30% of working parents feel burnout regularly
This Mental Health Awareness Week is focusing on Stress. Managing stress levels and promoting wellbeing in the workplace is considered crucial to maintaining a productive workforce. Yet stress is still a big problem for many.
Stress can be caused by many things but for working parents a major source of stress can be the ongoing struggle to balance the demands of work and home life. In addition to the ongoing need to arrange and pay for childcare, find workable arrangements during the school holidays, and sort out the daily school run and scheduling of after-school activities, many parents feel a sense of guilt that they are not able to give their work or their home life as much time and energy as they would like.
When you’re feeling stressed at work here are some tips you can try to help reduce stress levels:
Ask for help
Everyone needs help from time to time. Have a chat with your manager about your workload and how they can help you solve any problems you are having.
Striking a balance
Balancing your time can be a real challenge as a working parent. Occasionally you may need to work longer hours to get something done, but try to claim this time back later if you can.
Remember, you can’t be ‘perfect’ all the time. Set boundaries to ensure you’re not taking on too much and be realistic with the targets and goals you set.
Get into a habit
Do something at the end of each working day, such as tidying your desk or making a list of what needs to be done the next day. This can help you to switch off from work.
Connecting with your colleagues can help to build up a network of support and make work more enjoyable.
Take short breaks
Try to take short breaks throughout your day, as well as time away from your desk at lunchtime. Why not try going for a short walk outside
Parenting NI are delighted to be working with businesses and organisations throughout Northern Ireland in supporting their parent employees. To find out more about what we offer click here.
Having conversations about Mental Health in the Workplace
Aside from the theme of Stress, Mental Health Awareness Week aims to highlight the importance of Mental Health and reduce the stigma around talking about it. This week over 300 radio stations joined to broadcast the same message about mental health. They are calling on the law to be changed and make it a legal requirement to have trained mental health first aiders in every workplace or college.
It can be difficult to approach having a conversation with a colleague about mental health, but we all have mental health just like physical health. If we noticed a colleague had the cold or was in pain we would ask them how they were doing and show support. However, it can be more difficult to notice and also very difficult to ask about how someone is doing mentally.
There is no perfect way to start a conversation about someone’s wellbeing, but just being there to listen in an empathetic and non-judgemental way can help. Below are some tips on how you might approach a colleague, someone you work with or manage, if you’re worried about them.
- Choose a place you can chat privately – maybe suggest going for a walk or grabbing a coffee
- Choose an appropriate time, like a break time or lunch
- Show that you are actively listening by giving them eye contact and physical and verbal nods.
- Ask open questions – “How are you today” – sometimes making it about the present can prevent the ubiquitous “I’m fine” response
- Reassure the person that it is okay to talk
- Let them know that you are there to listen to them and help if they need you to
- If mental health is being discussed in the news why not use this as an opportunity to bring it up in the office and get conversation going?
Time to Change have great resources which can be downloaded from their website on having conversations about mental health.