It’s Mental Health Awareness Week and we’ve been set the challenge of taking a screen break. No, really. On Monday morning, during our usual weekend catch-up and weather chat, Lesley asked us all to take a break from our desks and go out exploring.
It’s been over a year since the Digital Storm team transitioned to remote working and we all know how stressful working from home can be. The loneliness, lack of face-to-face communication and shift in work/life balance can take a toll on mental health. We’re always chatting, collaborating on projects and enjoying Deliveroo over video chat to keep the team atmosphere going – but we know it can be hard.
The Mental Health Foundation found that more than half of adults say that being close to nature improved their mental health. That’s why our team has been out and about this week. The challenge? Take a photo (or one hundred photos in Lesley’s case) with a tree.
At first, we were all sceptical. Not to mention slightly concerned at what onlookers would think as we were posing for our tree selfies. But having been out there and done it, we’ve all changed our tunes.
It’s so easy to sit at your computer, working away with no concept of time. “I’ll just get this last bit sorted” is a common saying at Digital Storm and we are all really bad at taking screen breaks.
This morning, during our team meeting, every single person said how refreshing it was to take a walk in the sunshine and shut down their work brain for half an hour. Coming back to our desks after our tree selfies was like starting again, with our minds wide awake and ready to get on with the day… Even if we were a bit hot and out of breath.
And didn’t the photos turn out great!
This challenge has taught us a lot about the importance of taking screen breaks. It started the mental health discussion in our team meetings and got us all talking openly about things that are affecting us. But, we think the funniest thing about all of our tree selfies is how much they represent our teams’ personalities.
Are you like Alex, our web developer? He has such an amazing garden that he didn’t have to go far to nab a selfie with a tree. Out of everyone, he’s definitely the closest to nature. Oli didn’t have a long way to travel… but decided he would social distance from the tree to be on the safe side.
Lesley showed us all up by going for a run on her lunch break. Curtis, on the other hand, tried to get away with hiding in a house plant. Damion headed down to the beach with his dog before realising that trees don’t grow on Bournemouth’s sandy beaches and heading back out to explore more of nature.
And the marketing team, Olivia and Natalka, both made the most of their screen break by going for a walk. Olivia went while the sun was shining, blue skies and not a cloud in sight. Natalka did not but, luckily, her tree provided excellent shelter.
All in all, we’ve had a brilliant time being at one with nature. If nothing else, we’ve had some good laughs about it in the group chat. It’s nice to find a way of collaborating on things that aren’t work-related. We’d recommend all of you get out and try it. Find a tree and take a selfie, we’d love to see yours.
If you’re interested in finding out more about Mental Health Awareness Week, reading more tips on connecting with nature or reading the mental health FAQs head to mentalhealth.org.