Mental health has long been a hot topic. Now, as we settle into life post the COVID-19 pandemic and face inflation and the daily stressors in life, mental health has come into the spotlight. But, even with all the talk and resources, it still appears we have a long way to go in prioritising mental health. So, in the meantime, what can you do to support your mental health at work? Continue reading to find out.
Managing your mental health in the workplace
When it comes to managing your mental health in the workplace, no one strategy fits all. After all, we’re all individuals with different traits. So, remember, while speaking and sharing their thoughts might work for your colleague, it may not be the way for you.
To help you get started, we’ve put together a list of the top ten proven methods to help you improve your mental health at work.
10 proven tips to manage mental health at work
1. Start your day with mindfulness
Instead of waking up and jumping straight onto your phone, begin the day with a walk, meditation, or yoga. If that’s not your cup of tea, then why not relax with a cup of coffee, tea, or even just a glass of water and take a moment to breathe?
If that’s not convincing enough, studies show that by being on your phone right after you wake up, "you are priming your brain for distraction." In a recent blog, Jay Shetty says, "When you wake up to the phone in the morning, you wake up to notifications, negativity, news, and noise. These four things make you feel like you're starting your day at the bottom of the ladder; and you are spending the day catching up to yourself."
2. Get active
Regular exercise has many benefits for your mental health. Studies have shown that exercise can improve mental health by
- reducing anxiety and depression
- reducing negative mood
- improving self-esteem and cognitive function
So, take a walk during lunch break, go for a run after work or pull out that yoga mat and get active!
3. Talk to someone about your feelings
Whilst you may harbour some anxieties about discussing your difficulties with your manager, you may find it helps to speak with someone outside of work. For instance, Beyond Blue provides some excellent resources.
4. Ask for help
If the pressure is on and it’s getting too much to handle, ask for help. Speak to your manager or colleague and get the support your need.
5. Take a break
That’s right! Book that holiday and get a change of scenery. After all, you can’t keep running on an empty battery.
6. Reconnect with your hobbies
Whether you’re a creative being or a sporty soul, spend some time immersing in your hobbies. Read a book, watch a movie, explore new restaurants, paint, or play a sport – do whatever takes your fancy!
7. Eat a well-balanced diet
You may have heard of the gut-mind connection. Well, the truth is food fuels both the body and the mind. In fact, according to Queensland Health, “the brain accounts for 20% of daily energy requirements.” So, what are these mood-boosting foods - you might wonder?
- fruits and vegetables
- lean meats
- Yoghurt containing live cultures (good bacteria)
8. Have a laugh
You will have heard laughter is the best medicine. Well, it’s no joke. Laughter increases endorphins in your brain. So, it’s time you find a reason to laugh. Watch something funny, go to a stand-up comedy show, or laugh along with family and friends.
9. Practice gratitude
Every day, take a moment to write down something that went well today or something you are thankful for. You can add to this by letting someone else know how grateful you are for their help or just being in your life.
10. Take time to switch off
Finally, take some time to tune out and switch off. This may look like spending a day on the couch or taking a day to relax on the beach. Whatever you do, it’s about slowing down and reconnecting with yourself.
Support for your mental health
Whether you’re going through mental health struggles or are worried about a colleague or family member, remember you’re not alone.
Mental Health Australia provides ample resources to suit each individual. You can refer to these for more information and get the support needed.