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Ways to look after your mental health in the workplace

Written by: Charlotte Rogers
Published on: 10 Aug 2022

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Whether you work from home or go into a workplace, we all deserve to have a good physical and mental state. You may have found that having time at home, away from the workplace allowed you to have a little bit more time to yourself and to focus on your wellbeing. However, just because you may be spending more time in the workplace, doesn’t mean the focus on yourself and your mental needs should get disregarded.

Over the course of the pandemic, you may have noticed the strong push on wellbeing from your place of work and from various media outlets. Your workplace should still be doing all they can to ensure that you feel happy at work and that means having the right work-life balance for you. We are all different and something that works for one person may not work for you. You deserve to have a job that helps you feel happy and isn’t the only thing you spend your day doing. There are a number of ways you can look after your mental health whilst getting back to your original work routine.

Being in the workplace can be good for you

Working from home can bring a lot of benefits and if you think this is the direction you want to take your working life, then your employer shouldn’t stop you. However, there are benefits to going into the workplace once a week or a few times a month. Being able to get away from your screen and see your co-workers face-to-face can have a massive effect on your mood. Talking to colleagues about things that aren’t work related (if you feel comfortable with that) can bring a sense of community. Share your interests, talk about events happening in your life and share how you feel. Talking to someone can help a lot and when you are working from home, it can sometimes lead you to feeling distant from conversation at work. Zoom calls just aren’t the same as in person interaction and for some people, this can really boost morale.

Stick to the basics at work

Sometimes we all have to pick up a little bit extra time at work, maybe things are busy, or your co-workers need a hand. However, don’t stretch yourself too thin. Working long hours won’t only affect your performance at work but can leave you feeling exhausted and unmotivated in your own time.

You should not be expected to constantly exceed your paid working hours. Keep your work and personal life separate. And by this, I mean, ensuring that when you have finished work, keep your computer closed, don’t check emails and try not to think about the things you have to do the next day.

We fully recommend claiming back the time that is rightfully yours. Here are some of the things you can do at the end of a workday to ensure you have the time you need and deserve to relax and wind-down, however way you see fit.

  • At the end of your working day, write down a list of all the things you did do, as well as a list of tasks for the next day. This can help you realise that you have worked hard and deserve to switch off.
  • Do something to act as a ‘close’ to your working day. This could be the trip home, a walk or cooking a meal when you get home. Do something you enjoy to finish your day, it doesn’t have to be time consuming or complicated. It could even become a regular part of your daily routine.
  • If you work at home, have a clear area for homeworking that you can walk away from at the end of the day.
  • Try to improve your sleep health. Get a good night sleep and ensure that you are taking time to wind down beforehand. A good night sleep can help you feel ready for the day, something we all know, but some of us don’t listen to!

Try to get to know when you need a break

Sometimes we can tend to overwork ourselves to the point where we are in a burnout stage. Getting to know yourself, your thoughts, feelings and how much you can really take on, can really help us fix the issue before it arises. We all have limits and pushing them too often can be unhealthy.

Try to think about your behaviours when stressed and see what you can do to ensure that these don’t progress into burnout or a hatred for your job. If you are aware of these things, you can act faster, talk to colleagues or your line manager and see what you can do to ensure things don’t escalate. Your employers should be there to help you when you have these feelings and it’s highly likely that your colleagues have felt a similar way. Most people don’t like to talk about these things at work, but having a break when you need one, is very important for your health.

Have a routine

Routines can make things feel more comfortable and when the workload piles up, having a way of working can really ease the stress of a high-pressure situation. Planning, note taking and daily lists are definitely not for everyone, but a routine can help you feel in control of things. So, try and find something that works well for you.

If you work flexibly, have certain days you go into the office. Use Friday for the more tedious but easier tasks and do the tasks with a higher importance earlier in the week. This can ensure that you go into the weekend knowing what you have achieved and not focusing on the things you may have not finished on Friday.

Listing what you have achieved, is also just as important as listing what you need to do. Give yourself a quick reminder that you have completed a high standard of work and you deserve your time.

Get the resources that suit you best

When going into the workplace, it’s always better to know that you’ll be comfortable and have all the things you need to be able to do your job well. This doesn’t just include the equipment you use like your laptop and the software but can also include, but not limited to:

  • An adjustable desk. One you can use to work standing or sitting.
  • A window seat. Do you work best when you are able to open a window or have natural light?
  • Be able to turn the light above your desk off.
  • An open space area. No one likes to work when crowded.

Most employers can supply these things if asked, so if they can help you and how you feel at work, then ask away!

We got used to spending more time at home and for some people, that helped their mental wellbeing. So, if you do have to spend a little bit more time away from home and in the office, do make sure that you can maintain a healthy balance between work and home. Your mental wellbeing is important and shouldn’t be pushed to the side.