Your mental health – How much do you honestly think your employer cares about it?
Do you feel that they care more about business results than the mental health of the people they manage?
I was motivated to think about this question and write this post as a result of another blog post I saw. A woman that sent an email to her boss to say she needed to take a mental health sick day got a really cool response. You can read about it here
What do you think your boss would say if you sent an email saying you were having a mental health sick day? Would they respond kindly or would they respond asking for an update on your work! In many cases bosses lack empathy towards employees.
Is mental health in your workplace taken as seriously as physical health?
It might be slightly different of course with an obvious physical illness. You know the sort of thing, leg in cast, swollen eye, streaming cold or sporting injury. Or even an operation where you are actually in hospital and completely unable to work ,so the boss can be satisfied you are no good to them whatsoever for a while.
Most people have sympathy towards physical illness don’t they? ‘Awwww, that looks sore’ or ‘you poor thing, hope you are feeling better soon’. But is there the same level of sympathy towards mental health or is there still a bit of a stigma? Many people are not keen to openly talk about depression although mixed anxiety & depression is the most common mental disorder in Britain, with 7.8% of people meeting criteria for diagnosis and 4-10% of people in England experiencing depression in their lifetime.
Is there still a mental health stigma?
Why is there any stigma or lack of support for mental health issues in the workplace? Luckily, high profile people like Price Harry are really helping matters by talking about it. He has openly said how the death of his mother, Princess Diana affected his mental health and wellbeing.
You might not think there is a stigma as you may be lucky to be in a workplace that is supportive of mental health issues like Laing O’Rourke. But there clearly is a huge problem 49% of people saying they would be unlikely to tell their boss about problems such as anxiety, depression or bipolar disorder. Only 35% said they’d be happy to tell colleagues.
They say people leave companies because of bad bosses….
Some workplaces are almost archaic in their support of mental health issues. Managers that are so wrapped up in their own careers and living and breathing ‘work’ that they forget the people that work for them are PEOPLE. It makes a real difference when your manager bothers to get to know you as a person. Asks after your family, makes you feel like a human.
And when you have a mental health issue and you manager is supportive, wow! That can really make or break your happiness at work. Maybe they support you be making changes to your hours, or your workload or support appointments for you to get professional help.
Or maybe they simply respect that not every day you are able to put in your most amazing performance or effort. It doesn’t make you a less committed or able employee. Businesses are obsessed with number of hours worked when actually you can be just as efficient and if not more in less hours if you are happy and supported.
It’s time for employers to wake up and smell the bachs remedy
It is so shortsighted for employers not to consider the mental health of it’s employees part of its strategy and company ethos.
In business speak, the costs of not doing so are massive with mixed anxiety and depression estimated to cause one fifth of days lost from work in Britain.
Things that don’t help mental health at work are:
Unsupportive company ethos
Systems and processes that cause stress
Lack of ‘Wellbeing at work’ initiatives
Lack of support from managers and HR
Lack of appropriate training
Unrealistic targets and timescales
The things on this list cause stress and anxiety in abundance. Both of which can lead to depression and absence from work.
Some companies are wellbeing aware
Luckily 500 smart companies have signed up for the Time to Change Pledge to challenge mental health stigma and discrimination across England.
In a really great guide from Mentalhealth.org.uk they explain that good mental health practices have to start with managers. They advise looking out for these things in employees:
Sensitive to criticism
Loss of confidence or humour
Making more mistakes
Lack of concentration
Not taking breaks
Becoming introverted or extroverted
Lack of motivation
Prevention will pay dividends
There is also a great deal that can be done at prevention level which starts with having an open approach to mental health. Talking about it in the company and being supportive of people working their contracted hours and not regularly expecting more. Have realistic job descriptions and treat people like people.
Of course people want to do a good job and be successful, it’s good for self-esteem and motivation. But they also want lives and energy to enjoy themselves!
