Good health and wellbeing is essential in the workplace. Ensuring your employees are mentally healthy means your staff can perform at their best and are happy in their everyday lives.
But what is mental health, and how should you go about promoting it in your organisation? Many people assume that good mental health and wellbeing is synonymous with being happy, but while this is certainly a part of it, there's a lot more to it than that.
Self-esteem and self-confidence are also key elements of good mental health, as are good relationships with others and a positive feeling that you're able to do all the things you'd like to do. Wellbeing expert and professor of public health at the University of Warwick, Sarah Stewart-Brown explains that wellbeing also means having the ‘resilience to cope when life gets tough’.
So, how do you go about achieving this? Prof Stewart-Brown says that the key is not to view wellbeing as something you are, but rather to look at it as something you do. Wellbeing requires work, and the more you put in, the more you are likely to get out in terms of better mental health.
The NHS has highlighted five key steps that research has proven to be useful in ensuring positive wellbeing and mental health. Organisations should try and promote these to employees and see what a difference they can make.
Nurturing positive relations with others is a great way to boost wellbeing. Whether this is spending time with family or friends or being able to have a chat over lunch with colleagues in the workplace, sharing positive experiences and feelings helps build a strong support network and helps create a sense of belonging and self-worth. For organisations putting in regular meetings and updates with managers and rewarding positive behaviors is a great place to start.
The link between physical activity and good mental health is long established, so encouraging people to get out and about more will be a big contributor to wellbeing. But you don't have to spend hours in the gym every day to see the benefits - even something as simple as taking a regular walk at lunch can have an impact. Encourage your staff to find something they enjoy - whether this is jogging, cycling or playing football - and make it an everyday part of their life.
Picking up a new skill is a great way to boost self-esteem and the confidence individuals can get from this can carry over into many aspects of life, both at home and at work, but you don't have to learn a new skill - even doing activities such as visiting a gallery or picking up a book to find out more about a subject that interests you can be beneficial. An effective learning and development strategy should include time for personal development.
Even small acts of kindness towards other people can help improve self-esteem and contribute towards wellbeing. As research shows giving to others and co-operating with them can stimulate the reward areas in the brain, creating positive feelings. Within your organisation encouraging acts such as fundraising for local charities or community groups will not only improve wellbeing but give employees access to a whole new social network to support them.
Mindfulness means being self-aware of not only what is going on with yourself but also around you. Being mindful is to be present and conscious of your environment and how your feelings and emotions make you feel. Within your organisation you can encourage staff to be more mindful by giving them dedicated time and support and offering mindfulness training.
To learn more about how you can implement a positive mental health and wellbeing strategy within your organisation view our courses here or alternatively contact us to arrange a consultation with one of our experts.