The importance of supporting your mental health, in both your personal and professional life, is imperative. As we begin the month of November, and head into the holiday season, it is even more important to keep your mental health at the top of your priority list. In some cases, your job may be a contributing factor to your overall well-being (and not just financially!). However, there are some ways in which you can help ensure that this does not have negative consequences. So, today, let’s chat about some tips you can employ to protect your mental health at work.
According to a recent joint policy brief from the World Health Organization (WHO) and International Labor Organization, it was found that “12 billion workdays are lost annually due to depression and anxiety, costing the global economy nearly $1 trillion.” Therefore, it is imperative to ensure you are making your mental health a priority.
Make your needs known
Compassionate leaders understand and aim to support their workers, as well as their unique situations and circumstances. If you are feeling overwhelmed, require additional support, or are feeling burned out in your role, it is important to have clear communication with your manager to ensure that the proper assistance is in place. This will likely look different for every individual, but could include mentorship, help from other team members, or additional education.
It is important to realize that if you aren’t receiving the encouragement and support you need, it might be time to re-evaluate your position and the organization you work for.
Understand your role
A straightforward, and often very effective way to help alleviate stress and burnout in the workplace is making sure you have a clear understanding of what is expected of you. If you find that your role has changed, or that you are expected to take on more responsibility that is causing additional strain on your mental health, a conversation with your boss is likely needed to bring clarification. The longer you are silent, and don’t express your concerns, the worse your mental health will become.
With that, if you are expected to take on more, and don’t feel you are being compensated fairly, or being listened to, you might want to explore other options.
“A lack of effective structures and support at work, especially for those living with mental health conditions, can affect a person’s ability to enjoy their work and do their job well; it can undermine people’s attendance at work and even stop people getting a job in the first place.”–World Health Organization
Set clear boundaries
Setting boundaries can be challenging, especially in the workplace. This is why it is imperative to understand your role, and all that it entails so that you may decipher between what is your responsibility and what is not.
Employees who struggle with anxiety, sensory processing disorders, or other mental health issues, may be overwhelmed by certain events such as holiday parties or get togethers. As we head into a busy season, that is often filled with many social occasions, it is important to understand that you can say “No.”
With the ease of technology, working hours can extend much longer than the allotted workday. If your job ends at 5pm, for example, it is time to put away your work to rest and recharge for the next day. Try not to answer or look at your emails, or messages, before your work hours start, or after they end. Ensuring you utilize your off hours to enjoy your life outside of the office will be beneficial to your mental health.
If you aren’t receiving the support you need in your current role, and are considering another position, we would be happy to help you along the way. Often, having a professional who understands the industry, and what is required of you as you transition, can be extremely helpful and also protects your mental health.