We are all in crisis (COVID-19) and the challenge to our mental health is overwhelming. In a recent poll, nearly half (45%) of adults in the United States reported that their mental health has been negatively impacted due to worry and stress over the virus. This is a problem because when our stress increases, so does risk of physical and psychological issues. These issues include digestive problems, difficulty sleeping, difficulty concentrating, emotional distress, and triggers to mental health disorders. Under these conditions no one can perform their best. And when you relate this to your employee population, the challenges to employee well-being are significant. Poor mental health affects employee productivity, performance, and health. By helping your employees cope with stress and crisis, your business will see more productive, safer, well-adjusted and happier employees.
As a result of the ongoing global health crisis, we are facing an unprecedented surge of mental health problems, including depression, substance abuse, post-traumatic stress disorder, and more. If these mental health issues are not addressed now, this can lead to prolonged suffering with long-lasting impacts. The question is, how can you help your employees cope with crises now and avoid these negative health outcomes in the future?
Encourage your employees
Be there for your employees. Providing guidance for employees during times of crisis is imperative. Focusing on employee wellness will allow you to help employees better cope with crises. Encourage the right behaviors that will lead employees toward better mental, physical, and emotional health. Help your employees with some of the tips below.
Social Connectivity for Mental Health
Studies show that people who feel more connected to others experience lower rates of anxiety and depression. During times of social distancing, employees may feel more isolated and may struggle to remain social.
If working from home, add virtual group meetings and check-ins. This will keep social ties between coworkers and instill a support system. Encourage video chat lunch breaks or a walking club to remain connected as a work team. Healthy competition is a great way to keep employees connected – schedule a B.Komplete Online Wellness Challenge to engage your employees across the Country (and the World).
Physical Activity for Mental Health
Now more than ever, it is important to encourage physical activity. Regular physical activity positively impacts the mind and body. The problem is, people are participating in less physical activity as a result of mandated quarantines. Getting active and adding physical activity into your day will bring better energy – better sleep – sharper memory – and more positive feelings.
Encourage employees to get outdoors on days when the weather is nice. If working from home, take the time that would be spent on commuting to do something physical, no matter how big or small.
Start an exercise group for employees to share home workouts and tips. This will provide employees a support system to help them stay motivated in their fitness goals. If employees need a little extra support and accountability, video chat walks are the perfect solution. It’s as easy as calling a friend or co-worker during your lunch break or at the end of the work day and getting moving. This is a great way to get active while staying social.
Healthy Eating for Mental Health
When employees eat better and focus on nourishing their bodies, they are better prepared with the energy to take on stressful situations. The nutrients in our food affects how well our mind and body are able to function. It is important to choose a healthy balance of foods to be able to take on the day and cope with stress. One recommendation to aim for is to consume 2, 4-oz servings of oily fish a week for DHA benefits.
Self Care for Mental Health
Practicing self-care means finding ways to take care of our mental, physical, and emotional health. This can include physical activity, meditation, sleep/rest, journaling, engaging with friends and family, or taking on a new hobby.
Self-care can be anything really- it just depends on the person and what makes them feel good. Encourage employees to find the activities they enjoy that benefit them mentally, physically, and emotionally.
Seeking Professional Guidance
Normalize the practice of reaching out for help and seeking professional help when needed. Talk about the importance of prioritizing mental health and seeking help.
Encourage employees to seek professional counseling or assistance if their mental health is not well. Some resources to turn to for further help include the disaster distress helpline, crisis textline, national suicide prevention lifeline, and resource hotline for substance abuse disorders. Visit mentalhealth.gov for crisis numbers and resources.
Finding Positive Hobbies for Mental Health
With many of us experiencing increased stress, it’s so important to add positive activities into the day. This can help as a distraction from any negativity and can act as an outlet to release stress.
These positive activities can include any of the previously mentioned behaviors such as exercise, self-care practices, and socializing. Creative activities can also be incorporated to reduce stress and relax.
Work-Life Balance for Mental Health
Navigating a work-life balance is a difficult feat in and of itself, but adding the element of working from home, possibly with family in the mix, is a whole new challenge. Consider a more lenient approach to the workday. Discuss work plans with employees to understand their availability and needs.
Utilize these tips and find an approach that works best for you and your employees. Coping with a crisis is not easy, but you can offer encouragement and be there for your employees so that they can continue to be there for you and your clients. B.Komplete is here to help. We are offering all of our wellness services virtually. Contact us to learn how we can engage your population, reduce employee stress, and ensure connectivity and positivity with your workforce.
Written by Heather Schissler, B.Komplete Office Assistant