How focused on well being and mental health is your organisation?

Particularly in 2020, mental health has taken its toll on many, with the changes to daily life, lack of social interaction and general health concerns, there has never been a more important time to ensure a focus is placed on well being.

Research has shown that 50% of mental health problems are established by age 14 and 75% by age 24. FE colleges, which cater for over 685,000 young people and educate two-thirds of 16-18-year-olds, are therefore likely to have a proportion of students who either have a mental health difficulty or will develop one when at college.

That’s not to say learners are the only ones in further education that should have access to well being resources and support. Educators, college leaders and work colleagues should also be offered support and guidance within their organisation should they require it.

Here at Smart Apprentices, we thought it was time to reflect on our own well being to see what stresses us out, what we can do to help not only ourselves, but colleagues, family and friends. We also want to ensure the learners who use our e-portfolio, Smart Assessor, know they can access resources whenever, wherever, direct from their learner dashboard.

Digital Detox

Seems ironic doesn’t it, as a software company, we’re telling you to step away from the technology. We are a world obsessed with technology, sometimes it feels as though we check our phones more than we blink but it doesn’t hurt to put it down occasionally – in fact, it can do you a lot of good.

Almost every minute of every day, we are consumed by technology, we check emails, texts, social media, watch television, for some of us the only time we’re not staring at a screen is when we’re asleep. Even then, we probably fall asleep, phone in hand, half way through replying to a work email, before opening our eyes and replying before our brains are even functioning properly.

It’s obsessive.

It’s time for a digital detox. We’re not saying you need to avoid technology completely, if you did that we wouldn’t have a business! But try limiting how often you stare at a phone screen, when you go home, read a book, go for a walk – do something that doesn’t involve flicking your eyes across a computer monitor or tv screen. Whether it’s a few hours, a weekend or longer – you’d be surprised how much difference it will make.

Time Management

Nothing makes you stressed more than thinking you never have enough time for all those jobs that seem to mount up. Managing and monitoring your time is vital to your well-being, our ability to prioritise is important here, you need to know which stress to handle first and how long to spend on it.

Setting aside time to relax is just as important, we spend so much time focused on what needs doing (when a lot of it can probably wait), we forget that we also need to relax. Monitor your time – if you spend hours doing something that makes you stressful, you’re likely to burn out, give yourself a break every so often, even if it is as little as 10-minutes to boil a kettle and make a cup of tea.

Get Moving

Many of us don’t exercise enough. If you’re like us and work at a desk for hours on end, you probably spend most of your day sitting down, with a quick break for nipping to the toilet or grabbing a coffee. Aside from lunch, sometimes we spend the whole day sat in the same position, staring at our laptop screens.

Exercise is an easy and necessary way to get your blood pumping, release some of those feel-good endorphins and boost your mood. It doesn’t have to be an intense work out in a gym, a 30-minute dog walk or an exercise class is enough to start making you feel better. Make exercise a habit and fit it into your daily schedule and you will notice the difference in your mindset and your body.

Channel your inner positivity

It is not easy to stay positive when things get tough, but the key to happiness and well-being is your ability to try and see the positive even in the worst situations. What makes you happy? Try and do what makes you happy every day, even if it’s as simple as reading a chapter of a book, or catching up with a friend.

Negativity feeds on negativity, so the more positive your outlook, the better you’ll feel. A lot of what we stress over in the grand scheme of things is usually quite minor too, try not to make things a bigger deal than they are.

If it’s not going to matter in 5 years, don’t stress over it for more than 5 minutes!

Healthy life, healthy mind

It’s easy when stressed to gravitate towards things that are bad for us, they may seem to offer a quick fix but are worse for your well-being in the long run. Alcohol, sugary foods, caffeine and nicotine are best avoided when you’re stressed, as they tend to make it worse – not better.

Instead, try to keep hydrated, eat well and get as much sleep as you can. The more sleep you get and the better you eat the less you’ll find yourself turning to caffeine to stimulate you throughout the day.

These may seem obvious to some, but it’s easy to focus on the stress rather than yourself, especially when it gets to the overwhelming stage. We hope you choose to adopt some of these techniques to help manage your stress.

Just remember to think positive!

Remember Smart Assessor has a well-being feature on its e-portfolio, where you can upload resources and helpful information for your learners. Your learners can access the well-being section from their learner dashboard by clicking the blue well-being button.

If you would like more information on how Smart Assessor can improve your well being and more, book a short consultation with our Strategic Partnership Consultant here

If you’re having trouble coping with stress or need more information, why not visit the following website: https://www.mind.org.uk/ – your mental health is just as important as your physical health.