This week is Mental Health Awareness Week. Mental health awareness and self-care is something that is hugely important to us here at Carnsight. We believe in creating a supportive and positive work environment for every employee and offering flexibility and compassion in the workplace.
Mental health issues are extremely common, with one in five adults living with a mental illness. But whether or not you have been diagnosed with a mental illness, every single individual has a state of mental health. Mental health should always be a priority, even at work. Not only is it just a basic kindness to provide others to care about their mental wellbeing, but employees who feel understood and cared for are more likely to be driven, productive and proactive at work, as well as loyal to your business.
We all have stressful days at work that leave us flustered, drained and downtrodden. It’s important to avoid this by ensuring you are looking out for yourself even during work hours. Self-care is a great way to check-in with yourself and your own mental health. Contrary to the stigma, self-care isn’t about selfish indulgence, but self-compassion and kindness. By caring for yourself not only will you feel better as a whole, but you will be able to perform better in your role and provide others with the best version of yourself possible.
Here are our seven tips for practicing self-care at work.
Keep your work-space clean
It may seem like a chore, but having a clean workspace is vital to having a clean and clear mind. My physical space is a direct reflection of my mental space and vice versa, so it’s important I keep it clean and tidy.
We can’t focus and often overwhelmed in clutter. Having a clean working space really makes all the difference and it can be a great way of showing yourself the respect you deserve at work.
Get out in nature or bring greenery into your space
Greenery is good for your health and particularly your mental health. Founder and business owner, Jess has a bird feeder outside her window which brings her a bit closer to nature and keeps plants and flowers around her inside.
We know that not everyone has outdoor space, so time outside each day and bringing some of the outdoors inside can really help.
Grab yourself a coffee, or tea or any drink.
Both Jess and I are big lovers of coffee. Caffeine can be controversial and we can’t have more than two coffees a day, but we always really look forward to a steaming cup to start our working day, and then another one mid-morning. Coffee provides comfort and a break – it makes us leave our desks and get our heads out of work for a second.
It’s also extremely important to keep a bottle or glass of water beside you as you work. I am guilty of not being very good at staying hydrated throughout the day and there’s a bit of a running joke that Jess reminds me about it. But even I can admit that Jess it right! Without drinking enough water you’ll start to feel sluggish, tired and possibly get headaches.
Communicate with colleagues
Under recent circumstances, video has really come into its own. FaceTime with family members – who we’re all missing more than ever – and Zoom calls with friends have kept us going when we can’t physically sit in front of someone. And then there are our regular work catch-ups.
It’s important to try to be as open as possible at the moment. A lot of our clients have regular video catch-ups with their team – one of them in particular also makes sure everyone puts on their cameras so no-one can hide.
That’s not because they want to make sure no one’s in their PJs, but because they want to make sure people are really OK. How do we know our colleagues are doing well or if they really aren’t without seeing them?
Jess and I start and end our days with a chat. Just asking “how are you?” and really meaning it – not just expecting and accepting a quick platitude – is really important.
Mind your posture
Sitting at a desk all day really isn’t good for us. Our backs need support and we want to avoid getting issues in the future. Make sure you’re minding your posture as much as you can at work. Practising yoga, having a good desk chair and propping myself up with a pillow have all helped me a lot with this one.
It was a shock being limited to one walk or piece of exercise a day but now Jess really looks forward to it. She often takes office dog Clifford for a walk at lunch times. It’s a fantastic way to wake up those sleepy desk legs.
I have also taken to a bit of yoga stretching in my breaks. It helps maintain a better posture and also helps to wake me a bit following an afternoon lull.
Take regular breaks
Our final self-care at work tip is to make sure you take regular breaks. Often we have a huge amount of guilt associated with taking breaks while on the clock. But it’s in fact been proven that as humans we can’t concentrate well for extended periods of time and continue to produce our best work.
Perhaps this upcoming week you could use the Pomodoro Technique. This is when you break your workday into 25-minute chunks separated by five-minute breaks.
It’s also very important to make sure you’re taking enough time off completely. We all need a few days to rest and recuperate now and then so be sure not to overwork yourself.
So there you have it, our seven self-care at work tips. Once again make sure you are taking care of yourself, even on the clock, and remember to check in with bosses and colleagues too.
You can also find our self-care tips over on the Carnsight Instagram page. Follow us to hear more about why mental health awareness week is so important to us at Carnsight, and how we implement self-care at work.