Mental Health Awareness in the Workplace

 

Earlier this week we had World Mental Health Awareness Day. However, we believe that every day should be World Mental Health Awareness Day and we make no apologies for repeating some of the advice that we have given in the past - it should be a habit, because it is an issue that affects countless hundreds of thousands of people worldwide.

For sufferers, they are aware of it every day at work, at home and at leisure but this article looks at the effect in the workplace.

Owners, directors and employees all have to pull together to contribute to the success of a business and each is affected by different pressures and stress which can lead to an adverse effect on mental health.

What should we look out for?

Colleagues who have previously been great communicators becoming withdrawn and less involved.  

Previously calm colleagues being unusually emotional.

Previously positive colleagues having difficulty making decisions and having negative points of view.

Colleagues looking constantly tired.

All of the above ( and it is not an exhaustive list ) are classic symptoms of a developing mental health issue.

What should we do?

In the first instance, just talking to colleagues is a good start. Trying to understand what the root cause of their worries could be. If it is work related, try to assist them with workload and bring this to the attention of others

But what if I am the employer and it gets worse?

  • ·    This can be reflected in absence from work impacting on costs

Many employees may not be comfortable in sharing the fact that they are taking leaves because they are suffering from anxiety, depression, or stress. But, if you notice them taking regular short-term absences, without offering any doctor’s note then this could be a warning sign.

What to do – Try to keep proper track of employee absence pattern. If you notice the same employee taking regular leaves you can conduct a meeting with them so that you can help them readjust to the workplace. It is better to have a good employee coping with a comfortable workload than the same person being constantly absent.

  • ·     Increasingly erratic behavior and mood swings affecting others

When people deal with too much stress it is likely to reflect in their behavioral pattern and you will notice a change in their character and mood. Even the most polite employee might start bullying others, may suddenly become withdrawn, or be short tempered.

What to do – if you notice an employee displaying such behavior then you should hold fun and informal workshops on a regular basis, where you should also educate your employees about mental health problems, and how it can affect their work life. You can even offer counseling to the employees to help them further.

  • ·       Lack of engagement & productivity

People suffering from poor mental health may look lethargic and tired, find it difficult to make decisions, and also struggle to start and complete their assigned tasks, which affects overall productivity.

What to do – Try to do something to vary the workload of your employees. You may share the workload more evenly amongst team members. If offering flexible working can be an option, this too could improve morale as many people struggle with work life balance and this could help.

  • ·       High turnover of staff

     Many employees leave their job without even thinking about it seriously. More than the nature of their job, the reason is poor management, a poor workplace culture, and the way these can impact on employees.

Employees with mental health problems may leave work because they feel they will not be able to improve until they do something about their working environment.

What to do – try to find out why are people resigning. You can conduct exit interviews which allow the employees to be frank and backlash if they want to. This will help you know what is wrong with your workplace and how you can correct it.

Good mental health at the workplace is very important. If your employees are happy, satisfied, and enjoy working in your company, that will result in great productivity.

However, if they suffer from mental health issues then it will impact on your productivity, in a negative way.

So, try to keep track of any signs of mental health problems in your company, and find a solution at the earliest.

And remember, Mayfair we care.

Is being a perfectionist good for you?


 

Are you one of life‘s perfectionist?

 

·       Consider yourself a perfectionist if:

 

·       You can’t stop thinking about every little mistake you make.

 

·       You can’t stand being second in anything you do.

 

·       Any project that you undertake must be absolutely right.

 

·       You expect the highest standards of other people.

 

·       You will never ask for help because you feel it is a sign of weakness.

 

·       You will persist with a task long after other people would have considered the task complete.

 

·       You are a fault-finding who corrects other people when they are wrong.

 

·       You are highly aware of other people’s demands and expectations.

 

·       You are very self-conscious about making mistakes in front of other people and dwell on it afterwards.

 

Perfectionists will also have a keen eye for detail and push themselves to achieve personal goals, their work will exceed expectations and their ambitions will know no bounds.

 

Research has indicated that perfectionism can be linked to emotional, physical and relationship problems including anxiety, depression, eating disorders and marital discord.

 

What people think about perfection

Many perfectionist traits are also linked to successful high achievers due to their high standards and high expectations. Highly successful actress Gwyneth Paltrow is one such perfectionist who has also suffered marital and relationship discord.

 

However, the strive for perfection has brought about much debate over the years. Consider these three very different outlooks:

 

·       “Perfection is the enemy of success. “ Winston Churchill.

 

·       “When you aim for perfection you discover that it is a moving target. “ Geoffrey F Fisher

 

·       “Striving for excellence motivates you; striving for perfection is demoralising”. Harriet Bralker

 

Each of these quotations indicates that true perfection does not exist.

 

In the first one Churchill believes that time will be wasted by striving for perfection, whilst in the second quotation Fisher suggests that perfection is always just out of reach.

 

The final quotation by Bralker confirms this by suggesting that the pursuit of absolute perfection is demoralising, (perhaps because it is unattainable) and excellence should be good enough.

 

As indicated earlier, striving for perfection which is always just out of reach can cause mental illness. There is wide research that suggests that both perfectionism and mental health issues have been on the increase over the last 20 years. This has coincided with the rise of social media where everyone lives out their perfect lives, with their perfect families and their perfect careers in their own perfect world.

 

Such access to these social media examples put enormous pressure on the individual with perfectionist tendencies and we will examine this in a future blog

 

Remember, Mayfair cares

Move on up to a healthier mind.


