Everyone, every single one of us, has mental health.
We often associate the term with mental illness, when in reality there’s much more to it than that. It’s our emotions, our thoughts and our feelings – everything from our self belief to our ability to connect with others – and it can change at any time, often in flux with the ups and downs of everyday life.
With this in mind, caring for our mental health should be embedded into our day to day, rather than a form of damage control once we finally reach breaking point – and the workplace, where we spend the majority of our waking hours, is certainly no exception.
In light of World Mental Health Day, how can we drive positive change and create a warmer, more supportive working world for us all?
It’s a message we hear time and time again – that it’s important to speak up about how we feel – but starting these discussions with peers can be hard. Awareness campaigns like The Mental Health Foundation’s Tea and Talk can be a good way in, while also fostering a long term culture of openness and empathy. What’s more, having a mental health first aider at work, whose door is always open for resources, advice or even just a chat, can assure everyone that if they need it, support is there.
Leading by example, Komorabi founder Maria has been refreshingly open about her own experience with burnout, encouraging the team to speak up during one to one chats if they feel overwhelmed. Rejecting the push for perfection, she focuses on compassion and flexibility – we are human after all.
As social creatures, our workplace relationships can have a massive impact on our happiness. Having a friendly face to turn to when things get hectic can help us de-stress, while even just knowing there’s someone we can have a laugh makes the day a little brighter. So make sure to pencil in regular social events – big or small – where the team can bond and build up their support network.
Would you feel comfortable telling your boss that you were overwhelmed at work? Research by mental health charity Mind found that 30 percent of us wouldn’t feel able to speak openly about feeling stressed with our line manager, but transparency, boundaries, and a culture that normalises saying ‘no’ can help keep workplace burnout at bay. This includes saying no to yourself – be strict when it comes to taking your lunch – your whole lunch – and encourage colleagues to do the same.
Juggling multiple responsibilities, Maria has a few tips of her own when it comes to warding off burnout. Aside from weekly coffee catch ups with colleagues and the occasional virtual lunch, she suggests rounding off the day with a scheduled activity to prevent yourself from being tempted into too much overtime.
For those of us who find it difficult to switch off in the evenings, Maria also finds that noting down successes throughout the day can stop her second guessing whether she has done ‘enough’, helping her to maintain that sometimes elusive work-life balance.
Where we come in…
At Komorabi, we’re firm believers in the beautifully simple idea that doing good, and sharing that experience with others, is a form of self-care. Our app connects you to bite-sized volunteering activities online and in your local area, and could be a simple way to incorporate team building and feel-good CSR into your workplace.
Download the Komorabi app here.