As we face tough challenges taking a toll on our wellbeing at work, here are the best digital tools for managing stress and mental health.
Working in the charity sector can be greatly rewarding and unites people with a passion for progress. We love our jobs because we care deeply about what we do. However, we can face challenges at work that affect our wellbeing. We review the best digital tools for managing stress and mental health.
Our sector faces specific challenges. Charity workers face major deadlines, keen regulation and the need for accountability which can induce stress and impact mental health. A significant source of stress is money as charities are largely dependent on donations and raising their own revenue. The threat of cuts and dwindling funding can add to the problem.
The significance of good mental health is gaining ground in discussions about the workplace. Charity staff are emotionally invested in their jobs but don’t always have a support network to depend on. Putting self-care first is essential for employees, service users and the organisation itself.
‘Self-care is important’, says Lesley Dixon from social support charity PSS. ‘It’s all well and good just putting your all into it, burning out, and that’s not good for you as an individual, it’s not good for the organisation, it’s not good for people who use the services.’
There are distinct challenges in managing self-care for directors and managers in the charity sector. Whether facing bereavement in cancer charities, supporting vulnerable refugees or helping survivors of sexual violence, charity sector staff face enormously traumatic and distressing situations regularly as part of the daily working day.
"We work with a lot of Syrians who have come over on the government’s resettlement programme", says Maurice Wren from the Refugee Council, "and their level of traumatisation is higher than we’re used to from other resettled refugees. And that worries me because it means that we’re having to cope with that, we’re having to take that on."
The tendency of charities to depend on volunteers, part-time staff and teammates working remotely also raises wellbeing issues. Judi Rhys from Arthritis Care refers to ‘that sense of isolation… the sense of not quite being connected with the rest of the workforce’ as one problem. The tendency to dedicate and commit long hours is problematic, too. The pressure can be overwhelming.
As the health sector works to boost mental health, a couple of trends emerge. With our busy, hyper-connected lives, there are digital tools available to help. You can start by finding out info from search engines like Google and read up information websites like Mind or NHS and stay careful about accurate info. You can reach out and connect with people going through the same thing through online communities, like Elefriends too. They are sometimes described as online peer support. Therapy is available online, too.
Although social media can exacerbate feeling low or the need to compete with the ‘perfect’ lives posted by other people, it can help you to feel better, too. Facebook, Tumblr, Twitter and more, provide a haven for people to post and find other people going through the same thing. As social media is a bit of a free-for-all, try to be careful and take care of yourself by limiting time or exposure. Connecting with friends and family through social media can aid your wellbeing.
Blogs, vlogs and podcasts also help people to connect. You can find such content at Youtube, Wordpress and Blogspot. Reading or watching other people’s experiences can create solidarity and provide reflection for your own feelings. You can also get your creative juices flowing and create your own blogs, vlogs or podcasts and turn off the comments to avoid negative feedback.
The NHS provides an extensive library of digital apps that can help you to manage your emotions and take care of your mental health. Be Mindful provides an online course to help with stress and anxiety. Beat Panic helps you to fight panic attacks and anxiety on the move.
Once you start looking, there are lots of helpful apps out there. As we can all confirm, sleep is massively affected by stress. Based on CBT, Sleepio helps slow down racing minds and re-set sleeping patterns naturally.
As notifications ping all around you, you can install wellbeing apps on the same devices that keep you alert to work. Using digital to take time out to relax, recharge and refresh by using the devices that accompany your daily journey, you can combat the issues you may be facing. Please reach out and tell us about the digital tools that work for you!