People are hungry for tools to combat anxiety. And those tools are tools for life. In other words, help your workforce with anxiety and you help them with a whole lot else – and that’s only going to help your business.
I read this Time article the other day. I was struck by a quote from an expert on self-harm, speaking of the causes of our current anxiety epidemic amongst young people:
It’s that they’re in a cauldron of stimulus they can’t get away from, or don’t want to get away from, or don’t know how to get away from.
The overstimulation of today’s work culture – 24hr connectivity being the big one – is only going to exacerbate things. So what can we do? Here are a few simple tips.
Much is claimed for mindfulness, but one thing it can (absolutely, inarguably) produce is stillness. And stillness is the opposite of overstimulation. Do you have the means to allocate a meeting room to mindfulness sessions once a week? Could you invite a skilled practitioner (even one of the team) to lead the sessions? I’ve heard of #mindfulness Slack channels being wonderfully fertile places for teams to communicate and share ideas. Even if you’re only offering an occasional window of stillness, it can help team members get a taste for the power of stillness to quell anxiety.
Act as a role model
One of the triggers for workplace anxiety is the sense of being watched by your boss at all times. If you feel like your boss is never offline, it can be hard not to feel guilty about going offline yourself. As leaders, we should avoid sending emails at weekends, for instance. Lunch hours should be taken outside, not al desco. And chat casually about out-of-the-office matters – this is a way to remind your team that you are not a work machine.
This free app is gaining more and more word-of-mouth recommendations. People I’ve spoken to talk about it being useful as an alternative to or continuation of for anxiety and depression therapies like Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT). But it’s also a good way simply to monitor mood. Even if you don’t want to actively promote it, having it installed on the main screen of your phone would send out some good signals should anyone spot it!