How to deal with mental health at work

This article was originally published on The Growing Up Guide, which has since ceased publication. The article has been archived here.

ental health is often seen as the awkward elephant in the office. It’s something that many people still believe to be taboo, and the majority of people still struggle to open up about.

According to the Royal College of Psychiatrists1 in 7 people in the UK experience mental health problems within the workplace — that works out at about 14.7 percent of the population. Clearly, the issue isn’t as minuscule as we may lead ourselves to believe.

If you’re after some ways to address your mental health in the workplace, here’s a few ideas for you.

Don’t feel guilty

One of the most popular reasons for people struggling to talk about their mental health issues is that they feel guilty – that it’s usually not a visible problem, such as a broken leg or a sore throat.

Evidence from the Office for National Statistics suggests that 12.7% of all sickness days in the UK can be attributed back to mental health conditions. But how do you cope with mental health issues whilst working?

The prospect of talking to your boss or manager can be scary, but it’s something that needs to be done to improve the situation. Not only for yourself but also for your workplace. By talking with your boss, they can try to put procedures in place that help you.

Whilst we’re certainly not suggesting taking off days of work for the sake of it, sometimes you do need to take a mental health day.

If you’re not feeling your best, and know that work is going to be a struggle then you need to let your boss know, so tell them how you’re feeling.

Get the support at work

Whilst we still have a long way to go, it’s safe to say that attitudes towards mental health are now starting to change.

Workplaces that understand and support mental health are vital to ensuring that people can work at their best and feel valued.

Sanctus, a community set up by James Routledge and George Bettany, has decided to tackle this head-on by creating the Mental Health Pledge’. A commitment which employers make towards creating an open environment that supports mental health and allows staff to bring their full potential.

If you want to work in a supported environment, why not encourage your employer to sign the pledge and talk openly about how you and your colleagues can deal with mental health at work.

Look after yourself

This one might be a bit of a no-brainer but it’s a vital lesson to be reminded about.

If you don’t look after yourself, then you’re not going to feel great and everything will be that bit harder.

Eat plenty of good food, get in those nutrients, drink lots of water, and exercise regularly. You’ll be amazed at how small lifestyle changes can have a positive impact on your mind.

If things get too tough at work, go for a walk or run down a few flights of stairs. Find something that helps to release tension, then you’ll have a method of de-stressing at your disposal whenever you find things becoming too much.

Figure out your work-life balance

Finding the right work-life balance can be tough, especially when you need to work overtime and meet deadlines. But it’s vital that you create boundaries between your work and home life.

Long hours can put a strain on your mood and mind, so ensure your time outside of work is filled with fun things that will help you unwind and relax.

Creating to-do lists and ticking things off as you go through the day will not only help eliminate some of your stress and worries, but it’s also an oddly satisfying task to accomplish.

Try and avoid checking up on emails and documents outside of work as this will have an impact on your concentration and stress.

If you do need to bring work home for any reason, don’t rush through it. Ensure you have enough “you” time to relax and turn off from work for a few hours each night.

If you’re looking for some more information on tackling mental health at work, then Mind and the Mental Health Foundation have some great resources online.

If you have any advice on how to deal with mental health during work, hit the comments button below and share your tips!

Remember, you’re not alone!

This article was originally published on The Growing Up Guide, which has since ceased publication. The article has been archived here.

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