We hope that you have been inspired by some of our stories – the main message from all of us is the old adage that ‘it’s okay not to be okay’! and that the best thing you can do is talk to someone – anyone. Whether that be a friend, a colleague or a professional. As one of my colleagues explained when I was asking for content for this blog, “mental health should be talked about in the same way as physical health. If you sprained your ankle doing sport then you would talk to your mates about it and go to see a physio; if you have a mental health ‘sprain’ then talk to your mates about it and then go and see a mental health ‘physio’”.
Inzpire’s whole culture, ethos and view on work and life is geared towards helping our employees get the best from all areas of their lives; but people are always going to find some situations stressful and will develop their own methods to keep themselves on track. In a bid to offer support to any of our followers who may be reading and suffering in silence, we have collated some of Inzpire’s best tips for maintaining your mental health both in and away from the workplace..
All of these tips have been written word-for-word by colleagues of mine from across the company.
Put your phone down!
Social media seems to be full of people posting about how amazing their life is, what luxury item they have just bought or what exotic holiday they are going on. Seeing this and comparing it to your life can have a huge impact on your mental health without you realising. People only post the good things they don’t often post the bad.
You may have had to step aside to escape a phone zombie walking around with their head down. Finding the time to switch off from the online world can sooth your soul; instead of spending time walking your fingers up and down a screen, you could walk your legs to meet a friend. Consider taking small steps to curb your online usage. Try to not use your phone at meal times, do you really need to take that photo of your meal? Why not just enjoy every mouthful and be in the moment!
Don’t over-think things
Over-thinking and over-analysing can have an impact on your mental wellbeing; your mind can get carried away with worrying about fictional situations when the truth might be more simple. Trust yourself, as often it’s not as bad as you think.
Yoga can be a great tool to help you control your thoughts, by concentrating on the movements and breath your mind ends up focusing on one thing- keeping your balance!
Be kind – always
Tomorrow is not promised so make the best of every day, keep your head high and be kind to those around you.
There’s an app for that
Headspace (or other wellbeing apps) helped me the most in dealing with past anxiety and coming to terms with what was happening to me.
Put yourself first
People drive themselves because they don’t want to let their team down. If you push yourself to the limit and fall down, you will be away from work and no help to your team for far longer than if you had taken a break. It is often more help to the team for you to take a short break and come back refreshed than it is to drive yourself to a fall. There are few things in life that are truly that important that they can’t wait!
Everyone is different
There is no one-size fits all solution to mental health. Each of us is different and reacts in different ways at different times of our life dependent on loads of factors. Find out what works for you by trying all kinds of things.
Sleep is important
Train your body that when you get into bed, it is time to sleep. Avoid sitting in bed reading or watching TV; it is much better to do those somewhere else so that your body knows that you only get into bed to go to sleep. If you can’t get to sleep, rather than toss and turn, it is much better to get out of bed, go and do something else for a period of time, then get back into bed and try again.
Leave your work at work
Separate your work life and your personal life, especially your connectivity. If you have work chat on your personal phone or smart watch, then you are going to struggle to ever get a break. Have a separate device and accounts for work and personal communication, so that when you are off work, you can truly be offline. Your personal time is your time to live and recharge – protect it. Successful people make diary appointments for themselves and keep them. You wouldn’t cancel an important meeting with a client, so why cancel that important you time? When trying to switch off, if you struggle to empty your head of all the things in it, try filling your head with something else enjoyable that requires your concentration.
And finally, my own personal tips:
Move, move, move!
Anyone who knows me will not be in the least bit shocked to see me advocating an active lifestyle. Moving your body and staying active is, in my opinion, the most under-used prescription in the world. But don’t force yourself to exercise in a way you don’t enjoy – there is a misconception that exercise has to be a hardcore gym session followed by a 5km run, washed down with a shot of whey protein and a raw egg. Find something you enjoy. Don’t feel the pressure to get up at 6am to go to a spin class if you don’t enjoy it. Walk the dog, chase your children around the garden (probably with said dog in tow), join a netball team, go to a dance class, go for a bike ride (and stop off for a pub lunch half way round, obviously), go indoor rock-climbing, take a break from your desk to go for a walk with your colleagues – you can exercise without ever having to step foot in a gym. Turn your laptop off, get outside, get moving and get those endorphins flowing. And don’t bother with the raw eggs – I’d recommend making a cake with them instead.
Don’t stress before it’s happened
Admittedly, I’m pretty bad at this but I am trying to learn not to worry about things that might not even happen, or even if they do aren’t as bad as anticipated. I recently saw a quote about this which really stuck with me: “if you stress too much about something before it happens, you basically put yourself through it twice”. Just let that sink in for a moment…
Don’t be a ‘yes’ person!
Do not feel the need to say yes to everything! Don’t say yes to a social occasion that you don’t really feel like going to just for the sake of not offending those who invited you. If they matter, they will understand. Don’t say yes to every single piece of work that is thrown your way – if you’re at maximum capacity and it is going to lead to you struggling to manage your workload, saying yes will not help you or the person asking you. Don’t say yes to every single person that asks you to do them a favour, just because they don’t want to do it themselves. Learn how to say no!
And don’t forget, there is always someone you can talk to:
SSAFA (Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Families Association) helpline: 0800 731 4880
Combat Stress helpline: 0800 138 1619
RAF Benevolent Fund helpline: 0800 169 2942
MIND Infoline: 0300 123 3393 or text 86463