Most of us spend the majority of our time at work, so having a job we enjoy is good for our mental health and wellbeing. As the saying goes, if you find a job you love, you’ll never work a day in your life.
Good mental health at work is essential, and there is strong evidence that workplaces with high levels of mental wellbeing are more productive.1 But even in a job we love, there can be busy periods which can leave us feeling stressed and overwhelmed if we don’t have the right support in place. During those times, it’s important to still focus on your mental health. We’ve put together some tips to help you cope and thrive.
- Find time for yourself and take regular breaks
- Change of scenery
- Healthy lifestyle
- Getting enough sleep
- Minimise distractions
- Set realistic targets (in and out of work)
- Connect with others
- Positive mindset
1. Find time for yourself and take regular breaks
It’s important to take regular breaks during your working day. Stretch your legs, have some time away from your screen if you work on a computer, let your mind relax. You could use your break time to meditate, do some yoga or breathing exercises, or listen to a podcast. If you can fit in some quick exercises, you will feel more energised. Exercise has a positive effect on your mental and physical health.
2. Change of scenery
Getting outside, getting some fresh air, and connecting with nature has been proven to have a positive effect on your mental and physical health. You might enjoy some time to yourself, or you could meet up with a friend or a colleague. You could walk around the business park, your local park or sit in the garden if you work from home. Perhaps you could walk to the shop and get lunch rather than drive.
3. Healthy lifestyle
Eating well and staying hydrated have a direct impact on your mental health. It’s essential to fuel your body with the right food and drink, such as plenty of fruit, vegetables, and water, and reduce your bad fats and sugar intake. It’s also good to reduce your caffeine intake. If you turn to coffee or fizzy drinks when you need an energy boost, it could make you more tired in the long run. And too much caffeine can stop you from getting a good night’s sleep. Having a fitness or a wellbeing buddy to bounce ideas off and challenge/ encourage each other can also help.
4. Getting enough sleep
And speaking of sleep, make sure you’re getting enough. When things get busy, your sleep is often the first thing to suffer. But not getting enough quality sleep can make you feel tired during the day, resulting in making mistakes and poor decision making. Try to get an average of 8 hours sleep per night, although this can be hard to do with kids, as we all know. Some people find it helpful to set an alarm for when they want to go to sleep as well as when they want to wake up in the morning. It’s about finding what works for you and your lifestyle.
5. Minimise distractions
When you know you have a busy period coming up at work, try to minimise other distractions. It’s ok to say No to requests and set healthy boundaries, it’s not the right time to take on a new project or responsibility. You can’t do everything, so don’t stress yourself out trying to.
6. Set realistic targets (in and out of work)
If you’re feeling overwhelmed with the amount of work you have to get through, it helps to break it down into manageable chunks. You could write a to-do list or even use a dedicated app or software to help you prioritise tasks and plan your time. If technology can help take some of the strain, let it! If you’re struggling, don’t be afraid to ask for help. And don’t forget to plan some time for self-care activities. Have a look at the template we’ve created – you can download it here. It’s an interactive pdf so you can save it to your desktop and type your answers directly onto the pdf, or print it out and write on it.
7. Connect with others
It’s good to talk about how you’re feeling. Identify HR or Mental Health representatives within the company. However, if you don’t feel comfortable talking to them, find someone you can talk to – a colleague, partner, friends and family. People who are more socially connected to their family, friends, or community are happier, physically healthier, and live longer, with fewer mental health problems than less well-connected people.2 Find a friend(s) who support your goals and work together. Power in numbers and encouraging and supporting each other can have a really positive effect.
8. Positive mindset
We hope these tips will help you to develop a positive mindset. Positive thinking and a positive mindset are so important because they can have a beneficial impact on physical and mental wellbeing. Being able to approach life’s challenges with a positive outlook helps you cope better with stress, in and out of work. You can’t always change what is happening, but you are in control of how you think about and react to a situation.
Consistency is the key, and if your current coping strategies aren’t working or are damaging your health or happiness, you have the power to change them. You won’t develop any of these habits overnight, which can be challenging. But it’s essential to keep going, taking small steps to progress and see the long-term benefits.
By Jack Wright, YourDMS
Jack Wright is a Sales Director at YourDMS. He is passionate about improving processes and access to information for businesses. A qualified Mental Health First Responder, he is equally passionate about supporting people with their mental health and wellbeing.
https://www.health-in-mind.org.uk – Promoting positive mental health and wellbeing in Scotland
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