Mental health: A personal and professional prerogative.

Our minds hold the key to a happy and successful life;  however, the fast-paced routines and high-stake competitiveness this millennium is witness to truly testing the strength of our consciousneshowever, the fast-paced routines and high-stake competitiveness this millennium is witness to are truly testing the strength of our consciousness. As per studies, mental health disorders affect more than 13% of the world's population - . A percentagea growing percentageso due to the unprecedented pandemic. From daily stress to substance abuse, the resilience of our psychology is being probed every minute of the day. As humans, it has been noted that we have been proven to evolve and overcome generations of inabilities. Still, it's important to note that there is no beyond without the sanctitude of a calm mind. There is no vaccine for stress. However, we can come together to support each other in overcoming burdening anxiety, depression, and other forms of mental illnesses.

One small step called "support" is a giant leap when it comes to thought expression.

Going back to the first sentence of this article, "fast-paced routines and high-stake competitiveness," these are keywords that will instantly bring up one common thought for most adults- The workplace.

An average professional spends approximately 1920 hours per year at the office (be it a remote office or a physical one). That's more than 50 thousand hours over their cumulative workplace lifetime. Now imagine 50,000 hours where you felt unheard, where you felt drowned in pressures, where you felt worthless without appreciation, imagine all thoese times where you felt alone despite being in an office surrounded by colleagues. That is (or This is) how someone with anxiety feels.

So, what can we do to make our workplace a safe haven, for everyone, at every step of the way?

"Prioritize mental health at work."

Here are five ways we can commit to sustaining a workplace that has a healthy mental impactson the team.

-       Remove the stigma

Mental health is essential, and if someone is facing specific issues, they should not shy away from communicating about them due to peer pressures or embarrassment. Workplaces should promote mental health awareness through workshops, training, and communication to break barriers and encourage affirmative dialogues about mental health.  

-       Look for signs

Sometimes even the wisest person doesn't know how or when to ask for help. Human resources officers or team managers/leaders can be trained to observe certain warning signs. Approaching colleagues in a gentle, non-intrusive manner while showing them that they have a safe place to express their emotions can be the first step to boosting employee trust and morale.

-       Focus on growth, not just for the company but for the employee

It's easy to get stuck in a rut, doing the same tasks over and over again, which not only leads to reduced productivity and creativity but can also affect the workplace environment. Giving the team a sense of purpose through hands-on workshops, out-of-office tasks, outbound meets, or any out-of-the-ordinary task will provide our colleagues a fresh perspective and a much-needed break from the monotony and improve work performance efficiency.  

-       Don't just say it; mean it

Just saying "we are committed to employee well-being" is not enough; our workplace policies and work ethics need to reflect the same. They genuinely hear what your employees have to say means listening to their problems and meeting them with a solution. These solutions can include flexible work-timings, hybrid remote working options, mental-health sick leave, encouraging the team to use their vacation days, and aiming towards a balanced work-life.

-        A united team

The most important feature of any happy workplace is a team that genuinely cares about one another. People who spend so many hours together every day can form strong bonds and support each other. It is imperative to avoid trivial office politics and groupism tactics to strengthen such professional relationships, leading to toxic environments. Dialing down the competitiveness, equal appreciation, rewards for common goals, organizing social events, and meet & greets could help strengthen the team spirit while maintaining a positive workplace vibe.

"You can't control everything. Sometimes you just need to relax and have faith that things will work out. Let go a little and just let life happen." — Kody Keplinger