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Nick McClelland, working dad and Chief Growth Officer at Champion Health, outlines how important mental wellbeing is for dads and gives some advice on how to ensure they can manage sources of stress.
Champion Health’s Workplace Wellbeing Report 2024 sheds lights on the health and wellness of the workforce, unveiling some striking trends impacting working parents.
Anxiety is on the rise, with men experiencing at least mild symptoms spiking from 38% in 2022 to a noteworthy 60% in 2023. Financial stress takes centre stage, which could be part of why men are working an extra two hours a week compared to their female counterparts.
This financial strain can emerge as a prime culprit for lower productivity and energy levels at work.
Additionally, half of all parents pinpoint parenting as a major stress factor outside of work, with those with children aged one to five facing the toughest challenges.
But there is also good news. The Workplace Health Report showed that a third of those seeking mental health support are men – a 24% increase from the previous year, signalling a definite shift in the narrative around men asking for help.
And to continue building on this positive momentum, it’s important for working fathers to actively manage external stressors, such as finances and parenting, that could impact their working lives.
So, here are four tips to help you manage your external sources of stress:
Don’t be afraid to ask for help
When it comes to challenges, whether they be financial difficulties or childcare issues, don’t shy away from engaging in open dialogue with your manager, HR or even your colleagues.
Lay out your concerns transparently, and be proactive in proposing flexible working options that create a win-win situation for both you and your company. Having these conversations sooner rather than later can pave the way for better solutions. Remember – if you don’t ask, you won’t receive. Be assertive in seeking the support you need to navigate these challenges. As Simon Blake, the Chief Executive of Mental Health First Aid England, said in our Workplace Health Report, all men deserve help.
Be a catalyst for change
Take the opportunity in your workplace to lead in advocating for the establishment of internal support networks specifically tailored for men. By championing this, you contribute to creating a safe and inclusive space where your male colleagues can openly share their stories and challenges. This fosters a supportive community, building camaraderie and understanding for working dads facing similar situations. This could be the catalyst for positive change within the organisational culture, promoting mental and emotional wellbeing.
Expand your knowledge and toolkit
When exploring ways to effectively manage external stressors, consider seeking external training, support services, or professional advice. External perspectives often bring fresh insights and ideas, especially when it comes to navigating complex issues such as financial pressure, family stress and major life events. This proactive approach not only broadens your skill set but also positions you to positively influence outcomes at work and support others.
Look after your physical wellbeing
Integrating physical activities into your daily routine is a great way to counter the impact of external stress on your body. You can also look at consciously exposing yourself to natural light during the day to regulate your body clock and incorporating movement breaks and exercise into your schedule. This can be anything from a 30-second stretch, a casual office group walk, or a visit to the gym during your lunch break. These intentional actions contribute not only to your physical wellbeing but your mental wellbeing also.
Embrace these tips as pillars of resilience, even in the midst of the challenges posed by parenting responsibilities. Your wellbeing is the foundation for enhanced performance and, most importantly, happiness, in both your professional and personal life. For more insights and tips visit www.championhealth.co.uk
*Nick McClelland is a working dad and Chief Growth Officer at Champion Health.