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What are some of the conditions affecting mental health in the UK? And how can you look after your mental well-being at work?

Today is Blue Monday, dubbed the most-bleak day in the calendar year.

This is down to a combination of factors, including January’s infamous cold and dark mornings, post-Christmas blues, and the long budget stretch after an early Christmas payday.

Not to mention the pre-existing concerns that loomed over many over the last year.

Now that the holidays have passed, and the joys of Christmas are already a distant memory, these factors compound and give us the ‘worst day in the calendar year’.


What is Blue Monday?

Blue Monday might seem like a new phenomenon.

Maybe this is the first you’ve heard of it.

But this is not the case.

A psychologist named Cliff Arnall coined the concept of Blue Monday almost 20 years ago.

In 2004, Arnall was asked by the holiday firm Sky Travel to make a scientific name for the January blues.

Due to the factors we already discussed, Blue Monday is said to always occur on the third Monday of January. Unfortunately, this means that this year, it is today.


What does Blue Monday mean for your mental health?

Whilst Blue Monday has become a popular term, mental health and suicide prevention charity Samaritans have questioned its significance in recent years.

It is more important, they say, to focus on the facts and the proven conditions that affect people at this time of year (and beyond), like Season Affective Disorder and Anxiety.


Seasonal Affective Disorder

Seasonal Affective Disorder (or its appropriate acronym, SAD) is common and is estimated to affect around two million people in the UK.

Sometimes referred to as ‘winter depression’, SAD is a form of depression whose symptoms become more acute during winter months.

These symptoms include:

  • A persistent low mood
  • A loss of pleasure or interest in everyday activities
  • Irritability
  • Feelings of despair, guilt and worthlessness
  • Feeling lethargic during the day, sleeping for longer than usual, and finding it hard to get up in the morning
  • Craving carbohydrates and gaining weight
  • Difficulty concentrating

~ via The NHS

Though the exact causes of SAD are unknown, the main line of thinking is that it is a result of the lack of exposure to sunlight during winter months, causing lower production of melatonin and serotonin in the body and depression-like symptoms.

How to treat SAD:

As a result of these causes, there are some ways you can combat SAD this winter.

To improve your mood, exercising regularly and getting as much natural sunlight as possible will help treat SAD. Talking therapies, cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), and light exposure therapy are also recommended by the NHS as treatments for SAD.

As with a lot of mental health issues, getting help is vital.

The NHS takes SAD seriously and recommends seeing a GP if you think you are experiencing symptoms and struggling to cope.

For more information on how the NHS diagnoses and treats SAD, visit their website.


Generalised Anxiety Disorder

You may be struggling this Blue Monday due to the anxieties of living in the modern age.

In 2023, there is a lot to be anxious about – and you won’t be alone if you are struggling.

There are three main types of anxiety: generalised anxiety disorder, social anxiety, and health anxiety.

According to Mental Health UK, in the UK, over 8 million people are experiencing an anxiety disorder at any one time.

It is natural for us to feel anxious in our day-to-day lives, but when this goes beyond everyday worries and fears and becomes constant – it is classified as an anxiety disorder.

With Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD), patients suffer from a long-term condition that causes them to feel anxious about multiple different situations rather than a single event.

The anxiety is often constant, and they regularly oscillate between feeling anxious about one thing to another.

Symptoms of GAD include:

  • Feeling restless or worried
  • Having trouble concentrating or sleeping
  • Dizziness or heart palpitations

~ via the NHS

Symptoms vary from person to person and can be physical and mental.

Although we do not know the direct cause of GAD, it is likely down to a combination of factors like personal history, traumatic experiences/substance abuse, genetic inheritance and long-term health conditions.

Treatments for GAD:

Similar to SAD, GAD can be treated through a combination of self-health methods and external support. Exercising regularly, quitting smoking, and going on a self-help course are all NHS-recommended.

The NHS also recommends talking therapies and certain medications, known as SSRIs.

If anxiety is going beyond everyday worries and affecting your daily life, see a GP for support and help.


How to manage your mental health in the workplace

Your mental health impacts all aspects of your life.

And if work is where you spend most of your weekdays, whether at home or in the office, knowing how to take care of your mental health at work is of the utmost importance.

Thankfully, there are handy resources to help staff at all levels work together to better overall mental health in your workplace.

From Headspace for work to online guides and training schemes, you can do a lot for your team and their mental health simply by seriously engaging with the topic and making it less of a taboo subject.

