Wellbeing at work is important. According to the mental health charity Mind, at least one in six workers experience common mental health problems, including anxiety and depression.
It can be the most significant cause of stress in people’s lives, more than debt or financial problems.
Mental health can be a taboo subject, and the relationship work has with it doubly so. But here are nine small, simple steps you can take to improve your workplace wellbeing.
1. Organise a lunch-hour picnic
Head outside with your colleagues and have a picnic to make use of the sun (when it’s around) and clean air. It’s also an excellent opportunity to connect and socialise with people at work.
2. Take up a team challenge
Sign up with colleagues to undergo a sponsored run or walk. Taking part as a team can give a shared sense of achievement when you complete the challenge – not to mention a chance to get physically active.
3. Use music
Listening to a song can take your mind off work for a few minutes and help you unwind and refocus, useful when feeling stressed. Research has found slow, quiet music can help people to relax and reduce anxiety. When you’re working hard to complete a task, music can also help eliminate distractions around you.
4. Long hours take their toll
There will always be times when you need to work overtime. But this should be the exception, not the norm. Long hours will quickly take their toll on your concentration, productiveness and health. As a result, you may be working harder but not better. In the long run it won’t be good for your wellbeing at work.
5. Keep clear boundaries between work and home
Avoid letting work spill over into your personal life. If you need to bring work home, make sure you have a separate area for work. That way, you will find it easier to walk away from work.
If you are working from home, this is even more important. So, consider taking a fake 10 or 15 minute commute at the beginning and end of your workday. This could involve going for a walk or having a short home routine that mentally gets you in the right place.
6. Make a to do list
At the end of each day, go over your existing to do list and write up one for the next day. This will help you to close the book metaphorically until the next day.
Accept you will not get everything on your to do list done, and be happy with what you have done. Identify reasonable priorities that you must do in the day and make sure to complete them.
7. Ask for help
If you feel your workload is spiralling out of control, make sure you take the opportunity to discuss it with your manager. If you can’t resolve unrealistic goals, deadlines, or other organisational problems in this way, consider taking action. Talk to your personnel department, trade union representative or other relevant members of staff.
8. Ensure work is not your entire identity
Work can be a massive part of our lives, but it should not be everything.
Make time for friends, family and yourself – value that time as much as at work. Being a productive parent, friend, family member or hobbyist can be fulfilling and give you a sense of accomplishment. And so it should!
9. Take action on stress
Work is often the biggest cause of stress in our lives. But there are things we can do to identify stress and deal with it.
Stress is a large subject to cover but crucial to improving wellbeing at work. You can learn more about stress and how to deal with it on the Mind website.
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