World Mental Health Day will be celebrated on the 10th of October and is an ideal opportunity for everyone to raise awareness of the issues related to mental health. It is also an opportunity to participate in the fight against social stigma. This is the perfect day for you and your company to contribute to the broad conversation that will be taking place on platforms such as social media and television. You will also get a perfect chance to strongly highlight the things you are currently doing or have already done to address the problems related to mental health stigma in the workplace. It is also possible to introduce newer targeted activities related to the main event.
The Year’s Theme
The theme of 2020’s event is suicide and suicide prevention. Each year, according to statistics, at least 800,000 individuals take their own lives, and a lot more individuals attempt suicide. This special day’s core mission is to reduce the number of suicide cases and give people hope to keep living. Each suicide, regardless of who does it and where it happens, is a tragedy to the family, community, and most of the time has a permanent effect on the individuals left behind. In the UK, it is reported that suicide is one of the primary causes of death among people aged between 2 and 34 years, and is the second leading cause of mortality among persons aged between 15 and 29 years globally.
As someone responsible, you are strongly encouraged to consider better ways to come up with impactful learning opportunities for all staff members and enhance their overall comprehension of mental health, and more specifically, thoroughly address the stigma around suicide as a way of providing solid support for individuals who might need help.
Who Can Be Affected by Mental Health?
Mental health is a serious issue, and anyone might suffer from these conditions at one point in their lives. But you should be glad because the 10th of October is a special day for you to manifest your support for better mental health and also begin caring for your wellbeing.
Everyone needs mental health care, from learners to people working offices. Despite your current social or financial status, you deserve excellent mental health so that you can achieve both long-term and short-term goals. Your mental health is more like your physical health; anyone can suffer poor health, and they have to take good care of themselves to prevent such conditions. Every year, it is believed that at least one in four people are affected by mental problems. It might come in an array of forms such as anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia.
How to Take Care of Your Mental Health
Whether you are currently dealing with a mental wellness issue or not, we all need to ensure that we take good care of our mental health. Mental health has a close relationship with how you feel about yourself, your immediate surroundings, and how you can perfectly cope with day-to-day life. Therefore, your mental wellbeing might change from time to time, month to month, and year to year. There are tips that you can use to ensure that your mental wellness is correctly taken care of at all times. These include creating personal time, creating positive relationships, and ensuring that you are active at all times.
Let us take a second look at what we might mean when we say mental wellness. It is vital to mention that mental wellbeing does not have one set meaning. We can use the term to explain how good we feel about ourselves and how perfectly we are coping with daily life.
You must also know that perfect mental wellbeing does not mean you are always joyous or do not get affected by daily encounters. However, poor mental wellbeing might make it hard for you to cope with daily life, and that is one of the things we will be focusing on the 10th of October.
There are quite a number of doable things that we can always try to do in order to enhance our mental wellness. Though it is never easy to get started, you can begin by only trying the things that feel simpler. For example, you can try giving yourself enough time to find what works for you best and going at your own set pace. You always need to take small steps toward achieving your daily, weekly, monthly, or even yearly set objectives. To gain stability, you want to commence by picking a few easily achievable things and then moving on to try other ideas.
Relax and Minimize Stress
Most of the time, it takes a lot of effort to feel relaxed. If you are lucky to find something in your life that makes you feel more relaxed, it will help if you fixed it into your daily routine. For instance, this might be a walk, a bath, or going to the gym. Maybe you will find it hard to switch from your current lifestyle to another, but all will be well as long as you take it slow.
If you feel that you are straining a lot, we recommend taking a break and reflecting on your life. If it is a stressful situation that gives you a hard time, you can take a break and relax. Just take a few minutes each day to mitigate the feelings of anxiety, and you will feel great about yourself.
Mindfulness is the act of paying close attention to current happenings. You can use helpful tactics such as yoga, breathing exercises, and medication. These techniques are a perfect way to help individuals become aware of their feelings and thoughts. This implies that your feelings will stop overwhelming you. Instead, you will gain the capacity to manage them properly.
In some cases, you might find that being on your phone or computer for extended periods makes you feel busy and way too stressed. In that case, you need to take a break and focus on other things that might make you feel relaxed. You can do this for an hour or two. If this also becomes hard, try placing your phone in a different room and have an alarm to help time yourself.
More About World Mental Health Day
World Mental Health Day is a program of the World Federation for Mental Health and was first observed on the 10th of October, 1992. And since the world is undergoing an unprecedented impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the mental wellness of millions of people has been adversely affected. Now, everyone is aware that the levels of fear, anxiety, isolation, restrictions, and social distancing have become prevalent as the world endeavours to bring the deadly virus under control and find a permanent solution.
The current pandemic has hit all corners of the world and affected over 450 million individuals who were already struggling with issues related to mental wellness. It is important to note that mental disorders that many people are struggling with are the reason for ill-health disability worldwide. At least one person out of four, at different stages of their life, is affected by a mental disorder.
