THE stiff upper lip is a very British mentality, but is becoming outdated as more people want to put their mental health first.
However some people still feel the pressure to put on a brave face, especially at work, despite not feeling their best mentally or physically.
Credit: Getty – Contributor
It’s often a problem if people fear their boss won’t understand or think they aren’t working hard enough, and can lead employees to keep on going when they should take a break.
Dubbed “pleasanteeism”, it’s feared the idea of not causing a fuss is blocking open conversations about mental health at work.
According to new research from Lime, an online-only healthcare provider which has launched Mind Matters, over half of UK workers feel the pressure to put on a brave face in front of colleagues.
And a quarter of those asked worry about having to be on their best form when they go back to the office.
Just over 25 per cent think they aren’t coping at work, with four in ten saying they feel less resilient now than before the pandemic.
Women and younger people are more at risk of feeling this way, the survey found, with 56 per cent of females saying they are victims of pleasanteeism.
The report found workers would feel more relaxed if some simple practises for employers were brought in, such as being more mindful about workload and work hours and mental health off days more acceptable.
Shaun Williams, CEO & Founder, Lime Global Ltd, said: “The past 18 months has had a huge impact on people’s lives, including on their mental health and resilience.
“The long-term repercussions of the pandemic are likely to be felt for years to come, and it’s important we act now to be aware of and prioritise both our own mental health and that of those around us.”
“We know that employers have a lot on their plates and each workforce will require unique approaches for tackling mental health challenges.
“But there are plenty of simple and affordable avenues for doing so.
“It’s only by drawing attention to and prioritising mental health in the workplace that we can support one another to be as healthy, resilient, happy and productive as possible.”
How do you know if you are at risk?
Putting on a brave face and carrying on with everyday life when you really should take a break can be damaging.
Burnouts are becoming increasingly common as people push through without pausing to asses their health.
Eventually, if you are feeling under immense pressures, it could lead to making mental health problems worse, or burnout from stress.
Signs you are struggling and need to take some time out could include:
- Every day feels like a bad day
- Physical exhaustion
- Loss of focus and fogginess
- Trouble sleeping
- Regular uncontrollable bouts of crying
- Loss of confidence and making mistakes you usually wouldn’t
- Not feeling able to cope
- Procrastinating and stopping carrying about your work
Stress is a natural response to a threat and produces a very particular set of changes in our body.
It triggers the production of adrenaline in your body, the hormone responsible for the body’s fight-or-flight response.
When your body produces adrenaline your airways open up more to provide more oxygen to your muscles, your ability to feel pain decreases and you become more alert.
This is all OK for us in small doses, but the longer we stay stressed the more impact it has on our body.
How can you combat it?
Firstly, if you feel able, you should be honest with you employer and family and explain how you are feeling.
Just as if you were physically ill, you should be able to take a few days to reset and recoup your mental health.
If you are able to take a proper break and even take a holiday that will help switch off all distractions and allow time for a recharge.
Know your limits and set time boundaries for work and free time so you are not feeling like you have to do too much.
Talk to your colleagues – they may feel the same and appreciate being able to speak out too.
You may find it breaks the taboo and stops others feeling they have to put on a brave face.
It will also likely help to talk to a professional councillor or therapist about how you’re feeling.
They can also then give you tips with how to work through any issues and how best to approach a solution at work.