Some companies cottoned onto the benefits of having a workforce who nurture their mental health a while ago. Some of the best are mentioned here
If you know a company that are good at caring about the mental health of their employees, please give them a shout out in the comments of this blog. They deserve it 🙂
There is a very simple sum too which sums up why employers should care about mental health.
Happy staff = staff that want to make customers happy = happy business = attracts high quality employees that want to work there = happy business etc
In short, caring about your brain is a no brainer 🙂
A quick word for the self employed
As you are your own boss, you are responsible for your own mental health. Self employed people can be so enthusiastic about their businesses that they let their self-care slip. Don’t let this be you! If you are in business you will know that you need to play both the short game and the long game and this applies to your physical and mental health too.
Schedule days off and holidays. Make sure your customers and clients know your working hours so your ‘free time’ does not become ‘work time’.
So many people leave Corporate life to enjoy the benefits of being self employed and actually ending working harder and longer. Nothing wrong with passion for your business, but if you burn out you won’t be able to do very much at all.
You have personal responsilbity for your own mental health too
Of course, work is not the only cause of mental health issues. Problems can arise after a life changing event, illness or for no reason at all unfortunately. There is loads you can do to take care of your own wellbeing and keep mental health issues at bay. Then you can enjoy your work and the rest of your life to the best of your ability.
Sign up for the free 21 Day Wellbeing Challenge
I’ve seen enough ‘frazzled’ clients to understand that prevention is always better than cure when it comes to mental health.
You might want to sign up for my free 21 Day Wellbeing Challenge which is an easy to follow plan for busy people. Just sign up via the pop up here on my website.
I will need to exercise some self-control in writing this blog, or we could end up with a very long blog! I learnt a long time ago to be less judgemental because working with people I know that not everything is as it seems.
A large part of my work is helping people become more confident, increase their self-esteem and cover what I call ‘work of the self’. This is helping people to understand themselves better through uncovering their values and finding their identity so they can be ‘comfortable in their own skin’. The benefits of this are that they can be more confident in and live their life in a way that feels good for them.
It’s much easier to make the right decisions when you know yourself and the world can see the real you. Everything changes.
What happens when we judge others?
So back to judging others… When we judge others it does two things.
1 – It holds that person up against our own values and beliefs. It has nothing to do with who they are! I’m going to give you some scenarios and I want you to just see what enters your head as I say these things.
2 – It puts bad thoughts in your mind which will make you feel bad
Think about how you might judge these people
A married couple that live apart
Someone that loves to socialise to the point where they spend all their money on it
Someone that is very prudent and rarely ‘splashes out’
Someone that works a lot and is often away from home
Some that does not work
Someone that wears revealing clothes
The thing is you don’t know anything about these people. They might be pure of heart or not, you don’t know. They might be generous or kind, you don’t know. They might be gentle, rich, poor, stressed, depressed, worried…..
Don’t hate the rice!
Judging others does is puts thoughts in your mind which damage your self-esteem. I don’t know if you have ever seen the Rice Consciousness experiment, inspired by Dr Masaru Emoto but it’s fascinating.
By labelling one jar ‘hate’ and the other ‘love’, the rice in the hate jar rots away while the rice in the love jar stays fresh. And this isn’t the only time this has been done. It has been done numerous times with different substances.
So if you think bad thoughts, you will probably feel bad inside (even though you might not consciously connect this). If you think good thoughts, you will feel better. Simples.
And when you judge others less, you will feel less judged yourself. Because if you haven’t having those thoughts about other people why would they be having them about you?
Find the gold
Here are my top tips for not judging others:
Listen to what other people say. Don’t judge them on their clothes, hair, car job. Listen and see them for who they are
Be open minded about new people. They might not look like your ‘type’ of person but they might be the best thing since sliced bread
Don’t go on first impressions. I know they are said to be important but they are just a snapshot of someone at one particular time. Everyone is multi faceted and different situations make people behave differently. If someone is suffering from anxiety or depression, you won’t see the best of them at that time.
