Mental Wellbeing with Grads in Games – March 2022
Mental Wellbeing with Grads in Games is a monthly article that promotes positive mental wellbeing for students and industry professionals – This includes advice, guidance and highlighting those in the industry that are taking active steps to make their working environment a safer space.
It’s been a busy month here at Grads in Games as the project submissions for Search for a Star came to a close. It’s been truly amazing to see the fantastic projects that everyone has created and we hope each individual learned new skills from taking part. Seeing as it’s been a manic few months for students and it probably will continue until deadlines are due, I thought it would be good to discuss relaxing and remembering to switch off during this busy time.
We’ve all had it when we lay in bed at night and are thinking about that deadline that is due in a few days or worrying about what grade you’ll get and having a sense of priority when it comes to these things can be good…but you should be able to feel like you can switch off and not have to worry about them.
So how can you switch off when your mind feels full of worry?
Switching off isn’t as easy as flicking a switch. However, there are things you can do to help you relax. For many, exercise and sport allow individuals to feel relaxed when they get home. For others, it’s doing hobbies like art or writing- things that you truly feel connected to. For me, it’s reading a book or playing a game as these allow me to relax and switch my brain off for a bit! I wrote an article about relaxing games to play here.
There are also some great apps for mindfulness – A lot focus on the idea of letting go of things you can’t control as there is little you can do to influence the outcome. However, others apps help you focus your mind on tasks and activities that you enjoy – sometimes distraction can be helpful and allow your mind to rest! I will pop a list of apps here.
If you are finding it difficult to switch off at the moment, please know you are not the only one – the world has been incredibly crazy the last couple of years. Don’t be afraid to talk to a doctor or someone close to you if you need support!
Wellbeing Spotlight – nDreams
Wellbeing Spotlight – nDreams
At nDreams, their team recognises that mental health is as important as physical health. The two can affect each other and it’s vital for each employee to understand that. This key belief starts on day one of their employee journey, where the importance of mental health is discussed during their inductions.
They want to ensure from day one that employees are not embarrassed or concerned with approaching any member of staff if they are suffering with their mental health. The company wants to remove the stigma associated with it and creating a safe space to have those conversations is an important step. They have implemented duvet days to make it easier for people to take unplanned days off to recharge, but also encourage the team to talk to HR more actively if they’re feeling low.
No one should have to suffer alone. That is why nDreams have made a pledge to put all line managers through a mental health course to become ‘Mental Health Champions,’. Being in a position to spot the signs when one of the team requires help enables them to offer an extra level of support faster (should it be needed). They already have a team of people across the studio who have trained to become Mental Health First Aiders and their HR Manager has carried out additional courses in her own time to understand more about mental illness and what nDreams can do as a company to support the team.
The nDreams HR team regularly send out communications with useful information which covers ways you can look after your mental health. This is especially important with their hybrid work model of both in-studio and work from home setups (where you may not see someone face-to-face as often as you once did). They also have a dedicated place on their staff intranet for employee wellbeing, not only physical and mental, but also financial. They recognise that the three areas can be intrinsically linked.
When it comes to employee benefits, these are chosen carefully to ensure they provide support not only to nDreams employees but to their families too. This includes help around diet, fitness, counselling, GP consultation, and so much more.
There is little doubt that the past two years have had a profound effect on many members of the team. Nobody has been immune to the pandemic, not even nDreams’ extroverted HR Manager, Vikki. Last summer, she struggled with her mental health but was worried about voicing how she was really doing whilst being in a position of responsibility. She felt that she needed to be the strong one for everyone. Fortunately, she was able to recognise that to support the team, she needed to take care of herself. Once she raised her concerns, it was agreed that she would take a week out to recoup. Without question or hesitation, nDreams enabled and supported her to take this time off.
When we spoke to her about it, she said: “At the beginning of the pandemic, everyone worried about how introverts would cope. Actually, people forgot about the extroverts. Those of us who need people around and are used to being in crowded rooms and socialising. I was one of those people. I was missing the face-to-face human interaction I love.”
The pandemic has been difficult for everyone, and globally, people have suffered (especially when it comes to mental wellness). Now that the light at the end of the pandemic tunnel is approaching, it doesn’t mean their work is done. Mental health is an ongoing concern and one that needs constant care and attention. They will be ensuring the continuation of this high level of support to all of their employees for many years to come, as the mental health of their team will always be important to them.
We hope all our readers look after themselves this March – Remember to look out for your friends and family that are struggling.
The Grads in Games Team