Employees don’t often talk about their mental health. It’s a matter of stigma, of course, but the challenge can be addressed with a fun and useful solution: mental health day activities.

Such initiatives not only promote understanding and empathy but also provide practical strategies for managing stress, building resilience, and enhancing well-being. Let’s discover how mental health days at work serve as vital tools in fostering a supportive workplace culture.

12 Mental Health Activities for the Workplace

Humans have been known to learn through games and stories since the first eras. However, the benefits of playing are usually dismissed when we reach our adulthood. When our goal is promoting mental health in the workplace, we can use some wellness games and activities to overcome the stigma and enhance your team’s emotional well-being.

Let’s discover 12 mental health activities for the workplace.

Popular Activities

Popular Activities

1) Breakfast organization

What is it?
One of the most common mental health day activities. It allows you to break the ice through team building. It’s a way to start or end the week on a good tone, reduce stress, and make employees feel appreciated.

Impact on promoting mental health awareness:
When you introduce workshops and webinars about mental health topics, you can educate and break the stigma around many situations and challenges employees go through. And get guidance from professionals that leads to learning coping strategies, stress relief techniques, mental resilience, communication skills and more.

Instructions:

  • Select a day of the week
  • Choose a theme (could be food from the world, childhood memories, favorite snacks, salty or sweet treats, etc.)
  • Make a list of foods, beverages, and snacks for people to bring (keep it simple, and try to provide some from the companies budget)
  • If you choose a theme, ask people to specify in a short note or post it what the dish is, why is it meaningful to them, or its origin (it’s a way to engage more with the activity)
  • Gather in a room to share 45 minutes having breakfast together
  • Ask for volunteers to clean the room (make sure to rotate them every time)

2) Mental health workshops

What is it?
This is one of the most highly effective mental wellness activities for employees. When you introduce workshops and webinars about mental health topics, you can educate and break the stigma around many situations and challenges employees go through. And get guidance from professionals that leads to learning coping strategies, stress relief techniques, mental resilience, communication skills and more.

Impact on promoting mental health awareness: 
When you introduce workshops and webinars about mental health topics, you can educate and break the stigma around many situations and challenges employees go through. And get guidance from professionals that leads to learning coping strategies, stress relief techniques, mental resilience, communication skills and more.

Instructions:

  • Make a poll and ask your team which mental health topics they are interested in
  • Add your own ideas to the list according to your evaluation of the team’s needs
  • Select one topic each month and contact with mental health experts to provide a workshop on the topic, including reflective activities at the end 
  • Share a PDF with the key takeaways (if possible, don’t just send it through email, print it and share it with team leaders to make them visible at work)

3) Group meditation

What is it?
Group meditations are not only an effective activity, but a simple and cost-friendly way of promoting mental health in the workplace. When we meditate in a group, we enhance our sense of community, strengthen our resilience, and  develop inner peace to overcome work and life challenges with more awareness.

Impact on promoting mental health awareness:
When we meditate in a group, we enhance our sense of community, strengthen our resilience, and  develop inner peace to overcome work and life challenges with more awareness.

Instructions:

  • Choose a guided Meditation about a specific topic that your team could benefit from (could be stress management, motivation, self-confidence, etc.)
  • You could ask your team which topic they’d like to meditate about as well
  • Announce the session by email a week earlier and specify the topic (do not make the session mandatory)
  • Reserve a room at the office for this activity in particular, make sure it’s a quiet room and free of interruptions
  • Try to participate in the session as well, it’s a way to make your team feel closer and engaged
  • If someone in the group feels inspired to lead the next meditation, trust them with the task!

4) Meet the leader/coworker:

What is it?
If you’re looking for virtual mental health activities, this is the one for your team. Whether you decide to have it online or on site, meet the leader or coworker is a 40 minute mental health activity that allows your team to know more about everyone’s role at work and personal life.

Impact on promoting mental health awareness:

Instructions:

  • This a group session to interview you, another HR professional, or a team member
  • It can be on-site or online if you have remote work policies
  • You can use webs like onlinequestions.org for the team to ask things anonymously before or during the meeting
  • To break the ice, start with a couple of simple questions like where are they from, what’s their favorite food, or a childhood anecdote
  • Some of the questions must be about the interviewer's role at work so people can get to know more about it
  • After 30-40 minutes close the session, and choose a volunteer for the next session (could be once a month)

Low-Budget Activities

Low-Budget Activities

5) Mental Health Pub Quiz

Here you have another mental health game suitable for both, on site and remote work environments. Quizzes allow people to learn while also having fun. One of its most important benefits is breaking the stigma around some mental health topics, while also allowing people to name correctly what their struggles are. 

