Winter is usually time for cheer with various holidays from around the globe. At the same time, we see an increase in stress and depression during these months. Some of the depression is due to cold weather and shorter days, while others is due to loneliness for those missing family members. Some people also feel stressed from the expectations they place on themselves and others for the holidays. Read these solutions and easy to implement ideas to help your colleagues shake off depression and stress and stay well during the season.
Your employees are just as susceptible to the winter blues and holiday depression, which is why it is so important to work on solutions to help them cope and get help.
When short-term stress leads to chronic stress, this can take a considerable toll on employee health and well-being. Short-term stress can cause physical complications such as headaches, stomach aches, and difficulty concentrating. Chronic stress can result in mental health symptoms that often go unnoticed. Depression, use of harmful substances, absenteeism, and lost productivity are some mental health symptoms that can manifest if not appropriately managed.
Tips To Manage Employee Mental Health
1. Encourage Exercise:
According to the National Health Service (NHS), moderate levels of exercise can boost the immune system and improve defenses against winter coughs and colds. Exercise will also give you and your staff more energy to keep up with busy work schedules. Being active will not only boost your energy, but your mood as well. The NHS also states that exercise endorphins are key in helping those dealing with Seasonal Affective Disorder, a seasonal depression that is linked to winter. Here are some ways to encourage exercise:
Friendly sports matches – organize a friendly match of volleyball, soccer or even a hula hoop competition. You can plan it at a nearby gym or a grassy area in your company property if the weather permits.
Fitness challenges – set up a goal for your team such as number of steps a day have everyone record their success in a shared company document. Some of our clients have also used Continuwell push notification feature to create daily and weekly challenges with prizes at the end of the week.
2. Make it easy to get live help:
Our Continuwell Nurses receive a lot more calls from people who are feeling sad or depressed during the winter months. Employees need to know that they have access to a resource that they can speak to if they feel sad or depressed. Many companies also provide employee assistance programs (EAP) and you can help your colleagues by reminding them about those resources.
To effectively reduce depression and absenteeism, employees need to know that they matter and are cared for. Keep in mind that your colleagues need to be able to trust the people that they are calling for help. To encourage usage of a live resource, ensure the following:
· Confidential: Employees often worry about calling their insurance and other resources for help because they don’t want the call information to end up in their records.
· Trusted: You colleagues need to trust the advice that they receive. Companies today are providing a telemedicine doctor. While a good starting point, keep in mind that the role of doctors is to decide if a prescription is needed. A counselor or a nurse ambassador may be a better choice.
· Easy to access: A common problem in companies is that employees have access to a lot of resources, but they are scattered and difficult to find. Make sure all the key resources are in an easy to find company portal or a company mobile application.
When companies engage with employees on matters outside of their job descriptions, the employee will feel engaged, thus improving mental health. Continuwell can help improve the mental health of employees by providing educational resources on how to reduce stress effectively. Health Ambassadors are available 24/7 to care and provide resources to the members that will encourage positive mental health.
Schedule a demo with Continuwell to see how you can manage workplace mental health.
http://www.apa.org. (2018). Coping With Stress at Work. [online] Available at: https://www.apa.org/helpcenter/work-stress.aspx [Accessed 2 Oct. 2018].
World Health Organization. (2018). Mental health in the workplace. [online] Available at: http://www.who.int/mental_health/in_the_workplace/en/ [Accessed 2 Oct. 2018].
Publishing, H. (2018). Mental health problems in the workplace – Harvard Health. [online] Harvard Health. Available at: https://www.health.harvard.edu/newsletter_article/mental-health-problems-in-the-workplace [Accessed 2 Oct. 2018].
Workplacementalhealth.org. (2018). Workplace Mental Health – Workplace Stress. [online] Available at: http://workplacementalhealth.org/Mental-Health-Topics/Workplace-Stress [Accessed 2 Oct. 2018].