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Mental Health and the Economy
Mental Health and the Economy
With data suggesting that one in five Illinoisans is experiencing anxiety and fear as a result of the economic recession, Say it out loud is offering tips on how to reduce stress and promote good mental health in a bad economy. 

Tips for Promoting Good Mental Health in a Bad Economy

For employers:

  1. Allow for more flexible work schedules (e.g., changes in start or end of workday hours to allow for mental health appointments or exercise) and encourage employees to take occasional breaks to get some fresh air or take a walk.
  2. Institute a more flexible leave policy (e.g.; sick leave for mental health reasons, etc.).
  3. Restructure jobs or modify duties for someone who seems to be carrying too heavy a load.
  4. Minimize distractions (e.g., noise or clutter) that might increase stress levels.
  5. Increase personal interaction between management and employees by providing direct and personal assistance in the form of job coaches, mentors, etc.
  6. Make sure you’re adequately training and equipping employees who are taking on new roles or tasks.
  7. Be patient with employees, particularly with those who are adjusting to new assignments.
  8. Acknowledge hard work, show gratitude.
  9. Involve employees in helping to respond to economic challenges. In addition to potentially identifying out-of-the-box solutions, soliciting input on how to cut costs or streamline processes shows respect and gives employees some sense of control over their shared destiny.
  10. Be as transparent and open as possible. The stress created by keeping your employees in the dark can be worse than keeping them informed and giving them the chance to anticipate change and take control over how they choose to respond to that change.

For individuals:

  1. Get some form of physical exercise. Play ball, take a walk or ride a bike.
  2. Get some fresh air. Just sitting by an open window or outside in the sun can refresh you.
  3. Talk to someone you trust. Let them know how you’re doing. Ask for help if you think you need it.
  4. Understand and be honest about your limitations. Try not to take on more responsibilities than you can handle.
  5. Find a reason to laugh. Read a funny book. Watch a funny program on television.
  6. Get involved in something outside of yourself. Volunteer your time.
  7. Allow yourself a treat, but watch your diet. Make sure you’re not indulging too often in anything that’s bad for you.
  8. Find a way to relax. Practice meditation or yoga, get a massage, pray, light a scented candle, read a book, etc.
  9. Plan for the future as much as you can. Learn a new skill. Take a class about something that interests you. The more action you can take, the more in control you'll be and the less stressed you'll feel.
  10. Take charge of your immediate environment. If you're troubled by media coverage and conversations about the worsening economy, change channels, turn the page, or excuse yourself from the conversation.


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