Mental health is oftentimes a prickly topic of conversation. Couched in stigma and societal pressure, people don’t traditionally feel comfortable discussing their mental health with others. We are all of course free to decide what we do and do not share, but as we move towards a more accepting society, the evidence is clear, talking about our mental health only makes things better for everyone.
With that in mind, we wanted to kickstart the conversation by sharing how we at Rela8 Group approach our mental health, manage stress, and avoid burn out.
Staying on top of ourselves. We asked our team how they manage the pressure…
We, like a lot of people, work in a high-pressure industry. It’s a non-stop flurry of targets and delivery, and while we thrive on the challenge, it can sometimes become overwhelming. Here are some techniques our team have shared that help them deal with the pressure:
I always try to fit in a relaxing activity after work that helps me to unwind. For me this would be reading or drawing.
I walk for an hour every day before work. I also find that listening to podcasts, keeping on top of work/life admin and organisation, and keeping open communication with my team and people around me helps. Long term, spending as much time outdoors as possible, getting exercise, good sleep, and spending quality time with friends and family helps me to decompress.
I practice daily breathwork exercises to help me focus at the start of the day. I also go for walks in the evening to unwind as I believe it is important to separate the working day, particularly when working from home.
Making sure all work and life admin is ticked off to keep my plate clear. Keeping an organised household helps me massively. Before logging off from work on Friday I make sure the following week to-do list is ready so I know anything hanging over me workwise will be dealt with first thing.
Spending time with friends and family, prayer, getting a good night’s sleep, going to the gym, playing football & golf – all invaluable for me.
Exercise, time outdoors, and importantly, time away from the computer spent with loved ones, are all vital to our team when it comes to managing the pressures of work. Studies have shown that time in nature can be immensely beneficial for improving mood and reducing stress, and by starting your day with it, you can set yourself up on the right foot. Our team also recommended a number of podcasts that offered them an escape and a means of switching off. More than a few of our team recommended Diary of a CEO for inspiration and motivation, and Feel Better, Live More for practical advice.
Support at work comes up top
Working on our own mental health is essential, but when it comes to mental health in the workplace, we are not solely responsible for our environment. We asked the team what support they value most in the workplace to improve or support their mental health:
Being able to communicate if I was feeling burnt out without any stigma or judgement.
Having a supportive manager with open communication. It helps massively to feel valued and know your team is happy and motivated.
I think having an understanding and approachable team is essential in the workplace to maintain and improve mental health. It’s important to work with people who understand when employees need breaks to ensure they don’t burn out.
Monthly check-ins from someone, particularly when working from home. Having that support and knowing you aren’t disconnected from your team.
For me it’s all about environment. Knowing that the support is there should I need it, and that any issues raised would be approached sensitively and supportively means the world.
Employers around the world are searching for that secret sauce that keeps staff happy. Turns out that if you ask your staff what they value, they all say the same thing: open communication and supportive leadership. Furthermore, we also asked our team what organisations can do to make the biggest difference to their mental health, and among a list that included work from home, perks and benefits, and team away days, it was managerial support and friendships in the workplace that came out on top.
We are not islands
Support from our friends, family, and colleagues is a key component of managing our mental health. We are not in this battle alone, even if sometimes it can feel like we are. We could all be a little better at supporting each other, so we asked the team what advice they would offer someone struggling with their mental health:
I would reassure them that they shouldn’t feel embarrassed or guilty about struggling. There is still a lot of stigma around admitting you are having trouble and can sometimes make you feel worse. I would also say to not feel guilty for focusing on yourself for a little while and doing things that you enjoy to help improve your mental health.
I would recommend some switch-off methods like podcasts, walking – things that help my own mental health that might help theirs. Researching techniques & talking therapy to help anxiety can also be great. If they are really struggling though, I would always suggest speaking to a GP and accessing some form of therapy.
I think the most important thing would be to listen to them and give them space to talk and offer some reassurance. Then I would ask them how I could help and what support I could give them.
Get active. Prioritise sleep (but not for too long). And above all, talk to a professional.
It is noble to help in any way when confronted with someone in distress. We can offer helpful advice or a kind ear, but it is always worth remembering that the best advice we can often give is the encouragement to talk to a professional. Be as supportive as you possibly can, but ultimately, sometimes the experienced hand of a trained professional is what is needed.
It is easy to talk about what others are or should be doing. It is much harder to look inward and reflect on what you are doing. At this time of year, it is vital to embrace mental health, and not with another list of burn out statistics and generic advice, but by looking at ourselves, sharing our approach to mental health and better understanding how we can do better.
A huge thank you to our team for taking the time to share their thoughts for this blog, in doing so we sincerely hope that it helps make someone else’s life even slightly more manageable, because we are all in this together.