14 Nov 5 Ways to Improve Your Mental Health at Work
Most Americans will spend more waking hours in the workplace than in their own homes. Unfortunately, work-related issues are one of the most common sources of stress. A whopping 61% of Americans report work as a top stressor in their life. Additionally, 77% of people say they experience physical stress-related symptoms such as fatigue, headaches, stomach aches, muscle tension, and impacted mental health.
However, stress isn’t the only factor that affects an individual’s overall mental well-being in the workplace. More than 43 million adults (or about 1 in 5), say they experience some sort of mental illness in a year. This had anxiety and depression costing the global economy approximately $1 trillion in lost productivity during that time. Take a look at what you can do in the workplace to improve your mental health & reduce work-related stress.
1. Recognize your triggers
Is there a project, a meeting, or even a person who sends you spiraling downward? There are certain events of our day that can trigger anxiety, depression, or our stress levels.
For one month, each time you recognize a change in behavior, mood, stress level, etc., write it down. Document the time of day, the activities you were doing prior to the change, what you were doing when you noticed the change, who you talked to, and any other relevant information.
Once you have determined your trigger, do all you can to avoid it or devise alternative solutions to help ease the problem.
2. Eat well
You have likely heard the saying, “you are what you eat.” This rings true when it comes to your mental health. Your diet and nutrition play a critical role in your brain’s health and your mental well-being. By gorging on junk food and fast food, you are not giving your mind and body the proper vitamins and minerals to function at its best and to produce the right energy to make it through the day.
3. Use your breaks
How often do you work through your breaks? Breaks can help recharge your mind and give you time to refocus and re-energize, but only if the time is spent well. Rather than sitting and browsing social media, get up and take a small walk to increase blood flow and oxygen throughout your body. Meditation, physical exertion, and even playing games are all excellent ways to engage the mind and help you feel less fatigued as you go throughout your day.
4. Express gratitude
Research shows that expressing gratitude helps improve your mental well-being and brings more happiness into your life. This is because it helps you feel positive emotions and creates more optimistic experiences. While some days may be difficult to express gratitude in the workplace, even being thankful for the smallest things such as arriving on time for work, finding a good parking spot, or having your computer run without any technical issues, can be beneficial in improving your mental state.
Many individuals feel stress in the workplace because of their long to-do lists. By prioritizing the tasks that should be completed first or are most important, you will not only feel more productive, but you will relieve much of the burden you feel from your long to-do list. If you struggle to prioritize, choose just three tasks that you must accomplish that are either urgent or important. Focus on these projects first thing in the morning when you have fresh energy. You can even dedicate time each day to complete these tasks and avoid interruptions by closing your office door, not scheduling any meetings, or not taking any phone calls during this time.
Your mental well-being should be a priority but finding a balance between personal and work life can be difficult. By utilizing the above tips, you can find yourself more productive and balanced when it comes to managing the challenging tasks of your job.