Mental Health Awareness Month: techies guide to self-care.
To end Mental Health Awareness month we wrote a guide below with a couple of self-care tips for mental health. A hack for the future and sustainability of work if you will!
This important point was reverberated internally by our lovely Technical Management Lead – Kerry, to always do one thing at a time. We’re so used to promoting ourselves as amazing multitaskers (which is a great skill) but don’t try to multi-task when you’re in a meeting or if you’ve slotted some time to code… or blog as you’ll never give your full attention – it will only lead to perpetual “circling backs” .
The same goes with Teams/Slack IMs, it’s more than okay to reply to a ping with a “I’ll get back to you in 30” – “if you would wait for them, they’ll wait for you” as Kerry says!
Create boundaries & use tech to control your tech:
Expending too much at work will bleed into your personal life and that’s not sustainable. While we acknowledge not every work environment might foster positive boundaries for work-life balance, it’s important to not let that extra hour of work seep into a habit (granted some days might take priority) – negotiate your time and energy wisely.
Secondly, focus on activities that centre you, this could look different to many: It could be in the form of a HIIT class, yoga, therapy, guided meditation, or better sleep hygiene (this goes out to everyone who checks their device right before bed).
Further, consider using apps to tame your device usage, this could be setting up a “do not disturb” setting, or being intentional with setting up screen-time barriers. Turn off notifications that might prompt you to open an app without thinking or move/hide apps to a secondary screen.
Recognise your progressions (and when you’re slipping behind) & foster social connections:
As techies, limiting device time will most likely make you fidget, it’s the case with any habit you’re trying to break. Equally starting and recognising a new pattern no matter how big or small can lead to “micro-progression” that will eventually form positive outcomes. E.g., if you’re huge on screen-time, celebrate the moment of hesitation and reflect back about making a different decision.
Additionally, engage in activities especially ones that promote social interaction, such as a meetup group (*cough* Azure User Group UK), gaming community, or a team-building exercise, for example, in this Mental Health Awareness Month, we started out with a couple of fun activities internally here at Elastacloud, starting the first two weeks with pet therapy (puppy/kitten picture here), desk yoga, & mindful Mondays. For our second week internally our amazing People’s Team have organised a great mindful ‘walk & talk’ along with drop-in sessions with our amazing mental health first-aiders.
Following this guide and having an active participation in initiatives like the ones above will definitely have a positive impact in your mental health!