Don’t let someone else’s opinion of someone get in the way of you forming your own
Look for things you like about someone rather than something you don’t
Find the gold in someone. What makes their eyes light up? A loved one, a hobbie, holidays? Whatever it is, when you see them talk about it watch them shine and see the best of them
Check your words before they come out of your mouth.Just like you would check an email before sending it. Try and be kind.
Here’s the plan:
Be less judgemental and see if it makes a difference to how you feel and your map of the world
Do you need help?
If you feel judged yourself, that is an indication of low confidence and self-esteem so please get in touch for a free consultation to see how I can help you.
The highest rising demand for my services is with teenage girls. I’m finding they really worry about being judged in terms of are they cool enough, pretty enough, thin enough. Social media like Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and Pinterest really feeds these insecurities and affects their self-esteem. I work with them to help them like themselves and become more resilient.
Compare the meerkat, oops I mean market, is a great site isn’t it. It gives you confidence in your decision by letting you compare insurance policies based on all their different benefits and features. It’s useful to compare insurance in this way because at the end of the day, you want value for money and the policy that is right for you. There are comparison sites for lots of other things too; Broadband, TVs, cars, holidays, computers. But can you imagine if there was one for people!
It might look something like this:
How would it feel to see yourself judged in this way? Or see those you care about judged in this way? What effect might it have? Well it might upset you to see that you weren’t a ‘yes’ for things you wanted to be a ‘yes’ for. And those ‘no’s’ would become your focus, never mind all the fantastic yes’s you had. This may really affect your confidence.
This is because we are sensitive souls and the mind has a negative bias so it finds it easier to focus on anything negative. Yes, positive thinking takes work. But the good news is that when you do it often it becomes more automatic, but more on that later.
You might then look at the list if you are Saskia and despite the fact that you have been ‘judged’ as being popular, kind and creative you might be jealous that Linda is considered confident and clever. This might make you, Saskia, feel like you are not as good as Linda.
You find it easy to overlook all that is good about you and everything that your friends and family love about you because you are comparing yourself to Linda.
So how might this comparing yourself to others make you feel? You might feel:
That you lack confidence
Unsure of your best qualities
Intimidated by Linda
And as a result you might not shine as yourself, feel lost or retreat and feel unhappy.
We are often least kind to ourselves
Now the funny thing is, we are more brutal with comparing ourselves to others than comparing those we love to others. When we have our love goggles on, we tend to recognise the positive qualities of those we love more easily than our own.
I bet if I said to you now tell me 5 things you really like about someone you love, you could do it in seconds ,but how easily can you do it for yourself? Go on, grab a pen and do it now! Let me know how you get on (I am genuinley interested).
The more we focus on the good, the less the bad matters….
So back to compare the market.com. When we are comparing our insurance, there will be some things that are more important than others. Maybe you can’t live without a courtesy car, or the thought of a large excess fills you will dread, so it’s good to understand what all these things are.
You might make a call to have a chat about some of the policy features and decide that yes that is important to you. You know that when you know your policy priorities you can feel really happy and you have confidence that you have made the right choice
Well people are similar in that we all have inner values which are most important to us. Many people haven’t a clue what theirs are! This is a big piece of the work I do when I see clients in my Hypnotherapy practice in West Sussex and worldwide on Skype.
Many of my clients are what I call ‘out of sorts’. They’ve lost their way and don’t feel like they know themselves and they need some ‘realignment’. We do values work so that they can identify parts of their life which may be conflicting with these values. When you truly understand your values and know yourself better you will just feel ‘more you’. Your decisions and behaviours will be easier to align to your true self and life will be better.
There’s another benefit to knowing yourself. As well as knowing your strengths, it is good to be aware of your shadows. Those quirks and qualities that give you your unique edge and your vulnerability. When you know yourself you will live your life with much more confidence.
Tiger focuses on golf
An example I always use here is education. We expect students to do well in all the subjects and some do. But if you are really amazing at Maths but not English, are you better to focus your energy on the maths or English? Which will make you feel better? Which will you excel at?
I’m not saying that education isn’t important, but can you imagine if they had said to Tiger Woods, ‘yeah, you are really good at golf, but you should be better at tennis so why don’t you spend your time playing tennis!’.
