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January 11, 2021 / by Jennifer Lyness

2021 Workplace Mental Health Tips

2021 is off to an interesting start. While most thought they were saying goodbye to the craziness of 2020 it looks as though the new year will bring even more interesting times. While the world is in chaos we wanted to provide you a few ways to keep your workplace calm. Even if you aren’t anxious in normal circumstances, the pandemic and only hearing bad news week after week can take a toll on the mind. Employees need to feel some semblance of calm during this difficult time.  While it might be especially obvious right now, surroundings affect mood. Start with a clean state for the new year and then fill your workspace with things that make your team feel good.

Scents can help with overall mood. While lighting candles may not be safe in your workplace oil diffusers are a great way to infuse calming scents. Lavender, peppermint and ylang-ylang all promote calmness and reduce stress on busy days. When you can feel negative energy, or people are feeling the weight of some challenges happening at work, this is a great time to diffuse citrus oils. It’s hard to not feel a lift when smelling the sweet smell of orange peel.

Plants can transform any work space, making it feel like an own oasis. Did you know that office plants can improve the health of employees and reduce sick days. Plants naturally filter toxins from the rooms that they grow in and help freshen up the place. Office plants can play a role in increasing productivity. Exeter University say that employees perform better when household plants are added to their work spaces. In fact, after studying this concept for 10 years, the team concluded that workers are 15% more productive when there are houseplants and décor around. Reason? Employees who engage with their surroundings tend to achieve a greater output and have an easier time staying focused.
Certain plants can boost creativity. Bright colors and vibrant smells are key to making sure your leafy buddy has a positive impact on creativity. It’s been widely recognized that stimulating our senses can open up the flow of ideas and taking the time to literally smell the flowers can help pull someone out of a slump. Office plants can help absorb background noise. Positioning larger plant pots, around the edges and corners of a room is the best way to reap the benefits. 

The new year is a good time to pick up a hobby. But take it slow, you don’t need to be an expert overnight. Here are some ideas you can implement in the office: * Offer a Knitting or Crochet Class at the lunch hour or in the breakroom. Repetitive motions keep minds occupied and creating something with our hands builds self-esteem. *Have adult coloring sheets available. These are printable or you can purchase on-line. Free Printables Here Include markers, colored pencils and crayons. Did you know that the smell of crayons is a stress reliever? *Encourage journaling. There are many ways to go about journaling: Offer journal prompts for your team. Write about what happened in a day, try gratitude journaling to bring to mind the good things in life, write poems or short stories, or jot down profanities for five entire pages—whatever it is, journaling may really help your team members deal with difficult days. Gift employees inexpensive journals or send a link to a free journaling app to encourage them in their writing.

It’s important to focus on mental health during this time. Employers should also give adequate attention to the body as well. Some people work out to relieve stress and feel calm. Some eat or drink to relieve stress. Giving your team ideas for a healthy body will go a long way to improve mood and health. *Offer a yoga class before or after the work day. *Sip some tea. Offer various teas instead of coffee in the break area. Tea has a calming effect and is associated with relaxing. *Have chair massages in the break room or common areas. Muscles get sore from stress or slouching over a computer. Your team will appreciate and benefit from a short chair massage. Check your local professionals who will follow COVID protocols. *Meditation is an extremely beneficial tool to feel calm. We are constantly plugged-in with what’s going on in the world, and right now it’s weighing on us. Setting aside time for your team to meditate, place phones and computers on silent, to give employees at least a few minutes of peace each day. All you need to effectively meditate is yourself and a quiet place. Utilize a free app to guide the meditations. Encourage break times for these quiet spaces in their day to recharge. *Offer weighted blankets for use at desks or break spaces. The deep pressure of the blanket gives a feeling of being hugged or swaddled, explains Dr. Miller. “Being hugged is a very powerful stimulus,” she said. “When you’re hugged, you feel more secure.” While these blankets will not resolve your office hassles, they help to handle the pressure in a more positive way.

According to studies, the stress caused by the latest world events is causing losses to companies in the workplace. Employees cannot be productive in this chaos. The more employers can offer their teams creative ways to manage their stress the more it will help to boost productivity and improve overall health. For more workplace ideas contact Blakeman’s team. With over 33 years experience, Blakeman brings solutions to your organization.