For far too long there has been a stigma associated with discussing your mental health and wellbeing.
While it’s fine to talk about pretty much any other ailment you can think of (within reason!), it seemed that revealing how you were feeling mentally was taboo, especially in a work environment. Thankfully, this is changing. The shocking statistics around suicide in the UK, with the rate at its highest in 16 years, have brought into focus the need for a change in attitude to mental health at work.
At SimpleClick, we’ve always taken work-life balance seriously. For example, we offer flexible working hours and close the office at Christmas so that everyone can have a well-earned break and enjoy some family time. We also recognised the need to position mental wellbeing more prominently in our everyday office routine. Richard and Claire have undergone training in Mental Health First Aid, and we now hold monthly 1-2-1 meetings where we can openly discuss anything that may be affecting us – be it work-related or not.
Exercise has always been recognised as a great way of managing stress, and while a session in the gym, bouldering or pole fitness are popular in our office (I kid you not!), boosting your mental wellbeing needn’t cost a penny. My favourite way to banish stress is to simply get out into the open air. Living in Suffolk, we’re lucky to have the countryside on our doorstep, with ancient woodland, heaths and a glorious coastline within easy reach.
I like to combine being outdoors with one of my favourite pastimes, photography. The range of different landscapes and huge skies make for spectacular sunrise and sunset photos. And the huge variety of wildlife, many unique to this part of the world, make it an ideal place to improve your wildlife photography skills. But even if I spend a few hours and come back with no images worth printing, I always return feeling uplifted. Just being in the woods or on a secluded bit of beach, in the peace and quiet, really helps clear the mind and give you a mental boost.
So, if you're feeling that work and life, in general, is getting on top of you, my advice is to grab your coat and get out there, whatever the weather. It's local and free.
Here are some recent photographs that I have taken out and about in Suffolk.