This year, Samaritans have also launched Brew Monday to combat the January blues around Blue Monday.

This initiative encourages breaking taboos around mental health and talking about mental health candidly with one another. Learn more about Brew Monday on the Samaritans website.


Is your dirty workplace making you blue?

If your workspace needs a professional and regular cleaning from the experts, think blue differently by thinking of ServiceMaster Clean Contract Services.

By contacting your nearest ServiceMaster Clean Contract Services business, you benefit from over 60 years of professional and bespoke cleaning expertise from your local experts in high-quality cleaning.

No matter your organisation, we deliver, going above and beyond to ensure the highest standard of cleaning every single time.

To find out more or receive a free, no-obligation quotation on our services, call 0845 201 1184 today.

Would you pass your next CQC audit?

As a care provider, be it a GP Surgery, dentist, care home or private clinic, it is essential that you maintain stringent hygiene standards.

Maintaining a clean environment:

  • Ensures patient and staff safety
  • Prevents and controls infections
  • Reassures patients

But following the update to the UK government’s National Standards of Healthcare Cleanliness, care providers must ensure they adhere to specific criteria regulated by the Care Quality Commission (CQC).

The CQC is an independent regulatory body operating throughout the UK that monitors, inspects, and regulates health and social care providers.

New frameworks – CQC Key Questions and Quality Statements

The new framework employed by the CQC ensures that care providers adhere to standards across five key areas:

  1. Safety
  2. Effectiveness
  3. Care
  4. Responsivity
  5. Leadership

These are known as quality statements. Which the CQC defines as “the commitments that providers, commissioners, and system leaders should live up to.”

To ensure your premises meets safety standards, they must be clean, well-maintained and hygienic.

How to pass your next CQC audit with flying colours

At ServiceMaster Clean Contract Services, we have:

  • Years of experience in the CQC market
  • Industry-leading specialist technology to clean spaces and equipment
  • Solutions and support with the paperwork required for audits

So, you can trust ServiceMaster Clean to keep your premises safe, CQC compliant, and looking good.

With ServiceMaster Clean, you’re in safe hands.

And we’ll make it work for you.

We know it’s never a one-service-suits-all, so we work closely with your teams to understand how you use your space.

We’ll also consider feedback from previous audits, tailoring our services package to fit you.

For:

  • Defined cleaning specifications
  • Flexible hours (to suit your practice)
  • A trusted, nationwide brand
  • Industry-leading technologies to help tackle specialist cleaning requirements
  • Dedicated management and regular site visits/ audits
  • Safe and systemised cleaning
  • Quick response and callouts
  • A team you can trust

Trust ServiceMaster Clean Contract Services to pass your next CQC audit with flying colours.

Are you worried about your next audit?

Don’t let stress about an audit impact your people or services.

Trust the professionals.

For specialist CQC-compliant cleaning trusted to deliver every time, call 0845 201 1184 or find your nearest ServiceMaster Clean Contract Services business today.

This Mental Health Awareness Week, we’re discussing how to manage anxiety in the workplace. 

This week, people and businesses worldwide are marking Mental Health Awareness Week.

But what is it? How do you get involved? Why is it focusing on anxiety? And how can you include your workplace?

What is Mental Health Awareness Week?

Mental Health Awareness Week is an initiative from the Mental Health Foundation, which was formed in 1949 and has since become the UK’s leading mental health charity.

Their mission statement envisions…

“A world with good mental health for all. With prevention at the heart of what we do, we aim to find and address the sources of mental health problems so that people and communities can thrive.”

“We will drive change towards a mentally healthy society for all, and support communities, families and individuals to live mentally healthier lives, with a particular focus on those at greatest risk.”

Mental Health Awareness Week has been a long-running initiative of the Mental Health Foundation, focusing on a varying theme annually to highlight different aspects of mental health each year.

The first Mental Health Awareness Week was observed in 2001 and centred on the theme of ‘Friendship and Mental Health’.

It has since focused on issues like loneliness, stress, mindfulness, ‘nature and the environment’, ‘women and mental health’, and kindness – to name a few.

This year the theme is anxiety.

Anxiety in the modern world

In 2023, there is a lot to be anxious about – and you wouldn’t be alone if you are struggling.

According to Mental Health UK, in the UK, over 8 million people are experiencing an anxiety disorder at any one time.

There are three main types of anxiety; generalised anxiety disorder (GAD), social anxiety, and health anxiety.

Lots of things can lead to feelings of anxiety, be they personal or professional.

The problem arises when these become too much to manage.

