This week we have been recognising Mental Health Awareness Week (15-21 May), an annual event where the whole of the UK comes together to focus on achieving good mental health, with the aim to tackle stigma and enable people to understand and prioritise mental health.
This year’s theme set by the Mental Health Foundation is Anxiety, which although it is an important human emotion, it can sometimes get out of hand and become a mental health problem. Many different things can contribute to feelings of anxiety, including exams, relationships, a new job, finances, a date, or a big life change.
In addition, it is widely known that accountancy is a highly pressured profession and an article published by ICAEW indicated that more than half of accountants suffer with stress.
Our success of people is our priority at Randall & Payne, and it is important that we take care of them, so as a reminder to look after our mental well-being we have had a daily activity themed by the five pillars of good mental wellbeing:
- Healthy eating
At 1pm each day in the café area we encouraged staff to come down, take a break away from their desks and take part in the activity. Monday was coffee and cake with an opportunity to chat with colleagues, reminding them that our three mental health first aiders are available whenever needed. On Tuesday, as one of the firm’s mental health first aiders, I led a meditation session, Wednesday was a 20-minute walk along Chargrove Lane, and Thursday Jo Kline made healthy snacks to taste.
Today’s focus is sleep, so all week the white board at the bottom of the stairs has been filled by colleagues sharing their sleep tips. These include thinking about your environment for sleep, such as a cool room, wearing an eye mark and using ear plugs (or using an air purifier if you share a room with a snorer who is an allergy sufferer). Other tips involve preparing yourself for sleep, and avoiding caffeine, drinking peppermint tea, not using devices and reading a book instead. There were also recommendations for sleep stories and Sleep ASMR on YouTube.
Hopefully the week of activities will remind people to be more aware of their mental well-being and how to look after themselves, to talk about how they are feeling and seek help from our mental health first aiders if needed. I am now planning to set up a weekly meditation session and expect more people to join the group who go for a daily walk at lunch time too.