What is it?
This is a particularly important aspect, since we live in a society that labels and undermines many important concepts like attachment styles and mental health conditions.

Impact on promoting mental health awareness:
One of its most important benefits is breaking the stigma around some mental health topics, while also allowing people to name correctly what their struggles are. This is a particularly important aspect, since we live in a society that labels and undermines many important concepts like attachment styles and mental health conditions.

Instructions:

  • Choose a mental health topic you want your team to learn about (could be the concept of resilience at work, depression, stress and anxiety, etc.)
  • To organize the questions, you can use tools like Kahoot for online dynamics, or use boards and post-its on site
  • The questions must be simple, and provide 3 or 4 answer alternatives. For example: The main difference between stress and anxiety at work is: A) The sustained feeling B) There’s no difference C) The role of the person
  • This activity demands a bit of time and research on your side, but you can always get help from AI tools like ChatGPT to speed it up
  • It does not matter how many answers any team guess correctly, the goal of the task is to make them think about their mental health and teach them new concepts, stats, and approaches

6) Mental Health Wall

What is it?
Do you remember a few lines before we told you to share the mental health workshop learning somewhere visible? Well, a mental health wall is ideal for it. This is literally a space in the office where you can share tips and techniques to support employee wellness, but also share upcoming activities, commemorate mental health days, and pictures of your mental health games and activities (like group meditations, breakfasts, and so on to encourage others to join).

Impact on promoting mental health awareness:
Since it’s a visual asset, it’s a way for everyone to be informed about the upcoming and past mental health activities in the organization. It also allows people to educate themselves by reading it, and it encourages teams to join upcoming activities.

Instructions:

  • Request a space in the office for this wall to be at
  • Decorate it! You can ask volunteers to design the boards and general images or illustrations (this is also beneficial to make employees feel part of the group and strengthen relationships)
  • Find a mental health calendar so you are aware of the important dates (like Mental Health Month, Anxiety Awareness Day, and so on)
  • According to the calendar, post valuable information like tips or techniques to cope with a challenging emotion or task
  • You can dedicate a space of the wall to sharing inspiring messages from employees to employees too!

7) Volunteering

What is it?
Volunteering is a way to make people feel part of the community, while also allowing them the chance to provide a greater good to someone else. Your volunteering activities could be at work, a pet shelter, a children’s hospital, or any community you know needs an extra hand.

Impact on promoting mental health awareness:
Participating in workplace volunteering activities fosters a sense of community and purpose, providing employees with opportunities for social connection and fulfillment. It also helps to develop a sense of gratitude and empathy. 

Instructions:

  • Remember to be mindful of everyone’s time, be flexible with this
  • Select a community or task at work that needs volunteers, contact with the responsibles in that area to organize a visit
  • Once you get the permission, communicate through email and a short meeting at work what’s the volunteering about
  • Explain the benefits of volunteering in this particular community/task
  • Try to avoid volunteering activities on Fridays, since it’s the day people look forward the most to enjoy their free time
  • Describe in depth what roles, items, and timing you need to make this possible
  • Share the results through pictures and an email! It will encourage others to join the next volunteering activity

8) Creative Expression Sessions

What is it?
Art is a very powerful tool or mental health. It allows people to get in touch with their emotions while also having fun and Art is a very powerful tool for mental health. It allows people to get in touch with their emotions while also having fun and expressing ourselves without the need of words. Which is something many people find convenient. 

Impact on promoting mental health awareness:
Creative expressions sessions go from theatrical acting, singing, dancing, painting, poetry contests, and even photography. Among other benefits for work we find: stress relief, increased cognitive functions, development of a sense of identity and purpose, team building, and innovation.

Impact on promoting mental health awareness:
Creative expressions sessions go from theatrical acting, singing, dancing, painting, poetry contests, and even photography. Among other benefits for work we find: stress relief, increased cognitive functions, development of a sense of identity and purpose, team building, and innovation.