According to the World Health Organization, at least every 40 seconds, someone dies of suicide, and this is a huge number compared to individuals that die by homicide or war. And these are only the ones that successfully take their lives. A bigger proportion of the world population attempts suicide each year. Therefore, on the 10th of October, 2020, we are going to remind ourselves about the key importance of supporting each other’s wellbeing and what can be done to ensure that adequate support is available for everyone.
World Mental Health is an Opportunity to Commit
This campaign will offer unique opportunities to raise awareness of mental health. However, most of these opportunities will be utilized online, given the current world pandemic. As individuals, we will have the best chances to do things that will have positive impacts on our mental wellness. Thus, it is an opportunity that is worth grabbing.
It has been at least 30 years since the first campaign was launched. It is safe to say that many people have hard their lives impacted, and better things are yet to be achieved. As a result, we are happy to state that in 2020, many people will be reached using various platforms, and those who are unknowingly struggling with mental health will be reminded of how best they can take charge of their lives.
It is important to note that many people in different parts of the globe do not have adequate access to good quality mental health services, so there is a need to invest now without failure. Regardless of your current location and situation, you can still participate in this campaign, and you are strongly encouraged to do so. Even if you feel that you are not struggling with mental health and the moment, know that someone else is going through a tough time and needs your attention and support.
The stress response is a naturally occurring, protective mechanism that evolved to prepare our bodies for “fight or flight” during emergency situations. This defence system in the body is both healthy and adaptive when activated sparingly. However, in modern life and particularly during challenging times, our bodies’ natural defences are over-activated repeatedly. This frequent activation of the stress response can be damaging to our health, and for this reason, it is important to incorporate helpful practices to de-stress regularly on a daily basis.
Fortunately, the body is profoundly intelligent and naturally geared towards harmony and balance. It possesses an antidote to stress in the form of relaxation, also known as the “rest and digest” response. Relaxation is immensely healing for both the body and mind and can be triggered daily to improve our mood and overall physical wellbeing.
A daily mindfulness practice will switch on this beneficial relaxation response, helping to maintain mental calm and peace despite any external stressors that may arise. With a mindfulness practice, our focus is directed into the present moment without any judgement. By practising mindfulness, we can switch off excessive worry about the future and can cultivate a present and positive state of mind.
Here are some simple and effective ways to be mindful regularly throughout each day:
Take a walk in nature and actively notice the sounds, colours, scents, and textures that surround you. Notice the feel of the ground underneath your feet as you walk, and listen to the sound of your footsteps as you take each step.
Mindful eating involves eating slowly and mindfully to aid digestion. Take small bites of food, notice the scent and texture of what you are eating, register the taste of your food, chew slowly, and savour each bite.
Close your eyes and focus on the physical sensation of your breath against your nose as you breathe in and out. Notice the coolness of each inhale and the warmth of each exhale. Follow the physical sensation of each breath with your focused awareness. If your mind wanders, gently guide your focus back to your breathing. Just 5 minutes of mindful breathing will markedly improve your mood and will immediately invite in a sense of mental calm.
Mindful Awareness of Thoughts
Simply notice your thoughts as they come and go without judgement. If you experience any stressful or worrisome thoughts, close your eyes and imagine your thoughts floating by on clouds and drifting away; or imagine your thoughts entering into a room through one door and leaving through another. By detaching from your thoughts and seeing your thoughts as separate from you, you can train your mind to remain unaffected by stressful thoughts and to more easily let them go.
Additionally one of the healthiest things you can do to lower overall stress levels is to get adequate, good quality sleep. Proper sleep is an excellent stress-buster, and good sleep hygiene practices include the following recommendations:
- Keep the bedroom cool, dark, and free of digital devices
- Avoid intense physical exercise or stressful conversations directly before bed
- Avoid caffeine, sugar, or heavy meals before bed
- Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day, in order to train your body into a regular pattern of sleep
- Aim for 7-9 hours of sleep per night
- If you are having trouble falling asleep, after 20-30 minutes get out of bed, do something relaxing, and return to bed once you feel tired
Incorporating healthy habits during challenging times empowers us to remain more relaxed and positive and to find greater acceptance in each day. A mindfulness practice and good quality sleep both strengthen the body’s ability to cope with stress and noticeably improve overall wellbeing. Use the inherent healing capabilities that the body possesses to your advantage, enhancing your own ability to cultivate balance within and enjoying lower stress levels and greater calm as a result.
We have to give our car an MOT every year, but when was the last time you gave yourself one? Do you know your numbers? What is your blood pressure or cholesterol level, and when was the last time you had these checked? For most of us, we go about our daily lives without knowing, or even thinking about these important figures, let alone getting them checked and reviewed on a regular basis.
But by knowing, and keeping a check on your blood pressure, blood sugar, weight, cholesterol and waist measurements can help to cut your risk of kidney and heart disease, stroke and diabetes. So do you know your numbers?
Suffering from high blood pressure, or hypertension can often go unnoticed as it generally has no visible symptoms. However, it can have a significant impact and lead to strokes or heart attack, so it’s important to get it checked regularly.
