Keeping yourself well in the workplace – using a Wellbeing Workplan
Professional boundaries and relationships are essential in the workplace. But we don’t leave our personality at the front door when we arrive for work. As well as the things that make us tick and perform well in our job, we each bring with us past experiences and traits that may sometimes trigger us or hold us back in the workplace.
Being aware of what helps us stay healthy and focused at work is a key way to manage stress and the foundation for building our resilience. It is common and very easy to de-prioritise what’s good for us, eg routine, balanced diet, exercise, sleep and seeing friends or family, when we are overwhelmed.
One tool for managing this is a Wellbeing Workplan. This can help anyone to think about what they need to do to stay well in work, and what kind of support they would need if they became unwell, or too stressed. The plan can be shared with a manager and perhaps trusted colleagues so that they can tell when things are getting on top of you at the times when you can’t and can give you a friendly reminder or nudge.
All Mental Health UK employees are encouraged when they join us to consider putting together a Wellbeing plan, based around the six key questions below.
If you are in England and you have a mental health condition which is recognised under the Equality Act, you can request Reasonable Adjustments at work. For more information on this, download the Rethink Mental Illness Reasonable Adjustments at Work factsheet.
Six key questions for a Wellbeing Workplan, with examples of the kind of answers someone might give:
- What helps you stay mentally healthy at work?Taking a lunch break, being able to work from home, a planned way of working, being able to talk openly to someone I trust at work about how I’m feeling.
- How can your manager support you at work?Keep an open channel of communication – regularly ‘checking in’ and having a chat, helping me to prioritise and break down tasks when I’m feeling a bit stressed (eg what can I delegate, ditch, defer or do).
- Can you think of any situations in the workplace that may ‘trigger’ you?Stress – especially the unexpected kind, other people’s stress when vocalised in the office.
- Are there any signs that we may notice in you if you are feeling stress or unwell?I start to tell myself off out loud or be more vocal when small problems occur, I will be very quiet and will avoid speaking to people, I will probably start coming in later because my sleep will be affected.
- If we notice these early warning signs what should we do?Suggest a chat, suggest I seek a quiet place to work or work from home.
- What steps can you take yourself if you start to feel a change in your wellbeing?Speak to my manager or trusted colleagues, look after myself by making sure I take a lunch break, do some exercise, mindfulness, see friends/family.
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