 

Research indicates that people who exercise on a regular basis have better mental health and emotional well-being. So why are you sitting there?!

 

Exercise, as we know, is great for our physical health. It helps to keep our hearts in good shape and our weight under control. In general, we are lowering the overall risk of heart disease. However, being active has a knock on affect that is often overlooked as it is also a powerful mood booster and stress buster.

 

Working out doesn’t only exercise the body it also lowers the stress hormone cortisol, which in turn helps relieve feelings of anxiety. It encourages the brain to release endorphins and serotonin which are often referred to as the bodies’ feel-good chemicals because of the positive impact on mental health. So it is easy to see how exercise is not only helping you keep physically fit but also having a positive effect on your mental health.


Sleep

By exercising regularly the likelihood is that you will sleep better. Poor sleep quality and mood disorders have been closely linked. Sleeping well boosts cognition because your body works to support healthy brain function while you sleep.

 

Self-esteem

People who are active often report feeling a sense of achievement which in turn increases their self-esteem. When we make new year’s resolutions and stick to them this gives us a sense of empowerment and control over our lives with an increased ability to cope.

 

Social benefits

Not only does exercise give you the chance to try new experiences such as walking, gym, cycling and dance classes, it provides the perfect opportunity to socialise and meet new friends. When meeting new people and experiencing new situations, the mood is enhanced accordingly.

 

Energy boost.

Being more active increases your fitness and your energy levels and this also has the positive impact on your mental well-being.

 

Don’t be put off.

When you think of exercise you probably have a vision of working out in the sweaty gym toiling away! However, research has indicated that just 30 minutes of moderate to intensive working out each day can provide significant benefits to overall well-being. So forget the gym, put on the walking shoes and go for a quarter of an hours walk at lunchtime, and a quarter of an hours walk in the evening - whatever suits you!

 

The brain loves exercise.

There is a benefit to taking your first walk of the day before you go to work. Exercise pumps blood to the brain which increases your ability to think clearly. This will have clear benefits when you arrive at your place of work with a clear mind and an action plan.

 

In conclusion, regular exercise is a no-brainer, it is simply a matter of making it part of your daily routine because the benefits are enormous.

 

Remember Mayfair, we care.

 

Can Physical Health Impact on Mental Health?

  

Despite the clear distinction between mind and body, our mental and physical health are connected. The human body is essentially a well-oiled machine. If you think of it as a car, then you can see how our physical state can impact on our mental wellbeing.

For instance, a car with worn out wheels will consume much more fuel to slow down even though the wheels and the engine are two entirely different parts of the vehicle. Similarly, with us humans, our bodies can dictate how our minds feel and vice versa.        

Our physical health can impact on our mental health in a positive way and in a negative way. If you eat a balanced diet consistently, then your physical state will improve and so will your mental health. If you are a chronic smoker, your physical state deteriorates and eventually so does your mental wellbeing. Let’s look at some clear-cut examples of physical health affecting mental health.      

Exercise and Depression      

Physical activity has great benefits for both the body and mind. For the body, it yields better overall fitness and helps build muscle mass, making us stronger. For the mind, exercise increases activity in the frontal lobes and increases the brain’s uptake of endorphins, which are otherwise known as feel-good hormones.      

Physical exercises improve our physical state, but they also have a great impact on mental health. In fact, exercise is considered the best natural antidepressant because of the effect it has on the mind. Exercise improves our physical health, and our physical health positively affects our mental wellbeing. Better physical health enhances confidence and self-esteem, and this can uplift a depressed individual’s mood considerably.      

Depression and Chronic Illnesses      

On the flip side of things, poor physical health is detrimental to our mental health. A study conducted in 2009 on patients with chronic heart disease discovered that 22 per cent of the subjects had mild depression. 17 per cent of the participants were even taking antidepressants. At the end of the study, the researchers concluded that poor quality of life brought on by chronic illnesses can cause depression.

This conclusion was echoed by one professor from the Institute of Psychiatry in London. Professor David Goldberg noted that chronic illnesses put people at higher risk of depression. Interestingly, he also stated that depression could cause some chronic physical illnesses, saying “depression and chronic illness [es] are in [a] reciprocal relationship with one another.”      

Poor physical health is often a precursor to mental illnesses, but the reverse is also true. Let’s look at how our mental health can impact our physical state.      

Stress and Chronic Illnesses      

Psoriasis is a chronic skin disease that affects millions of people worldwide. This condition, which is characterized by the development of flaky sores on the skin, is triggered solely by stress, making it a prime example of how poor mental wellbeing can affect our physical state.      

85 percent of psoriasis patients are irked by their condition. One in ten contemplate suicide, and one in three feel shame and humiliation over their condition. This shows us the profound impact our mental health can have on our physical wellbeing, but it is also a clear example of how something like a bad skin condition can cause depression and even promote suicide.      

Physical stress has just as bad an impact on mental wellbeing, which is why many professional athletes suffer from mental illnesses at some point in their careers. Retired athletes often fall into depression due to the sudden shift in routine at the end of their careers. Their bodies are adapted to strenuous training schedules, and the sudden switch to sedentary living often instils them with a sense of hopelessness and lost purpose.      

Our physical and mental health are tied to one another in complicated ways. What we know is that they can both impact on each other positively and negatively. Many chronic illnesses are predated by mental illness, but our mental health also suffers significantly when our bodies undergo a prolonged period of illness. The two are cyclically linked, so your physical health is just as important to your mental wellbeing as your mental health is to your physical state.

Mayfair, we care

 

Mental Health Awareness in the Workplace