This week's BYP Blog is a guest article from Lildonia Lawrence, a life coach, educator and yoga instructor. Lildonia produces monthly content for the BYP Network centred on wellbeing, wellness and healthy living.
Mental Health. Two words we hear often but which can be shrouded in shame, confusion and fear. We all have mental health and just like our physical health we have times in our life where it is better and times when it is worse. Our wellbeing is a continuum and health struggles can be chronic, acute or somewhere in between. Managing mental health is critical as when our mind suffers our work-life balance inevitably suffers too.
A survey completed by Vitality Health and the Financial Times found that 34% of employees indicate they've felt unwell because of work-related stress. Another study by the Institute of Directors survey found that 1 in 4 people face mental ill-health at any one point whilst four in 10 managers have been approached by employees with mental health problems. So, what should you do if you are struggling with mental health difficulties at work?
Here are my top three tips:
Many of us would think nothing of going to see our doctor if we had a physical ailment but often, this feeling doesn't translate with matters of the mind. The NHS is a fantastic resource and support can include access to therapies, support groups and self-help programmes. It's important to be as transparent as possible with employers particularly if your current situation is affecting (or caused by) your workload. If speaking to your manager is overwhelming, get in touch with HR in the first instance. Employers are legally bound to provide reasonable adjustments for both physical and mental health conditions. This could include things such as time off for counselling or working from home.
Stress-Proof Your Lifestyle
It's impossible to rid our lives completely of stress but creating an environment where tension doesn't cripple you daily is a vital part of self-care. I recommend charting out your week and having a look at ways in which you actively participate in stress-relieving activities. Do you take a full lunch break? Do you make time to exercise regularly? Do you hit the sack at a reasonable time or are you consistently on Netflix well past midnight? We all know that these activities cause us a level of dis-ease but still, we continue. Have a think about how you can build in some healthy habits daily and start to implement them as soon as you can.
Promote an Open Culture
Make it clear that talking about mental health not taboo. This is particularly important for those in management roles. Employees struggling may feel inadequate or incompetent and it's important to let them know that this isn't the case. Deloitte 2017 report states that employee’s cost 42bn a year in absenteeism and presenteeism in lost revenues. By cultivating a positive attitude towards mental health you'll not only get the best out of your team and colleagues, but your own wellbeing will improve too.
Lildonia Lawrence is a life coach, yoga instructor and sex educator working in London. She has a background in psychology and mental health and has spent many years working in the health and wellbeing industries. Her week is spent with a mixture of delivering health workshops, teaching group classes and leading coaching sessions. Alongside this, she works as a wellbeing writer for several publications. You can find out more about her work at @lildonia.lawrence