While we’ve been experiencing so much hopefulness and positivity throughout the pandemic, it would be dishonest to say this isn’t hard. The uncertainty. The tension. The endless cascade of headlines about the virus across every media site and social platform. While the virus threatens our physical health, it’s hard on our mental health too. For companies everywhere, an investment in employee mental health is critical, now more than ever. 

We’re all still figuring this out, including the Thriver family, and as we discover which tools and processes are becoming invaluable to employee mental health right now, we wanted to share some of them with you. Here are our 6 helpful tips for employee mental health:

Those three simple words: how are you?

As a species, empathy might be our greatest survival instinct. Our innate drive to connect to one another, support, and care for each other is what’s helped humans survive the greatest crises in history. And this particular crisis will be no different. Now is the time to flex those empathy muscles and check in with your colleagues, regularly. Not just about the next project milestone, but about how they’re feeling, what state of mind they’re in, how they’re coping. 

We’re in a challenging time psychologically right now, and the best plan of action is to keep tabs on each other. All it takes is those three simple words.

Create a confessional culture.

Even if you ask your colleagues how they’re doing each day, some may just say “I’m fine,” or “we’re surviving,” because those are easy plug-in answers we give when we don’t really know how to admit our more challenging feelings. But this era of isolation is causing people to have all kinds of hard emotions, and glossing over them can have unhealthy consequences. 

If you want to encourage your team to really express how they’re feeling, create a confessional culture. Make it clear to everyone that their brutally honest feelings are welcomed. Find ways to make it fun or easy for them to share what’s really on their mind. Start a Slack channel to share memes that describe how everyone’s dealing with isolation; or a #confessional channel where people can vent about what they’re finding most difficult. 

Endorphins are KING.

Getting a good workout is a good idea regardless of whether you’re under government-mandated lockdown. But right now it’s critical for employee mental health to get people’s blood flowing and body moving. Mental fitness is just as big a benefit of working out as physical fitness. You don’t have to make it mandatory, but under these indefinitely stationary conditions, companies should prioritize employee fitness as high as any other business goal. 

With so many fitness apps like Peloton or Nike Training Club offering solo and group classes online, breaking a company-wide sweat should be a breeze.

Promote offline time.

This is certainly not the time to stick our heads in the sand about what’s happening in the world. It’s important we all stay informed about the rapidly changing reality of this pandemic. However, it’s easy to develop a habit of constantly checking our phones and habitually logging into our feeds, never really allowing ourselves a break from these troubling updates. 

For the mental health of your team, remind them the importance of logging off and rationing the amount of news (including social media!) they take in every day. You could simply send a daily reminder to log off for a little while, or even recommend some good content that will nourish your employees’ minds more than another breaking news item. 

Bring it down to the breath.

Not everyone is into meditation, but right now is a good time for everyone to get acquainted with its impact. Not only does a meditation session offer a chance to calmly reset your mental state, but the practice is actually meant to improve your mental state throughout every other hour of your life too. Meditation helps people stay focused on the present moment, be less controlled by their intrusive thoughts, and achieve a more peaceful, grounded state of being. 

Sure, meditation takes practice, but we all have a little more time than we’re accustomed to lately, so it’s the perfect time for everyone on your team to get an app like Calm or Headspace, and find that sense of peace we could all use right now. 

Have faith. 

Having faith doesn’t necessarily mean traditional, religion-based faith (although if that’s what you’re into, now is a great time to lean into it). Faith can be a much more general concept; it’s about feeling hopeful for the future, and for brighter days ahead; it’s believing in the perseverance of humanity, and that eventually, this too shall pass. 

Faith is about living your life with a kind of spiritual certainty that all will be okay eventually. There isn’t really an app or service you can buy to promote faithful thinking within your team, it’s just something you have to adopt yourself, and trust that it’s contagious. 

If you’d like to learn more about how to support employee mental health with a Thriver program, or boost morale with our culture app on Slack, contact us and we’ll book a consultation for you. You can also learn more about how to communicate with your teams about employee mental health in our workplace health & safety guide, New World, New Workplace.