The world is a difficult place right now, there’s no escaping that. Whether we’re fighting with lockdown, with the readjustment to society, or with the shockwaves of the Black Lives Matter movement: it’s been a tough few months for our collective mental health.
And with many of us returning to work in July, we’re going back to workplaces with a whole different perspective. On our personal lives, on our careers, on our work/life balance. Leaders need to be appreciative and adaptive to this. Employees need to be aware of their conscious and subconscious feelings. Life will be different for a little while, or a long while. And that’s OK.
Regular exercise can have a profoundly positive impact on depression, anxiety, ADHD, and more. It also relieves stress, improves memory, helps you sleep better, and boosts your overall mood.
This is a no-brainer. Regular activity will give you both a physical and mental boost. The chemicals released during exercise are beneficial for every part of your body. You don’t need to run a marathon, but those 30 minute walks you started taking during lockdown need to remain a part of your life. It’ll be harder to fit in now, for sure, but try to take walking meetings, or getting outside during your lunch break. It will keep your mood high.
If you’re in charge of a team, allow the flexibility required for physical activity. Whether this means late starts to facilitate gym classes, longer lunch breaks, or giving your support to those walking meetings – it will make a big difference.
Acknowledging your strengths, and taking advantage of them to boost your moods, will give you the scope to handle your challenges throughout the day.
We all have things we’re good at, and things we’re not so good at. Make sure you’re aware of the type of activities you ‘lose yourself’ in, as these are gold dust when it comes to managing your days.
Think of these activities as bread, and slot them either side of something you find challenging. Having enjoyed your first task, you’ll enter the difficult task from a good position, and if you feel drained after completing it, you’ll have another positive task to restore your mood. This doesn’t have to be a workplace task, it could be doing something before/after work that you know is restorative to your mental health.
One of the five ways of wellbeing (a set of key behaviours to help you cope with stresses and strains) is ‘give your time’. The selfless act of helping others has a healing effect on your own challenges, and should be part of every day.
Whether your job has a caring element to it or not, the act of giving up your own time to help others should be an important part of your day. From spending a day inducting the apprentice, to giving up a few minutes to help a colleague work the printer, the cathartic effect of selflessness will issue a huge boost to your overall wellbeing.
Helping others can make you feel valued, which goes a long way in improving your self-esteem. If there are no opportunities for this in your workplace, consider volunteering in the community or with an organisation, or helping out more at home. Don’t overload yourself, but certainly with an experiment of selflessness to see what impact it has on you during your return to work.