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5 Tips for Looking After Your Mental Health at Work

28 Feb. 2022

It’s no secret that we spend a large part of our lives at work. From the moment we wake until we go to bed, our work dictates our lives. Most of us want to get the most out of our work experience, but sometimes it's hard to juggle the daily pressures of work while still focusing on our personal health and wellbeing.

If you feel that work is negatively affecting your mental health, here are five tips to help you look after your mental health at work.

1. Speak up and ask for support

It’s important to speak up if you're feeling overwhelmed by a situation at work. Not only will it save your mental health and keep you from becoming ill, but it will also ensure that the issue is better understood by others.

Telling people how you’re feeling is a great way to let others know what your needs are and how best they can support you. No matter the size of your problem, finding the right person to speak to is vital in maintaining a healthy working relationship and preventing mental health problems.

If talking to someone isn't an option, try writing your feelings instead. This can be a way of releasing your emotions without the pressure of speaking face-to-face - and it might also help you identify your own thoughts and feelings in a more logical way.

And never be afraid to ask for professional help if you feel you need it. Many companies offer employee assistance programmes, which are there to help their team members navigate issues both in the workplace and in their personal lives.

2. Take time off work when you need it

Taking time off work can sometimes feel like you're letting your team or colleagues down, but times when you're not feeling like your normal self are when it's most important to take a break.

If you feel as though you're not able to cope at work, then it's best to put something into place that will ensure that you get some time to rest and reset. This could range from taking a holiday during the working week, or booking time off work as soon as you know you won’t be able to cope. The key is just having that time off in place so you don't end up feeling stressed and worried about not being able to return to your normal routine.

Taking time out of the office can help clear your mind, recharge your batteries and allow you to come back fully to work refreshed. This is a great way to prevent burnout and ensure that you can be at your best for those around you as well as for yourself.

3. Be realistic about your workload

Overworking is a common issue and can take a real toll on your mental health if left unfixed. If you find yourself feeling stressed or anxious because of your workload, you need to find a way to fix it.

Being realistic about the amount of work you have will help keep this in check. And writing up a schedule helps you to plan your time and complete the most important tasks first. This can help you manage your workload effectively and keep your priorities in mind as you're working, which can take a lot of the pressure off.

If you're still struggling to balance your workload, you may find that it's best to adjust the way you work, which will then help to keep your work-life balance in check.

4. Create a support network

It's important to create a support network at work that will help you get through difficult or stressful periods - whether it be your team members, supervisor, or someone that knows you well and understands how you work.

This can help reduce stress levels while ensuring that the right people are notified if anything should occur, which might need their attention or help. It's also a great way for you to get advice and support from the people at work that you feel comfortable enough with to share any problems you're experiencing.

Outside of work, developing new friendships and establishing a social life can also help you ease the isolation. Getting involved in clubs and activities helps you to meet new people and can help you develop better relationships with the ones that are already in your life. This can also help improve your mental health by strengthening your social skills, making you feel more confident.

5. Don’t beat yourself up

Work can be a stressful environment, no matter how much you enjoy what you do. It’s important not to internalise your stress and blame yourself. We all have bad days and no one can be at the top of their game all the time. Everyone makes mistakes, so don’t let your worries consume you.

Try to forgive yourself for the things that have already happened in the past and focus on dealing with problems as they arise in the future. It’s important to remember that everyone is human and mistakes do happen. If you feel guilty, try to keep a positive attitude and look at the mistakes as learning opportunities. You can learn valuable lessons from even the most negative experiences and it can help you develop in your role.

It's not always easy to stay mentally healthy when you're working. It's estimated that around 1 in 4 people in the UK will experience a mental health problem each year.

But there are ways to help, which include seeking professional help. If you're struggling, it's essential that you speak to someone and ask for support. Some organisations even offer free counselling sessions and human resources can also be a great source of help, providing both emotional and practical support.

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