Have you known how to support mental health at work yet? Everyone suffers from mental illness. Outside situations, such as anxiety or stress at work, can sometimes have a negative impact on your mental health. When you’re in a situation like this, your personal well-being comes first. Speak to someone if you are able; seek professional help when you are ready; and, most importantly, be kind to yourself. It should come as no surprise that, in a world where we spend the bulk of our time at work, our mental health has an impact on our professional performance, just as our profession has an impact on our mental health. Because there is a lot of overlap between these two elements of our lives, Dr. Shaun Davis and Andrew Kinder, authors of Positive Mental Health, have provided four ideas on how to take care of your mental health at work.
How to support mental health at work
Don’t be too hard on yourself
To begin, do not be too hard on yourself if you find yourself struggling at any point. Recognize your feelings and talk to someone about them, whether it’s a buddy, a boss, or a professional. You are not alone, and sharing your experiences and fears, as well as receiving support, can help. We all try our hardest to deal with the obstacles life throws at us, so be honest with people closest to you and express your worries.
Learn to say no
It’s crucial to know how much work you can handle at any time so you don’t overwork yourself – but it’s more crucial during a period of poor mental health. Of course, it’s natural to want to satisfy your boss and coworkers by taking on a lot of projects and responsibilities and doing a good job, but there are times when you can only be at your best if you don’t take on too much.
“Only you will know when ‘possible’ becomes ‘impossible’ – one crucial skill for managing workplace stress and the vast diversity of demands is to say ‘no’ when you need to and at the earliest opportunity,” Davis and Kinder wrote. “You may be tempted to take on more work than you can handle in order to gain acclaim or recognition, but you may be setting yourself up for difficulty in the long run.”
Don’t compare yourself to others
Everyone’s situation is unique, and we all respond to adversity in different ways. Some coworkers may appear to cope well with change at work, while others may require further assistance. We’re all human, and we all feel a variety of emotions, so instead of comparing yourself to your coworkers, compare yourself to yourself. Consider how you are today in comparison to how you were last month or last year.
Become a better time manager
Time management is a talent that can be learned, just like any other. In essence, time management is about knowing how to prioritize and complete the tasks that are most important to you. If you discover that your workload has gotten out of hand and you’re being pushed to deliver more than you’re capable of, talk to your boss about prioritizing what needs to be done right now against what can wait.
Establish some boundaries
We can now be reached 24 hours a day, seven days a week, thanks to modern technology, which can lead to a poisonous, “always-on” mentality. Set some boundaries early on to keep yourself from not being able to truly relax while you’re away from work and feeling like you can’t ignore the business notifications that crop up on your phone. Simple measures like avoiding working through lunch and leaving work on time will help you set some boundaries and keep your work within the office.
Build a positive relationship with your boss
It’s ideal to get along well with your coworkers, but especially with your boss. Maintaining a positive relationship with this individual, who distributes your workload and is your main point of contact for any concerns, is crucial. It will also be easier to approach your boss with a problem or to offer assistance while discussing a delicate subject, such as your mental health.
“Having a positive, two-way connection with your boss can be quite beneficial in terms of managing your workload and initiating a conversation about resolving issues that may be affecting your mental health. Even if there isn’t a problem right now, the foundations of a healthy connection will ensure that you can initiate a conversation when the time comes.”
Maintain work-life balance
Turn off your computer and go home at the end of the day. Do not take work home with you or log into work after hours to facilitate this process and ensure you give yourself time to recharge at the end of each day. Set your office phone to silent mode. Shut the door to your workplace or pack up your laptop if you work from home. When you have free time, resist the urge to check your emails. Allow yourself time to unwind and spend time with family and friends.