He did what he was good at and had passion for and he excelled. Does he or anyone else care that he isn’t good at tennis? I doubt it!
We are not meerkats (or car insurance)
So continue to compare the market by all means, get the courtesy car and free windscreen repair for a bargain price and wait for your meerkat to arrive in the post, but don’t compare yourself to others. There really is no need. You have good stuff and not so good stuff about your personal qualities and how you look, but unless you are planning on having cosmetic surgery or a personality transplant you are what you are.
Those who love you will love you for what you are and you just need to join you own fan club and celebrate all that is unique, wonderful and special about you.
If you need to know what is special about you just ask your loved ones to make a list of 5 things they love about you and that will be a good start to feeling good about yourself.
How I can help you?
If you want to do some work with me, then please get in touch and let’s start your journey of getting to know you and building your confidence.
If you suffer from anxiety or depression, you might find yourself worrying more during times of uncertainty like the UK election results today. I had an influx of anxious and depression clients in my Hypnotherapy clients following Brexit, but we were able to calm emotions down with the techniques that I teach people.
The thing with uncertainty is that it makes people feel out of control. And when you feel out of control this can cause fear and from fear comes anxiety along with other symptoms like IBS, stress and sleep issues.
And there are plenty of things in life to give us those feelings of uncertainty. Like job losses, recession, separation, relationship breakdowns, financial trouble and ill health to mention but a few.
Scientists have proved that there are two types of uncertainty. The one we can prepare for and the one we are just stuck with. And they feel very different with the uncertainty we can’t do anything about being more stressful than the one we can.
Unpredictability is a great stressor. Studies in the 1960s and 1970s showed that rats and humans suffer more when given an unexpected small electrical shock than those who can predict when a zap is coming. And in a 2006 study, people rated the pain as more unpleasant than when they knew what to expect when they were zapped with unpredictable electric shocks to their hands.
If I had a pound for every time these words are used in my therapy room I would have a very heavy piggy bank:
So how can you feel different?
Now, we are emotional creatures and this is a gift. Without the full range of emotions we couldn’t experience joy and pleasure and we all want some of that don’t we? But it becomes a problem when the negative emotions don’t seem to give you a break and stop you living a ‘normal’ life. Let’s not forget that many people will be feeling pleased about the election result.
It might not feel like it, but anxiety actually exists to keep you safe. It goes right back to caveman days where if a predator animal came along, caveman would get anxious and prepare to fight or run. So a bit of andrealin which is released into the body is useful for both of those things. The trouble is that the brain can get confused about ‘danger’ and generate this fight or flight reaction unnecessarily which can be stressful and exhausting.
So maybe you would like to try some of these things to feel less anxious during uncertain times:
Watch my video here for changing how you feel about something that currently bothers you
Think about a situation of uncertaintity from 5 years ago. What happened? Was everything ok? What did you learn from that?
Focus on the things that give you joy. When I work with clients we really dig into this so that their joy list is clear and they visit it often. The more you focus on the things that bring you joy, the less time and energy you will give to thinking about things that don’t bring you joy
Get the right sort of help. If you have had years of counselling, it might be time to try something different. After my 4 session programme, your life will feel very different
‘The only certainty is uncertainty’ – John Allen Paulos
By learning to be calm and in control of your own emotions during tough times, you will be more resilient. And this means that you will find uncertainty less traumatic and problematic as you navigate through life. Thankfully, we don’t have an election very often 🙂
I would love to hear from you by phone on 07530 890089 or email or on Facebook
Can you guess how many people have social anxiety?
Many people with problems like depression, and anxiety worry that they are odd in some way or in the minority, but it is said that one in three people suffers from depression and one in four has anxiety at any time in life.
And social anxiety is said to affect up to 40% of the general public! Social anxiety is when social encounters or situations cause you distress and worry.
So what are the signs of social anxiety?
Do any of these situations feel familiar to you?
