Employee Mental Health… Tips for finding #MomentsForMovement

Our mind and body are connected. What impacts one is often felt by the other. Movement helps work stress through our bodies, giving us an outlet and improving employee mental health. This year’s Mental Health Awareness Week campaign encourages us to move more for our mental health. Read on to discover tips on harnessing the power of employee wellbeing by encouraging employees to find moments for movement throughout their day.

We’ve just released a brand-new podcast hosted by two of our Mental Health First Aiders – Your Employee Mental Health Toolkit.

We may be biased, but it’s a truly inspiring listen, with two of the most genuine humans on this earth sharing their personal and professional insights on taking charge of your wellbeing and helping others do the same.

It will also help you achieve the first of our tips – getting employees to understand their stresses and triggers.

Tip 1: Self-Awareness

As Bhupinder Dhillon says in our podcast, “We all have a different capacity for stress.” 

With enhanced self-awareness, we can understand our limits and our triggers. Once we have that awareness, we can take action, distancing ourselves from the things that increase our stress levels – where we can.

Another element of self-awareness is discovering what helps us reduce our stress levels.

During the podcast, Debbie and Bhupinder (Bhups) share what helps them beat stress. Bhups is into his fitness, regularly attending the gym and playing sports. Debbie prefers a somewhat slower pace, favouring walks, yoga and meditation.

Wellbeing is personal… encourage employees to explore what wellbeing activities best suit them.

Tip 2: Education

Have you heard of the amygdala hijack?

Don’t worry… we hadn’t until our very enlightened MHFA, Debbie Evans, referenced it in our podcast. In Debbie’s words…

The amygdala hijack is the part of your brain that hasn’t quite developed beyond us being threatened to be eaten by dinosaurs. When stressed or afraid, the amygdala hijack sends us into fight or flight mode, flooding our bodies with hormones. Scientific research tells us that if our bodies are sat in fight or flight permanently for too long, we can become very poorly, physically, very poorly, mentally.

Education is an essential part of your employee wellbeing strategy. When your people understand how stress impacts them, they can take proactive steps to reduce it, prioritising their mental health.

More awareness + better employee mental wellbeing = a healthier and more profitable workplace

Tip 3: Create the culture

A culture prioritising employee wellbeing can be just as effective as any employee benefit you offer.

Always remember to be authentic.

Offering an employee benefit that supports employee wellbeing, be it physically, mentally, or financially, isn’t what makes a culture. When a business doesn’t put employee wellbeing at its core, an employee benefit is just a plaster – and not a very sticky one at that.

So, how can you create a culture that prioritises employee mental health and lives and breathes all things employee wellbeing?

Practise what you preach.

Create and empower an employee wellbeing team responsible for sharing information, from tips to eating well, keeping moving when your job is sedentary, creating health-based challenges, and organising wellbeing activities.

Refer to the HR Wellbeing Calendar.

The HR Wellbeing Calendar is an essential tool in your employee wellbeing strategy, informing you of key dates, like Stress Awareness Month, Mental Health Awareness Week, and National Walking Month – multiple occasions for you to promote employee wellbeing and create wellbeing activities that meet the theme.

Flexible working, encouraging employees to take time away from their desks, and using their entire lunch hour – because many don’t – are ways to help employees reduce stress and improve their mental health.

Tip 5: Embed employee benefits

An Employee Assistance Programme is a mental health must-have, giving your employees access to BACP-accredited counsellors 24/7, 365 days a year. EAP is an employee benefit that’s starting to be considered a hygiene factor, as Bhupinder says in our podcast…

“One of my favourite employee benefits is the Employee Assistance Programme. As somebody who’s had counselling in the past and seen the benefits of it firsthand, I think it’s a great benefit for us to have access to.”

#MomentsForMovement…

The Mental Health Awareness Week theme is about the importance of movement. Strengthen your cultural employee wellbeing activities with perks that will help get them moving.

“Gyms cost a pretty penny, nowadays,” as regular gym-goer Bhups tells us in our podcast, and being able to access our Gym and Fitness Discounts makes all the difference to him.

“Yoga is more my speed,” says Debbie, confirming what we already know – we all have different interests and abilities.

Our Gym and Fitness Discounts give your employees access to up to 25% off with over 3,000 gyms, studios, fitness centres, bootcamps and sports clubs across the UK and the Republic of Ireland, as well as a vast range of digital fitness providers allowing you to exercise from home!

Our Cycle to Work scheme makes swapping your bike for your car more affordable, and encouraging a healthier commute fits nicely into your employee wellbeing activities. It also helps your employees and business save money.

As we recently shared on our socials…SmartPay is another way for employees to spread the cost of bikes for the whole family. Our Employee Discounts Platform reduces the upfront purchase cost, and our Virtual-First Pluxee Card earns your employees cashback when they purchase a new bike with one of our participating retailers.

Tip 5: Keep the momentum going

You’ll need to nurture your employee wellbeing culture continuously. Keep planning those wellbeing activities and communicate what employee benefits you’ve made available to encourage uptake. Empower employees to take time for themselves, get away from their desks, and find time throughout the day to move.

Empathetic managers with an ability to recognise signs of stress are essential, but so is giving them the tools they need to support their teams as best they can.

Beat stress and enhance employee mental health in your business during Mental Health Awareness Week and beyond. Arrange a call today.