If you’ve been following our blog or newsletters, you know we’ve been talking a lot about how mental health affects all other aspects of life: physical health, sleep, nutrition, and exercise… the list goes on. But one thing we may not always think of is how neglecting our mental health affects our work. It can affect attitudes, relationships with co-workers, productivity, absenteeism, and earnings on the job. 200 million days are missed every year in America because of depression and anxiety alone. Along with that, nearly 60% of people don’t disclose conditions to employers for fear of professional repercussions or being seen as “weak.”
Its clear employers need to make their employee’s mental health a priority. Thankfully, many companies are stepping up to do just that by offering extended EAP services, on-site gyms and yoga classes, walking groups, healthy food options in kitchens, flexible work schedules for therapy appointments, and more.
In addition to benefits your employer may offer you, here are 5 tips to help you manage your own mental health at work:
- Be part of a team– Helping someone else will make you feel better about yourself for lending a hand and accomplishing a common goal. Make it a point to enjoy lunch with your coworkers every now and again.
- Organize your day – Being disorganized can build stress and anxiety. Avoid these feelings by taking some time to organize and plan.
- Go for a walk – Waking will clear your head and get you outside. If it’s not a nice day – try walking around your office or even driving to a mall to walk.
- Take time out – Step away from your workspace and focus on your breathing. Even if it’s just a matter of standing up from your desk and walking around to the other side – sometimes a change in perspective is all you need.
- Say good morning – be kind to people and say good morning to co-workers. You don’t have to be best friends with all your co-workers, but it’s nice to have some people who care about you on a personal level.
Managing mental health conditions in the workplace is definitely achievable if you look into the resources your employer currently offers and make sure you take care of yourself by following the tips above. If you want to better understand signs and symptoms more and get connected to resources in your area, sign up for a free community Mental Health First Aid class today!
Shannon Gwash is the Director of Wellness Services for Jefferson Center and is also a Certified Mayo Clinic Wellness Coach. She earned her MS from the University of Denver in Strategic Health Communications/Behavior Change. She has nearly 10 years of experience in the communication world and nearly three in parenting … which clearly makes her an expert there. To stay sane, she runs around Sloan’s Lake, hikes with her daughter, enjoys outdoor concerts, and reads nerdy books.