Tips to self-manage mental wellbeing

Mental health trainer, Lou O’Connell, treated our employees to another educational session focused on self-managing mental wellbeing during and beyond the pandemic. With the distinction between work and home life becoming increasingly blurred, our capacity to look after ourselves and each other is more important than ever, and the tips and techniques shared below are a great place to start.

Lou kicked off the session with an exercise that encouraged us to reflect on the challenges and failures we’ve both experienced and overcome, from failing a driving test to living through a global pandemic. It reminded us that we have survived 100% of our worst days, and to keep going when times are tough.

We then discovered the ‘wheel of life’; a simple yet powerful tool for visualising the core pillars of our lives to assess what is going well and what requires extra attention. By rating out of 10 how we feel about our relationships, career, health, finances, and spirituality, to name a few, we can identity and address the wonks in our wheel, breaking down an overwhelming sense of lowness or anxiety into manageable chunks.

In a thought-provoking Q&A, Lou gave solutions to the worries on our minds.

When discussing the best use of our companywide Wednesday Wellness Hour, we were urged to switch off from technology, make a plan or goal for that time, and look after ourselves in the ways that work for us as individuals, whether that’s tidying our workspace or completing a puzzle.

For those wondering how to create boundaries and avoid feeling guilty when stepping away from the laptop, Lou recommended putting ourselves first, remembering we’re irreplaceable to those close to us, and benefitting from our Employee Assistance Programme.

For senior members of staff who asked how to look after themselves while supporting a team, they were encouraged to prioritise their own mental wellbeing in order to make themselves more available to those around them. After all, you can’t fill from an empty cup.

The readjustment to commuting and office working proved to be another hot topic, with many employees seeking coping mechanisms as lockdown restrictions start to ease. Lou suggested that we are kind to ourselves and each other by acknowledging the upcoming transition period, take small steps, and make a list of what we’ve learned from the last 12 months, as well as what we can take forward.

Regarding overcoming difficulties with sleep, it was advised that we tackle the reason why we’re not sleeping before opting for short-term solutions such as sleeping pills. From guided meditation apps and audiobooks, to avoiding blue light and setting a time to go to bed, there are an array of techniques that can instigate a good night’s sleep. Ultimately, the key is to give ourselves permission to let go of the stress of the day; making notes during the night can help with postponing disruptive worries until the morning, while physical tiredness from an evening of exercise can help our brain switch off too.

Endless aspects of our personal and working lives have been impacted by the pandemic, so it’s more beneficial than ever to control the controllable, put ourselves first, and seek professional support when needed.

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