Balancing Work and Mental Health

In light of Mental Health Awareness Week, both employers and Employees must focus on balancing work with mental well-being. This year’s theme “Movement: moving for our mental health” highlights the positive impact physical activity can have on our mental health. Just 15 minutes of movement a day can significantly improve our mood, reduce anxiety and enhance concentration. Despite movement being a readily available resource, many face barriers such as weather, stress, anxiety, and long-term health conditions. Employers can play a pivotal role in supporting their employees by implementing simple initiatives to provide free or low-cost access to activities.

Look for those little #momentsformovement that causes minimal disruption to the workday but result in dramatic improvements to mental well-being:

Start a walking club

Encourage employees to leave the office once a day for a short walk and a chat.

Provide discounted or free gym memberships

These can also be a great employee benefit to entice new staff!

Cycle to work scheme

Encourage cycling, walking or other forms of transport into work.

Pin simple exercises around the office.

Add printouts of easy low-impact and no equipment stretches or movement exercises to cupboards for employees to follow in those little paused moments such as waiting for kettles to boil or lunches to reheat!

Encourage microbreaks.

Lead by example and encourage your team to take regular breaks to stand up, stretch their legs and walk around. Even just 30 seconds to a few minutes, to move your body or engage in breathing or meditation exercises. These breaks can significantly boost mental well-being.

Prioritise mental health

It’s important to prioritise our mental health. Good mental well-being is not a luxury but a right. In addition to movement, there are other strategies to promote mental well-being for both individuals and employers.

Learn to say no!

You do not have to agree to every task or request that is asked of you at work. Other people in the team can help, it is not all your responsibility.

Avoid presenteeism

Research shows that presenteeism negatively affects mental and physical health and productivity levels at work. Take sick days when needed to rest and recover promptly, benefiting both your health and work performance.

Unplug from work

Avoid taking your work home with you to maintain a clear boundary between work and your personal life. Close emails, applications and diary at the end of the workday, leaving a to-do list for tomorrow. This separation creates time for friends, family and hobbies.

Mental Health Awareness Week serves as a timely reminder of the importance of prioritising mental well-being in the workplace. By incorporating movement into our daily routines and implementing supportive strategies, both employers and employees can foster a healthier and more productive work environment.


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