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Here’s How to Keep Your Mental Health On Track On Busy Work Days

29 July 2022

The world of work has never been so diverse, but most jobs have one thing in common: stress. While it’s normal to occasionally feel stressed, chronic stress as a result of work can negatively impact your mental and physical health in the long term.

The good news? There are ways to look after your mental health while pursuing a successful career, and most of them are simple. Here are our top tips on looking after your mental health at work, especially during busy days.

1. Take Regular Breaks

Many people skip lunch breaks or coffee breaks and work for eight hours straight, believing it will make them more productive. In fact, the opposite is true. Our brains need regular breaks in order to stay focused.

Most of the time, you’ll come back from a break feeling more refreshed and ready to work, which will actually make you more productive.

Plus, lunch breaks are a great opportunity to look after your physical health with an outdoor walk in the fresh air. Even a 20-minute daily walk has been shown to reduce symptoms of depression, so don’t overlook the role that physical exercise can have in improving mental health.

2. Keep Things in Perspective

Mistakes can feel like the end of the world when you’re at work. Maybe you’ve made an error on a spreadsheet or emailed an invoice to the wrong client. Perhaps you work in a restaurant, you wrote down the wrong dish, and now the customer is upset.

While these issues seem big in the moment, the majority of the time, there’s an easy solution, and the issue won’t seem important after a few hours of cooling off. Just think, will this incident affect your life in one, five, or ten years? If the answer is no, keep things in perspective and try not to overreact.

3. Ask for Help

If you’ve found yourself taking on too much work, or you need some professional advice, don’t be afraid to ask for help. There will probably be a colleague in need of some more work or with experience in your field that can help you figure out your problem and get on with your tasks.

Asking for help leads to a more collaborative working environment, which can improve the mental health of all employees when the whole company works well as a team.

4. Don’t Overpromise

Often, stressful situations arise at work when we take on more work than we can handle in the allocated time. Instead of overpromising and underdelivering, be upfront about how much work you can reasonably take on without negatively impacting your mental health.

Managing people’s expectations will lead to better working relationships, too, as your clients and colleagues will see you as more honest and trustworthy when you’re able to deliver what you promise.

5. Talk to Colleagues

If you’re struggling at work or having a stressful day, talk to your colleagues. The chances are, they understand your situation or have been in similar situations themselves, and they’ll not only offer somebody to listen, but may be able to provide some useful advice.

6. Stay Active

The role that exercise plays in maintaining good mental health can’t be overstated. Even during the work day, make an effort to be active, whether that’s with a walk or run on your lunch break or investing in a standing desk, such as this standing desk from Flexispot.

Making small changes throughout the workday can contribute to improved mental and physical health. Think about your commute, for example. Could you park up further from work and walk the rest of the journey? Could you cycle instead of taking the bus?

Once you arrive at work, could you take the stairs instead of the lift? Whatever changes you choose to make, improving your physical fitness will also work wonders for your mental health.

7. Organise a Team Activity

Your colleagues are some of the only people who can understand what you go through during work. Bond with your colleagues and create better teamwork by organising a meet-up after work hours.

Whether you decide to go bowling or host a dinner party, creating a better connection with your co-workers will lead to a friendlier workplace and allow the whole team to blow off some steam when things get stressful.

8. De-compress

Sometimes, stressful days are just that - stressful. There’s not always a way of fixing the day, asking for help, or keeping perspective in the moment. It’s normal to feel negative emotions at the end of a particularly stressful work day or week. The key to looking after your mental health is how you recover.