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How to look after your own mental health

27 Feb 2017
Woman jogging in a field listening to headphones

There are a number of easy wins when it comes to improving your wellbeing and reducing stress

Good diet and regular exercise through to getting more sunlight are some of the practical steps you can undertake to improve your mental wellbeing.

Some are more easily achievable than others. For example, getting plenty of sleep is clearly beneficial to our physical and mental health but not quite so easy if you are raising a very young family.

A lot of problems and tensions can be created at work given people’s relative proximity to each other. Also the struggle to juggle workloads, meetings and deadlines can eventually take their toll.

One of the best methods to stimulate both yourself and your staff is walking meetings.

“The electrical signals in the brain are roughly working at three times the capacity that they would be if they were sat behind a PC monitor,” says Phil Jones, IoD Fellow and managing director of Manchester-based office technology supplier Brother UK. 

Jones recently became increasingly interested in psychology and neuroscience, adding that, “It’s an area that fascinates me – how you perform to the very highest level, how you stay in great physical and mental shape.

“And I started to learn about how blood flows around the brain and that if you want to be more creative you to have get up and start walking or do some exercise,” he says.

It can also provide an opportunity for a member of staff to talk informally about issues that are affecting them, such as stress.

Jones is in no doubt that walking meetings can improve your mental performance and says other MDs should follow suit.

“What we want is people to be able to deliver their best work and if you begin to constrain how that work is delivered – say, it has to be behind a desk or in a meeting room – then you might be missing a trick.

“I’d love to see more businesses doing it and often the barrier lies with the more senior people within an organisation who might be constrained by the old ways of thinking.

“The old styles and methodologies behind how a business should be run are all changing. Smart businesses are the ones who are reviewing everything in order to be relevant for their markets, their customers and to attract the best new talent.” 

Further reading

Find out more about why walking meetings work (and why Obama’s a fan) in Director Magazine.

Top Ten Mental Health Apps Psychiatry Advisor has put together a selection of apps which clinicians believe ‘can be helpful as a way to engage people who may be unwilling or unable to attend face-to-face therapy.’

Looking After Your Mental Health – Bupa considers some common issues that may affect your mental health and suggest some tips for coping.

Top tips for staying well at work The mental health charity Mind offers suggestions for things to do in your lunch break that can have a positive effect on your working life.

Mental health in the workplace

The IoD is committed to raising awareness of mental health issues in the workplace, with a particular focus on opening up the conversation for small and medium-sized businesses. We have created a hub packed full of helpful advice, best practice and useful resources, as well as shared experiences from business leaders.

Visit our mental health in the workplace hub

Get involved in the conversation  or use the hashtag

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