Mental Health, The Workplace, The Pandemic and Us…

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Mental Health, The Workplace, The Pandemic and Us…

Life is hectic sometimes, right? Well… let's be honest, life is always hectic. Who doesn't feel like they have to be here, do this, think about that, work on that, almost all the time? Oh, and there's that really leaky tap that you've been meaning to fix for months, don't forget about that (again!). 

Not forgetting work, which is never without its challenges either! Ploughing our way through our inbox after the weekend, internal meetings galore, not forgetting the catchup calls and general admin, shoe-horning actual work in between it all! 

We have become multi-tasking superhumans balancing work, home, friends, family and every other commitment in between… 

Let’s face it, we are pretty amazing! 

We all feel stretched from time to time, but for the most part, we can all deal with it. Because why shouldn't we? The weekend is almost here, and doing this one extra thing won't take me half an hour, it's fine!

Knowing when you are overstretched

Like a long car journey, we all need to stop and refuel now and again. Taking time for ourselves helps us all recharge and take stock of everything that is going on. Whether it's a bike ride, gardening, watching Netflix, meeting friends; anything that you do, just for you, is so important!

Getting that clear definition between “home” and “work” is vital, especially with COVID, where home-working has become the “new normal”, highlighting this further. You could argue that having an office in your living room, where you do all your relaxing and take your downtime, does not allow you to truly get away from work! So, pick a spot where it's quiet & comfortable, that you can dedicate to work, that you can then walk away from at the end of the working day.

Take a break

No matter what you do, and as much as you might like to, it's not a good idea to work eight hours solidly without taking a break! Our brains need rest, it stops us from making mistakes and keeps our heads in the game. 

If you can, go outside! Getting out of the same four walls, seeing and doing something different is fuel for our brains, and can help us solve the problem we might have been battling with all morning! I can't count the number of times I have gone for a walk and come back and solved the problem that has been bugging me!

We will all have our own things that stress us out, and the things we do to de-stress and help us deal with it. It is only by experiencing stress that we learn how to manage it. But what works for you might not work for the person sitting next to you.

What can I do to help other people?

Offer help when someone is struggling. We all have busy days, but feeling overwhelmed and not knowing what to do first is never good. If you think someone is snowed under or struggling, ask how they are doing or if they need any help. Sometimes even just getting one thing off someone's plate can make a huge difference.

Getting someone away from their desk and into a different setting for a while can make a difference. This comes back to us needing regular breaks, stepping away from an issue and coming back to it later with a different mindset and new ideas.

A hugely important thing to do is listen. We all need someone to talk to when we feel stressed, to feel understood and listened to, to have that outlet. Stress is a natural part of life, but having a way to let it out and reduce it is important, and the best way to do that is to talk about it. Sometimes taking someone to one side and asking “How are you?” is all that's needed.

It's important to look after yourself, but also to look after your workmates as well. We all have our own challenges that we encounter, and no 2 people are the same. So as some final words of wisdom - 

“Never overstate consequences, or understate your ability to excel.”

Further Steps

If you are worried about either your own or someone else’s mental health at work, inform your line manager and/or your mental health first aider, who will be able to provide help and guidance on what best to do next.

There is also a huge selection of online resources offering support. Mind, Mental Health at Work, and CALM to name only a few.

This blog was written by Sam, MAXX's Mental Health First Aider