October 10th is World Mental Health Day. The objective of observing World Mental Health Day is to raise awareness for mental health around the world. The theme set forth by the World Health Organization this year is “mental health care for all: let’s make it a reality”.
Over the past 18 months, the mental health of individuals around the world has been impacted massively. The pandemic isolated the world both in their work and in their personal life. Not only that, but it also disrupted services that are provided to help mental health.
There were some positives that came out of the past year in terms of mental health awareness, particularly in the workplace. Employees are now granted more resources and time to deal with mental health issues than ever before. However, navigating your own mental health and work life can still be challenging. We have compiled some tips that will help you in prioritising your wellbeing in the workplace.
1. Find a Work/Life Balance
If you are still working from home, or are even going into the office, learning when to be done for the day is difficult. Balancing your work responsibilities with your day-to-day life can be overwhelming at times.
It is important to understand, when you are done working for the day, how to put it aside and focus on your life outside of work. Leaving your work at work is easier said than done, because the work/life balance looks different for everyone. Finding that balance can be challenging but once you start treating it as a priority, your mental health will improve.
This balance has been more difficult to find since working from home became the normal. Even though many people have started returning to the office, there are still many people around the world that continue to work from home or who have now adopted a hybrid model. For those that are still working from home, you must learn when to shut off your computer. It may be tempting to just work a little longer or open your computer at night, but it is far more beneficial for your mental health to wait until the next day.
2. Schedule Breaks
When work starts to get overwhelming or a project isn’t going exactly as planned, you are going to want to work through your breaks. However, this is likely when you’ll need them the most.
Studies have found that breaks can reduce or prevent stress, help to maintain performance throughout the day and reduce the need for a long recovery at the end of the day.
Here are some ways to ensure you regularly take breaks:
Plan to do something over your break. Call a loved one, go for a walk or make some cookies. Anything that will foster getting your mind away from work will benefit you.
Set a daily alarm or put an appointment into your calendar. Even short breaks can help.
Agree on break times with your team. That way, everyone will feel more inclined to take a break because you won’t feel like you are missing something.
These are only a few ways that can help you to remember to take breaks. Figure out what works for you and stick to it.
3. Set Boundaries
Setting boundaries is particularly important for those working at home. As the lines between the work day and the everyday life become blurred it is important to set a clear boundary between the two.
It is also important to set boundaries in terms of your workload. It is okay to say no to taking on new projects sometimes, even if it is just for the time being. Unmanageable workloads have been seen to have a negative impact on your mental health, so learn how to say no when you need to.
Setting these boundaries can be as simple as not checking your phone or email during certain hours of the day so you can just focus on your current projects. Understanding how to delegate and prioritise responsibilities can also assist in setting boundaries.
4. Organise your Space
Having an organised workspace can have a more significant impact on your wellbeing than you may think. A research study by the Journal of Environmental Psychology in 2021 found that clutter can contribute to heightened anxiety and stress, leading to a decreased level of productivity and feelings of losing control.
Try to schedule time to clean up your desk. Don’t forget to organise your computer and emails as well. Create a filing system that works for you and dedicate some time to it.
Learning how to prioritise wellbeing in the workplace has become more important than ever. As October 10th is World Mental Health Day, we encourage you to dedicate some time toward fitting one or all of these best practices into your schedule.
To learn about World Mental Health Day, please visit the World Health Organization’s website. Remember it is okay to feel overwhelmed at times. If you are feeling alone reach out to a loved one or medical professional. There are services readily available to help. For additional mental health resources please visit the World Health Organization’s website and take the first steps toward better mental health.