Monday 14 May 2018
How to look after your mental health when you start a new job
Within the first week of joining Mental Health UK, I was offered the opportunity to fill out a Wellbeing Workplan. Prior to working at Mental Health UK I had spent almost 15 years working in research labs, so I’ve attended countless Health and Safety Courses. Yet this was the first time I was asked to think about my mental health and safety.
Immediately after assessing my workstation, my manager showed me the template for the Wellbeing Workplan. It was an opportunity to think back to situations at work that triggered overwhelming feelings of stress, to write down what the feelings were, and to determine how my behaviour changed when I was struggling at work. Once my manager understood what to look out for, we set up a plan on what steps I needed to take to help me overcome that state of poor wellbeing.
Because I work at an organisation where everyone is driven by their passion for the cause of mental health, we all want to do more to help our colleagues, and ultimately our beneficiaries. I’ve always found it difficult to say ‘Sorry but I don’t have the capacity to do this’, or ‘I’m afraid this is not a priority for me at the moment’. I realised that I start to struggle when I cannot prioritise my tasks. This is when I start talking too quickly, and my colleagues notice that I tend to sigh a lot while I’m typing.
For me, going outside for a few minutes and taking four deep breaths of fresh air is an immediate short-term fix to calm me down. Sitting down with my manager going through my workload helps me determine what my priorities are. Taking the time to focus on a task I know I do really well will also help me regain the confidence that I, in fact, know what I’m doing!
If you would like to create your own Wellbeing Workplan, you can see a set of suggested discussion points at www.mentalhealth-uk.org/checklist
Corporate Partnerships Executive
Mental Health UK