Team Stress Busters
It’s summer, school is out, the kids have started to chant “I’m bored!!” – but parents still have to work. What’s a hard-working, multi-responsibility adult to do?
Here are seven ways to boost your team’s mental health from Forbes:
Emphasize mental well-being as a company value.
Set an example, be honest when it’s a stressful day, not to make the team solve it, but to encourage empathy.
Allow staff to use sick days for mental health days, or take sabbaticals (paid/unpaid) to pursue a life goal or spend time with family. Both allow staff to return fully recharged, and without them overloaded staff may be more likely to burn out and quit.
Give (paid) time-off for volunteering – encouraging staff to put energy back into the community sends the message that you support what is important to them – and is a great differentiator for job seekers.
Promote team bonding – Strong team relationships promotes health and mental wellbeing. Add fun activities like non-work-related competitions, after hours activites, and carve time for staff to share fun personal facts in meetings.
Encourage growth and development – People are more engaged when learning and growing even when it’s not job related. Investing in growth beyond current roles demonstrates care in people’s future, not just improving productivity.
Fund an Employee Assistance Program – Provide low or no-cost access to external confidential mental health professionals, and investigate other services like ride-sharing, budgeting help, daycare backups, etc. to help staff juggle the challenges we all face.
Encourage affinity groups – lunch break walkers, learning something new together, peer/cultural support groups (diet challenge, single parents, second language, etc).
And 40 ideas from Lifehack.org for personal de-stressors:
Get moving – exercise releases endorphins the “feel good hormone”. It’s really that simple. It doesn’t have to be painful - try Yoga, stretch, take a walk, play ball, hike, bike.
Drink tea – especially green tea which has L-Theanine – to reduces stress and anger.
Visualize yourself at a favorite spot – the beach, mountains, by a river – the more imagery the better.
Cut screen time, and increase green time – time in nature is more relaxing than a blue screen. Challenge yourself to avoid anything that sends notifications. The less connected we are to the web, the more connected we are to ourselves and others.
Journal or blog – it encourages introspection and provides a release for things that wouldn’t be beneficial to say out-loud. And it allows time to understand what stressed you in the first place.
Do Nothing – it spurs creativity, adds fun, and brings out your inner child or inventor.
Hobby-time – watching sports, cooking, model building, scrapbook, garden.
Take a nap – unwinding makes room for the next boost of energy.
Breathe deeply, Meditate, Take a bubble bath.
De-clutter – it clears the mind at the same time.
Read - a cozy nook/hammock and an engrossing book change perspective.
Sing or Dance like no one is watching – its freeing to be silly sometime, and reduces muscle tension.
Play with a pet – cuddling pets reduces blood pressure.
Practice positive self talk – silence the criticism committee in your head.
Have fun with friends – we are social creatures so make time to hang with people you like, play board games, have adventures.
Squeeze a stress ball – its an anxiety releaser.
Smile – even when not in the mood it can still reduce stress (and takes fewer muscles than frowning).
Go barefoot – it allows you to absorb free electrons from the earth, and has an antioxidant effect on the body.
Scents make sense – investigate aroma therapy .
Be spontaneous – take a new route, try a new coffee, visit a toy store, fly a kite, picnic.
Forgive – yourself and others. We are all human, let go of unrealistic standards, and expectations. Staying in the past is not worth missing the future.
Watch a movie, eat chocolate, laugh, chew gum.