Mental Health: Looking after yourself at work!
by Alex Berry, Nov 08
Did you know that an astounding 1/3 of us in the UK are unhappy at work. And unhappy staff are taking 10 times more sick days as they are off work due to stress & anxiety related reasons.
Apparently 25% of UK employees are leaving work feeling drained every day. That’s not good is it?
So what can we do to tackle this huge issue? Bearing in mind that happy employees tend to be 12% more productive then it’s really important that we look after ourselves at work if we want to achieve our goals.
Firstly, are you getting enough sleep? And it’s not just a matter of the amount of hours you are getting – it’s the quality of your sleep too. Are you able to easily fall asleep? Are you waking up through the night? Ways to help you sleep better include no caffeine after 3pm, a hot bath on an evening, lavender drops on your pillow, or reading a book before turning the light off. Try a couple – you never know they might work for you!
Are you eating and drinking the right things? The Eat Well Guide from the NHS recommends 6 to 8 large glasses a day. Try to cut down on the caffeine intake as this can increase symptoms of anxiety. If you want a hot drink try herbal teas or decaffeinated drinks instead. Food wise, try to eat healthy balanced meals throughout the day. And take snacks to work with you to keep the hunger at bay – fruit, raw vegetables or nuts are great and super healthy too!
Remember to take regular breaks throughout the day to help clear your head. Even if it’s just to make a coffee or stretch your legs for a few minutes, it will really help you to re-focus and keep motivated. If you get chance to nip out of work at lunchtime, grabbing a bit of fresh air will do you the world of good. If you start feeling overwhelmed whilst at work, or get palpitations, just stepping outside for a few minutes can help you feel calm and in better control.
Keeping fit is a great way to combat stress. It doesn’t have to be gruelling and can be as little as 15 minutes a day. A brisk walk, a short jog, some pilates or yoga, a local exercise group or a game of tennis – pick something that you enjoy doing and that fits in with your lifestyle.
It’s good to talk! Talking can be a great way of relieving some of the worries, stress or anxiety you might be feeling. A problem shared is a problem halved as they say! Choose carefully who you talk to – and if it’s a work colleague then make sure it’s somebody you can trust, who won’t gossip behind your back. They might make you feel better and think of solutions to your concerns, and look at it as a free counselling session!
One of the most important ways to help towards a better well-being is switching off after work and not taking your work problems home with you. I know it’s easier said than done, but it will really make a massive difference. It’s really crucial that you are going home and having a break from work, forgetting about your deadlines or targets and resting so that you are refreshed and ready to take on the world the next day!
So there you have it, my key suggestions for tackling a busy life or schedule. We all rush around and take on too much, but if you’re not careful you’ll end up burning out and regretting it. I see it all the time, and we really need to look after ourselves. If you aren’t right, other parts of your life will start to suffer too. So look after number one – you!