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CAN WE TALK MENTAL HEALTH?


Keeping it 100, as always.


“Balance” is arguably one of the most unattainable things that we are all striving towards.


A balanced home life, work life and social life is a tall order bouncing back and forth through the pandemic and trying to mitigate the ebbs and flows of life.


At what point do we just surrender? Or do we just end up having a complete meltdown leaving people around us bewildered and not knowing how to help?


We know that a lot of us in the UK are affected by Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) which is a type of depression that's related to changes in seasons. The cold weather, the darker nights and darker mornings can take a toll on our mental and physical well being sub consciously and consciously.


As 2021 is nearing the end we are also at risk of Burnout.


According to WHO the World Health Organisation who did a survey in March 2021 with 2099 adults, have found that 1 in 5 people feel unable to cope with pressure and stress levels at work, and that since the pandemic 46% feel more prone to extreme levels of stress and a shockingly low 23% of people knew of plans that their employers had in place to help spot signs of chronic stress and burnout in employees.


Common signs of burnout can be feeling tired or drained most of the time, feeling helpless, trapped and defeated, feeling detached and alone in the world, having a cynical, negative outlook, self-doubt, procrastinating and taking longer to get things done and feeling overwhelmed.


Common signs of SAD can include a persistent low mood, a loss of pleasure or interest in normal everyday activities, irritability, feelings of despair, guilt and worthlessness, feeling lethargic (lacking in energy) and sleepy during the day, sleeping for longer than normal and finding it hard to get up in the mornings.


Not all of these factors are explicitly work-related, indicating that pressures of work, combined with the additional pressures such as the pandemic, the change in weather, lack of sunlight, isolation, money worries, family and home life, social life and living environments outside work are factors that can contribute to a person suffering with chronic stress or SAD.


Gender and age play a role in this prevalence too!


Women and young people reportedly are feeling more prone to extreme stress and pressure at work. SAD is also more common in women. Women are three times more likely to be affected than men.


Seasonal Affective Disorder and Burnout don't go away overnight, So what can you do to help yourself out or support a friend, family member or work colleague if they are experiencing Chronic Stress or SAD?


1.If you are experiencing SAD or Chronic stress, talk to the people who love you the most first, share how you feel as they may not be aware of what you're going through. If you're not the person going through it, then listen, be that listening ear to the person going through a difficult time. Listen, don’t judge or say something like “you’ll be fine just take a bath and light some candles”.


2.Get some help from your doctor - You should consider seeing a GP if you think you might have SAD or Chronic Stress and you're struggling to cope.


3.Adjusting your lifestyle measures by getting as much natural sunlight as possible during this time, exercising regularly and managing your stress levels.


4.Light therapy – where a special lamp called a light box is used to simulate exposure to sunlight.


5.Talking therapies – such as cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) or counselling.


6. Make sure you take your annual leave. It can give you an opportunity to relax and recharge.


7.Get enough sleep. Turn off your screens and do something to relax before you go to bed at night.


8.Try to finish work on time.


9.Schedule in time for fulfilling activities on a frequent basis: Make time for relaxing, hobbies and calls with friends and family.


10. Ask for help if you need it. If you are struggling with burnout it may be beneficial to take a few days off work while you recover. Talk to your manager about any issues you are facing.


The grind doesn't stop, but you can take a second to recharge before you come back boxing off your to-do list and making the world a better place.


Authored by A Girl On Her Grind.



Helpful links and references:


https://www.mind.org.uk/workplace/coronavirus-and-work/dealing-with-burnout-when-working-from-home/


https://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/types-of-mental-health-problems/seasonal-affective-disorder-sad/about-sad/


https://mentalhealth-uk.org/blog/running-on-empty-nearly-1-in-4-working-women-in-the-uk-feel-unable-to-manage-stress-and-pressure-at-work-with-only-44-confident-that-their-employer-has-a-plan-in-place-to-prevent-burnout/

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