5 Tips on Building Mental Resilience in Your Workforce
A certain amount of stress is normal, and even helpful in certain situations. In small doses, stress can help ensure we are prepared for that big presentation or arrive at a meeting on time. But long-term stress can be harmful both to the individual and the workplace. Left unchecked, stress can increase the risk of mental illness and cause physical complications like high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease. Constant stress in the workplace can result in decreased productivity, conflicts between co-workers, and increased absenteeism.
The good news is that there are strategies for coping with stress and building mental resilience in your workforce:
1. Practice and promote mindfulness
More and more people in the business community are turning to mindfulness – and with good reason. According to some experts, practicing mindfulness can help boost accuracy in judgement as well as problem-solving abilities and ease mental stress.[i]
How can you promote mindfulness in the workplace? Consider virtual or in-person training for your staff, offer books and resources, as well as mindfulness tools like apps. Consider including mindfulness training into onboarding, management training and professional development.
Our brains receive 11 million bits of information per second, but we can only process about 40 bits of it. And while we can’t decrease the amount of information coming at us, we can compartmentalize our work activities to optimize them and make them feel more manageable. Some of the activities that you can compartmentalize include emailing, developing strategy, attending meetings, etc.
If you can create dedicated times for certain activities, it can decrease distractions and the cognitive load on the brain.
3. Take detachment breaks
During the workday, have you ever noticed that you are super productive at times and there are other times when you feel uninspired? Psychologists call these peaks and valleys of energy your ultradian (hourly) rhythm. The mental energy that we have to focus on a given task typically lasts between 90 and 120 minutes.
It is helpful to step away and take a break to reset this rhythm once you come to a low spot. This can include chatting with a co-worker, going for a walk, or listening to your favourite song on Spotify.
While taking more breaks (and encouraging your staff to do the same) to increase productivity may seem counterintuitive to some, it can help prevent burnout over the course of days, weeks, and months.
4. Develop mental agility
Mental agility is the ability to take a step back from what you are experiencing in order to look at it more objectively. Essentially, we are switching our neural networks to go from reacting to stress to responding to it. This does not mean we won’t still feel the stress. But by taking a neutral standpoint and labelling the emotions we are feeling, we can activate the thinking centre of our brains, which in turn helps to improve performance and keep stress to a manageable level.
5. Build a culture of compassion
One aspect of building mental resilience that is often overlooked is the ability to have compassion – both for ourselves and others. Research from UC Berkley shows that compassion is an important skill for building positive workplace relationships, and it increases cooperation and collaboration among co-workers.[ii]
Developing a compassionate workplace culture may help your team to better manage their stress.
The ability to build mental resilience is a skill that can benefit companies in any sector, and building a mentally resilient team is good for both your people and your business.
Contact TeksMed today
Despite our best efforts, sometimes employees may still need to take time off due to physical illness, injury, or mental stress. TeksMed can help ensure that your disability management and return to work programs are in place and ready to help when your employees need them. Contact us today to learn more.