A friend’s party
You have been invited to a friend’s birthday party but you don’t really know many people there, you have said that you will go but in the weeks and days leading up to the event you worry about it and you feel anxious about it. On the day itself you can’t go through with it and end up cancelling which upsets your friend but you would rather that than go through with the party.
A work event
Or maybe you have a work event coming up and you will need to socialise with people from work. Which feels so much harder than actually working with the same people! You create disaster scenarios in your mind of all the ways that you might embarrass yourself or make a mistake and on the day itself, you go along because you HAVE to really. But you find yourself being very quiet and leaving as soon as politely possible. When you get back to home or work you feel relived but annoyed with yourself for not showing the people you work with the best of yourself, but you just couldn’t relax at the time.
And let’s not even talk about dating! That carries a whole host of issues around worrying what you look like, where you will meet them, what you will say and maybe you are worried about eating and drinking in front of people.
And possibly the biggest scariest thing you have to face which will make you have social anxiety is public speaking. Just the thought of it throws some people into a spin. And once the day you are doing it is announced you can spend weeks sweating, worrying and working yourself into a frenzy. You might be physically sick before the event or have a mouth so dry it feels like you can’t speak at all. Your hands might feel like leaves in the wind and you might have tightness in the chest and short shallow breathing. What a nightmare!
The common themes
Most things that induce social anxiety will involve concerns about being judged by others, making yourself look silly, being self-conscious and feeling a lack of confidence. People with social anxiety disorder may worry about these and other things for weeks before they happen. Sometimes, they end up staying away from places or events where they think they might have to do something that will embarrass them.
What causes social anxiety disorder?
Social anxiety disorder sometimes runs in families, but no one knows for sure why some family members have it while others don’t. Researchers have found that several parts of the brain are involved in fear and anxiety. By learning more about fear and anxiety in the brain from a qualified professional, you will better understand why the issue occurs and then you can do something about changing it. Sometimes stress and environmental factors may play a role.
So what can you do to help yourself if you suffer from social anxiety?
There are some practical ways that you can help yourself:
Believe in yourself
Master your breathing. Breath slowly and calmly
Have in mind in advance 2 or 3 interesting things to talk about. Maybe current affairs or a recent movie or something from TV. This gives you a way to connect with people without talking about yourself to begin with
Don’t set yourself unrealistic goals such as having to talk to lots of people. Even if you attend and just speak to one or two people that is a success
Attend for a short time. This means to have fulfilled your obligation, built your confidence for next time and showed your face
Try and speak to someone early on. The longer you leave it the more uncomfortable you might get
Take the focus off you by taking an interest in other people. Many people like to talk about themselves so you can let them shine
If you are at an organised event, It’s perfectly fine to say ‘I don’t know anyone here, could you introduce me to..?’
Most hosts will want to help because they want their event to be a success
You could get to know people before you attend something via social media so you are not ‘going in cold’
Professional, supportive and confidential help is available for anxiety in Worthing, Shoreham and across Sussex and Worldwide on Skype
You may benefit from some professional support like Hypnotherapy to remove anxiety and gain confidence. This is what I help people with, week in and week out. I help people feel less anxious about, well, almost anything. With the anxiety out of the way, we then work on the confidence and life is very different.
So once you’ve lost your social anxiety, what do you have to gain?
You will have a bigger network. The benefits of face to face networking are famous in business. It’s one of the best ways to build trust, create relationships, get advice and find out ‘the word on the street’. It’s a superb way to build your personal brand and credibility
You will go to more places and have more experiences
You will be more comfortable around strangers and as a result find it easier to make new friends
You might do better at work by building better relationships and spending time socially with your colleagues
You can support other people who are struggling
You might meet the love of your life
You will be far more confident
‘No one puts baby in the corner’
If you don’t know this line, it’s from a film called Dirty Dancing where Patrick Swayze wants ‘baby’ (his girlfriend) to show off her dancing. Once you lose your social anxiety who knows what you will be ready to show off?
Please get in touch for a free consultation if you want to see how I can help you come out of the corner.