Maximize Your Work-Life Balance and Minimize Stress with These Expert Tips

Stress, depression, and anxiety have become an all-too-common issue in the workplace, with a staggering 914,000 UK workers suffering from work-related mental health problems, according to the Health and Safety Executive (1). Now, experts at Safety First Aid Group’s FirstAid.co.uk are sharing top tips on how to improve your mental health at work.

– At work, women experience stress more frequently than men. Women in the UK say they feel stressed approximately ten days each month, whereas men say they experience stress for an average of seven days a month (2).

– With 51% of all work-related illness cases and 55% of workdays lost being attributed to these issues, it’s more important than ever to prioritize your mental health at work.

“Mental and physical health are connected and equally important components of overall health. For example, depression and anxiety can increase the risk of a multitude of serious physical health issues including heart disease, diabetes and stroke. It works vice versa as well, as chronic physical illnesses can increase the risk of mental illnesses such as depression.” Says Mike Thakoordin, MHFA Instructor and Suicide First Aid Associate with FirstAid.co.uk and Safety First Aid Group.

Mental health first aid is the first step towards giving a friend, family member or co-worker the support they need to overcome any difficulties they may be experiencing.

“Mental health first aid in the workplace is beneficial to both business and employee, and is crucial to a functional, efficient and happy workplace,” says FirstAid.co.uk’s Jo Stokes. “Support from colleagues and senior management is vital in helping individuals overcome mental illnesses, and mental health first aid gives employers and employees the knowledge they need to respond to someone in a moment of need.”

Your employer should have mental health support and resources available for you, but it can be difficult to know what to ask for. You can follow these actionable tips to improve your mental health at work:

#1 Take off the pressure
The first step is to communicate. Sometimes, just talking through your worries or task list can help you to see a way of managing them, or can give you a fresh perspective to help you cope. Talking to someone who might be able to take a task off your hands – a line manager, family member or friend – can give you that bit of breathing space to allow you to complete all of your work to the standard that you want.

#2 – Talk to your workplace mental health first aider
When dealing with stress or anxiety at work, it can be very helpful to chat to your mental health first aider. Many workplaces in the UK will have a designated colleague who has trained to take up this role, but if your workplace does not have this, you can consider asking your employer about it. You could even ask if you could go on a Mental Health First Aiders Course (3) yourself, if you are in a position to help others when they are in need.

#3 – Take enough time to unwind
Workplace stress has a nasty habit of seeping into your personal life. As impossible as it may sound, it is vital to take time away from work and focus on activities that make you feel happy and rested. From meditation to exercise, or watching a film with friends, make sure to schedule in time for yourself!

#4 – Request easy-to-find resources
Ask your employer whether they have mental health first aid resources for you, from self-help advice to links to professional mental health support. They may also have mental health first aid guidance in your workplace such as on a poster, leaflet, or guidance cards, which aim to empower colleagues to help those around them (4).

For information on how to recognise stress in the workplace, and advice on dealing with stress, visit FirstAid’s Stress In The Workplace page: https://www.firstaid.co.uk/stress-in-the-workplace-how-to-recognise-it-and-how-to-help-/

Other useful resources
How to use communication skills to manage stress: https://www.stress.org/using-key-communication-skills-to-manage-stress
Signs that someone is experiencing poor mental health at work: https://www.bupa.co.uk/health-information/workplace-mental-health/signs-poor-mh
Guidance for employers on supporting staff who are experiencing a mental health problem: https://www.mind.org.uk/media-a/4661/resource4.pdf
Information about NHS mental health services: https://www.nhs.uk/nhs-services/mental-health-services/
Samaritans support helpline: Call 116 123, or email [email protected] for a reply within 24 hours. Website: https://www.samaritans.org/
SANE support helpline: 0300 304 7000 (4:30pm – 10:30pm every evening). Website: https://www.sane.org.uk/

Sources
(1) https://www.hse.gov.uk/statistics/index.htm
(2) https://www.ciphr.com/workplace-stress-statistics/
(3) https://www.firstaidtraining.co.uk/courses/mental-health-first-aiders-course-2-day/
(4) https://www.firstaid.co.uk/posters/mental-health-first-aid-postera661/ https://www.firstaid.co.uk/health-safety/mental-health-first-aid-leaflet/ https://www.firstaid.co.uk/health-safety/mental-health-guidance-card/

About Lisa Baker, Editor, Wellbeing News 4428 Articles
Editor Lisa Baker is passionate about the benefits of a holistic approach to healing. Lisa is a qualified Vibrational Therapist and has qualifications in Auricular Therapy, Massage, Kinesiology, Crystal Healing, Seichem and is a Reiki Master.