Starting my first job recently, I’ve naturally had ups and downs with my mental wellbeing. Particularly in the first month, my anxiety was absolutely awful and I really struggled with getting used to my new role and finally having a job. Now that I’m over four months into my role though and coming up to my first holiday while there, I thought it would be good to look over how I’ve started to feel easier at work and not been plagued with anxiety so much.
Recently as well I’ve attended mental health training at my workplace, which has given me the chance to reflect and look not only at how I’m progressing in terms of employment and understanding mental illness but also at what support I can get while I’m here in this job. A huge part of what I’ve learned has been that support is there no matter how difficult it seems at first to find it and I seem to have been quite lucky to be in a workplace that is doing initiatives and actually cares about helping improve the mental wellbeing of it’s workers.
Getting used to work.
Sometimes I feel bad for saying this but in a way I just got used to being at work. Don’t get me wrong I still get anxiety attacks before work (see my post about having a blip before going back) and I know it’s not the most helpful advice but I have just seemed to get used too it.
Lack of routine and anything new happening triggers my anxiety awfully, so getting into a routine with work is essential for me. I try to get up at the same time, go on the bus at the same time, drink a coffee around the same time and go home at the same time.
This keeps me going and keeps my mind focused away from anxiety. But of course it takes more than just that to feel less anxious at work. And this is where the support network comes in.
Mental health support at work.
Every time I go into the kitchen in our office, I see the 10 ways of wellbeing from the MHFA. This is nice to see and when I saw it on my first day, it set the tone for what support would be there at my work.
So far, I’ve managed to attend two courses in mental health, one run by the workplace (based on MHFA courses) and one which is an official MHFA course.
Both of these have been amazing experiences in teaching me more about mental illness but also in showing me just how much the workplace is doing in mental health and illness.
They are committed to helping us learn more, and having been to both courses and see quite a variety of people (including an even split between men and women!!) it makes me feel like I can approach my workplace should I need further support and help for my mental illnesses.
On top of this, I have perhaps one of the best inventions in the workplace: Flexitime!! This absolutely wonderful thing allows me to not feel any stress around arriving for a certain time or thinking I have to be completely tied to my desk for certain times. Yes, I like routine but I also like feeling like I can take a little extra time during my break if needed or go for lunch at a different time if I like.
The freedom of being able to take half days and full days off when I need has also helped me to keep engaged with volunteering and other stuff outside of work.
I know I’m very lucky to have this support from my workplace and in terms of the MHFA courses and Flexitime, I am absolutely passionate that everyone should have this. Surely it can only help people feel supported to know their workplace cares about you and your health?
I hope your workplace also has measures like this to help and I’d love to hear what your workplace does, if anything, to help you with your mental health and illness.