Channel the Ox: Impacting Mental Wellbeing in 2021

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HealthSource Solutions  |  Blog

CHANNEL THE OX:
Impacting Mental Wellbeing in 2021

ox at sunset

On February 12, 2021, the Chinese Lunar New Year will welcome the Year of the Ox. Traditionally, the ox is a symbol of strength, determination, and diligence — all of which are characteristics that we will have to muster in 2021! As this pandemic dance persists, our resilience is going to continue to be challenged.

Employers can guide their company through 2021 like an ox: with determination, diligence, strength, and resilience.

According to Mental Health America, there was a 93 percent increase in the number of individuals who were screened for anxiety between January and September 2020. Regarding depression, there was a 62 percent increase. It is clear now, more than ever, that mental wellbeing is a priority within society.

As we approach the year-mark of this pandemic, employers must channel the ox and stay persistent as they continue to demonstrate their commitment to enriching employee wellbeing. Companies that put employee mental health first and who help build a compassionate culture will see a healthier, more productive workforce.

Channel the ox and make a positive impact on employee mental wellbeing in 2021 by intentionally checking in with employees on their mental health status, providing them resources, and engaging them in fun, uplifting events. Here are 4 ways employers can channel the ox:

Promote Caring Connections

With the need to continue to social distance, providing opportunities for staff to connect helps stifle the feeling of isolation. Build a caring and compassionate culture by encouraging leaders to reach out to employees and have conversations about non-work-related topics. Have teams set up virtual happy hours or game nights. Lift-up your employee recognition program by reminding staff to submit more frequently.

Enrich Wellbeing Together

Emphasize company or team-based programs that build camaraderie and connection. Pick a habit to focus on like increasing physical activity, drinking more water, or building kindness. Create a gratitude board (shown below), virtual or physical, where employees can post what they are grateful for. Host, and train for, a virtual 5k. Make your activities come to life by encouraging staff to share pictures and successes along the way. Send out weekly emails with participant's progress or invite them to post to a company social platform.

GRATITUDE BOARD
Spotlight Resources

It is difficult for many to get past the stigma of mental illness and reach out for support. Employers can help normalize mental illness by regularly highlighting employee mental health resources and benefits. Mental health information should be shared across many avenues and not be limited only to your wellness program updates. Create regular communications that include information on accessing mental health support. Give leaders talking points to add to staff meetings, include a mental health section in company communications, and if possible, find someone in leadership who is willing to share their mental-health story.

Many companies offer mental health resources through their EAP, health benefits, or employee wellness program. However, there are also multiple free community resources through your state and other non-profit organizations. Create a library of resources your employees can access and send out a PDF, or post on your company intranet site. Include links to articles, courses, podcasts, apps, and online tools. Highlight support services like counseling or health coaching and give simple instructions on how to access these benefits.

Create Daily Activities

Develop ways to engage in mental health activities during work. You may already be encouraging employees to take mental and physical breaks, but you can be more intentional by providing them with guidance on what to do during those breaks. Start every meeting with a stretch, some deep breathing, or a yoga exercise. Set up regular 15-minute activity breaks. Hold a zoom fitness or meditation session or encourage employees to go for a walk or do some stretching on their own. As employees engage in daily mental health breaks, encourage them to share their positive experiences. The more people hear and see each other engaging in daily mental health activities, the more it will become normal and will help bring mental wellbeing into the company culture.

Our Wellness Program Managers partner with you to develop a well-planned, highly executable wellness program. Utilizing our Worksite Wellbeing Model, we bring focus and sustainability, consistent results, and an impactful wellness culture that will boost your employees to more productivity than ever before.

Learn more about how we can support your wellness program!
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