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The Talent Development Centre includes advice for independent contractors in IT from one of Canada’s top staffing and recruitment agencies. See all posts about mental health.

Let’s Talk About Mental Health

Breigh Radford By Breigh Radford,
Director, Human Resources at Eagle

Let's Talk About Mental HealthIt’s about time we started talking about Mental Health, not just in the workplace but everywhere — at schools, at the dinner table — we need to make it a part of our everyday vernacular.  Why? Why now? Is it just another buzz word?  Hardly.

Mental Health is what it implies: health for the mind. There are too many examples of workplace violence where the root cause, given by officials, is the mental health of the perpetrator.  How many examples have to be given before we take action?  How many people have to suffer in silence before being heard?  How many generations have to go through the pain of stigma? The solution begins with a conversation. Why wouldn’t you want to talk about it… heck, we talk about everything else!

One of the ways we talk about mental health is through our social involvement and sharing our stories.  At Eagle, we encourage a community approach to promote all health.  We partner with a national gym to give staff a membership discount, therefore, boosting physical well-being.  This in turn helps deal with anxiety and depression; it also gets employees involved in another social circle, helping reduce feelings of isolation. We encourage discussions through workshops, have information posted on the company intranet and send the team regular emails on the topic. I myself attended a Mental Health First Aid workshop in order to provide immediate support for anyone who is in crisis.   This all helps create an environment where mental health can be spoken about freely and without stigma.  Isn’t that what it’s all about?

There are lots of initiatives to help generate discussion on this subject, with more and more people speaking up and getting involved.  How can you help? Get educated about mental health!  Listen to people in a non-judgemental way; let them talk freely and comfortably about problems.  Help the person feel hope and optimism; it is after all, a real medical condition.  Encourage them to seek help and guidance; there are a ton of effective treatments out there.

Today, January 25th is Bell Let’s Talk Day, where every time you talk, text and join in on social media, Bell will donate 5¢ more to mental health initiatives. The goal is to open discussion about mental illness and offer new ideas and hope for those who struggle. In addition, the first week in May is National Mental Health Week. What happens the rest of the year is up to you. How will you join the conversation and help end the stigma on Mental Health?

Mental Health: Important for Independent Contractors

And What They Can Do To Improve It

Why Mental Health Is Important for Independent Contractors and What They Can Do To Improve ItTaking steps to de-stress and manage your wellbeing is important for both your own happiness as well as your performance at work. Being an IT independent contractor can sometimes be more stressful than working full-time – a lack of surety about future work and regular changes in workplaces and colleagues aren’t easy for everyone to handle. But that’s okay – here are 4 simple tips for improving your mental health.

  1. Healthy Eating
    Pay attention to your diet – it’s important not just for your physical health but your mental wellbeing too. Nutritionist Naomi Mead suggests that you carry healthy snacks around with you, such as fresh fruit and raw nuts: “This takes away the element of choice when you are out and about and faced with temptation. It also gives you something to snack on and distract you if you get a craving for cake!” Taking a lunchbox to work can be both a cheap and healthy option – you can pack enough to keep going throughout the day, and it will help you to resist the temptation of a visit to the vending machine. Fruit-based snacking or ‘grazing’ is particularly good for getting you through a long day, while still allowing you to eat healthily!
  2. Gardening and the Great Outdoors
    People experience varying levels of stress depending on their access to outdoor space. Gardening at weekends or even for half an hour after work can help you de-stress and recharge after a long day in front of the computer. You could also have a go at rearranging your garden furniture, using ideas of feng shui to encourage a sense of peace and wellness in your garden.
  3. A Support Network
    Creating and maintaining a social network of other independent contractors specializing in information technology can be highly beneficial to your mental health. If things become particularly stressful and your mental wellbeing suffers due to your work, having a group of like-minded people sympathetic to your situation can be a great support. Maintaining strong relationships with other friends and family will also improve your mental health, but having people around you who understand the specific pressures of working on tech projects can be especially helpful!
  4. Yoga
    Ever tried yoga? Popular reasons for taking it up include stress relief and the improvement of physical/mental health according to Harvard. The majority of practitioners report a strong sense of mental clarity too. Another benefit of yoga is that you can do it pretty much anywhere! If you have a spare 20 minutes in your lunch break, try and find a nearby green space – it’s the perfect activity to do outside, relaxing your mind and body as well as getting you out in the open air.

About the Author
Irma Hunkeler works for BlueGlass.co.uk, a digital marketing agency. Her experience includes working for clients in different industries such as travel, retail, recruitment, technology and charitable institutions. Meeting professionals from different fields allows her to collaborate with industry experts for her writing.