The Mental Health Foundation hopes that:

“Focusing on anxiety for this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week will increase people’s awareness and understanding of anxiety by providing information on the things that can help prevent it from becoming a problem.”

“We will keep up the pressure to demand change – making sure that improving mental health is a key priority for the government and society as a whole.”

Managing anxiety in the workplace

Whether you’re working at home or in the office, knowing how to take care of your mental health at work is of the utmost importance.

Thankfully, there are lots of handy resources to help staff at all levels work together to better overall mental health in your workplace.

From Headspace for work to online guides and training schemes, you can do a lot for your team and their mental health simply by seriously engaging with the topic and making it less of a taboo subject.

The Mental Health Foundation also advise steps for coping with anxiety – many of which can be applied during work hours.

These include:

  1.  Focus on your breathing: To help you ground yourself and control anxious thoughts. Using the 4-7-8 breathing technique has been proven to be effective here. This means breathing in through your nose for 4 counts, then holding it for seven and exhaling through your mouth for eight counts.
  2. Exercise: Gentle exercises like yoga, walking, jogging or swimming can greatly quell anxiety. Try and find ways throughout the work day to keep moving – even a little.
  3. Keep a diary: To get a better understanding of your anxieties and stop them from taking over your mind by putting them down on paper.
  4. Challenge your thoughts: To avoid rumination worsening your anxiety, try to combat your anxious thoughts by challenging them. Think, is what you’re worried about likely to happen? Has this or a similar situation worked out amicably before
  5. Spend time in nature: Being out in nature can provide a huge boost to your mental health. Does your workplace have an outdoor space where you can eat your lunch or take breaks? Try spending some time outdoors to alleviate anxiety at work.
  6. Connect with people around you: Talk to your coworkers, managers or someone else in your life about worries in your life. Sharing your anxieties can help you feel less isolated and overwhelmed.
  7. Stay healthy: Getting enough sleep and maintaining a balanced diet can help with anxiety regulate your blood sugar and gives you the energy you need to live well.
  8. Maintain a clean environment: A dirty workspace can greatly impact both your productivity and mental health. Try and keep your desk and workspaces cluttered and hygienic to aid anxiety and stress.

Dirty workplace making you anxious?

If your workspace needs a professional and regular cleaning from the experts, think ServiceMaster Clean Contract Services.

By getting in touch with your nearest ServiceMaster Clean Contract Services business, you benefit from over 60 years of professional and bespoke cleaning expertise from your local experts in high-quality cleaning.

No matter your organisation, we deliver, going above and beyond to ensure the highest standard of cleaning every single time.

To find out more or receive a free, no-obligation quotation on our services, call 0845 201 1184 today.

And for resources and ways to get involved with this year’s Mental Health Awareness week, discover ways to take part today.

Best practices to keep your operating room safe and sterile.

At any medical facility, patient safety is a top priority. So, operating rooms must be kept sterile to keep them safe throughout any procedure. While you’re undoubtedly aware of the importance of cleaning the operating room before and after every surgery, your cleaning checklist might overlook some areas that can harbour dirt, dust and pathogens.

At ServiceMaster Clean, we have over 60 years of experience as a leader in the cleaning industry, so we know the importance of proper and professional healthcare cleaning. We also know how difficult it can be to maintain this environment on top of everything else you have to do in any medical facility, especially amidst the ongoing stream of patients. That’s why we’ve put together this list of five common trouble spots that we’ve observed when cleaning operating rooms, that are important to keep in mind to help reduce the risk of infection.

  1. Behind Equipment and Furnishings

You probably wipe down used equipment and furnishings like tables, carts, and stools after surgery to rid them of germs. However, it’s also important to move these items so that you can clean underneath and behind them too. When cleaning your operating room, make sure you pull furniture and equipment away from the wall so that you can sweep and mop behind these items. Dust and debris also often collect in corners and underneath equipment, where they can harbour infectious agents. Take the time to thoroughly clean behind these items to eliminate build-up that would reduce the sterility of your operating environment.

  1. Floors

Surfaces like the operating table might seem like the most germ-prone spots in your operating room, but the floors aren’t far behind. Bodily fluids and other substances can land on the floor during surgery, requiring a prompt clean-up. There are approved methods and cleaning standards that any healthcare facility in the UK must follow, as set out by The National Patient Safety Agency (NPSA). This includes cleaning bodily fluids or blood from the floor. At ServiceMaster Clean, we are constantly updating our policies, practices and standards in line with these standards. Through regular audits, we also make sure that the right channels stay open between our staff and clients so that the facilities under our care maintain the best standards of cleanliness and hygiene.

