Five wellness tips for positive mental health in the workplace

By Cam Velasco

CEO & Co-Founder
Published: Feb 18, 2024
Prioritizing mental health in the workplace is essential to enhance productivity, retention, and overall performance. In this blog, we'll explore 5 practical strategies for fostering a supportive environment.
Hands holding a paper cutout of a human head with a tangled line drawing representing complex thoughts, against a teal background, symbolizing mental wellness in the workplace.

Maintaining positive mental health in the workplace is crucial, yet often overlooked.

With a few simple, practical tips, both employees and employers can dramatically improve workplace wellness and productivity.

In this post, we will explore five key areas organizations can focus on to foster positive mental health, including leadership training, diversity and inclusion programs, autonomy and work-life balance, mental health resources and training, and individual wellness habits.

Let’s begin!

Key Takeaways

  • Prioritizing mental health in the workplace leads to improved productivity, retention, and overall company performance.
  • Leadership training, diversity and inclusion efforts, and promoting autonomy and work-life balance are essential for fostering a mentally healthy work environment.
  • Creating a culture of open communication about mental health, led by example from management, can significantly reduce stigma and encourage a supportive work atmosphere.

Introduction to Mental Health in the workplace

A woman sitting calmly at her desk with her eyes closed and hands in a meditative pose, papers floating around her, suggesting a peaceful mind amidst a busy work environment.

Mental health is a critical component of employee wellbeing and workplace culture. Companies that prioritize mental health see improvements in productivity, retention, and bottom lines.

This section will provide actionable tips for fostering positive mental health in the workplace.

The Role of Supervisors in Family/Work Harmony

Supervisors play a key role in helping employees balance personal and professional responsibilities.

Simple steps like accommodating flexible schedules, allowing remote work options, and modeling healthy work-life integration can dramatically improve family/work harmony.

Supervisors should receive training on supporting employees’ mental health needs.

Creating a Workplace Environment for Mental Health Excellence

There are many elements that contribute to a psychologically healthy workplace, including autonomy, work-life balance, diversity, and inclusion.

Companies should assess their culture and implement appropriate strategies like self-care workshops, peer support programs, anonymous surveys to measure psychological safety, and reviewing policies through a mental health lens.

Self-Care as a Foundation for Positive Mental Health

Encouraging employees to practice self-care can significantly reduce stress and improve mental wellbeing.

Companies should promote healthy habits like taking breaks, exercising, eating nutritious foods, practicing mindfulness, getting enough sleep, and making time for enjoyable hobbies outside of work.

Consider offering self-care workshops or work breaks dedicated to wellness activities.

What are 5 ways to maintain positive mental health in the workplace?

A group of smiling coworkers in a bright office setting, with one woman in a yellow cardigan giving a high-five to a colleague, promoting team support and a positive work environment.

Maintaining positive mental health at work is crucial for overall well being.

Here are 5 tips:

Practice mindfulness

Take short breaks to focus on your breathing, thoughts, and sensations.

Apps like Headspace can guide you through mindfulness techniques. This self-awareness and presence reduces stress.

Prioritize good sleep

Aim for 7-9 hours per night. Having a consistent pre-bed routine of turning off screens, journaling, reading, and meditating can improve sleep quality.

Better sleep boosts focus, productivity, and mood.

Exercise and eat well

Taking walking breaks, using standing desks, going to the gym, and eating nutritious foods gives you more energy.

Maintaining healthy lifestyle habits prevents burnout.

Connect with supportive people

Building positive relationships with colleagues, friends, and family members leads to a sense of belonging.

Social connections are vital for mental health.

Practice self-care

Do activities you enjoy that help you destress and recharge, whether it’s reading, cooking, or listening to music.

Taking care of your needs boosts resilience.

What are some tips for mental wellness in the workplace?

A stressed woman at work with her eyes closed and temples pressed by her fingers, surrounded by hands offering her multiple documents and a tablet, symbolizing overwhelming demands and the need for stress management.

Maintaining mental wellness at work is crucial for happiness and success.

Here are some practical tips:

Take Breaks
  • Take a short walk or do some stretches every hour. This gives your mind a break and increases blood flow.
  • Eat lunch away from your desk. This allows you to fully recharge.
  • Use your vacation days. Time off helps prevent burnout.
Set Boundaries
  • Don’t check work emails after hours. Disconnect after work.
  • Block time for deep work. Limit interruptions to focus better.
Practice Self-Care
  • Get enough sleep. Lack of sleep negatively impacts mental health.
  • Eat nutritious meals. A healthy diet boosts energy and mood.
  • Do an activity you enjoy. Hobbies help manage stress.
Cultivate Relationships
  • Have lunch with co-workers. Social connections are important.
  • Ask managers how you can improve. Feedback prevents anxiety.
  • Offer support to colleagues. Helping others improves wellbeing.

Following these tips can greatly benefit mental health and prevent workplace burnout. Let me know if you have any other questions!

Enhancing Mental Health Awareness in the Workplace

A compassionate colleague is comforting a distressed woman holding her head, demonstrating the importance of peer support for mental well-being in the workplace.

Mental Health Awareness Training for All Employees

Providing mental health awareness training for all employees can help reduce stigma in the workplace.

This training educates employees on common mental health conditions like anxiety, depression, and addiction. It teaches them how to recognize signs of distress in themselves and coworkers.

Employees also learn self-care skills to maintain their mental well-being, such as controlled breathing, staying active, eating healthy, and practicing mindfulness.

Most importantly, the training fosters understanding between employees. It helps create a work environment where people feel safe asking for help without judgement. Employees feel empowered to speak openly about mental health instead of suffering in silence.

