The COVID-19 crisis has placed significant pressures on many in society - indeed, one in five UK adults are reported to have had depressive symptoms during the pandemic. 

Seeking support represents the first step for anyone suffering from mental health issues. There are, however, some other simple steps that anyone can implement, to improve their mental health both in and out of the workplace. 

Reaching Out
There is a large body of evidence that suggests maintaining close relationships with, and feeling valued by, other people contributes significantly towards mental wellbeing. 

Whilst this can represent a challenge, given the current restrictions on movement and interaction, there some simple steps you can take...

Rather than sending an email to a colleague, take the time to pick up the phone, or schedule a video call. 

It only takes a few moments, but a simple “how was your weekend?” can go a long way if someone is feeling lonely, or in need of support. 

Get Active
Regular physical activity has been linked to lower rates of depression and anxiety across all age groups.

Limber up and get ready for the working day with some basic morning stretches - there are plenty of resources online that can provide you with exercise programmes to suit your needs. 

Alternatively, if you have some outside space nearby, take a quick stroll during your lunch break. 

If you’re feeling a little more adventurous, speak to your local running or rambling club - many operate after work and at weekends, and they cater for all ages and abilities.

Setting Goals
Stimulating your mind and setting goals can be hugely rewarding and has been associated with higher levels of wellbeing.

Speak to your line manager about additional training or development opportunities or learn a new skill in your spare time. 

If you don’t have time for training or learning a new skill, do something as simple as reading the news, researching a subject, or learning something new about a colleague. 

Give to Others
Research has shown that committing acts of kindness is associated with an increase in mental wellbeing.

If one of your colleagues is struggling with their workload, offer them some assistance. Alternatively, a quick message can be a thoughtful way of letting them know that they’re valued. 

Outside work, why not join a local litter pick or volunteer at a local food bank. If you have neighbours or people you know that are elderly or vulnerable, is there some way you can assist them? 

Enjoying Nature
The theme for Mental Health Awareness Week 2021 is ‘Nature’.  

Studies have shown that interacting with the natural world can provide huge benefits to your mental and physical health. Indeed, many of us have felt the benefit of our gardens and local parks during the lockdown. 

The days are getting longer and warmer, so take some time to enjoy the environment around you - it can be as simple as taking five minutes to get some fresh air, or enjoying a cuppa in the garden. 

Are you struggling with your mental health, or know someone that is? Don’t keep it to yourself - there is help available! The Mental Health Foundation and MIND provide a range of information and support for anyone struggling with their mental health.

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