World Mental Health Day – 2020
World Mental Health Day is organised by the Mental Health Foundation to focus on the importance of mental health and raise money for the charity.
At PushON, we’re very aware of the impact that Coronavirus is having on our employees’ mental health, and felt this year more than ever, we needed to make an effort to be involved in some way.
Tea and Talk
Tea and Talk is an annual event promoted by the Mental Health Foundation to encourage people to spend some time chatting over a cuppa’, raise some money, and get people to focus on mental health.
With the team working remotely and communicating daily through Microsoft Teams, we realise we’re probably missing out on those “how are you?” moments. The parts of the working day where we connect with others we don’t necessarily work with directly. Chats about random stuff, which usually ends with a laugh and a smile.
Tea and Talk seemed like an excellent way for us to bring that missing element back to our remote working status, so we split the team into groups of no more than five people and set 30 minutes aside to catch up over a brew.
How can we look after our mental health?
Aside from just generally chatting, we used the time to discuss things that negatively impact our mental health and things that we find have a positive impact.
The top 5 things reported as having a positive impact on our mental health were;
- Exercise – Nearly everyone reported that doing some form of regular exercise positively affects our mental health. The team are walking, running and cycling when they can. Although it can be hard to push ourselves to get out initially, no one ever returns from exercising regretting that they made an effort.
- The great outdoors – Just being outside has a positive impact on our mental health. Walking is great but observing nature, gardening (if we’re lucky enough to have one), or just taking time to stand outside and breathe some fresh air all help.
- Communication – Taking time to talk to friends and family and finding time in the week to chat with work colleagues about non-work related stuff helps a lot. Everyone enjoyed the Tea and Talk sessions, and we’re planning to do more regularly and mixing up the groups.
- Mindfulness activities – Yoga and meditation
- Eating and drinking well – Ensuring we eat and drink well and regularly were all cited as having a positive impact on our mental health
The top 5 things reported as harming our mental health were;
- Blurring our working days – With everyone working from home, people are often finding it difficult to structure their days and separate working time from personal time. The urge to open a laptop and check X or Y at irregular times of the day means we’re falling into the trap of not taking proper breaks and giving ourselves time to relax our minds.
- Social Media – Also cited as a positive tool for communicating with friends and family, Social media is something that we can obsess over and create anxiety.
- Inadequate Sleep – Not always under our control and sometimes a symptom of other issues, sleep is essential. We need to do all we can to ensure we’re getting enough good quality sleep.
- Bad diet – It’s not just what we eat; it’s when we eat and how much.
- Lack of exercise – It’s no surprise that not doing enough of one of the top things we agreed had a positive impact on our mental health has an equal and oppositive negative impact if we’re not doing any/enough.
The tea and talk chats’ feedback was so positive we aim to implement these regularly with the team from now on. For every team that completed a list of positive and negative mental health triggers, PushON offered an incentive of a £20 donation to the Mental Health Foundation, so we raised a total of £120, which is going to a great cause.
For further information on the Mental Health Foundation, Tea and Talk and resources on how to support mental health at work and look after your mental health, please visit the Mental Health Foundation website https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk