The theme of this years World Mental Health Day was Mental Health in the Workplace. An alarming 1 in 4 of us will fight a mental health problem this year, so it really is important to make your mental health, in work and out of work, a priority.
Whether you are struggling today, have struggled in the past or have never struggled with your mental health these 7 very simple tips to promote good mental health at work are well worth including in your day.
1. Clean Your Work Area
Be honest – how often do you really clean your workspace? By giving your desk a healthy makeover, you’ll be putting yourself in a great position to stay healthier. Make sure the space is as healthy and germfree as possible.
TIP: Don’t forget to clean your mobile and landline phone, it’s a breeding ground for bacteria.
2. Stay Hydrated
Water helps your body with physical and mental performance. The 3 o’clock lull that many people feel at work can be due to dehydration. Aim for 8 glasses of water a day.
TIP: Set goals on the amount of water you plan to drink during work e.g. 3/4 glasses by lunch followed by a further 2/3 after lunch.
3. Take it Easy on Your Eyes
If you’re working at a computer all day, be sure to look away from your monitor periodically and focus on other targets at varying distances to give your eyes a rest every 20-30 minutes.
TIP: Blink! Very slowly blink your eyes 10 times to prevent your eyes from becoming dry.
4. Use the Stairs
While it’s easy to become reliant on escalators and elevators, taking the stairs is an easy way to be active, burn calories, and get the heart pumping – all of which are brilliant for your mental health.
TIP: Don’t underestimate the power of walking downstairs! Walking upstairs AND downstairs is physical activity.
5. Get Up. Walk Around. Stretch.
Take a break, stand up, and move around every 30 minutes or so. Walking during lunch is a great idea – not only are you burning calories, but you’re refocusing and refreshing
TIP: Find a walking partner whom you can depend on for a daily walk – someone who will drag you out even if you claim you’re too busy. If you really can’t get out during lunch, park further away or get off a bus stop earlier so you have a short walk in the morning and evening.
6. Snack Healthily
Good nutrition is the foundation for any healthy lifestyle and it’s not difficult to incorporate some of that into the work day.
TIP: At work replace sugary snacks with seeds, fruit and nuts which can provide sustained energy.
7. Make Sleep a Priority
In fact, it should be at the top! Sleep is restorative. It’s the time when your body repairs itself from the damage of mental stress, physical strain and infection.
TIP: For some people, using an electronic device such as laptops /iPad can make it hard to fall asleep, because the light emanating from the screens of these devices is activating to the brain. Turn off or reduce this light by visiting the settings on the devices.
1 in 4 of us will fight a mental health problem this year. That means it’s likely someone, or several people, in your own office have mental health issues. So, be kind and mindful of others struggles. If you are having issues many businesses now have programs and helplines to help, such as the Employee Assistance Programme at Cpl. Don’t be afraid to speak up and remember a mental illness is just as valid as a physical illness.