  1. Ceilings

It would be easy to assume the ceiling in your operating room is always going to stay untouched and spotless. However, ceilings can still harbour germs, dust and build-up. This accumulated debris can eventually fall, posing a serious health risk during a procedure. To mitigate this risk, you should ensure to regularly clean the ceiling (including lighting fixtures) in your operating room. The best way to do this is to use a microfibre cloth to easily wipe away any dust. You should also take the opportunity to inspect the ceiling area for any spots that require more intensive clean-up and disinfection.

  1. Cabinets

As a standard practice, you probably already wipe down the outside of the cabinets in your operating room. However, be sure not to overlook the interior, where germs can easily lurk until they are introduced into the room. (Think of how many hands reach into those cabinets during a given procedure!) Always wipe down the cabinet shelves, handles and contents to minimise the spread of harmful agents during and after an operation

  1. Biohazard Waste Bins

The biohazard waste bin in your operating room allows you to dispose of biohazard waste safely and properly. But even if your waste has been properly bagged and disposed of, the bin itself can be a hot spot for pathogens. Take the time to properly disinfect all biohazard containers and waste bins to ensure that any medical waste doesn’t spread infectious diseases around your healthcare facility.

As an industry-leading provider of patient-centred healthcare cleaning services, we know that a properly cleaned operating room is a safe operating room. By entrusting your nearest ServiceMaster Clean Contract Services business with the cleaning of your medical facility, you’re given the peace of mind that every room in your facility, operating room included, is being kept at the highest possible standard of clean. And, you get the time back to focus on what matters, your patients!

Give us a call today on 0845 201 1184 for more information on our services and book a free, no-obligation quotation.

Why use a contract cleaner for your medical services site?

We’ve all heard of spring cleaning. And whilst the weather is getting warmer and the days are getting longer, having the proper practices in place for cleaning and sterilisation of medical facilities is a must all year round.

At ServiceMaster Clean Contract Services, we know how critical it is to maintain a safe, clean, and healthy environment for both patients and staff. That’s why we take a thorough approach to delivering the highest standards of cleaning every time we enter a healthcare facility. We have the proper tools and expertise to provide consistent results that address your specific needs from dental practices to medical and healthcare centres and GP practices.

Regular cleaning and sanitisation from a professional contract cleaning service can help:

  • Prevent infection
  • Increase patient satisfaction and wellbeing
  • Manage costs
  • Meet sanitation standards set out by the NPSA – These mandate the benchmark that all healthcare facilities in the UK must meet. Failure to do so may result in penalties like fines, or even closure, and means you can be legally liable for health issues in staff and patients as a result of an unclean setting.

So, before hiring a commercial cleaning provider for your facility, make sure its procedures are based on the above regulatory requirements to provide adequate, patient-centred cleaning.

How ServiceMaster Clean Contract Services can help

Following best practices and procedures provided by leading organisations in the industry like the NPSA, our cleaning and disinfecting standards have been developed to keep your environment healthy. By allowing us the opportunity to focus on your daily cleaning and disinfecting needs, you can focus on what matters most: caring for your patients. And with 60 years of cleaning experience in the UK, we have cultivated secure systems of work in cleaning and sanitation to help you ensure your patient’s experience is the right one.

Our regular cleaning services for healthcare facilities come with all the benefits of:

  • Defined Cleaning Specification
  • Monthly Cleaning Audit & Scoring
  • Proven Cleaning Methods
  • Healthcare (CQC where appropriate) Compliant Colour Coding
  • Signed Confidentiality Agreements
  • Uniformed Staff
  • Flexible Hours – so you can schedule cleans to best suit your practice
  • Regular Review Meetings – allowing you to customise your cleaning experience based on your current needs

The comprehensive and bespoke services offered by ServiceMaster Clean Contract Services are designed to cover every area of your facility to make sure that wherever they may be, your patients and staff receive are working or being cared for in a clean and healthy environment. Whether this means ensuring patients can enjoy a clean and healthy waiting room or down to the more minute cleaning processes like the sanitisation of high touch point equipment and surfaces, we provide the people, expertise and equipment to make sure you start each day with a clean slate… and everything else.

To give your medical facility the best care from regular cleaning and sterilisation services, find your nearest ServiceMaster Clean Contract Services business today.

 

Written by Tom Page, Digital Content Writer