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12 May 2021

 Mental Health Awareness Week 10-16th May 2021 – #ConnectWithNature

Mental Health Awareness Week 10-16th May 2021 – #ConnectWithNature

This year’s theme for mental health awareness week is connecting to nature and the environment. With periods of home working going on for over a year now, the blur between home and work life are ever growing. It has become “normal” for flexible working, yet people are still struggling to switch off. 

People are finding that they are switched on more than ever now. It follows a poll for Prospect by Opinium which found that 30% of remote workers are working more unpaid hours since the pandemic began, with 35% of remote workers saying that their mental health has got worse during the pandemic and nearly half attributing this, at least partly, to being unable to switch off from work (Croner-I,2021). 

It is certain that the pandemic has hit people’s mental health and work life balance, and we can and need to learn to manage these challenges, by focusing on turning the negatives into positives to maintain mental health. Flexible working has its advantages, for example minimal commute time; and there is an opportunity to use this time to form better habits and routines that can build up resilience. This could be through connecting with nature and getting outside more, which leads further onto mental health awareness week. 

#ConnectWithNature

At the BPIF, we want to encourage everyone to get outside, celebrate mental health awareness week and connect with nature. 

Connecting with nature can make things feel more meaningful, bringing a further sense of awareness to whatever tasks you are carrying out. Nature can offer you a way to become more centred and mindful, making you more aware. An increased awareness can bring a sense of grounding that can help with productivity and develop a greater work life balance. 

There are many ways to connect with nature, including getting out for walks, listening, and observing the sounds that can give you a sense of calm and joy and bring nature in doors. Maybe get a house plant for your desk, or open a window and let the fresh air in. 

Share the message

It is important to continue to talk to people about mental health and share the message to make sure that people are reminded to stay aware of their mental health. So, make sure to check in on friends, families, and other colleagues. 

Here are a few tips for employers to make sure that employees feel like they can get away from their desks, take a break and recuperate when needed:

Remind employees that they are not expected to work outside of their normal hours.

  • Encourage employees to block out time in their diaries to go outside and take a break and #ConnectWithNature and each other. 
  • Get routines and be strict with meetings to make sure that they do not creep into the end of the day.
  • Communicate with employees and check in with them to make sure they can talk about anything they need. 
  • It is important to stay connected, develop balance and identify the best ways to make sure your mental health stays on track. 

For further information and to understand more about mental health awareness week, visit mentalhealth.org.uk.

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