How Office Workers Can Safeguard Their Mental Health
Even if you’re not physically exerting yourself in an office job, working in an office environment, or remotely with an online team can be extremely draining.
Often, people who work in an office setting struggle to find a work-life balance. There are pressures to prove yourself, work overtime, and take on more responsibilities. These can all lead to a disregard for your personal needs, and an unhealthy mental health status.
However, when you don’t prioritise your mental health, your work could start to suffer. Concentration goes out the window, work quality diminishes, and burnout is right around the corner.
Sidestep the above, protect your career, and safeguard your mental health by doing the following.
Embrace Preventative Care
A huge part of protecting your mental health is doing things to prevent it from deteriorating in the first place. In other words, embrace preventative care, which is everything you do to avoid illnesses, injuries, and poor health overall.
Preventative care is important because it helps you stay healthy longer and avoid unnecessary hospital visits and medical costs. It also inspires you to live a more active life.
Most people think of activities pertaining to physical health when it comes to preventative care, like cancer screenings and vaccinations. But mental health screenings and emotional wellness checks are also vital to preventative care.
So, in addition to the preventative maintenance you do for your physical body, schedule and keep appointments with mental health professionals. For example, schedule your screening for common mental health conditions every year. Or, commit to going to talking with a counsellor or psychologist regularly.
Prevent mental health challenges just like you do physical health ones.
Honestly, office work and relationships can be complex. And the challenging nature of it guarantees you'll make mistakes and have tough times in your career. It’s easy to get down on yourself and put negative self-talk on repeat when this happens.
That critical inner voice can affect your mental health, causing you to spiral into depressive episodes and self-destructive behaviors.
Practice self-compassion instead. Self-compassion can improve your health overall, helping you better cope with chronic illnesses and symptoms of mental health conditions. Start simple with self-compassion by asking yourself what you need each day and providing it.
Incorporate Frequent Breaks
Many office workers confess to not taking scheduled breaks and working through their lunch times, or not taking a lunch time at all. Of course, some days will require extra time and work, but if you care about your mental health, you’ll ensure these days are few and far between.
There’s only so much work you can do before your productivity decreases. According to Time magazine, “The most productive workers engage in job-related tasks for 52 minutes, then take a 17-minute break.”
You may not be able to adhere to this break schedule strictly. However, you should strive to take a break whenever you feel your mind and body need it.
Don’t Make Work Everything
You aren't alone if you’ve been run over by hustle culture. Hustle culture describes a lifestyle rooted in constantly working until you “make it.” It isn’t easy to move up in the corporate world. So, it’s no surprise employees will do anything to get to the next level, including working all the time.
Constantly working doesn’t support a healthy mental state. Instead, it leads to chronic stress, burnout, low morale, and unhappiness. The solution is maintaining a healthy work-life balance. But what does that really look like in a profession that demands so much of you?
Well, it starts with a commitment to carving out time to honor yourself. How much time you carve out may not be the same every day, but the point is to get in the habit of giving yourself attention and care. This could look like:
- Making your weekly yoga or fitness class non-negotiable
- Taking a weekend off each month to try something new and not think about work
- Giving your passion project to focus on every few days
- Using tech tools that help you incorporate mental health care daily
- Picking up a new hobby when you can or join a new social group
- Connect with your friends and family regularly
- Designating time each day to be creative
Be Truthful About What You Can Do
It’s natural to want to take on as much as possible in your role, especially if you’re just starting in a new role and looking to prove yourself. But one of the worst things you can do for your mental health is to spread yourself too thin.
A manageable workload is the best workload. Be honest with your managers about your capacity and only take on work you know you can complete to your quality standards. Learning to say no can solve more mental health-related issues than saying yes and feeling like a failure.
Create a “Mind-Care” Routine
Most of us have heard of a self-care routine, steps you take to nurture your well-being. But what about a “mind-care” routine? Sure enough, tending to one’s mental health makes up a lot of people’s self-care routines.
But we’re looking for a routine solely for nurturing your mind. In other words, what steps can you take to ready your mind for each day? A “mind-care” routine could look like the following:
- Wake up and genuinely acknowledge how you’re feeling
- Recite five things you’re grateful for
- Set intentions for your internal dialogue for the day
- Eat a healthy meal and hydrate
- Listen to what your mind is saying and if you're hearing a lot of negative speak, take actions to curb this
Your “mind-care” routine can be as simple or detailed as you want it to be. Just ensure it helps catapult your mental health into a positive state.
Office workers take on incredibly stressful work. Being under constant stress and pressure to perform no matter what can negatively affect one’s mental health. With the tips above, you can protect yourself and continue to thrive in the corporate world.
This article was kindly submitted by Katie Brenneman.