Mental Health In The Workplace

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This was a guest blog did I for Sunshine Coast Health and Fitness, but I think talking about mental health in the workplace can only be a good thing! According to Heads Up, mental health costs Australian workplaces over $10 billion dollars every year in lost productivity. A report by Price Waterhouse Coopers ( https://www.headsup.org.au/healthy-workplaces/why-it-matters), found that for every dollar invested into mental health initiatives, there is an average return of $2.30. The research is clear – mental health in the workplace matters and we need to start talking.

A good place to start the discussion, is workplace stress. Some level of stress in the workplace is expected and understandable; with the correct support, this can be managed in a healthy manner. The research is showing that workplace stress is reaching critical levels and not only affecting our productivity at work but disrupting our personal lives also. In 2018, we are accustomed to feeling stressed all the time; we experience the symptoms such as sleeping problems, fatigue, muscle tension, our minds racing and thinking negatively (just to name a few) and we accept this as the norm.

However, if these symptoms are occurring because of working long hours or excessive overtime, not receiving support from your manager, job insecurity, bullying, conflict with co-workers or discrimination in the workplace – it could be having a serious affect on your mental health.

To be able to combat any kind of stress, including that in the workplace – you need to identify it and then find appropriate strategies. For some of the above situations you will need to find support in your workplace; speak to HR and advocate for your rights.

There are also things you can do on a personal level to manage workplace stress and other stresses you may be experiencing. Taking your lunch breaks, using your holiday leave and setting realistic deadlines, seem very simple – but they can have a real impact on your health. Your physical health is also something to be aware of; Are you exercising? Are you getting a decent amount of sleep and feeding your body the fuel it needs? If you are processing additional stress, your body needs to be running at its best.

Apps such as headspace, Calm, Recharge (and many more) are designed to make meditation and looking after yourself an easy activity to do on your phone. Taking 5 minutes in the morning to have a cup of coffee. Having a bath. Reading your favourite book or listening to music – can have a marked improvement on your mood and ability to handle stress.

One of the most important things you can do to guard against any kind of stress is to create and engage with a support network. It can be family, friends, church group, sporting team, online gaming community, online forums – wherever you feel safe and supported is a good place.

Stress and stress in the workplace, can quickly become your norm. It so important to look after your physical and mental health so you can perform well at work and have the headspace to participate in your life! For more information you can visit www.headspace.org.au or www.thewholisticbeing.com.au for mental health workshops for the workplace.

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