By Niamh Tracey | 15 May, 2023
Great Tips for Improving Mental Health
The theme for this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week (15th-21st May) is anxiety.
The theme for this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week (15th-21st May) is anxiety. According to Champion Health, a wellbeing platform, 60% of employees are experiencing anxiety with only 10% seeking mental health support.
Anxiety in the workplace can affect multiple factors such as setting and meeting deadlines; maintaining personal relationships; managing staff; participating in meetings and making presentations. It can also affect workplace social events; individuals may avoid office parties and staff lunches.
At Saul Fairholm, we have a mental health first aider on site in case any of our employees are struggling with their mental wellbeing.
We also asked some of our employees what they do to improve their mental health.
Tom, a Tax Trainee at Saul Fairholm, says his three main pillars for good mental health are:
- Physical exercise and a good diet – which is proven to release endorphins, improving mood; it also improves confidence and establishes a sense of achievement.
- Getting outside – no matter the weather, being in nature provides a blanket of peace and rest for the mind, which cannot be attained when stimulating your brain with technology/work/socialisation.
- Outlook on life – food on the table, clothes on your back, able-bodied – things that we should be grateful for that not all of us have.
Bethany, another Tax Trainee, said: “I find that one of the best things for looking after my mental health is to try new things and visit new places to keep the mind stimulated – there’s nothing worse than doing the same things day in day out. I like trying different classes at my gym.”
Alison, an Associate Director at Saul Fairholm, also commented on how she keeps her mental health balanced: “Finding 15 to 20 minutes each day for me time is important, either reading or on a morning walk before work. It always helps when the sun is shining to get that vit D hit! And of course, some fun physical exercise will boost my mood.”
Chris, an Associate Director, said: “Aside from an expensive therapist, very long countryside walks with my dog Mr Baggins are a real tonic. He is a very good listener and not judgmental in any way. If my knees allow me back to training, a rigid distance-running training plan will allow me back into my meditative zone, where the focus is pure and unwavering.”
Sarah, a Director, said: “I find open water swimming really beneficial for my mental health. It’s not about exercise but being outdoors, exposed to the elements and being in nature. Immediately when you enter the water, you can forget everything including any life stresses through clearing your mind and just focussing on breathing because of the impact of the cold water. I get a real sense of achievement but a calming effect too, coping with the cold.
I also do pottery regularly and find it’s a great way to physically work out any stress and frustrations when trying to throw pots on a wheel, but it is also very tactile, messy and creative, sometimes. I’m never sure whether a couple of hours on the wheel will mean the creation of many beautiful pots or a lot of mess and discarded lumps of clay! I completely lose myself in the process and enjoy finding different ways of expressing myself creatively.”
Generic tips to improve mental wellbeing:
- Relax and reduce stress
- Find ways to learn and be creative
- Spend time in nature
- Connect with others
- Look after your physical health
- Try to get enough sleep
If you’re in the position to consider therapy, then talking or arts therapies can be incredibly beneficial to working through any issues and establishing some helpful coping mechanisms. Peer support, such as support groups, forums and online communities, can also be helpful.
If you need help in the short term, consider contacting one of the helplines below:
- If you want someone to talk to: Samaritans – 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. You can call 116 123 (free from any phone), or email email@example.com.
- If you’re feeling suicidal: you can call the National Suicide Prevention Helpline UK on 0800 689 5652 (open 24/7).
- If you’d prefer not to speak on the phone: text the word ‘SHOUT’ to 85258 to have a text conversation with a Shout volunteer. Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM) offers a webchat service.
- If you’re under 25: The Mix is specifically aimed at younger people. Call 0808 808 4994 (3pm–midnight every day) or visit their website for other options.
- If you’re LGBT+: all switchboard phone operators identify as LGBT+. Call switchboard on 0300 330 0630 (10am–10pm every day), email firstname.lastname@example.org or use their webchat service.