“Putting yourself first is not selfish. Quite the opposite. You must put your happiness and health first before you can be of help to anyone else.” Simon Sinek.
The World Health Organisation published in late 2022 that 15% of all working-age adults suffer with their mental health. In addition to that, they estimate that globally, 12 billion working days per year are lost to depression and mental health. It begs the question; why are people reaching the point of needing time off due to their mental health?
There is no doubt that working comes with its fair amount of challenges, both positive and negative. The workplace can often be a source of stress, anxiety, and pressure, but with the right strategies, you can effectively manage your mental well-being and maintain a healthy work-life balance. In this blog post, we will explore some valuable tips for managing your mental health at work.
1. Establish Boundaries
There will be some resistance among people pleasers reading this. We, of course, want to be helpful in work and do things to support the rest of our team. However, one of the essential steps in managing your mental health at work is setting boundaries. Clearly define your working hours and stick to them as much as possible. Avoid taking work home unless it’s absolutely necessary. By creating a clear separation between work and personal life, you can reduce stress and prevent burnout. Shockingly, research has pointed to the conclusion that Ireland is among the worst in Europe for employee burnout. This proves that there is a lot to be done among workers in Ireland to start prioritising their well-being before their job.
2. Practice Self-Care
In recent years, the concept of “self-care” has gained significant importance, not only among the working population but also among individuals from all walks of life. Engaging in regular self-care activities is vital for maintaining good mental health. Prioritise activities that help you relax, recharge, and rejuvenate. This may include exercise, meditation, spending time with loved ones, pursuing hobbies, or engaging in creative outlets. Taking care of yourself outside of work will significantly impact your mental well-being when you’re on the job. It sounds simple, but it is not always easy. If you lack any form of self-care and find yourself putting work before everything else, you might find this challenging at the beginning. Like all routines or habits, it is about small actions and consistency.
3. Foster Positive Relationships
Building positive relationships with your colleagues and supervisors can greatly contribute to your overall job satisfaction and mental health. Seek opportunities to connect with others, both professionally and personally. Engage in conversations, express gratitude, and offer support when needed. These connections can create a supportive work environment, reduce stress, and boost your morale. So, next time you’re asked out for lunch, for a coffee or a cocktail after work, think about what a positive impact that could have on your relationships at work. We know after a long day in the office, it is not always easy to say yes!
4. Manage Your Workload
It is important to assess your workload. Often we can take on more than we can handle to support our team and be viewed as helpful employees. However, taking on more than you can manage will only end in burnout and the job likely won’t be done to the best of your ability.
Feeling overwhelmed by an excessive workload can significantly impact your mental health. Learn to manage your tasks effectively by prioritising and organising your work. Break down complex projects into manageable chunks and create a schedule to stay on track. If necessary, communicate with your supervisor about your workload and seek their guidance to ensure a healthy balance.
5. Take Breaks
How many of you are guilty of eating your lunch at your desk, or worse, working through your lunch?! Inevitably, there will be the odd day that this happens. However, making this common practice will have a negative impact on how you feel. Taking regular breaks throughout the workday is crucial for maintaining mental well-being. Use your break time to step away from your desk, stretch, go for a short walk, or practise deep breathing exercises. These activities can help clear your mind, reduce stress, and improve focus when you return to your tasks. If you are finding that you have to constantly work through your lunch to get everything done before the end of the workday, it’s time to speak to your manager about your workload!
6. Practice Mindfulness
Mindfulness is a powerful technique that can help manage stress and improve mental well-being. Incorporate mindfulness practices into your work routine, such as taking a few minutes each day to focus on your breathing or engaging in short mindfulness exercises during breaks. Cultivating mindfulness will enhance your ability to stay present, reduce anxiety, and increase overall job satisfaction. Mental Health Ireland has great resources on Mindfulness that you may find useful. Here are some of our favourites:
7. Seek Support
Remember that it’s okay to ask for help when needed. If you find yourself struggling with your mental health at work, reach out to a trusted coworker, supervisor, or mental health professional. Many workplaces offer employee assistance programs or resources to support employees’ mental well-being. Taking advantage of these resources can provide valuable guidance and support during challenging times.
Remember: you are NEVER alone and mental health issues are a lot more common than you may realise.
Prioritising your mental health at work is crucial for maintaining overall well-being and job satisfaction. By implementing these tips, you can create a healthier work environment, reduce stress, and enhance your ability to navigate the challenges of the workplace.
Your mental health matters, and taking proactive steps to manage it will positively impact both your professional and personal life.
Mental Health Resources
Suggested Further Reading
RecruitmentPlus Contact Information
20 Lower Kilmacud Road, Stillorgan, Dublin
68 Clanbrassil Street, Dundalk, County Louth.