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Promoting Mental Wellness In the Workplace (for yourself or your employees)

Lifestyle Medicine Week: Day 2, Workplace Wellness

How common are mental health conditions and high stress levels in the workplace? Eighteen percent (18%) of the adult population reported a mental illness in 2016; 71% of adults reported at least one symptom of stress. Pre-COVID statistics from the CDC report that 63% of Americans are part of the US workforce. Mental health concerns in the workplace can result in absenteeism, negative impact on productivity and profits, increased costs to deal with the issue, and adverse effects on employee morale. A 1995 study noted that some types of jobs, such as secretaries, teachers, managers, and healthcare workers, can have higher levels of stress than others. It would be advantageous to plan strategies to take care of yourself and your staff in the workplace and also identify ways to address, prevent, and minimize stressors and other risk factors for mental health conditions.

Stress Management

 

Therapistaid.com offers a nice chart illustrating different signs, symptoms, and characteristics of stress. It may be useful to keep this chart handy for personal reference or to share with others when talking about stress.

If you find that your stress or others’ stress is high and affecting physical wellness, work performance, or spilling out into other areas of life, see if there are adjustments that can be made. One option is to focus in on intentional self-care and building in protective factors against stress. For example, work on developing social support, emotional coping, physical health, identifying a sense of purpose and meaning in life, building self-esteem, and promoting healthy thinking behaviors. When under stress, the activities and behaviors that make us happy and help us to self-guard against illness and burnout are usually the first to stop.

 

General Tips to Promote Workplace Wellness

  1. Spend some time to clarify the specific concerns, issues, patterns, team dynamics, etc. that are the source of stress. If there are multiple sources, what kind of change would be the most helpful or perhaps most easiest to execute? Set a goal or timeline to put your plan in motion.
  2. Incorporate mindfulness strategies or gentle stretches into your day. If you are short on time, how about doing it while you are waiting for your computer to bootup, during the last 10 minutes of your lunch break, or during a conference call (if possible)?
  3. Find support or accountability. It can be helpful to ask others how they handle specific workplace stressors and relationship challenges. You might also share that you would like to begin a new self-care habit and ask for accountability. Self-disclosures can be tricky, especially in certain settings such as the workplace. I like to think of self-disclosures as peeling back the layers of an onion. Some disclosures can be near the surface, whereas others can be more personal (and deeper) as appropriate, and there can be varying degrees of intimacy in the type of sharing over time.

In Mental well-being at the workplace, Rjgopal offers general solutions for the 6 most common types of work-related stressors.For a different angle, Morin offers great suggestions for managers and leaders on promoting workplace wellness (The Boss’ Guide to Creating a Mentally Healthy Workplace). For more individualized support and help with solutions, consulting with a psychologist or therapist is recommended.

#LMWeek #Lifestylemedicine #wellness #stress #selfcare

<3 Be well !

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