Mental Well-Being in the Workplace

Importance of Mental Well-Being 

If you are not already aware you need to know that we are operating in a rapidly changing environment. I know…stating the ***k’in obvious. In fact the rate of change is now fast out stripping our ability, as humans, to deal with it. We just can’t keep up any more. Unfortunately in this kind of environment mental well-being is often overlooked in the pursuit of professional, and organisational success. That said, maintaining a healthy mind is crucial for not only overall wellness but productivity and work place performance too. Here I will delve into the importance of mental well-being for employees & employers and provide practical stress management techniques to help achieve a state of balance, or as I like to put it…to Clear Your Head to Get Ahead. 

It’s always worth repeating that one of the key aspects of mental well-being is practicing mindfulness and meditation. I know you have probably heard this before but I wonder, are you doing it? Do you know how to be more mindful or meditate? Are you someone who is a knower, but not a doer? You see, these techniques can help employees stay present in the moment, reduce stress, and improve focus and concentration. By incorporating a mindfulness practice into your daily routine, you can cultivate a sense of inner peace and clarity that will benefit both your personal and professional life. It’s an inner peace that comes from rebalancing your autonomic nervous system (ANS). The chances are that if you are at work, driven by deadlines, high demand and high responsibility you are out of balance, and living in survival mode…or stress. 

While it’s not aways possible to reframe an incident into a learning the use of positive psychology and happiness are useful techniques to help with your mental well-being. Research has shown that cultivating a positive mindset can lead to greater resilience, improved relationships, and increased job satisfaction. This is a technique that needs to be practices and could take a bit of time to establish. It kind of depends where you are starting from. While people with a negatively developed mind set can always find a problem for every solution, by focusing on gratitude, kindness, and optimism, we can all enhance our overall well-being and create a more positive work environment for ourselves and our colleagues. 

And so we come to sleep. Maybe it’s because I am alerted to all the press on sleep, but it seems to me there isn’t a day that goes by that someone, somewhere, isn’t posting a blog or podcast about sleep. It truly is a topic of our time and an important factor in mental well-being, especially sleep hygiene and sleep quality. Adequate rest is essential for cognitive function, emotional regulation, and overall health. By establishing a bedtime routine, creating a comfortable sleep environment, and practicing relaxation techniques before bed, you can enhance your sleep quality and wake up feeling refreshed and rejuvenated. It seems to me though that a worried and anxious mind has difficulty not only getting to sleep in the firsts place but is at the root of a disrupted sleep. The upshot of this is that with this mindset we will wake up sleep deprived and tired. Any who has had a newborn baby in the house, or indeed a kitten or puppy, knows what that feels like. These physical rules breakers through are nothing compared to the thoughts that race through our brain when it should be resting. Just a few nights of disruption can have us in a similar state to having consumed alcohol,, with a “fuzzy head” and reduced condition. Not the best state to be in to offer up our best self in the workplace, where we are more likely to take poor decisions. 

So, what can we do about it? My top tip is to rebalance your nervous system with some Heart Focused Breathing. If you do have some thing on your mind give yourself about 20 minutes before bed to capture all that is bothering your from the day you have just had and what is making you anxious about the days to come. Write them down and get them out of your head. Tell yourself that you have captured all you need to capture and can deal with the list in the morning, leaving your brain to rest, reset and refuel ready of the day ahead. Similarly if you wake in the very small hours of the night with worry on your mind, writ eat down and get it out of your head. I have heard of people writing themselves an email to read the next day. What every works for your works for you but the tip is the same. Get it out of your mind, capture the thought and tell yourself you will deal with it in the morning after you have some good, deep, regenerative sleep.

You will see by now that building resilience and mental strength is also crucial for maintaining mental well-being in the face of challenges and setbacks. By developing coping mechanisms, problem-solving skills, and a positive attitude, employees can navigate stressful situations with greater ease and bounce back from adversity more quickly. Ultimately, prioritising mental well-being is essential for corporate employees to thrive in their careers and lead fulling lives both inside and outside of the workplace. 

Impact of Stress on Mental Health 

Let’s face it, work is hard and stress has become a common companion for many employees. The impact of stress on mental health is profound, affecting not only our productivity at work but also our overall well-being. It is essential for us all to understand how stress can negatively influence our mental health and learn effective strategies to manage and reduce it.

