Work stresses may be minor or major, but they can easily build up.
In the spirit of Bristol’s Five a day wellness campaign, Milestones Trust’s assistant director of mental health Beth Hendry, has put together a list of top tips to help people combat anxiety in the workplace – where, like it or not, most of us spend a huge portion of our time.
Soldiering on may be the traditional British way, but Hendry understands from first-hand experience that it is not always the right way, and says that being aware of your own and your colleagues’ well-being can make a big difference.
Hendry’s top tips:
Feeling close and valued by other people is a basic human need and one that contributes to feeling well. Social relationships are important for promoting well-being and for acting as a buffer against mental ill health for people of all ages.
Make a connection at work by:
- Talking to someone instead of sending an email.
- Speaking to someone new.
- Asking how someone’s weekend was and really listening when they tell you.
- Putting five minutes aside to find out how someone really is.
- Giving a colleague a lift to work or share the journey home with them.
Regular physical activity is associated with lower rates of depression and anxiety across all age groups. Just going for a walk can be beneficial.
Get active at work by:
- Taking the stairs not the lift.
- Going for a walk at lunchtime.
- Walking into work – perhaps with a colleague – so you can connect as well.
- Getting off the bus one stop earlier and walking the final part of your journey.
- Organising a work sporting activity.
- Walking to someone’s desk instead of calling or emailing.
Studies have shown that being aware of what is taking place in the present directly enhances your well-being and savouring the moment can help to reaffirm your life priorities.
Take time to notice and enjoy your work environment by:
- Getting a plant for your workspace.
- Having a ‘clear the clutter’ day.
- Taking notice of how your colleagues are feeling or acting.
- Taking a different route on your journey to or from work.
- Visiting a new place for lunch.
Continued learning through life enhances self-esteem and encourages social interaction and a more active life. Setting goals, which is related to adult learning in particular, has been strongly associated with higher levels of well-being.
Every day’s a school day, even in the workplace! You can learn by:
- Finding out something about your colleagues.
- Signing up for a class.
- Reading the news or a book.
- Setting up a book club.
- Doing a crossword or Sudoku.
- Researching something you’ve always wondered about.
- Learning a new word.
Research into actions for promoting happiness has shown that committing an act of kindness once a week over a six-week period is associated with an increase in well-being.
- Show your colleagues you’re thinking of them by:
- Making them a cup of tea or coffee when they get in.
- Leaving a flower or biscuit on their desk.
- Sticking a post-it note to their computer with a positive message on.
- Giving positive feedback when they’ve done some great work.
Milestones Trust is a Bristol-based charity that supports people with learning disabilities, mental health needs and dementia.