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Mental health and mental wellbeing are topics increasingly discussed both in and outside of the workplace. In recent years, accelerated by the pandemic, mental health issues have hit a record high. The effect both in the short and long term can be overwhelming for individuals and impact everyday life.
At CSG Talent, supporting our employees to strike a healthy work life balance is a big focus for us. We have engaged with external coaches and mental health experts who have delivered training internally, as well as giving our teams access to 1-2-1 professional support on an ongoing basis.
While it is important for an organisation to both support and encourage positive mental health in the workplace, there are many things an individual can do themselves to support their own mental and physical wellbeing.
Here are our six top tips to support your mental health and wellbeing at work:
Take time out
Many take time out of work when they reach a point of burnout, a reactive break period, this can often be too late. It is important to recognise the importance of taking a break both during your working day, and with annual leave. Taking frequent breaks throughout the day can improve your concentration levels and result in greater work output, productivity, and results. Taking time away from your desk at lunchtime will allow you to have an effective break from tasks rather than being tempted to work through your lunch. In high pressured roles, where you have a lot of responsibilities, work long hours and accountability for business strategy, utilising annual leave and time away from work can hugely benefit your mental health. It can allow you to re-charge, re-focus and have a positive mindset upon return to allow you to achieve both personal and business goals.
Consider your diet
Did you know your diet can not only impact your physical health, but your mental health too? Eating the right food groups and getting plenty of water can really help support your overall wellbeing. Staying hydrated can affect your mood, energy, and concentration levels. Having a balanced diet without too much caffeine or refined sugars can give you all the nutrients you need to maintain good physical and mental health. It can be hard to factor in a healthy and balanced diet when working long hours, but the benefits to your mental and physical health when planning balanced meals are much greater. For more examples on how your diet can impact your mental health, explore here.
Loneliness is something many people experience, and it can significantly impact mental health and wellbeing, so relationships are essential to positive mental health. Keep connected with your team, wider team and management/leadership. This will help support your wellbeing but will also allow you to engage with others in the business where you can learn, develop, and potentially open yourself up to new opportunities to support your long-term progression.
Sophie O’Mahoney is Head of Research at CSG Talent, and she works remotely: “I honestly don’t know what I’d have done these last two years without Microsoft Teams! I’ve always worked from home, and before the pandemic we didn’t use video calls. It’s been amazing since having this tool and now with hindsight prior to us having it, it probably did feel lonely without me realising. I honestly feel so connected with the rest of the team as I speak to most via video call daily… There was a point I hadn’t seen one member of the team in person for nearly four months and it didn’t feel like it at all because of MS Teams.”
Talk about how you feel
When it comes to mental health, for many there is still a reluctance to open up and share with others your own experiences or struggles. Everyone has mental health, it’s a case of establishing when your mental health is off balance and the factors that contribute to it in the short or long term. Opening up to someone you feel comfortable talking with, whether that’s a colleague, leader or friends and family can help you address any challenges you’re experiencing. The first step to moving forward is talking about how you feel to help you improve your personal situation. Talking about how you feel isn’t a sign of weakness, it will also help others feel like they can do the same. Talking about your mental health if you are in a senior leadership role can have a positive impact on those around you and encourage, themselves to open up about their own mental health.
By staying active and factoring in time to exercise throughout your day can have a positive impact on your mental health as well as the many physical benefits. Whether you consider activity in the morning, during your working day or in the evenings, increased activity will lift your overall mood, reduce stress, and improve the quality of your sleep. All of which contribute to improved concentration levels, reduce fatigue, and boost your overall mental wellbeing and self-esteem. At CSG Talent we encourage our employees to take extended fitness lunch breaks to support their physical and mental health. It can be difficult to factor in time for exercise between work and personal commitments and we recognise the positive impact this active time can have on our team.
Ask for help
Don’t be afraid to reach out and ask for help. Your employer can support you to overcome any struggles that are impacting your wellbeing and your mental health at work. Measures can be put in place to accommodate your circumstances, alongside support and flexibility from your employer. There may be wellbeing initiatives, employee assistance programs or occupational health support you can gain access to. If you feel you don’t have sufficient access to support for your mental health and wellbeing, it may be worth considering if your employer is the best fit for you.
Supporting positive mental health
Mental health is something CSG Talent are conscious of as a business, and as a supportive employer. Over recent years we have put measures in place to support our teams with whatever is needed to ensure a healthy work life balance, flexibility and overall positive wellbeing. This year's theme for mental health awareness is tackling loneliness. We’ve encouraged our staff to take time out to recognise what this means for them, and how they can support others.
Laura Scott, a Senior Consultant in Speciality Chemicals Recruitment works in a remote role where she is based in a different country to the rest of her team. She shares her own insight into what an individual can do to ensure they feel connected to her colleagues and reduce the risk of feeling out of the loop, lonely or isolated: “I make a conscious effort to visit the office for social events or team incentive trips and activities. By doing this, I feel I’m staying involved with the team, it allows me the opportunity to catch up with my colleagues and meet any new team members that join the business. I speak to my manager daily to keep in touch too.”
Whilst organisations have a responsibility to protect, react and find solutions to their employee’s mental health challenges, there are also things individuals can do to both minimise the risk of finding themselves on a downward spiral and work on maintaining the positive mental outlook. A great step is recognition; what triggers the bad days/moments? What has happened differently on days that feel great? Is there a pattern? What does the individual’s lifestyle look like around those moments? Noting these things down can help identify the areas worth bringing up at work with managers or peers to help improve the day to day.
There are many resources, apps and platforms to help support healthy mental wellbeing, below we have listed some of the resources our team recommend themselves: