This week marks Self-Care Week, an annual UK-wide national awareness week that focuses on embedding support for self-care across communities, families, and generations. At what has been a difficult year for so many, this week shines a light on the importance of caring for ourselves.
At this time of year, it’s easy to feel out of sorts. It’s the final stretch before the festive period. Work can often feel more stressful wrapping up end of year activity, whilst planning for 2022, and thrown into the mix are the earlier darker evenings and cold weather, making downtime a little harder. But looking after ourselves is important to avoid burnout, particularly in the workplace. So, to help, Amy Tomlinson, Head of HR at MetLife share her five tips on how employers can encourage their employees to practice self-care.
- Promote time away from technology: Working from home can make it much easier to be ‘always on’. Just answering a couple of emails can soon turn into scheduling calls out of hours. Set a good example internally by promoting regular computer screen breaks and discourage people from working out of hours. Rather than logging on first thing, employees should use it as a good time to go for a walk or take some exercise.
- Talk about your wellbeing openly: If employees feel safe and able to share any mental health challenges, employers will be able to identify the risks and devise strategies to better manage issues. Businesses need to learn how to start conversations and reduce the stigma around mental illness to ensure that productivity and engagement levels remain high.
- Encourage staff to take recharge days: Time away from the office – or kitchen table – is crucial for employees physical and mental health. Encourage staff to regularly take a day or two off to properly re-charge. This will leave employees feeling re-energised and much more engaged once they come back and can avoid teams burning out. Getting them to think how they space their holiday out throughout the year can also help give them something to look forward to.
- Offer lunchtime mindfulness activities: Yoga and meditation are great mindfulness activities that help to promote relaxation. Half an hour of mindfulness at lunchtime can give employees a healthy way to decompress and the tools to combat anxiety. Mindfulness practises are a great way to alleviate symptoms of stress and anxiety and promote self-care.
- Remember financial wellbeing: One of the ways employers can help encourage self-care is by highlighting the financial support available to employees and promoting tools that give practical information on managing daily budgets and savings. Many will have experienced a financial change as a result of the pandemic within their household, or it may have highlighted their lack of savings. Initiating dialogue around financial wellbeing can help employees to keep on track of their personal finances and feel empowered rather than anxious when it comes to money. Particularly given that so many worrying about their financials leads to poor mental wellbeing.