Looking after your mental wellbeing as restrictions ease

Lauren Pettitt | 03 June 2021

“Glassdoor found that 58% of employees place more emphasis on employee benefits relating to physical and mental wellbeing. Investment in employee mental health - and, importantly, creating a well-rounded strategy to deliver it - is key.“ As agile as marketers are, under the current circumstances and constant changes, we may be feeling like we need an adjustment period when returning to the office.

The ‘new normal’ has by now just become, well, normal, and so the transition back to our desks may feel all-new once again for some, or perhaps a welcome release for others. 

The biggest thought to come from this is: we’re all going to go about this in different ways so consideration is key. 

The pandemic has also moved the ‘goal posts’ on what is important to each and every one of us so our needs may have changed slightly over the past 12 months, much like our customers. You may be looking for your next role and find that the values you are seeking in a new business have changed since the last time you looked. 

Here we share some tips on how you can make your return to your new or existing office a little easier.

Factor in some nature

This year’s Mental Health Awareness Week (10th-16th May) focused on nature and there was much reason for that. I’m sure I’m not alone in saying I have walked more in the last 12 months than ever before. For a start it was because that’s all there was to do outside the home. But as time has gone on, it has definitely become a habit in my day and a good one at that! 

Annabel McCaffrey, Head of Support at NABS, a support network for those in the Advertising and Media industry, said in a recent Marketing Week article:

“We encourage people to think about what behaviour might you adopt today that’s going to make you feel happier.” 

I’ve now found just how much a walk, be it at the start or middle of the day, can really help with generating new ideas. The benefit of allowing your mind to run free is that ideas come to you and such things as walking meetings with colleagues have also taken off for this purpose.

It’s something I’ve not factored into my working day until now and I didn’t realise just how much a little can help a lot. Of course, a short walk to end your day can help clear your mind and be ready to start a fresh for the next day.

Welcome mood changing music

“None but ourselves can free our minds. One good thing about music, when it hits you, you feel no pain.” - Bob Marley

Taking some time out with music during your day, whether it’s to accompany your walk or while you’re making a meal, can help to ease your mind before that next big Zoom call (or hopefully face-to-face meeting!).

Light background music can be a great accompaniment to any group brain storming or solo ideas session too. You’ll soon find you’re humming along to the melody and ideas are flowing from your brain to your hand, instead of concentrating on the silence and pressuring yourself to think. You’ll be surprised about the ideas that come from you!

Introduce new ways of working 

In one of our most recent podcasts, we were joined by Creativity and Innovation expert, Dr David Hall, who introduced us to the ‘superhero technique’. 

This technique brings together a small group of colleagues and gives them each a different super hero, whose qualities they have to use to try and solve a marketing related problem. A ‘what would Superman do’, type scenario. 

This benefits the mind and is great for productivity as it presents a completely different way of generating different ideas. You could even look at it as a bit of a game, which presents a great outcome. Of course, superheroes can’t really solve our marketing problems, but we can use their skills as a metaphor for our own. 

As David puts it:

“…every superhero solution is simply a metaphor for something in the real world and what we're good at is converting that metaphor. We can take a bonkers idea, but then use it as a metaphor for something that will give us a fresh perspective on how to solve the problem in the real world.”

This technique is great for our mental wellbeing as it encourages healthy competition, time together to work on and solve a project and arguably most importantly, time away from our desks / screens to be better focused. Looking at a project with a fresh set of eyes and input from colleagues can only be a good thing. 

To make more sense of this unique idea, check out our article and podcast episode on the subject.

How your desk impacts your workplace perception

Did you know certain areas of the office can impact on your productivity and focus? Some can even discourage your bond with colleagues. 

In this article, one workplace study found that:

  • For optimum focus and a great bond with colleagues, facing the room but with relatively few desks in your line of sight is best
  • Facing the room but with lots of desks in front of you is more distracting and doesn’t encourage bonds with colleagues
  • The worst rated were desks facing away from the main area of the room, with many colleagues sitting behind

Of course, this is just one study and one size doesn’t fit all. You may find that slightly different variations work better or are possible for you. It’s important to create a set up which works, especially since the majority of us have been used to working from home, in an environment we created. 

Take time out, not burn out!

Taking an extended break to completely allow yourself to switch off and recharge works wonder for your creativity. 

With changing restrictions, it can be hard to make plans or know what’s going to happen next, but even a few days away from your desk can allow you to be energised and full of new ideas, without you even realising until you return to the office with a fresh perspective. 

It’s understandable that with ongoing changes to travel, you may feel less inclined to book time off. It’s important not to just keep going until the point of burn out and actually dedicate some time for a break. 

Talk to someone you trust

The most important element in all of this is when you’re not feeling yourself, talk to someone you trust. Try not to bottle it all up and suffer in silence. Express how you feel or explore the avenues that can help you if you need to. 

Marketing Week took a look at how LADBible’s ‘UOKM8?’ campaign tackled mental health, which welcomed celebrities such as Tyson Fury and Robbie Williams to speak openly about their experiences. 

“We knew we had to respond as a result with something that could make them not feel so alone,” says LADbible’s Head of Marketing and Communications, Maya Orr.
As a result, ‘UOKM8?’ is now set to be an “always-on” message across LADbible, SPORTbible, Unilad, GAMINGbible and Tyla, to ensure its audience is always supported.”

An organisation we came across recently, which helps support those specifically in the Advertising and Media industry is NABS. They understand how challenging our industry can be and strive to help you to continue to be the best version of yourself in any way they can. 

You got this!

As a marketer, you possess a spirit like no other: drive and passion to grow the business you work in. You joined the organisation and chose your job role for a reason: because you want to see the business do well and in return, feel rewarded for the work you do. 

“Aviva group brand and reputation director, Raj Kumar, agrees that the pressure is “immense” as every business chases growth. However, he is confident there is something in the marketer’s spirit that could present an opportunity.
“The good thing is every marketer joins a brand to grow it. We leave the caution to finance. You never hear a marketer say: ‘Headwinds are coming and therefore I would just like to maintain what I have right now or have a reduction of 5%’. Marketers always go ‘I’m going to grow this brand’ and see how they can do it best,” he argues.”

The business starts and ends with you. You are a vital cog in the machine. Do what you need to do to keep it turning!

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