We all know the importance of ‘downtime’. If we don’t create sufficient space away from our often-busy work lives, our mental wellbeing suffers, with the risk that stress, anxiety and burnout increase.
To coincide with this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week which took place in May, we gave everyone in the Greentarget team a day to step away from their home offices, ignore their work phones and their emails, to allow them to spend some time doing the things that make them happy and help improve their personal wellbeing.
The theme of Mental Health Awareness Week was nature. It is now widely accepted that there is a strong link between our mental health and nature, and that being outdoors is a powerful antidote to stress. Studies show that exposure to things like green spaces, sunlight and water can have a hugely positive impact, not just on how we feel physically, but mentally too.
In return for giving everyone this short break from work, we asked just one thing. That they stayed away from the devices that tie them so closely to the workplace and, where possible, connect with nature in some way – whether that be indoors or outdoors.
The results were very positive. Some took long walks while others simply sat and admired the rhododendrons and azaleas in their local park. We met friends for lunch al fresco; we exercised; we visited exhibitions; we spent time with our families; and we read books in the sun.
While we asked people to try to connect with nature, in reality, how we spent our time was not really the point. What really mattered was that we stopped thinking about work and instead focussed on the simple pleasures that life can bring and can make such a difference to how we feel.
In short, the goal was to re-charge, re-energise and re-set.
While Mental Health Awareness Week takes place once a year and our initiative lasted for just one day, this is a continuous journey. It’s essential that we find ways to foster good mental health throughout our team, and that this must never be seen as secondary to our working life but rather a key component of building a happy, sustainable and successful business.
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