Insight Behavioral Health – Work is a significant part of our lives. It’s where we spend much of our time during the week, meet friends, earn a living, and grow both personally and professionally. But the pressures of deadlines, difficult customers, and outside circumstances like health and personal relationships can all take a toll on your mental well-being during the workday. According to the American Psychological Association, more than one in five workers say they have experienced harm to their mental health at work. Whether you are working at your dream job or this is just a stepping stone to greater things, it is important to make your mental health at work a priority. Here are five steps you can take to improve your workplace mental health.
Start A Healthy Morning Routine
Instead of hitting the snooze button until the last minute or immediately checking your smartphone when you wake up, make an effort to start each day off right. How you begin your morning will lay the foundation for how you respond to the inevitable ups and downs you will experience throughout the day. This means going to bed early and getting up with plenty of time to shower, eat breakfast, make your bed, and check off any of the other important items in your morning routine.
Talk About How You Feel
It can be difficult to talk about how you are feeling at work. But being open about your challenges is not a weakness and it can even be a catalyst in resolving some of the issues you are facing. Whether it’s your manager, a trusted colleague, or even a spouse or friend, putting your thoughts into words can help you understand why you are feeling the way you do and how to handle your emotions more effectively in the future.
Concentrate On Strengths, Not Weaknesses
Instead of focusing on your weaknesses or comparing yourself to others at work, concentrate on your strengths. Our strengths are where our power, enthusiasm, and energy come from in all aspects of life. Knowing your strengths can also give you a new appreciation for the traits you may have undervalued in yourself. Start by identifying your skills, what you want to achieve, and how your strengths will help you reach your goals. Then discuss your goals with your manager and seek out projects that can give you satisfaction in your work.
Whether you work in an office or have a physically demanding job, dedicating a small portion of your day to exercise is a great way to improve your mental health. People often think this means joining a gym or playing sports, but something as simple as a 30 minute walk outdoors on your lunch break can make a meaningful difference. Walking reduces stress and anxiety, lowers risk of depression, improves mood, helps you sleep better, improves creativity, and even boosts your energy levels. Some workplaces also offer incentives for being active that you can take advantage of, including free gym memberships and rewards for fitness-related activities.
Learn Something New
One of the most common reasons people experience depression and anxiety in the workplace is that they feel unchallenged. Whether you feel your job is tedious or you have been in the same role for years, learning something new can improve your outlook and give you a renewed sense of purpose in your role. Ask your supervisor if there are opportunities for professional development and skill building in your field. The internet is a limitless source of free information and educational resources as well. There could also be networking and professional events outside of the office that are an excellent way to meet new people and grow in your industry.
We all have times where the pressures of life get to us at work. But having the ability to identify when these pressures are impacting your mental health and knowing some simple strategies to take action can make a big difference in improving your mental wellbeing. If you are struggling with your mental health, it is always a good idea to seek the help of a mental health professional. To learn more about our services at Insight Behavioral Health and to schedule an in-person or telehealth appointment, contact us today.
Q: How do I know when it is time to speak to a mental health professional?
A: People are usually concerned that their mental health struggles don’t justify the need to see a professional. However, if your mental health is impacting your daily life, you need help managing stress and emotions, or find you are turning to unhealthy coping mechanisms, you should consider speaking to a mental health professional.
Q: What are the differences between anxiety and depression?
A: Anxiety and depression are closely related but have distinct symptoms and characteristics. Anxiety often involves excessive worry and fear about certain events or situations. Symptoms of anxiety include trembling, racing heart and thoughts, and gastrointestinal issues. Depression is related to persistent feelings of sadness, hopelessness, or loss of interest. Changes in appetite, concentration, sleep, and weight are all common symptoms of depression.
Q: Is it possible to request accommodations for mental health at work?
A: If you have a mental health condition that affects your ability to work, you may be able to request reasonable accommodations from your employer. This may include a flexible work schedule or modifications to job responsibilities. You should also familiarize yourself with labor laws and protections, such as the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), that protect employees with mental health conditions.