Maintaining Your Mental Health in the Workplace

October 12, 2021

Mental Health and Ways to Maintain It in the Workplace

For Mental Health Day and as an advocate for mental health myself, it's only fitting that once in a while, we talk about this topic to take more care of our thoughts and minds. The restrictions and isolation of lockdown have added to the anxiety and worry brought by the COVID-19 outbreak. It's more important than ever to look after your mental well-being in these times and as we move forward. Mental Health Awareness events and some strategies for assisting you to take better care of your own mental health could be beneficial.

A lot has improved regarding mental health awareness over the years, yet there are still places or cultures where it still seems taboo to be open about. One of the most critical aspects of our lives where our mental health needs to be given much attention to is in the workplace. Workplace stress was blamed by 28% of Americans for mental health concerns. 

Define Mental Health

Defining Mental Health

The emotional, social, and psychological well-being of a person is referred to as mental health. The CDC also said that mental health, "affects how we think, feel, and act. It also helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others, and make healthy choices.1 Mental health is important at every stage of life, from childhood and adolescence through adulthood."

When we address mental health, we're referring to both external and internal elements that influence an individual's well-being. When we use terminologies like "mental health issues/disorders/problems, we're dealing with factors that influence a person's state of mind, mood, and ability to cope.

Mental Health in the Workplace

Mental Health in the Workplace

Workplace stress is normal, but it can result in serious issues like depression and anxiety if it isn't addressed. When this transpires, stress causes severe negative emotions and reduced productivity, loss of focus on work, and disrupted relations with colleagues. 

Depression is one of the most costly medical problems that employees face. Absenteeism, presenteeism, medication, and medical appointments all contribute to the high expense of depression. The more serious a person's depression is, the less productive they will be in the long run.

The increased responsibilities and work obligations that individuals in leadership roles have are related to their heightened stress. The following are among the common reasons that can influence workplace mental health:

  • Rigid work schedule
  • No support from management
  • Lack of clarity about roles and goals
  • Poor management communication

The following are among the most common strategies people do for dealing with work stress:

  • Sleepiness or increased time/frequent sleeping
  • Smoking
  • Alcohol and/or drugs
  • Excessive exercise
  • Too much coffee intake

Approximately 60% of employees who think that stress has damaged their productivity hesitate to tell their employer about it. The most prominent explanations include fears and concerns about:

  • Being identified as a weakling 
  • Being made fun of
  • Negatively affecting advancement opportunities
  • Being interpreted as a refusal to work
  • Mental issue going into record

Tips on Taking Care of Your Mental Health at Work

Given the length of time employees spend at work, it's critical that they can handle the workplace in a way that relieves rather than magnifies stress. Work-related stress is the most common source of stress for American adults, whether employees or business owners.

Identify the Signs of a Problem

Identify the Signs of a Problem

When people suffer from depression or anxiety, they will exhibit behavioral changes that they should be aware of. Taking longer to finish regular work, having difficulties talking with teammates, and feeling the need to call in sick more are some warning signs. People experiencing these issues may decide to push themselves to work much harder, which may exacerbate the condition.

Talk

Communicating about your feelings can help you keep good mental health, even if it isn't always simple. It will not only help you manage and work through your mental burdens, but it can also help you communicate with others and feel accepted. Talking treatments are frequently used to treat anxiety and depression.

As part of their benefits program, several businesses provide an employee assistance program (EAP). Employees have direct access to mental health experts via phone or in-person through these initiatives. EAPs are private and often come at no cost. EAPs also provide access to a variety of mental health resources. 

Work/Life Balance

Step away from the computer whenever possible and leave as soon as possible. Make plans for exciting things to do in the evening and on weekends as well. Get together with family and friends, and if possible, plan a vacation or weekend away. Learning new activities can also help to relieve tension and anxiety. Doing these things will give your life more significance, purpose, and satisfaction to carry over into the workweek.

Physical Health

Physical Health

Physical and mental health are typically linked, and paying attention to one often assists in the maintenance of the other. Keeping healthy and active has been confirmed in numerous research to benefit mental wellness. Regular exercise can help you sleep better, feel better, and manage anxiety and stress. According to one study, each significant increase in objectively evaluated physical activity reduced the risk of developing depression by 26%. Ensure you schedule time to exercise on a regular schedule. Even a bit of activity, such as a walk today, cycle, or go to the gym, can help improve mood. Consider using an under-desk bike or under-desk treadmill while working. These can also help keep your mind refreshed and focused, adding up to your productivity. A rowing machine is an excellent addition if you spend most of your time at home, including working.

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Comfort

Comfort

You may not realize that your desk chair affects your psychological health, but it does. If you're uncomfortable, your mental health hurts. To keep your back and emotions aligned and feeling good, it's worth investing in an ergonomic arrangement. Take some time to arrange and declutter your workspace as well. Anxiety and stress can be induced by a desk cluttered with paperwork and post-its. Putting a small plant on your desk, on the other hand, can actually reduce stress levels.

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Socialize with Teammates

Workplace relationships are necessary for work satisfaction and mental health. You could be missing out on those psychologically draining breakroom talks if you work remotely. Make time to interact with your employees, regardless of how your company is currently operating.

Avoid Gossip, Though

Although some individuals use office gossip for fun, to connect with peers, or to express their grievances, it can lead to increased stress in the long run since it decreases morale and affects relationships between employees. Nevertheless, venting about concerns with a teammate can be beneficial if the discussion is held with that person concerned rather than with other people.

Mindfulness

Mindfulness

Meditation and mindfulness are two techniques that have been extensively researched. These approaches have been shown to increase mental health and well-being in addition to reducing stress.

Take Mental Health Days

Take Mental Health Days

There are days when you wake up tense or anxious, and it's usually for no apparent reason. Mental health days are equally as vital as sickness absence. In the same way that your body requires time to rest and repair, your mind does as well—taking that time off increases your efficiency when you come back to work and reduces your chance of physical disease in the future.

Be Kind to Yourself

It might be challenging to take time off for oneself in the hustle and bustle of modern-day life. Taking time for self-care can assist in alleviating tension and anxiety and improve your general mood. Make sure you schedule some time for relaxing pastimes. Indulge yourself in a great lunch, a relaxing bath, or something enriching.

As vital as it is to take care of ourselves, employers also have a responsibility to play. It's critical to have the necessary policies and protection available to support employee well-being. People owe it to themselves to take care of their physical and mental well-being. This is especially true in the workplace, where physical and mental health issues are becoming more prevalent. Hopefully, the above information has provided some helpful advice on how to keep healthy and seek help.

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