There are often many outside pressures that affect our lives but a growing trend is how people are affected by stress in the workplace. Our very own MD Mark Howe wrote a piece on leaderships responsibility to create a low stress workplace but what can you as an individual do to make things easier for yourself in a high pressured environment? Research shows that around 1 in 6.8 or 14.7% of people experience mental health problems in the office. To celebrate and raise awareness for World Mental Health Day we look at some practical steps you can take to make sure you are well balanced and look after your mental health at work.
Plan Your Day
After a long commute, delayed trains, a missed breakfast and potentially a lack of sleep it is easy to come into the workplace stressed and disorientated. A positive way to regain your balance and focus is to take a few minutes to lay out clearly what your day plan is in the morning and get your bearings. Taking time not to rush into things and become reactive to a slew of emails will help you feel centred and more balanced at work. Create a strong routine or utilise some of the tools that make your work more efficient to take some of the stress off. One way of doing this is leaving accurate notes in your CRM or keeping a journal beside your desk for you to write in every day.
Exercise and Get Some Air
A less active lifestyle has negative affects on mental health as exercise is said to release endorphins which make you feel better. With modern day life becoming busier it can often be difficult to fit in time for being active or exercise. One way to overcome this is to make sure you take at least a 15- minute walk during your lunch break. You spend most of the time at your desk and it is important to move around in your lunch break to get some fresh air as well as different scenery. If you have a gym near you it may also be advisable to join and take up some short 30-minute classes to get yourself active during your lunch break or after work. This will contribute largely to having a healthier body and a more positive mental state.
Manage Expectations and Be Clear On Requirements
If the goal posts for your role are continuously changing this can negatively affect your mental health as you do not know what is expected of you and you may find it difficult to juggle mounting deadlines. One way to make sure you are well balanced is to establish what you can do with your management or colleagues and manage their expectations about what is feasible. In addition to this, if things become strained make sure you take the time to set goals, metrics and don’t be afraid to ask for help. This is seen as a strength and shows a real desire to improve in your role should things become overwhelming. This is a very important aspect of establishing boundaries as everyone has different thresholds of stress and how they manage it. It may not always be apparent to management or colleagues that you feel under pressure or stressed. Creating this open dialogue is a positive step towards helping you manage your own mental wellbeing.
Learn to relax and enjoy yourself
An important aspect of your mental health is creating ways to make sure you enjoy what you do or cultivating a more relaxed environment. Take time out to disengage with your work at lunchtime and focus on things that you enjoy reading. Build relationships with your colleagues based on any similar interests and get to know them beyond their work responsibilities. When you approach things with a positive and relaxed attitude you will begin to see your stress levels decrease and feel more comfortable doing your work. Remember everyone has outside stresses and no matter what your role is everyone is human and susceptible to mistakes.
Find out more about Mental Health Day here.