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Wellbeing at work

Wellbeing at work – looking out for anxiety

Before we start looking out for potential signs that a colleague may be suffering anxiety, let’s consider the importance of companies ensuring the wellbeing of their colleagues and what wellbeing covers.
Assuming that colleagues feel content in the workplace, it could be assumed that their general wellbeing is being catered for. As with most things – everyone is different and being ‘content’ can take many forms such as;

  • Quality and safety of the physical environment
  • How workers feel about their work
    • What they do
    • How they do it 
  • Their working environment
    • Are they valued as a member of the team
    • Is there opportunity for career progression
    • An appropriate salary is being paid
    • Work flexibility – be it part time, working from home, hybrid working
  • The climate at work
    • Is there job security
    • Does the company have a long term vision

But what happens when a colleagues wellbeing is being jeopardised, potentially through no fault of the company and due to external circumstances – such as uncertainty within the business, national lockdown and a loss of routine.

Knowing the range of signs of anxiety can help companies address the causes and help maintain the staff wellbeing and help ensure the long term effectiveness of the organisation

8 psychological signs of anxiety

Everyone is different, as are their circumstances, and as a manager, work colleague or friend, we believe it would be helpful to be aware of some of the more common signs of anxiety.

  1. Confusion – when being asked to complete a task
  2. Indecision – the inability to make a clear decision
  3. Aggression – in response to question or request to do something
  4. Low mood/mood swings – that are out of character from the ‘normal’ nature of the colleague
  5. Being tearful – showing high state of emotional tension within the colleague
  6. Exhibiting low self-confidence – relating to potential confusion and indecision
  7. Seeming unmotivated – or inability to get started on a project, potentially as they are feeling overwhelmed with what they are being asked to do
  8. Deterioration in memory – due to the notion of being overwhelmed, perhaps their attention was less on the task or requirements to be delivered due to their heightened state of emotion

6 ways to help cope with anxiety

Having noticed a colleague, or friend, may be struggling with anxeity, hopefully the tips below will provide a framework on how to support the person you are concerned about.

  1.  Create a safe space for your colleague to share their feelings with you.
  2. Be empathetic as to what the colleague is feeling or going through
  3. Offer realistic positive feedback 
  4. Point out their unrealistic nature of negative thoughts
  5. Be patient and start small
  6. Encourage them to seek professional help – that may be available internally

Wellness initiatives to support colleagues

 Supporting the wellbeing of colleagues can be both from physical and mental health perspective.
Encouraging colleagues to keep active, for however long, can provide a sense of achievement and accomplishment, releasing endorphins and creating a feel good factor for the employee.
Addressing the sense of confusion, mood swings and potential aggression may be offered by providing the colleagues tools to address these heightened states of emotion.
Meditation can help ground and calm down a colleague and can be done anywhere, from on a bus to sitting at the desk. Deliberating focusing on the breath and being still can really help an individual feel calmer and in more control; helping to put things more in perspective. You don’t need to do it for long – 5 minutes is a good starting point, and trying to do it a little and often. Ideally before the heightened sense of emotions starts.

Meditation and movement…

Can the two be combined- if so how? Yoga is the coordination of both physical movement with breathing. At the end of each yoga class there is also a guided meditation, call Savasana.
You certainly don’t need to be a gymnast, already flexible to benefit from yoga. In fact, I (Tim) started my yoga whilst working at a company over 20 years ago. Offering corporate yoga online or at the workplace (restrictions permitted) can for many be the first step in someone beginning yoga.
There’s also many different kinds of yoga that could be offered depending on what would work for a business and it’s colleagues.
Desk Yoga sessions – 10-15 minute sessions, that are fully inclusive for colleagues. These session are ideal engerizers as part of a meeting, or can encourage colleagues to be more active whilst at the desk. The key is to keep moving, a little and often, whilst also focusing on breathing to help manage any tightness or stress before it becomes overwhelming.
Live online yoga classes – these can be held exclusively for colleagues. The yoga classes are tailored for beginners to enable as many colleagues to join as possible. Our corporate yoga classes tend to last between 30-45 minutes, introducing yoga poses and breathing techniques to colleagues, at a time that works for the business. Some organisations like to offer classes at lunch time or during the working day as a staff benefit that does not eat into colleagues own time.
For businesses where colleagues work different shifts, there’s always the option to provide access to recorded yoga classes or HIIT workouts, so they can watch classes in their own time. With over 500 classes available in our video library there’s plenty of choice from 5 minute yoga stretches to 1 hour classes offering yin yoga, yoga conditioning (included as part of our Summer Tone Up programme) or vinyasa flow.
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