Mental Health Awareness Week runs from 15 to 21 May 2023. In the spotlight this year is Anxiety.
We asked Gemma from MacIntyre's HR team to talk us through dealing with anxiety and what can help.
What is Anxiety?
Anxiety is a very normal feeling, which we all experience when we are stressed or feeling threatened. However, for some people it can become hard to control and affects their ability to live their life. Anxiety Disorders are common - up to 1 in 20 people in the UK have been diagnosed with an anxiety disorder.
Symptoms of Anxiety include feeling restless, irritable, on edge, or detached from your environment. Some people experience a feeling of dread, shortness of breath, and nausea. Some also experience panic attacks, sleep disruption or heart palpitations.
Many people with Anxiety or an Anxiety Disorder feel unable to go to work or to participate in social activities, and withdraw from family and friends - which can make them feel worse.
Did you know?
Your mental health is just as important as your physical health. In fact, research has shown that both are connected!
Many people with a physical health condition also have a mental health condition such as anxiety or depression, and having a mental health condition can increase your likelihood of also developing a preventable physical condition.
What you can do
There are lots of simple, effective measures you can take to improve both your physical and mental health. These include:
When you're anxious it's easy to feel that any exercise at all is simply beyond you, even though you realise it will help. If you are struggling to motivate yourself, find any activity you can do that will get you moving about such as a gentle walk. Perhaps it will be easier to go for a walk with your family, or borrow a neighbour's dog.
Dancing – even if it’s to the radio in the kitchen - can be great to get you moving!
As you feel better, maybe consider taking up a new sport or activity like yoga.
The Mental Health Foundation has a helpful guide to getting active to help your mental health
There are so many links between fresh air, growing things and mental health. If you don't have a garden, how about helping out a friend or volunteering in a community garden?
Consider trying some breathing exercises to manage your anxiety, or other mindfulness techniques.
But perhaps the biggest thing that will help if you have serious anxiety or depression is to talk about it. Speak to friends and family about how you are feeling, see your GP for advice and treatment, or join a peer-to-peer support group. There's no shame in this, it's an illness like any other.
If you work at MacIntyre, you can take advantage of our free Employee Assistance Programme - check the intranet or speak to HR.
If you don't work with us, find out if your employer has something similar, or explore the resources at reputable organisations such as Mind, or the NHS.
Anxiety can feel overwhelming, but help is available.