World Mental Health Day:
Five ways to boost resilience
World Mental Health Day: Five ways to boost resilience
Occupational health company provider services UK wellbeing counselling EAP
As we approach darker days and a second coronavirus wave, now is the time to help people take stock of their mental health and build resilience.
Just as the coronavirus crisis is now at a critical point, so is our mental health, with 10 million people now thought to be in need of mental health support due to the pandemic.
So, it’s a good thing the theme for this year’s World Mental Health Day (Saturday 10th October) is Mental Health for All, because there are a number of simple things you can encourage all your people to do that will protect, and even restore, their mental health.
Things like checking in with one another, instead of just talking work, spending time outdoors and making sure they still have things to look forward to, even though the office party and festive reunions will need to look very different this year.
Read on for five ways you can use this year’s World Mental Health Day to help your people to help themselves.
Five ways to help your people build resilience
1. Sustain positive social interaction
One of the biggest reasons that our mental health has been so affected by this crisis is that humans have a fundamental need to stay connected to one another. Although everyone has adapted to working apart from one another and holding meetings via Teams or Zoom, many of the opportunities for day-to-day conversation and checking in with one another have disappeared. To combat the negative effects of this, why not use World Mental Health Day to encourage managers to hold a meeting for people to just chat, with no work agenda, and suggest individuals schedule time in for ‘virtual coffee or lunch’ with one another. Also remind them of any talking therapies in place, such as counsellors at the end of the Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) or Mental Health First Aiders, who are there to support them.
2. Encourage healthy coping strategies
Eight months in, the pandemic has already taken a toll on too many people, with the use of negative coping strategies, such as unhealthy levels of alcohol consumption, on the rise. Although this might help people to feel less stressed in the short-term, it can actually reduce their mental health and damage their relationships in the long term, so it’s important to help them think about healthier ways they can de-stress or reduce anxiety levels. For this year’s World Mental Health Day, you could encourage people to use one of the seven wellbeing tools outlined in our free Guide to Restoring Mental Health, such as exercising to release ‘happy hormones’, talking to a friend, showing acts of kindness towards others, writing down reasons to be grateful, disconnecting from digital devices or practising mindfulness.
3. Allow people to work flexibly
When the clocks go back (on 25th October), it can become difficult for people to get out and about outside and enjoy exposure to daylight and nature, even though both of these things are very positive things to do to lift our mood in the winter months. Given the extent to which everyone proved their ability to be trusted to work flexibly during lockdown, why not encourage them to continue to work flexibly, where possible, so they can take a longer lunch break to go outside during the day, or start work earlier or later, to fit in some exercise before or after work. The healthiest workplaces not only experience less absence, but also save an average of 11.5 days of productive time per employee a year. So, making sure people are looking after themselves will not only reduce stress levels but also boost productivity.
4. Help people to deal with disappointment
For individuals who haven’t seen loved ones since last winter, or who were looking forward to taking their children tick-or-treating, going to a fireworks display, or bringing family together again over Christmas, the ongoing restrictions could be very distressing. They may feel silly for being so upset about a relatively trivial thing. So another idea for World Mental Health Day is to encourage people to talk about these upsets, to normalise the disappointments we’re all experiencing, no matter how seemingly trivial, and encourage them to think about how events that are important to them might go ahead in a different way. For example, by turning neighbourhood trick-or-treating into an indoor sweet hunt or planning an office party that’s a fancy-dress Teams quiz, so they can still celebrate those occasions.
5. Encourage a healthy work-life balance
Many people, especially HR professionals and frontline workers, have worked incessantly since March, working through numerous challenges and without the usual opportunity to go on holiday in the summer. Others have struggled to separate work and life, now that their home has also become their workplace, or their usual childcare solutions are no longer in place, and they don’t have a commute to help them switch off. Lots of people are feeling physically and emotionally exhausted, without the energy to do what they need to do to boost their mental health. That’s why it’s even more important to encourage everyone to draw a clear line between their work and home lives and switch off after a certain time each night (and at the very least over the World Mental Health Day weekend). Ask managers to lead by example, by not sending emails to their team late at night, or on Saturdays and Sundays.
Katy Cullum is Head of Mediation, Training and Consultancy at PAM Wellbeing
Free Workshop: Practising Resilience & Self-Care
If you’d like to learn more about how to boost your own resilience and improve your ability to practise self-care, you can join our free online ‘Practising Resilience & Self Care’ workshop, at 10am on Tuesday 3 November 2020. The workshop is free for our existing customers and newsletter subscribers to attend.
Workshops for employees
Help your team to deal with the following issues, via our online Teams Workshops:
Living with anxiety – help people to cope with increased levels of anxiety and uncertainty
Mental health awareness – equip people with the skill to proactively manage mental health
Practising resilience & self-care – learn how to use self-care to boost your resilience levels
For more information or to have a workshop bespoke to your organisation’s needs, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call us on 08081 968 186