Today is World Mental Health Day. Now in its 25th year, this day encourages people to talk about, destigmatize and prioritise mental health. And this year’s theme is workplace wellbeing.
This topic is something which is incredibly close to my heart and one of my core missions with Death By Lycra.
We all want to do well, step up, shine and be recognised for our efforts but what happens when work takes us to a place of overwhelm, burnout, anxiety, and even depression?
Hey Soul Warrior,
Think of a time where you felt really, "on", "connected" or simply put, at your best. How long did it last? Where were you in your life at the time? What were the factors that contributed to how you felt?
Our energy is our capacity to do work or perform a task.
So if your energy is running low, so is your ability to switch on, tune in and get shit done.
Let's break down your energy into four categories:
Energy of the human spirit (purpose)
At any given moment, we have to effectively manage all of these energy components in order to maintain a 'healthy' equilibrium. And of course, that version of 'healthy' greatly varies from person to person.
For example; the friend who turns into a monster on less than 8 hours of sleep, or to the complete opposite end of the spectrum, and the friend who can seemingly survive on 3 hours a night. How about the work colleague who always manages to remain calm and collected no matter what situation is presented, or the one who flies off the handle at the mere mention of something not going according to schedule or heaven forbid, a change of plan! ;)
You see, our barometers each have their own unique readings, pressure points and gauges. And at any given point, someone may be further along the barometer reading than another in very same the situation, pending a whole host of unseen, sliding scale factors. Things like, how much sleep they've had the night before, if they're hangry, if they've fought with a partner or loved one, how they feel about themselves and the internal dialogue they contend with, each and every day.
In our modern culture of being 'on' 24/7 whether that's in a work capacity or just a social, it's almost impossible to avoid finding yourself at some point, glaring in the face of overwhelm, burnout and in a lot of cases, suffering from anxiety and depression. The sheer amount of information, options and interconnectedness that we have presented in front of us, accessible at any time of day and at the touch of a button, is both a blessing and a curse.
So what can we do for ourselves to ensure that we stay in the best possible and consistent mindset to keep overwhelm, anxiety, burnout and depression at bay?
Here are my top 5 tips for work wellbeing harmony:
1. Take a break
Every 90-120 minutes try to get up from your screen and get some kind of physical renewal:
Move: if getting up away from your desk is asking too much (I hear ya some days work be crazyyyyy), then try and keep mobility and movement flowing through your body. Overhead stretches, shrugging your shoulders and raising your heels on and off the ground are a great place to start.
Drink: take an opportunity to flick on the kettle and make the effort to speak to someone in the kitchen you wouldn't normally have a chance to stop and talk to when you're too busy rushing back to your desk.
Get some fresh air (even if it's just for two minutes - it will make all the difference I promise!) Also getting outdoors means you're likely to top up your levels of vitamin D (fingers crossed on that one Blighty), which we all know makes us feel good.
2. Nurture your body and mind
As tempting as it might be to reach for the sugary snacks and energy drinks when you're feeling sleepy and craving the sweet stuff - try to opt for something which is going to keep your blood sugar levels steady.
That said, if you do opt for something sweet to pick you up - please don't beat yourself up about it after. Just promise, you won't eat it at your desk so you appreciate it all the more as you've taken the time to savour such a delicious sweet treat!
3. Grow your support network
We spend an insane amount of our waking hours at work so it's important to make sure you have a solid support network around you. It doesn't have to be streams of people, just one or two people that you can confide in when the going gets tough or you need an outlet.
4. Ask for help
Know that there is nothing wrong with asking for help if you're feeling overwhelmed, overworked and/or frustrated. Sometimes, all it takes is to vocalise what we're feeling and sharing the problem with someone else is half the solution. You don't have to struggle alone - whatever is causing your concerns.
5. Create your own wellbeing toolkit
Start to think about what tools make up your individual wellbeing toolkit and what you'd like to include in it. Perhaps there's a topic that you'd like to find out more about but haven't got round to it, or that yoga class you keep meaning to sign up for. Regardless of the activity involved (or often lack of activity and just allowing yourself the time to be still and relax) the focus should be about creating a bag of tricks that leaves you feeling like the best version of you.
Why not take a look at my coaching series 'Meet Yourself' which was designed to help you create your own health and wellbeing toolkit or blue print.
I'd love to hear what you do to maintain a positive light on mental health in general and also, specifically in relation to workplace wellbeing. Feel free to comment below or share your thoughts via all the usual social channels.