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Mental Health Awareness Week, Mental Health In The Workplace

11.05.2016

Mental Health Awareness Week stretches from 16th – 22nd May this year, and we are taking the opportunity to highlight the importance and significant impact of mental health on the workplace. Be prepared for seldom known facts, the business benefits of having a fit and healthy workforce, and of course, what to eat to boost energy and mood along with other lifestyle do’s and don’t’s.

Please be aware that this blog post is NOT aimed at those who are clinically depressed or those taking medication to ease depression, but simply as an aid to lifting and lightening mood and boosting energy.

The importance of mental health is well recognised and the support for those in need is becoming ever more available. However, in spite of this, mental health problems remain to be the leading cause of sickness absence in the workplace.

Mental ill-health in the workplace not only has a detrimental affect on those whom are personally affected, but also on the bottom line of the business – accounting for the loss of 70 million workdays each year in the UK, costing employers approximately £2.4 billion every year.

 

Business benefits:

  • Reduction in stress and anxiety improves productivity
  • Improvement in mood improves team playing
  • Reducing sickness and absenteeism throughout eating a healthy diet
  • Improving the atmosphere of the workplace
  • Reducing business costs

 

Seldom known mental health facts with big impacts:

  • Science has shown that a lack of exercise can cause anxiety, and exercise can actually cure it.
  • Researchers now know that a depressed brain is an inflamed brain, and what we eat largely determines our level of inflammation - read more about this here. Sugar and simple carbohydrates are highly inflammatory and are best eaten infrequently, if at all.
  • Start the day with breakfast - ‘breaking-the-fast’ will kick start your energy levels.
  • It is estimated that our brain uses at least 20% of the energy we consume daily.
  • Too much alcohol can deplete our reserves of B vitamins which are vital for our mental wellbeing and to help us utilise energy.
  • Water will help you feel mentally alert.
  • Studies suggest that people with insomnia are 10 times more likely to have depression, if you have trouble sleeping, speak with your doctor.
  • Research shows that physical activity can boost self-esteem, mood, sleep and energy levels. It is well documented that activity can help reduce stress and depression by up to 30%.

 

Here are examples of foods that are good for mood and energy:

  • Leafy green vegetables e.g. broccoli, kale, spinach are packed with folate, (a B vitamin) – low amounts have been linked with reduced energy levels and depression.
  • Oats – rich in soluble fibre which gives you a steady level of blood sugar to help maintain your energy levels.
  • Fish - contains tryptophan which is a building block of protein that has been linked to helping improve mood in depression by boosting serotonin levels. Oily fish also contains omega 3 oils which may also have a role in reducing depression.
  • Sweet potatoes – packed with folate and other B vitamins. They are also broken down slowly to help maintain your energy levels.
  • Brazil nuts –  one of the richest sources of selenium. Low levels of Selenium has been linked to low mood.
  • Lentils are a good source of folate and iron (helps oxygen to be passed round the body), particularly useful for vegetarians.
  • Dairy foods – rich in B vitamins which helps your body convert nutrients into energy.
  • A wide range of colourful fruit and veggies – they are chockablock with natural antioxidants. This helps the body to protect omega-3s, making all that fish you have eaten work to it’s maximum benefit!

 

To help energise, engage and motivate staff our Power Up & Motivate With Positive Nutrition Workplace Wellbeing Initiatives can be helpful. To find out more call Anna Mason on 07778 218009 for an obligation free conversation.



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