As Covid restrictions have eased many people are heading back to work in-person. For some this will be a welcome return to routine and socialisation, but for others it may be a troubling move away from home working. Workplaces can be stressful environments and they can take their toll on our mental health, so it is important that we know how to look after ourselves.
The British Psychological Society has produced five S.H.A.R.E steps to help you sustain a healthy work environment in the current circumstances. These steps aim to help you deal with any anxiety and distress that Covid may have caused and that may impact your work environment. SHARE is as follows:
SAFE working: Assessing risk in the workplace
HELP yourself and others: Communicating and meeting needs
ADAPT to change: Diverse workplace situations and adjusting to the ‘new normal’
RELIEVE the pressure: Helping yourself and others to adapt and cope
EVALUATE: Review the situation regularly to ensure ongoing success
Source: British Psychological Society
These steps emphasise having an awareness of your surroundings at work and identifying how these may impact you. You can do this by analysing your work environment, your workload and your colleagues and peers, to identify any stressors related to these.
Where possible, communicate these stressors to your team and supervisors with the aim of working towards a solution that can better your mental health. Many companies have partnerships with external enterprises that can support workers with a number of concerns, including mental health. Familiarise yourself with contacts at work that are there to be used by staff. Some companies have also introduced Covid-related support networks to help staff in the transition back to work during these trying times. These are there to be used – so use them!
Talking with your peers is another great way to improve mental health, not just for yourself but also for those around you. Everyone’s mental health is important and everyone has been affected by Covid. Discussing this will allow you to share any concerns and it is likely you are not alone! Just ten minutes with a colleague could allow you or them the chance to alleviate some worry and be reminded that we all struggle at times.
It can be difficult to understand your rights at work especially regarding mental health. Mental Health At Work has a number of resources and toolkits on their website to help you find out what you are entitled to. This can make it easier to address your mental health concerns with your management. And remember: don’t be embarrassed. Your mental health matters. It is also in a company’s interest to support the mental health of its workers. Of course there’s a long way to go, but progress has been made!
Guest blog by Hannah Muffett