Understand, Strengthen and Protect your Physical Health & Mental Wellbeing
With our world getting faster, it’s no wonder that more and more of us are feeling the pressure. Before we even turn on our computers, we are faced with a series of challenges that test our ability to cope; from commuting battles to finding that balance between our careers and our families, from the ever increasing long-hours culture to our ability to adapt our mindset to isolated, remote working.
Whatever your daily tensions, it’s safe to say, you are not alone if you are feeling the pinch. In 2016/17, over 500,000 workers suffered from work-related stress, depression or anxiety (HSE website). And this probably doesn’t give us the real picture as the Chartered Institute for Personnel and Development (CIPD) suggests that “only 44% of employees would feel confident to disclose unmanageable stress or mental health problems to their employer”. (CIPD website, 2016 Research)
Irrespective of the headline statistics - the fact is we all deal with pressure and strain differently. Some of us have much bigger stress buckets, some of us try to hide our emotional strain and keep going, and some of us develop unhealthy coping mechanisms to deal with our realities.
And whilst a helpful hand from our support network can be beneficial, this will have only a small impact on our ability to manage our life pressures. The real change comes from within ourselves.
The first step in making positive changes is to develop a true and clear understanding of ourselves. How do we see the world? What affects us physically and emotionally? How much tension can we take before tipping? How do we want our world to look and feel? What are the things we can influence and change to make that positive difference?
The good news is that by adopting a more mindful approach to your day-to-day life, you’ll be in a better position to manage stress and improve your mental health.
Mindfulness is all about paying more attention to the present moment, the world around you and your own feelings. Taking the time to stop and think about your feelings can help you to regain focus, think more clearly and feel in control of a situation. Here are five simple things you can do to be more mindful in your workplace:
Make a to-do list
Writing down your tasks for the day will help you to prioritise your workload. Consider ranking jobs in order of importance and aim to get those ticked off first. Tackling the highest priority stuff in the morning will make you feel more at ease about the rest of the day, as you won’t be worrying about it whilst you complete smaller tasks.
Pause before you start a new task
No matter how big or small the job is, take a moment to stop and think about exactly what you’ve got to do.
How does the task compare to the last one? Will there be any potential hurdles to overcome? Have you got all the information you need? Who can help you if you need it? These are all questions you should ask yourself to help you think laterally and identify any problem areas before they have chance to stress you out.
Do something ‘other than work’ during your lunch break
Classes like yoga, tai chi and Pilates are great for helping you to de-stress. These low-impact exercises focus on gentle movements and slow breathing, so you can feel fully immersed in your surroundings and switch off from the stresses of work. Lot of gyms offer lunchtime classes, so see if there’s one near your workplace and squeeze in a session in the middle of the day. You’ll come back to your desk feeling mentally rejuvenated and ready to take on whatever the afternoon throws at you.
Even if you can’t manage a class, make sure you get up from your desk, interact with colleagues and friends and revive your mental and physical resilience.
Reflect on your achievements for the day
At the end of every day, spend 5 minutes thinking about what you have achieved. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a big piece of work ticked off your list – it could be something as simple as helping a colleague or receiving praise from your manager. Taking time to appreciate the wins of the day will help you to feel more positive about tomorrow.
The benefits of Talking Therapy
Studies show the positive impact that ‘talking’ can have on someone’s physical and mental wellbeing. And so this shouldn’t be restricted to a professional service. Talking to colleagues, peers and friends to help you recognise the unhealthy stuff that is part of your life can really help you find opportunities to make positive changes where you can. Recognising that you are in control of your own destiny can be incredibly uplifting but also understanding the things that you can influence and how to manage those bits that you can’t is a major step in managing your own personal stress bucket.
Over to you
Here at The Growth Company, we offer a number of workshops to help build mental health awareness, reliance and self-awareness. Interested in finding out more? Get in touch and our team will talk you through the different options available.
Director of Consultancy Services