Promoting Psychological Well-Being with Resources

Companies can provide resources to help employees care for their mental health at work. Useful tools include:

  • Self-assessment tests – Allow employees to check in on their mental well-being and get connected to support if needed.
  • Counseling services – Provide access to licensed therapists for confidential counseling. This can be offered virtually or in-person.
  • Wellness apps – Apps that teach mindfulness, breathing exercises, mood tracking and more. Companies can subsidize the cost.
  • Manager training – Equip managers to handle mental health conversations and make accommodations.
  • Peer support – Facilitate peer discussion groups to share coping strategies.
  • Wellness spaces – Designate quiet rooms for relaxation and emotional relief during the workday.

Providing these resources demonstrates a company’s commitment to supporting mental health.

Fostering Autonomy and Work-Life Harmony

Implement flexible scheduling, remote work options, and family leave to enable work-life balance.

Empowering Employees with a Sense of Autonomy

Giving employees more control and flexibility over how, when, and where they work has been shown to greatly improve mental health and productivity.

Simple changes like allowing for flexible schedules, telecommuting options, and self-managed time off can make a big difference.

When employees feel trusted and empowered to have more autonomy in managing their own work, they tend to feel less stressed, more motivated, and more loyal to the company.

Some examples of how to foster autonomy include:

  • Allowing for flexible start and end times rather than fixed hours
  • Offering work-from-home days or telecommuting options
  • Giving employees control over scheduling their own time off
  • Training managers to focus more on deliverables rather than time spent at desks
  • Providing self-service options for basic HR tasks rather than micromanaging

The key is to provide employees with as much freedom and flexibility as possible while still meeting business needs.

This balance enables people to work in ways that are optimal for their own mental health and personal circumstances.

Boundaries to Prevent Burnout

Without clear boundaries between work and personal life, employees can easily suffer burnout from working excessively long hours.

Companies should establish policies that encourage employees to disconnect outside working hours and use their vacation days. For example:

  • Discouraging after-hours work emails/calls unless urgent
  • Reminding staff to take lunch and regular screen breaks
  • Setting maximum weekly hours employees should work
  • Monitoring overtime and workload across teams
  • Offering incentives to use vacation days

Promoting true downtime allows the brain to recharge and prevents prolonged stress. This could include 3-day weekends, sabbaticals, or extended holiday closures.

Leaders should model healthy behaviors by being the first ones to disconnect.

Supporting Family Priorities Through Flexible Policies

To assist employees in balancing their family responsibilities alongside work, companies can offer:

  • Generous family leave policies beyond legal minimums
  • Options to work reduced hours for child/elder care
  • Subsidized backup childcare services
  • Flexibility to attend school events, doctor visits
  • Compassionate policies around grieving/sick loved ones
  • Respect for family commitments in scheduling

By supporting the family priorities of staff alongside their careers, companies see improved retention, engagement, loyalty and mental health.

Small policy changes demonstrate that the company values each employee’s whole life, not just their work output.

The flexibility enables stronger families and more well-rounded, contented staff.

Building an Inclusive Workplace for Enhanced Mental Health

Hands protectively hovering over a diverse set of paper cut-out figures representing different genders, ages, and disabilities, symbolizing an inclusive workplace environment.

Foster a respectful, egalitarian environment through inclusive language guidelines and diversity programs.

Inclusive Language Guidelines for a Respectful Workplace

Using inclusive language in the workplace, such as avoiding assumptions about gender, relationship status, ethnicity, disability status, etc. can make employees feel more respected.

Provide guidelines for staff on word choices that embrace diversity. For example, use words like “partner” instead of “wife/husband”, “they/them” instead of defaulting to “he/him”, etc.

Make it clear that derogatory language around race, gender, or other attributes is unacceptable. Having these guidelines helps build an atmosphere where everyone feels safe to be themselves.

Diversity Programs That Perform Better

Research shows that companies who implement organizational diversity programs perform better financially.

Employees feel more valued when they see themselves reflected in company leadership and culture. Consider employee resource groups, mentoring programs, recruiting from diverse talent pools, diversity training, and celebrating cultural events.

Promoting diversity should extend beyond HR into all levels of the company. The end result is employees who feel happier, respected, and able to thrive.

Celebrating Diversity to Boost Employee Morale

Fun celebrations of diversity help bring teams together. Events might highlight different cultures’ music, food, dress, or customs.

For example, an event around Diwali allowed staff to try traditional Indian sweets and henna hand painting. After the event, participants raved about the sense of community it built.

Celebrations make the workplace more engaging and inclusive for all. They boost morale, along with mental and even physical wellbeing.

Conclusion: Cultivating Positive Mental Health in the Workplace

A letter board with the phrase "MENTAL HEALTH MATTERS" displayed, accompanied by colorful geometric shapes scattered around it, symbolizing the importance of mental health awareness in a creative or work setting.

Mental health support in the workplace is critical for employee wellbeing and company success.

The tips covered in this article, from controlled breathing to supervisor training, can help create a culture that prioritizes psychological safety and work-life balance.

Here are three key takeaways:

  • Invest in mental health training and resources. Providing tools like mindfulness apps and access to counselors demonstrates a commitment to mental health.
  • Encourage open communication. Fostering an environment where employees feel comfortable discussing stress and seeking support reduces stigma.
  • Lead by example. When managers role model self-care practices like taking breaks, using vacation time, and maintaining work-life boundaries, employees feel empowered to do the same.

Implementing small changes like inclusive language guidelines and autonomy over schedules can profoundly impact workplace culture.

By making employee mental health and wellness central to company values, organizations see greater innovation, productivity, and retention.

The result is a thriving workplace where every individual can flourish.

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Cam Velasco

CEO & Co-Founder

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