Mental Health Awareness Week took place 8-14th May but although this initiative has ended, the quest to bring mental health to the forefront is just as current as the all the commotion around the elections!
Employers up and down the country are continuously seeking ways in which to raise the awareness within their businesses and reduce the stigma by putting on various activities. But what about us, the employee, entrepreneurs, the people in between jobs and the self-employed? What can we do to contribute to this great initiative to get people talking about mental health? Because we suffer too.
A study conducted in 2015 by Dr. Michael Freeman at the University of California San Francisco found that 49% of those who start company say they have struggled with some form of mental illness in the past. 32% say they have a lifetime illness.
When we leave the confines of the security of employment where we are surrounded by colleagues,
Here are a few things you can consider which will not only help remove the stigma around mental illness but will most certainly improve your own well-being.
Social relationships are vital for promoting wellbeing. No man is an island and there may well be someone in your circle of friends who could do with your support and just find it hard to ask. I understand we are living in a world where to meet up for a quick coffee takes almost 3 weeks to arrange and you need to book time in a friend’s scheduler but
- Arrange face to face or even telephone conversations instead of sending an email, What’s App or Facebook message. Take an hour a week to socialise
- Organise a catch up with a group of friends (maybe use the Time to Talk Pub Quiz to dispel some myths about mental health
Regular physical activity is known to improve mental health and reduce rates of depression and anxiety across all age groups. It doesn’t need to be a full work out for you to feel good. Here are a few ideas to try:
- Once a week, take a walking lunch by yourself or with a friend
- If you are at work, take the stairs instead of the lift and if you are working at home, take a walk around the block
- Book a yoga class or some other type of low energy physical activity.
Living in the moment and taking notice enhances wellbeing. Heightened awareness enhances self-understanding and allows us to make positive choices based on our own values and motivations. Activities to think about:
- Have a ‘clear your clutter’ day. This may include clearing unwanted items in your home, your working area or in your personal life
- Use meditation and mindfulness apps like Headspace and Calm
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 wellbeing.
- Card drop – send a friend a card, this will open up conversations as well as being a welcome surprise
- Seek ways in which you could take part in volunteering and community activities.
- Make an organisational pledge to end mental health stigma
Put YOU first
It is totally understandable that you have to work every hour to keep your business afloat, because after all you are the marketer, PR, Accountant, Social media expert! But all of this can cause serious exhaustion. Learning to say NO is the first step to putting you first.
Take time out to do something unrelated to work and watch your productivity levels increase…….
……With regards to productivity levels, here is a list of a few hacks to raise your productivity so you feel less bad when you are taking time out to meet up with friends, being active, and putting you first.
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Buffer / Hootsuite
One of the best tolls for repost those great Instagram posts is Repost – it’s the equivalent of you being able to share or retweet on Facebook and Twitter (but using the Instagram platform) and it is available on Android and iPhone ioS too http://repostapp.com/
If like me, you are super organised, you’ll love Trello.com to help you keep track of everything https://trello.com/ it is quite easy to use and totally free. Another alternative is
Dragon is a Dictation services and more, available for ioS and Android. Like a personal assistant, but built into your phone, Dragon will help you record your notes verbally and transcribe them, then you can send them straight to your email for editing.
Full of ideas? Take notes, save content that you find on website, share notes with friends and comment on useful articles. Evernote is a useful note-taking app https://www.evernote.com/