Focus on the Mental Health of your Employees
In 2021, more HR departments will need to develop long-term strategies for providing employees with mental health resources
The pandemic has forced businesses to adopt remote work, and it is only now starting to show us the the impact on Employees, that never had a choice in all of this.
Managers and business owners are focused on delivery, they are affect as well, but not as much as the first line defenders… the overall work force that are now stranded at home, in a isolated and lonely world.
So how big is this impact?
Two studies found the following:
- Qualtrics report found that the prolonged impact of COVID-required working from home (WFH) has an increasingly pervasive effect on our mental health – 41.6% of respondents report mental health decline since the COVID-19 outbreak
- Home working is having an impact on people’s mental health, with 67% saying they felt less connected to their colleagues and 56% saying they found it harder to switch off. However only a third of respondents had been offered support with their mental health (34%) from their employer.
What can be done to help my Employees?
Below is a list of 8 things you can focus on to guide and help your Employees deal with the affects of the isolation on their mental health during the pandemic.
1. Continue to plan practical things:
By prioritizing your own needs, you will have the confidence to be able to be there for others too. It may feel overwhelming not knowing what to do and when to do it, which means your first instinct can be to quit and not do anything. Reassess your needs so that you feel in control of what you need to feel safe and well.
2. Stay connected with others:
Expressions of friendship helps us feel more positive thanks to the release of the hormone oxytocin, which studies have linked to social bonding. Staying connected to people doesn’t just give you something to occupy your time with but can make you feel positive. If even the thought of setting up yet another video call is exhausting, remember that exchanging text messages or voice notes with people who are close to you can make you feel connected.
3. Talk about your worries:
If you are feeling helpless and anxious right now, remember that many others feel the same way. The pandemic has changed life for all of us and talking about any concerns can help you feel more relaxed – it may also help a friend to realise that they’re not alone in their mental struggles.
There’s no need for anyone to think it’s a sign of weakness to admit that they’re not feeling as capable as usual. Asking a friend what they do when their pandemic anxiety becomes too much can start an honest and comforting conversation. If you can’t talk to anyone you know, there are helplines you can contact for support.
4. Look after your body:
This one can be particularly difficult during times of stress or sadness, when it’s easy to reach for a comforting snack or drink. Alcohol can make some people feel good in the short term and seem like a quick fix to an emotional problem, but it will down your mood. During the colder months it’s less appealing to head outside for exercise, but the mental benefits do make it worthwhile – so don’t forget that you can always exercise indoors, or if you’re heading out do remember to maintain social distancing.
5. Stay on top of your difficult feelings:
Anxiety over the pandemic is natural, but if your worries are having an impact on your daily life and you feel unable to manage them, advice is available in your area with support lines. A Google search will quickly give you a few options.
Be honest with yourself about how you’re feeling, and try to note down (physically note down, even if it feels strange) what makes you feel particularly worse or better. Just acknowledging your triggers and comforters can help you begin to start to manage your mental wellbeing.
6. Carry on doing things that you enjoy:
The new lockdown rules may have impacted some hobbies that you took part in previously but making the effort to try something new can be hugely beneficial to your mental health. Painting, reading, or even setting a TV or film challenge with friends, like a Book review club. Talking to friends make you feel part of something bigger. There’s no harm in giving it a go.
7. Take time to relax:
During this pandemic, it’s important to incorporate time in each day to do some form of relaxation. This could be anything from baking, having a bath or exercising. This can help to lower our levels of general anxiety because by doing positive things for ourselves. By doing this consistently the mind becomes calmer because the focus is on relaxation and not the stressful issues.
8. Get good-quality sleep:
Sleep is important for not only physical health but emotional regulation also, not getting enough sleep can lead to feelings of emotional vulnerability, anxiety, and tension, as well as difficulties with concentration. There are different sleep techniques that can work for our individual problems, as well as a growing number of apps that could be worth giving a try.
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