In the UK, 70 million days are lost from work each year due to mental ill health such as anxiety, depression and stress-related conditions, making it the leading cause of sickness absence. It is important to encourage our team of accountants to speak openly about mental health.
There has been much in the media this week about Mental Health Awareness Week and we were pleased to get behind it again this year, showing we are fully committed to doing all we can to support the wellbeing of our colleagues at Randall & Payne. Our aim is to create a mentally healthy workplace where colleagues feel valued and supported.
Working in accountancy is often a high pressured environment and roles within the profession often carry considerable responsibility. Taking part in the awareness week therefore offers us all the chance to reflect about one mental health issue in particular, work-related stress, and what we can do to address the causes. It is important to remind ourselves that whilst work demands and pressure are very much part of our lives, being overwhelmed by stress can result in health problems.
We encourage colleagues to discuss any emerging problems and want to reinforce that it is ok to openly discuss stress, as well as other related mental health issues such as anxiety and depression. The partners and senior management team are empathetic, and want to offer reassurance that there is no stigma attached to having to ask for support.
Within our office we have a wellbeing board, so for this week it was set up for ‘stress awareness’ to encourage our team to write on cards to share something they do when they are feeling stressed which helps them to deal with it better or alternatively something which they do which they would be better not to do!
There are some great resources to find out more about how to recognise and deal with stress, or other mental health issues. The steps below are taken from www.mentalhealth.org.uk.
Three steps to take when feeling stressed
- Realise when it is causing you a problem – Try to make the connection between feeling tired or ill and the pressures you are faced with. Look out for physical warnings such as tense muscles, over-tiredness, headaches or migraines
- Identify the causes – Sort the possible reasons for your stress into three categories 1) those with a practical solution 2) those that will get better given time and 3) those you can’t do anything about. Try to release the worry of those in the second and third groups and let them go
- Review your lifestyle – Could you be taking on too much? Are there things you are doing which could be handed over to someone else? Can you do things in a more leisurely way? To act on the answer to these questions, you may need to prioritise things you are trying to achieve and re-organise your life. This will help to release pressure that can come from trying to do everything at once
Seven steps to help protect yourself from stress
- Eat healthily
- Be aware of smoking and drinking alcohol
- Take time out
- Be mindful
- Get some restful sleep
- Don’t be too hard on yourself
Another useful resource is www.mind.org.uk
Contact Jo Byrd for more information by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01242 776000.