Did you know that one of the most significant impacts of stress on mental health is the development of anxiety and depression. When we are constantly under pressure and overwhelmed with work responsibilities, our mental state can suffer. Anxiety can manifest as constant worry and fear, while depression can lead to feelings of hopelessness and despair. It is crucial for corporate employees to recognise the signs of these mental health issues and seek help when needed. By the way, anxiety is a fear of something yet to happen. It’s a way our brain tricks us in to thinking that it is protecting us and helping us survive by focusing on a future event and all the things that we don’t want to happen. Retrain your brain into recognising the anxiety and then changing all the things you were thinking about that might go wrong and replacing them simply with how it goes right. Focus instead on what you want to happen. Do this and the anxiety has nowhere to go and lifts.

As previously discussed mindfulness and meditation practices have been shown to be effective in reducing stress and improving mental health. If you have never tried it mindfulness and meditation can be daunting to start with but by practicing mindfulness, individuals can learn to be present in the moment and let go of worries about the past or future. This not only helps in the moment but also improves your connectedness to others. Being present for your colleagues will reap so many rewards, from a deep connection, to understanding before replying and becoming more collaborative ie.e less fighting in meetings. Now that has to be a good thing, right? The HeartMath instate has been studying this field for decades and shown that a simple routine of mindful Heart Focused Breathing a few times a day will improve your emotional vitality, sleep and calmness while decrease your anxiety & depression, fatigue and anger. Meditation helps to calm the mind and reduce anxiety, allowing for a greater sense of peace and well-being. Incorporating these practices into daily routines can be a powerful tool for managing stress and promoting mental wellness. 

On top of that positive psychology and happiness play a crucial role in combatting the negative effects of stress on mental health. By virtue of being human we can choose what we put our attention on. It turns out that by focusing on positive emotions, strengths, and accomplishments, we can actually cultivate a more optimistic outlook on life. According to a study by Kelly McGonigal, published in her book The Upside of Stress,  people who do have real belief that life is good tend to live, on average, 10 years more than their negatively minded friends. And of course they are 10 happy, positive, years.  Engaging in activities that bring joy and fulfilment can help counteract the negative impact of stress and promote mental well-being. Corporate employees should make time for hobbies, social connections, and self-care practices to enhance their happiness and resilience. 

Improving sleep quality is another essential aspect of maintaining mental health in the face of stress. Sleep hygiene practices, such as creating a relaxing bedtime routine and ensuring a comfortable sleep environment , can help individuals get the rest they need to recharge and cope with stress. Adequate sleep is vital for cognitive function, mood regulation, and overall mental well-being. By prioritising good sleep habits, corporate workers can better manage stress and protect their mental health. There is a whole chapter on sleep in my book Clear Your Head to Get Ahead, available on line.

Seeking Help and Support 

Seeking help and support is a crucial step in managing stress and preventing burnout in the corporate world. Many employees may feel overwhelmed by the demands of their job and struggle to develop a healthy work-life balance. It is important to recognise when you need help and to reach out to others for support.

One effective way to seek help and support is to talk to a trusted colleague, friend, or family member about your feelings and experiences. Sometimes just having someone to listen can provide a sense of relief and validation. Sharing your struggles with others can also help you gain perspective and new insights into your situation. While this suggestion may not be easy for you. To do, its true too that some managers and leaders struggle to have the conversation with their direct reports. At Inspire Coaching GmbH we do offer the half day workshop for leaders to get to grips with the sometime awkward side of helping employees through their difficult times. If you are a leader, do get in touch now as it is much better to be prepared than struggle when someone needs your help.

Another valuable resource for seeking help and support is to consider working with a mental Our professionals are trained to help individuals navigate through difficult emotions and develop coping strategies for managing stress. Therapy or Coaching can provide a safe space to explore your thoughts and feelings, and it can also offer guidance on how to improve your mental well-being. 

Through our stress management and resilience building packages we offer stress management techniques that can help you seek help and support. Mindfulness and meditation practices, for example, can help you cultivate a sense of calm and presence in the midst of a hectic workday. Positive psychology and happiness exercises can also help shift your mindset towards a more optimistic and resilient outlook. 

It is also important to prioritise your physical well-being when seeking help and support. Improving your sleep hygiene and quality can have a significant impact on your overall mental health. Building resilience and mental strength through regular exercise, healthy eating, and self-care practices can also help you better cope with the pressures of corporate life. Remember, seeking help and support is not a sign of weakness, but a necessary step towards achieving balance and well-being in your life.

Finally, this is a big topic and one that doesn’t show any signs yet of going away all by itself. Speak to us and rest assured that if we can’t help, we do know someone who can.