What keeps us awake?

It is advisable to seek help as early as possible when you are under a lot of stress and you feel that you have insufficient resources to cope. Occupational health care services can also provide new ways for coping and feeling well.

Last spring, companies were able to share their concerns in the Mehiläinen Concern about my own mental wellbeing -chat pilot project, conducted in the OmaMehiläinen app.

- The purpose of the service is to provide easy access to support and an opportunity to discuss concerns related to life or work management, says occupational health nurse Marjaana Laine, one of the five trained mood coaches of chat-service.

Twenty nationwide and locally active companies were involved in the pilot. The idea of the chat is based on the needs of corporate customers. Companies have become increasingly worried about the coping of young employees, in particular. Laine and her colleagues have noticed this trend.

- It is now perhaps easier to say that you are stressed, but statistics also indicate that sick leaves due to mental health issues have increased once again, and retirements are on the rise.

Discovering the reasons for feeling bad

Thanks to Laine, Mehiläinen began to develop easily accessible treatment models for young employees, in particular. The idea was presented to the national development team, and the Concern about my own mental wellbeing- chat pilot project was launched soon afterwards. The number of contacts in the chat has remained relatively low, but the pilot project has provided good experiences.

- People worry about various matters related to life management, insomnia, work and even societal issues on an individual level. There is a clear need for discussion, and we have already managed to engage in deep discussions with our customers.

Mehiläinen’s occupational psychologist Maaret von Wright remarks that people are complex entities: work has an effect on free time and vice versa.

- It is not always easy to identify the causes of a bad feeling. The most important thing is to start figuring it out. Occupational health care professionals can help you analyse your situation, and, together, you can start thinking about how you can improve your wellbeing, says Punto.

It is also important to keep your supervisor up to date about your condition and what you are going through.

- Only then can the supervisor help you find a good work-life balance and a suitable workload, develop your skills or make changes to your job.

Appropriate follow-up

Not all feel comfortable about expressing their worries and concerns in a chat. Others, on the other hand, think that writing chat messages is therapeutic.

- Expressing your thoughts verbally helps analysing them, and the problem may even be solved during the chat. It is also possible to arrange a new contact with us or at the customer’s regional mood coach, occupational health physician, occupational psychologist or, if necessary, a doctor on call, says Laine.

The customer’s personal motivation is analysed in all chat discussions in order to try and solve the problem. According to Laine, all of the follow-up methods mentioned above have been applied, except that no one has been instructed to seek the attention of a doctor on call.

The Concern about my own mental wellbeing -chat pilot project ended at the end of May. Decisions regarding the continuation of the project will be made and announced in summer.

Good cognitive ergonomics reduces stress on the brain

Constant interruptions, attention grabbers and information overload can cause stress and decrease productivity. In multi-purpose offices, in particular, it is highly likely that various attention grabbers can stress your working memory. Leaving your work behind has become particularly difficult in the media and communications sector as people tend to carry their phone everywhere they go, accessing social media all the time. When memory is under stress, work becomes cumbersome, vital information is lost and the frequency of errors increases.

Good cognitive ergonomics reduces unnecessary stress on the brain and helps control psychosocial stress. In order to prevent becoming overly stressed, it is important to plan your workday and agree on the common rules observed by the entire team. It is a good idea to reserve some hours in your calendar where you can focus without being interrupted. Start your day with the tasks that require most attention so that you can process them in the most productive hours of the day. Tasks that require attention should be performed in a silent space while all methods of communication are disabled.

The team can also agree on what mode of communication is used for which purpose and where the documents available to all are stored. You can also make an arrangement that the messages do not need to be read immediately but only during certain hours.

Stress-free holiday

Before your holiday:

  • Select the tasks you want to complete before your holiday. If necessary, talk about it with your supervisor. Accept the fact that it is not always possible to accomplish everything.
  • Make a list of uncompleted tasks. Highlight a couple of things you want to do immediately when you return to work. This ensures that you do not need to worry about the uncompleted tasks when you are on holiday. Forget the contents of the list for the duration of your holiday.
  • Adjust your mindset towards your holiday in advance. Do not leave things to the last minute of your final working day.
  • Arrange a status briefing with your partner, team or supervisor after your holiday.

On holiday:

  • Forget about effective performance and schedules. Let yourself relax, exercise and spend some time with your friends and close ones.
  • If necessary, take a break from social media and smart devices.

After your holiday:

  • Return to work in the middle of a week, if possible. This makes the first week after your holiday easier.
  • Give yourself some time to adjust to the work rhythm. Do not worry about feeling tired in the first couple of working days: your body and mind are still adjusting to the new rhythm.
  • Pay attention to recovery every day. Enjoy the summertime and your free time after work, even if you are not on holiday anymore.
  • Divide your assignments into smaller tasks. Make a list of the tasks. Focus on one task at a time. 

The text is written by Tuuli Eerola and Emmi Ajanto from Otavamedia, and the tips are provided by Mehiläinen’s occupational psychologist Maaret von Wright and occupational health nurse Marjaana Laine