Working Transitions

Wellbeing in the workplace

Mental Health is a key issue in our society. It is claimed that around two-thirds of us will experience mental health problems at some point during our lifetime. Increased knowledge and understanding can only be a good thing but there are also downsides – including the ‘medicalisation’ of society with very little effective, practical help available.

 

Defining Mental Health

Just like physical health, mental health is a desirable attribute to have.  Also termed  ‘emotional health ‘or ‘emotional wellbeing’,  generally it refers to coping with the stresses and strains of day to day life, healthy relationships with family and friends,  playing a part in your community, and being resilient enough to develop your potential despite life’s ups and downs.

It is understood that many mental health issues are underpinned by anxiety and stress - there is increasing research to show that inflammation is at the root of most health issues whether physical, mental or spiritual.

Stress

The term ‘stress’ comes from the Latin word ‘to draw tight’.  In itself, it is not a bad thing - stress is actually extremely useful.  Our hunter-gatherer ancestors used it to their advantage when faced with sabre toothed tigers in their sleeping quarters.  In modern society, stress continues to play a useful part - if we didn't experience stress about project deadlines, we probably wouldn’t end up doing very much to ensure their timely completion.

Stress keeps us accountable for our actions. It motivates us and inspires us to be better citizens – both at work and home.

However, when stress becomes prolonged, chronic or major, it can become extremely taxing on the brain and the body, possibly leading to depression and other mental health consequences, as well as physical health issues.  Cortisol which is part of the fight, flight, freeze process is designed for our survival in the immediate moment but will turn against us to cause damage where ongoing chronic stress from challenging circumstances wears us down.

So, what can be done practically?  What should an organisation who puts a high value on their staff look to put in place to support their mental health? There are more and more organisations who subscribe to the importance of wellbeing -  a happy and healthy employee will make a greater contribution to an organisation.

Penny Moon is Director of ‘A Quiet Place’.  Their vision is to support wellbeing through a holistic range of therapeutic interventions personalised for all ages and abilities.  ‘A Quiet Place’ believes that anxiety underpins nearly all human issues and is the body’s physiological response to stress. Thus, learning how to understand the process with simple techniques that empower the individual to manage their own anxiety is the first step to dealing with whatever other issues may arise.

Penny strongly believes that a happy workplace is a more productive workplace.  “Stress-related problems within the workplace are a common theme, ranging from personal reasons right through to the current economic climate. The likes of high absenteeism, unproductive or unmotivated staff and even the development of mental problems can be effectively prevented by implementing a healthy and vigorous staff welfare policy”.

At the very least, baseline support systems should be in place with coaching and mentoring for careers and potential change including retirement.

Some individuals  - perhaps those whose resilience levels are low – may need additional support. For those, there are certain interventions that can be extremely useful in supporting wellbeing.  ‘A Quiet Place’ has  various levels of support including:

Level 1 -   ‘A Quiet Place’  has developed a series of resources that can be accessed directly and confidentially by the individual – these may include relaxations to reduce anxiety and visualisations to help with general or specific issues  - for example, sleep which is commonly affected by stress .

Level 2 - The next level of support is the training of a ‘champion’ within the organisation to deliver and lead simple relaxation groups with Mindfulness or meditation.

 Level 3  - One to one sessions.  To be really effective and to encourage sustainable change, 6 sessions of at least 50 minutes each are recommended.

 

http://www.networkofwellbeing.org/files/uploads/site-files/5_ways_postcard2.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lynne Hardman, Working Transitions:  “ Our clients are increasingly recognising the value of wellbeing in the workplace.  We are delighted to be working with ‘A Quiet Place’ to offer interventions to support this.

We believe that it is important for managers to recognise the signs and symptoms of work related stress and provide the relevant support. Providing training to managers on the causes and consequences of stress, how to recognise the warning signs and what managers can do to help alleviate job related stress can help ensure that cases of excessive stress are identified and the necessary interventions area triggered.

Leaders and Managers at all levels should be aware of the impact of leadership style on employee’s stress levels. Building a coaching culture within your organisation can encourage openness, honesty and can help to ‘nip problems in the bud’. Regular, two-way conversations around work levels, as well as ensuring that individuals are properly trained and supported in their role, can reduce stress in the workplace considerably as well as enhancing morale and performance”

To find out how Working Transitions can support your organisation call us on 01604 744101 or visit our website www.workingtransitions.com.

 

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Author
Working Transitions
Date
08 June 2018
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