It’s Mental Health Awareness Week

14th May 2018

It’s Mental Health Awareness Week and we’re talking about workplace wellbeing. Here, SAMH Peer Support Worker Derek discusses how he looks after his wellbeing in and out of work.

One of the most important things about our working lives is realising that we need to make sure we are properly de-stressing after the working day is over.

I’ve realised this more and more over the last few months since starting in my new role. As a Peer Support Worker I’m out and about every day hearing other peoples stories and doing all that I can to try and help them make sense of what they’re feeling; and also to use my own personal experience to give them hope for recovery by helping them to have the proper coping strategies and tools in place. 

I can say with 100% certainty that I love my job, I like the fact that what I do I can offer people some hope, but I’ve also learned to realise that I need to take adequate time for myself to destress, not think about work or dwell on my day and do something that I enjoy that keeps me grounded.

In the working environment I’m fortunate to have a very supportive group of colleagues and managers that are there whenever I feel I need to unload if I’ve had a particularly bad day. At home is where it can be harder to properly unwind. In the past I’ve always went home after work and kicked off my shoes and just sat for hours in front of the TV or the Xbox, this isn’t particularly relaxing for me as I’ll still be sitting there thinking about the day which can make me feel worse.

Now I make a point of taking the time to go and do something I enjoy, something that either grounds me or at least gives me the chance to let my mind escape from the issues of the day.

Mindfulness  and meditation are excellent tools for this and there are many apps / websites that allow you to practice these relaxation techniques and only take a few minutes but the benefits are long-lasting especially when you do it on a daily basis.  Writing is also a great outlet for me, either getting my feelings down as a blog post or short stories helps to destress.

But as good as these tools are, for me nothing beats a couple of hours out in the open air and I like going for walks, but as I have a huge love of football I have started going to Junior games at least once a week, it gets me out in all weathers and go to some weird locations, allows me to spend time with friends and also get the chance to watch a game of football  (not forgetting the obligatory pie and Bovril) for less than a tenner!

Different activities work for different people, so go out and find that thing that not only helps you relax but gives you that feeling of wellbeing after your working day!