Poor mental health can perhaps be one of the biggest problems we face in today’s society. It’s a sensitive subject that everyone is aware of, but not everyone knows how to manage it effectively. Well-being doesn’t only affect personal life, it extends to the workplace and impacts overall productivity. From my own personal experience, a few years ago, I found there wasn’t much awareness for young people in the workplace. This is a huge issue, as young people can receive stress as a result of various factors such as too much pressure, workload, and career issues.
Personally, I was in a situation where I was stuck for 3 years with no career plans and ideas of what I wanted to pursue in life. I left college with a change of career and ended up with three different jobs which I had no passion for, doing 12-15 hour shifts. I went through severe depression due to lack of self-confidence and not really having support to rely on. Fast forwarding to now, and I’m in a fantastic workplace with future career plans to look forward to and great people to work with.
Mental health awareness in the workplace, especially for young people, is really important. It should be a topic they feel comfortable with because this point in their lives is crucial for their personal well-being. So as I am aged 22, and it’s mental health well-being month, I thought it would be good to take part in the activities my workplace set up for a week to improve mindfulness.
The activities included; using a massage chair, a Virtual Reality headset, electronic head massager, yoga sessions, a private back massage and a mental health well being presentation involving breathing exercises.
As it turned out, the weekend before, everyone received surprise boxes in the post. The care package had a few items to use for self-care which included; an eye mask to help you sleep, a head massager, dark chocolate, headphones, colouring pencils and a colouring book to keep stress levels down. Not all companies do this, so it’s a nice surprise to show how the company cares their employees’ well being. I will admit, I did feel a bit odd doing some of the activities especially in the workplace. It just looked weird for me to do things with peers like the yoga sessions especially, so not everything is for everyone. I didn’t let this stop me completely as I wanted to see if it really helps.
I started my weekend using the head massager, which actually helped. It made me feel relaxed along with the eye mask, and made me sleep quicker with fewer distractions. The first thing I tried out at work was the massage chair, which was nice to just relax on and take a break from the constant screens, emails and spreadsheets. The chair was really nice but sometimes difficult to put it on the right setting so it was a bit too uncomfortable which was a disappointment.
Next I used the VR headset which I found very useful when you simply get anxious or pressured due to the workload or any other issues. Virtual Reality is getting more and more advanced so it was really good to see the different scenarios you can be in and all other chatter around you being blocked out.
Something I had never tried before was meditation. The group session was presented by a mindfulness coach in the middle of our office along with my other colleagues. It was a really well-stepped presentation on how to control thoughts and focus better in the workplace. The trick is to dedicate at least 10 minutes of your day to just stop, relax and be thankful for where you are now and what you have achieved so far in life. Something that makes you happy. This I found useful as it also helps with you mapping out your career goals one step at a time
My last activity for the week was a 20 minute back massage appointment, which was option for all employees. This was a nice and relaxing ending as it was good to be away from the constant distractions we have at work.
I thought it was an amazing experience to be a part of. I would definitely recommend taking at least 10 minutes of your day to practise breathing, because I found that had the most impact in reducing my stress.