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R13 advice

Caring for your mental wellbeing at work!

Today is world mental health day and so in the spirit of this day, we here at R13 believe it is important to open up the conversation around mental health, especially at work.

We spend most of our lives at ours jobs and so it is incredibly important that issues surrounding mental health at work aren’t ignored. A recent survey by the charity Mind, found that poor mental health affects half of all employees and this needs to change. People often shy away from talking about their mental health due to fear, shame and job insecurity.

Work related stress and mental health can often go hand in hand and certain work-based stressors can exacerbate mental health problems such as anxiety, depression and low self-esteem. The impact that this has can include increased absence from work, lower productivity, difficulty in concentrating and being less patient with colleagues/customers.

We can all take steps to improve our mental health and self-care is a massive step in the right direction. It may not always be easy, especially if you aren’t feeling yourself but by taking those little steps you can find yourself feeling better. Below is some guidance on how you can take some small steps to look after yourself at work.

1. Talk to someone you trust

This could be a work friend, colleague or even your boss, but connecting with people and having someone you can turn to is always beneficial. People are normally more than willing to listen and help, as they will want you to be feeling your best. It can often be hard to talk about your feelings but once you take that step and get things off your chest, you could feel as if a weight has been lifted.

If you don’t have someone at work that you trust to disclose personal information to, then make sure you have someone outside of work (e.g. a friend, partner, family member) who you can talk to about work issues.

2. Eating healthy

A healthy body often goes hand in hand with a healthy mind. You’d be amazed by how different you can feel by just swapping the junk food for something more nutritionally beneficial. It can sometimes be hard to maintain a healthy diet but try to stick to regular meals and plenty of water.

3. Staying active

It has been proven that regular physical activity leads to lower rates of depression and anxiety across all age groups. Some exercise, a couple times a week will help you improve both your physical and mental wellbeing. This doesn’t mean it has to be high-intensity work-outs, even an evening stroll or kick about in the park can make a difference.

If you can try walking or cycling into work, or maybe go for a walk on your lunch break.

4. Create clear boundaries between work and home

Try not to let your work spill over into your personal life. There may be times when you have to stay a little later or do some work from home but make sure this is the exception and not the norm. You need to have time to switch off from work and do the things you enjoy. Although it may sometimes feel like it, work isn’t everything and your wellbeing is more important, so make sure you are taking the time to relax and refresh.

5. Seek support outside of work

There a lot of fantastic resources for those experiencing mental ill health that are accessibly outside of work, some of these include:

  • Mind is the leading mental health charity in England and Wales. - www.mind.org.uk
  • Remploy offers a free and confidential Workplace Mental Health Support Service if you are absent from work or finding work difficult because of a mental health condition. - www.remploy.co.uk
  • Rethink Mental Illness is the largest national voluntary sector provider of mental health services, offering support groups, advice and information on mental health problems. -  www.rethink.org
  • Trade Unions, if you are a trade union member these are a great source of support.

Mental health is a very personal issue to a lot of us and we all cope with things differently, so make sure you are taking steps that best suit you, to make sure you are feeling your best at work and home. Your mental wellbeing comes before work, every time!

Check out our social media campaign #R13SaysRelax to see the ways the rthirteen team practice self-care and destress after work.

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