather lonely. As much as we love to be left to our own devices, seeing a familiar face or hearing a friendly voice daily, can give you the boost you might need. No one wants to feel like they're being micro-managed, but a daily catch-up call with good intentions, doesn’t have to feel like you’re being monitored. It’s a great chance to go through any blockers in your workstreams or talk through any challenges you’re facing.
Try setting up a daily call with a colleague or your team to make sure you’re speaking to people regularly - you’ll most definitely feel a stronger team bond.
4. Take regular breaks
It may feel like you don’t have enough hours in a day to complete all your work, but it’s important to structure your day to include regular breaks. This will not only help you in the long run, it’ll help lower your screen time, clear your mind, improve your attention span and widen your creativity.
Pencil your lunch break into your calendar to protect this time and stop anyone adding a meeting into your only free time of the day (we've all been there!). A lunch break is is a great chance to step away from your desk… which leads us nicely into our final tip…
5. Keep active
We’ve all tried to go for a walk on our lunch break and we end up strolling around the same block every day – it really does get boring. But we bet you’ve never returned from a walk and regretted it? OK, if you live in the UK, you might have with the unpredictable weather!
If you’re working from home, it should be a priority to get outside, whether that means before you start work or a lunchtime stroll; fresh air, a nice coffee and some alone time to listen to your favourite podcast, are the simplest ingredients to a healthy mindset.
As the warm weather starts to creep in, it should make things a bit easier… why not set up a step competition with your work colleagues using your Fitbit’s, Apple Watches or Phones, to complete the greatest number of steps per week? Not only do we love a bit of competition, but it would be a great way to improve your mental health and bond with colleagues.
Don’t forget that the People Team within your workplace are there to support you (confidentially). There may be options available to you within your employment benefits which could help to improve your mental health.
Remember, there's wider and professional help out there if you're struggling. For guidance and support - visit MentalHealth.Org.
Have a great day! :)