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
- Regular overworking
- 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
- Displaying stress
- Looking tired
- 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.
Are you hiding your symptoms of anxiety?
People will go to great lengths to ‘hide’ their issues.
A lot of people are secret eating. Hiding food in their homes, desk at work and car. Eating it when there is no one around, knowing they don’t want to be doing that but they say they are unable to stop themselves.
Then there are people suffering from depression and ‘putting a brave face on it’. Laughing and joking in company of others, but thoroughly miserable deep down.
There are people so stressed they can’t sleep properly, can’t ‘switch off’ and have virtually no relaxation time. But they continue to take on more and more, pretending everything is ok and that keeping up high ‘expected’ standards of work, parenting, relationships, appearance and home, even though it is exhausting them.
But how might you hide symptoms of anxiety?
Despite anxiety making it very difficult for some people to do things that they need or want to do in their everyday life, they employ ‘strategies’ to get through life with anxiety. Some of these strategies might be:
- Accepting invites to social occasions and then coming up with an excuse at the time of the event so they don’t have to go
- Not accepting invitations to anything
- Wearing clothing to hide sweat, rashes and other physical symptoms
- Not putting themselves in situation where they are ‘visible’, such as presentations at work
- Not making close physical contact with people in case anyone notices their sweaty palms or body
- Not engaging in conversations in case they let it slip that they have anxiety
- Avoiding enclosed spaces
- Knowing where toilets are and planning around toilets
Not being your true self is tiring
But living in a way where you are hiding your true self is tiring. You may find it exhausting. It’s almost like an anxiety about the anxiety!
When you are always thinking ahead ‘just in case’ you are also missing out on living in the present moment. Something that increases relaxation, happiness and quality of life. Can you see how anxiety and hiding your symptoms of anxiety are both placed in the future and it uses your energy thinking about things that haven’t yet and might never happen? That uses energy you don’t need to use! Energy you could use to enjoy your life now.
It’s completely understandable why you might want to hide your anxiety symptoms, but there really is no shame in anxiety. It can happen to ANYONE at ANYTIME and it is completely treatable.
Luckily mental health is being talked about more and more and public figures like Prince Harry are really helping. Let’s keep talking about it and moving towards a society where it is easy to get help and talk about things.
It’s not as simple as just saying don’t be anxious….
Anxiety feels very real ,but it’s actually your brain creating it. As a Hypnotherapist who helps a lot of people overcome anxiety for good, I can assure you that you can overcome your anxiety in just 1 or 2 sessions with me.
This week I am posting daily videos on my Facebook page so come on over and watch the videos! And please like my Facebook page while you are there so you can be the first to know of all manner of things 🙂
On some of the days I will give you tips to manage your anxiety which could help you. Let me know how you get on!
Get in touch if you need help with anxiety
If you want 121 help, please do just in touch. I would love to explain how the blend of therapies that I use (Hypnotherapy, NLP Master level and PSY-Tap) remove anxiety forever and change our life. You DO NOT need to live with panic, worry, dread or fear anymore. Or hide it 🙂
Of course the added benefit of Hypnotherapy is that it is deeply relaxing and relaxation is the complete opposite of anxiety. Once you have relaxation in your life you will want it to stay there.
Sending you calm thoughts.
Comparison has a place…
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.
What do I mean, depression is like burnt toast?
I know you might be thinking… how is depression like burnt toast! Please let me explain….
Last year, I put some toast in the toaster and it blew my electrical fuse. A friend suggested I empty the crumb tray as that might have caused the problem. So I did that and used it again.
I had a working toaster again for a few months. Until it happened again. I had been emptying the crumb tray regularly as suggested by my helpful friend but this time I just didn’t want to risk keep using it in case it did some real damage to my electrics.
So I found a way to get around it. I started using the grill on the oven instead. The problem with this is that grilled toast needs watching and with other things to do I would often end up burning the toast which caused problems!
This workaround to the real problem of no toaster that I had created has other issues too. Such as:
- Sometimes I would be low on bread and it would be annoying to waste that burnt bread
- It was time consuming as I would have to start again when I burnt it
- There was no control over how brown the toast should be like I had on the toaster
- It was slow for the grill to heat up
- I had to remember to turn the grill off again
I needed to take action and stop burning the toast
So yes, I know it sounds like I’m moaning a bit and I certainly didn’t lose any sleep about it, but this did go on for months and I could have done something about it much sooner!
I just needed to take action. I’m not sure why I didn’t do anything sooner.
Maybe life got in the way or there was just too much choice of toasters so I couldn’t decide which one to get. All I know is that it caused me irritation many times when it didn’t need to.
I found the right toaster for me
One day I was in Asdas and I saw a toaster which I knew would look good in my kitchen. I had a read of the features and liked what I saw. 4 slices could be cooked at once, you can cook from frozen wow and it even takes bagels due to it’s extra wide slots! So I bought that toaster and me and the toaster have lived happily together ever since.
I won’t say it’s changed my life but it does cook the toast perfectly and very quickly. And I just love a bit of brown seeded with peanut butter.
So how does this relate to depression?
