Prioritising your mental health as a recent graduate

Upset female student talks about emotions during therapy session. World Mental Health Day 2022.

Prioritising your mental health as a recent graduate

Upset female student talks about emotions during therapy session. World Mental Health Day 2022.
As today marks World Mental Health Day 2022, we invite you to take a moment out of your busy schedule to reflect on the current state of your own.

As an international membership and quality assurance body of Business Schools, we strive to use our influence to positively impact the lives of students and graduates across the globe. 

As today marks World Mental Health Day 2022, we invite you to take a moment out of your busy schedule to reflect on the current state of your own. 

Prioritising your mental health as a recent graduate can be difficult, with many individuals finding it hard to adapt to life in the professional realm. 

In this article, we aim to highlight the importance of taking care of your mental health and wellbeing, offering tailored advice to ensure a seamless transition from student to graduate to professional. 

We’ve put together a concise list of tips and tricks to help ease stress and anxiety as you enter this new, exciting chapter.

Want exclusive access to a range of tools designed to support your professional and personal development? The BGA Membership provides the perfect solution for Business School students and graduates. Click here to find out more. 

Student mental health and wellbeing

Give yourself credit

Prioritising your mental health as a busy student or graduate starts by focusing on the things that you can control. No matter what stage of life you’re navigating right now, it’s essential to recognise and celebrate the small wins.

Whether that’s striving to complete a job application by a specific time, or taking an hour out of the day to do something you enjoy, planning your time wisely can alleviate anxiety and put you back in the driver’s seat.

Set achievable goals

When developing career objectives, ensure to be realistic. It’s easy to get caught up in the pressure to apply for as many jobs as possible as soon as you graduate. 

Allowing yourself adequate time to breathe, relax and focus on the now is crucial. 

If you’re feeling overwhelmed, prioritise your mental health today by allowing yourself a moment to recuperate. 

Engage in mindfulness or meditation if that feels right for you. Alternatively, wrap yourself up in a blanket with your favourite book, or put on your headphones and go for a long walk. 

On this World Mental Health Day, we encourage you to make use of the array of tools around you. No matter how unproductive it may feel in the moment, your mind will thank you in the long run. 

Make a list of achievable goals. This may include completing two detailed, high-quality job applications a week, and spending an hour a day playing an instrument or reading a book

Remember, you’re never going to get this time back. With more freedom than ever, focus on filling your time with things that bring you joy.

If you’d like some extra support in your job search, a BGA Membership can help. Once logged into your BGA account, you’ll have full access to the BGA Career Development Centre (CDC). This useful platform allows students and graduates to find suitable jobs, based on their requirements.

Socialise

Post-graduation can be an extremely lonely time for some. With friends and flatmates pursuing opportunities across the globe, managing feelings of loneliness and abandonment can be difficult. 

If the Covid-19 pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that friendships can survive even the most testing of circumstances.

Keep in touch with peers who have moved away through online social networking platforms. Take the time to arrange regular ‘virtual’ meet-ups, keeping each other updated on your career search. 

Adopt healthy behaviours

According to a recent study conducted by Mind, 1 in 5 students will experience mental health issues, the most common of those being anxiety, depression and suicidal feelings. 

Adopting healthy habits during your time at university is a great way to safeguard your mental health in the future. If you already know how to ground yourself during moments of stress and uncertainty, it will be far easier to continue doing so post-graduation. 

If it feels appropriate for you, develop a simple, non-goal-oriented exercise regime. Whether that’s scheduling a 30-minute walk once a day, or a visit to the gym three times a week, exercising your body regularly is a great way to improve both your physical and mental health. 

As easy as it can be to stick to the eating schedule you adopted as an 18-year-old Fresher, beans on toast for dinner every night isn’t going to cut it. Eating a balanced diet is a crucial aspect of prioritising your mental health

Ensure to eat three meals a day, with nutritious snacks in between, and drink plenty of water. Food is fuel. If your tank is running low, listen to your body and give it what it needs. 