But what is your blood pressure reading and what does it mean? It consists of two numbers, 140 over 80 for example. The first is your ‘systolic’ pressure, which is the pressure of your blood as it leaves the heart. The second is your ‘diastolic’ pressure, which is the pressure of your blood between heartbeats.
Both figures are important if either is consistently high it can increase your risk of a stroke or heart attack
We all know that high cholesterol is bad for you, but do we know why? High cholesterol can block up your arteries, which can then lead to heart disease, heart attacks, strokes or kidney diseases. Which are all things we want to avoid.
Diabetes can often go undiagnosed; in fact it’s reported that up to one million people in the UK have undiagnosed diabetes. A blood glucose test is the first step for a diabetes diagnosis.
Muffin top, beer belly there are many names for that bit of extra weight around your middle. But your waist measurement can act as a predictor for future health problems. Those that store excess fat around our middles are more likely to develop heart disease, Type 3 diabetes and potentially cancer.
Knowing your weight and height means you can calculate your Body Mass Index or your BMI. This will show whether you’re a healthy weight for your height.
These numbers are all important as they can act as a warning sign about your health in the future. But how do you find these out, as they’re not something you can do at home. As part of our suite of wellbeing services, we offer a health check service, run by health care professionals that allows you to offer these tests to your staff.
I’ve been reading a flurry of articles in the run up to International Woman’s Day (March 8th). As a woman, a mother and business owner there has been many I’ve found interesting, inspiring and motivating but one especially stood out to me. One that looked at equality from a slightly different angle and one that made me smile.
The main subject of the article was failure, not something that is generally celebrated but it was calling for women’s right to be a failure. It mentioned that while days, such as International Woman’s Day, were fantastic at highlighting the achievements of women, they only did that. That every article seemed to be focussed on a superhuman woman that had climbed Everest without oxygen, while pregnant and with a toddler in tow. I am of course making that example up. But you get my point. Every superhuman woman that was highlighted seemed to push the boundary for success even further.
It’s not enough to open your own business, you need to do it while also studying for an MBA, volunteering at a homeless shelter and raising your children. To be considered a success, an inspiration you need to have gone further and done more. That is a lot of pressure and expectation and there will come a point where it becomes almost impossible to be considered a success.
It made me think, that while it is fantastic to hear about these inspiring women and their stories, it is also important to celebrate the every day. A friend that gets the promotion they’ve been working towards, a mum who manages to survive the terrible twos relatively unscathed, a daughter caring for her elderly dad while holding down a full-time job. The everyday heroes that should be an inspiration for us all. Let’s make it ok to be the best we can be, and not try to live up to unrealistic ideas of what success looks like.
Climbing Everest is great, but it’s not for everyone.
With Christmas just around the corner the festive atmosphere, along with general excitement and merriment, is growing. However, for many businesses the build up to Christmas is a tricky one, not only is it a potentially lucrative time of year it is also possibly the least productive.
So how do you keep your employees focused on the job at hand and not on the mince pies and Santa?
- Set a challenging goal – it’s easy to put things off until the New Year or push things through in November… This just makes it easy for everyone to put their feet up in December. So if you’ve got a big project or a team goal then don’t forget about December. Set a challenging, but achievable target, that involves all team members. This will help to keep focus throughout the month.
- Food – it is very easy to over indulge at Christmas and stuff yourself with naughty (but nice) treats. There is a direct link between nutrition and productivity, while we’re not suggesting you ban mince pies or chocolates all together, why not supply some alternatives and help your employees stay healthy (and productive).
- Manage stress –while Christmas is a magical time of year full of festive cheer and celebrations, for many it is a time of stress and worry. In fact, according to the Stress Management Society, one in 20 people considers Christmas more stressful than a burglary. As an employer there are many ways you can help to reduce stress in general, not just at Christmas. Allowing people time to switch off, measuring outputs not inputs, creating a culture where it is ok to talk are just a few. Getting professional help is another option, for example we run a stress management workshop, which will help employees monitor and control their stress levels thought out the year not just at Christmas
- Reward success – Christmas is a great time to celebrate successes both at an individual and team level. If you’re looking for something a bit different as a way to say ‘thanks’, why not make your Christmas party extra special and treat the team to a relaxing massage or pamper session before the big event… If that’s not your thing how about an invigorating Indian head massage the day after the celebration, one way to get everybody’s head back on the job at hand.
- Flexible timings – everybody needs to shop for presents and spend more time with friends and family during December. One way to help reduce the tension between home and work obligations is to have some flexibility around working hours. For example, let people leave early/start late/take a longer lunch one day a week during December so they can buy presents, meet friends, watch their child’s school concert etc. This will help to reduce stress levels and therefore make them more productive
Christmas is a time of year when employee productivity tends to be at its lowest. If you want to help keep your employees’ motivation during the run up to Christmas then follow our tips, set a challenging goal, help them eat well and manage their stress and don’t forget to reward success, maybe with a massage or two, or with a more flexible working pattern.
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