Creating a Culture of Wellness
When we are involved in meaningful and authentically linked work with our beliefs and objectives, job happiness and longevity increase, as do overall mental health and self-esteem. Assist people in developing a feeling of purpose and autonomy in their work and professional lives. Create a collaborative environment in which employees can share their ideas, collaborate with colleague mentors, and promote others' professional development. Provide continual learning opportunities in areas of employee interest. Additionally, show employees how their activities contribute to the company's bigger aims, beliefs, and global effect.
Time Spent Outside
Relaxes the central nervous system, decreases anxiety, and triggers the production of "feel-good hormones" such as dopamine and adrenaline, which can help fight depression. Consider providing attractive outdoor locations where employees can go for breaks or solo or small group work sessions. Build walking pathways if you have adequate property; the mix of fresh air, sunlight, and exercise is the mental health Holy Grail. Create an incentive scheme to entice staff to go for a local walk during their breaks if you're a small business without land or financial resources or if your employees work remotely.
A Healthy Work-Life Balance
Decreases stress, increases positive work engagement, and allows for sleep, which is essential for good health. The amygdala, a region of the brain that regulates mood and emotion, may not operate effectively when we are sleep deprived, making us subject to despair and anxiety. Late-night work hours, especially those involving screen time, disrupt our natural circadian rhythm by inhibiting melatonin production and replacing it with adrenaline and cortisol.
Also examine your cultural expectations. Is there an unspoken or explicit expectation that staff reacts to messages or emails at all hours of the day or night? Are people rewarded for working longer hours and putting work above family, recreation, and sleep, either implicitly or explicitly? Employers may view increased short-term employee productivity as a positive. However, maintaining mental health—and the financial and productivity benefits that come with it—is a marathon, not a sprint. So, whenever possible, create a culture of daily balance, and provide enough vacation time and PTO to ensure long-term balance. Finally, evaluate your own behaviors; actions speak louder than words, and leaders' behavior sets the tone. Demonstrate that balance is valued, rewarded, and regarded best practice from the top down.
Connection is Preferable to Isolation
Support is preferable to humiliation, and knowledge is preferable to ignorance. Many people are afraid of being criticized or perhaps professionally penalized if they freely discuss their problems. When mental health issues are hidden, they worsen, and remedies become much more difficult to find. As a result, it's vital to minimize mental health stigma in your workplace. Companies, large and small, are discovering that discussing mental health openly pays off. Provide expert-led workshops and seminars and opportunities to share their personal experiences. Top-down modeling is also helpful in this case.
Employees feel encouraged to disclose their mental health issues and accomplishments when their leaders do so. We thrive on relying on one another and knowing that we are not alone. Normalize mental health issues by creating programs that allow people to talk about their personal experiences. Not only will emotional pain be reduced, but so will creativity, productivity, longevity, and organizational loyalty. There are a variety of readily available, innovative resources you can use to publicly highlight and de-stigmatize mental health—some are more general, while others are targeted at specific groups, such as BIPOC personnel in the workplace. There are many solutions available, and you may locate resources that meet the demands of your company and, most importantly, your employees.
1 Psychology Today, 5 Jun 2021, Lindsay B. Jernigan PhD., The Mental Health Crisis: A ToolKit for Business Leaders, Accessed 31 Jan 2022, https://www.psychologytoday.com/intl/blog/license-shine/202106/the-mental-health-crisis-toolkit-business-leaders
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