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Mental Health in Business during a Pandemic

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By Alison McDowall, Co-Founder of The Positive Planner

Businesses have been turning their focus to the mental health and wellbeing of their employees since the pandemic took hold of the UK in March. It’s been an eye opening year for so many and managing our own emotional health has become a big priority. With everyone sailing in the same boat but weathering very different storms there has certainly been a secondary pandemic concerning the mental health crisis we face in this country.

According to Mind Charity over 60% of Adults said their Mental Health worsened in Lock down. With many that already suffered with their Mental Health reporting a decline its never been more important to look after ourselves.

Unfortunately looking forward right now feels bleak to say the least and many of us that thought this would be over by now are beginning to lose our sense of resilience. Our place of work is not just agendas, meetings and getting things done. For many of us our workplaces are the closest thing to a collective community that we have. A body of people all working towards the same outcome. Our Mental Health plays such a vital part in our productivity and so it’s in the best interest of leaders and managers to create an effective pastoral care system that allows mental and emotional wellbeing to be just as prevalent as physical health.

So what CAN we do to improve wellbeing in the workplace when facing more lockdown measures?

Positive Daily rituals are a great way to bookend the day and increase feelings of positivity.

These are all free and easy ways to keep healthy both physically and emotionally and don’t require huge amounts of time, just the intention to do them consistently. In times like these, it really is all about going back to basics that helps us manage our emotional wellbeing day by day. The simplest acts of kindness to our mind, bodies and souls such as drinking plenty of water, eating well and stepping back from the desk will actually improve concentration and productivity in the long run.

Breaking it down to avoid overwhelm. Be mindful with your time, schedule your day hour by hour to help you feel in control. This can really help with managing ‘the fog’ which can descend on us when things get too much and we aren’t sure which job takes priority. Writing it all down and making lists can be a fantastic way to feel like you can action all the things that need to be done.

Movement is a great way to get the levels of Serotonin up and improve concentration and energy levels through out the day. Getting outside for a short walk will help you arrive at your desk with a sense of purpose and more vitality. Being outdoors and getting that dose of Vitamin D will really help keep moods lifted in the darker winter months too.

Writing your thoughts and feelings down on a daily basis is an effective way of keeping track of your moods and concerns. Encouraging as much self awareness as possibly in these times is key to how we find the help we need or take the action required. Gratitude lists are also a great way to start and finish the day and help us to keep in the good stuff at forefront of our minds.

Mediation to break the cycle. Taking time to breathe is a powerful way to stay grounded, process whats happening and activate the rational side of the brain. Maybe a group initiative or encouraging the use of a meditation app could be a wonderful way of inserting some organised calm in to your working day. We suggest a good stretch too so maybe finding a local yoga instructor to lead Zoom classes could be a good way to kickstart the day. It can be as little as 15 minutes of mindfulness that can have such a positive impact on the mind.

Encourage Creativity. Of course this looks different for everyone, it’s all about finding something that captures the imagination. Making time for a project that is a creative outlet for you can actually help to make sense of all the plates we have spinning at one time. Something repetitive or rhythmic will help unwind the mind and in turn release stress.

Here at the Positive Planner we are passionate about helping people stay healthy in mind and body and now more than ever want to empower people to take control of the things they can put in place to remain hopeful and emotionally stable. We all need to work towards being more supportive, flexible and resilient. Sometime positivity doesn’t come naturally, so we need to work a little bit harder for it.

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