Article written by Andrew Watson, Project Manager, Workplace Challenge
It’s great to see so much positive discussion and action being taken around mental health at work. You don't need us to tell you that a healthy body leads to a healthy mind and that physical activity is proven to lower the risk of mental health problems and stress...but we will anyway - it really does!
Taking action on mental health in the workplace can be confusing and knowing where to start with what's often seen as a sensitive issue can be difficult. Here's our top tips and ideas for further information about mental health and physical activity at work.
1. Talk - Get the conversation going and start talking about mental health positively in terms of celebrating good mental health in the same way we celebrate good physical health. Don't back away from the challenges either - be open and encourage people to talk about how they're feeling (just ask how they are) and not to be shy of asking for support. Why not take some time out to walk and talk or get a conversation going over a table tennis table? Active Devon have been helping workplaces across Exeter to get walking and to introduce table tennis to the workplace with Loop At Work.
2. Every minute counts - Bite size chunks of time out and activity are a great way to recharge, refocus, get your recommended 150 minutes of physical activity per week. Just a short break can improve concentration and boost productivity. Employers can make a huge difference to employees mental and physical wellbeing simply by providing the flexibility for employees to take time out. Why not make your next break an active break? CSP Network are working with 3 Government departments who are leading by example and creating a vibrant culture of active working.
3. Culture - What's the culture like at your workplace? Undoubtedly very busy and often with colleagues feeling the pressure and showing signs of stress. Why not reflect on the culture at your workplace? Make a plan for creating a culture where people talk openly about mental health and where everyone can take the time to look after their body and mind with bite size activity in and around the working day? For help creating a plan, active inspiration and information about local activities and providers, look no further than your CSP. You don't need to change the world just do what you can – small steps will add up to make a big difference - change happens one room at a time!
IDEAS FOR INFORMATION
Here's some useful links with further reading and ideas to help you and your workplace to boost wellbeing:
Loop at work – Table Tennis England believe that the most happy, healthy, successful and well connected people make time to play every day - http://www.keepintheloop.co.uk/work
Mental Health Foundation- How to encourage good mental health in the workplace - https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/our-work/mental-health-workplace
Mind - Stress can stop people performing at their best. Mind are here to help - https://www.mind.org.uk/workplace/
Not a Red Card Offence- In many sports a Red Card is the ultimate punishment for bad or inappropriate behaviour.Legal & General are using its symbolism to help lift the mental health taboo and encourage more employers to take action to tackle the stigma surrounding workplace mental health - https://www.legalandgeneral.com/notaredcard/
#runandtalk - supported by Mind, the mental health charity, and aims to improve mental health through running - https://runtogether.co.uk/running-support/mental-health-champions/
Sport England - Everyone has mental health – and evidence shows that the benefits of physical activity on our wellbeing are profound - https://www.sportengland.org/our-work/mental-health/why-we-invest-in-mental-health/
Sport & Recreation Alliance – Sport, Society and mental health podcast - The sport sector’s action around mental health to date, the role of the workplace in supporting our wellbeing and the scope for wider engagement with public health. Click hereto listen.
Swim England – The health and wellbeing benefits of swimming - http://www.swimming.org/swimengland/health-and-wellbeing-benefits-of-swimming/
Walking for Health - A good walk can do wonders for your mental wellbeing - https://www.walkingforhealth.org.uk/get-walking/why-walk/healthy-minds
Workplace Mental Health Support Service - This free and confidential service, delivered by Remploy and funded by the Department for Work and Pensions is available to any employees with depression, anxiety, stress or other mental health issues affecting their work - https://www.remploy.co.uk/about-us/current-programmes/workplace-mental-health-support-service
Don’t forget to share the learning about your workplaces journey for healthy bodies, healthy minds and healthy workplace with @WorkplaceChall and @CSPnetwork.