No one can care for you like you can

22 May 2019

We have just witnessed a widespread wave of change in employers who now understand that, as well as being good for morale, looking after their workers is also extremely good for business. Thankfully, more and more this means workers no longer have to accept unhealthy work environments as their employers shift towards proactively promoting and protecting their workers’ mental health from the stressors of the workplace.

However, like with any major awareness pivot, it can take some time for things to get up-to-speed in practice. Employers understanding that they should be supporting positive workplace mental health practices does not automatically make them capable of doing so. And even if you do have an employer who ‘gets it’, the workplace is an ever-evolving machine and will never be without its challenges – both preventable and unpreventable.

Ultimately, you are the only person that can be relied on to ensure
your mental health is taken care of. No one else will ever be able to impact your
health as much as you can, and we put ourselves at risk by waiting for
situations to improve themselves. 

 

So how can you positively impact your own circumstance for the better?

Ask yourself:
  1. Is there anything I can do to address work issues I am having?
    It could be working on the communication between you and your manager or being more open about issues you’re having at work. It may even be setting more appropriate boundaries to protect yourself from allowing work to infiltrate your personal life.
  2. How can I contribute to a positive culture?
    What skills do you have that you could bring to the team? For example, giving your team a crochet lesson! Whether it’s introducing a footy tipping competition, lobbying for a ‘Bring Your Dog to Work’ Day or walking a group of coffee lovers to your favourite spots every Wednesday – there are endless ways that every worker can make the environment they work in more connected and positive.
  3. How can I ensure my mental health is supported regardless of what is happening around me?
    Take your mental health into your own hands! We have never had access to more tools, resources and advice to support our own self-care. Here are some we recommend:

 

Our favourite self-care tools for your mind

Health apps

  • For Mindfulness:

Headspace (paid but with a free trial), Smiling Mind (free) and Mindfully (ABC podcast).

  • For Healthy living:

VicHealth have reviewed the healthy living apps available and provided a guide to the most effective ones. They’ve also made an evidence-based summary of the elements that we should look for that are proven to make apps more successful.

What if I’m not good at sitting with my thoughts?
Tick off physical health and stress relief in one hit with Mindful Yoga! You can even practice in your living room with an online video such as this if you don’t have access to a class nearby.

Measure, understand and improve your wellbeing
Take the Permah Survey to find out where you’re at!

Practice self compassion
Check out Dr. Kristin Neff’s guide to self compassion, embracing ourselves as we are and treating ourselves the way we would treat a good friend. Kristin also has a TED Talk you can watch here.

Simple stress strategies for busy times
Flick through SuperFriend’s Looking After You booklet.

Chat with others about their own self-care practices as a chance to connect
We also asked the frontline workers who are currently experiencing higher stress levels how they support their own mental health. Their top three ways are: spending time with family and friends, taking a lunch break away from their desk and going for a walk outside.

 

This article was featured in our bi-monthly e-Newsletter SuperFriend News which provides practical advice for employers to in creating positive, cohesive and productive environments for all employees.