It’s Mental Health Awareness Week from 9th to 15th May.
What does this mean for you and your business?
How are you going to promote positive mental health?
My phrase for positive mental health is emotional fitness. I believe that, like physical fitness, we need to work on our emotions and positive mental health. If we want to get physically fit, we exercise and eat healthily. If we want to get emotionally fit, we should be exercising our resilience muscle, moving our thoughts from the primitive brain, the amygdala, to the positive brain, the pre-frontal cortex.
One thing I feel extremely strongly about with regards to emotional fitness is how social media can affect our feelings and emotions. I remember going to many talks at my children’s primary school about how social media was affecting the mood of children, impacting their emotions. At one of the talks, the Head Teacher asked the parents if we could do just one thing for our children, it would be to stop their screentime for two hours before they went to bed at night to help them sleep better and therefore be more productive at school the next day. Wow! this was a hard call, especially when you have teenagers glued to their phones and social media.
Let’s talk about the workplace
Screentime and social media have the same influence on our performance at work. If we are glued to our phones, it is going to affect us.
What happens to our thoughts when we cannot stop looking at social media? Multiple studies have found a strong link between heavy use of social media and an increased risk of:
- negativity about yourself.
- suicidal thoughts.
With all this in mind, we really need to be helping ourselves and the people we work with to use social media in a positive way, to help us, not be detrimental to our mental health.
Five Tips to have Positive Mental Health while using Social Media:
- Leave your phone in the kitchen, away from you from 6 pm at night. Not using your screen near sleep time and not having it near the bedroom when you are sleeping helps you have a better quality of sleep. The Sleep Foundation’s research found that the more time spent on social media and screens, the more trouble you have falling asleep and the less quality sleep you get during the night.
- Have distractions – find other things to do. Whatever happened to the good old-fashioned activities before we had social media? Examples of activities I love are reading, knitting, crocheting, table tennis, badminton, and many more. I also love listening to the radio. That is why I run a radio show once a month on emotional fitness. Christina Robinson from Green Umbrella is my guest for April, and you can listen to the playback here. Select the date 27th April 2022.
- Be kind to yourself and others. Block people who are negative and who do not make you feel good. Only post happy, kind posts. Do not post, and do not read posts that are negative and written to hurt people.
- Limit your social media time. Give yourself time limits to use social media. Try not to be on social media for more than half an hour at a time. Try to limit your time to 2 hours per day maximum.
- Use online platforms and resources to help promote good mental health and wellbeing. There are so many positive resources on social media. Set an expectation with yourself that you will only follow, watch, and read platforms to help your mental health and wellbeing. Also, aim to avoid doomscrolling. Instead, positivescrolling!
Support for each other
I have written a book, Emotional Fitness, A-Z for Positive Mental Health, to help you bring emotional fitness into your life every day. It is an activity book, so you can work out ways to be kind to yourself, feeling so much better about yourself. Many workplaces use my book for teambuilding, using it in team meetings to find out more about each other and help each other with their emotional fitness. You can buy the book here.
“If you live your life on an emotional rollercoaster, you may end up not living your life.” Life is too short. Do not waste your time with being stressed and pressured due to your activity on social media. You are the only person who can protect yourself.
Clare Davis from Nova Associates provides a highly interactive program that gives managers the tools & confidence they need to effectively manage mental health and create a culture of wellbeing while accelerating their growth as a manager.