With the number of students struggling with their mental health rising year on year, this World Mental Health Day, we encourage you to prioritise yours. 

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The hybrid workplace: how to prioritise mental wellbeing and inclusiveness

Business Impact - The hybrid workplace: how to prioritise mental wellbeing and inclusiveness

How companies can use the same technology that enables remote working to foster social interactions between colleagues that can greatly improve employee wellbeing

The past two years have been a roller coaster for industries worldwide. Covid-19 lockdowns caused most companies to transition to online work, with people working from home for most of 2020 and the start of 2021. As countries have started to open up once more, the effects of online work have remained. Many companies are now engaging in a hybrid working environment in which employees work partly remotely and partly on-site.

Hybrid models come with many benefits, and many employees prefer them for their flexibility. Therefore, it’s likely that hybrid models will stay for good. However, there are a few issues with this model. As society is now more focused on mental health, experts are asking whether a hybrid model can adequately address mental health issues and employees’ inclusiveness.

Can remote work be damaging to mental wellbeing?

At first glance, working in the comfort of your own home sounds like a brilliant idea. But after spending long periods of remote working, there are obvious drawbacks.

The most obvious issue associated with remote work is the lack of social interaction. Lack of in-person speaking can feel very lonely if you are a very social person. Before lockdowns, many people spent most of their day working with colleagues. The absence of in-person interaction also makes it more difficult to feel included or part of a work family.

More hidden problems can arise from losing the ability to separate your work life from your home life. When traveling to a physical workplace, you have a set amount of hours, and you can fully disconnect once you’re back home. When working from home, it’s harder to disconnect from work once you’ve finished your day. This can lead to higher stress levels due to worrying about looming deadlines and unfinished tasks.

Furthermore, people tend to work longer hours when working from home. This can be because there is no good end to the workday. When working on-site, you often have to finish at a specific time in order to get home on time. The incentive to get home simply isn’t there when you’re remote working. So many people end up working longer hours when finishing a lengthy task.

How can companies deal with these issues?

This issue needs to be addressed by companies that favour a remote or hybrid working model. Although changes may not solve all problems, companies can promote practices to improve inclusiveness and mental wellbeing.

Companies can do this by trying to increase social contact in remote environments. The same technology that enables remote working can be used to improve social contact. Most employees now will be familiar with online meetings and remote communication for work. Companies can set up meetings and group chats that are not for formal work. Instead, these meetings can allow employees to relax and have casual conversations.

Sarah Bennett, CIO of Mercator IT Solutions, shared how the company has managed to improve their employee wellbeing and boost their retention rates. ‘We have our formal channels but we also have a ‘Coffee Break’ thread – this is the place that less work-related chat can go on, a bit of friendly banter, suggestions for social calls (not all video calls have to be for meetings!) etc. When clear policies are in place that ensure staff know how the channels should be used and what is and is not acceptable, it can work very well. Aside from this, there are so many things that can be provided for everyone to access that can support wellbeing, such as access to virtual yoga and mindfulness sessions, and exercise classes.’

If there are policies in place to ensure staff knows what’s appropriate for these relaxed group chats, they can help reduce loneliness in remote environments effectively.

Bennett continued: ‘It’s the very technology that enables remote working that is the key to maintaining the social contact that staff would ordinarily get in the office. All the platforms have chat functions, file sharing and video conferencing technologies and while companies need to ensure the channels are not misused there is clearly an opportunity for these platforms to be used to connect staff. Regular meetups to discuss work and hurdles that are being met are vital – the onus is on employees’ line managers to be more proactive in maintaining communication.’

Another great practice is encouraging social breaks throughout the day to replicate breaks in the workplace. Breaks in remote working might, for example, result in staff spending a few minutes on their phone or watching something on Netflix. Having breaks where staff can relax and talk among each other on group chats or meeting rooms allows for healthy social interaction throughout the day. It also helps staff disconnect when they’re not in working hours. Talking with friends can reduce stress or worry about ongoing tasks in the office.

Ebo Aneju is a Content Writer at SEO agency, Pearl Lemon.

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