Are you finding work increasingly stressful and becoming anxious at the thought of stepping through the door? Are there more and more mental health red flags appearing each work day? It might be that you need to do something staying Mentally Healthy at Work
For many of us, work constitutes one of our main stressors in life. It takes up such a big chunk of our day and our week that of course when it becomes stressful, it is sometimes difficult to see a way through. For me, I threw myself into work until there was very little left in the rest of my life. I was a little manic (literally), had no balance in my life and allowed the stress and tension of working a full time job grow and grow until I couldn’t function any longer. I didn’t look after myself and protect myself from mental illness. And I didn’t do the right thing by my employer by not looking after my mental health. My best advice is to be proactive. Here are just a few tips you could try:
Set Your Boundaries
The first thing to do is to set your boundaries. Make time to sit down with your employer or manager and discuss what is expected of you, but also what your limits are. What are you reasonably able to achieve and what is off the table? It’s ok to make clear to your employer that a phone call about work at 9pm on a weekend is not okay. It may be that you negotiate to work back one night a week, but working back four nights is just not achievable. It is always important to give 100% at work. Absolutely. It is when you are asked to give more than you have that it becomes a problem. Be flexible and negotiable. Know your limits and set your boundaries.
I can’t emphasise this one enough. If you workload is becoming too large and too overwhelming, speak up. Talk to your employer. Tell them it is too much. They may have to consider getting assistance or restructuring that part of your role. If they don’t know that you are struggling they cannot help. They may be focused on the end goal and not see how the work load is impacting you. Inform them. Keep them in the picture. A good manager or leader will always want to know how you’re doing, especially if you are struggling. Put your hand up and ask them for help. You may be surprised at the response you get.
Take Your Breaks
The simplest technique for staying mentally healthy at work is to take breaks and your annual leave.
Take your lunch break every day. Walk away from your desk, your phone and your work and clear your head. Take a walk, get some air, eat a nutritious lunch. You will be infinitely more productive and get infinitely more done when you get back than you would have been if you had worked through lunch.
Similarly, take your leave throughout the year. Take a break. Relax, recharge, renew. If you take time out before you become unwell, you will be more productive, more innovative, more creative than ever before. Your employer will thank you in the long run.
Staying mentally healthy at work is important and possible. By knowing your limits and communicating with your employer or manager, you can boost your chance of staying healthy and productive. After all, if our mental health suffers, we struggle to hold our lives together including holding down a job.
So protect yourself. Set your boundaries and limits, speak up and take all of your breaks. It’s a great start to living a life where you are in control of your mental health. After all, if we can get our mental health under our control, we can achieve anything.