By Lucy Prince, Marketing Manager
Mental health is an essential aspect of our overall well-being, and it is crucial to prioritise it in our personal and professional lives. I’m lucky enough to work at a company and in an industry where a significant effort is made to raise awareness about mental health all year round. This was highlighted even more so during Mental Health Awareness Week recently, where we had a series of engaging events at The Kite Factory, including smoothie mornings, painting sessions, and our first Mental Health panel. This was all aimed at encouraging open conversations across the agency – demonstrating that seeking help is both acceptable and necessary.
As a topic I’m passionate about and something that is so important not to shy away from, I’ve put together six tips that I took away from our recent panel discussion, including things I do in my everyday life to manage my mental well-being in work and to support those around me in the best possible way.
1. Get outside
Spending time outdoors can remarkably impact your mental health. Taking regular breaks during the workday to step outside, have some fresh air, and enjoy a change of scenery can contribute to a more positive and productive rest of your workday and help clear your mind, reduce stress and increase focus. This is even more necessary when working from home, and cabin fever can occasionally sink in.
2. You are number one
Remember that you are your most important asset. Making time for your mental well-being enhances your overall happiness and enables you to be there to help others. Have time for the things you enjoy, whether that’s going to the gym or seeing your friends. And, of course, be supportive of others, but remember that you are responsible for your own mental health. Support and guide others, but don’t take on their mental health difficulties.
3. Create and stick to boundaries
Establishing boundaries between work and personal life is crucial for maintaining good mental health – even more so in the hybrid working environment we find ourselves in. Strive to find a balance that works for you, ensuring that work responsibilities don’t overshadow your personal life. Set realistic goals and deadlines and communicate your boundaries clearly with your colleagues and managers. Don’t be afraid to say no when necessary to create a healthy work-life balance, prevent burnout and improve your overall well-being.
4. Foster positive relationships and build trust
Developing positive relationships and building trust at work can significantly impact your mental health. Creating a supportive and inclusive environment by personally connecting with those you work with can help you become more open and confident to ask for help if needed. Equally, if someone approaches you, take the time to listen actively, understand their concerns, and encourage them to seek further support if needed.
5. Empathise and relate to others
Being empathetic towards your colleagues is a powerful way to contribute to a positive workplace culture. You may not be able to relate to something your colleague is going through directly, but people relate to emotion, so empathising with the emotion they are specifically feeling and understanding from that angle can go a long way. Demonstrating empathy helps create a safe space for open conversations about mental health, enabling individuals to seek support and resources when needed.
6. Fight the stigma
We all know that initial conversations around mental well-being can be challenging, but once you take that first step and open up, it can allow those around you to understand how to support you, whether that’s your manager, a colleague or a member of the People Team. By taking that step and opening up, people understand you better and help with any support you need. It also demonstrates a safe space for open conversations about mental health in the workplace.
Mental health is as important as physical health, and the conversation should continue beyond Mental Health Awareness Week. Prioritising your mental well-being benefits you and those around you and contributes to a healthier working environment. We will continue the conversations at The Kite Factory, so I’m looking forward to what comes next.