Top Tips for Maintaining Good Mental Health

mental health
*Collaborative Post

Meeting Your Fundamental Needs

Taking care of our fundamental needs, relevant to survival, is crucial for maintaining good mental health. As employers, it’s essential to recognise these needs and foster a culture that encourages staff to prioritise them.

Firstly, Physical Health is the foundation. When our sleep is poor or limited, we are not getting adequate access to sunlight or opportunities to move our bodies, and our diet is heavy in processed and convenience foods, our brains suffer. Booms and busts in energy such as resulting from caffeine and sugar, can lead to increased heart rate, irritability and feelings of anxiety.

Encouraging employees to maintain a balanced diet, exercise regularly, get regular fresh air and sunlight, and prioritising sleep can all allow employees to put their fundamental needs first. In times of stress or struggling with a large workload, employees may work through lunch, miss meals, rely on caffeine and sugar to get through the day and work extra hours unpaid. All of these can be detrimental to their mental health and ability to perform at work.

Initiatives such as cycle to work schemes, access to fitness facilities, and employee assistance programmes can all employees to normalise prioritising meeting their fundamental needs for their mental health.

Beyond this, employees should feel safe, both physically and psychologically in their workplace. Clear policies and procedures, open communication, and a zero-tolerance approach to bullying and harassment are necessary for safety and predictability.

A sense of belonging in the workplace boosts motivation and productivity, which can be achieved through regular opportunities for recognition and reward. Belonging can also improve self-esteem, which is also important for mental health and wellbeing. Lastly, support your employees to realise and reach their potential through mentorship programmes, opportunities for promotion or continued learning, all within the framework of your business.

Daily Sunlight

The benefits of daily sunlight extend beyond merely brightening our surroundings. Sunlight plays a crucial role in the maintenance of our mental health and wellbeing. As UK employers, it’s crucial to understand and encourage the practice of soaking up some sun each day for the betterment of your team’s mental health.

Sunlight is a natural source of vitamin D, often referred to as the ‘sunshine vitamin.’ Vitamin D aids in the regulation of the mood-enhancing neurotransmitter, serotonin. When your body receives adequate sunlight, serotonin levels increase, leading to improved mood and a calmer, more focused mindset. Lack of vitamin D is strongly linked to depression and mood disorders, including seasonal depression during the winter months. Low levels of vitamin D, such as due to working indoors during the daylight hours, low mood or motivation preventing you from going outside; can all contribute to low mood. Lack of sunlight can therefore be both the cause and the effect of low mood, and increased exposure to sunlight can subsequently both a cause and effect of improved wellbeing.

But how can you incorporate sunlight into your working day? Encouraging employees to take short breaks to step outside can be a great start. Whether it’s a brief walk during lunch or a team meeting held outdoors, these activities can make a significant difference. Remember, it’s not about basking in the sun all day; even 10-15 minutes of sunlight might be sufficient.

Exposure to sunlight during the day also enhances sleep quality by regulating our body’s biological clock, known as the circadian rhythm. Better sleep leads to improved mental health, making sunlight a two-pronged approach to wellbeing.

The more regularly your team access sunlight during their working hours, the better their mental health and subsequent performance in the workplace.

Connect with Others

Building strong, positive relationships has proven to be beneficial for our mental wellbeing. As social creatures, human beings thrive on connection, interaction, and shared experiences. It’s in our nature to strive for connection, particularly in times of stress. For employers in the UK, fostering a supportive workplace environment where strong relationships are encouraged can improve employee wellbeing and productivity.

As an employer, it is important to create opportunities for collaborative working, social interaction, and open communication. Encourage staff members to commit regular time to connect with colleagues, either virtually or in-person, through work or social events, team-building activities, or informal catchups over a cup of tea.

Developing a mentoring programme can also be an excellent method to enhance connectivity in the workplace. Mentoring allows for the sharing of skills, knowledge, and experiences while creating a supportive one-to-one relationship. Engaging in mental health training will also help to develop a holistic knowledge of mental health and the conditions, and treatments, for various conditions.

However, remember, connection isn’t solely about spending time together. It’s about fostering mutual respect and understanding. Create an environment where employees feel safe to express concerns, share ideas, and provide feedback, such as regular check-ins or group supervision. This level of connection can lead to greater trust within teams, a sense of belonging and can significantly improve mental wellbeing.

Furthermore, promoting external networks and support groups can provide additional avenues for your employees to connect with others outside of the workplace. This could be industry-specific groups, hobby clubs, or local community organisations.

In conclusion, encouraging employees to connect with others can have numerous benefits on their mental health. By creating an environment that fosters connection, you are investing in your workforce’s wellbeing, which in turn, can have a positive impact on productivity and business success.

*This is a collaborative post. For further information please refer to my disclosure page.

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One thought on “Top Tips for Maintaining Good Mental Health

  1. I appreciate how the article emphasizes the significance of self-care. It’s often overlooked, but taking time for ourselves is crucial for maintaining good mental health.

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