Here at Jadu, mental health in the workplace is extremely important to us. Several of our colleagues are qualified Mental Health First Aiders, so there is always someone on hand to speak to. We wanted to introduce one of our newest Mental Health First Aider’s, Vineethaa Thyagarajan, and share her experience with mental health.
“Happiness can be found even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.” - Albus Dumbeldore
I am an anxious person. I don’t know if I have been since childhood or as I have grown up has become more apparent, but I’ve definitely felt it a lot more during this pandemic. I kept telling myself that it will pass and that I will be ok, but I knew I wasn’t. I decided to try and make myself feel better by talking about it to my husband and my best friend, who are my support system. I also started running regularly which is both good for my mind and body. These two simple things have not only made me a happier person, but have helped calm my anxiety.
Jadu gave me the opportunity to become a qualified mental health first aider and I wanted to be able in a position to tell my family, friends and colleagues that “It’s ok not to be ok”, and help them like my support system helped me when I was struggling. Jadu is a company where the wellbeing of everyone is really important. We have four certified mental health first aiders who can provide support for our employees, partners and customers. There is no stigma surrounding mental health at Jadu and nobody is judged for not feeling ok or reaching out for help.
There are two important questions I feel we need to address:
- What is mental health?
- Why is it so important?
Mental health refers to the state of our emotional, psychological, and social wellbeing. It plays an important role in the way we deal with stress, how we relate to others, and the decisions we make in our daily lives. Without having positive mental health, it is hard, albeit impossible for some people to realise their potential, work productively, make a meaningful contribution to the community and/or loved ones, or handle the stress that comes with life. So it is very important that our mental health is in the best state possible.
I became a mental health first aider to help others overcome their own obstacles after experiencing my own. My anxiety and mental health took a turn when the pandemic started and we were stuck indoors and unable to be with others physically.
“It doesn’t have to take over your life, it doesn’t have to define you as a person, it’s just important that you ask for help. It’s not a sign of weakness.” - Demi Lovato
Here are some tips that helped me:
- A good night's sleep is a vital part of being mentally healthy. The mind needs time to rest at the end of each day to make sure you are refreshed for the next day. Most adults need between 6 and 9 hours of sleep every night. If you’re struggling to sleep you might want to try and listen to a mental wellbeing app such as Calm, or Headspace to help calm your mind before bedtime. Additionally, try not to use your phone to check work emails, read messages or look at social media just before bed.
- Being physically active can help shift your mind's focus and help to remove stress that might have accumulated throughout the day. There are many free, useful podcasts and apps that can help you get started with exercise. I am currently on the Couch to 5K plan which has helped hugely.
- Talking to someone will not only make you feel less lonely, but it will remove the stress and anxiousness when you know that you have somebody who understands you, or will just listen to you and let you talk. The one thing that kept me going was knowing that my family was with me the whole time.
Whilst some people may not feel like they have someone to talk to, there will always be people ready to listen, whether at work or at home. Alternatively, sometimes people might find it hard to confide in the people closest to them, the team at Jadu offer colleagues the opportunity to have therapy if needed with Wellbeing Therapy Solutions, a service based in Leicester.
- Learning new skills helps to build your self-esteem, confidence and character. A new skill could be from:
- Pursuing your hobbies, or trying a new hobby - maybe you have always thought about trying something in particular, why not give it a go!
- Taking on a new responsibility or learning a new skill at work, as long as you aren’t taking on too much already, taking on something new can boost your confidence and purpose.
- Gardening or growing vegetables/herbs/plants indoors, many people found their green fingers during lockdown. Just because winter is around the corner doesn't mean we can’t carry on growing our own indoor plants or herbs. When we work with plants we have a release of feel-good chemicals in the brain such as serotonin and dopamine!
Working on a home DIY project, exercise might not be for you, and that’s okay. Some people prefer painting or colouring, or trying some new projects in the house. If you’ve been thinking for a while that your bedroom needs perking up, why not get the paint brushes out.
- Practising Mindfulness will help you pay more attention to the present moment, which will in turn improve your mental health. It can be achieved by performing simple breathing exercises for a few minutes twice a day. Here is a helpful video that explains the exercise in detail: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wfDTp2GogaQ&app=desktop
I hope this has been helpful to you and my top tips help you with your mental health. If you have any tips for the betterment of mental well being, please do let us know.
Just remember: “Mental health…is not a destination, but a process. It’s about how you drive, not where you’re going.” - Noam Shpancer
If you are a Jadu employee who would like to book time in with Vineethaa, or any of our other mental health first aiders, drop them an email.