Lesson 3 What can be done on an individual/group level

Practice self-care on lunch breaks. Daily lunch breaks are more than just opportunities to eat — they’re also the perfect time to practice self-care. 

  • Practicing self-care during lunch breaks may include:
  • Nurture relationships. Nurturing social connections at work is key to preventing social isolation and loneliness in the workplace.
  • You spend 1/3 of your day with these people! Sure you have something to share except who won the game last night.
  • When we talk about mental health our feelings matter a lot. Our thoughts and feelings influence us, often unconsciously, in everything we do.
  • We want to look at how thoughts and feelings are related and also how physical reactions are linked to this.
  • Talking about thoughts and emotions it is important to mention that mental issues affect and influence our thoughts and feelings.
  • Knowing, analyzing and questioning one’s thoughts and feelings, and then mentioning alternative views if necessary, is a crucial factor in changing one’s thoughts and feelings.
  • It is often a matter of training one’s own perception, perceiving the feeling of fear, for example, and finding a way to deal with it.
  • Physical signals can help you determine how you are feeling. So observe your body reactions: shoulders hunched can be a sign of irritability or anxiety, a heavy body feeling could indicate disappointment or fatigue.
  • sort through the problem, or see it in a new way, ideally with the help of a specialist
  • ease built-up tension and gain new insight into a work situation that is causing the problem ·
  • find out that you are not alone, and that other people share your feelings ·
  • with the help of a colleague, identify options or solutions you had not thought before
  • It can encourage your collagues to do the same
  • Complaining about work to our loved one is a common pastime activity for people.
  • HOWEVER, While keeping feelings bottled up isn’t an optimal answer, when we spend what could be quality time with loved ones focused on all the stresses of the day, we lose more of our day to job stress.
  • The more time that we focus on work, the less time we are being mindful and present and enjoying the moment.
  • While expressing our feelings both negative and positive is fundamental and it’s getting a weight off our shoulders, you can also create a burden.
  • Complaining feels cathartic at the time and elevate some of the burden.
  • A challenge for the participants: This week, try to notice how much time you spend complaining about work and see if this is the right amount of time for you.
  • If you find yourself spending non-work hours obsessing over, replaying, or even thinking about the stress that your co-workers bring to your work life, it’s time to assess if this is the best way to spend your time and decide how to stop if you need to.
  • Prepare yourself before you leave
  • Create a Post-Work Ritual
  • Create a Soothing Home Environment for Yourself
  • Make Your Non-Work Time Count
  • Zero tolerance
  • Significant workplace distress is linked to bullying or misuse of power. Bullying can be overt such as physical or verbal aggression or intimidation.
  • It can also be subtle such as making fun of people, excluding people from opportunities or promotion unreasonably, or undermining them. Anyone can bully or be bullied and it can be a difficult issue to establish.
  • Solution: see something say something

Some things you can do on your own:

When we know ourselves better, we can more effectively assess why we react the way we do in certain situations. To do this, you can ask yourself the following questions:

  • What are your beliefs and principles?
  • What is important to you and what do you value?
  • What motivates you?
  • What are your own emotions (current)?
  • What are your thoughts (current)?
  • What are your tendencies, how you react to certain situations?
  • What do you want in life?

If you want, you can use the above questions to reflect on specific situations in your life. Another method might be writing a diary for example.

Mentalizing is the ability to understand the mental state – of oneself or others – that underlies overt behaviour. Just like empathy mentalizing allows humans to understand others, through the representation of their mental states or their mood. You can train mentalizing within this exercise, by asking others. 

Find a friend or someone in your family to ask how they have been during the day. Ask how he or she is doing so far in the day. Try to ask your questions with a curious, non-judgmental attitude and try to bring out as many moods, thoughts, and emotions as possible by your questions. Notice how this makes you feel and how the other person feels.

Mentalizing is also used by professionals. An example of how mentalizing is used in the treatment of borderline disorders can be found here: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2816926/ 

A daily schedule will help you to structure and manage your daily life again and gives you motivation, in case you are in a depressive mood.

  • First enter the activities that are scheduled (breakfast, start of work, lunch/meal, end of work and dinner).
  • Fill the daily schedule with as many enjoyable activities as possible (make a list of enjoyable activities in advance).
  • If the day contains many unpleasant tasks, plan a pleasant activity as a reward after each of these tasks has been completed.
  • Plan times of resting and enough breaks.
  • Plan your day in such a way that it does not overwhelm you. It is important to specify the individual tasks. (for example, don’t write “phone call” but “phone call with mom”, or instead of watching TV on sunday: crime movie, 20:15.

Positive activites, or activities that you used to like in the past, can help you to motivate yourself and get more active again. For a list of positive activities, you will find a large selection online, where you can choose suitable activities for you and get inspired to try new things.