Mindful May: Prioritizing Mental Health in the Workplace
May is Mental Health Awareness Month, a time when we come together to shed light on the importance of mental health and the challenges faced by individuals living with mental illness. While this is a topic that deserves attention year-round, it's especially crucial in light of recent events. Over the past few years, and particularly during the pandemic, anxiety and depression rates have skyrocketed. Even now, three years into the pandemic, North Americans of all ages are still struggling with their mental health.
The impact of mental illness can't be overstated. People who experience high levels of stress or mood disorders are at a significantly higher risk of developing long-term medical conditions, highlighting the critical importance of investing in mental health resources and support. According to a recent study by CAMH, in any given year, 1 in 5 Canadians experiences a mental illness. By the time Canadians reach 40 years of age, 1 in 2 will have experienced or will be experiencing a mental illness.
In light of these statistics, it's clear that more needs to be done to support individuals facing mental health challenges. That's why Mental Health Awareness Month is such a critical time to drive awareness and take action.
Making employee mental health and overall well-being a priority can have a significant impact on workplace productivity and morale. When employees are under high levels of stress or fatigue, they can become less motivated, less productive, and have a lower drive to work. Implementing wellness initiatives and finding ways to alleviate stress can boost overall morale and productivity.
Here are a few initiatives that can increase the well-being of employees:
Step Challenge: Initiate a company step goal challenge. Walking for at least 30 minutes every day can be an amazing mood booster and can reduce stress and anxiety. It also has many physical benefits like increasing cardiovascular fitness, strengthening bones and boosting muscle power and endurance. Whether you have 10 employees or 1000, this challenge can get employees excited, challenge themselves toward personal goals, and be part of a fun and competitive team-building challenge. A great app to use is Pacer.
Stretches/Yoga: Sitting all day can cause muscles and bones to tense up, leading to discomfort and poor posture. Encourage employees to get up and move around by implementing a daily stretch routine. There are thousands of free videos with multiple varieties on YouTube that are free and easily accessible. Whether your company works in an office or remotely from home, this is a fun and easy way to get people moving. A great channel to check out is Adriene Yoga on YouTube.
Wellbeing Webinars: Arm employees with knowledge by offering them webinars or lunch-and-learn sessions on how to manage their work-life balance, videos on breathing exercises to reduce stress, and how to be a better public speaker, among others. There are many resources at our fingertips, and we need to start utilizing them as much as we can. Ever heard of laughing Yoga? It's a popular movement and breathing exercise that aims to cultivate joy, bring out your inner child, and help let go of daily stressors. This is one to try!
Remember, creating a positive work environment that promotes well-being is a team effort. By implementing these simple initiatives, we can work together to prioritize mental and physical health, boost morale, and increase productivity. Let's take care of ourselves and each other, both in and out of the workplace.
To learn more about how we support employee mental health, connect with our team.