Instructions:

  • Choose an creative way for your team to express themselves (you can choose one from the previous list)
  • Select a room for the activity and provide the necessary materials. For example: if you choose photography, select a topic (could be work environment, their commute to work, or work environment), provide a date for people to send their best photos according to the topic, print them and exhibit them in the selected room
  • Allow people a chance to name their pictures and to express what it made them feel
  • If you wish, you could grand a prize for the ebay photography, and allow them to vote for the one they liked the most
  • You could paste the pictures (or any other creative expression) in your mental health wall

Virtual Activities

Virtual Activities

9) Digital Detox Challenges

What is it?
Digital Detox Challenges are initiatives aimed at encouraging employees to temporarily disconnect from digital devices and online activities, fostering mindfulness, reducing stress, and promoting mental well-being by providing opportunities for relaxation, interpersonal connection, and engagement in offline activities.

Impact on promoting mental health awareness:
Fostering mindfulness, reducing stress, and promoting mental well-being by providing opportunities for relaxation, interpersonal connection, and engagement in offline activities.

Instructions:

  • To keep things simple, you could organize different activities from a remote environment (some examples are: no Slack messages on certain hours, no phone breaks, breathing challenges during the day, stretching at the start of the day, etc.)
  • Specify what the challenge of the week is through an email
  • Regarding physical activities and breathing challenges, you could schedule a 15 minute break to join a virtual meeting and do it together
  • Close the session explaining the benefit of such activities regarding their mental well-being

10) Peer Support Groups

What is it?
Peer support groups at work provide employees with a supportive environment to share experiences, coping strategies, and resources for managing mental health challenges, fostering social connection, reducing stigma, and empowering individuals to take an active role in their well-being.

Impact on promoting mental health awareness: 
Participating in peer support groups facilitates open dialogue, mutual understanding, and shared experiences, creating a supportive environment that fosters mental health awareness among employees.

Instructions:

  • Identify groups that could benefit from their peers, some examples are: new talent, pregnant women, new parents, sportive teams, etc.
  • Create the support group by informing everyone through emails and meetings
  • Do not make mandatory their participation
  • Select a leader to carry on with the communications and organization of upcoming events (this person will also serve as a link between you and the employees’ needs)
  • Organize a meeting every month so they can discuss their challenges and find solutions together (a topic, for example, for pregnant women could be: how to overcome the inadequacy feelings during pregnancy, or how to manage stress)
  • The sessions must have a particular timing and agenda, meaning, each session must have a clear schedule and topics to follow

11) Virtual Book Club

What is it?
Virtual book clubs at work are online gatherings where employees read and discuss books together, offering a structured yet informal platform for social interaction, intellectual engagement, and stress reduction, ultimately benefiting mental health by fostering a sense of community, stimulating cognitive function, and providing a healthy outlet for relaxation and self-reflection.

Impact on promoting mental health awareness:
Virtual book clubs are ideal to develop a positive mental health by fostering a sense of community, stimulating cognitive function, and providing a healthy outlet for relaxation and self-reflection.

Instructions:

  • Choose a theme or genre (e.g., fiction, non-fiction, self-help) to guide book selection
  • Determine how often the book club will meet (e.g., monthly, bi-weekly) to discuss the chosen book
  • Agree on a convenient time and date for book club meetings that accommodates participants' schedules
  • Have members suggest book options or take turns selecting books for each meeting, ensuring variety and inclusivity in choices
  • Set up a platform (e.g., email, messaging app, online forum) for members to communicate, share thoughts, and coordinate meetings
  • Assign specific reading deadlines for each book
  • Prepare discussion questions or prompts related to the book's themes, characters, and plot to guide conversation during meetings
  • Gather feedback from members after each meeting to evaluate what worked well and what could be improved for future meetings.

Mental Health Games

Mental Health Games

12) Mental Health Games

What is it?
Mental health games for work are interactive activities designed to promote relaxation, mindfulness, and emotional well-being among employees, offering stress relief, improving mood, and fostering team cohesion through engaging and enjoyable experiences.

Some examples of mental health games for work are: self-care bingo (a regular bingo board with self-care activities done throughout the week), gratitude jar (a jar where people put papers with things they are grateful for), emotional charade (selecting a random emotion and acting like it so people can guess what emotion is), etc.

Impact on promoting mental health awareness:
Incorporating mental health games into the workplace encourages engagement, destigmatizes conversations around mental well-being, and educates employees, thus promoting awareness and understanding of mental health issues.

