4 Ways to Help Employees Manage Their Mental Health
As an employer, you recognize the need to take care of your staff and know that life can be stressful at times. It is essential to manage mental health effectively and not wait until it reaches a crisis level before making it a priority. Here are four ways your staff can help manage their own mental health.
1. Surround Yourself With Great People
Having a great support system is essential. And what is a better support system than surrounding yourself with the right people who make you feel better in tough times?
The company you keep provides positive energy that uplifts your spirits.
Surround yourself with friends, family, work colleagues, and even people online that help you see your self-worth and inspire you to be better.
And for those people that give off negative energy or make you feel worse after being in their presence, maybe it is worth distancing yourself from them.
2. Help Employees Avoid And Manage Triggers
There are certain triggers that create a chemical reaction in the brain which cause a surge of hormones to be released throughout the body resulting in symptoms such as rapid breathing or loss of breath, sweating, and muscle tension. The severity of these symptoms can range from mild to severe.
In addition, triggers can result in changes to an employee’s emotional, cognitive, physical and behavioural state. When this happens the risk of one’s mental health becoming worse increases. Employees may turn to things like alcohol, drugs, smoking, and overeating to cope with feeling under pressure, the loss of a friend/family member, an illness or injury.
To help your team, possible solutions include: resilience training, cognitive behaviour therapy, contingency management, yoga, meditation and physical exercise.
3. Remind Employees To Keep Active And Have Hobbies
Exercise offers more than just cardiovascular benefits and an improved physique. It has an enormous impact on employee mental well being. From easing the effects of anxiety and stress to improving quality of sleep, there is no shortage of positive outcomes. Helping your team make exercise a regular part of their routine will work wonders for everyone’s mental health.
Another option is to help staff cope with their struggles by encouraging them to take up a new hobby or interest. Research shows that people with hobbies are less likely to suffer from mental health symptoms like depression and low mood. Consider creating workplace clubs or offering (virtual) sessions related to music, cooking, drawing, knitting, or woodworking. Facilitating an opportunity to learn something new will help your staff have a new sense of purpose and accomplishment and make them feel happier and more relaxed.
4. Encourage Employees To Write Out A Gratitude List
Encouraging employees to engage in a new behaviour may be challenging but practicing gratitude comes with significant rewards.
Start with asking your team to take the time to sit down, relax, and jot down any worry that comes into their head. Pressure at work? Write it down. Haven’t cleaned your car in months? Add that too. No worry should be too little to make the list.
Writing out all their worries, concerns and fears on a notepad can help stress/anxiety levels drop significantly.
Slowly suggest moving to a list of what is going well and remembering the things that they are grateful for.
Things on this list could include: being happy for my friends and family or natural things like animals or the sound of rain. By being grateful for what we have we can focus on the positive and shrink our worries.
Helping your people to take care of their psychological well-being – the way they feel about themselves and how they manage their feelings towards life’s difficulties is an essential part of experiencing a healthy mind.
Looking after their mental health certainly means providing professional support in the form of Employee Assistance Programs, psychology benefits, and resilience training. However, steps 1 through 4 outlined above can aid their own emotional well-being. Making these changes can have a positive pay off in terms of improved happiness for your people but also greater productivity for your company. Of course, for staff struggling to manage their mental health, it is best to encourage them to seek out the support of an expert. After all, we all only get one life, so we need to make sure it is lived the best way possible.
Preet Pall specializes in employee benefits, individual insurance, and executive benefit solutions. She joined Montridge in 2013, after twenty years with large insurers and her own brokerage firm. She has an extensive background in charitable work, and prides herself on providing sound advice, innovative plans, and fostering lifelong client relationships.
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