Despite the increasing awareness of the issue of mental health at work over the last few years, recent research shows that many UK workers are still suffering. According to statistics from the Health and Safety Executive, more than half (57 percent) of all the working days lost in the UK every year are the result of stress, anxiety and depression. However, despite how commonplace mental health challenges are, the vast majority of workers are suffering in silence.
In this article, we’ll look at the latest statistics that reveal the extent of the problem and share a few simple self-care tips that can help to improve mental health at work.
Workers are reluctant to discuss mental health challenges
Recent research by Babylon Health explored the stigma surrounding mental health at work. It found that 79 percent of the 2,000 UK respondents would not feel comfortable talking to their employers about their mental health. Perhaps that reluctance is not surprising given that 72 percent said that mental health was not discussed enough in their workplace.
More troubling still was the 57 percent of respondents who said they felt that mental health was stigmatised in their workplace. Given that perceived stigma, it’s perhaps not surprising that only 25 percent of the respondents said they’d feel comfortable discussing their mental health with a colleague.
When asked what factors detrimentally impacted their mental health, ‘workplace pressures’ (45 percent) was second only to ‘personal relationships’ (49 percent), while a ‘poor work-life balance’ also featured high on the list.
Self-care tips to improve mental health at work
Given the lack of support on offer in many workplaces, everyone should arm themselves with a few simple strategies to help to protect their mental health at work.
Follow these self-care tips to help improve your mental health at work:
1. Take regular breaks
At some workplaces, there may be a culture where workers are encouraged or even expected to work through their breaks. However, your mental health should be your priority. Taking small, regular breaks throughout the day and eating lunch away from your desk can benefit your mental health and improve your productivity. If your employer doesn’t get it, perhaps it’s time to find one that does.
2. Make time for exercise
Regular exercise has been proven to decrease feelings of anxiety, stress and depression, increase the production of endorphins and improve your mood. During a busy working week, it can be difficult to fit in exercise sessions, but taking advantage of cycle-to-work schemes, subsidised gym memberships and workplace yoga sessions can help.
3. Talk to someone
If you’re facing unrealistic goals and deadlines, a workload that’s spiralling out of control or a pressurised working environment that’s affecting your mental health, you must talk to someone. Opening up to a supervisor, HR manager or trusted colleague is a very important first step.
4. Make yourself comfortable
Making yourself comfortable is a small and simple step you can take to improve your sense of wellbeing at work. Preparing healthy food, taking a hot water bottle if you’re cold, making yourself a flask of tea or hot chocolate and getting plenty of sleep can all have a positive impact on how you feel.
Is it time to prioritise your mental health?
Are you ready for a change? At Linguistica Recruitment, we have a range of bilingual job opportunities across the south of England. Take a look at our vacancies, send us your CV or call 02392 987 765 to discuss your requirements with our team.