Mental Health Month
Prioritising Mental Health in the Workplace
October marks Mental Health Month in NSW, a time to shine a spotlight on the importance of mental well-being in our lives. Hosted by WayAhead – Mental Health Association NSW, this annual event encourages conversations, support, and awareness around mental health. This year’s theme, “We all have a role to play,” emphasises the collective responsibility to foster a mentally healthy society. At Jomablue, we believe in promoting mental health not just for ourselves but also in our workplaces.
Why mental health matters at work
The reality for many of us is that we spend the biggest portion of our adult lives in the workplace. It’s where we interact with colleagues, face challenges, and grow as individuals. Creating a work environment and culture that safeguards its people is therefore essential to the sustained mental health of an organisation.
In an interview with Stephen Bartlett, host of the podcast ‘Diary of a CEO’, neuroscientist Dr Tara Swart talks about the contagious effects of stress and anxiety between people. We’ve likely all experienced this at various stages, whether with a difficult customer or meeting exchange. This phenomenon is amplified further when experienced between a person of authority and their subordinate. Swart consults with business leaders on integrating strategies into their own daily routines and management practices to mitigate the effects of stress and build resilience at the same time.
Clinical psychologist Natalia Peart, PhD, states that addressing stress and burnout is essential for business success. Stress-related issues lead to increased turnover, impaired strategic thinking, and decreased creativity. Peart encourages employers to adopt organisation-level approaches to reduce stress and enhance employee well-being, ultimately benefiting both the individual and the organisation.
Reducing Stress and Anxiety: Practical Strategies
The daily grind can be overwhelming, but incorporating physical activity, even a brisk 30-minute walk, can help release pent-up stress. Outdoor exercise offers an extra boost of “feel-good” chemicals, helping to alleviate anxiety and instil a renewed sense of calm and happiness.
Daily journaling has gained popularity as a tool to build positive routines. With notable figures from Tim Ferris to Oprah Winfrey expounding the benefits of regular journaling, writing down your thoughts, emotions, and experiences has fast become a proven aid for mental health. It’s a simple, yet effective practice to manage stress and bring clarity and relief.
Getting enough Zzzz…
Quality sleep is vital for mental health. Establishing a consistent sleep routine can improve resilience and cognitive function, helping to better manage work-related challenges. Consistent sleep isn’t always possible but building a wind-down routine and adopting good sleep hygiene, such as avoiding electronic devices and eating too close to bedtime will help in getting enough sleep.
Holding Space for Ourselves & Others
As we emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic, we face a new set of mental health challenges. Prolonged isolation and uncertainty have affected our ability to cope with stress. Acknowledging these struggles and giving ourselves permission not to feel okay are crucial first steps to improving our health as individuals and as a society.
It’s important to check-in with ourselves and those we are surrounded by, with openness and acceptance. Everyone’s capacity to deal with challenges, whether physical, mental or emotional, is different and changes all the time. By bringing a gentle curiosity to how we’re feeling -free of judgement- we begin to build awareness and resilience into our lives.
Mental Health Month reminds us that we all play a role in fostering a supportive, inclusive, and stigma-free environment. By adopting practical strategies to manage stress and anxiety, seeking help when needed, and promoting well-being in our workplaces, we can collectively make strides toward a healthier and happier society.