As a Hypnotherapist who specialises in depression, I have developed a programme to help people overcome depression. The things that my clients who overcome depression always say are:
‘I never realised how much control I could have over my depression’
‘I wish I had done something about this sooner’
‘Life feels very different’
How much burnt toast are you going to put up with?
I want you to know that you do have more control and possibilities than you think. Please do get in touch if you would like a free consultation.
Nothing changes if nothing changes might sound obvious, but it really is as simple as that.
Let’s look at the most common things that people want to change:
The way you feel
It amazes me how people get trapped in a spiral of negative thinking of sadness and miss out on so much in their life because they simple don’t know that things can be different. The first thing to note here is that your brain has a negative bias. This means for most people they need to put effort into feeling positive and happy. But the benefits are worth it because you get a nice dose of Dopamine which controls your brain’s reward and pleasure centers. Dopamine also regulates emotional responses and motivates us to take action towards things that make us feel rewarded. What this means is once you’ve felt good, you will want to do it more and more.
If you have Hypnotherapy for depression (which affects 1 in 3 people at any one time and most people at some point in their lives) you will feel a numbers of benefits:
- Release issues from the past
- Feel more energised
- Break the pattern of negative thinking
- Obtain techniques for nipping negative feelings in the bud and seeking out more pleasurable feelings
- Break the cycle
The way you look
This can be as simple as wanting a new colour hair or a different hairstyle to something like wanting cosmetic surgery. If you really hate something about the way you look then sometimes it’s not the way you look at all but your thoughts. I’ve actually had quite a few clients in my Hypnotherapy practice who don’t like the way they look and we’ve done what I call ‘work of the self’ to increase self-confidence and self-esteem. After this change work, the way they look is less of an issue. The trouble seems to be that the easiest way to judge someone is how they look and society supports this and people can wind up feeling inferior for absolutely no reason.
The biggest issue for people not liking the way they look seems to be if they feel they are overweight. But losing weight is hard for many and they need support. Hypnotherapy for weight loss really is the easiest way because it doesn’t mean another ‘diet’. Hypnotherapy for weight loss means you make healthier choices automatically and reasons you might comfort eat for emotional reasons are addressed. you also have the added benefit of motivation and increased confidence being built in.
There are things you want to move away from….
Addictions such as smoking
It’s quite unusual to meet a smoker who likes smoking and how it makes them feel and who wouldn’t give up if they felt it would be easy. Giving up smoking with Hypnotherapy is much easier than going it alone. In the stop smoking technique that I use I combine three techniques so it is very effective.
If you suffer from anxiety it can rule your life. Anxiety can vary from being nervous about driving, leaving the house, going to be particular places or being in certain situations. Anxiety can be triggered by not much more than a thought or smell. The most common cause of anxiety is stress. Stress can lead to anxiety symptoms, and anxiety can make stress worse. This can be a bit of a shock to someone who has never suffered from either before and finds themselves suffering from headache, dry mouth, dizziness, and sweating. These symptoms can come on at any time even when most unexpected and even result in panic attacks. People offer suffer in silence but could benefit quickly and easily from the right treatment.
And there are things you want to move towards…..
Do you say or think you want change but not do anything about it? Do you see others around you making changes and feel envious but if you looked at it objectively you could see that they changed because they put the effort, energy and financial investment in to make that change happen? for example if you live in a flat and this makes you unhappy because you would rather have a house are you prepared to get a new job or change your lifestyle to take on the extra responsibility and make that happen?
A better lifestyle
If you really want more money you might need to get a new job or relocate or retrain to find a new job. This means you will need to invest in yourself. Sometimes people are held back by fear and benefit from a confidence boost Hypnotherapy session to help them make changes, take exams or brave an interview.
Fear and lack of clear direction and goal setting hold a lot of people back from reaching their true potential. What’s amazing about the unconcious mind is that it knows what you really want (even you don’t!). Some of the things that become apparent during Hypnotherapy and coaching can be life changing for people. They realise they are not living the life they really want to or not doing the hobby they would really love. Bring on the ballroom dancing!
Happiness is so different for every single person. Some people need to be around people and others needs to be around books! some people will have materialistic aspirations other don’t care about that. Some people will get joy from their dog and others from making up a new recipe. The point is… a lot of people don’t understand themselves well enough to know what makes them intrinsically happy. ‘Work of the self’, that is exploring inner feelings and drivers, knowing your values and identity is the key to the door to your happiness.
Make that change now
Quite often I will have a free 20 minute consultation with a client and they will go away and think about it. In that time they might try to sort the ‘thing’ out themselves. I hope that for some people this brings a happy ending, I really do. But on many occasions that same person will come back some time later for the thing we spoke about and they will book in. What they always say when we finish working together is that they wish they had come sooner! So if you want change, do it now and reap the benefits ASAP 🙂
This blog is one in a series about self-development and ways to help you manage your mental health. I’m providing techniques and advice a Hypnotherapist and coach working locally in West Sussex and Worldwide on Skype.
Your ‘what I want to change’ list.
For today’s list please make a list of things in your life that you would want to change and pick the most important. Then get in touch for your free 20 minute consultation by calling 07530 890089 or at firstname.lastname@example.org
Honey (Sussex based Hypnotherapist that helps people with stop smoking, anxiety, weight loss, stress and depression).