Instructions:

  • Determine the objectives of the mental health games, whether it's stress relief, team building, or promoting mindfulness
  • Choose games that align with the goals and interests of your team
  • Set regular time slots for the mental health game sessions, ensuring they don't conflict with important work tasks and allowing all team members to participate
  • Gather any materials or equipment needed for the games, such as relaxation apps like Meditopia, board games, or puzzles
  • Encourage employees to join the mental health game sessions through email reminders, announcements, or posters, emphasizing the benefits of participating.
  • Designate a facilitator or moderator to lead each session
  • Foster a supportive and non-judgmental atmosphere during the game sessions, allowing participants to relax and enjoy themselves without fear of criticism.
  • After each session, provide an opportunity for participants to reflect on their experience and share any insights or observations with the group.

How can mental health games benefit employees in the workplace?

Since you’re interested in creating mental health days at work, here’s a list of reasons why you should pursue this idea:

  1. Stress Reduction: Engaging in mental health games can help employees unwind, relax, and alleviate stress, leading to improved overall well-being.
  2. Promotion of Team Building: Participating in games fosters teamwork, collaboration, and camaraderie among employees, strengthening relationships and enhancing the workplace culture.
  3. Enhanced Problem-Solving Skills: Many mental health games involve puzzles, challenges, and strategic thinking, which can improve employees' problem-solving abilities and creativity.
  4. Increased Productivity: Taking short breaks to play mental health games can boost productivity by providing a mental refreshment, reducing burnout, and improving focus upon returning to work tasks.
  5. Encouragement of Positive Coping Mechanisms: Mental health games often incorporate activities that promote healthy coping mechanisms, such as mindfulness, self-care, and emotional expression, which can be beneficial in managing workplace stressors.
  6. Improved Communication Skills: Games that require teamwork or communication skills can enhance employees' ability to communicate effectively, listen actively, and collaborate with colleagues.
  7. Boosted Morale and Motivation: Participating in fun and engaging activities uplifts employees' spirits, increases morale, and fosters a positive attitude towards work, leading to higher motivation levels.
  8. Development of Resilience: Overcoming challenges and setbacks in mental health games can help employees build resilience, adaptability, and perseverance, which are valuable qualities in the workplace.
  9. Support for Mental Health Awareness: Incorporating mental health games into the workplace environment sends a message that the organization values mental health and well-being, encouraging open discussions and reducing stigma surrounding mental health issues.
  10. Creation of a Positive Work Environment: By providing opportunities for enjoyment, relaxation, and personal growth, mental health games contribute to creating a positive and supportive workplace culture where employees feel valued and appreciated.

Some companies that are already investing in mental health days to support the well-being of their teams through games and activities are Microsoft, Pinterest, Unilever, and Palo Alto Networks.

Key Takeaways

  • Recognize the importance of prioritizing mental health in the workplace and the impact it has on employee well-being, productivity, and overall organizational success.
  • Understand that promoting mental health doesn't have to be expensive. Explore low-cost activities and initiatives that can effectively support employees' mental well-being without straining the budget.
  • Embrace a variety of approaches to mental health promotion, considering different preferences and needs within the workforce. From gratitude journaling to virtual wellness challenges, offer a range of activities that cater to diverse interests and lifestyles.
  • Foster employee engagement and participation in mental health activities by encouraging open communication, providing resources and support, and creating a culture that values mental well-being.
  • Recognize that investing in mental health promotion yields long-term benefits for both employees and the organization. By proactively addressing mental health issues and promoting a supportive work environment, HR and people managers can contribute to a happier, healthier, and more resilient workforce.

Mental Health Activities for the Workplace: FAQs

What types of activities promote mental wellness in the workplace?

Activities such as mindfulness exercises, yoga sessions, and creative expression workshops promote mental wellness by reducing stress and fostering relaxation.

Are there specific games designed to alleviate workplace stress?

Yes, there are games like stress balls, puzzles, and Meditopia’s content are designed to help employees relax and alleviate workplace stress.

What role do mental health games play in fostering team collaboration?

Mental health games encourage communication, empathy, and teamwork, fostering stronger relationships and enhancing team collaboration easily.

Are there online mental health games suitable for remote workplaces?

Yes, there are various online mental health games and activities tailored for remote workplaces, including virtual team-building exercises, mindfulness apps, and online quizzes.

Do mental health activities promote diversity and inclusion?

Absolutely! Mental health activities can promote diversity and inclusion by providing a safe and supportive environment for all employees to address their mental health needs, regardless of background or identity.