In a recent global survey, the World Health Organisation found that Occupational Health is one of the most significant issues for employees. We live in a society where work and life are constantly in conflict with each other. However, there are many ways to improve your mental health at work. This article will discuss some of these methods as well as what Occupational Health can do to help you maintain a healthy balance between your workplace and home life.
Recognise when you’re feeling stressed or overwhelmed
The first step is to recognise when you’re feeling stressed or overwhelmed. There are a number of ways this may manifest:
– You may feel an increase in your heart rate
– Your face, neck or throat may become tight and experience a sensation of being constricted
– You might notice that you have broken out into a sweat.
– You may notice your inner thoughts have become less positive or you have decreased confidence in your ability.
One way to tell if you’re feeling stressed is by paying attention to how intense the sensations are. If they are mild and manageable then it’s likely just stress; however, if these feelings intensify over time until they feel unbearable – this could be due to emotional overload caused by unresolved conflict.
Without being aware of how you are feeling, you are less likely to change. Let’s get started … Each day write a few words or sentences about how you are feeling. Ideally at the start, middle and end of the working day. Do this over the course of a week. This will help you to become more aware of how you are feeling. What do you notice? Are there any patterns which you can see?
Eat healthy foods, get plenty of sleep, exercise regularly, drink lots of water.
You have probably heard of this advice numerous times. You know you should. However putting this into practice is easier said than done. Some ways you can put this into practice is by:
– Planning ahead. What are you going to eat for dinner tonight? Do you need something from the grocery store before it closes at ten o’clock?
This way there will be no surprises and your healthy eating habits won’t be derailed by a lack of planning or impulse purchases. Having emergency snacks on hand can also help if hunger strikes, like fruit, nuts or veggies with hummus dip, crackers with guacamole etc.
– Maintaining an exercise routine. Even just 15 minutes per day has been shown to give positive mental health benefits including improved concentration and less negative thoughts about oneself! You can start just by adding a quick additional lunchtime walk.
– Meditation. If you’re not familiar with the practice, it’s a great way to get in touch with your thoughts and feelings without judgment or criticism of any kind. Getting started is easy: just find some time each day (even if only for five minutes) where you won’t be disturbed by anything else and sit comfortably while focusing on breathing deeply from the diaphragm.
– Reading something inspirational that will make you feel good about yourself, like an uplifting book, poem or blog post. One of our favourites is called “The Happiness Project” by Gretchen Rubin which details her yearlong journey to pursue happiness through various methods including activities such as keeping a gratitude journal!
– Establish a routine to support a good sleeping pattern. This means consistently going to sleep and waking up the same time each day, even on weekends. Do this for a couple of weeks and it will help to regulate circadian rhythms and systems including metabolism, immune function and mood. Keeping these cycles regular means less difficulty waking up in the morning as well as fewer instances of feeling less alert or groggy.
Try different approaches to self-care
Practicing self-care is a great way to reduce stress and overwhelm. Different people have different preferences for what they enjoy doing as part of their daily routine and that’s okay. Experiment with different types of activities until you find something you really love. Another great thing about practicing self-care is that it doesn’t need to happen all at once. In fact, some days might involve many small moments of self care, which can quickly add up over time!
The Role of Occupational Health in workplace stress
One thing Occupational Health can do when someone feels too overwhelmed at work is refer them to resources like counselling services. However the first step is to talk to some close to you or your manager. Getting the conversation started can often feel like the hardest step. Some great phrases to start these types of conversations are : “I’m feeling really overwhelmed right now and I think it’s affecting my work.” “Can we talk about how this project is affecting my overall work schedule.” “I just want to make sure that we’re aware of the impact x and wanted your guidance on how it could improve.”
What do some of the solutions look like
If you haven’t spoken to anyone about this before you may not know what to expect. There are a range of solutions to help. Working with Occupational Health, together you can find the right one to fit your situation. Some of the solutions may be counselling, additional training, time of work. Occupational health can also work with your employer to implement /review a risk management approach to help identify stress triggers in the workplace . These can then be addressed and managed.
If you are a business looking to have more support in this area, so you can support your employees better. Reach out and have a discussion on how we can help you.