The world is a stressful place. You may not even be aware of the day to day stresses that you may be internalising. One good example is the climate emergency. It might not be something you consciously think of every day, but no doubt the threat to our world (and our lives) as we know it, is most likely impacting your mental health.
If you commute to work every day, having to navigate lots of people and squeeze on to a bus/train or a tube can have an impact on your wellbeing – or if you drive, being stuck in traffic for hours. Working in an office with poor lighting, grey walls and poor facilities can have an impact. Working on your own or from home for long periods of time can impact your mental health. Scrolling through social media and comparing ourselves with others, whose lives seem more glamorous, who seem more successful, who seem to have it all, can impact our mental health.
And then there are the obvious things that impact our mental health, such as financial worries, big deadlines looming at work, a relationship that’s struggling. These are stressful enough but then couple that, our ‘always on’ culture and the inability to really switch off and it’s a pretty worrying situation. It can feel overwhelming.
In my day job, I work in the charity sector in communications. Over the last few years, I’ve seen a number of crises play out over social media. I’ve seen hate, vitriol and abuse being tweeted to people who are just trying to do their job. I’ve seen charities just tweeting as normal and having abuse tweeted to them, simply because of who they help (refugees or asylum seekers, if you’re interested.).
It can start to take its toll on their emotional wellbeing and mental health. That’s why, together with CharityComms, I’ve written a Guide to wellbeing for Comms Professionals. It’s packed full of advice from a psychologist, a CoActive coach as well as tips, tools and techniques from those working in charities themselves.
But it’s not just for comms staff in the charity sector. Really it’s for everyone. No matter what sector you work in, or what your job role is, you’ll find this useful. The guide starts with how to spot the signs and symptoms of a mental health issue and then offers tips on how to improve your mental health and wellbeing.
There’s a section on supporting your colleagues with their mental health and how to just start that initial conversation. Just something as simple as making them a cup of tea, if they’ve been absent from work due to mental health issues, can make them feel welcome and part of the team again.
There’s a whole section on how to build personal resilience. We all have an inner critic that’s telling us we can’t do something or that we should have done something differently, or that we’re not good enough, smart enough or attractive enough. Being mindful of this inner voice, identifying what it’s saying and acknowledging it means that you can then turn the narrative around. There are four other strategies to help you build personal resilience and practice self care.
Please do give the guide a read. We owe it to ourselves to look after our own mental health and to support our friends, family and colleagues too. We need to normalise conversations around mental health – because one in four of us will experience a mental health issue – and it’s only by talking honestly and openly that we can make change happen.