According to the Centre for Strategic Communication Excellence (CSCE) So how do you really feel? Global wellbeing study, 48% of Communications and PR employees have thought of quitting due to their mental health. That’s nearly one out of two people! The pandemic has been a major factor in declining mental health, two-thirds of the respondents said that their mental health has plummeted since the start of the pandemic. The Communications and PR industries are not the only industries where staff are suffering, declining mental health can be seen across the board in many industries.
Declining mental health in the workplace is not a new topic. For decades people have struggled silently for fear of being looked down on or fired. Luckily, organisations such as Beyond Blue have raised the issue and encouraged employers and employees to have an open discussion around the topic.
What can be done to improve mental health, especially when it’s negatively impacting your performance at work?
Start the Day on a High
Start a gratitude journal and before heading to work, write down a few of your thoughts about what you’re grateful for. Let the words flow and don’t hold back, even if you struggle to find the positives. Don’t have time to write down your thoughts? As you’re getting ready for the day, observe everything around you and focus on a few of the positives. Did you put all the dishes away last night and the bench top is clean this morning? Did a close friend message you asking to catch up for dinner? While those might seem small, focusing on the little things helps you start the day on a positive note.
Do you take public transport to work? Get off a stop before your office and walk the remainder of the journey. If you drive to work, arrive a few minutes early and take a quick walk around the block to clear your thoughts and get ready for the day. Instead of sitting at your desk during your lunch break, go for a 15-20 minute walk. The benefits of a quick and low-intensity workout can boost serotonin and dopamine levels, help manage stress, and gives you something positive to focus on. Use the time to listen to your favourite podcast, audiobook, playlist or practice mindfulness. Whatever you choose to do, make sure it’s something that relaxes you.
Mental health can have a big impact on your performance at work and far too few feel comfortable disclosing it to their employer or co-workers. There is still a stigma attached and depending on the relationship the employee and employer have, many people decide to remain quiet. According to a study by Beyond Blue, one in five Australian workers is currently experiencing a mental health condition. That means 20% or more of the workforce is struggling with mental health. Opening up to your employer or HR might seem daunting at first, however, it’s important to do so, especially if it’s negatively impacting your performance. If you find it terrifying to open up to your employer or HR, speak to a co-worker you can trust and come up with a few ideas on how to approach the situation with management. If you don’t have anyone to speak to, visit this website for information and immediate support or find a counsellor that offers workplace counselling.
Do you work for a company that has a positive approach to mental health? Hopefully, you’ll find it easier to open up about what you’re struggling with. A report by Beyond Blue found that companies with a supportive approach to mental health have increased productivity, improved worker engagement, and are better able to retain talented people.
Find a Hobby Outside of Work
What are a few things you enjoy? Do you love taking your dog to the park and socialising with other dog owners? Do you love playing Dungeons and Dragons on the weekend? Write down a list of hobbies and interests and research a few groups or activities that spark your interest. Still, feeling lost? Complete an online quiz to help you find a few activities that might be of interest to you. Having a hobby outside of work helps provide a balance between work and play and can provide you with something to look forward to.
Looking after your mental health might seem overwhelming and difficult. Remember you are not alone and there are many resources available to help you. If you don’t know where to start, visit Beyond Blue’s website for support and guidance and remember to reach out to someone you trust.
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