You can spend a lot of time at work, so it’s really important that you look after your mental health while you are there. Mind, the mental health charity, say that at least one in six workers experience common mental health problems, including anxiety and depression.
Creating a work-life balance
Work-life balance is the term used to describe how much time you dedicate to your work and yourself each day. It is important to have a good work-life balance so that you don't overwork yourself and burn out, but also so you maintain good mental health. Read on for Mind's tips on how to achieve a good work-life balance.
Are you often the last to leave work?
There may be times when you are asked to work overtime to meet deadlines, but try to make this the exception not the norm. Long hours mean you may be working harder, but not better – they’ll quickly take their toll on your concentration, productivity and health.
Create clear boundaries between work and home
Try not to let work spill over into your personal life. If you need to take work home, designate a separate area for work and stick to it, you’ll find it much easier to close the door on work when you are finished.
Start a To Do list
At the end of each day, go over your list and write up a new one for the next day. When your thoughts are down on paper, you’ll find it easier to not think about work when you are at home.
Use the time on your commute home to wind down from work
Read a book or listen to your music to set aside some time to yourself. Maybe try cycling part of your journey or getting off a stop early to get a little exercise and some fresh air. These little actions can really help you to switch off.
Ask for help
If you feel your workload is spiralling out of control, take the opportunity to discuss it with your manager or supervisor. If you can't resolve the problem of unrealistic goals, organisation problems or deadlines in this way, talk to your personnel department, trade union representative or other relevant members of staff.
Looking after yourself and others
As well as having a good work-life balance, Mind also suggests ways to look after your own and your colleagues’ wellbeing at work through a few simple steps:
Make connections with your work colleagues
A conversation, shared activity, using the phone or face to face communication instead of an email can really help your feeling of community in your workplace. Ask someone how their weekend was, and listen to their reply!
Any sort of physical activity in your day can improve your physical and mental health. Take the stairs instead of the lift, walk up the hill instead of taking the car, go and see someone in a different office instead of using the phone. All of these will keep you more active throughout your working day.
Make time for yourself
Take a few minutes at some point each day to look after yourself and make sure you are feeling OK. You could tidy up your work space, make yourself a drink or stretch for a couple of minutes. You could also use a meditation app or go for a walk in your lunch hour.
Have a healthy lunch
Eating in front of your computer screen is not good for you mentally or physically, take your allotted time to enjoy your lunch break and to have your food. Having lunch with a colleague may also be a positive time for both of you!
Learn something new
The practice of setting goals, which is related to adult learning in particular, has been strongly associated with higher levels of wellbeing. Try learning a new skill, a new word, doing some research, or finding out something new about a colleague.
Mind have created a booklet with lots of useful tips, information and space for you to create your own Wellness Action Plan to help keep your mental health strong while you work. You can register to receive your booklet using the link below:
Mind - Wellness Action Plan Guide
For more information about looking after your mental health visit the following websites where you can find lots of resources related to being mentally healthy at work, managing stress and looking after yourself:
Mind UK Website
You can also speak to your Employment Coordinator if you have concerns over managing your mental health and we will signpost you to the most appropriate service for support.