Mental health is high on the agenda globally and it has been for a number of years. Even more so recently due to the Covid global pandemic with many people being isolated from in person contact, working remotely and less access to support and care.

With 1 in 4 people in England and 1 in 5 in the USA living with a mental health condition in 2020, the question within many companies is how they can support their employees effectively. Most commonly larger corporates have a free employee assistance programme to access therapy and smaller companies tend to manage solutions more ad hoc. This raises another question that if companies have a strategy to support mental health when it is present, what are they doing to prevent it? Perhaps companies instead should focus in mental fitness.

What is mental fitness?

“Mental fitness is defined as a state of wellbeing and having a positive sense of how we feel, think and act” (Dr Andrew Miki)

We all know that to help prevent physical sickness we need to look after our body, nourish it well, exercise regularly and take care of ourselves. Mental fitness has exactly the same principle and we are not referring to keeping your mind fit with puzzles and reading endless books. What has been proven to help is learning to adopt a positive and growth mindset, this helps to build mental strength and resilience to stress.

If we break this down it’s easy to overindulge in TV shows that evoke negative feelings which lead to increased sadness, anxiety and worry. Similarly, we are able to train our brain to have a more positive approach to life and situations. This doesn’t mean you will never experience sadness, but it does mean you will have the strength the sit with the emotion, overcome it and move forward in life without it spiralling into something more serious such as depression or anxiety.

As a company how can you help your employees to increase their mental fitness?

Start simply by encouraging some of the below:-

  • Keep moving and exercise
  • Boost levels of vitamin B
  • Take time to relax
  • Meditate
  • Eat plenty of fruit and vegetables
  • Drink 2L of water per day
  • Prioritise sleep
  • Create routine and rituals
  • Learn to listen to your intuition

These ideas are a great place to start for everyone, however as an organisation it can be a challenge to ensure that your teams are implementing these simple steps into their life. To help regular communication and adopting a culture that encourages this initiative really helps, for example adopting a flexible working strategy can allow employees to incorporate relaxation time into their life.

Are you a company that wants to get more serious about mental fitness? Are you forward thinking company that would love to empower your employees to want to adopt these self-care strategies but don’t know how?

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