Looking at Care in a Different Way
Looking at Care in a Different Way
When thinking about care we often think of physical care, overlooking the mental aspect of care. So, we have to fight harder for mental health care to be taken as seriously as physical health care.
I want to use this time to reflect on what care we offer to both our colleagues and ourselves in the workplace. We can often view our work life as completely separate to our personal life. It can feel like we have two different versions of ourselves. We can be less caring in the workplace than we are in our personal life, because we are separating the two. It is important that we start to be more caring at work as it will help to boost wellbeing across the workforce. We can start to care for our colleague’s mental health better by talking more about how we are feeling at work. Talking about our feelings will normalise conversations about mental health in the workplace, encouraging and inspiring others to talk about how they are feeling. Talking in this way then becomes part of our culture and personality – it makes us who we are. When our workplace culture is open and honest, it is a lot easier to talk out when we are struggling with our mental health. Talking about our mental health regularly will prevent our wellbeing from getting to crisis point.
We can also care for our colleagues by taking interest in their whole lives, not just their work life. This provides opportunity to talk about areas of personal struggle and to provide care and support when needed to colleagues. The better you know your colleagues, the easier it will be to spot any signs of struggle with mental health in the workplace. If you do notice any signs or symptoms of mental health issues, you can approach a colleague and say ‘I have noticed that you haven’t been yourself lately, are you okay?’. They will feel more comfortable opening up to you because they trust you and know you care.
We can also flip the notion of ‘care’ back on ourselves. How do we take care of ourselves at work? We tend to take care of ourselves when we get home from work, which is great, but it isn’t enough. Some people may not invest in self-care at home either, and may always put others before themselves. Our vision at TalkOut is for people to be thriving at work because they have the right support around them, and part of this support needs to come from ourselves. We often neglect our wellbeing at work, but it is actually more beneficial to yourself and your workplace if you take care of your wellbeing throughout each working day, as well as when you get home. We can take care of ourselves at work in many different ways, for example, if we start to feel overwhelmed we can take 2 minutes to reflect on our feelings and bring our attention to our 5 senses to ground ourselves. We can also talk to a colleague or manager about these feelings, talking will help us to process our feelings leaving us with a clearer mind for the rest of the day. Practicing regular self-care will boost productivity levels and provide a sense of achievement at the end of the day.
Let’s start viewing care as something we apply in every aspect of our lives. There is a massive opportunity for us to create caring workplace cultures, so let’s start thinking more openly about how we can care for one another and ourselves better at work.
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