We wanted to focus this week’s blog on Mental Health Awareness Week – the theme for 2018 is something that can affect us all – stress! The week runs from 14-20 May and I’m sure you’ll find lots of information available on social media, but we wanted to add in some useful hints and tips related to job hunting and work in general. Gemma Jones, the driving force behind our very busy Milton Keynes temporary division is hosting the blog and shares some of her thoughts about stress and mental health in the workplace and tells you about some of her top hints and tips to keep her stress levels at bay!
“I’m really lucky that I really enjoy my job – I’ve got a really supportive team and we work well together. But, saying that, recruitment is one of THE most stressful industries; it’s very fast paced, especially when you’re recruiting temporary workers because the clients need staff and they need them NOW. I really thrive on the buzz, but I do need to make sure I manage my stress levels as it’s so important for your overall wellbeing.
I feel very strongly about employers understanding and recognising stress in the workplace. In a 2016/17 survey by the Health & Safety Executive, it was reported that 12.5 million working days were lost due to stress, depression and anxiety. Of this number, each person suffering took off an average of 23.8 days. This is a huge number and I strongly believe that many of these days lost could be avoided if employers either don’t know how to help their staff or don’t want to. There is a useful page on the Mental Health Foundation’s website that gives employers some hints and tips about how to manage work life balance to support positive mental health.
For me, the most important thing to do is to have somewhere people can be signposted to for advice if they are struggling and a culture where people talk openly about mental health and stress in particular. There is a lot being done to raise awareness of mental health issues and stress and it’s great that people are talking about it more openly, however there’s still a lot of people suffering and it’s resulting in loads of days off and an impact on people’s general health and wellbeing.
No matter the stress you’re feeling, please take time out and try your best to put things in perspective. Secondly, seek support from someone within your company that can help remedy the things that are contributing to your work stress. Check your contract of employment or employee handbook to find out who can help you, or speak to your HR team in confidence if you need some support.
The charity MIND has a branch that works across Bedfordshire, Milton Keynes and Luton. They offer support and training for companies in the local area and I think that this is really encouraging. If you think you might need to train your staff and managers about how to spot the signs of stress in the workplace and put some measures in place to reduce this, then please check out their site here. If you’re an individual and need some help with your mental health and wellbeing, please check out the services on offer for people here. If you’re based in Northamptonshire, the branch that covers the area can be found here.
The things that help me to de-stress are my cat Lola (pictured). You can find out more about the benefits of pets on mental health and wellbeing on this post. I also really enjoy exercise, which is widely known to help reduce the stress levels – so you’ll often find me at a Spin class or boxing to take out the day’s frustrations. This may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but I also like to tidy up and clear out things that I’m not using any more. Holding on to things I don’t need any more is a ‘clutter’ that I don’t need – both physically and mentally. But my biggest piece of advice is to try different things – you might be surprised by what helps you to destress and unwind.”
If you’re struggling with stress in the workplace, please don’t suffer in silence and try to get some help. If you want to discuss your career options, please give the Ascendant Recruitment team a call on 01908 200270 for our MK office or 01604 439380 for Northampton.